Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 House Update - Kitchen

Now that we've passed our 2 year homeiversary, we thought it would be fun to share where each of our rooms have come since moving in and where we are headed.  Over the next few months (remember, we usually only blog about once a week) we'll be sharing a room update.

2014 House Update - Kitchen

There were actually lots of kitchen updates this past fall.  Above you can see a sneak peak of some new stools in the bottom right, some very colorful artwork, and if you're good maybe you spotted the new oven! Below is the other corner of the kitchen where the new island is!!!!  Forget what the kitchen looked like before? Check out our kitchen in 2012 here!

Let's run down the list of goals for the kitchen and take note of where we've come in the past two years:

Paint walls - We used Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
Kitchen command center - You'll see in the photos, this is still going strong and we love it.
- Add in wall charges for iPhone docks
Mini mudroom
- Paint/finish bottom framed portion of mudroom
Artwork for walls - love my large framed kitchen towel! and clipboard art
New range
Add more counter space or island with new kitchen stools
Tile Backsplash
Install new light fixtures, possibly add recessed lighting
Update other appliances in the future, primarily the refrigerator and adding a hood above stove
Update sink faucet and possibly add hospital pedals
Extend the china cabinet into the kitchen so it's two sided
Replace the granite counter tops
Replace the kitchen floor tile

The artwork is new this year.  The large poster frame I scored at Michael's at a buy one, get one sale.  It was originally black, but was spray painted a gloss white.  The print inside is actually a dish towel from Crate and Barrel!  The clip board where I mount recipes I'm going to make now has a permanent print for when I'm not cooking.  This is a Meg Kearney original.
The command center is still going strong and we use it all the time!  The cell phones still don't actually have built in charges yet, which is a good think, because we would have needed to change it for the 5's!

Well, hello there GE Cafe Series Range.  I'm a bit obsessed and secretly (or not so secretly! <    edited by Matt) was so excited when our old range finally kicked the bucket.  It was on the list from the beginning to upgrade the Frigidaire range to something a bit higher end.  This GE ended up in our price ranges and I couldn't be happier.  There is a large center burner and this is also the dual fuel model.  I love how consistent the electric oven is and the gas top is a joy to cook on.  You can also see the new backsplash in this shot! This is new since move in, but I don't think we've shared it yet. It's a stainless steel subway tile from Lowe's.

Last but not least the new island.  We used to have a pub height hand me down table in here, but it was awkward, and certainly not helpful for cooking.  We're hoping to share more on the island build - Matt did it all himself!  He's become quite the carpenter.  It's built of precut/prethreaded black pipe ($200) for the frame.  A butcher block top leftover from an IKEA table my parents had ($0) and the shelves Matt built from reclaimed barn board out of my grandmother's basement ($0.)

There you have it - our updated kitchen two years later.  I have to say that I'm very happy.  The rest of our list involves a bit more complicated and expensive items (new floors and counter!) so I'm sure those will be much further down the line.

Have you updated your kitchen?  What's your favorite part?  What was your money well spent?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Progress on the Exterior - Primed before Winter

I can't believe we never shared where we left off before our lovely New England winter on the exterior painting project.  As much as it would have felt great to get color on the house, we stopped at fully priming the back side of the house.  Priming before winter was a must, thought we will need to do it again in the spring before color because exterior primer is only good for 90 days before a final paint coat is applied.  

Here is the updated to do list broken down:
Project List:
  • Scrape any old paint that will come off
  • New paint colors selected
  • Finish the never ending scraping
  • Replace any broken shingles
  • New flashing above lower window
  • New PVC window trim
  • Sand all cedar shingles
  • Flash AC unit
  • Wash, brush, dry house
  • Prime everything - 75% complete as of 11/11
  • Correct bad flashing job on porch roof (wait until spring when we hire a pro and do a new roof here anyway)
  • Final coat of paint (if this can't happen, we'll need to prime again in the spring)
Remainder of the Exterior Paint Project List for 2014:
  • Continue with Side 2 (scrape/strip paint, repair, sand, clean, prime, paint
  • Continue with Side 3 (scrape/strip paint, repair, sand, clean, prime, paint
  • Continue with Side 4 (scrape/strip paint, repair, sand, clean, prime, paint
  • Paint all trim
  • New fascia boards along eaves
  • Install faux eave brackets
  • Accent trim and eave bracket detail with third trim color
  • Stain front railing (completed in 2012!)

Below is a reminder if our choice tools on this side of the house and we've added information on the painting products we went with:

Scraping Tools:
Huskey bend scraper - Matt's choice 
Huskey 14 in 1 tool - Meg's choice
Safety Glasses - we wear safety glasses alot around here, splurge and get yourself a good pair.  These are Meg's favorite.

Scraping Update: Scraping was the hardest of the three main tasks (scraping, sanding, painting) for this project. We read about an environmentally safe paint stripping product that we are planning on trying this spring.  Honestly, even it if doesn't work we can't skip at least trying to possible save us from this grueling task again.

Sanding Tools:
DeWalt orbiting sander - best sander for the job!
The Mouse - only used for the hard to reach spots
Dry Brush
Safety Masks & of course safety glasses again - we're using protective respirators rated for harmful dust.

Sanding Notes: sanding honestly wasn't that bad and only took a day for two of us to complete. I think the care we took to sand well, and then clean up all the dust and debris after will help out paint job last a very long time.

Priming/Painting Tools:
California Paint 2010 Acrylic Exterior Paint
California Paint Trouble Shooter acrylic primer
4" wide synthetic brushes
Safety Glasses & Hats: when working with paint on something as awkward as a house, safety glasses and a hat to protect your hair is a very good idea.  This gets just about as messy as painting a ceiling.

Painting Notes: So far we've only primed which is a MUST before winter to protect the home from excess moisture.  We will prime it again in the spring, but we were able to complete one side with two people in a 10 hour day.  Why aren't we spraying?  So many people have asked us this question.  For one, our house is not very big and honestly the time it would take to tape everything off would almost equal the handwork we did.  Second, some sprayers would need us to thin the paint and we didn't buy the best just to add water to it.  And third, with our old and textured cedar shakes we'd need to back brush the entire thing anyway.

If you liked this post, check out the others regarding our Exterior Paint Project:
- Getting Started
- Scraping

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One Little Word & 2014 Goals

This year I've decided to join the folks who do "One Little Word" as a new years resolution kind of goal and then focus their entire year on that word.  Many of my goals fit into the word already and it's something that I need to work on for myself.  The One Little Word I chose is:

I plan on using opportunities throughout this year to work on balance at home, at work, and with my health and happiness.  I already started with rescheduling my flight home during our trip to San Diego so I could stay one more day and visit Disneyland with my family.

Matt and I have other goals for 2014, both individually and as a team, but as you'll see, we're keeping the list short, and attainable.

18 Preston Goals
- Complete our exterior painting project
- Hire an electrician (and our first official contractor)
- Share 52 blog posts this year (anyone notice the little face lift!)

Matt's Goals
- Complete an obstacle race
- Finish a basement overhaul
- Have our first Tag Sale
- Workout every weekend

Meg's Goals
- Practice Yoga
- Finish converting the upstairs room to a craft/office space
- Have our first Yard Sale (for those of your who didn't grow up in Connecticut)
- Workout every weekend