Our New Garage Door!

You know you are jealous of this dirty, gross garage door.


Oh..no? You aren’t? Color me surprised. Let’s not even mention that it didn’t open or close because the tracks were living on a prayer..Well, actually, one track was there..the second had an unfortunate encounter with Josh and it didn’t survive to tell the story. The ancient garage door opener also was not ruling at its’ job before the tracks went to hell.


We got a few companies to come by to give us quotes, and we ended up deciding pretty quickly to go with Precision Overhead Garage Door service of Hampton Roads, who blew us away with their professionalism and fair pricing. They were rated #1 on Angie’s List so we knew they’d be good, but when an awesome guy named Chad came out to give us a quote, he explained things clearly and in regular-people terms so that I could understand them (since Josh was snoozin’ away because he was on night shift) AND explain them to Josh afterwards. He even gave us a “Good/Better/Best” quote at three different levels of door/features/etc. Another company gave us a quote before even measuring the door or going inside of the garage to check out the set up..AND they gave us the highest quote. WTF. Bye. Move along. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. We also got a quote for us to DIY it and decided that the value Precision offered far exceeded the savings we’d get by doing it ourselves.

Anyway, we hired Precision, and it was worth every darn penny. They came out within a week and it was all set up and ready to go within a few hours. It was so nice…hiring people to finish things. 🙂 Despite a ton of rain, our technician (AH! I wish I would have written his name down) rocked it out. I kept going outside to offer him water/coffee/etc and he was so polite and awesome, even though he kept telling me “No.” Haha! He probably thought I was weird


^ That’s the new garage door opener.. 🙂



The new SUPER WHITE GARAGE DOOR makes it obvious how much we need to power wash the rest of the house this spring. Anyway, you know you are officially an adult when you stand in your driveway and record a video of your garage door opening and closing. I AM NOT ASHAMED! SO AWESOME!


If the videos don’t work, click these links!:




Party of 8!

Okay, so I’m going to start this post with a little bit of a #tbt because this is where our idea started…

We hosted Thanksgiving 2015 and once again, just like every other time we have more than 2 guests over to the house, we wished we had a larger dining room table!

Custom napkins made by my Mother in Law!
Our Thanksgiving Table!! 🙂

Josh then got the idea to build a new dining room table as his Christmas present to me. 🙂 He started it a week before Christmas Eve and worked on it secretly when I wasn’t around. Little did I know, he was aiming for it to be completed before Christmas Eve dinner.

Cue me being bossy and making him go do social things with me every night…so, the bench was done but he didn’t complete the table in time for Christmas Eve Dinner.


Of course, Distinctive Event Rentals came to the rescue for the dinner table and chair rentals. 🙂 I’m sad I didn’t get a picture, but just believe me when I say it looked good.

Anyway, after Christmas, we brought the table in to the dining room to check the sizing and such (and because we probably wouldn’t have been able to carry it with the table top on it-I have no idea how we’ll ever get it out of here…).


Josh realized after the bench was completely done that he made the bench 6 inches longer than it was planned to be, so then we added another 6 inches to the table to make the bench be able to be pushed under the table if we want..so then we got worried the table would be WAYYY too big for the room, which is probably is, but we are ignoring that because it is amazing.

We are thrilled because we went from having a TINY round table that only comfortably seated 4, to being able to have 8 full-sized adults at one table!! Success!

Reminder of the dining room table before…


And here it is today…(Ignore the fact that the picture isn’t perfect..right now, the table is a dumping ground for all of our tax stuff..ick)


All the heart eyes!!! He made it from a modified Ana White plan and we bought the legs from Lowe’s! 🙂 He hand mixed the stain from two stain colors and used White Valspar Furniture paint for the legs. He’s the bomb..and I guarantee it will be the most used Christmas present EVER.



Get on the floor!

Faux Brick Tile Floors

So…we started this project in July prior to our trip to Turkey. We knew from our pre-purchase asbestos testing that the glue holding those sexy beast faux brick tiles down contained asbestos. Since it was only 2% of the make-up of the glue, we figured we’d chance it and just rip the tiles up and cross our fingers we don’t die in 50 years of diseases caused by asbestos. When we took up the first tile, there was scary looking powder under it and we decided just to encapsulate it and cover it with some pretty wood flooring. 🙂 Safety first.

The first step in doing so was to lay down a layer of luan, just like we did in our kitchen floor update.


After that, we put a layer of rubber matting to reduce any possibility of having creaks in the future.


We then realized we would have to take our door down in order to install the wood flooring. I took that opportunity to wash the door and paint it.



While I was painting the door, Josh got to work on the wood floors. We rented a floor nailer from the Home Depot Rental Counter and it was amazing. So amazing Josh struck a pose for me.


It was a pretty quick job-we finished this portion of this project in just two days.



Then came the week before our vacation to Turkey and we were just not feeling up to home improvement. We had too much stuff to do, so basically all productivity stopped there. Then, when we got home from Turkey, we were playing catch up, I started a new job, and Josh’s work schedule got busier than ever. So…weeks went by and it stayed like this.

But here..enjoy some pictures of Istanbul, ya’ll! It was amazing. You need to add it to your bucket list.

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Anywho..so, when we finally got back to work, we rented two floor sanders and knocked it out in a day. The borders of the room took a few days more because we had to do it by hand. We tried many, many different methods to take off the stain around the border of the room, but found hand scraping with a paint scraper then following up with sanding with a coarse sandpaper on our Dremel Multi-Max Tool worked best. Our hand sanders didn’t get through the stain as well as the Multi-Max. That thing is my favorite tool ever.


We had previously decided we wanted to do a pretty dark floor and we fell in love with Minwax English Chestnut, but then once we got everything sanded, we started second guessing ourselves and thinking maybe a medium or light floor would be best. We debated for a while then agreed on Colonial Maple, stained a test area, then decided we hated it in this room. We ended up going with Minwax in English Chestnut. This is when I got myself back in to blogging mode and actually took pictures. 🙂








YAY! Doesn’t it look awesome?? We haven’t stained the floors in the sunroom yet, but we decided we are going to do the Polyurethane sealer in this room first, then tackle the sunroom after that. 🙂 We’ll keep you posted!

Guest What?

IMG_1693Last time we talked about the guest bedroom we had just completed the painting of the room and installing the ceiling fan from hell. IMG_1639We still had to buy, stain, and install new trim for the wall that got taken out after the great flood of 2014 because all of the baseboard trim on that wall got damaged. We decided to re-do that entire wall of trim and then get new crown molding for on the wood paneled wall too so that it would all match. I didn’t get an in-progress photo of installing the trim since Josh did it in the time that it took me to wash the dishes and go grocery shopping. It was a pretty quick process.

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The new trim doesn’t match perfectly with the wood wall or the existing doors and windows because the trim on those has aged over time, but we stained it as close as we could get it. We even tried mixing several stain colors and couldn’t find anything that was perfect, so…this was one of those “We did what we could” moments. You can’t tell unless you are staring at it and we hope our future houseguests love us enough not to say anything.

After the trim was installed, we got the queen bed out from storage upstairs, put it together, and then brought down the box spring and mattress. We moved our desk and office supplies into this room (from the dining room!) and brought in a wardrobe from Josh’s parents’ house to hold all of our linens/towels/etc (we were keeping them in the pantry and other various places throughout the house-it was annoying). Now all that is left is hanging some artwork and window treatments and this room is DONE-ZO!  

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Much better than it looked after the pipe debacle!



We have walls, people!!!

Josh started putting up the vapor barrier on Sunday (the clear stuff with the red tape holding in the insulation that we installed last weekend-no post on that because…it was boring, really.) Then, on Monday, the drywall and other supplies were delivered so that the crew could get started early Tuesday morning.



I went to work on Tuesday morning and when I came home, all of the drywall was hung. I sat on the floor for about an hour just soaking it all in because it makes a HUGE difference. For anyone out there is debating on DIYing drywall or hiring it out, I have three words of advice for you: HIRE IT OUT.




On Wednesday, they came in and mudded all of the seams and the places where they screwed the boards into the studs and then on Friday, they did all of the sanding!






They were FAST, ya’ll. And I think I may be addicted to hiring out jobs now, because I would leave for work and when I got home things would magically be done. It was amazing. It was definitely money well spent because if we were doing it, we’d probably still be hanging the first piece and then ripping it back off because it wasn’t good enough.

Now WE have to get back to work and get the whitewashed planked wood ceiling planned and installed. And prime and paint the walls (and decide on a color). And find light fixtures and fans we like. Etc, etc, etc. Unfortunately, our money tree has lost a lot of leaves lately, so back to DIY it is!

Ceiling Takedown!

One less room has ceiling tiles in our house! VICTORY! 2 rooms down, three to go!!

You see, we have a total of four rooms getting some drywall at the moment, including the hole in our kitchen ceiling from installing the insulation, the back bedroom that got flooded with our shower drain pipe leak, our living room, and the sunroom. In preparation for the arrival of our drywall on Monday, we were scrambling to finish up several things including wiring, insulating, and installing a vapor barrier in the sunroom and living room and taking out the rest of the wood paneling/trim/ceiling tiles in the back bedroom.

IMG_1474Don’t you just love our mini fan?? Josh broke it when removing it, so unfortunately we will have to replace it. Darn.

I got to demo the ceiling in our back bedroom since Josh is the electrical mastermind between the two of us (surprised?). It was seriously the easiest job in the world to take down the ceiling tiles, which were glued on to a layer of drywall. I didn’t know it was drywall at first because the glue was slathered on there like nobody’s business. We were thinking we would just leave it up there since we didn’t know exactly what the material was slash if it contained any harmful materials and our new drywall could just be attached to it. Once we slept on it, we figured it couldn’t hurt TOO MUCH to remove one piece and see if the back side had any labels on it (living on the edge, ya’ll!).

10385476_864635713551514_8773735585305295786_nThe next day, my dad came over, we put on our masks and took down the first piece. The back had a label saying it was “The ORIGINAL Drywall.” I made a joke about wondering if it really was the ORIGINAL (like..you know how there are about a bajillion FIRST Baptist Churches..are they REALLY all the first?!), then we went crazy on the stuff until it was all down. It took about…14 minutes until it looked like this:



Once again, I’ve come to the conclusion I like demolishing things. I also REALLY like hiring people to do things because holycraptheyaresofast!

You light up my life!

Look at this little cutie I found while browsing awhile ago!


I immediately emailed it to Josh with the Subject Line: Hallway Light? And got no response. I showed it to him again that night since I was thinking about it ALL DAY. He said he liked it. I said OK.

The next day, I bought it. Well, it came in and it is now calling “INSTALL ME!!” from upstairs, but we expect a lot of in/out hauling to be going on with the installation of the insulation and drywall, so she is just going to have to be patient. I would cry if it got hit/broken, but I won’t be upset if something happens to the fixture it will be replacing:


Leave it to me to pop in to another space without finishing the others. 🙂


While we are on the lighting subject, my sweet sweet husband is in the process of re-wiring the living room and sunroom. These are his plans:



The first thing is we will now have TWO fans with lights, connected to switches when you walk into the room from the kitchen. We are moving the main light switch from a really awkward wall to one that makes sense, so I am extremely excited about that. We are updating all of the wiring/outlets in the room and moving a few of their locations as well. I am SO excited that we are going to add an outlet higher on the wall near the fireplace in case we want to put a lamp, tv, or anything up on the mantle that needs power so that we won’t have cords hanging down the side. We are also contemplating adding some accent lights near the fireplace, but haven’t made a final decision on that yet.

In the sunroom, we are adding two more ceiling light fixtures (there was only one that was in there when we moved in), although the ceiling in there is lower and we will have to be really good shoppers to find something that will work since we and our families are giants and we aren’t made of money.


Here are a few we are liking at the moment:

FM12025ACL-02P866840~dtlFM13128BS-01P641559~dtlI found one the other day I LOVED that was $499. $499 x 3 = not happenin’. We originally wanted to do can recessed lights since they would be a non-offensive, cheap option, however there is not enough room for installation due to the roof line of that space. BOO. Now we are just having a hard time finding flushmounts that aren’t too modern/rustic/trendy/expensive that we won’t hit our head on (they have to be less than 8″ tall to have enough clearance for Josh). I really like fixtures that have the exposed bulbs, but we want to be practical and also use our ugly energy efficient ones… ARGH.

We will find something and we definitely have time, since insulation and drywall have to happen first anyway. 🙂 We are on the calendar for insulation next week!


Rusty Pipes

Now that I am no longer hyperventilating about our plumbing/water damage situation, I feel comfortable talking about the craziness that ensued after our discovery of the puddle in our guest room.


The morning following the discovery, we called our Home Warranty company. We had heard mixed reviews about the responsiveness/helpfulness of home warranties, but decided to call them first because our service call fee through them is only $100 (vs. our deductible for our homeowner’s insurance which is much more.). For anyone wondering, our home warranty was purchased by the seller when we were purchasing the house and it is through Old Republic Home Protection. We called the service line, they entered our claim into the system, and that afternoon: a plumber was at our house.

Josh opened the wall and they saw this:


Well, no WONDER it was leaking so much! Doesn’t even take a plumber to diagnose that problem. 🙂 He then cut out that portion:


Corroded Pipe

And replaced the MAJORLY CORRODED pipe with PVC piping:


He let us know that the fix he did that day and was paid by the home warranty would be a ‘band-aid’ and offered some suggestions on what would be the best option to avoid having to open up walls again in a few years, since the pipes were so corroded. He also reached out to Old Republic to let them know about the corrosion and they agreed to pay for a more extensive fix, since corrosion is a very common problem in older homes.  He left that night and let us know it would be okay to shower the next morning and that he would be back in a few days to do the second fix. We also agreed to have him to replace another pipe in the wall for some preventative maintenance since the corrosion on the other pipe freaked us out and we wanted to avoid any more opening of walls as possible in the future. This was not covered by home warranty, but we thought it was a smart move to do it NOW, rather than later when IT decides to go.

The next morning (Tuesday), Josh showered with no problems. I showered…and Josh was yelling up the stairs for me to turn off the water JUST as I was starting to shampoo my hair. Rude. The drain pipe was no longer draining into the bedroom, but was backing up into the sink and flooding the bathroom. WOOPS.

We called the plumber and he let us know there wasn’t much he could do until the rest of the pipe and parts came in..so we would have to not shower in our house until he came back that Saturday to fix it. Okayyyyy. It all ended up being okay because it turns out that when our parents feel sorry for us, they let us shower at their house and they feed us. Not a bad deal. Thanks, parents!!! (SERIOUSLY..our coworkers are thanking you, too!)

He came back that Saturday and replaced the entire main drain line coming from the shower upstairs and our sink downstairs.


Meanwhile, due to the second flood, we became concerned about the possibility of having more extensive water damage, so we called in a claim to our homeowner’s insurance. We didn’t REALLY want to because we did NOT want to say goodbye to our deductible, but we noticed a bit of cupping in our wood floors and were also concerned about the area below the vanity/flooring in the bathroom.

After playing phone tag with our insurance person for a few days and Josh and I being confused because it was our first time filing a claim..they sent out a water mitigation company to dry out the two areas.

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The water mitigation was estimated to take 3-4 days, but at that point they were still concerned about the high levels of moisture. They even talked to us about the possibility that the tile in the bathroom might not dry out and they may have to gut the room. After about a week and a half, they finally got the moisture levels down to a “normal” level, so there was major relief happening about that. We got our insurance check in the mail to cover the estimated cost of replacing the wall and ceiling with drywall in the guest room, so that will be happening when we get the drywall in the living room done. YAY for one less room with those horrid ceiling tiles.


Overall, this whole thing was a MAJOR learning experience for us and reminded us about the importance of following your gut and having an emergency fund. I could only imagine what would happen if we didn’t have the cash to pay our deductible for the water mitigation services or just thought everything was a-okay just because the surface of the floor was dry to the touch and the plumbing was fixed. Mold is no joke, ya’ll. For real.

Overall, though…I’m just glad it is OVER and we can get back to the fun(ish) stuff. 🙂


This takes GUTS!

Last time we checked in, we had taken down all of the wood paneling in the sunroom and two walls of the living room…


However, we still had two more walls and the ceiling to tackle..plus the fact that we had a drain pipe malfunction in the guest bedroom and lots of panic. The demo in this room was a welcome distraction from the drama of the water damage/insurance/blah blah blah. It certainly gave us a chance to take out our frustrations.

First up was the removal of all of the trim and baseboard heater covers. We did all of the prep work on Friday, then got started early Saturday morning. We used a saw to cut through the tops and bottoms of the boards to make it easier to pry them loose and avoid hitting the baseboard heaters and cause any damage. We also got on a roll with using a Sawzall borrowed from Josh’s dad to cut the nails from the side to remove the boards with less breakage.

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^ WHY, YES..that is an interior wall WITH insulation and an exterior wall without insulation. 🙂



So, this little area has a funny story…We ripped out the top part of the tin foil insulation (not a technical term!), then revealed our….attic. We totally didn’t put two and two together for a second since we enter our attic from our mudroom area which is down two mini flights of stairs, I think we thought we have uncovered a huge time capsule or something…nope, just our Christmas Tree. Haha!


^ All walls done-starting on the ceiling….


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After getting cleaned up (we could finally take showers since the plumber came on Saturday morning and got our shower up and running!), we went out for sushi and came back to our house for a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity.

We woke up on Sunday morning ready to go …. not. We were tired. I was cranky. But we kept on truckin’. I was pretty much at my breaking point (tears were almost coming out of my eyeballs) when Josh found this:

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It is a corner of a newspaper dated November 16, 1954 and it totally put me in a better mood because I JUST KNEW there was a note/newspaper/etc somewhere in this mystery of a house which, again, was supposedly built in 1957 and obviously this section was completed before that. I love being right so much that my tears disappeared and were replaced with determination.

We think that after our new insulation is put in and before the planked ceiling goes in, we will put one page of this old newspaper back into the wall, along with a note from us and a now newspaper so that it might brighten the mood of a future owner of our house when they are renovating the house 60 years from now. Cool thought. 🙂

Anywho, back to work….



..and by about 4:30 that night, the room looked like this:



This past weekend, we took on the wonderful job of insulation. I won’t even go in to how that went..it was just pretty terrible.

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After removal…

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D-Day for the Sunroom

Snow day = Demo Day in our house! On March 3rd and 4th, an ice storm came to our area and allowed us to have two days off from work. So naturally, Josh and I got to work on the beginning stages of the next project!

We started by removing all of the trim, baseboards, baseboard covers, and ceiling. We are trying to salvage as much of the wood paneling as possible, so that if we decide to do a wooden plank accent wall or another project-we have the wood ready to go!


Side note: That Navy Blue mirror was a great find at an estate sale last summer (Taylor! It is the one I bought with you!) and was removed from the room prior to the actual demolition stage. No mirrors were harmed in production of this blog post.

Anywho, the ceiling tiles have been begging to be ripped out since the day we moved in. Not only are they AQUA (like everything else in the house!), they are extremely saggy in some spots of the room. We really can’t wait to rip out every ceiling tile in this house, but we have to be patient so as to not live in a construction zone in every room of the house.

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See? I told you so! When we started removing them, we were very surprised to see a bit of insulation in the ceiling (certainly not enough!).


Ceiling: GONE!

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After the ceiling tiles were removed and put in the back of the truck to be hauled to the dump, we started taking out the wood panels.

We found exterior wall boards on the living room side of the room (meaning the sunroom was added at some point after the living room-which we thought anyway because why else would there be windows in an interior room?). We also found a bit of non-active termite damage in one of the boards, but none of the surrounding boards, which was extremely weird!


As more boards were taken out, we stumbled on my favorite pieces of wood in the house-the mystery boards with the letters EB on them! I want to try to make something cool from these-maybe a table or wall hanging?


Another weird thing we found was the tin-foil like wall covering that was installed between the exterior wall and the wood paneling. We suspect it was used as “insulation” but..it definitely doesn’t work. There were some places in the walls that we could feel a breeze coming in from the outside. Not very energy efficient, but we loved the reflective quality of it? Haha!

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Here is the exterior wall once the tin-foil insulation was removed and the current state of things in the sunroom!:


Although it isn’t pretty, it feels good to make a bit of progress in this room.

So, here we are in the great to-do list for this room:

Take out and replace all trim (including window sills and window trim).

Remove all wood paneling and replace with drywall.

Remove ceiling tiles and replace with drywall.

-Remove and replace flooring (it is currently faux brick tiles).

-Move / Install new wiring to move light switches and install more lighting. This room currently only has one small light fixture-we’d like to have at least two or maybe three to provide enough light.

-Insulate all windows, walls, and ceiling.

-Widen the door and window cut outs from living room (if possible).

-Prime and paint all walls, ceiling, door, trim, windows.

-Prime and paint baseboard heater covers.

-Figure out furniture/use of the room, then decorate.