An Outdoors Update

I have always and will always been an outdoorsy girl. If I have nothing to do (or if I have a lot to do but would rather not do it 🙂 ) there’s a strong likelihood you’ll find me outside, often reading a book. At least 3 days every week I am trapped inside a hospital from before the sun rises to after the sun sets. Many days I don’t see the sun at all so I try really hard to make up for it on my off days. When we were building this house, one of the structural upgrades Scott and I agreed on 100% was the addition of a covered lanai. I love me some porch sitting and being in the south where it’s hot 10/12 months of the year, having some coverage from the sun is huge! Once I saw that the ceiling would have beadboard, I was even more committed to the idea 🙂 . I had found a patio set from Costco that I LOVED, but wanted to make sure that we shopped around and found the best looking one before we committed. This meant that our adirondack chairs from our old house’s front porch and back deck were filling the seating void in the interim. When we moved in, the only overhead fixture was a light. We quickly changed that, as the second fan that was hung in the entire house was on the back porch. With the positioning of our house, we never get direct sunlight (YAY for cooling purposes), but there’s still a lot of sun that comes in depending on the time of day.

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The ceiling fan was the first great addition but the icing on the cake came with the arrival of our new patio set. IMG_3022

That fan puts out some SERIOUS air and I am in love with it. It keeps me cool and it protects me from all the bugs that like to bite me 🙂

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After a few months of perusing the web and venturing to a few outdoor furniture stores, we still kept coming back to the Costco set I initially had my eye on as being the best fit (sunbrella fabric, moveable pieces, sturdy construction) and design (color, engineered wicker, etc) for the area. With the summer season coming to an end, we got nervous that they would stop selling it and decided it was now or never for committal. It’s an 8 piece set and we feel like it fits the space perfectly. We have spent many of days and nights just hanging out  and we can’t wait for the fall when we plan to throw a tv and speakers out there for optimal football watching ambiance.

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The only thing missing from this area are some plants and an outdoor rug but I haven’t seen anything that’s struck my fancy that’s still in stock. If you have any ideas for this space, please send them my way! This space quickly became my favorite and I look forward to all of the gatherings we plan to have out here:)

Holy Moley we have a fence!

The biggest house transformation to date came in the form of a whole lot of cedar! When we started thinking about selling our old house and moving towards the end of last year, we persistently talked about the importance of our next house having a yard that we could fence for the dogs. When we found our current lot and stood on it trying to imagine where the house would fall and what the yard would look like, we never imagined that we’d have as big of a flat part in the backyard as we do. Once the house started being constructed and we saw what we were working with, we were so excited because it meant that we’d have a really solid backyard both for the dogs, and for ourselves. Due to a pretty strict HOA, the builder wasn’t allowed to build a fence prior to closing so I made it my priority as soon as we moved in. We had heard anxiety-inducing stories from the neighborhood social media website that the HOA modification approval required for a fence took a solid month. The HOA governs what type of fence you can have and where on your lot it can fall, so I made sure to do as much research as I could to be prepared and jump right on it. I contacted various fence companies and moved through the estimate process quickly. (For anyone local in the market for a fence, I HIGHLY recommend Longoria’s Five Star Fencing.) As soon as I had the estimate, we got our neighbors to sign off on the modification request and submitted it to the HOA. I submitted it on a Sunday and had the approval from the HOA by Wednesday, so I was absolutely shocked and ecstatic that the stories we had heard didn’t apply to us. The fence company had a wait time of about 4 weeks so after that it was time for us to sit and wait for the day where I would have my first-ever fenced in yard.

The fence company reached out to us about 2 weeks later and let us know that if we could get GA811 to come mark our utility lines within 3 days that they would be able to squeeze us in early between other projects. The day they started two guys arrived at 5:30 am to knock it out hopefully in one day. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone working as hard as those two guys were. It was the middle of the summer in the sweltering heat and they were busting their butts-to this day I still admire their work ethic. I had never seen a split-rail fence being built so I camped out on the covered lanai and watched them all day in the least-creepy fashion that I could. First they marked out the area of the yard they would build along. They then laid out the support posts every 6 (maybe 8?) feet.

 

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Next they dug out all of the holes. Once all the holes were dug, they measured out the posts, made their cuts for the height, poured concrete in the hole, then set the post.

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Once all of the posts were set, they started on the rails. They clearly were seasoned pros because this part FLEW by. One of the guys would position the board, the other guy would nail.

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The last steps were building the gates, adding the chicken wire, then attaching the decorative posts.

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We are incredibly pleased with the final result and I love that I can let the dogs out without having to take them on a leash! You can see in some of the pictures that our house is at the top of a hill. The back half of our backyard is a large hill that goes down to that tree line. We opted not to run the fence the entire length of our property line and I’m thankful we didn’t. That hill is a monster to try to landscape and I like that the fence almost creates a barrier between our “livable yard” and nature.

Rex is still trying to learn how to be a free-range dog and we can’t wait for Rambo to come home from vacation in New Jersey to show him his new yard! Both of them have had to be taken out on a leash from the time that we got them until recently, so the adjustment phase has been funny. Rex still will walk a couple feet from you and then turn to look at you to make sure he’s allowed to be that far away 🙂

We can’t wait for the temperature to cool down to where we can drag out the yard activites and play some corn hole! Let us know when you’re available 🙂 🙂 🙂

This is why I could never be a blogger

Almost three months later and here I am, back for an update post!

I blame my lack of blogging on the premise that I’d rather be doing the actual projects and crafts than wasting my time typing about them 🙂

We have gotten so much done in the short amount of time that we’ve lived here. Slowly but surely we’re turning this beautiful house into our cozy, dream home. Every time I walk into a room it seems like I’m writing down another project on my to-do list. It kills me that so much of what I want to do aesthetically can’t be done within the first year. I am counting down the days until I can paint every single wall in this house. The “off white” walls are haunting me. I’ve always interpreted off white as a member of the beige/tan family and if you know me, you know I’d rather live in a neon yellow house than have a single earth tone located in my residence. Remember: brighter is always better.

I also can not wait until I get to do some of the wood wall projects I have planned. According to our builder, painting and doing projects such as board and batten (which will be ALL OVER OUR HOUSE COME 2018) shouldn’t be done in the first year. Something about you need to wait for the house to settle and for them to come back at the year mark for their follow up inspection/repairs before taking on any of those types of projects. Ask Scott, every day that I’m off I ask if I can do it in just one room and every day he tells me that I have to wait 😦 My patience in putting these projects off is wearing thin so don’t be surprised if I can’t help myself-it was after all, only a recommendation 🙂

The very first project I took on after moving in was building a new bookshelf for the office. The only casualty of our move was our bookshelf. The movers underestimated it’s top-heaviness and when moving it into the POD, sent it smashing into the driveway. We weren’t that upset about it as it was an old bookshelf that I’ve had since college and am pretty sure I bought at Wal-mart. I had been eyeing a few of my favorite bloggers for new replacement ideas when I came across the perfect one. Jenwoodhouse is one of my go-to bloggers and wouldn’t you know, she had recently posted the plans for a bookshelf beauty. I don’t have my basement workshop set up yet so I bargained with Scott to give me the garage for 2 days. Even though he’s always VERY hesitant to let me take on these projects, he agreed and actually ended up liking the end result! The bookshelf was going to set up residence in the office (one of the first rooms you come to from the front door) so the pressure was on to make it look good.

I took some pictures of the build process but of course I can’t get them to upload. It took me about 7 hours in one day to make all the cuts and join all the shelves, and then another couple hours the next day to finish building it. Once it was built I took a sander to it and then stained it in one of my favorite stain colors. There are very few parts of the build process I don’t like but staining the final product is at the top of that list by a long shot. Once I get to the 75% finish mark, I start to get antsy. Thankfully, I only had to put one coat on this bad boy for it to look like the shining star it is. The picture below is that of the final styled (I’ve changed it since taking that picture over a month ago) shelf.

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My favorite “quick-win” project to date took place in the kitchen. Here are a few “before” shots of the kitchen (Note to self: get better at taking before shots-I have no “before” pictures of the completed kitchen from when we moved in):

As you can see, the pendant lights are boring builder basic. I had asked the builder if they could just pre-wire for the pendant lights and then we would put some in once we moved in, however, that wasn’t an option. It was an all or nothing so we sucked it up and lived with the lights for a few months. You don’t realize how much a statement light piece can elevate a room until you put one in! I still get googley eyes when I stare at the ones hanging above that island in present day. My dad taught Scott and I how to do the electrical work for lights/fans when we moved in and wanted to quickly put ceiling fans in all the rooms. (I honestly have no idea how people can live in a room that doesn’t have the capability to circulate the air-it makes it so much cooler!) This electrical knowledge was clutch as I was able to take down the old lights, and then hang the new lights all by myself. I’m actually still proud of that achievement 🙂

Our kitchen currently looks as follows:

IMG_3019Needless to say, I LOVE IT SO MUCH! The changing of the lights really did bring it from being really freaking pretty to a show-stopper. It’s probably the most “complete” room in the house and it always looks so clean-even when it isn’t. Seriously, I sometimes find myself standing aimlessly in the kitchen and just taking it all in. The kitchen will be 100% perfect the day I get to paint a new color above the cabinets 🙂

Rex is going nuts and I have yet to start my to-do list for today so I’m going to wrap up this post by leaving you with those two updates. Stay tuned for updates on our deck, my DIY frames, a gallery wall and some other living room updates.

Hopefully I’ll post before another 3 months passes.

There’s a first time for everything

HELLO! If you are reading this, let me start by saying: keep your expectations low. I am not a writer, nor will I ever claim to be. I have mastered homophones such as they’re, there, and their, but as my mom has told me time and time again, I write like I talk. Brace yourself-there’s a reason I went the science route.

I think it’s only fitting for my first post to bring you up to speed on the present. We’re at the very end (15 more days!!) of construction on our new home. It’s an absolutely beautiful semi-custom home in a neighborhood in the middle of horse country in metro Atlanta. A semi-custom home means the builder has a couple of floor plans you get to pick from and then once you’ve chosen that, you get to choose the interior design aspects and have control of what “upgrades” you want to add to the house. For us, it made the most sense to make sure we got the bones how we really wanted them. Structural aspects are a whole lot more difficult to change than design aspects, so our “upgrades” were mostly structural. While the house is semi-custom and has a lot of beautiful features, there will be A LOT that I will be changing. Scott tells me at least 3 times a day that I’m crazy if I think I’m going to be taking on project after project but let’s be real, all of my projects have been “do then ask for forgiveness later” type of projects, and he hasn’t kicked me to the curb yet 🙂 New construction means while everything is new, there’s a lot of character that will still need to be added in order to make it feel like home.

Enough with the words, here are some pictures!

I fell in love with the lot as soon as we stood on it. It’s at the bottom of a cul-de-sac and it has a stream at the bottom of the backyard. Here’s the first picture I took of it right after we went under contract back on New Years Eve (could we have picked a better way to ring in 2017? I think not!)

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From there, things kept moving right along. We were slightly nervous to build a home, as we had been told by different horror stories from various people but knock on wood, our  building experience has been wonderful.

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They broke ground in February, just as they told us they would, and that was the first time our vision began to become reality. When you buy a lot, you are only given a rough idea as to where the house will sit-you have no idea how exactly it will be engineered on the property. Once the foundation was poured, we were ecstatic to realize that we had even more land in the backyard than we were expecting. I don’t know who was more excited-Rex, Rambo, or me 🙂

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That giant hill you see is actually all of our land too. While the above picture does the backyard absolutely no justice, the flat part before the hill is actually quite large. I don’t mind that there’s a hill at the back part of our yard because it will be a nice privacy barrier, and will also hopefully keep snakes and other wildlife coming up from the stream and tormenting the dogs (and me!).

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Once the walls started going up, my excitement grew exponentially. This was by far my favorite part of the build process. Watching the walls go up is truly fascinating. They had the entire house studded out in 2 days. TWO DAYS!!!!! I asked our builder if they would hire me as their intern. Apparently my current career skills aren’t marketable to a construction team 😦

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Seeing the rooms with just studs was fascinating to me. The intricacies of construction are incredible. Again, this was by far my favorite part. There were two guys who framed the entire house during those two days. Can you even imagine going home from work and being able to say that you literally built half a house in a day? And I thought I had a busy job!

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At this stage I kept having nightmares that the covered lanai on the back of the house was going to come crumbling down. You can’t really tell in those pictures but those 2 beams are extra long 2×4’s. That was it. 2 2×4’s holding up an entire roof. Thankfully, the guys who built it are much better at structural support in their builds than I am (my #1 rule: I don’t build anything that may break under somebody’s weight 🙂 ).

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I imagine being a drywall professional is a very frustrating job. My only experience with drywalling came when I ripped the mirror off the wall of our old house’s guest bathroom and there was a 3 foot hole behind it. Needless to say, we contracted that one out to Scott’s brother, Doug. Not my favorite part of construction but boy does it look so good after!

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While they were drywalling the interior, another crew was working on the exterior facade. You will realize a common trend the more I post but my favorite color scheme is “light and bright.” I like to look at a color and feel happy. I will do a separate post on the design elements we went with and the reasons for them, but holy cow, we hit a home run with the color scheme we chose for the exterior (If you don’t like it, I guess it’s good that you’re not the one who has to look at it every day 🙂 ).

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I love wainscoting and plan to do a lot of it inside of the house, so it’s only fitting that there’s an element of it on the exterior as well.

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The brick color is also a personal favorite of mine, as it has a natural white-wash appearance. I personally dislike two kinds of brick: red brick and dark brick, so for us and our house, this was the perfect choice.

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Once the concrete gets poured, we REALLY got a feel for how our lot is going to be once we move in. I really wanted to get there while the concrete was still wet to put our initials into but alas, it was already dry when we got there 😦

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The above picture is close to present-day. Landscaping is done, grass is in, shutters are on, but it’s still got a fair amount left to go. We visited the house yesterday and I couldn’t put my finger on why the house looked a little off still to me. It wasn’t until Scott asked the builder when the gutters were going up that I realized that was what it was! You don’t realize all the little parts that are on a house until they’re not there.

If you’re still reading this, it’s very clearly not a DIY post. As much as I wish I could build a house, I’m still working on building small pieces of furniture. #goals Moving forward, I imagine that the majority of my posts will be before/afters or affordable hacks for many of my goodwill finds. There will be nothing new on here that you won’t be able to read much more eloquently on the 3 million other DIY blogs, but this way you will know what specific project I’m working on 🙂