My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box
somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be
wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From
your thoughts, you can create greatness.This is what I need to remind
myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with
gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes
to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create.
Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but
how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around
you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgmental,
love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are

Monday, September 8, 2014

The "Long Awaited Remodel" : The Saga Begins....

Hello, everyone!

I know I have been away for a while again, but there is always so much going on in our lives, isn't there? I had so many things planned to get done before our 'whole house' remodel, but it sort of crept up on me and I didn't quite accomplish anything extra. 

But, we have been able to finally begin "THE REMODEL". We have waited almost ten years to really dig in to this house and get everything done that we want. I guess we were always waiting for the right moment. We really didn't want to go further into debt by taking out home equity loans, so we left much of the work that needed done to our own pocketbooks, or it just didn't get done at all. And that just didn't get us very far...

We had tons of excuses plans, though: 

"Let's wait for the tax return this year..." 
            "If we start budgeting now (January of 'whenever') we will have 'X' amount of money for this project or that upgrade."
        "THIS will be the year that we finally get it all done!"

But something else would inevitably come up, rear it's ugly head, and destroy all our home improvement dreams. Something unexpected would befall us, and...there goes the tax return from this year. Or a new necessity or bill suddenly arises, and there goes the budget. Time and time again this was our story. 

That, and the ever present doubt that it could ever "happen" for us. When you grow up with so little, watching your parents struggle your whole life, it plays a big part on whether or not you feel that you could be worthy, deserving, or even capable of receiving something so grand as a dream coming true; whatever that dream may be for you. Know what I'm talking about? 

Thought so...;)

So, when it finally came we were a little hesitant to really dig in. We sometimes get so afraid that if we want something too much, it will be taken away from us. That's how we used to live, anyway. Now we understand that things don't really work that way. You don't have to be afraid to dream. The only thing standing in your way is you. You can accomplish all you want if you really put your mind to it. I know you're probably tired of hearing stuff like this, especially when it's you who's 'down and out' and the speech is coming from someone who seems like they have no idea what you have been through, and like they've got it all together and they look like they haven't had a hardship a day in their how can they ever give you advice?!

I have felt this way a lot in my life. I never realized until I really started blogging that it is all just smoke and mirrors. I've read a few great bloggers out there who have shared this wonderfully vulnerable secret with the blogosphere. We're not all perfect. We don't have everything together. We clean and design around a mess to take pictures, and we're not swimming backstrokes in a large kidney shaped pool of money. 

Well, most of us aren't.

But a lot can be said for overcoming all of that and learning to deserve instead of fear; to feel worthy instead of worthless and hopeful instead of hopeless. It took a lot of time for me, but I did it. I deserve nice things. I deserve a serene space to live. But, I want it to inspire me to do good things. I always want to remember those who are less fortunate and work hard towards helping to work towards a solution to make the world a little nicer for everyone. It's important that we all feel gratitude for the blessings we are given and pay that forward any way we can. Because everyone else in this world deserves just as much as I do; just as much as you do.

Whew! That's an awful lot of talk just about a house remodel, huh? But it's not just that. It's about anything you have been longing for and too afraid to dream about coming true. For us, it was remodeling our house. We thought it would never get to happen. We still wonder at the process of it all. We still sort of drag our feet, just in case it "falls through" so we avoid getting disappointed. Well, that's not good enough anymore. I want this, I've planned for this and I've worked hard for this. I will have this, no one is going to take that away from us and we are ready to accept the challenge.

That being said, we're diving right in. 

Feet first...

Disclaimer: Don't try this at home. I don't recommend it. I didn't recommend it here, in my own home. (smh)

This picture (above) is my wonderful and agile husband of 12 years (17 all together). And I'd like many more of those years with him. Which is why I was appalled (and a little entertained) by his approach to removing these huge solid wood shelves in our kitchen.  They were there when we bought the house in 2005, and were probably put up in the late 80's/early 90's when they remodeled the house and put on the addition. They were screwed into the studs and one screw did NOT want to come lose. It's head was stripped, and it wasn't budging. I looked up and that man was grunting and mumbling under his breath (I won't tell you what he was saying). Don't worry, I admonished him, as I was capturing this moment. (I had to have something to show the ER Doc if we needed to explain any broken bones.) 
He survived and we ended up pulling the shelf off the wall, snapping the screw head clean off. Paint was also the culprit, but that one screw was holding the whole thing up there. As it came down, towards my head, I saw my whole life flash before my eyes. 
Also not recommended: standing under said shelf and pulling down towards you with a lot of help from gravity. Thank goodness we're strong, and I have the reflexes of a Puma! No harm no foul, but rest assured...lesson learned!

The Beginning: Without having anywhere to go with all of our "stuff" we had to start where we could. Eager to get goin', Noah wanted to see what was lurking behind the wainscot in the breakfast nook of the kitchen. As we have lived and loved in this house, improving where we could over the years, we have found so many things that were going to be harder to fix than we thought, which has been a major contributor to our delay in getting anything done. We were just too afraid of what we would be getting ourselves into. I don't have a picture, but an example is this wainscot alone. Because the walls in the kitchen (the wall in the pic above was added in the addition) are not 'square', they could not bring the chair molding and bead board all the way to the door frame. On one side. The opposite side is square.
Of course it's square, it's the original back of the main house built 116 years ago. Furthermore, they cut the chair molding to fit over and around the window frame instead of under it properly.

(Hoo-Wee! Look at that lovely linoleum!)

Thank goodness, there was only a couple of 2x4's that they nailed the beaded board to. All easily removable and easy to patch and paint. We would have loved to salvage this obviously reclaimed bead board, and it is definitely one good thing they did when remodeling the first time, but it was quite damaged; not from the removal, but it was really used. So, off to the ReStore it went. We want to salvage, sell and donate as much as possible during this reno. I can't stand watching DIY shows where they tear into a perfectly decent kitchen and just sledge hammer and smash their way through the cabinets that could be removed carefully and donated to the local ReStore or Habitat for Humanity. Sell it even, or, in the case of our little town, list it in the free paper or just set it on your curb. Someone will come and get it for you! Keep these materials OUT of landfills. :)

Ok, now for the fun stuff. Here are the choices I've narrowed it down to for some of my finishes. For certain, for absolute sure, we are using the floors and the counters. The flooring is a hand scraped look laminate in roasted chestnut. The counters are Formica in the Ouro-Romano and will have the Ogee edges, (both found at Lowes). We are making this a very affordable remodel that will ensure that we will make our money back when we sell in 5-10 years.

So, the decision is for the back splash tile. There isn't a lot of wall space to cover so we will be able to splurge here. The real question is the color/texture. The white Moroccan tile above goes very well with everything. It really makes the counters pop. We definitely want to paint the bottom cabinets (uppers and lowers are coming unfinished) one of the two grey colors on the paint strip above. The problem is that I want our uppers to be a crisp white. We have a soffit above all of the uppers and that will get painted out and covered in a wainscot and crown to blend well with the cabinets.

The problem: Our trim is a little off white/creamy white called Fleecy. If we go with the White tile, it would be half as expensive, a little cleaner and more crisp, but we would have to re-paint out all of the trim. Throughout the whole house.

If we go with the marble chevron tile (which I ADORE), we can leave all of the trim alone, and just paint the upper cabinets and soffit trim Fleecy.

The problem: not much of one. Not even cost, really, even though this tile is twice as expensive as the first. We can stick to the exact same grey wall color and cabinet color, and this tile still goes with the counters, as it has just a hint of all the same shades of grey and browns in it. it too "busy" for the counters? Is the chevron pattern and all the coloring in it too much?

I think we will get the walls painted, the floors in, the counters in, the bottom cabinets in and then hold up the tile to the counter and decide then. :/
(FYI: Appliances are all stainless, so that should not be a problem with the bright white issue)

What do you think? For my FB friends, I know I have already quizzed you tirelessly on this, and I had great feedback, but what about those of you out there in blogland? What do you think?

Some of you may be wondering "Why are you going so cheap?!" Or maybe you're not, because you would be doing the same things...

This is our reasoning behind our "little" major remodel:

Hardwood floors and granite or marble counters, though it is really very nice and would be lovely, are just too expensive and we really want to recoup our money when we sell. And we will sell. Eventually. If we were in our "forever home", we might very well get all the bells and whistles. Though, being who I am, I have a hard time with throwing away money on the material when I could be using it for something spiritual. And that is not an admonishing statement for anyone else; if you work hard you have the right to do whatever you want with your earnings. This just happens to be me: no better than anyone else, no worse. Also, we are doing the entire house. Bathroom, bedroom, craft room, laundry room, den. Furnishings, too, in most cases. Plus, many outdoor projects like a deck, patio, new goes on. We want to make our budget stretch. Like I said, we've waited a really long time...

Though our neighborhood is great, we are all in moderately sized to quite large houses with a variety of historical homes of all different price points and want to ensure our best profit when we move on. Will hardwoods sell a house? Sure. Will Granite attract buyers? Absolutely. Will we be able to list our house at a price that reflects high end finishes? Not likely. And I'm just fine with these finishes, and putting the rest of my money elsewhere.

We have been waiting nearly ten years to start this and make our house a real home. Don't take that the wrong and material things are not what makes a house a home. Family, love and great times has that job. But, I believe your environment should truly be your sanctuary and instill in you all the feelings you long for and need to live a serene and relaxed life--giving you refuge and rehabilitation from the outside world. A nice interior to your home, where you can surround yourself with the things that matter to you, will inspire you to live your best life. If you have inspiration all around you, in each of your spaces, imagine what you can accomplish.

That is our ultimate goal. We've waited so long for it. It isn't necessary to spend a bundle to accomplish this, either. No need to "Keep up with the Joneses". Comparisons will always get the best of you. Do what is right for you, your family and your pocketbook.'re building a sanctuary, not regrets.

Thanks so much for reading, and please keep checking back for updates. The storage Pod gets delivered Monday (what a great Birthday gift for Noah!) and the majority of the work will start Sept 20th.

We can't wait!!

Thanks for reading and have a great week!


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