Sunday, March 30, 2014

And Then There Was Light!

And heat... In the basement.

When we first toured our house, we had spent the day running around town looking at all of the homes on the market within our price range. This place was the second to last on the list and it had been a long day already. We walked in the door and Justin (hubs) said that this was it! It had a relatively big backyard, enough bedrooms to squeeze our big family into, and a finished basement. We were sold! We ran, and re-ran different sales price scenarios, compared it to our budget, and made an offer.

Fast forward to inspection day, when the inspector informed us that there were no HVAC ducts in the basement. What?! How did we overlook that major fact? Justin is pretty handy, so we thought, "no problemo!" We were confident that we could tap into the main line ourselves and add a few vents.

Fast forward once again to the day after closing. We stood in the HVAC isle at Lowe's for what felt like an eternity, staring at the couplings and flow reducers and all the other pieces/parts you could possibly imagine to find in that section of the store. We solemnly came to the realization that we had noooooo clue just how to do this the right way.

We wrote another check out to the HVAC guys, and now have a set of pretty little vents in the basement.

Having some heat in the basement when it's been 19 degrees outside has been nice. The fact that this house had two living spaces was a must for us, so it has to be a functional space. The kids having their own space to go and play, and not freeze their little butts off, has been well worth every penny.

Now, what's a finished basement if you don't have decent lighting?

When we moved in, all that was in the basement to provide light were two of these guys hooked up to either side of a soffit.

Not only did they look a little dinky, they didn't really scream, "warm and cozy basement", to us.

Yet, again, we thought, "no problemo!" We started this project with a ton of confidence. Justin got the recessed lights up, wired, and the first half of the basement went off without a hitch. He then ran into some funky wiring on the second side of the basement and we were caught calling in another professional. The electrician was able to quickly identify the issue, work his magic, and left 15 minutes after his arrival. Perhaps the quickest buck (or a lotta bucks) that guy ever made! At least we know our house won't burn down because of some crazy electrical and I guess it's well worth the peace of mind.

Look at those pretty lights!

Okay, so it's a little hard to take a good pictures of lights when they are on. But look at all of that quality light! Please excuse the mess, this whole space is still a major work in progress.

The light and heat has made the basement much more enjoyable and we're glad that it's a project we tackled quickly. It's not super fun or pretty, but it was kind of a necessity. And now those ugly directional lights are outta hear!

These little projects in home ownership have honestly been a bit humbling. Between the plumber needed in the bathroom, and the electrican and HVAC guy needed for the basement, I'm super glad that we didn't pick the house that needed a ton of renovation. At least this place was move in ready!

Prior to home ownership, I felt like we could take on anything. After moving into this house, we have been hesitant to take on anything that could potentially end in disaster if we messed it up. What kind of projects have you decided to leave up to a professional?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

No More Orange Glow

Let's just start today's post by saying that I finally got the House Tour tab up and running! For all of those folks who haven't had a chance to check out our place, go get a brief glimpse of what we're working with here.

Since that item of business is now out of the way, we're going to start talking about one of the many projects we have started on since closing about a month ago.

First of all, I can't believe it's been over a month already since we closed. Moving with a newborn and 3 other children has not been fun. And I say "has not" instead of "was not" because we still haven't managed to fully unpack or even move all of our stuff here yet. You know, snow storms really put a damper in even the best laid moving plans. *sigh* That's a story for another day!

Amidst still working on unpacking, we have managed to tackle a few small projects here and there. The first week we were in the house, we started re-doing the half bath on the main floor. Did you see this pretty picture in the Home Tour?

Isn't that just a lovely shade of orange? When the light was on in the bathroom, it cast a strange orange glow onto the wall and carpet in the hallway. We decided that out of all the things we wanted to change in the house, this room absolutely had  to be the first!

See how the color just reflects onto every surface in the room?

On the to-do list:
- replace the mirror, light fixture, toilet paper holder and faucet
- replace the toilet with a more efficient model
- paint the vanity and replace the vanity hardware
- swap out the electrical outlets and plates covers
- update the door hardware
- update flooring (We plan to eventually completely swap out the flooring, but we are contemplating the idea of painting the linoleum like this.)

During our very first trip to Lowe's as homeowners, Justin (hubs) was totally stoked to pick out new toilets. As a housewarming/Valentine's Day gift to ourselves, we got a new potty. Ahhh... the romance.

Oaken was pretty psyched to try out the pot at the store, too.

Unfortunately, the installation of the new throne did not go very smoothly. The toilet flange and below pipe joint, drain thingy were broken. Seriously doubting our plumbing skills, we thought it best to call in a professional. A couple of days, and $270 later, we were finally able to install the new toilet.

Fortunately enough, that was really our only hurdle with the bathroom. But, it is a small bathroom. Who would have thought we would run into any problems at all?! We thought that this would be a super easy, budget friendly bathroom makeover. We've kept it on track budget wise by choosing to paint the vanity rather than replace it, and live with the current flooring and vanity top for now.

This is what it currently looks like...

This is by no means the final "reveal", but it sure is a big improvement! There are still a few minor things to take care of yet. We need to at least paint the quarter-round, hang a piece of art, replace the cabinet hinges and put an organized cloth diaper changing station in there for baby Cullen. At some point, we just might tackle that linoleum floor too.

I feel like there is still a lot to do in just this room and we have the WHOLE house to tackle yet. Does anyone ever get to feeling like they are just so overwhelmed, they don't even know where to start? It's been difficult for us to stay focused on just one space. I guess we'll chalk that up to the ADD.