Monday, June 30, 2014

Subway Rustica: Our TX Home Makeover Post #10

I know that 10 years from now it will be sooooo dated... So 2010s.... But still I obsess over white subway tile.

The problem:  my cabinet finish has a slight Tuscan vibe, and I am not a skilled enough decorator to work in basic white subway tile... But I still wanted it.

Then I walked into the Tile Shop and saw this:
3x12 subway tile that looks hand cut and has a slight iridescent pearl-like finish.  I ordered it immediately.  I call it Subway Rustica.  

This was my first ever tile job and Mike at The Tile Shop in Plano, TX, was very patient with me- they will even help a beginner out with tile cuts and instruction!  

Here is the before:
A faux paper backsplash decorated in trim that wasn't cut correctly... It was really dirty and needed to come down... And BTW... for the love of all things DIY, if you are going to install a faux paper backsplash, refrain from wrapping your outlets in the leftovers- dead faux giveaway.


The hand cut subway tile look really pulls the entire kitchen together.  The iridescent quality makes the kitchen much lighter.

No more faux outlet covers or badly cut trim. 

The hand-cut aspect makes the tile very forgiving for a beginner- it's not supposed to look perfect. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

WIP: Our TX Home Makeover Post #9

Why do I have to be such a Type-A-Do-It-Yourselfer... Why can't I be more of a Leave-Well-Enough-Aloner? 

Our TX house makeover has made progress, but I am honestly overwhelmed by the state of things most of the time.  I am learning to live in the clutter, dust and chaos that comes with moving into a house that needs so much work.  

I hit a point on Thursday night where the WIP was whipping me.  I apologized to the kids for being the Wicked Witch of the Construction House.  They rescued me and took me to Chicken Express- they know a southern girl in despair needs fried chicken.  

This was the state of WIP (work in process) on Thursday night:
My DIY kitchen backsplash tile job was in process but stuck.  I couldn't find an outlet cover for one of the many holes in the wall, so we finally decided to cover this telephone jack.  Grouting, caulking and sealing would have to wait for the weekend.

This is the hallway adjacent to the dining room that leads to the kitchen.  I was going to lightly sand the wall on Thurs night to prep for painting, but instead I found another layer of wall paper that had to come down... And a layer of wall texture hiding under that.  The sticky, dusty mess that comes with wallpaper removal and retexturizing the walls dominates this high-traffic area.  

The marble surfaces in the master bath are being professionally refinished in an attempt to avoid a complete gutting of the bathroom.  The results are great, but we can't clean up the area for 72 hours while the surfaces dry and set completely.  

We don't have much time this weekend to devote to house projects, so I get a really big lesson in patience.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Popcorn: Our TX Home Makeover Post #8

I found myself between projects on Friday evening- can't grout my subway tile backsplash until we fix some outlets.  This is why Tommy came home from work to a half-de-popcorned kitchen/ breakfast room ceiling.  

I thought this would be a really messy but quick project.  WRONG.  Tommy had depopped a couple of rooms while he was in TX this spring without us, so he knew this would consume our weekend... And.  It.  Did.

We tarped the entire room on Friday evening, and finished scraping all of the dust by midnight.  While I had a little GNO on Satrday night, Tommy patched, sanded, pulled down dusty tarps and cleaned up.  We then retarped and painted on Sunday after church.  

It was rainy and 70s here on Sunday, so the house was a bit humid.  Long story short, about a third of the first coat of paint peeled off as soon as it started drying.  We think it was a combo of humidity and the paint we chose- we have very little experience with paint so we are learning as we go.

Discouraged but hopeful, we scraped paint on Sunday evening and applied joint compound to the affected areas.  We set our alarms for 4am Monday morning and put up the first coat of ceiling paint.  Tommy left for work around 7:30, and I put up the second coat at 8am before my work day began.  No peeling this time.

On Monday evening, we cleaned up and got the kitchen/ breakfast room back to a usable state.  

Here's a shot of the breakfast nook ceiling after the popcorn was removed from the ceiling.  I painted the kitchen/ nook a bright green a couple weeks back.  We reused a light fixture purchased by previous owner.

These are my Craig's List Anthropologie curtains... My poor photography skills don't do them justice.  I have 3 more panels, so I am going to modify one for the kitchen sink window, and I may use the other two in the laundry room.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Vincent's Masterpiece: Our TX Home Makeover Post #7

Vincent is a local Allen, TX, carpenter that I found by accident via Craig's List.  

He took care of some major kitchen eye sores in a snap.  Best I can tell, the kitchen cabinets were previously used as a canine chew toy.  Also note the plastic trim stapled around bottom of kitchen cabinets.  Who does that?!

Before: ABC cabinet corners and the cheapest plastic baseboard trim ever. 

Sidebar:  ABC stands for already been chewed- or at least it did on every 80s playground I ever visited.

After: Vincent replaced the wood, matched the custom paint and glaze, and used real wood for the baseboards.  A simple masterpiece and one more item complete!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Kid's Bath- Our Texas Home Makeover- Post #6

The kids have a bathtub that needed an updated look.  We were going for a quick, minimally-invasive fix, so we had the tile refinished.  I can retile it myself, but I won't get around to a big job like that for a couple of years!   

The refinish job looks great and we feel good about reusing and recycling what was already there!

Hello, circa 1992 tile...

Very quick, affordable, and easy on the landfill....

The boys already had this really cool sink and silestone countertop- now the tub coordinates well and their bathroom is practically finished.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Amtico Floors- Our TX Home Makeover Post #5

Last weekend was a Cindarella weekend for me.  Not the scene where she went to the ball, but the scene where Cinderella stayed home incessantly scrubbing floors.  

When I first stepped foot in this house in March, I wanted to lie down on the floor and cry, but I couldn't because the floors were too dirty.  I was certain the Amtico floors would never come clean, and I couldn't find anyone who was willing to refinish Amtico flooring in 2014 (Hello, the 90s called and wants their floors back)... I also couldn't find the specialty Amtico refinishing products on any website willing to deliver to the USA.  I was only here for a week in March, and I spent that entire spring break week scrubbing the floors with goof off and a toothbrush.  

Once I returned three weeks ago, I scoured the web and found Mannington stripping and refinishing products that had promise.  I ordered them and waited.  Once the products arrived, my routine began...  I swept, scrubbed, mopped, stripped, scrubbed, mopped, rinsed, mopped, dried, swept, vacuumed, glossed, glossed, sealed every inch of these floors.  

have logged over a 100 hours on my knees scrubbing these floors.

The before:
Warning:  The floors in this picture are nastier than they appear.  
I already pulled down this modern wallpaper- the contrast just made the floors look worse.

The afters:
Note how the detail pieces are actually grey instead of dark brown.  
Boo kitty approves.  

The floors are now glossy and shiny and I have banned all shoes from the house.  

My battles with the floor are not over; the dining room, living room, and master suite are a bad DIY concrete stain job.  Making them over will be lots of fun!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Color- Our TX Home Makeover Post #4

The backyard was popping with color this week.
These vines are in full bloom and are taking over the back fence... bees love these blooms.

The vines consuming the fence between the house and pool are popping with these blooms... I need to pay a visit to Puckett's nursery (behind my house) to find out the names of all of these lovelies...

This ground cover opens its little blue buds every morning...

Blaine found this bird's nest in the bushes beside the hot tub... He sees a little momma red bird flying in and out of there.  

I'm also painting Blaine's furniture in the backyard with Annie Sloan Chalk paint in emperor red.  It's my first ASCP project and the tester pot did a beautiful job on his old night stand...
Before and boring

Hello color!  

The Bradford Pear- Our TX Home Makeover Post #3

Our front yard is a massive Bradford pear tree.
Boggles the brain how a Bradford pear tree got to be this size in Texas- withstanding years of Texas ice storms and the daily winds that blow through this town.  I guess everything really is bigger in TX!

These trees are such a problem in Texas that the neighboring town of Plano, Texas, won't allow them- I have been told it's against the city ordinances!

We had our top-heavy tree removed this weekend... No more looming tree monster of doom threatening our little TX home.  

Now to determine what to plant in its place- any suggestions?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Pool- Our Texas House Makeover Post #2

Our TX house, previously described as a series of the former owner's Pinterest projects gone horribly wrong, had two redeeming qualities:
1.  The kids could walk/ bike to almost all of their school and sport activities
2.  The pool was awesome

Tommy came down to Texas to work a few months earlier than the rest of us, so he got the pool ready for summer.  We had to replace most of the equipment, including the very pricey heater, but it has been well worth the expense.  

It's been awesome to have the pool and hot tub around for breaks from our home improvement projects.  The kids say they feel like they are on vacation!  

The hot tub has been especially nice after  long DIY days...

We love these poolside flower beds... There are always flower petals floating in the pool.

Very happy boys

Drew with a dunk

Blaine off the deck for two...

Daddy gets in on the action...

There are flowering vines all over the back yard... We have a few of these little exotic blooms open up every day.  I have no idea what they are... I need to get familiar with TX plants!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Our Texas House Makeover Post #1

The Texas house needs a lot of work.  I describe its current state as a series of Pinterest projects gone horribly wrong.  The garage was obviously testing ground for all of said Pinterest projects- check out all of the paint testing on the walls...

We spent our first weekend in Allen, Texas, patching, repairing and painting the garage.  Because it's so hot here in Texas, we wanted to get our vehicles in the garage as soon as possible. The walls really needed a lot of work before we could hang things to make space for the car and the Harley.   So, we decided the garage would be the first family project.  We'll tackle painting the garage floor later.

How cute is my little painter?

And now for the after pictures- beware-photography is not one of my better skills.
Yay they both fit! The car barely fit...

Tommy was excited to hang his tools! Look at those clean walls!

We're still in the process of gathering the mounts that we need, but at least the walls are ready and the vehicles are in!