20 To-Do’s #DONE!

We’re officially  d o n e  with the plumbing renovations here at the colonial! YAY!!! No more galvanized, rusty, clogged, leaky pipes ruining our ceilings and polluting our bodies. No more icy water that rudely screams, “wake upppp”,  when washing my face every morning. (I’d like to leave that delicate job up to my daily coffee from now on, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!) It’s amazing how adequate water pressure and access to both hot & cold temps can make life so much easier. Who knew??? With the exception of a few walls in need of patching here or there, annnnnd the dining room ceiling that’s still wide open and exposing naked pipes from the bathroom above (no pun intended), WE ARE DONE! So head on over one of these days for a visit and enjoy a glass of oh-so-clear, filtered drinking water from any tap in the house! Just ignore the occasional toilet flushing overhead while eating in my topless dining room… it’s an off-putting inconvenience we all have to deal with for now, until we knock a couple more things off our to-do list!  As always, one project perpetually leads to the next, and you might even feel like we’ve gone backwards if you focus on the rooms that somehow went from done to undone during the domino effect of the plumbing overhaul – but in hindsight – we’ve made major headway.

Here are 20 To-Do’s we scratched off the list during #theplumbingproject:

1. Tear Out Obstructing Wall in Kids’ Bathroom
2. Remove Kids’ Green Tub/Shower
3. Extend B/W Tile Flooring Where Kids’ Shower Used to Be
4. Gut & Expand Size of Master Shower
5. Remove Master Closet & Soffits
6. Tear Out Walls Surrounding Master Toilet 
7. Remove/Salvage Remaining Tile from Master Bathroom Floor
8. Remove Soffits & Cabinets from Laundry Room
9. Re-Plumb Entire House (+ install filtration system**)
10. Rewire Electrical in Kids’ Bathroom
11. Create Pass-Through Window Between Dining & Kitchen
12. Replace Missing Drywall (removed during #theplumbingproject)
13. Frame In Hallway Closet (affected by master shower expansion)
14. Skim/Smooth Texture & Paint New Drywall Throughout House
15. Tile & Panel Kids’ Bathroom Walls
16. Install Free-Standing Claw Foot in Kids’ Bathroom
17. Install New Fan & Light Fixtures in Kids’ Bathroom
18. Install New Fan & Light Fixture in Laundry Room
19. Lay/Grout Extra Tiles in Laundry Room (Salvaged from Master)

20. Buy New Toilet, Cabinet & Sink for Downstairs Bathroom

Kids’ Bathroom

v v  click to enlarge & scroll v v

Z's Mickey Mat

Z’s Mickey Mat

Kids BathroomIt’s exciting to see bits and pieces of my vision coming together, and it’s built-in reMODel motivation to live in a room I designed! The master en suite may be in shambles, and the 3 of us have had to temporarily trade quick showers for long bubble baths, but having the kids’ bathroom so close to perfection (minus the sinks/countertops) is worth the delay! Besides, I personally LOVE letting off some steam in a deep soaking tub. (DONT YOU!?) It may take 3X the time, but it’s soooooooo relaxing! I can’t speak for my 6’6” husband though… I’m sure he’s getting a little restless to finish the double-wide master shower!

Kitchen-Dining Pass through

Hallway Closet

Laundry Room

v v  click to enlarge & scroll v v

April’s Projects

Over the next few weeks we’ll be working on the dining room ceiling (an absolute MUST), and the downstairs half-bath (finally). It’s time to make this old place more accommodating for company! We already have everything we need to complete the guest bathroom, I’m just trying to make a difficult design decision about the flooring before we continue. I want to keep this design decision a surprise for my readers – but let’s just say, hint hint – FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING, and CONTINUITY IS KEY to creating the illusion of spaciousness. << These are two major points that I’ll be covering in my next post, so meet me back here soon! We’ve got 20 things down, and 20 THOUSAND to go!

XO
 – B

** SIDENOTE for the Health-Conscious:

Water

We’ve not only brought this old colonial up to date, but we’ve upgraded it to a healthy living environment. Jared has to go in every 3 months for CT scans to make sure he’s still tumor-free, so we’ve tried to educate ourselves on simple life changes that can lessen one’s risks of cancer returning. One SIMPLE change is installing a filtration system at the source of your water supply. Everyone knows that drinking water should be purified, but rust, chlorine, fluoride, and other toxins are primarily absorbed through the largest organ of your body – the skin! During showers, we immerse ourselves in unclean water, and we inhale its vapors through the steam. This can lead to all sorts of medical issues, but can be easily avoided. We’ll never be able to eliminate the threat of contagions, but this simple change has put my mind at ease… and I suggest that EVERYONE do it. (On a superficial note, it changes your hair tint & texture! So if you paid a zillion dollars for that cute cut/color, and you want it to last longer than 4 weeks before it fades… bite the bullet and get a filter!)

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I’ll be. . . home for Christmas?

If only in my dreams! I spent all year in anticipation of the coming holidays…. dreaming of turkey dinners (complete with Grammy’s signature stuffing), and an overly decorated house full of festive cheer and toes warming by an open fire. You know, just a typical girl, guilty of romanticizing the H-E-double-hockeysticks out of something so that nothing less can satisfy. I told myself – and pretty much everyone else – that I would GO ALL OUT trying to make up for last year, but then reality hit me over the head like a lead pipe.

WHO REPLACES THE PLUMBING AND MOVES IN WITH THEIR PARENTS OVER THE HOLIDAYS!? Oh wait… THAT’S US! As if spending last year’s Thanksgiving/Christmas in the hospital wasn’t reason enough to put it off and stay home, we thought it would be a good idea to have another season of abnormal. To be fair, the unfortunate situations we’ve found ourselves in over the last several months have not been by choice… they’re more-so forced upon us and we just have to roll with the punches. If you’ve seen the old slapstick comedy “Mouse Hunt” with Christopher Walken, you know what I mean when I say we were one rodent away from losing the entire house in one fell swoop (except for, instead of mice we had RATS, and we didn’t need the help of a gushing hose to collapse the colonial. It would’ve come down allllll on its own, in a heaping a pile of smelly sewage)! But why did this have to happen now? The holidays passed us by like we were standing still, then left us with no place to bang in the New Year. Oh well. It’s getting done, and one day we’ll be happy we did it.

Just to make sure you really, and I mean REALLY, grasp the brutal reality that was our “home for Christmas”, I welcome you on a little tour of my colonial reMODel, in all its guts/glory…

{{ MY FIRST VLOG }}

YouTube Vid

Now do you understand why we’re not living at home!? I’m hardly exaggerating when I say the house has been  d e s t r o y e d ! Not only is it dangerous for Ezekiel with all the holes in the walls/floors, but the putrid fumes coming from the pipes can NOT be good for my Jelly Belly Bean either (Don’t worry, I’ve been wearing gloves and gas masks when I come over here to work – it’s always better to be safe than sorry)! By January 13, the water should be running, the tub & toilet should be installed, the holes in the walls will be patched/primed/painted, and the thick layer of demo dust that’s settled on every single surface should be professionally cleaned; meaning we COULD move in with the ability to maintain hygiene and hydration, without the risk of rats finding their way in through open plumbing-passageways. THAT REMINDS ME! I still have to introduce you to Melvin <:3)~

Mel (the rat)

Melvin (the rat)

^^ inside the bathroom walls ^^

Sorry Melvin, I wish our goodbyes could have been more humane… but then again, I won’t miss seeing your red-beady-eyes in my home-sweet-home. I am impressed however, with your admirable abilities to stow away food from the kitchen (Ratatouille, anyone!?), and I hope you enjoyed your stay here at my colonial reMODel while it lasted 😉

MORE #plumbingproject PICS TO HIT THE BLOG SOON!

-B

xo

Demolition Day

That’s right baby! These walls are goin’ down and the master en-suite makeover has officially begun! Let’s be real, I can put up with the inconvenience of a small shower, but it’s more than just an inconvenience for my 6’6” hubby! You think there’s –what– maybe about an inch of clearance there? (IF that!) And he hasn’t even stepped up into the elevated basin!

hubby

poor guy 😉

How does someone of ^that^ manly size move his arms in a stall this narrow? He practically has to fold in half to get his head under the poorly placed nozzle… heck even I have to bend my knees slightly to get my hair wet! And why did they go overboard in the 60’s, building these low-hanging soffits like they were going out of style??? (Oh wait, because they WERE!) I’m assuming an architect woke up one day after bashing his head on the drop-ceiling and thought…. W.T.H. Then he turned his profanity into sanity and started designing houses with vaulted ceilings –#welcometothe80’s y’all!

In order to expand the shower, we cut up and over to the left, removing the soffits and absorbing some of the space from the huge linen closet in the hallway located on the other side of this wall…

bridge leading to master bedroom

(bridge leading to master bedroom)

BEFORE…

I was the camera/clean-up crew (ps. remodel debris is HEAVY!), and my brother came over to help Jared with the muscle work (I have the best brothers)…

LOOK AT THIS TRANSFORMATION! It looks so much bigger already!

^^^     IS IT JUST ME, OR DID MY HUSBAND GET smaller!?     ^^^

Now we wait for the plumber…. and we have to move out while he replaces ALL the fixtures in our house! Dang galvanized plumbing is biting us in the butt right now – but once all 3 bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, EVERYTHING is redone, we will feel like a weight is off our chest! We have ceiling leaks, water damage and falling sheet rock in the kitchen and dining room (a ticking time bomb at this point), near-to-no hot water pressure in the kitchen sink, NO hot water whatsoever in the master or guest bath, 3 pipes that are completely corroded and plugged, and sometimes the water comes out brown/rusty! So needless to say, we’re anxious and ready to drop some cash, knock this thing out and get it behind us before something worse happens!

In the meantime, can’t wait to show you all the virtual designs of the master en-suite my sis is drawing up… so stay tuned!

 – B

xo

Remodel Therapy

Well guys, I’ve been working my butt off since coming back from Stanford, but my brain’s been on a major mental strike. “Don’t make me think, don’t make me think!” I’m maxed out. Emotionally spent. Writing’s been like… trying to draw water from an empty well – or –  maybe there are more words currently flowing than ever before but something is blocking them from forming on the page? I hope one day it’ll finally come spilling out in beautiful, glorious cohesion and not like a giant spew of vomit!

I’d like to start by thanking all of YOU for standing by as my husband and I continue to weather through the most difficult season of our lives. We’ve been absolutely blown away by this newfound, ever-growing support system of Instagrammers and bloggers! Our hearts still feel freshly wounded, the medical bills keep coming, and the bad news seems to just PILE on….. but your words, prayers, gifts, financial blessings ($23K+), and relationships, have carried us through; You have truly been His Hands and Feet.

I wondered if letting a whole year pass with just  o n e   single entry on this blog was going to plummet my readership, but I came back and discovered the exact opposite. I can’t believe how much activity this site has had, and I feel so, soooo honored (and flattered) that you’re still coming back to see what I have to say! (Oh the irony that NOW is when I’d experience Writer’s Block!) Starting on January 30th, the day Cruz died, My Colonial ReMODel had over 3,000 hits in just a few hours, and not a day has passed since that there hasn’t been people visiting from all over the world – 91 countries to be exact. I want to take the time to acknowledge my top ten, most-faithful foreign countries and say, “Hello, from little ol’ me in Portland!”  

U.S., of course, you’re at the tippy-top, my fellow ‘Mericans!

1. Canada – Hey! I have family and friends from BC… thanks for reading.

2.  Australia – G’day;) I have to thank IG for all 1,300+ of you!

3.  UK – Hello!

4. Switzerland – Hallo!

5. Germany – Hallo!

6. Sweden – Halla!

7. Mexico – Hola!

8.  Italy – Ciao!

9. Brazil – Ola!

10. France – Bonjour!

Interacting with ALL of you on Instagram is one of my favorite things to do in a day, and I try my best to keep up and respond to your comments/posts/tags (although I know I’ve also missed a ton, and for that I apologize). I’ve connected with many moms like myself, having buried one or more children, and I’ve even come across parents with surviving OTC deficient children. I’ve been in contact with bloggers and interior designers who I may have never networked with had it not been for this unfortunate situation. My small little social circle has expanded and exploded in a matter of months, and suddenly the world seems so much bigger (and my tragic loss doesn’t seem so unusual… most certainly not as unfair).

The occasional, unexpected run-ins have been the most fun, although it makes me think twice before running errands without any makeup on! It always starts with an awkward stare… at the mall, restaurants, (most surprising was at Skamania Lodge in Washington)! I can tell you’re trying to figure out why you recognize me, and then the question, “Are you Cruz’s mom?” usually follows. I am SO happy to answer yes, then within minutes we’re crying together, discussing how much he changed our whole perspective on parenting/raising kids; not taking them for granted, cherishing ALL the moments, having extended grace and patience… all because of my little fighter guy. + + +These interactions remind me that, though Cruz’s life on this earth was short, his purpose still lives on. + + +

I’m looking forward this new season (as strange as it may be)! I certainly never imagined being here. I’m so thankful I have something like My Colonial ReMODel to immerse myself in during my darkest moments.  I need big, in-my-face projects to distract me from my reality sometimes…. is that bad? I’ve never been someone to go with the grain, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve resorted to “remodel therapy” when the conventional thing in my situation would be grief counseling. There’s something to be said though, for everyone, about working with your hands. It’s SO THERAPEUTIC! On the days that I turn to TV or lying around thinking, “I just need a break”,  I only end up feeling depressed, exhausted, and anxious. Blue-collaring, as I call it, relieves stress, gives the mind something simple to focus on, and leaves you feeling accomplished at the end of the day.

I should probably tell you that, for a while there I was wrestling with this whole “remodel blogger” concept… feeling internal conflict over whether I should be wasting my time with things so materialistic and lacking all seriousness. I didn’t want to bag the blog all together, but what if I had lost my passion and vision for it? So…….. I finally have people reading and I’m just gonna walk away??? (Sidenote: Right after you lose someone you SWEAR you’ll never take interest in anything carnal EVER again, and you’re frustrated with those who still do. Then you eventually realize that if life is ALL serious ALL the time, it’s too hard, too stressful, too mundane; lacking joy, fun, excitement, variety, and flavor. You’re not really living. For some reason or another, you NEED the meaningless things to lighten the weight laying heavy on your heart.) While going back and forth with myself, I stumbled across this image in my phone, a screenshot I’d taken of my morning devotions while still in early months of pregnancy with Cruz:

months of pregnancy with Cruz

I know this verse is more metaphorical than literal, but it’s funny how Scripture can take on new meanings and interpretations depending on where we’re at in life, and it’s as though I had taken note of this KNOWING I’d need to read it again at a later time. As pastors, Jared and I have dedicated our lives to “rebuilding” ;  spiritually parenting the fatherless/motherless youth in our ministry… helping recovering users… intervening in hurting marriages… and as fulfilling as our job can be, we can also get discouraged when we put so much work into a non-tangible problem or situation and see it continue to fall apart. So, having a physical job to get our hands dirty with, i.e. My Colonial ReMODel, is exactly what we need to bring balance to our lives. It’s drastically different from what we do for a living, yet so cohesive because it all revolves around this concept of rebuilding – not building from the ground up – but REbuilding that which is broken. I’m so thankful for this verse, because without it I think I’d still be contemplating where to go from here.

As promised, I added a tab to my ^menu^ called #iheartcruz. This is a link to my new, personal blog, LOVE HURTS || LOVE HEALS. You can casually follow from here, or go and subscribe to be notified when I post – either way – it will now be the only place where I’ll make entries about Cruz, future family planning, adoption, test results, etc. For my sake and for yours, I did this because I needed to start compartmentalizing and keeping my messy life separate from the remodel. {{“Don’t mix business with pleasure” …or in my case… NOT-pleasure.}}  I’ve also redesigned a few pages, given you direct access to my NEW shop @B_ART_STUDIOS, and soon you’ll even see video tours coming to My Colonial ReMODel! (Yes, all the vlogging requests finally got to me, and I finally got over the nerves of talking in front of the camera… sorta…) Also, I’m collaborating with my sister-in-love (who happens to be an uh-mazing interior designer!) to build a “Dream with B” page… full of future 3D virtual designs for each room! This way you can grasp my vision room-by-room, and see the end goal behind all the little projects we have going on ’round here!

I’m super excited about what’s to come… Jared and I are just days out from starting on some MAJOR projects – the biggest projects we’ve done since the initial demolition! We’ve been saving for a while now, and thanks to some of YOU, the medical-money-pit hasn’t impacted our remodel reserves. The only sad news is, we found out we have to redo ALL the plumbing, which is gonna run about $6K and destroy our beautifully finished walls 😦 This will eat into our kitchen budget as well, so we have to wait for Spring to start on that now. BOO-HOO! But (there is a but), our contractor came out on Thursday to go over plans for our master on-suite and the downstairs bath, so we should be “breaking ground” (so to speak) on these projects by next week! EEEEEK!

Once again, WELCOME to all you newcomers, thank you EVERYONE for your friendship and LOVE – let’s do this thang.

 

XO,

– B

 

 

 

Closet Junkie

It’s true, I’ll admit it, I have a thing for closets! What can I say??? All that extra (overlooked) square footage, usually tucked away by conventional-closing-doors, is what I view as hidden DESIGN OPPORTUNITY!

You could have 2 rooms the exact same size: one with an exposed, well-thought-out closet, and the other with a concealed, cluttered closet. The brain would automatically calculate the open-closeted room as being larger because there’s more for the eye to see/take-in/process. Even with a closet as small as Ezekiel’s (2’x5′), that’s still 10SQFT just there to be taken advantage of!

I’m not saying every closet should be paraded for all to see… NO, no … sometimes you NEED those “panic-rooms” to ditch the daily mess and dirty laundry when that unexpected guest arrives! Am I right!? But for your non-storage spaces, do you necessarily NEED ordinary doors? Why welcome a barrier that creates the illusion of less space if you don’t HAVE to? If you’ve got it, flaunt it, baby! After all, square-footage doesn’t come cheap, so EVERY INCH COUNTS!

Here’s what I mean by taking advantage of a hidden design opportunity:

Sorry for the old iPhone 3 quality photo

Here you see a standard closet; basic shelving and bi-fold doors. We could have left it this way and been relatively fine, but we chose to maximize the space instead. (If we plan to live here till we’re old n’ gray, we best do it and do it right!)

First, we (Jared) removed the existing doors & shelves:

Then, we (Jared) remudded the walls to cover all the “scars”:

Luckily we have smooth walls, so there was no need for texturing!

Can’t forget the primer!

Next step, PAINT! Instead of painting the closet white, I continued the black from the rest of his room to avoid making it seem like a separate space. This way it feels like an extension of his room…

Paint & PSLs 

To make it fun, I also painted orange stripes on his ceiling to tie-in with all the details around his room…

As you can see, it needed a bit of TLC!

After a little light sanding and a coat of white paint to cover the lovely leftover lavender, I applied 4″ Frog Tape…

4″ wide Frog Tape, spaced 4″ apart

I sealed the corners with the edge of a stir stick to avoid bleeding onto the freshly painted walls

Next, I tried a trick I learned from the Property Brothers that was SUPPOSE to keep the orange from bleeding underneath the Frog Tape… but from now on I’m gonna stick with my own method because I found myself doing WAY too much touch-up afterwards!

Property Brother’s method:
Paint a coat of white PRIOR to painting your color,
this way you seal the tape edges & prevent any bleeding.

The other downfall to this method was having to wait for the white to dry before I could apply the orange. It added another hour or so to the process… which led to working with fans and shoplights in 0% daylight!!

…late into the night

After 2 coats of orange, time to remove the tape!

Tip: When working with reds/pinks/oranges, it can take 3-5 coats to arrive at its true color unless you buy a primer. I use (and highly recommend) the all-in-one Paint & Primer products when using these colors… the couple extra dollars will save you HOURS when painting an entire room. (However, don’t let them talk you into the all-in-one’s for colors you’d normally never prime for!)

After some touch-up…

^ Color: Behr’s Volcano ^

MY method for creating perfect lines that won’t bleed: squeeze a pea-sized portion of paintable caulk onto your index finger. Run your finger down the seam of the tape, repeating process till each seam has a THIN layer of caulk. (So thin you shouldn’t be able to see it). Rub it in as smooth as possible! The idea is that the caulk will seep into any air pockets, filling the gaps that the paint otherwise would have. If you remove the tape after your project is finished and can visibly see caulk dried onto the wall/ceiling, it will easily wipe off with a damp cloth AFTER you’ve given your paint a full 12 hours to set/cure. I was given this advice from a professional painter (Judah Schmoll) when we moved into our condo 7 years ago, and it’s never failed me since!  (This works beautifully on corners too!)


Finally, WE installed a new shelving system:

As usual, the Ikea BUILD-IT-YOURSELF system came
complete with instruction manual and involuntary profanity”

Why did I choose the Ikea Stolmen system?

a. It’s sleek, modern, with a retro 60’s vibe… one that I felt could be showcased. No need for doors!

b. It’s VERSATILE! As he grows older, the length/size of his clothing will change, so I was attracted to the adjustable brackets that can slide up/down the pole to accommodate him as he grows! I can change anything and everything from bar heights to drawer positions, add or remove shelves… you name it.

c. It’s removable. It’s not a built-in, so if for some reason we wanted/needed to take everything out or move this system to another closet, it won’t leave ANY wall damage. Besides the 3 brackets that are screwed into the ceiling, the rest of this suspended system floats! (A perfect example of why we’d need to remove this system: refinishing the hardwood floors. An overwhelming project made easy as 1,2,3!)

“Whoa, we’re halfway there!”
(IKEA has me singing BON JOVI ???) #livingonaprayer

Ready? Set?
PIMP MY CLOSET!!!

Clothes.JPG

Ezekiels_Closet.JPG

Whites | Colors

Whites | Colors

I just love this little hamper I found for Ezekiel! Not only does it match his room perfectly, but it also has removable laundry bags and teaches him how to sort his whites from his colors! I designed the layout of his closet to accommodate this little hamper, then later when he finds it too juvenile I can simply remove it and readjust the shelves accordingly.

These hooks are perfect for hanging his hats!

These hooks are perfect for hanging his hats!

Z loves shoes! ( and running around pants-less)

Z loves shoes! (and running around pants-less)

Ezekiels_Room.JPG

His room feels so much BIGGER now!

His room feels so much BIGGER now!

Everybody’s lifestyle is different, so if the idea of having exposed closets still scares you after reading this post, I completely understand! I also like the feel of hanging curtains instead of doors too. They provide the option to quickly n’ conveniently hide your closet-contents, but in a more decorative, unconventional way. I did this in the studio closet at the condo and loved the way it looked. (Especially if the closet and window curtains are matching!) I’ve been thinking about doing this for Ezekiel’s closet in the future, just in case he’s not as clean and organized as his crazy OCD parents!

I’m sure most of you think I’m overboard, but it’s things like this that…
wait for it… wait for it… MAKE a house a HOME“!

Sorry, I got overly excited to use my tagline;)

Thanks for reading and be on the lookout for my next post: theposhpumpkin 

-B

 

Belated Blogiversary!

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since I spontaneously decided to try this whole “blogger” thing. If you go back and read my very first post Hello World, you can hear the hesitancy behind my words as I mull over all my preconceived notions of blogging; After reading those words back to myself just now, I’m glad I acted on the whim to launch My Colonial Remodel that late Saturday evening, and thankful I continued to give it life to this day! It’s become my main creative outlet, one of my passions, plus it’s a lot more satisfactory to be writing to a small audience rather than penning songs in a journal (that may or may NEVER be heard)! What started as a means of keeping the family up-to-date on renovations is now my fondest brainchild, and my hope is that it would continue to grow beyond my normal social sphere.  Although… I find it quite humorous that I referred to myself as a “lightweight”, and was able to predict my “posting-inconsistency” even back then… I must know myself better than I realize!!!

As a sort of tribute to this pseudo-significant milestone in My Colonial Remodel‘s history, I had planned on doing a reFAB giveaway (one of my vintage furniture-upscale pieces), but long story short – I forgot; and now with a surprise joint giveaway scheduled for November’s end, I decided to forgo the whole thing and just accept that I let this momentous day pass me by. I had even warned myself before going away on vacay, “make sure you don’t miss your Blogiversary post while in Cali!”, but as if I lost my head at the border, I completely spaced it until NOW. August is looooong gone, and we’ve now reached the tip-tail of September, but I’m hoping a last-ditch-effort-entry will help me get over this very-anti-blogger-ish mistake I’ve made!

OH… and to make matters worse, SOMEHOW I had it in my mind that the “blogiversary” and the “yay, it’s officially been a year in the colonial” dates were one-and-the-same; but in reality, our official move-in date (August 28th) came much later than my first blog post, which actually went live June 17th, 2012. Those first couple months were spent writing about my grief over losing The Perfect House, feeling cramped by Our Newlywed Condo, and the beginning stages of the renno. When you look at it from this angle, I’m suddenly 3+ months beLATEd, and probably should’ve considered a completely different title for this post all together! PUNCH. ME. IN. THE. FACE.

With all ^that^ said, “THE” colonial remodel didn’t become “MY” colonial remodel until the day I could call this house my home – Tuesday, August 28, 2012. It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 months (to the day in fact), since we were driving the U-Haul back and forth, loading and unloading the friends-n-family-caravan! To coin the phrase, “time flies when you’re having fun”, this fast-first-year is a tried-true-testament to how much FUN we’ve really been having!(?) The kind of fun where you rip your hair out in dire frustration at the end of the day, sleep-it-off, then wake up in the delusion that “TODAY will be nothing like yesterday”! #ain’tNOthing #timeflieswhenyourehavingfun #LIVINtheremodelLYFE #JT&JIMMYFALLONskit #WATCHit

What I’ve Learned This Year:

Patience: Slow progress is still progress. If I choose to be patient and focus on the task at hand (rather than the finished product), the process of taking the less-than-perfect and transforming it into something one-of-a-kind can be amply rewarding. Contentment: Thinking too much about what I want something to look like can start to drive me mad. As long as I remind myself of how fortunate I am to even have a home like this, and continually count my MANY other blessings, all the other day-to-day frustrations seem meaningless. Focusing on the Positive: One of the ways I’ve motivated myself when feeling swallowed whole by the glaring remodel responsibilities and endless journey ahead is by looking back at where we started. You quickly forget how things used to be, so you feel as though you’ve gotten nowhere. But then nothing puts progress into perspective quite like side-by-side comparisons! (Kind of like watching an underwhelming infomercial for weight-loss/acne/cleaning solutions… UNTIL they bust out those convincing before & afters!)

Highs & Lows:

With so many remodel blogs out there, you can start to feel like a pointless needle lost in a cyber haystack. But – I really felt like I had found my niche because of one distinct factor that set me apart from all the others: the fact that mine was a COLONIAL. I developed so much of my blogger’s identity from this ONE defining detail that I had a partial meltdown when I learned of the famous YOUNGHOUSELOVE‘s most recent renno project… an old colonial! Sherry Petersik started out just like me, posting updates of their remodel progress for close friends and family, but within a few years it blossomed into a full-time job for both her and her husband, and now they’re onto their 3rd house! I seized the opportunity to meet them this January while they were doing their first book tour, and it’s one of the most inspirational experiences I’ve ever had. I introduced myself as a remodel blogger and told them they were my “DIY paragons” (in a total non-sappy way), then John Petersik gave me the advice to “keep at it and never stop what I’m doing”. He later tweeted me in response to my IG post, and I of course had one of those embarrassing jumping-up-and-down-starstruck-freakout-moments:) Definitely a highlight of my year!!! Oh the irony of his advice that day now that they’ve started a colonial remodel… probably among the worst things that could happen to hinder my blog’s success. How do I even stand a chance? younghouselove signing younghouselove signing younghouselove tweet This hasn’t changed my admiration of YOUNGHOUSELOVE whatsoever, if anything it’s caused me to heed his advice even more and focus on the other things that make My Colonial Remodel unique. I’ll admit that at first there were the irrational thoughts of just giving up all together… it felt as though the entrepreneurial part of me sort of waved the white flag. But when push comes to shove, I’ve always known that the only thing capable of setting me apart, is ME. It’s good to have those “younghouseloves” in your life to challenge and inspire you, as long as you don’t change yourself to fit into any certain mould. I may not be married to my co-writer, I may not have the biggest budget, and I may never be mentioned in magazines or featured on HGTV (although that would be an unreal dream come true!), but I have always had a passion for fashion, decor, design, music, art, writing, anything that taps into my creative core.  Just meet the 18-mo-old version of me who refused to let an item enter her wardrobe that wasn’t pink and you’ll better understand where I’m coming from🙂  If I put my artistic personality and unconventional ideas at the forefront, staying true to who I am, no one can accuse me of trying to be like someone else… even if I am in the midst of renovating the same style house as the most successful DIY bloggers around!

Looking Forward:

I’ve been working on a whole new plan for My Colonial Remodel! New pages, new images, new formatting, and I’ve been toying with the idea of doing some guest features as well! A few months back (before the baby-bump was too obvious) I did a blog photo shoot with the multi-talented Chris Roe of croemedia.com. He recently sent me some finished images that I am SO excited about! Out of all the photographers I’ve worked with (when modeling years back), he is BY FAR superior. He was able to capture the essence of who I am with all his final editing skills, which I find to be the HARDEST thing to do in still photos. Many times you think you’ve adequately communicated the vibe you’re going for, but the end result still lacks the X-factor. Once I have redesigned my site with some of these images, the pages will clearly speak to my creative personality and immediately tell a person what to expect if they were to read my blog!

My Colonial Remodel Image

Isn’t this uh-mazing!?! SO ME!

I’m looking for some constructive opinions from my readers as well: What would you like to see more of? – More How-To’s? – More Pictures? – More Day-to-Day Projects? – More Design Ideas? – My aunt recently sent me a photo of her family room and asked me to help her decorate her wall – I LOVE doing things like this! Perhaps this is another component I could add somehow? You tell me what you want to read/see! This next year is going to seem much more productive than our first year. Rather than spending our money on behind-the-scene investments like laundry room plumbing, power-tools and a MUCH-NEEDED mattress… we are planning on doing a full kitchen re-design and spending more time on esthetics! Before I go… a Blogiversary post wouldn’t be complete without a look-back at 2012-2013’s progress! Check out my Before/After Collage of some (not all) of our biggest projects this year!

My Colonial Remodel 2012-2013:

Curb Appeal

Curb Appeal Front Porch Front Yard

Entry

Front Door Entryway Staircase

Boudoir

Living Room

Den

Office

Dining

Dining Room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Family Room

Family Room

Deck (off family room)

Backyard

Garage

Garage

Bathrooms

Powder Room Kid's Bath Master Bathroom Master Closet

Ezekiel’s Room

Ezekiel's Room

Cruz’s Nursery (soon to be)

Cruz's Room

Top Faves:

My Colonial Remodel

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to leave your constructive opinions for me in Comments!

– B

Clean Sweep

In my post Make the Most of March, I talked about plans for a clean sweep of the house, the potential of a garage sale, and my overall commitment to having a productive spring. To be honest, after I put my ambitions out there for all to see, I began to question if I’d gotten WAY out in front of myself! BUT –  my absolute frustration with trying to remodel amidst so much clutter and chaos was enough to keep me trudging through the busy spring. I sit here today with a sense of relief and accomplishment… you know… that feeling you get when you take a deeeeep breath and it seems to bring so much more oxygen and refreshment to your brain than ever before!? Yeah, that feeling:)


Have you ever attempted to go through your closet and get rid of old clothes only to end up keeping EVERYTHING? “This is comfy, this will never go out of style, this was expensive, this might be good for some hypothetical event I will never go to”… and it ALL goes back in the closet. #fail

This sort of self-talk sabotages our attempts to purge other things too; mementos, furniture, decor, dishes, appliances, electronics, tools, ANYTHING! “I’ve had this since I was 5, this’ll work until I find what I really want, so n’ so gave this to me, I might take up skiing one day, this is really rare china, this is handy when (never) making omelets, this chair has been handed down for 3 generations, I might actually (want to?) take a picture with this digital camera one day instead of using my convenient smartphone”…  all lies we tell ourselves while wrestling with our inner hoarder.

This time, I put all nostalgic and logical reasoning aside and answered ONE straight-to-the-point question:
“Would I rather have this or the money?”

Being Miss Sentimental, I was surprised at how many things I was willing to let go of when I simply viewed each item as potential for a fatter pocketbook! (If I was a cartoon, one conversation cloud would’ve had an image of the item I was holding, the other cloud a big brown sack with a dollar $ign on the front of it… I found myself mischievously looking up at those moneybags every time!)

“all I see is signs, all I see is dollah signs”

To make sure I was REALLY being honest with myself, I continued to sift through all my belongings 3 and 4 times (over the course of a few months), and with each re-sweep I found at least one thing I decided I could do without. Soon my house began to feel less crowded, and the garage was filled to overflowing! I could have opened my own mini store! My in-laws and immediate family also started using my garage as a dumping grounds for their spring-cleaning outtakes… which I MUCH appreciated because they didn’t even want a profit percentage! Nothing got thrown away (besides old receipts, tax forms and pay stubs)! If it was broken, damaged, missing, it still went in the “sale” pile; Happy Meal toys = sale pile; used Burt’s Bees products (discovered Z’s allergic) = sale pile; anything worth a penny = sale pile! WHY? Because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, plus all that nickel-and-diming really adds up!

Pre-Garage Sale…

What’s crazy is these pictures were taken when the garage was MAYBE 1/2 full!

Then came the hardest part: Making signs, organizing displays, and pricing everything for the sale! My oh my, did that take FOR-EVERRR! The night before opening, I was up till 3AM getting everything prepped; I had advertised on a few different sites and the signs were up… so I had no choice but to stay awake if I was gonna be ready by morning!

Fun DIY sign I made for the front yard!

I was SUPPOSE to open at 9a that Friday, but by 8a I had people waiting at the doors! We opened early, and from there I don’t remember a dead moment till closing at 5! (We discovered our street is the prime location for this sort of thing!) Other than quickly shoving a piece of Hawaiian pizza down my throat, I went the whole day without eating and barely making time to use the bathroom. (FRIDAY’S FINAL TILL: $900!!!) Saturday was slower but still steady, then on Sunday we did a “take all you can fit in a bag for $5” deal! By then we just wanted to get the stuff out of our hair even if it meant we were gonna lose some money. (We had two particular customers who were so ecstatic over the Sunday steals that they have left some forever lasting imprints on our memories, HAHA! #askmyhubby)

I most certainly couldn’t have pulled it off without all my HELP! My mom and brother helped the first day, my dad and husband joined the second day… and my 8 yr old sis ran a lemonade stand out on the sidewalk to lure in the customers! #showmeyourmoneymaker! When all was said and done, we made $1,590 that weekend, plus another $90 (so far) from consigning a large remainder of the clothing – and FINALLY – we ended it all with a pretty sizable Goodwill drop. The end result…

CLEAN HOUSE. CLEAN GARAGE. CLEAN SLATE!
Look at all that room for working on projects!!!

Ezekiel’s world just grew a whole lot bigger!

For more advice on How To Have a Successful Clean Sweep, visit my houseworkTIPS page!

Thanks for reading the Wednesday Weekly!

– B