Category Archives: The House

Two Project Saturday

Last Saturday we took on big two projects.

The first was replacing the window in the shower with glass block. My dad did all of the work on this project, by framing the window and placing the block. He used a kit that did not require mortar, so it was a fairly clean project. Now, it is not necessary to have a shower curtain over the window, so it makes for a more comfortable space.

I also painted the bathroom before the glass block was installed. The color is Quite Moments by Benjamin Moore. The only project left in the bathroom is to re-tile the floor.

Bathroom before and afters:

The second project of the weekend was headed up by my mom. We decided, since it turned out to be a nice day, to clear out the weeds and brush in the backyard. This involved a lot of pulling, cutting, digging, and sweating. We debated on keeping the raspberry bushes that were scattered throughout, but I decided that a manicured swatch of grass would look best.  I will be seeding the area in a couple weeks to hopefully stay dormant till it grows in the spring.


A Couple Updates to the Laundry Room

As you enter the basement, there are two ways you can go. To the left is a finished bedroom area and to the right is an unfinished utility/laundry/closet area. Some of the unfinished space might become a walk-in closet or bathroom someday, but for now it will remain the laundry/work area.

To make the space a little more comfortable, I decided to hang up curtains to hide eye soars and put down a piece of carpet remnant. The carpet cost me $20 and the curtains were free! (Left on the main level windows by the old owners.) I washed the curtains, put some nails in the ceiling, and voila… a nicer space to wash my clothes!

Here is the before and after:

The Bedroom and the Wallpaper

It has been some time since I last updated this blog, but with good reason! I have been getting stuff done! 🙂

A couple weeks ago my mother and I tackled the wallpaper removal and painting project in the main floor bedroom. I gained a roommate Oct. 1, so there was a deadline for this task. It took us 10 hours of work on a Saturday to remove the wallpaper and my mom took a couple days during the week to prep and prime the walls and trim. Overall it was 3 solid days of work, but it was well worth it.

Here are the before pictures. (Who would pick brown and green!?!?!)

We started with scraping off the two layers of latex paint and the first layer of wallpaper. We then rented a steamer to remove the final two layers of wallpaper.

After all the wallpaper was removed, my mom patched some holes and cracks with spackle. Then we primed and painted the walls and trim. I picked Big Bend Beige by Benjamin Moore in flat Clark and Kensington paint. We wanted to use flat paint to hide the imperfection that were still visible. I have been very happy with the Clark and Kensington paint, and it is much cheeper then Benjamin Moore.

Here is the final look!

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Cleaning and Cleaning

I have not been able to post in the last couple weeks, due to various social events, enjoying the last days of summer, and trying to clean this house!

The tasks we have had to complete have been pretty simple, just a lot of elbow grease and time!

One task that got checked off the list was getting a new gas range. By utilizing sales on Labor Day weekend, I got a good deal on a white gas range from Lowe’s. Seeing as though I was cooking everything on a little tailgating grill for the last two weeks, this stove is a great addition to the house!

Another project that got started was in the back entry. After a little picking, my mom discovered that there was hardwood floors under the linoleum. The linoleum peeled away with ease, but the glue was a different story. I ended up using a rag of hot water to soak the glue for 10-15 minutes, then used a putty knife to scrape off the softened glue. The process took about 3 hours, but with the soaking time, it allowed me to do other tasks intermittently. I am planning on exposing the wood that is under the linoleum on the stairs leading up to the kitchen as well. After it is all clean, I will sand the wood and stain it a little darker to hide scratches and imperfections.

The next week will be all about wallpaper removal. We have discovered three layers. Wish us luck! Yuck!

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Paint Colors and Painting the Living and Dining Room

Inspiration for Living and Dining Room: 

The Choices:

I borrowed  Thom Filicia’s book from the St. Paul library and used his section on neutrals to pick out the first colors.  I put the colors that I liked on cardboard boxes, so I was able to move them to different walls easily. I knew right away that one option was too dark so I didn’t even bother putting it on the wall.


After washing the walls with TSP and applying two coats of primer, I tried the colors on different areas of the walls. Test colors: Balboa Mist, Stonington Gray, Thundercloud Gray and Harbor Gray (all by Benjamin Moore).

After much deliberation, I decided on Balboa Mist by Benjamin Moore. It is a very light gray and seems to go well with both black and brown decor. I had the nice lady at Ace transfer the Benjamin Moore color into the Clark + Kensington eggshell paint.

The living and dining room paint Before and After:

Now I need to work on that dirty white trim!

Resources I used on how to pick out paint colors:

A Pro Tip for Picking the Perfect Paint Color

Consumer Reports Picks for Best Interior Paints: 2013

Best Neutral Paint Color Ideas from Thom Filicia

ACE Hardware: Paint

The Best Colors for Every Room: Paint Color Portfolios 

Tips and Tricks on How to Paint:

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner  *

How to Paint Your Room: Best Tips and Tricks

Expert Advice: Cleaning Paint Brushes

*I tried this tip and it was an epic fail. Seems like a great idea, but you just end up adjusting the plastic bag constantly.


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Purchasing the House



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For the last 4 months, I have looked at these pictures over 200 times. When you are involved in a short-sale and you are only given three photos, you end up day dreaming about kitchen paint colors while staring at a front porch.

We made an offer on the house in the first week of May, 2013. We received notice that the seller accepted the offer a couple days later. We then waited 3 months to hear back from the bank. I have heard stories of short-sales lasting 6 to 12 months, so I consider us lucky. We close on Aug. 20th! I will be moving in by the end of the month.

Here are some stats on the house:

Year built: 1921

Total Bed/Bath: 2/1

Garage: 2

Current total sqft: 924

Yard: fenced

Neighborhood: Hiawatha (Minneapolis)

Listing Info: Nice location, walk to M’haha Park & Falls, River Pkwy & light rail. Hardwood floors, formal dining w/built in buffet, front porch, newer 2+ garage, fenced yard.

My thoughts: I am excited to start the work and see how this house will transform!

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