In a rather shocking turn of events, my front porch finally got its facelift. Poof! It was a last minute pre-listing omg-the-porch-looks-like-crap kind of moment that spawned this project. I woke up on Monday morning, opened the door so the cats could look outside through the screen, and declared (to my cats – now that I’m home by myself every day we chat quite a bit) (yep – I’m that crazy cat lady who has full conversations with her cats) that it was a porch painting sorta day.
And it looks so much better.
Truth be told, I had really good porch-painting intentions all last summer and fall, but my painting plans were constantly thwarted by rainy-forecasts and too-hot days. Selling (and a string of lovely-spring-weather days) was the kick in the tooshy I needed to get this project done.
Here’s the really ugly before (-ish – I forgot to take a real before shot, so this was a couple hours into painting) (but it still shows just how awful-looking my wee little porch had gotten):
(See the little furry faces peeking through the screen door? I had quite the porch painting audience.)
So. Much. Better. Eh? I went with paint rather than stain – staining (according to the nice lady at my local Benjamin Moore store) would have required sanding. I don’t like sanding. And that all seemed like a lot of work. However paint, she said, could just be plopped right on top of the old finish. Given that this was one of a gazillion projects I had on the go, I was sold. The colour I bravely chose (since exterior house colour choosing is hard!) is Benjamin Moore’s Stampede. It seems to match some of the little stones that live in our brick.
Sweetie removed the sad-looking (and, well, dead) bushes that sat in front of the house and planted those tiiiny and rather adorable globe cedars for me. They’ll get bigger. Eventually. And they need a bit more mulch and my front flowerbeds in general need a lot more love. But, in the meantime, I think those little green balls of cedarness are pretty darn cute.
And my front bench got a little fancying up too with a pretty new pillow and a potted yellow gerbera daisy…
It screams “Buy me! Buy me! You could sip wine here!” no? Hoping so!
All in all, porch painting was not fun. It took me two days (I thought it would take a couple hours) and three quarts of paint (I figured it would take one.) But I’m pretty sure it was a worthwhile effort. Here’s hoping a bit of curb appeal will go a long way in enticing house shoppers to fall in love with our happy little home. :)
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Someone recently asked me, “Why are you spending so much time working on your house if you’re planning to sell? Don’t you think you should probably just hurry up and list?” They were referring to my basement painting/dining room purging/kitchen re-doing/nursery staging/overall house prettying attempts. And I completely understand their curiosity – this does seem a bit like house-selling overkill. I totally get that.
But here’s the truth: our house isn’t perfect. At all. The roof on the garage needs replacing. The windows are archaic and need to be updated. Despite diligent litter scooping, the basement still retains a slight air of “eu de kitty” (it’s simply an unavoidable cat-owning evil.) The chimney desperately needs to be re-pointed. And there are some questionable-looking spots on our foundation that could possibly raise a few eyebrows (despite that our basement has never ever ever ever leaked.) (KNOCK ON WOOD.)
So, recognizing all of these flaws, my strategy is this: MAKE THEM FALL IN LOVE WITH THE HOUSE. Make them adore the house. So much so that they overlook the blemishes, because they can’t see themselves living anywhere else. Because they NEED our cute little 1940s house.
This isn’t some amazing revelation I’ve come up with on my own. I’ve done my HGTV research. I’ve watched enough episodes of House Hunters and Property Virgins and other house-buying shows to know how this all works. The plot goes like this: Possible Buyers enter house. Possible Buyers have an initial emotional response to the house. If the walls are painted odd colours or if the baseboards look nasty, the emotional response is a poor one and Possible Buyers make faces and start looking for other reasons to dislike the house. If the house is appealing and pretty and attractive, Possible Buyers regard any problems as minor issues that can be easily resolved in the future. Then we cut to a shot of them signing papers. And then we see Possible Buyers (now New Home Owners) two months later, happy and all moved into the house and gushing about how wonderful it is.
Thusly, our house needs to be absolutely perfect from a cosmetic standpoint when we list, because that’s what buyers fall in love with. They don’t fall in love with a perfect foundation or fancy new windows. They fall in love with paint colours and pretty decor and the overall emotion that they feel when they step into a house for the first time.
HGTV told me so.
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The giraffe gets all comfy cozy (staging the nursery for resale sans crib) (it’s all about the angles)
So remember the last time we chatted about our second bedroom, the someday-maybe-to-be nursery? Here! Let me refresh your memory. It looked like this…
Well, when we started gearing up to sell, we realized it needed to be cleared out. A LOT. Which lead to a massive purge. Which lead to the room looking like this…
But then I realized (now that all the visual clutter was gone) that the baseboards were in rather awful shape. Like, really really bad shape. They looked like this…
So out came the painter’s tape (heaven forbid I should mar a cute little elephant while painting trim!) and the baseboards got freshened up a wee bit…
And then I decided that we’d better make the room look sorta nursery-ish for our listing photos. So I grabbed my beloved brown rocking chair (which, a long time ago, belonged to my grandparents, and which I hope to one day have reupholstered and use in my for real someday-nursery), some spare drapes, added a throw and a cushion, and poof! Instant quasi-nursery…
…well, sorta. It’s not entirely convincing, but it’s not bad. If I had a spare area rug kicking around, that’d make the room way cozier. And, of course, if I had a crib that’d be even better. And the drapes are a tad (ok, a lot) long and they cover up the sweet little elephant more than I’d like, but you can still see him peeking out a wee bit. For now, it’ll do.
So long as the house listing doesn’t actually show that there’s no crib in the room, we’re good. It’s all about perspective. :)
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A short-ish tale about an ill-fated kitchen counter replacement project (spoiler alert: they all lived happily ever after) (more or less)
Hi. My name is Melissa, and I suck at carpentry. Give me a paintbrush? I’ll rock those walls. Hand me a ginormous piece of countertop and tell me to make it fit between two kitchen walls (while somehow bypassing a rather stupidly-placed windowsill?) I go a little batty. And cry a bit. And curse a lot.
It’s not pretty.
We installed our new laminate countertop last weekend. It was a rather traumatic endeavor. Don’t worry – Sweetie and I are ok, we’re still married, and we still have all of our fingers and toes. But my kitchen?
Let’s start from the beginning, k?
Here’s the before…
Yep! That’s my dish rack. Bet you’ve never seen that in any of my kitchen pics eh? That’s because I normally hide it away before taking any pictures of my kitchen. Nothing screams “Look! We have a single sink and no dishwasher!” like a big ol’ white dish rack. But because I was documenting our final single-sink day, I thought I’d leave the dish rack sitting out. Just once. :)
As soon as I was done snapping some final BEFORE pics (because I’m a little insane like that) Sweetie started tearing things apart while I ran out to Home Depot (for the third time in 24 hours) for yet another somethingmerother that we needed. When I returned, the old countertop was gone, and the kitchen looked like this…
Ack eh? Ack indeed.
We then grabbed the new slab of countertop. It seemed like a pretty simple concept: remove old countertop, add new countertop, enjoy new countertop. Unfortunately, despite some very careful measuring and re-measuring pre-new-countertop order, the new top didn’t fit. At all. We wiggled it, we tried turning it, we attempted some fancy coordinated countertop maneuvering. It was a definite no-go. Our mistake: little 1940s houses don’t have square walls. They also have window ledges that I’m convinced were specifically installed to thwart countertop replacement projects.
So out came the circular saw.
We employed the less-is-more strategy with the saw (since despite having the power to easily make the countertop shorter, it’d be super a fancy trick to make it longer again if we took too much off.) Cut number one was still too long. Cut number two was closer. And with each cut we’d haul the slab of laminate through the house into the back yard, then lug the ever so slightly shorter slab back in, all the while trying desperately not to chip the corners and edges.
Then came cut number three. It fit! But it fit a little too well.
(Those are my snazzy zebra print slippers btw. Cute eh? They were part of a Christmas gift basket from my very lovely and amazing friend Jess who blogs over at Little Townhome Love. And, coincidentally, whose birthday is today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESS! Love you!) (And our walls, for the record, are not purple. All that purple-ishness is likely reflecting off of my very pink hoodie.) (Note to self: always remove pink hoodie before taking pictures for blog.)
(But I digress…)
Yep. Once we finally cut enough off to fit the countertop into place beyond the evil too-long window ledge and the stubborn 1940s-carpentry-gone-awry bowed out wall, I was left with a ginormous gap at the most often used and most easily viewed end of the countertop.
I cried. It’s true.
So out came Sweetie’s belt sander.
You see, we couldn’t just leave it like this. There was no way to fill in that gap with caulking (my normal go-to fix-all solution.) So Sweetie decided that we’d sand down the high spot on the countertop to make it fit more flush with the bowed out wall. This meant that the gap on the other side would get even larger, but the other side of the countertop, being the less often used and less obvious side, could handle it.
The risk paid off. Hooray for power tools. Hooray for Sweetie. :)
A full day of plumbing fun followed. I’ll spare you the grizzly details. There was swearing and cursing and a whole lot of water coming from places it should not. Suffice it to say that Sweetie is definitely an electrician – a plumber he will never be. The Coles Notes visual version looks like this…
Irwin even got a bit of a plumbing lesson. For the record, cats sorta suck at plumbing.
But, after everything was cleaned up and sealed and leak-tested and shined up, we had this…
Pretty eh? New countertop. New double sink. Who needs a dish rack? For the first time in two and a half years, not me. :)
I still have a gazillion touch ups to do (we took some rather good-sized chunks out of the wall while trying to wiggle the new countertop into place, and the old countertop definitely sat lower than this one so I’ve got to do a bit of painting above the backsplash.) Oh, and see that big hole under the sink?
That’s where we had a bit of an oopsie with a big drill bit (patching definitely required there too.) And a cabinet door randomly fell off at some point during this whole experiment…
…so that should probably go back on eventually too.
But the countertop is in! Yay! And it’s awesome. And I’m a very happy girl.
The moral of this tale? Unless you’re a skilled carpenter, have walls that are perfectly square, or are just really really lucky when it comes to these sorts of DIY things, hire someone for countertop replacement. Really. I didn’t at all enjoy this project, and I’m still not 100% thrilled with the end result. But it’s done. And hopefully prospective home buyers just won’t look too closely at our workmanship.
And they all lived happily ever after. The end. Ish. :)
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It’s done! Finished! Complete! Poof! Yep – the floor is done. Quarter round has been added. Seams have all been caulked. Everything has been painted. And a permanent smile is plastered on my face.
Here’s the progression (for anyone who’s visual, like me.)
I started with this…
…which (thankfully!) turned into this…
…Sweetie then added quarter round, which looked like this…
…then I caulked and painted everything, leaving a sparkly new (and finished) (and not blue) kitchen floor, that looks like this…
Am I happy much? YES. Have a already christened my new floor with a silly little happy dance? Of course. Does this occasion call for a big bottle of wine? Absolutely.
(Although pretty much any occasion is a good excuse for wine, if you ask me.)
One more thing done off our big ol’ to-do pre-listing list. And one major item completed from the list of things I’ve been meaning to do since we moved into this humble little abode 2.5 years ago.
Progress, how ever slow, is still progress. :)
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