Monday, July 24, 2017

BIG, huge exciting news!

This story is a long one, but it happened fast. A little bit sad, but we are so, SO happy. It's been incredibly overwhelming at times but exciting all the time. The true definition of "bittersweet." But more sweet than bitter. 😊

We've never planned to move anytime soon. We thought maybe we'd buy a piece of land nearby and build a house someday, even though building from scratch did overwhelm me. We didn't plan to do that till our son was in high school though, so we were thinking about four years or so before we'd start. 

I love to look through real estate listings, I've done it for years just because it's fun. But the thought of moving has always made my stomach turn. I had zero desire. I LOVE our house and nothing I saw even compared to ours anyway. 


We have always had a mental list of what we would include in a "forever house" though. It included no stairs (at least just to a basement) and less rooms we don't use -- no living room or dining room, but a BIG family room and kitchen, where we spend most of our time.  

But again...if I ever even thought of moving it would make me sick to my stomach. A friend was in the process of moving a few months ago and I told her many times I didn't know how she did it. Leaving a house you loved for one, but just the process of packing up your whole life as well. 

But then...something I can't explain happened. I walked through a house and thought...I could live here. It completely shocked me. From the moment we walked in (and it was just studs at that point), I knew it was going to be our house. I called a best friend after walking through, visited another to tell her and texted my sister. I walked through the walls taking video and sent them to my best blog friends. I was so surprised there was a house we both loved that wasn't our own, and it wasn't even close to done! I honestly wasn't sure what the heck was happening -- it was not a feeling I was familiar with.

There's a neighborhood nearby that we've always been curious about -- and occasionally my husband would say "Let's go look through the houses" when they were building. And I'd be all hurt and sad that he would even consider leaving our house. He wasn't ever saying let's move, he was just curious. (He likes to remind me of that now.) 😂 But I dug my feet in. Nope. Not even gonna look! 

And then one day...curiosity won out and we walked through a house that wasn't even mid-construction. Purely for fun. It didn't even have drywall, just wood studs and a plywood floor. And I immediately, completely, fell in love. It instantly felt like our house. I can't explain it, other than it felt perfect for us and for the first time in more than 13 years, I could imagine living somewhere else than our home. 

It is my dream house. THIS is our dream house too, but the new one is everything I've wanted but didn't think would happen just yet. ;) Master on the main level. There is still an upstairs (our boy is thrilled about that), but the upstairs is small and just two bedrooms and a bath. A front porch!! (I could pee my pants.) There are tall ceilings in the back of the house where we'll spend most of our time and no dining room or formal living room to be seen. ;) Just a big family space with an eat in kitchen. LOTS of windows. Oh the windows. 😍 The lot is big -- we'll have a much bigger yard and I'm so excited about that. 

We started to think about actually moving...but how could we let our house go? I didn't know how it would be possible. We took a minute and paused our excitement and thought hard about leaving this house. I truly didn't know if I could walk away and not ever be able to see it again. Leaving this house forever was not an option, and as I write this, brings me to tears. 


We were stuck in this weird space of being excited about a potential house for the first time (since we moved here) and not knowing how we'd ever leave this one. And that's when this story gets super fun!

My best friend and I were sitting around one night talking about where my husband and I were at, and she threw out the words "We'd buy your house." I laughed it off and said wouldn't that be funny? And we went on with our evening. But about a week later we were sitting down again and she said they had talked about it and wanted our house -- and asked if we decided to sell that we offer it to them first. 

We said it wouldn't be an option because we didn't want to even have the potential to lose our friendship over something like us moving. It wasn't worth it and selling is tricky business. But over time we talked it over, figured out a reasonable price, and they agreed. This changed everything -- the thought that we could still visit our old home meant the world to me. To walk through it again and see it being loved by people we love...it overwhelms me. 

The rest of the story is a boring one with finances, lenders, working with the builder, inspections, signing one million documents, all that good stuff. It happened in a short amount of time. I wasn't going to say anything here until we close in August because I don't want to jinx anything. There are so many things that still have to work out perfectly in order for this to go off without a hitch. But we are SO excited, I just couldn't wait to tell you. I have a feeling of peace about it all, even though the past month I've been the most stressed I've ever been in my life. ;) OH and our house is full of boxes, so it's going to be hard to not share that with you. 

I know many of you are thinking what we were...how can we leave this house? After all I've put into it? All the projects I've done? The bathroom?? The patio??? 

I have had emotional moments and I know I'll have more, but I've had a sense of peace about the whole thing that I really can't express well. This precious, wonderful house...I would have stayed here forever if nothing worked out and would have been over the moon to do so. This house is our heart but hearts can expand...we now have a new love as well. 💗 

And no worries -- I will have TONS and tons of projects in the new house. I keep telling myself I'm going to take some time off from tools for awhile after we move in, but I have a looooong list of things I can't wait to tackle, so we'll see what happens. 

I think about the house we are moving in to and instantly start crying...because of joy, not sadness. If you had asked me 20 years ago if I would have the privilege to live in both this house and the new one I would have said you were crazy. Better than I deserve. Blessed beyond measure.


We are so thankful and beyond excited. I'll share more details with you this week! I have so much to show you and tell you...it's been SO HARD not to share all this. But yeah...we're building a new house and my best friend is buying ours! 

Isn't it crazy?? Crazy wonderful. I can't wait to take you along for the ride my friends. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wood and white stair makeover

Hello hello! I'm super excited to share this project with you -- it turned out so beautifully! It's not a huge difference comparing the before and after in most pics, but in real life it is huge. I've been wanting to tackled this for years and finally got it done. 

I love bringing you projects that I complete with the help of Minwax -- my favorite stain! And this is one of my all time favorite projects ever in our house, it's just upped a bit with this DIY. I shared how I took the carpet of our stairs seven years ago. I had a dream of making it look custom -- and I did it with only $50 worth of supplies because we had a great start with the wood steps: 
How to remove carpet from stairs

You can see this was before our fridge leaked everywhere and ruined the laminate floors in the neighboring room -- soon after we replaced the main floor with wood floors. 

When I finished these steps the first time I choose a stain with red tones -- I believe it was Red Oak by Minwax. It doesn't look too red in that photo above, but when you compare it against the wood floors you can see the difference. I thought for sure I took before pics but can't find them, but you can see peeks of the red tone here: 
Painting handrail black

They were a completely different look than the wood floors: 
DIY sunburst mirrors

So for years I had wanted to redo them -- but didn't make it a priority until recently. If you look close on that photo above,  you can see where the cats tear around that corner and their scratches were starting to look bad. And overall the steps were just looking a little worn after so much use. 

So months ago I had the stairs sanded down so I could tackle the restaining -- but then I got caught up in other projects so they sat bare for months!:
How to stain wood steps

I added the tape recently so at least that wasn't there all this time. 😂 I had to clean the bare wood first because they had gotten dirty over the weeks months that I put off the project. 

Then I started the process by staining the steps with the new color -- Jacobean! It's the color we used on the floors but I knew it would go on darker on the stairs. They are pine and the floors are white oak, so they are not a perfect match. The steps are darker than the floors but I quite like it -- if they don't match exactly I'd rather they be darker. Just not red. ;) 
Jacobean stain on wood stairs

Be aware of how different a stain will look on various types of wood! It's amazing how they different they can look. 

I always stain the steps first because it's easier to paint over random stain mishaps, but it's a lot more difficult to stain over paint drops. :) 

I used these staining pads for the first time and I'm absolutely obsessed with them!: 
Stain sponge

They make the job go so much faster and aren't as messy as a rag. I adore them and will be using them all the time from now on -- especially on bigger jobs like this. 

Now when you stain or polyurethane floors, you have to keep in mind that you can't use them for some time. At least a few hours and that's pushing it with the poly. Last time I did every other step so we could still maneuver up and down the steps. This time I timed it when we were heading out the for the day so we didn't have to worry about it: 
Jacobean stain Minwax

Stain dries pretty quick compared to the poly (make sure you wipe down each step after applying the stain!). Too much stain will gum up and take a looong time to dry. 

After letting it sit for a couple days to ensure it was completely dry, I moved on to the poly. You can use a foam brush or regular brush. I prefer the foam because I can just toss them after: 
How to apply polyurethane

But I ran out of them for my second coat so I used a brush that time. ;) 

You want to make sure you brush on a nice, even coat of poly each time. Watch for bubbles -- knock as many of those down as you can. Stairs are nice because you don't have to be super picky about the finish -- I'd rather it not be SUPER smooth for safety reasons. 

By the way, I get asked a lot if the stairs are slippery. We slid down the carpeted stairs WAY more than we ever have on these. Knock on wood -- it's happened maybe twice maybe? 

You cans see how the poly really brings out the wood tone even more: 
Poly on wood stairs

So pretty! I used this fast-drying polyurethane from Minwax (in semi-gloss) in the can: 
By the way -- I didn't even realize they sell poly in a spray can! Mind blown. Keeping that one tucked away for the future. 

The wood will not be quite as shiny when it dries unless you use a high gloss: 
How to apply poly to wood stairs

 The risers got a coat of new white paint, and after it was all done it looked so good!:
Jacobean stain on wood steps

White and wood -- one of my all time favorite combos! So classic. 

See how our pine treads had that rounded edge to start? We lucked out with those -- I remembered that from when we built the house and that's why I tackled this project years back. I know MANY of you have tried this on your stairs over the years and some have had the same, some uncover plywood. It's a toss up!

Here's the landing going to the upstairs:
Wood steps white risers

I get asked about what we used on the landing a lot -- and it was just the basic pine wood (that I've used as shiplap many times over the years). I think each package is around $10 and I think I used two? Three? I wasn't sure if it would hold up but it has -- and it sanded down just fine too!

Our flooring guy offered to replace this with our hardwoods but they've held up so great, I didn't see the need:
Pine floors wood landing

I've simplified this view over the years. The art pieces are window grids I found at Goodwill years back. I love them:
Wood stairs and landing

The stairs don't look that different from this angle, but when you're on them the difference is huge!  No more red!:
How to remove carpet from wood stairs


These pretty stairs have gone through many updates over the years -- NOW I can safely say tearing that carpet off seven years ago was a GREAT idea! ;)
How to remove carpet from stairs

Wood treads and white risers are my jam. Love it. This was another project I had all the supplies for, so I didn't have to pay for anything during this no spend month! 

I will be away at the Haven Conference this week so I'll be back next week! I hope to see some of you there! Have a great weekend my friends!