living room: 2018 - i did it again

i can't leave shit alone. never have, most likely never will. sorry, husband. it's one of the few traits i got from my father, the man who perpetually redecorated our entire house without notice (like the one time my mom came home & he had ripped up the carpet, as well as ripped down the floor-to-ceiling paneling covering all four walls, in our family room). 

i switched the living room back. i came home one day & told ryan that i wanted to move it again & quite honestly, i don't even remember why. it was several months ago & i just now got around to taking a few photos when it was clean & particularly nice outside. i'm happy with it for now. i still hate walking in the house & seeing a huge tv first thing but i guess i can't eat my cake & have it too.

the couches are my nemeses. we were gifted the brown couch awhile ago & it does it's job. i typically don't mind it. it's at least neutral & clean-lined. the grey loveseat was given to us last month & i begrudgingly agreed because having one comfortable seating area with two big dogs who also want a seat didn't really work so well. it came home with us for free with four big-ass chunky block legs that i took off. it helped. unfortunately, the leg removal did not change the shape of the back cushions. the dogs thoughts? they very quickly claimed it as their own & it makes my eyes burn a little bit less. every morning when we wake up, at least one of them is curled up on it. they're pretty cute i guess.

one day we'll have couches that we actually pick out & love. i'd also like to replace the lights in here. the recessed lighting needs an upgrade & the main light could just use some pretty. i've also decided to paint all of the window frames black, inside & out. that one i'm pretty excited about & a big plus: it's free because i already have everything i need! i may or may not have already started "operation: restore your windows" before i've finished the kitchen cabinets.....

 

sorry husband.

 

 

the kitchen marathon

it hit me yesterday when i got home that my kitchen no longer looks like my kitchen. as i looked around, standing in the middle of this mess i had created with cabinets doors lying all over the floor & the counters filled with various things & paint supplies, i felt so proud. i still have a lot of work to do but it's time for an update because so much progress has been made.

it's no secret that i'm not a huge fan of the holidays. they trigger my mental health issues more than any other time & although i'm still feeling that black hole (that watching lady bird did not help), having a large project to focus on during christmas week seemed to really help me deal. i was fortunate enough to get 11.5 days off work & i had a hard time deciding whether or not i should start right away or wait until after christmas. well. our heater broke on the 21st (because something ALWAYS seems to happen right before christmas) & while we were waiting on the technician to fix it, i "got curious" & started messing around with the counters. before i knew it i had ripped off the trim and started chipping away at the tile. 

the counters on this side had to be completely replaced. the tiles have been coming up for years around the sink so i knew that water had definitely gotten underneath them & was a little terrified of what i'd find. fortunately for us, there was a little mold underneath a couple tiles but it didn't appear to have ever spread to the wall or into any of the cabinet (pretty much the only thing that worked in my favor during this). 

one thing i didn't account for was just how hard chipping those tiles off would be. i couldn't remove the counter without tearing up the cabinets unless i did it so over several DAYS, i worked hours & hours to remove them one at a time. what made it more painful was realizing WHY it was harder than it should be...

just one more reason to add to the list of "i hate everyone who ever lived here before me". that is paper. someone thought it was a good idea to use counters made of paper around a kitchen sink. i sat there staring at this for so long. i am still dumbfounded.

the best day i had was the day i pulled out the old sink, managed to find a way to move 4 ft. x 8 ft. boards, used a jigsaw for the first time in 15 years, cut new counters using 23/32 inch plywood & cut a hole for the new sink all by my goddamn self. i felt like a queen. it was challenging & i loved every second. i had no idea how much fun i would find in something so tiring.

now. the counter resurfacing was another story. the only thing enjoyable about it was just the fact that i was trying something new & working on the house. the actual process of concrete overlay was not really enjoyable. it was messy & frustrating & i might have cried thinking i'd made a huge mistake halfway through. is the process itself hard? eh. no. you mix concrete & spread it on. would i do it again? maybe. i'm glad to not have to look at the tile. i'm glad to have not spent several hundred dollars on new counters. i'm glad that i tried. but am i proud of my work? not really. 

this is what it looks like after the first couple of coats & it was a little terrifying. you kind of just cross your fingers at this point.

i put a lot of effort into it. i followed the directions. i watched videos & read blogs. turns out, i just wasn't very good at it. it took 4 boxes of henry feather finish skimcoat & a bazillion sanding discs on my orbital sander. the concept is pretty easy. you mix up very small batches of concrete at a time, spread it on your surface in very thin layers & sand them once dry. i think my mistake was not doing thin enough layers or not sanding enough in between. i don't know.

all i know is that about 3/4 of the way through i cried to ryan that "i was sorry for ruining the kitchen & i hope he's okay with rustic concrete". they've grown on me but i can't help but be so disappointed in how they turned out. i was not expecting as much color variation but i am so happy with how smooth they are. they feel like stone counters (so hey, something went right)!

when i finally gave up my efforts of smoothing them out, i sealed them & opted not to put a top coat on for now, as i really don't want them to have any shine. i'm also just being cheap if i'm honest. ;) so far anything that's gotten on them has not soaked in & has wiped up pretty easy. we are still babying them though. ryan keeps reminding me that we have to start treating them like normal counters at some point. ha! 

i also installed a new sink that almost killed me. this is something i'd also never done before & i went in feeling pretty confident that i could figure it out. i eventually did but only after having a screaming/crying meltdown while i was laying under it trying to put the mounting clips in. the plumbing had to be completely reconfigured to account for the extra depth of the new sink & from going from 2 bowls to 1. i even threw in the towel at one point & asked for suggestions for plumbers. a couple of hours later i was sitting on the couch, had an "aha moment", went to home depot, & bought almost every plumbing part i could find; determined to find something that worked. i did. & it was way too easy for how hard i had made it. 

the new sink is a dream. i don't know that i'll ever opt for two bowls ever again. it's so nice to be able to emerge our largest cutting boards & pans in there. also, praise jesus for having a sprayer again. & a faucet that's tall enough to actually fit shit under. AND THAT I DID IT MYSELF. when i turned it on for the first time & had zero leaks, i cried... & then ran around the living room with my hands above my head. that's the kind of shit that gets me excited, guys. i think that's the reaction my mother wanted me to have on my 16th birthday when she handed me keys to my first car, instead of the smile & "awesome, thanks!" that she got. if you really want to see the only time i will act like a fool from joy, let me have a day to myself to accomplish a new task.

in the last 2 weeks, i've been focused on paint. it would've made more sense to paint first but i didn't have time in order to get the counters done while i was on break. i'm opting for painting the backsplash white for now & it's made a huge impact! down the road, i'd like to do a classic subway tile above the sink & the entire stove wall. it's only been primed so far because, in true jana fashion, i got distracted by another project before i finished.

the base cabinets got painted last weekend & the doors just need one more coat before i can hang them. it'll have to wait though because i hurt my spider knee crawling around on the tile.

paint is so satisfying. i can't wait to get the doors back up. even with the uppers not being painted & still having the old hardware on, it'll be so good to see it almost there.

& maybe one day i'll have a normal leg again that won't constantly ruin my plans...

 

 

kitchen remodel inspiration

i have a plan. it started innocently enough. like most of them do, it started with reading a blog. blogs & podcasts, man. the amount of each that i consume on a daily basis is a little frightening. anyway, i've recently been back-reading jenny's blog & though her style doesn't line up with my own a lot of the times, i find a lot of inspiration in her projects. i came upon her laundry redo in 2013 & i've read many blogs over the years about the ardex concrete counter technique but i never gave it much thought since our counters aren't a smooth surface. for some reason i got the inkling to do a little more digging around for anyone that's tried it on tile & found this! so i'm hoping that over my christmas break our countertops will be getting a complete overhaul & we'll end up with beautiful concrete counters. our plan has always been to replace the counters & i think this might just solve that problem! all i know is that i personally HATE tile counters & i can't wait for them to be gone.

just like i did with my bedroom inspiration, i turned to pinterest to help hone in what it is that i really love in a kitchen's aesthetics. i wasn't surprised at all by the results. apparently, i prefer simple kitchens with white walls, two-tone cabinets, open shelving, light stone or wood counters and black details/accents.

sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

one thing i've also noticed is that my favorite kitchens are small, one wall european style kitchens which work for me because i don't enjoy cooking & when i do, it's minimal. we don't require much kitchen cabinet space so my first thought has always been to take out our upper cabinets but my growing love for saving old homes has made me realize that i probably don't want to. enough of the character from our house has been destroyed over the years; i don't want to contribute.

if i look at these enough will it motivate me to start? other blogs i've read over the years have acted like repainting cabinets is no big deal but i think they have to be either lying or they did zero prep work. the dread of all the prepping is what's making me drag my feet on this one. please, people who have repainted their cabinets, exactly how much prep did you do? did you sand them all the way down to wood? did you just do a light sanding? did you just say fuck it & prime right over those bitches?

all i know is that i'm really ready to say goodbye to our tile counters & backsplash. i want to start the demo right NOOOOOOW.

 

who needs ceilings?

does anyone else spend hours cleaning but when it's over your house isn't even clean?

i feel like i spent the entire weekend cleaning the house but all i have to show for it is ONE clean bedroom. ONE! it took me hours because sometimes it's just easier to start over. pull everything out of the room, clean it & then put back everything that actually belongs in there. it's tedious but oh so satisfying.

while i was at it i figured it was time to temporarily fix the falling plaster ceiling until we replace the whole thing. i felt really confident about this project. i went into it thinking i was totally going to kick that ceilings ass...

it's looked like this for awhile & that major crack has just been slowly getting bigger for months. i was worried that when our house gets worked on next week, it was going to come crashing down on our dogs (they're crated in this room) & i really don't want to give PTSD to my dogs if i can help it. so, i bought plaster washers & got to it.

oops. i took care of that problem, didn't i?

 

going tiny

i'm nine weeks post spider bite & going a little crazy. i still don't have full mobility in my leg so house projects have still been on the back-burner. buuuuut i've got a new project crowding my head. you know when you get a crazy idea that you just can't shake? you know, like one that keeps you up late, then you dream about it, & then you wake up still thinking about it? that happens to other people right?

it all started about two weeks ago when we had a guy come out to look at our fence & roof because we desperately need new of both & are hoping our insurance throws us a bone. anyway, that's a whole other shit show. ryan got to talking to this guy about how our neighborhood is being snatched up right now by investors & buyers in general. we live in an old neighborhood that's definitely rough around the edges but a very popular district is down the road & i guess a lot of young people are buying/renting in the city right now. he started saying how he had no doubts that we could sell our house and make money on it as it is now. that's something we really didn't think was possible due to larger repairs it needs (i.e. piers being a big one). it really got us thinking about what's next for us & got us really excited. i immediately started researching what houses in our zip have been selling for & holy shit! he was right! that rabbit hole led down a week-long search for temporary housing which led to a bottomless pit of despair because humans are garbage & think my dogs are monsters. one day i'd love to be a property owner & only rent to people with "aggressive breeds". it's an impossible world for a renter with three dogs, two of which are considered "dangerous". we don't want to buy again. well, i take that back. we don't want to buy a permanent residence in the state of oklahoma again. it doesn't feel right when we don't know what area we want to live in. we don't even know what city or state we want to live in, not for a long enough period to take up another 30-year mortgage. so we went back to the drawing board & came to one conclusion: let's go mobile.

our 1,267 square foot house has felt way too big for quite some time now. i know that going tiny is not for everyone. i know that a lot of people are going to think it's stupid that we think we could live in <300 square feet with 3 dogs. i'm prepared for that judgment. what i will say to those people is, please come spend a week at my house & see how little square feet we use currently. (only, i don't really want you to stay with me. i don't have a guest room for a reason, remember?) i can tell you just how much space we really use. we use our small bathroom. we use our bed & a space on the wall for a tv. we use our living room to sit on our couch & we use our kitchen for the fridge & sink & sometimes to cook something. sometimes. that's really it.

i've spent the last two weeks researching rv & tiny house living. we've tossed around the idea of "one day" going small for the last couple of years. apparently, that day is a lot closer than we thought & we're ready unless someone has a super valid reason for why we're idiots...

 

there are pros & cons about each. class a or c rv's are more convenient, require less cost upfront & travel better. tiny homes are designed sturdier & more efficiently & can be customized a million ways to match your taste. but rv's are ugly as sin, look like plastic & they would require more money in the long run if we decided to redo the interior. tiny homes require you own a vehicle capable of towing one ($$$) & cost more to get an RVIA certified one so that we don't have to worry about finding places to park it. there are definitely things we'll really have to consider, finances being a big part of it, but for now, i'm enjoying some online tiny shopping & scouting out all the rv parks around town.

next step? cross our fingers that our insurance adjuster is having a really good day, sell our house & hit the road. easy right?