2019

2017 & 2018 weren’t my best years. in fact, i’d say that the last two years were probably the worst years i’ve had overall since i was a pre-teen with suicidal ideations. i was more ready to see 2018 go than i have been for any other year. i know that the year changing doesn’t actually CHANGE anything but i needed that year to change in order to feel like i could catch my breath. i needed that bar with too much to drink with my favorite people donning “happy new years” head wear. i needed those strangers around me singing garth brooks with champagne glasses raised. i needed to know that when i woke up the next day, that i sent off those shitty years with a bang. and i did.

i feel bad. about myself. about my home. about my life. about the fact that i didn’t smoke for 12 whole days; and then i did. i don’t want to feel those things. so 2019, let’s make you the year that i actually make real goals in hopes that i can make progress on my life. let’s take baby steps together towards a healthier and happier me before i die. okay?

ryan & i* decided that the best course of action was to finish everything that’s still undone around the house before we do anything else. *that’s a lie. i did nothing. ryan suggested that this would probably help me and he’s right. this is the logical plan. this is what i’ve always told myself to do. this is obviously not how i actually end up operating. so then i end up where i am now; overwhelmed.

with that in mind, i’m going to start by giving myself 10 very specific tasks to focus on and complete this year that have all been lingering for some time. i’m not allowed to start anything new until i finish these.

  1. paint your living room ceiling. yes, i have left my living room ceiling half painted for…. 3 years?

  2. repaint the bathroom because sometimes, you don’t get it right the first time. or second. or third. this isn’t technically a project that’s “undone” but the bathroom was a project i was focused on in 2016 & it has not felt finished since because the paint is wrong. course correction is part of any design plan.

  3. pay a plumber to plumb the new bathroom sink because as much as you think you can do everything, you can’t. and you’re not a plumber. and your plumbing isn’t standard so wtf are you supposed to do? ask for help.

  4. install the closet & hallway lights you’ve owned for 2 years. quit letting ryan pick out his clothes by flashlight.

  5. finish the hallway. paint the walls the same color you paint the bathroom. & repaint all of the woodwork.

  6. install the last two kitchen cabinet doors from the kitchen revamp.

  7. take all your purged items to donate. quit letting it pile up. it’s killing you slowly.

  8. install the new hardware for the hallway cabinets. you’ve never even opened the box!

  9. clean out the gutters & finish installing the gutter guards.

  10. work on your goddamn windows. you love your windows so act like it. start by finishing the paint on the ones you already started (living room corner, bathroom and bedroom).

it was really hard for me to not add things that haven’t been started yet. like painting the bedroom black. or hanging shelves in the kitchen. or building cabinets around the laundry. or finally ripping down the falling plaster in the dogs room. or renovating all of the windows. but i can’t. i need to focus on seriously cleaning the house first & then finishing up these tasks.

i know that my brain will feel better if i do. someone just needs to remind me constantly. please.

here’s to 2019 being the year i actually start acting like the 30 year old i will be.

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.