Monday, September 9, 2013


We have been in the house for a month this week! It is crazy. I am feeling a tiny but frustrated because the couch we ordered in JUNE is still not here and is delayed until the end of Septemeber. I feel like I cannot really LIVE in the house without a couch. Of course I can live here, I just want to sit in my own house! Right now the only place we have to sit is the barstools at the counter.

We are working on the yard right now, my husband Jeff, is installing a sprinkler system. Then we have 12,000 square feet of top soil and grass... :/  We are trying to get all that done before winter.

Recent adventures:


Friday, July 26, 2013

The work my husband did.

I have mentioned a few times when discussing the house that my husband has done quite a bit of work and I wanted to write out exactly what he has done so I do not forget.

My husband is the exact definition of a perfectionist. While I am not a perfectionist, I am extremely visually influenced. We both like things to be just so. Luckily our idea of "just right" is the same.

However, my husband has been carrying his perfectionism around on his back since April, when he started really working on the house. Before then, he could just tell the crew how he wanted things or how to fix things. While they probably grunted and groaned behind his back, they did it.

His first project was painting the exterior. But before he painted the exterior, the trim had to be perfect. The trim guys were long gone by this point, putting in the work they were paid for. But my husband saw flaws. So he spent days adding small pieces of trim around the outside of the house making sure the whole exterior looked "solid". But there was still much caulking to be done before he was ready to put paint on the house. I am not just talking around a few beads of caulk here and there, I am talking about caulking absolutely every seam. He went through hundreds of dollars worth of caulk and wore his fingers raw. It took him DAYS. Our house is likely the most caulked house in WA state. Will it help us down the line in this rainy climate? Yes. Did I think he had lost his mind? Yes.

Next came the painting. We really never priced out paint- dumb. Our builder had given us $1000 in the budget for paint, HA! We spend 2K on the exterior paint and supplies (trim paint + shingle paint). Luckily, my brother in law is a professional painter so he brought his sprayer and they had the whole exterior done in a weekend. Then it was time for my husband to paint the trim. He carefully did each section, not rushing through any part of it, adding more caulk where he saw fit. A few weekends later, my brother in law returned to paint the entire interior (minus trim).

He then did an Ikea kitchen, details of which I already laid out in this post. After the kitchen, he assembled and installed the laundry room cabinets, which are also Ikea. Have questions about Ikea kitchens? Feel free to ask me!

When that was done, it was time for him to install 1,800 square feet of high-end snap together laminate. Here is where I should mention that my husband is horrible about asking for help. He did the floors completely by himself except one evening where I came over the helped him lay boards out. It took him about a week to finish the floors (he worked for two days in the middle of it).

After floors, it was time to tile. Luckily, we were able to barter our too-big double oven for floor tile work and a pro did both bathroom floors. That did not mean my husband was getting a break. While the tile guy was working, he was prepping all the trim in the house for paint. We decided to spray the trim to create that flawless look (where no nail holes are visible). However, this meant he had to caulk and sand and then re caulk and sand EVERY NAIL HOLE. His poor finger was quickly became raw again. After caulking was done, he had to mask off the entire house. Once that prep was done, his brother came back to spray the trim.  It took them the entire weekend to get it done and they did not even have time to do the doors, that had to wait for the next weekend.

In addition to doing the fireplace tile, he also tore out and re-built the entire fireplace. We quickly learned that our builder had other "high-end projects" going on and our house fell to the bottom of the list- I get it, money talks. We knew we could not ask them to re-do the fireplace without taking on a huge additional cost. I came to the house shortly after the fireplace had been completed and I admitted I did not like the design. I left for a photoshoot and when I returned, he had ripped out and rebuilt the entire thing. It is beautiful now- of course!

Once that was done, my husband had to tile our girl's bathroom tub. He was able to finish that in about a day. He moved from tile to installing the hardware on the kitchen cabinets. From there, he headed back outside to complete the decks (our builder had done this strange step in under the deck which was not our style at all, but it was on my husband to fix). His last big project on the house is to tile our kitchen backsplash. Then it is on to the yard, which I honestly cannot even think about right now. Our yard is ending up much more complex than we had hoped because the septic system in the backyard has caused a slope we have to address.

There were times I felt like we made a huge mistake having him take on so much. And I have missed him terribly over the past 3+ months. It has not been easy, there were many tears shed. But doing this work ourselves (himself) has saved us about 60-70K, so well worth it. When people see our house in person, they cannot believe it is a 300K build because of all the details and workmanship. But that was all my husband's vision, hardwork and perfectionism. I am beyond proud of him and even though he will never look at our house and think, "it's perfect" he knows he has played a huge role in creating a stunningly beautiful house on a small budget.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Photo Update

I still have not brought my good camera to the house! But I will soon. These are cell phone pics.

We are schedule to move in August 7thish...

Fireplace. Love the tile we went with.

My littlest's room, mint colored :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kitchen Design

Designing the interior of one room is hard. Thinking about designing an entire house is completely overwhelming. Luckily, my husband and I are on the same page about pretty much everything when in comes to style. If we both walk into a cute store together, we gravitate towards the same things. The problem: we have expensive taste. Not expensive in the way that we like diamond plated lamps, in the way that we like very simple, well-made things, and things like that cost money.

Lighting has been really difficult in this way as most lights that are not super expensive, are just... not our style. For our kitchen pendants, which are going to be some of the most looked at lighting in the entire house, finding something that was our style AND in our budget was a challenge.

We ultimately went with three banded pendants from West Elm

The issue we are having now, is that we like white and gray TOO much and those two colors are completely taking over! But what I am hoping to do it pop color with accents like vases, pillows and throws. Hopefully we can make ourselves buy colorful things!

Here is what is in the kitchen so far... you can see.. a lot of WHITE! :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Designing & Installing an Ikea Kitchen

As I mentioned before, we decided to install an Ikea kitchen mainly to save money but also because we like the look of the particular cabinets we purchased. I wanted to detail some of the process so I don't forget but also because it may help someone else.

We had our builder get a quote for a custom kitchen because we were curious about the cost. The quote came in at $17,000, which was much too high for our budget. So I had my builder send me the specifications for the cabinets he was going to build and I brought those to Ikea. I set aside the whole day- which was smart since it took me about that long.

The first hurdle was that the cabinet sizes that the custom guy had used were not the same as Ikea had available. So I had to resize things. I had the help of the Ikea kitchen person and I printed off a quote.

We knew we wanted to wait for the Ikea kitchen sale to buy our cabinets so we could get the 20% off discount. By April, the month of the kitchen sale,  there were things we knew we had to change as the measurements from the actual kitchen were slightly different than the ones on the drawing. We also, after standing in the actual house, decided we needed to make the kitchen island bigger.

With those changes in mind, I headed back to the store for another round of design. I was not smart and went on a weekend day, during the first day of the kitchen sale. It was so busy, I just had to call it quits and come back another day. :/ Round three, I went on a weekday and it took about 3 hours of working with a kitchen specialist to make sure the new changes would work. Unfortunately, the new, bigger island drove the entire kitchen price up $1,000. After 3 hours of redesign, the actual ordering and paying part took another hour.

We decided to get home delivery because our kitchen is pretty massive and the fee was only $89 I believe. The cabinets were delivered to our rental house two days later. I have never seen so many boxes- they took up almost our entire two car garage.  We did NOT check each box off from the receipt as they were brought in, which we should have done because there were missing items, discovered when installed the actual kitchen.

Our lease in our rental then ended so we moved the ENTIRE kitchen (still in 4 million boxes) into the storage unit, only to move it to the house about 4 weeks later! We have big muscles now.


My husband got started on installing on a Wednesday. He build the base cabinets first and then the uppers (not putting in drawers/shelves or fronts).  I was able to go help him on Saturday and that is when we discovered the fronts to all the uppers were missing from the order. So BACK to Ikea we went.

The next step was building a base for our island, which is NOT included. DH used a bunch of 2X4's and luckily he is a very good craftsman and was able to build us a perfect size island base to attach the island to. But it did take my husband half the day the build it.

Once we got the island built, my husband finished the drawers and fronts the whole process took him a week of installiation. We could have paid $2K to have someone install for us, but we have more time than we do money right now. The thing you don't realize is there is a lot of tweaking that must be done to the drawers and fronts to make them all even.

If I had the option to do an Ikea kitchen again, I would. I probably would have hired the people to install it for us, since it took a week to do. Our kitchen is also massive, so it may have been double the work compared to a small kitchen.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Exterior Color

We decided to do a very light grey for the exterior. We chose Collonade Gray by Sherwin Williams.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Saving Grace: Flexible Kiddos.

The two months of homelessness started a week ago. We first headed to my mother in law's house. She took the girls the night before so I could help my husband pack up the rental house. After getting the wrong truck saved for us at UHaul, can you say 10 foot truck to haul an entire house plus an entire ikea kitchen PLUS 1800 square feet of hardwoods!? It took so many trips I cannot even talk about it.

I ended up pulling into my mother in law's at 2am and my littlest was up with the sun at 6:30. After fielding some "where is daddy" and "let's go home" questions, the girls settled in. Settled in to new beds, new people when they wake up, new things to do during the day, all familiar things except a few that they could carry packed away. They went to bed on time with out a fuss and woke up happy as clams. They seemed excited for new adventures a new town brought. We did have some three year old emotional outbursts for the record books, as witnessed by my best friend Mandy, we faired pretty well.

On Sunday night, we made the hour long drive to Seattle to stay with my parents for the next bit, which is until they are completely sick of us I guess :) We got a late start and the girls did get into bed until almost 10 but there were no complaints. They are sharing a room here, something they had never done before and I was very nervous about because my little one is a talker. She must tell about 30 minutes of stories to herself before falling asleep. What has happened the last two nights is big one crashes, little ones talks and laughs so herself and that is the end of it.

I am so beyond proud of them. They miss their daddy like hell, as he is staying in our old town to do the finish work, and they get sad about it but for the most part they seem to understand this is an adventure.

We picked a paint color and got started painting the house, I love it!

I don't have any "good" photos of the house, just what my husband send from his phone. Here is a trimmed out window:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mid-Build Stress

Holy stress!  I have had a headache every day for the past two weeks. Most of it has been due to unforeseen financial expenses (the power company quoted $900 for a ditch and the bill was actually $2300, we had to pay the electrician an extra $2,000 because the lighting plan we had originally was too dark, we decided to bury our propane tank for $800 more and we changed tile in the shower at +$300) all in the past month. That is a lot of check writing!

Beyond that, I have had the ongoing current housing situation where our rental house is on the market (has been since September) and we are constantly having to haul the kids out of the house on weekend mornings, right when I want to lounge around, so someone can see the house. I like the house to be clean for showings because what is even the point if the house is a wreck? Have you ever tried *really* cleaning a house with two tiny children running around? A bit like gardening in a tornado. Not to mention the dryer has been broken since October and we have to blow the steam out the garage door. And there is no insulation and the heating bill is $500/month.

I hit my breaking point when an agent asked to see the house last minute on Easter and I told her no and she came anyway while we were at the store and showed people our house (which looked like a bomb went off because of Easter festivities). It felt like a huge invasion of privacy and I may or may not have called the agent and said not very nice things. But c'mon, respect that I am renting here!

Our lease ends April 30th and the new house will be done July 1st. So I will be moving in with family and my husband will be staying on the island since he is doing most of the finish work. For two months. This is also cause for headaches as my parents only have ONE extra bedroom for three of us which means my two little people will suddenly be sharing a room and I will be on the couch.

As if that is not enough, have a mentioned I have a 2 year old and a 3 year old? Nothing more needs to be said on that matter.

We having been having rainy weather but last week we caught some sun so I made a point to head out with my girls and enjoy this beautiful place and do my favorite thing in all the world: take pictures of my babies (and their friends).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Siding is done.

Next up on the exterior is wrapping the porch post and beams and the soffits. The heating and electrical rough in should be done by Friday. Then we start drywall and insulation.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Shingle siding has started!

We lucked out with our siding crew. They are so detailed oriented the house just looks amazing. Sometimes I think there is this assumption that you cannot have detailed house if you are on a budget. But the details like how the windows were trimmed out or the size of the belly band are things that make a huge difference if you just take time to think about how they will look. They are going to trim out the windows anyway, so why not be picky about it? Just because you are not building a high end home doesn't mean you cannot care about details.  We researched window trim until our eyes were going to fall out of our heads. We personally looked at exterior trim on probably 500 houses. There are parts of our budget where we came in under the average (such as our kitchen and our hardwood floors with my husband installing) and those are all well worth it seeing our beautiful shingles going up. They are Hardi and are primed. We will paint them grey with white trim.

Friday, February 22, 2013


My girls LOVE exploring the house (under close supervision of course!).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Second floor walls arrive!

We headed out the land yesterday to watch the upper walls go up. It was very fun to see until one of the works stepped off the edge of the second floor and fell! Luckily he only jammed his thumb a bit.

Wallsbeing lowered from the crane.

Front of house:

 Back of house: