Sunday, April 15, 2012

Curb Appeal

Last year when I bought this house, it needed a tremendous amount of work. It seems like when I get one thing done, it's that much more noticeable what else is wrong! The curb appeal was (and still is) lacking so much but I just do what I can as I can and try to make the biggest impact possible. Since I'm doing everything myself and since money always seems non-existent these days (the economy seems to be steadily bad or maybe that's just in my little world), it's slow slow slow progress.

Ahhhh back to curb appeal. My little house was in the pits of despair with it's rusted and peeling wrought iron railings, falling apart trim, no landscaping, peeling painted porch (sides, steps and flooring), and a mega crack the depth of the entire porch. Some time, less than a gallon of paint (the special kind with the gritty texture to avoid slipping on it when it's wet which I learned the hard way as the old flooring resulted in slipping of not only myself but my parents and thank goodness no one fell!), 3 cans of spray paint, sanding paper, some mulch, some landscape fabric, some edging, a few little bushes and plants in need of love, and a WHOLE LOT of hard hard work....and the place looks like someone actually lives here now lol

Some before photos (these are when I first looked at the house July 2011 and before I did anything at all):

For some reason, there were wires, vines (mostly dead), and thorny things all over the porch and railings. My Dad, nephew and myself got out there and started cutting wires, vines and bushes like crazy before I moved in. So by Autumn, everything was much neater and I'd physically washed the concrete areas with a bucket of soapy water and a heavy duty sponge, but still you can tell everything was still really ugly. These were taken in late September 2011:

Fast forward through all that to today...back in October, I sanded the wrought iron and painted all of those black to their original state (this took like a week I believe it was). I filled in that large crack a few days after that. About a week or so ago, I worked a little on the landscaping with what I had here to work with. Eventually, I have big plans for that but for now at least it's not totally bare. Then, today, finally, I have it all painted. This is the after:

I ache so badly from crawling around on that rough exterior. The spots on my knees and tops of my feet (through sweatpants and shoes) plus my sunburn is a big reminder of my day....but it was so very worth it. Each little thing I did to make that front look like it does today was a wonderful feeling. Though each time I could see how badly things still needed work. And, they still do. But I do think it looks much better :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mailbox Change

Back when I got this house, it had a part of a mailbox here. No door and broken with holes in it, so needless to say I needed another one and fast. 

I’ve been working on my mailbox…it was one that was “free” that I found as I was working at a property next door to one that was being dozed down from the trauma it received in a storm here last April. The mailbox didn’t require digging or a post (perfect for me!) and it was just seconds before being put in a dumpster when I asked if I could have it. And sure enough a year later, it looks very different. :)



Friday, January 20, 2012

No More Storage Building!!

Back in September 2010, I almost moved to New Mexico. That's when I quit my office job, sold or gave away most of my possessions, said good-bye to my family and friends, found an AWESOME job there, and put everything else in storage. As life would have it, that didn't end up being the case. While it was a hard recovery process (and still is in a few ways!), I have pulled through it just fine. Back in November, I was finally able to retrieve all of my things from my leather couch!!! I have a couch again - awwwww yeah!! This photo was taken back in November and there are things in my little boxes on the wall now, but you get the general idea of how the living room is shaping up:

The bookcase you can see to the left of the couch is one my Daddy made for me many years ago. I've moved it everywhere I've gone and will forever treasure it. It's heavy as can be and he's not happy with it as it's one of the first things he ever made with wood and he's always saying he'd do alot of things different now. For me, though, I think it's perfect. That bookcase is solid and well built and I love it!

As you can see, the floors still need refinishing at some point, when I can do that. With those, I don't know anything about doing them myself and I know a very meticulous lady who can do these for me when I'm it's just a matter of time until I can proceed with more on this house. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Halloween 2011, A Bit Behind

One of the first things I needed to do before I moved into my little cottage was to replace the front door. This was something I felt must be done immediately! Life had other plans, though, and I'm unfortunately still using the door that's definitely seen better days. While it's still structurally sound, it's a definitely eyesore with years of weathering without protection and well basically it wasn't taken care of - inside or out!

I had a friend of mine who does some construction work look at it a few months ago. He said he would put that on a list in the back of my mind and keep looking for a door to replace it. It's not a standard size door so running to Lowe's would not immediately fix it unless the trim around the current door would be cut (it's a metal siding) and the entire thing would be a very involved project. Mind you, it's not that I'm afraid of a big project or else I'd never have taken on this house at all lol but I do want to try to preserve the cottage feel of the house. While the current door doesn't lend anything to that, I don't want to continue that theme either. So, I worked on both the storm and exterior doors to make them look as good as possible until something else can be done.

Obviously, I'm very very behind on getting posts on my blog and I'm actually currently posting October happenings. I did take a photo of the door when I had put my Halloween wreath up. After cleaning, painting, repairing and replacing the old house numbers, here's what it looks like now (minus the Halloween wreath of course lol):

A peek back at what it used to look like on the day I got the house:

A friend brought some hay bales over from his farm for my front yard display. I already had a few things to use with it, though this year I'm hoping for a larger and more fun one. You can see more of the bottom area of the porch in this photo:

I see that doing this blog helps me see how far I have come. I'm one person trying to do so many things and often it feels like I'm getting nowhere. Then I come here and write my post and actually see my progress. This truly makes it feel worth it!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

For the Love of Paris

Years ago when I worked for a company where I had to attend a seminar in Memphis, Tennessee, I visited some of the local shops there during our extended lunch break. I fell in love with a photography print. It spoke to me with my love of Paris, black and white, as well as romance. The seminar was a two day seminar so I drove back the next day to the same little shop and purchased the print, unframed. I took it to Michael's back when there was a Michael's in Jackson and had it framed. This print was special and I wanted a special frame for it. In the end, this "print" costed me almost $400 by the time I added the non-glare glass and all that. So many people have laughed at me over my expensive print purchase, seeing as how I obviously did NOT find a bargain but rather just knew what I wanted.

I suppose my purchase was a good one, though, because I've had it for about 15 years now and it's always displayed happily in my living room no matter where I've lived. I finally was able to place it here in my new house and immediately the house felt more like "my place" than before I put it up. Here's my special piece of art along with my letters of love beside it:

And a close up of my special art that even makes me fall in love with it all over again as I post the photos here for you to see:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Living Room Ceiling

First of all, I'm sorry it's been so long since I've done a new blog post. I've not been very good at keeping up with everything lately, but I feel 2012 is going to be very promising in so many ways! Progress on the house continues very very slowly but I've got tons of things to blog about that I've already completed here. Remember the dropped living room ceiling when I bought this house? This was taken the first day I looked at it:

Then I tried removing a portion of the ceiling back around the first of September to see what was underneath it - maybe I'd find a pleasant surprise:

Underneath it was the tongue and groove flooring that's in the attic, so I thought maybe I'd be able to pull the entire ceiling down for a rustic wooden ceiling. Alas, no because the flooring didn't go all the way across the living room. Special thanks to my friend Adam for undertaking this adventure with me back in October. We were able to get the old ceiling down to get rid of the bow in the ceiling. What a mess of insulation and moldy sheet rock!! 

But then we had it all down and cleaned up (I itched for days thanks to that insulation and yes I wore gloves and long was a mess!):

We used scraps left over from where the bathroom work was done to fill in all the holes and ended up only spending less than $10 for one more sheet of drywall to get the entire area covered:

At this point today, I've gotten the joint tape up and have countersunk the screws...all I'm lacking is the large task of getting the texture on there to match the rest of the ceiling, which is very very thick and very very swirly. That will come much later as there are other things that need attention worse in this house. But this is what it looks like now:

That brings us to where it is now, in January. It's nice not to feel like the ceiling is going to fall down on anything now! :) There's plenty more to share and hopefully by the time I ever get caught up here I'll have more things to show that I've not gotten finished yet!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kitchen Forward Progress

Ahhhh kitchens and painting. That's what I've worked incredibly hard on lately. The inside and outside of all the kitchen cabinets which go very deep in the corners and involve me actually climbing inside them with most of my body and using a flashlight to see to paint them. Ummm yeah that was fun. (NOT!! LOL)...

Even more challenging than the painting of the cabinets was keeping my little angel kitty cat from climbing inside. Most of the time I was successful...the one time I wasn't, this was the result:

Let's just say she wasn't thrilled about having her little paws scrubbed afterwards either lol but we made it through it....all 4 of them. lol 

Just a before photo reminder:

And so far, this is what I have done...

The countertop and backsplash haven't been touched other than cleaned...and they are way worse than what those photos represent. there are nails in areas holding that laminate down to the'll be replaced as soon as I can get that far, but so far...what do you think??