Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fall Wreath

Just a quick photo of the wreath I made a few weeks back for my front door.  Because even though my thermometer says 84, somewhere in the US, someone is enjoying a lovely fall day....!

Houston, We Have a Problem...

About three weeks ago, we discovered that the water heater in the garage appeared to have a small leak.  You know, the water heater that just passed inspection in July.  Yep, that one.

Now I'm what you would call cheap frugal minded, so we didn't instantly go out and buy a new water heater.  For several reason actually.
  1. They're expensive
  2. it was only leaking a little bit
  3. They're expensive
I don't know about you, but I always go straight back to the clearance section of my local home improvement store to check things out.  The second thing I do is check their competitor to make sure I'm actually getting the best deal.  I did mention I'm cheap frugal minded.  We also decided to upgrade to a large capacity because as a family of six, particularly in the winter, we can go through copious quantities of hot water.

I'm happy to say that I did find brand new, 50 gal. water heater in the scratch and dent section!  The cap on top got dented in shipping.  After confirming that it would in no way impact the functionality of the water heater, I happily walked out with it, saving $300.  Yes, I did say $300.  Because the cap has a dent.  

Which turned out to be a really good thing, because it's the only money we're going to save on this project...

While taking down the water heater (side note, make sure your water heater is completely drained or it is insanely heavy!!) The Builder noticed that the ceiling seemed spongy.  Our inspector had called some dried water spots on the ceiling, but since they were dry, we thought they were from the water leak last year with the toilet upstairs, and we didn't stress over it.  In fact, we didn't give it a second thought.  Mistake #1. After giving it only the slightest of pokes, his finger went right through.  And we realized we needed to take down more of the ceiling to find out what the issue is.
It isn't pretty.

Apparently, not only did the upstairs toilet leak and ruin the ceiling in the laundry, but now the drain in the bathtub is leaking, and ALL of the ceiling is damaged.  There's a possibility that the beam is bad too.  We're going to let it all dry out before we make the determination.  Because when we pulled the back wall down behind the water heater, it was a big hot mess (a term I'm quickly learning since moving here...).

This also effects the bathroom upstairs, which is now out of commission for showers.  The tub is going to have to come out so the repair can be made as well as check to make sure the floor is sound.  My daughter's room, which you can see the water damage on the sub floor, may also need her laminate floor replaced.  Not an project we had any plans to do, even though I'm not a fan of laminate wood floors in a bedroom.  But if it does need to be replaced, we'll be putting in carpet.

The Builder Removing Drywall
This is what was hiding behind the wall when we removed the water heater.  The 'little' leak we thought we had was being masked by the now ruined area rug.  It was completely absorbing the water leak so we couldn't "see" it.  Because the soon to be man cave garage is way to hot in the summer to use for The Builder, and it's been collecting 'stuff' for the last six months - the last time we cleaned it out.  The wood was so wet, it was slimy. YUCK!!  On a positive note, there isn't an electrical outlet on this wall, and The Builder is going to have this portion of the garage for his ManCave.  So this is going to give us the opportunity to install some much needed overhead lighting, since the ceiling is down, as well as electrical outlets. We're also looking into installing a cooling unit so he can use this space in the summer as well.  But that will be after we replace the a/c unit, which also died this week (I'm on a roll, but that's something we anticipated buying the Spring because we already knew it was on it's last leg...we just hadn't anticipated it going out the last week or two of summer ).


So here we have it, gaping hole in the garage ceiling, drywall torn out, and to add insult to injury, we had a rodent enter through a hole in the now open wall, and will be calling out pest control company on Monday to have them pay a visit.

We're also now pricing a new tub and debating the merits of a all in one unit or a tub with new tile.  I suspect between drywall, a new tub, and a new shower fixture (that one was actually desperately needed but was way down on the bottom of the priority list because it technically functions ok) that I'm easily looking at a $500 bathroom remodel.  And since sharing the microscopic shower in our master bedroom simply doesn't appeal to us, as well as the fact that we are hoping my parents will be out for Christmas, the bathroom project is going to have to go on the fast tract for completion...
See the little dent in the top of the water heater?  That's how we got it for a steal.  

The Builder also made a new pedestal for the water heater.  The ramp you see was only temporary.  The other base was rotted through.  I'm amazed the water heater was still standing, it was really that bad.  The Builder increased the size so he could secure it to the studs. Whoever built the the last one had braces they attached to the studs and then to the base.  It was odd. We're also talking about putting a strap on it for safety purposes, even though they're not required her in TX.  

I am happy to say the water heater works well, and we are looking forward to having the extra 10 gal. capacity once we get the other bathroom in working order again. Also, since this is considerably newer (we believe the other one was original to the house) the energy star rating will keep us from seeing a spike in our natural gas bill for going to a larger unity.  This one is only about $30 more a year to run than the previous unit.  I can deal with that!

So, it looks like my red front door is going to have to wait a little longer.  Maybe spring...proving the new a/c and heating unit don't zap my entire budget! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Decor Updates


Shanty 2 Chic's Fall Table Scape
So even though fall in Texas is almost non-existent (I promise, my electric bill shows me summer is still going strong every September!) by mid-August, I'm ready for the cooler weather and a change of scenery.  I've been stalking browsing Pinterest this week, and it's clear I'm not the only one who feels this way!  I love my tiered cake stand for Spring and Summer, but I was ready to switch that out too.  Last year, I pinned this on my craft board:

So cute, right?!

My Version
I wanted to combine it with a candle votive idea I also found on Pinterest (which I thought I pinned but now can't find to share!) and then some cute Fall fill I found at Hobby Lobby.  I followed the directions on Shanty 2 Chic ...for the most part. When I stopped in to Lowes, I wasn't in my mini van. My car does NOT hold building supplies as easily as my mini van! Since I was already out running errands, I didn't want to go home and switch out cars.  So instead of the two wood pieces that the directions tell you to purchase, I bought some pre-cut pieces that would fit in my car easier.  This resulted in my table box being 36" instead of the 30" in the directions.  Because I'm too lazy to cut off the six inches.  I can live with that.

Since I was already at Lowe's for the wood, I went ahead and purchased some handles while I was there.  I might have gotten them slightly cheaper at Hobby Lobby, but I really liked the ones I found at Lowe's, and $2.97 per handle wasn't going to break my budget. The web site estimates the cost of the project to be $15.  I spent $21.  It would have been more if I hadn't had finishing nails, wood glue, and stain already in my supplies.  I don't know if those items were figured into the overall cost on Shanty 2 Chic either.  When I go to my favorite decor stores - Kirkland Home, Home Goods, Kohl's, or World Market, all of their decor items are significantly more.  I'm happy with my $21.


But my center piece wasn't the only project I've been working on.  My living room got a do-over this year too.
Last year, the wall color was darker, the TV was still over the fireplace, and my sofa was divided.  Do you remember this post? Last year was a step in the right direction, but looking back, it wasn't...done.  The brown vase is back on the mantle, but the pretty jewel toned one is the dining room. The TV is off of the wall above the fireplace, which lets me put real decor up, not some vines (although vines are what worked best last year). The flower vase on the hearth won't be staying, I just having figured out if it's staying in the room during fall or if it's going to be tucked away until after Christmas.  I really think I'm leaning towards put away until after Christmas, because it seems to spring like to me.

After many tries of re-arranging the sofa, this is the one that works best.  You notice there is no longer the big blank space above the sofa as there was in the last post!  It's not done yet though.  I have a lot more photo's I want to hang up.  Some of them need new frames, like my parents wedding photo (the frame is falling apart).  Some of them need new mats - like the picture of my son at the Long Beach Aquarium.  Some just need...frames!  So the 'holes' are left intentionally as I fill them in with photo's.  And I love that the TV is no longer the focal point. :)

























I completed a fall wreath this weekend too, but the initial photo's were blurry, and it's too late to take new photo's.  So more for another day...


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Project 2

more tan paint...
When we first looked at this home as a rental, one of the things that stuck out to me, in a good way, was the paint colors.  There was a monochromatic pallet of tan, beige, and cream on the walls that I could make work with my existing furniture (a far, far cry from the pink marble, carpet, tile and light fixtures in one of our rental homes in CA).  And really, moving into a home with a real color pallet and not renters white is a huge plus.

Fast forward three years.  We are now the home owners (YEAH!!) and I am far, far less in love with the paint scheme.  Particularly the tan.  With my chocolate brown sofa, it made the living room look smaller than it really was and cave-ish.  It's actually been a very hard color to work with since my sofa is huge and dark.  

But not anymore!!

The Builder and I spent out first two days of a our three day weekend scraping down the heavily textured walls (a huge pet peeve for us both!) and toning down those tan walls.  With the vaulted ceiling, this was no little project.  It also meant taking down all the decor and electronics.  A chore all in it's own.
left - old paint
right - new paint

With the walls freshly painted, we also decided it was time to change up the layout of our furniture.  We had put our flat screen TV over the fireplace when we moved because, well, we thought it would look best there.  And then we tried to maneuver our large, u-shaped sectional every way imaginable to make it work with the TV placement.  Eventually we put the chase lounge in the corner and lived with it like that for the past year or so.  

We've never been happy with it.

So last weekend we finally decided it was time to look at some other placement options for the TV.  At first I thought I wanted it on the big blank wall on the left side of the living room.  But again, that didn't work well with the sofa for how it's built (and getting rid of the sofa is just not an option at this point).  After much deliberation, we've determined The Builder is going to have make the matching media console that goes with the cabinet that he built last year.  No more TV on the wall.  But once we arranged the sofa and end tables based on where the TV will eventually (because it's temporarily back up on the wall over the media cabinet) the room flows beautifully now and seems so spacious.  

Ready for the update?
So we're not quite done in here.  As you can see, we haven't put any of the artwork back up the wall behind the sofa.  That's because I want a gallery wall, and I'm still working on the layout.  However I did get the artwork over the fireplace, so we have a start!  It's so nice to see my sofa back together they way it was designed to be.  This seating really works best with our large family.

I still love this rug I bought at Country Door a year or so ago.  I only wish I had bought the next size up.  The colors are so pretty in this room though.  And since we're not changing the tile (which is crazy cold in the winter months!) a rug is really a necessity.

I've been contemplating paining the bricks on my fireplace.  I don't know, I'm still on the fence about that.
Right now you can see the TV is back on the wall. This is the media cabinet that The Builder made last spring, which I LOVE. The plans came from Anna White's site, and there are plans for a matching media console, so it's one of the next building project we plan to tackle.  For now, the TV works here.  It's no higher than it was when it was above the fireplace.  I did hang the curtains higher to take advantage of the vaulted ceilings. I'm clearly going to have to buy new sheers because they are ridiculously short now that I've raised the curtain rod!  I'm fairly certain Ikea sells sheers this long as well, so I need to stop by after work.  I want to modify the turquoise colored curtain panel to have a decorative border.  The solid just looks blah to me.  Again, another project.
Loving this big blank wall!  I won't be putting the shelf back up.  It's too short now that the sofa is using all of the space.  It also collected an enormous amount of dust bunnies.  I've got lots of gallery wall layouts pinned on my Pinterest board, so I'm confident I can get this wall looking how I want.
Sorry for the dark photo on this one.  I didn't realize I had turned off the overhead light!  If you're sitting on the sofa, this is the view.  When we take the TV down, the cabinet will get moved back over to the left.  But for now, this is the best spot for the TV, and I don't want the cabinet not centered under the TV, so this is where it is for now.  My basket tower is crying out for an update!!  The dark colors just don't work anymore.  Yep, another project...

I'm also contemplating track lighting in here, since task lighting is next to impossible.  The Builder isn't thrilled about this, but this room gets dark in the late afternoon, even with the lighter color, and I would like more directional lighting than the ceiling fan offers.  Houston is HOT in the summer, so there's no way the ceiling fan light is coming down.  But additional light is really needed.