The House Appraisal – Will our value go up?

The House Appraisal – Will our value go up?

It has been three years since we purcashed this lovely house, and three years since our last home appraisal. In those three years, we have changed so much, that I start to look track of what the house looked like when we bought it. I actually went and pulled up the last appraisal with pictures and everything! OMG!!

In the past three years, we have redone the kitchen, bathroom, all three upstairs bedrooms, the mudroom and stairs going downstairs, built a basement kitchen, gutted the downstairs bathroom (our next project!), built a back porch, painted the front porch and foundation, put up shutters and completely changed the gardens! I know there is more, but like I said, I start to loose track. The last three years have been a whirlwind of change and upgrades! Our latest project has been my favourite! We recently tore up all of the old carpets and refinished the hardwood flooring, painted the walls and put in new doors and baseboards!! This was our last project before getting the house appraised again to see where we stand πŸ™‚

Tomorrow is our home appraisal and I sit here feeling nervous. Like studying for a test for three years and waiting to see if you will pass! It has been quite the adventure so far and it is like tomorrow will tell us if the direction we took was the right one!

I think this last project alone will make all the difference. Here are some updated pictures of our living room, dining room and hallway. They are still not complete as I cannot figure our what furniture to put in or what pictures to put on the walls, but for now, I LOVE IT!

Wish us luck πŸ™‚

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DIY Shutters

DIY Shutters

Sometimes, a window just needs a shutter. We live in a big white house with a big white garage. We needed something to break all that white up!

IMAG0526As you know, I would rather build something out of leftovers or materials kicking around then spend hundreds of dollars. In this case, I would rather have my husband build something πŸ™‚

We needed a bunch of shutters for our garage, kitchen window and 4 windows on the front of the house. Those plastic or vinyl shutters have no personality, not to mention what they cost….CRAZY!

Here is a $100 DIY shutter idea!! That was the total cost of ALL of our shutters, stain, etc. We made 12 shutters = $8.33 each!!

You will need some wood planks. Here is a great use for pallets if your windows aren’t that big. You can pick those up for free a lot of time (as long as you are fast. Pintrest has caused a high demand for pallets)

IMAG0525Our windows are fairly large, so it us cost around $60 in wood materials. Still under the cost of one new pair of shutters. The rest of the money was spent on wood stain.

6 screws hold these babies together! They could not be easier to make (that is what hubby said anyways) and they look so rustic and charming.

IMAG0524Here is a set of shutters before staining. We stuggled with the colour and in the end decided to keep the wood look. I am so glad we did because it really made them look AWESOME! Plus it saved us from having to prime and paint a million coats πŸ™‚

We used a semi transparent walnut stain. It gave it the appearance of barn board. It took two coats to be dark enough.

IMAG0527IMAG0531The shutters gave the house a whole new look! It was like they were always meant to be there! Not bad for $100 and a couple hours of my husbands time!!

Now I just need to get my hanging plants up and we are ready for front porch entertaining!

 

diy shuttersπŸ™‚

Making a runner out of a remnant carpet

Making a runner out of a remnant carpet

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Let me start off by telling you this project is not for the faint of heart! If you have any level of OCD, do not try this! It will drive you mad! It will never be perfect and you can seriously spend hours and hours trying. What it will do is save you hundreds of dollars if you can look past the minor imperfections.

What you will need:

  • Carpet remnant
  • Sharp knife, long ruler or piece of straight boardΒ  and sharpie to cut remnant to size
  • Hot glue gun
  • LOTS of hot glue sticks
  • A popsicle stick or flat object to push the hot glue into the carpet
  • Sharp scissors to trim carpet edges
  • A glass of wine for when you are finished….you will need it!

We recently underwent a huge floor refinishing project. By that, I mean we ripped out old carpets, sanded and stained a floor and coated it with protective wax. There was a lot of sweat, tears and swear words that went into the project, so we want to make sure that it looks this good for a long time!

So we started pricing area rugs and a 20′ runner for our hallway….OUCH! It was so much money that we decided to get ourselves into yet another DIY project! We already had a lot of carpet remnant that we got to put into our music school teaching rooms (which we have not done yet). The colour is perfect to match our new living room/dining room and hallway so we thought we would make area rugs and a runner out of the remnant.IMAG0505

After cutting our pieces, the edges were a little uneven and fraying really bad already. We needed to stop them from fraying first before we could start to even it out.

IMAG0506I flipped the carpet over and the bottom is like burlap. Strands weaving back and forth. If one unravels…..they all unravel!!

IMAG0508I ran some hot glue along the very edge of the burlap and used a paint stir stick to push the glue into the fabric. It created a nice plastic like edging to keep the carpet from fraying out. Warning….the glue will stick to your “pusher” so make sure to keep peeling it off. I tried a metal scrapper and it stuck just as bad.

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IMAG0513 It took a lot of glue sticks to finish this 20 foot runner (like 20) and took me about an hour. After testing it, it seemed to be holding the carpet together nicely!

After flipping it over, I realized I had a lot of trimming to do. This is where it gets tough. I learned it will never be perfect and look like something that is professionally binded….but you can try for hours to make it look like that!! I used very sharp scissors and trimmed it for a long, long time. I finally just came to terms with the fact that it is what it is…..and it didn’t cost me a couple hundred dollars πŸ™‚

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So in the end, would I choose to do this again? I am not sure. It is back breaking, finger burning work. But the runner does look really great (if you dont look too closely) and does exactly what it needs to do. Another great example of money or time πŸ™‚

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DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Five (Choosing a Finish)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Five (Choosing a Finish)

I researched this over and over. Everyone said that if you need a very tough finish to use polyurathane. We have three dogs, like to have parties and I cannot for anything get my husband to take his shoes off. I think we are a prime candidate to use polyurathane!

But looking at pictures, it isnt the look I want. I would hate to cover up that beautiful floor with a layer of “plastic”. I also dislike shiny floors.

These are the things that made me think polyurathane might not be what I wanted, but what final deal was learning how to repair scratched in a poly floor…..you resand! NO WAY!!!

We decided that going back to wax was the way to go. It is easy to apply ( we already had a buffer anyways) and touch ups are easy. It is also a low luster, and doesn’t take away from the grain of natural beauty of the floor. It may not be a durable,Β  but it is fixable!!

We went with Minwax Dark floor paste wax. It worked great and made the floors look amazing! I got on my hands and knees and rubbed it in (pretty thickly) with an old t-shirt. Then Jack waited a half hour and buffed it going once against the grain and then with the grain.

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You can see here the living room is waxed but the hallway isn’t. Such a big difference!

 

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So that is it! We now have new floors!! I love them!

I hope this helps you when deciding to DIY your own hardwood floors. Finding the right way to do it isn’t always possible online because everyone is different and every floor is different.

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

 

Read more on our floor finishing adventure below:

 

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day One (Removing Wax)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Two (Square Buffer Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Three (Drum Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Four (Staining)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Five (Choosing a finish)

 

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Four (Staining)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Four (Staining)

Ok, so removing the wax and sanding out the floors was an interesting process, but it all came down to the moment of truth….staining the floor. This could go wrong on so many levels. We were going a dark walnut and after reading about how it could become blotchy, we were scared. All this work and we would have to sand it out again.

It was recommended to use a pre-stain conditioner to moisten the wood, pop up the grain and allow the stain to be applied evenly. So we went out in seach of supplies. We chose a minwax system with the pre-stain and dark walnut stain.

The conditioner is like a thin oil water. It is like magic in a can. Once applied the floor grain just popped up out of nowhere, giving us a brand new looking floor.

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If didn’t want it dark, I would have just left it like this. It was beautiful, but very orange. You are supposed to put your stain on within 2 hours of applying the pre-stain conditioner. This was a challange since were doing two rooms and a hallway. Make sure you go fast!!

After the conditioner was applied, it was the moment of truth. Applying the stain.

Let me just save you the anticipation…..I looked amazing!! It wasn’t even the same floors.

 

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Read more on our floor finishing adventure below:

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day One (Removing Wax)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Two (Square Buffer Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Three (Drum Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Four (Staining)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Five (Choosing a finish)

 

 

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Three (Drum Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Three (Drum Sander)

If you read the post before this one, you learned that square buffer sanders suck! We was a waste of time and money. Our only option left was to rent a drum sander. Now if you have read up on drum sanders, you will learn that they can make big marked in your floors if you are not careful. (we learned this the hard way even after reading up on them, so be very careful!)

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After the first pass with the drum sander, the difference was very noticable. Here is a half and half shot of the square buffer floor vs. the drum sander after only one pass:

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It is a no brainer now to us….skip the rental of the square buffer sander if you have old flooring. It just doesn’t do the job.

We used the drum sander for two days and got it down to bare wood. For really tough spots, try going backwards over the spot. It puts a little more pressure on the sander getting deeper into the wood.

Here is what we ended up with!!! Raw wood ready to be stained!!!

 

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Read more on our floor finishing adventure below:

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day One (Removing Wax)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Two (Square Buffer Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Three (Drum Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Four (Staining)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Five (Choosing a finish)

 

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Two (Square Buffer Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Two (Square Buffer Sander)

After removing all of the wax from the floors (See this link for more information), we were ready to sand out the previous stain and level the hardwood which has been sitting under a carpet for 40 years. We went to the local hardware store and rented a square buffer sander. Let me give you a piece of advice here…….these sanders don’t work very good. Read on for more info!!

While Jack went to rent the sander, I prepped the house for the attack of the dust!! I tapped off all doorways and got out the very fashionable dust masks!!! Ain’t I pretty!!

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Jack started going over the floors numerous times and the colour coming off was exciting! He kept making passes and I followed him everywhere with a vacuum to keep the dust down (which worked really well!).

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All of the shine came off and we could see bare wood! YEA! We were so excited and hoping to get the stain on the floor the next day πŸ™‚

Here is a comparison picture.

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This is what our floors looked like after using the square buffer sander.

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WELL……this is where the story get sad. The next morning we woke up in a whole new light and realized that we didnt get all of the stain off at all. There were patches EVERYWHERE! Jack to the square buffer sander over them again and again and they just didn’t budge. The problem was that the floor was old and the boards had warped with age. We could sand the outter ridges of the boards, but the middle was untouchable. In a better light, this is what it looked like 😦

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We needed a new plan. This sanders cost us $100 with the paper and didn’t do us much good. We had to go bigger! I had read a lot of drum sanders (mainly that they can wreck your floor and they are hard to use and scary and expensive to rent) but it looked like that is what is was going to take. We couldn’t turn back now.

Read more on our floor refinishing adventure below!

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day One (Removing Wax)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Two (Square Buffer Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Three (Drum Sander)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Four (Staining)

DIY Floor Refinishing – Day Five (Choosing a finish)