Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring has sprung (well, kind of)

We're finally starting to show some signs of spring, and it's got me chomping at the bit to actually pick back up on projects that have been put on the back burner all winter. This season has been absolutely brutal, and even after my seasonal depression passed, it's gotten me into hibernation mode. I haven't wanted to leave the house, or even my blanket covered spot on the couch, for that matter. It's just been too cold to do anything that requires moving around. And, this being the first winter in our house, we've discovered that this old house does NOT retain heat well. The vent situation for our forced-heat system is not ideal (the only vent in our living room is completely covered by our couch, with no other options), and our windows are drafty. This has forced us to make the decision to replace at least most of our downstairs windows this summer, which unfortunately will eat up the majority of our project budget. I'm not going to let that stop me make some cosmetic improvements, though, which will hopefully pack a pretty major punch on their own. Here's what I'm looking to get done in the next few months, before summer gets into full swing:

  1. Paint the guestroom. This is the thing I'm most anxious to do at the moment. I have big plans for this room, and right now, with its pink and white stripes (and one random green wall) the room is an eyesore. I've been using the room for the past week or so as a makeshift workout room, so I've been studying the room and taking notes. We currently don't have any furniture for the room at all, which makes it a pretty expensive project, but we have to start somewhere, and painting is the first step. I'm undecided right now as to whether I want to paint the walls white or light gray like most of the other walls in the house. Another concern I have is making the room nicer than our master, which seems kind of counterproductive. Right now I'm not sure if I want to buy an inexpensive bed from Ikea and put it in there, or move our current bed from the master into the guest room and buy a nicer bed for us. The bed in our master is a black Hemnes from Ikea, though, and I'd prefer a lighter, more feminine feel for the guest room, so we were planning on buying the white iron-framed Leirvik. The other major issue with the room is that the hardwoods in that room (and that room only) are painted white (!!). It looks absolutely terrible. I almost want to just bite the bullet and carpet the room, but the hardwoods upstairs need re-done (to the point of giving me the worst splinter I've ever had in my foot at one point), and the carpet in the office is a mess, so it would make way more sense to just wait and save up to re-do the whole floor. So that means we'll also need a very large area rug, which will be a pretty large investment as well. But that way, when we re-do the floors and want to show them off more, I'll have the rug to move to a different room, as opposed to having to rip up carpet that we wouldn't be able to use again. As for right now, though, I'm seriously tempted to run out to home depot right now and buy some primer and just dive in.
  2. (Still) Put stuff on the walls. I'm still scared to jump in (how stupid does that sound!). But I've been itching to just do it lately, and now I've noticed my severe lack of frames. I need to stock up, and get rid of these bare walls. I've put a spending embargo on myself to build my savings back up (my bank account was severely injured between buying this house and the holiday season this year), but I think I need to set aside a dedicated "frame fund". I think for now I just want to buy a bunch of Ribba frames from Ikea - they're simple, inexpensive, and clean looking.
  3. Paint the kitchen. I know I mentioned all of this in my new year's post, but the kitchen is driving me more and more nuts as the weather brightens up. The red feels oppressive, and the cream trim is dingy and dirty looking - especially the back door, which was never really painted properly to begin with. I want this room light, bright, and clean. I really don't think that I want to paint the cabinets, but I'm still bummed that they're off-white, and concerned that once I brighten everything else up that they'll look dirty. I guess we'll see. And after doing some research, I don't think that we need to tear down the plaster and put up drywall anymore, and we can probably get away with skim-coating the two weirdly textured walls (which is what we should have done in our powder room before painting). Which also seems like a huge, tedious project, but probably not as much so as tearing down walls. I keep having to talk myself out of just painting over the texture. 
  4. Paint the staircase and install a runner. I'm thinking dark stained wood and white, and I'd really like to find a black and white herringbone runner, similar to this one.
  5. Spruce up the outside - namely, the porch(es). Right before we moved in, the FHA home inspection required the previous owners to re-paint sections of the porch due to some chipping paint, and also to install railings on the front and back steps. Unfortunately, right around the time we were buying the house, we were getting record breaking amounts of rain for over two months straight. To the point where we almost didn't pass the final home inspection due to the basement being wet. So when the previous owner painted the required parts of the porch, the paint never dried properly and looks...weird. And patchy. Also, he couldn't find the exact color to match what was already painted, and didn't have time to paint the entire huge porch (and was also living 10 hours away to begin with), so the new paint doesn't match the original paint. And the railings that were installed are still just raw wood. I'd like to just paint the whole porch white, I think. We need to discuss exactly what we're going to do, but something definitely needs to be done. Plus, we need to install new light fixtures, and I think the electric needs repaired on the porch. Right now all the light we have is a flood light, which is meant to light the driveway.
I kind of got off on a tangent there, as usual. That's a ton of stuff, and I don't really plan on finishing ALL of that before summer...probably more like the guest room and maybe the staircase and picture hanging by then, but once I start thinking about stuff I want to get done, it's hard to stop! I'm also excited to do some spring deep-cleaning projects and open some windows to let some fresh air in. Bring on the warm weather, please!

Just a quick note, also: I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how boring this blog has gotten. It's not that home-improvement is boring...actually, most of the blogs that I enjoy are home improvement themed, and they're all wonderful. I'm just not good at writing about home improvement, nor am I particularly good at home improvement in general, at least not yet. Right now I'm kind of just writing this to chronicle my first home ownership experience for myself, so I can read back on it once I know what I'm doing and laugh at myself. So I want to apologize if anyone is still reading, and thank you for continuing to read, for whatever reason. Hopefully some day I'll get my writing spark back and start being entertaining again, but for now, I'm in a pretty boring place and I'm pretty content with that.

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