Friday, November 14, 2014

The Kitchen.

We've come a long way folks!  Check her out:

2 shades of light gray.  Abalone and Silver Fox to be exact.  There's still plenty more to do (see wish list below), but this room already seems a bit more open than it did just last week.  Painting the living room drastically changed the make up of that room, but I think emotionally seeing the results of these painted cabinets has done it for me.  I now feel like this is my home.  Not a place that I'm decorating for someone else.  The lighter colors seem to have heightened the room.  I can't wait to see what painting the rest of the wood paneling/trim will do.

The technique for tackling this job was similar to that of the living room.  But unlike the living room, there was alot more prep work that took place before painting time.  For example, I had the pleasure of unscrewing 45 cabinet doors and handles. Yay me!

Because I decided to paint the cabs 2 different colors, I had to create two separate work stations in my basement to keep myself from accidentally painting a door the wrong color.

First, I numbered each cabinet door on paper and then, in real life, with masking tape.  He's my lovely illustration:

I was mindful enough to number all of my dark gray doors first before moving on to the light gray doors.  It's so much easier to remember that the dark gray doors are numbered 1-22 then it is to have a random set of numbers that represent all light gray doors. (I'm a working mommy - I have to cut myself some lack any way possible).

Next, it was time to take the cabinet doors down.  I unscrewed each door from the cabinet, and then, because we weren't replacing our hinges and it's extremely important that all hinges are re-attached with the same door, I only loosened the screw that attached the hinge to the door just enough to be able to rotate it so that I could paint the door without painting the hinge.  This cuts down on labeling, bagging, and anything else you'd have to do to keep each hinge with its respective door.

 Now, we decided to keep our existing handles (sans cover plate) and, while I'm not certain of the importance to keep the handles with their original door, I decided it would be safe to just place each handle in front of its door.  Here's what my little "workshop" looked like (ignore that the doors are already painted):

I used boxes and old canvas art to place the cabinet doors on top of.  I even used wood trim that my husband has taken off our basement walls to stain & glaze.  The proper thing to use is a workhorse...or something that is level and a bit more elevated and will allow you to paint the door edges with ease.  **Because my motto is "lofty for less", and I don't own said workhorses, I was not about to pay money for the comfort.  And as a result (of bending down constantly to prime and paint 45 cabinet doors...oh, and hauling 45 heavy cabinet doors from the kitchen to the basement...), I am sore as all get out, but no extra money was spent, and my body feels somewhat worked out.**

Once all of my doors were placed in their proper areas of my basement, I cleaned them all with Krud Krutter and began the 3 hour task of priming them (oil-based).  Fun.

Hubby and I decided not to paint the interiors of our cabinets or the door interiors, which cuts out alot of painting time as well as curing time.  We like the natural wood contrast when opening the door, but you may not so you'll need to give yourself more time to tackle this project if you decide to paint everything.

After priming, I painted on two coats of paint (which unintentionally took 4 days, #tiredworkingmomprobs).  The colors mentioned above are Benjamin Moore colors, but I had them mixed at Sherwin-Williams using their premier Pro-Classic line.  I wanted my cabinets to look as professionally painted as possible without much effort on my end, and I have to admit, this did the job.  The paint rolled (and even brushed on smoothly), had great coverage and leveling capabilities.  I cannot stress enough how much using the proper paint and tools makes any project look more professional with little leg work from you.  Oh, and speaking of tools, I used a 4" high density foam roller (this helps to deliver a smooth application) and a high quality 2" brush to get in the nooks and crannies.

Once the paint was applied, the waiting game ensued.  Four days for us, but be sure to read your paint label to determine the proper amount of wait time for you.

After time was up, we re-attached the handles and then re-installed the doors - an unexpectedly painstaking process.  Lovely!

In the coming months (depending on what sales hit, of course), we plan on doing the following:

- Painting the walls a light cream color
- Installing back splash (light cream) above the counters
- Painting the rest of the wood trim, windows, and doors (white with a touch of beige)
- "Thickening" the trim near the ceilings
- Installing an industrial looking light fixture above the kitchen
- Wood planking the ceiling...should be fun
- Installing a double barn door system to cover the laundry room and entrance to my sewing room
- Installing a new back door (I want one with more windows to hopefully make the breakfast area a sunshine-y mess)!

Stay Tuned!

Monday, November 10, 2014

That Time We Paid Off $92,000 of Debt.

It happened.  Took us 3.5 years but we can proudly say that we are debt free (with the exception of the house - but that's next on our Plan of Attack list).

Getting out of debt was quite the journey.  (Our official Debt Freedom date was September 16, 2011).  There were alot of sacrifices that we had to make along the way:

  • Our wedding and honeymoon were less than epic.  Deciding to only pay cash limited a lot of our decision making.  So,we used good quality plastic ware instead of China.  And we DIY'ed just about anything we could imagine - our centerpieces, favors, wedding programs.  I even made my dress and my bridal party's dresses.  Yup, it was that serious!  So, less than epic, yes.  But fully paid for before we said, "I do".

           Remind me to recap all of our wedding money saving tips in the near future...
  • We had to turn down alot of invites to last-minute parties, events, or get togethers.  Don't get me wrong - we had fun, but only within the parameters of our budget.  When our Entertainment money was spent for the month, that was it.  You had to give us a few weeks heads up if you really wanted us at your event.  There's nothing wrong with a little pre-planning, right?  I think this kind of discipline helps every aspect of your life (message).
  • We got made fun of by friends and family...primarily because of the sacrifices we made during our debt overhaul journey.  We got rid of cable (my grandmother still doesn't understand why we ditched it; she thinks I'm depriving my husband)!  My husband's friends would jokingly ask if he was allowed to basically "come out and play".  They would even offer to pay his way at times (which was/is totally not a problem)!
  • Did I mention we saved up for every purchase??  That mean't 1 of 2 things - either we had to prolong gratification, like waiting to go on vacations...or we had to make do with older, more seasoned items - like buying a "new to us" 7 year old car (9 years old, to date) because that was all that we could afford at the time.
  • We had to say "no" to ourselves alot.  I think you get the picture, right?
Our debt-freedom journey is the main reason for this blog.  Our taste of the "finer things" have not changed, but our wallets are in no position to fork out the dough that these things typically require.  This is a lifestyle change.  Our debt overhaul journey has helped us realize that sacrifices have to be made in order to achieve our ultimate goal.  And for us, that's financial independence (yes, house loan - that means we're coming for you)!!  We have a ways to go, but DIYing our way to our "dream home" is the key to helping us reach our goal a lot more quickly!

Here's to living Lofty 4 Less!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Main Level Bathroom Update.

I'm finally at a good stopping place with this room, my friends.  Check her out:

This is a very small space...hard to photograph accurately, but hopefully you get the idea.

There's still plenty more that needs to be done (which I'll list out at the end of this post), but for now, I'm out of inspiration to continue doctoring this room.  

I would like to stencil the walls, and even made a valiant attempt using a gold sharpie, but I wasn't impressed with the end result:

So, I painted over the design, hung up the mirror and called it a day.  The inspiration will hit me one day, and, when it does, I'll be ready.  Until then, guess it's time to move on to the kitchen cabinets.

But before I take off, I'd like to leave you with a few infamous before pics (mostly so I can feel good about the progress that I have made so far).

Oh, and a list of what has been completed vs. what I would like to make happen in the future (subject to change, of course):


  • Removed wallpaper
  • Primed and painted walls
  • Smoothed out ceiling
  • Removed tile border
  • New light fixture
  • New mirror
  • Painted and glazed vanity
  • Spray painted all hardware bronze (vanity handles, vent cover, and outlet cover plate)
Still To Come
  • New faucet (already ordered)
  • Wood trim to border the floor
  • Paint the door and window (an off-whitish color, maybe)
  • More potpourri or decor for the basket that's resting on the toilet

Wish List
  • Light gold stencil (trying to find something that doesn't border on making this room look too busy)
  • Add a roman shade (still going back and forth on this one.  Currently, a "half shutter" shields the outside world from viewing my guest's, installing a shade will be easier on the eyes, but may be an annoyance for one of my more modest guests to have to lower every time he/she has to use the bathroom.  Guess we'll see what happens.  Actually, who am I kidding?  This decision will fall on me finding the perfect fabric.  If said fabric is found, all logic is out the window.  The shade is getting made.  At least I'm honest).