House Renovation

Let's Pour Some Concrete (Reno Day #7)

Side Yard Prepped for Concrete

You guys! We are pouring the concrete tomorrow!!! This renovation is really happening, and we are so excited. We've had a crew working here the past week getting everything ready for the pour and the last thing we needed was in inspection, which we passed today. Hey-O!

The new concrete footers and foundation will only take a day and then on Monday we start framing! I can't even imagine what it will feel like to have a structure go up. It will really start to take shape.

Oh, and did I mention we started home schooling this week? So many things happening at once! Luckily we have AWESOME kids that go with the flow and are taking all these changes in stride. Lets hope it stays that way!

I was texting my sister-in-law today and I told her how it all felt so surreal. This has been a dream of ours for a while and we never thought it would actually happen, so we keep pinching ourselves to make sure this is real life.

So, now we are trying to finalize all of our design choices: decide on paint colors, choose light fixtures, pick an apron sink or regular.

The big question is whether or not to do two toned cabinets. I LOVE the way it looks, and I think it will help disguise some of the little kid dirt that sticks to the lower cabinets. Two inpirations I really like:

Example Photo of Two Tone CabinetsExample Picture of Two Tone Cabinets 2

So there ya have it. Lots going on, lots to still go on, lots to decide on, lots of coffee to be had... Ok, I'm rambling but you get the picture! I would love any suggestions you have for the kitchen: Things you can't live without, form vs. function, or detail pieces that make you love your space.

Bathroom Hardware and Fixture Buying Guide

Bathroom Fixture Buying GuideIf you would have told me before starting this renovation that it would take me well over 20 hours to research, price compare, and purchase my bathroom fixtures I would have called you a big fat liar! Holy cow, you guys... It was exhausting!I assumed that the mecca of home renovation glory, Lowes, would just magically have everything I needed but boy was I wrong. Daniel and I decided to go with brushed nickle finishes and white ceramic toilet and vessel sink. That was the easiest decision of the entire renovation.I should also say that Daniel's ONLY design request was the faucet. He let me make every other choice and happily grouted over 700 subway tiles in our shower... That was intense. But i'm getting ahead of myself.

What We Bought, Where, and How It Went

Lowes - A Toilet and Shower Valve Handles

First, we bought this toilet from Lowe's. Previously in the bathroom we had the worlds smallest toilet. Seriously. Like the child size ones they have at Chuck-e-Cheese. We wanted an elongated bowl and a brand we trusted. So we ended up with a Kohler classic. Originally $209 but we got it on sale for $179.55. Holler! Sorry, that was weird, I wont ever say "Holler" again...toilet - A Vessel Sink

Next I searched for the vessel sink, and originally bought one at Lowes for $79 but it wasn't compatible with the faucet we wanted, so I had to return it. Then I searched all over the web for vessel sinks, but every time I found one I liked it was way too expensive. Then I stumbled upon where I found this perfect sink! And was so happy with the price of $89.99 and free shipping!vessel sink

Hunting for Hardware

Then came time to buy the hardware and unfortunately Lowe's didn't have our faucet in brushed nickle so back to the web I went searching. Here is where I spent the majority of my time.I assumed that would have what I need but wasn't pleased with the selection or price, which is rare because I am usually able to find anything I need rather quickly on Amazon. I spent hours looking deeper and deeper into a google search for the faucet we wanted and the trickiest part was that I wasn't sure what to call it. I thought it would be called a "Well Faucet" since it is reminiscent of old hand pumps for wells but no such luck. Saves the Day

Then Daniel reminded me of and after digging into their site I found Daniel's Faucet! And for a great price $86.24! And as I am gathering the pictures for this post I notice the price went up to $115.83, thank you Jesus for giving us a deal.faucet I also bought a shower head for $47.23 and some plates to cover the wall for $7 a piece (fancy contractors call these escutcheons).But the major downside to PlumbersSurplus is that they didn't give me enough product information. I read all about the faucet and it said nothing about what type of drain it came with or if it came with one at all. So, I ended up purchasing a pop-up drain for $15 but now will have to return it since the faucet did ultimately come with one.I also bought handles for the shower for $20.48 each and this was by far the most frustrating. I searched the site specifically for shower controls and after rabbit trailing through the site found these in the shower fixture product category with a very ambiguous description. They didn't say what they were for anywhere! I even sent it to my Dad who is a licensed contractor and he didn't know. Nowhere in the description did it say what the handles were specifically used for, and since I found them in a search result for shower controls I assumed they would work.Well, when they arrived and we opened them up it was apparent that they were for a faucet. Frustrating. So down to Lowe's we went and bought handles for $22.99 each. I did get free shipping from, but it took a long time for things to get here. 7-10 business days, which seems like an eternity when you're used to Amazon 2 day.Even though the handles and drain were a bit frustrating I was pleasantly surprised with the selection and price at PlumbersSurplus. I would definitely use them again, but know to give myself more time for shipping and I would probably do product research on another site with model numbers so I know exactly what I will be getting.shower headAnd lastly we bought our medicine cabinet from It is a Kohler emerald shaped mirror that we originally saw at Lowes for $157 but it wasn't in stock. Thankfully Amazon had it for cheaper and with free 2 day shipping, we got it for $103.37. Hey-O! I love getting a deal!medicine cabinetPhew, that was a lot! But there ya have it. The only thing left to buy is our shower doors, but we aren't 100% sure on which set we want yet. Hopefully those will get installed in the next few weeks.

Good News

We wanted to share some good news and shout a Hallelujah to God, because I just got back from our petition hearing with the city planning commission. They approved our variance request, which means our rejected renovation plans are now good to go!Thanks to those of you that have been praying! We should finish the master bathroom this week (sneak peek progress pictures on Instagram) and get going on the big renovation in the next week or two.Now we need to finish some grout, install the vanity (a fun vintage sewing cabinet rebuild we're excited to show you), new light bar, and new toilet in the master bathroom.

In The Mean Time... a Bathroom Renovation!

Master Bath Pre RenvoationWe officially submitted a variance request to the city last week in hopes that they will approve our permit for the addition. Now we have to wait for them to review it and we hope to hear back from them by the end of July. In the mean time, we were itching to start work, so, we decided to remodel our master bathroom. YAY!Pre Renovation Master Bath CabinetAs of now we have done all the demo and we are in the process of buying all the materials we will need to re-tile the new walk-in shower. Hallelujah... because it was a MESS before.Whoever the bank hired to do the work on our house was obviously cutting some corners. We have needed to remodel the bathrooms since we bought the house 3 years ago, so it feels really good getting them done. And have I mentioned they are going to be GORGEOUS when we are finished?!?!We picked a porcelain tile that has marble-like veining in it for the floor and a white subway tile for the shower. Also, Daniel is building our vanity because our bathroom can only fit an odd shape and we didn't like any of the stock vanity options that were available in the right size. It will be beautiful!Bathroom Vanity Picture Pre RenovationWe are hoping to have it completed by sometime next week and then if all goes according to plan we will remodel the hall bathroom. Thankfully, that will be much less labor intensive! Then we will have to wait to hear back from the building department to see what our next step is. Can't wait to show you all our finished bathrooms!!Here are some photos of the demolition progress:

When Plans Get Rejected

20140608-195713-71833121.jpgIf you watch HGTV or DIY Network, you know remodels and surprises always go hand-in-hand.But, we thought that wasn't real life!So, we have good news... And we have bad news.

The Good News

We submitted final plans to the city for approval! Yay!

The Bad News

I got a call from the city a couple hours later to let us know they rejected our plans.I know. My heart sunk too. And so did Sam's when I got off the phone and told her. We were crushed. All our plans. Our dreaming. We are bursting at the seams, counting the seconds until our growing family can adequately fit in our much-loved home. This remodel was the answer!So why the rejection? Something about special zoning for corner lots needing 20 feet of setback (distance from the property line to the closest wall of the house). And the property line doesn't start at the sidewalk. Apparently the city owns the sidewalk and 4.5 feet in from the sidewalk towards our property.The lady I spoke to from the city was very kind and patient in explaining everything to me. We'll be re-submitting clearer plans next week showing accurate property lines and hoping for a miracle: that the new measurements all fit within the zoning restrictions.Worst case scenario, we'll have to apply for a variance with the building commission when they're next available half way through July.Sam prayed a prayer minutes after hearing the news that lifted my spirits. She thanked God for working his plan out for our house and for saving us from unseen issues, whether they were timing, design, or something else we hadn't seen coming. Maybe it's just his way of teaching us patience or dependence on him, who knows. But we know it's for a reason.God is good and is committed to what's best for us. We'll try to trust that and let you know what happens next.

On A Fun/Random Note

We found out we have two different types of Hollyhock flowers blooming on our property. I'd only seen one other set of Hollyhocks around town that were fluffier, almost like carnations. Then our front yard flowers bloomed and one of the Hollyhocks we transplanted from Sam's parents house bloomed like this:20140531-000026-26539.jpgWe love it and we were excited to even learn that there are different Hollyhock varieties.Thanks for reading, have a great week!

How To Start A Home Renovation (There's An App For That)

Interior Design app for iPad ScreenshotCreating a dining room out of thin air, adding on a new bedroom, and tearing walls out of a kitchen sound like exciting adventures. They even look like feasible projects on the remodel TV shows we're so fond of.But what's it really like to plan a renovation? Our planning process has been exciting, exhausting, invigorating, confusing, and most of all crazy. But it's all worth it.

Dreams Become Plans

We started by putting dreams to "paper" on an iPad app called Interior Design for iPad by Black Mana Studios for $9.99 (yes, a $10 app - it was worth all thousand pennies).We entered the dimensions of each room of our house into the app and started moving walls to get a feel for what our options were. Here's what we started with (the original floorplan):Our Original FloorplanWe needed to add a dining room and an office (to function as a home school classroom). After at least 8 plans, including one that potentially converted the garage into living space, we landed on this one:The Renovation PlanThe current south wall will be pushed out 16 feet. Four feet of that push will make the living room bigger to let us to open the french doors leading into the new office/den (aka home school room).The room itself will be 12' by 11'6" with a closet - a requirement if we want to list our home as having 4 bedrooms someday.A surprise discovery in the attic turned into a fun change in plans. Sam's dad, our contractor, checked the attic to make sure his plans to continue the roof line made sense with our existing ceiling. He found out that we actually don't have trusses supporting the roof and carrying the ceiling.Why does that matter (and what does that even mean?) I had the same questions. The short version: we now get vaulted ceilings as part of the remodel!We'll leave you with a little digitized preview of what our dream might end up looking like (thanks, again to the iPad app, Interior Design for iPad):Digital Preview of the Newly Remodeled Living Room, Kitchen, Office and Dining RoomSo how do you start a home renovation? Dream, make plans, and be prepared for those plans to change!