30 Aug 2013

Let's Talk Paint & Floors

Of all of the work we have been doing in our new house, the most time consuming (by far) has been painting and flooring. But, it has also been the 2 projects that have made the biggest impact and have made the house start to feel like ours.  

I thought of splitting these out into 2 posts, but since we did them pretty much simultaneously, I don't have any photos of one step without the other.  So, my apologies ahead of time for the amount of photos that I am going to throw at you in this post!

Here's how our living room/dining room looked on the day we took possession (Dief photobombs and all!).

Living Room Before

Living Room/Dining Room Before  // www.aswellplacetodwell.com

Living Room/Dining Room Before  // www.aswellplacetodwell.com

And here is how it looks today:

      Living Room & Dining Room Progress.  //  www.aswellplacetodwell.com

(I still can't wait until those trees get taken out...this room is too dark for my liking right now...hence the fuzzy pictures!)

Living Room & Dining Room Progress.  //  www.aswellplacetodwell.com

Living Room & Dining Room Progress.  //  www.aswellplacetodwell.com

We (AKA Mr. Swell), ripped off all of the baseboards and casings and removed all of the old flooring.  The carpet in the living room was super gross (stained and buggy), and the laminate in the dining room was really cheap looking and feeling.  We couldn't wait to get the old flooring out of there!

We painted the walls Benjamin Moore Baby Fawn, which I think might just be my new favourite BM neutral.  It's such a nice soft 'greige', although I'd say it leans more towards beige than grey.  Depending on the lighting it can read a little pink, but I know that will change once we get our dark furniture in the spaces. Our current house is all Rockport Grey, and although I do love the colour, I was really craving something lighter on the walls in all of the main living spaces.

               Lamett Sapphire Antarctic  // www.aswellplacetodwell.com

The new flooring is laminate - not hardwood.  We decided to go with laminate for 2 reasons.  The first is durability.  With the toddler tornado and the giant dog who refuses to have his nails clipped, we had major scratching concerns, so we needed something that was going to withstand some pretty heavy usage.  The second reason was ease of installation.  We needed 1300 sq feet of laminate, so we wanted something that was easy to install ourselves, and the floating laminate won over hardwood in this case.  

I knew I wanted a whitewashed sort of look that would hide dust bunnies and dog hair.  We looked at quite a few stores and finally found one that we both liked.  I am really picky about laminate and need it to feel smooth to the touch.  I don't like laminate that has that sort of bumpy feel, so that ruled out a whole lot of options right away.  Once we found one we liked, we called most of the flooring stores in the city to find out their price on it (many carried it).  We shopped around and haggled until we were able to get a price we were happy with, which ended up being $2.50 sq/ft including underlay.  It's amazing what a little calling can do.  We were getting prices differing from about $1 sq/ft.  In our case, that was over $1000 difference, so it saved us a lot of money to shop around.  (If you live in Edmonton and would like the name of the store we went with just drop me a line - they have been really wonderful to deal with!)  

We went with Lamett Sapphire in the Antarctic colour.  It's AC4 which is commercial grade, so we are very hopefully that it will wear well. 

        Lamett Sapphire Antarctic  // www.aswellplacetodwell.com

It has a drop lock system that has been incredibly easy.  We've worked with other laminates in the past that have snapped and broke while installing, but this one has been great and none of the little edges have cracked or broke.  

Lamett Sapphire Antarctic  // www.aswellplacetodwell.com

We bought a small cordless Milwaukee circular saw to keep in the house so that Mr. Swell wouldn't have to keep running to the garage to make his cuts. (He's completely obsessed with Milwaukee...I will have to show you his collection one day!)  He mostly used that saw for the straight cuts and his jigsaw for cutting the registers and odd corners and then used his big radial-arm saw for any boards that he had to rip (which only happened a few times in every room).  

Moving onto the Master bedroom....

Here is how it looked 'before' - well, semi-before anyhow, with the baseboards already removed.  We were moving so fast with all the help we had that I kept missing the pictures!

Master Bedroom Before // www.aswellplacetodwell.com

Master Bedroom Before // www.aswellplacetodwell.com

I showed you those paint swatches a couple of weeks ago when I was still trying to decide between two slightly different shades.

Well, I went with Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor, and here it is in all its glory...

Master Bedroom Progress.  Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor

Master Bedroom Progress.  Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor

Baby Fawn is my new favourite neutral and I think Dark Harbor is my new favourite dark.  It's such an amazing colour.  It's from Benjamin Moore's Color Stories line.  According to my paint guy, Color Stories colours don't use any black or grey pigments (which most paint does).  They instead use 5-7 different coloured pigments to make up the final colour.  The result is a paint that changes with the light.  

After staring at the paint for a few days I can completely attest to its colour changing qualities.  Sometimes this room looks navy blue and sometimes it's almost a hunter green.  Most of the time though it's a deep dark lovely teal colour.  

Color Stories is only available in Aura, which is pretty pricy at $80 a can, but for me it was worth it to get this colour.

Behind the can you can see what one coat looks like.  If you haven't painted a really dark colour before, I will tell you that the trick is to not completely freak out after the first coat.  It will look like crap until you get at least 2 coats on!  I trimmed twice and rolled on 3 coats. 


(I spot a Milwaukee radio above...I told you, die hard Milwaukee Tool fans around here.)

This is a great example though of how the colour changes.  This was morning light, while the photos of the finished paint above were of evening light coming from a different direction.  When we had the dark floors in the room the walls looked much greener. 

We have picked out all of our baseboard and casing, but now just actually have to buy it and paint it (not sure if it will get done before we move in!).

You can see a sample of the baseboard in the picture below.  We are going with a really simple profile.

Master Bedroom Progress.  Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor

And here is one last shot of the other side of the bedroom looking into the ensuite (which still needs a complete overhaul).

Master Bedroom Progress.  Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor

I have plans of lots of white and gold in this room....

So although this is major progress, we still have a looooong way to go.  I have the hallway and stairwell painting left to go (I have been procrastinating on it) along with 2 more bedrooms.  Fin's room is done and ready enough for her to move in.  It was important for us to make sure that the rooms we have to sleep in were done first so that the paint and laminate fumes had time to dissipate before we move in.  We also have a couple more rooms to lay laminate in, and then we have to prep the stairs and hallway for carpet.  I've picked the carpet and it's ordered and we are now just crossing our fingers that it will get here and be able to be installed before we move in (which realistically might not happen).  

Onwards!  Have a great weekend!

27 Aug 2013

Laundry Room Progress

I bet you didn't think the first semi-finished room I'd show you from the new house would be the laundry room, did you?  Well, surprisingly enough (even a bit shocking to me), it's the room with the most progress.

Here's how the room looked before....actually, it had casings and baseboards and we had already ripped those off.

Laundry Room Before // ASwellPlacetoDwell.com

Laundry Room Before // ASwellPlacetoDwell.com

Laundry Room Before // ASwellPlacetoDwell.com

Lovely pink walls and awesome brown cabinets, right?

The first thing to do was to paint the walls. 

Laundry Room In Progress // ASwellPlacetoDwell.com

The colour is Benjamin Moore Trout Gray.  I actually had a full can of paint left over from when we finished our basement in our current house, so it didn't cost us anything.

The next thing was to rid this room of those brown cabinets.  

Laundry Room In Progress // ASwellPlacetoDwell.com

A bit of a change, right?

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in English Yellow.  No sanding or priming, I just brushed 2 coats of paint on the frame and the doors.  Once everything was nice and dry I then used a wet sanding block (super fine) to heavily distress. 

Laundry Room In Progress with Annie Sloan English Yellow // ASwellPlacetoDwell.com

A dry sanding block works too, but I find a wet block just makes everything go faster.  Warning though, I wouldn't go with the wet version unless you want heavy distressing as the paint comes off fast.
Laundry Room In Progress with Annie Sloan English Yellow // ASwellPlacetoDwell.com

I'll admit that the pink countertop looks pretty junky right now, but we have a few plans that we are tossing around for both this cabinet and our kitchen counters (which are also this awesome shade of pink).  (And please ignore all of the paint dust on the floor...cleaning gets left to the end!!)

I still have to wax the cabinets and add the handles back on (I'm reusing the original straight out of the 70s handles as I think they add some character), but it's amazing what some simple paint has done to this room.  

The house didn't come with a washer and dryer and since ours sold with our house we needed to buy a new set.  We ended up going with the Maytag Maxima XL series in granite, which is a really dark gray, and I think it will look great with the walls and cabinets.  They are sitting in the garage right now but will hopefully be hooked up in the next couple of days.  

Here's the view from the other side of the room out to the hallway.

Laundry Room In Progress with Annie Sloan English Yellow // ASwellPlacetoDwell.com

I hate that green on the walls....like really, really hate it. I can't wait to paint over it all.  The tiles on the floor are staying for now until we decide what we are going to do with this back hallway.  The plan is to rip out the closets and make some benches, etc, but it's all going to have to wait until we move in as we are running out of time. 

The other side of this room is a blank wall, and I am hoping once the washer and dryer are in that there will still be room for some shelves, the ironing board and a drying rack.   I'll also hang some art on the walls, replace the light fixture, replace the fan cover on the ceiling and possibly replace the faucet.  The room will also get new white casings and baseboards to match the rest of the house and the door will be painted to match the trim.  

So, since this is my first time having an actual laundry room, if you have one in your house, what's your favourite part? Is there something you wish you had added/removed? Keep in mind that I actually loathe doing laundry (I am hoping the new appliances might inspire me for at least a few months...!).

25 Aug 2013

The Week's End - August 24, 2013

The Week's End - August 25, 2013

The Week's End - August 25, 2013

The Week's End - August 25, 2013

The Week's End - August 25, 2013

The Week's End - August 25, 2013

The Week's End - August 25, 2013

The Week's End - August 25, 2013 

The Week's End - August 25, 2013

21 Aug 2013

New House Randomness

You guys! I have so much to tell you about the new house, but have had so little time at my computer!  So, this post is going to be a brain dump of a bunch of random house stuff.  Hang in there with me. We've been jumping around from room to room, painting, tearing out flooring, laying flooring, etc, etc so I don't feel like I have anything cohesive enough in my brain to actually show you room by room at this point.

Also, I know I promised you a video...but you know what....I sort of suck at videos!  I did take it, but my goodness...it's awful.  I did it with my phone and didn't realize that I switched from portrait to landscape half way through and I also just jabbered on and on.  I pulled it into iMovie and tried to fix it, but I just don't have the time.  So, sorry...no video! 

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, I have to first give out a HUGE thank you to both of our parents.  We have had so much help over the past week that it's still blowing our minds.  Our parents have both been so wonderful with taking Fin and with putting in some serious hours at the house.  If it weren't for them I am pretty sure that Mr. Swell and I would be curled up in the fetal position on the floor. 

We took possession last Wednesday, so we have had the house for a week now.  It doesn't look like the same house that we started with 7 days ago.

Let's start in the front, shall we?  These trees....my goodness.  

Giant cedar trees

They look all pretty, but they are beastly.  They got so close to the house that the previous owners cut the gutters around them.  Not smart!  We got a couple quotes to remove them, and I am happy to say that they will be coming down in a few weeks.  It will allow us to redo the gutters and to actually see out of the front window. 

This is how our living room looked a few days ago.

living room before

See how much the trees block?  Can't wait to get them out. 

The room has come a long way since this picture, but I am going to save those pictures to show you another time (in a big ta-da look how fabulous it looks sort of post).

Bugs....oh bugs. There were so many of them in the house.  Good news is that they were all dead and didn't cause any damage to the house (except for being totally gross).  Every electrical socket that we emptied contained bugs.  Yuck.  I am pretty sure our shop vac is 99% full of bugs.  I think we have got most of them out now.  No pictures - I couldn't stand to look through the view finder at them!

And the source of said bugs?  


backyard before

It's like the craziest urban jungle anywhere. My in-laws went to town on the backyard over the weekend and I am happy to say that it now looks like this....

backyard in progress
(She LOVES sweeping...I didn't stage this photo!)

It's about a thousand times better!  We even discovered that there were stepping stones under all that mess.

There are still a few piles to remove but we have to wait for garbage day so that we can empty our garden waste bin!

The other good news is that we had someone come out to look at the hot tub and he says the electrical part of it is all good.  Now we just need to clean it and fill 'er up to see if it will actually hold water.  Fingers crossed....

Remember how we had grand plans of hiring a contractor and moving walls.  Ya, about that.  At $18,000 for what we wanted to do, we had to nix that idea.  I knew it would be expensive, but couldn't quite handle that number.  So, we decided to simplify our ideas.  Instead of moving a wall upstairs, we opened up one of the walls to the 4th bedroom just to make it all feel airier (and to have room so that Dief could turn around!).

A few days ago it looked like this...

upstairs hallway before

And now it looks like this....

upstairs hallway progress

Thanks Dave for taking out the wall for us!

We still have to add the drywall back on, but I am so happy with how it turned out.  One funny little thing that we did discover while tearing out the wall was that the whole house is double drywalled.  Very strange....

double dry wall

We are also replacing the laminate on the stairs, hallway and in that now open bedroom.  I am in the midst of picking out carpet this week.

Most of the house (the main rooms) are going to be quite a light neutral colour, but I am going with a super dark colour in the Master Bedroom.  

master bedroom before

After looking at 2 very similar colours for a couple of days, I decided to go with Benjamin Moore Dark Harbour (the left swatch in the picture).  After a bit of a catastrophe on the weekend that involved paint and the interior of my car (bad, bad, bad!!! Always make sure the paint store puts the lid on tight!!), we are now making serious progress in this bedroom.  

We've also been shopping maniacs.  I think the people at all of the home improvement stores are getting to know us!  Our smallest family member has been super helpful!  

Baby in the cart? Check!

We've had to buy toilets, a washer and dryer, drywall, paint (paint, and more paint!!!), electrical fittings, plugs, and tools.  It's fun for a while, and then it gets old!

And lastly...check out this gem

ugly switch plate

Awesome. right?  Or not.

The best part is that it's in this room...

bedroom before

Apparently the Chinese lettering makes you feel all zen, until you see that horrible switch plate....then you can't sleep because you are contemplating having a drink.

I'll be back on Sunday with The Week's End, and will hopefully have more cohesive thoughts for you next week.  

18 Aug 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

The Week's End - August 18, 2013

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