Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Marriage Counseling and Swedish Meatballs

The Hubster and I were married this past summer on June 29th.  It was exactly what we had wanted and to this day is my biggest DIY project that I am the most proud of...until the kids come along ;) We did everything we were supposed to leading up to the wedding including pre-marital counseling, we even went on a marriage retreat.

Pre-marital counseling can evoke all kinds of emotions from men and women alike.  Men’s most common fear feeling: “I’m gonna have to sit around in a circle and talk about my feelings all day” while women worry about “Why doesn’t he care what color flowers the bridesmaids will carry?! Doesn’t he love me?!”  I myself thought that someone was going to sit there and tell us if we were compatible or not.  After 7 years together, I think we had that figured out on our own.

Now I will say that we were urged to talk about some tough subjects that I appreciate now but I have come up with the key component that is and has been missing from pre-marital counseling for decades.

Are you ready for this?

I'm not kidding here people.  I came upon this revelation after a recent trip to IKEA which therefore led to assembling our purchases.  

For those of you who have been living under a rock, IKEA is a Swedish company registered in the Netherlands that designs and sells furniture, appliances, and home accessories. This place has everything…literally.  Where else can you go shopping for a kitchen sink while getting an art piece for your wall right after you’ve picked out a duvet cover and then grabbing some Swedish meatballs for lunch right before you go pick up your kids from the indoor playground?

It is the Mecca for all homeowners and DIY’ers the world over.

IKEA tends to strike fear into the hearts of men everywhere.  Joe was no exception when I suggested we head there on a recent trip to Minneapolis.  We got to IKEA and I struck a deal with the hubster.  “For every 10 minutes we are in here that you don’t complain you will earn a star.  For every 5 stars you earn, you get a prize.”  It sounded good to him so in we went. 

We strolled through the movie-set like house set-ups looking for storage solutions and kitchen ideas.  Joe was doing SO well until I apparently spent too much time in the curtains department.  He had a bit of a meltdown so I tried to speed it up. Four hours later we were out after a short pit stop for some fish-n-chips and Swedish meatballs in the stores massive cafeteria...and because he had done so well he got a big hotdog after checkout for 50 cents.

Fast forward a week and a half and it came time to put together our big purchase- the Varde kitchen island I mentioned in Sunday’s post.  All IKEA projects go something like this:

Take this:

Turn it into this:

While trying not to do this:

 This is not an exaggeration.  Not. In. The. Slightest.

This is the only picture I have from the whole process.  Too many other things to pay attention not losing one of the above mentioned 276 screws.  

After all was said and done this guy now sits in our kitchen providing some much needed counter space and storage. 
Excuse the mess. This is real life, people.
Like I mentioned on S
unday it will eventually get painted to match the cabinets. But for now we are just enjoying him the way he is and thanking him for the lesson in spousal conflict resolution.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

While Hubby's Away, the Wife Will Play (with power tools)

We've been MIA for awhile now, but in all honesty what I'm sharing with you today is literally all that has been going on in the house for the past month and a half. I didn't want to share it part way through the project because I felt the reveal would lose some if it's WOW power. I'm talking about painting our kitchen cabinets people. I'm. In. Love. More than the floors but not quite as much as my husband.

 This is a project I knew I had wanted to do before we had ever even found a house. All those poor unsuspecting kitchens out there never stood a chance.  I've loved the look of white cabinets for a long time.  But since buying brand new custom cabinets just isn't really in the budget right now, painting them was the perfect solution. I did a lot of reading on different methods for painting cabinets; spraying, rolling, brushing, etc. etc. etc. I decided on using a Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation kit. This kit ran us around $70 and it's supposed to cover about 100 square feet.  *supposed to*

The first thing we did was take the cabinet doors off, take all the hardware off of them, and wash them down.

Then came deglossing. Deglossing is exactly what it sounds like- taking the gloss off the surface. This is necessary so the paint can really adhere to the surface. There are two methods for deglossing; sanding with a fine-grit sandpaper or a chemical deglosser. Rustoleum's kit uses a chemical deglosser. With a scrub pad, plastic gloves, and a bottle of deglosser, I went after the doors.  This process also does a good job of getting the built up grime off. It was amazing how much gunk came off that wasn't visible to the naked eye beforehand. This step became a bit old after the 2nd week but I sucked it up because if you skimp on this step, it will ruin the entire project because your paint won't adhere very well.
Then came painting. I painted the backs of the door first to get the method down- if I was gonna screw up I wanted it to be on the back of the door where no one could see it. The instructions tell you to do one thin even coat, let dry, and then do one more white coat and it is "supposed to" be good.  Wouldn't it be nice if projects worked out perfectly the way they're supposed to according to directions?! After 2 coats it looked...bad.

I was frustrated and a bit panicky at this point because I thought I had ruined the cabinets. Our cabinets weren't bad to start off with. They're actually very well-built solid oak cabinets and I'd be lying if I said no one had tried to talk me out of painting them. But since I was past the point of no return I put another coat on. The 3rd coat pretty much did the trick, there were just a few spots in the cracks that needed a 4th touch up layer.  I had heard that the white color didn't cover very well like the darker colors do. We don't have a very big kitchen so if you're wanting to do this in white and your kitchen is bigger, get an extra can or two of bond coat!

The white bond coat is pretty cool stuff. After painting it, the brush strokes for the most part disappeared. Since our cabinets are oak you can still see the indents of the wood grain, it's not a smooth factory like finish, which also helped to hide any brush strokes that may have been left behind. Long story short, they got 3 coats of white and 2 coats of protective top coat.

We also bought new hardware. Adding new hardware is the easiest way to update your cabinets if you don't want to go all out by painting them. We chose the Lansa handles from Ikea. This was an inexpensive update at around $85 for the whole kitchen.

1st door goes up at 2:30 am
The Hubster was gone this weekend and I wanted to get the doors back on before he got home.  I grabbed the power drill and at 2:30 in the morning the dog and I put them back up.  This was not an easy task to hold the door, align the door, put the screw in and drill it all by yourself but I was determined and I succeeded.

But after a month and is our new kitchen!




I have to buy some longer screws to attach the handles to the drawers.  The drawer fronts are thicker than the cabinet doors so the screws that came from IKEA aren't long enough.  And the door that goes underneath the sink...well, that hinge and I are fighting so I'm gonna see if Hubster can fix it.

Directly behind me in the last picture there is a 7 1/2 foot tall cabinet that will serve as the pantry.  We added a toekick to that last week but now we have to secure it to the wall.

We bought this guy at IKEA.  His name is Varde and I think he's pretty neat.  This will sit perpendicular to the stove creating an L-shape with the other counters.  It will add some MUCH needed storage and counter space.  He'll eventually get painted to match everything else but that's not at the top of my list right now.

Next on the list is trimming out the dining room window, patio door, and walk-thru between the living room and dining room.  Joe has about half of those boards primed and painted so he has to put those up this week.

 We will also FINALLY be ordering carpet this week for the upstairs. Then we can move our furniture up there and quit camping out on our bedroom floor.  Not that it hasn't been fun but I'd rather keep the camping for all the fun camping equipment we got for our wedding...and for the outdoors.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Complete and Utter Chaos

We have officially spent the first night in our new house.  And by that I mean we threw our mattress down on the floor in the middle of our room and called it good.

We had been slowly moving things to the new house over the course of a few weeks; totes, boxes, smaller items, but the big furniture items had been left behind until we could borrow a truck.  A good friend here in town said we could use his truck and trailer for free one night and all of a sudden moving got thrown into warp speed; free is my favorite price!

Joe rounded up a handful of his football players to do the manual labor part of it.  Let me tell you what...that was THE BEST thing ever.  I will never move any other way again.  Joe and I never lifted a finger!  Well, I tell them where to put the couch :) It was a win-win for everyone...we got our furniture moved and the boys got out of weight room that day.

I also may or may not have lost an undergarment under the bed that one of them found when they took the bedroom furniture double win for that freshman.

After the boys left I was pretty excited because I was certain we only had a few odds and ends left at the house...HAH, right.  I have come to the realization that we are awful packers.  Like Super Bowl XLVIII-Denver Broncos awful.  We got back to the house and there was stuff evverrrryyywheeerrre!

We spent the next 3 days moving the rest of the odds and ends.  It started out not so bad.  I carefully packed things into boxes according to where they would need to go in the house making sure to mark each box accordingly.  That lasted a whole 3 hours and then my inner 2 year old came out and all I wanted to do was throw myself on the floor and kick and scream and cry and have my mommy do it all for me.  The kicking and crying may have actually happened to some extent but having my mom come pack it all did not so I did the next best thing...started "packing" things in garbage bags.  I use the term 'packing' loosely here, "A pair of shoes, a coffee mug, and a hair brush? Yup, throw it in".

Eventually everything made it over to our house and we walked out of our little rental for the last time. *sniff sniff*  Even though that little place needs some serious TLC, it was still the place we started our married life in, so it holds a special place in my heart.  I'm also the girl that is was convinced stuffed animals have feelings so I have this odd connection with inanimate objects...weird, I'm well aware.  Joe is the complete opposite and drove away without looking back.

So now we're completely into our new place and everything is exactly how I imagined it in my head and is all put away and everything has it's own spot and it's all so organized and......NOT!

This is our life right now, complete and utter chaos.  We did finally get the couch turned right-side-up and the recliners put into position so that is calming me down a bit.

 We feel as though we've taken 5 steps back from the pretty house with the new floors to a war zone that a tornado ripped through.

I've been working on getting the cabinets painted so we can put the kitchen together.  That will get rid of practically a 1/3 of our boxes.  Those should be done by the end of the week.  We will also be ordering carpet for the upstairs *fingers crossed* this week so then we can finally start moving things upstairs.  We didn't want to move anything up there besides our mattress to simply move it all back down a couple weeks later so the carpet could be installed.  Work smarter not harder.

Our front porch currently looks like a furniture graveyard and our garage looks like an episode of 'Hoarders' so we are BEYOND ready to get this house put together.

We did take a break from the madness last night to watch a movie and eat something besides pizza.  Joe said he wanted a night to 'do nothing but lay on the couch', so we did.  We have realized that if we need a break, we've got to take it or we're going to get burned out REAL quick.

So while we are feeling stuck in the verse "When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad", we are looking forward to enjoying our favorite things in our someday beautiful home.

Until next time,
NoDak Newlyweds

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Walk All Over Me

It came! It came! My card reader came!  Now we can get back on track with posting on here.  Sorry for the long wait but when you live in the middle of the Frozen Tundra it's takes the horse and buggies a long time to deliver any packages....

So here we go.  As I stated in the first post about the floors, this first row took just about 2 hours.  I wish I was exaggerating.  But no matter if your first row of flooring has a big ol' radiator pipe bustin through the middle of it, the first row usually takes the longest.  You've got to make sure that this first row is the correct distance away from the immediate walls (to allow for expansion due to weather) and that it's perfectly straight.  If you start your first row crooked, every single row from there on out will be crooked (duh) and will become increasingly noticeable as you work your way across the room.  Even though it's DIY you don't want it to look like amateurs did it...

Once the first row or two was laid, the boys flew through the dining room and kitchen.  It was just straight shots other than a few cuts for the cabinets.

It's hard to see in the picture to the left, but our floors had a 'V-groove' connection system.  You can see it a little better in the picture below.  See how on the side it's like a 'V' cut out? I think it looks more like a 'U' but tomato/tomoto (that saying is hard to put in to type...think short 'o' sound).  The thin black layer at the bottom of our board is the pre-attached padding.  This was pretty slick because we didn't have to buy and lay another layer beneath the wood.  If you lay laminate and it doesn't have pre-attached padding, make sure you put down a layer first!  The padding smooths out imperfections in the subfloor, deadens noise, and also protects against moisture.
Laying the flooring itself really wasn't rocket-science.  Working left to right and finishing an entire row before starting a different one, you simply set the tongue in to the groove and push down.  If you have it laid in correctly, it literally sucks itself into a tight position.  Then you just tap on the exposed end until it is flush on the opposite side.  The picture with the pink gloves is Joe tapping to lock it in place.  Aren't his gloves pretty? He picked those out himself! (ok, just kidding. They're mine.  But the guys' fingers were getting pretty sore from pushing the boards into place so I let Joe use em)

When we got into the living room and entryway we had to cut off part of the trim around the door that touched the floor.  We wanted the trim to come down over the top of the wood instead of the wood butting up against it leaving gaps on both sides.  We cut off almost an inch from the bottom which allowed the board to slide right under it.  This makes it look like the floors were there first and then the trim was added after.

This was another tricky part.  Since you have to set the tongue into the groove at an angle and then snap it down, it was a bit difficult to lay the pieces under the baseboard heaters.  The baseboards aren't incredibly high off the floor so it took some finagling and family effort, but they got em in there. 

This picture was posted before but this picture is the answer to kids' question in math class of "Why do we have to learn this? We will never use this in real life!".  Kids, I'm here to tell you that yes, you will use those math skills in real life when you want to save $2500 and lay some really awesome flooring in your house and then write a blog about it.  My schooling is all coming full-circle here. I literally had a life ah-ha moment here, folks.

We had to use a jig-saw here to cut the curve at the bottom of the steps.  Notice the super high-tech flashlight we used...thank you iPhone.  Perry (Joe's dad) did the jig-saw work, Joe didn't want to do it so I couldn't blame him if it got screwed up.  But Perry did an awesome job!

And here, after over 21 hours of labor, raw knee caps, and only 1 hammered finger, the last board gets put in!!!!

The only thing left we have to do with the floors is put down quarter-round along the edges of the walls.  There is a small gap between the flooring and the walls to allow for expansion and contraction; the quarter-round will hide that while still allowing it 'breathing room'.  Here's a sneak-peak of me painting the quarter-round white to match the baseboards.  Once those get put in for real, I'll post pictures.

And here are the after pictures!  Some of them are still pretty dusty from all the commotion that was going on in the house; after we're all moved in the floors are getting some serious cleaning attention.  Also, please ignore the moving mess ;)

And the most important...Teddy approves!

Until next time,
NoDak Newlyweds