February 27, 2014

Our 1970's House Makeover: The Real Story Behind a Renovation, Part One



So, it's time I let you in on a little secret. Remember last week's bedroom post? Well, we'll be living in that room for the next month, as the rest of our house is a total disaster. Last week, we began the demolition that will ultimately result in us having hardwood floors throughout our house. And somehow, the floor project sent me straight down the wormhole of renovations, and now there are 45 projects simultaneously underway in my house.








And I'm barely even kidding. 
We've been waiting to do all of this big stuff until we could afford to do it all at once. I thought that that would just miraculously happen months after we moved into this house, but instead it took almost four years. Four very long years with wall-to-wall-catbarf-carpets. But, ultimately being broke was a huge blessing in disguise. It made me figure out how to do stuff on my own. It made me get creative and figure out how to improve our house using stuff I could afford, like paint. 
And ultimately, it led to this blog. 

So, now the day is finally here when I get to do some of the stuff to this house that I've been planning all along. 
It's so exciting. 
The cats have been quarantined to our bedroom during this whole process, as they have yet to learn how to safely navigate a construction zone.
Things were all fun and games when we were moving all of the furniture out of the living room and into the basement.



But things inevitably took a turn for the worse, as Tootie quickly became very discontent over the changes in her daily scenery.




It's almost as if she knew what was coming, as she took to actively boycotting the carpet removal. 
She has rights, you know.


Meanwhile, Cheese has been in her usual life euphoria, totally oblivious to the destruction of her beloved home.
You gotta love a girl who will just go with the flow.


So, now that you know how the cats are doing, we can move onto less important issues like the destruction of our house.

Basically, our house has been gutted. 
And no one saw it coming, including me.
In my head, it went something like this: 
POOF. New floors.
But, instead, total chaos.
So, now all that's left in the house are the walls and windows. All of the existing flooring, trim, and doors have been removed.

We went back and forth with the decision about doing all of the work ourselves or hiring someone to help us. After analyzing the cost of labor vs. how quickly Jesse and I would murder each other, we opted to hire the guy who did my mom's hardwood floors a couple years ago. We decided to do some of the demo ourselves, like removing all of the trim and doors, and then left the flooring removal to our awesome floor guy, Mike.

So, here's a little glimpse at how our house currently looks.
Here's the living room after the carpet was removed.
Someone had apparently decided it was cool to spray paint subfloors.


After the carpet was removed, there were several stains and some paint residue on the subfloors, so Jesse and I spent an evening painting the floors with Kilz, prepping it for the floors to be installed.
We were supposed to just paint a few areas that needed it, but once I got rolling, I couldn't stop. 
So, now we basically have totally unnecessary white subfloors.
I mean, what do you expect? 


Currently, our living room looks like a disaster zone, as we're using it to store all of the stuff that's been removed from the other rooms. Eventually, the junk will get hauled off and the flooring will start to go in.
Although, I'm so excited about the end result that I've not even minded the fact that our house is a nightmare. 
Jesse is very surprised by my newfound chaos-tolerance.



The demo has reminded us that this house is from the 1970's, as every time we peel back a layer of the onion, we find a minimum of three unexpected issues to deal with. For example, we found remnants of tile underneath the carpet in the office
Reaffirming my long held belief that it's totally fabulous to tile a random spare bedroom.


And it has to be chipped up piece by piece.
We lovingly refer to this floor as 'The Great Decision To Hire Someone 2014'.


And then in the room that is behind those french doors in our master bedroom (you know, the mysterious one I've never blogged about, but that you always ask about), there was a hardwood floor that was installed throughout this room and then it was carried down the hallway. And for some reason, the previous owners glued and nailed this floor in. Our floor guy has had to cut it out chunk by chunk.
This room was the original master bedroom in this house. They apparently built on the addition that sits on the other side of those double doors in the late 1980's. That's our current master bedroom. I still have no idea how to use this room, but I'm hoping my mind will miraculously solve the puzzle once all of this is done. 
There are no windows and it's kinda a black hole of a wasted space. Any ideas?
Also, I realize this room looks like a haunted house right now. 
Hold me.


The entryway has also been interesting, as there are several layers of flooring where the parquet sits on the entry landing. They just layered flooring upon flooring to where it now cuts the bottom stair in half. 
So, obviously, that's going to be fun. 
Sidenote: Having the carpet off of the stairs is so exciting, as I can finally envision what they will look like when they are done. Also, in regards to the aforementioned wormhole of renovations, that stair rail has to be removed to install the hardwood on the stairs. Since it isn't up to code anyways, we've decided to rebuild one that we actually like. 
I've been on Pinterest nonstop lately looking at pictures of staircases and formulating my eviiiil stair plan. I'm super excited about this little side project, and will blog about it as it develops.



So, we have weeks of work ahead of us, my life is kinda messy right now, and stuff is everywhere. I've been doing my best to just go with the flow and enjoy the process.
Jesse's really good at knowing how to keep me sane, so last weekend he arranged a little weekend trip to Gatlinburg. It's a really touristy place, but it's only about 20 minutes away from our house, and I believe in being the type of gal who can have fun anywhere she goes.
So, to get away from our dustbowl of a house, we enjoyed a night at a hotel with a little balcony overlooking the mountains.


And then we spent the next day doing fun tourist stuff, like going to the aquarium.
There were baby penguins and turtles the size of cows, so naturally, it was heaven.


And then we found our way to Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, which I'm pretty sure is for kids, but who's to say. 
I really enjoyed the shadow making machine.



Jesse's worst idea of the day was convincing me to go to the 5D Movie Theater right after our trip through the Ole Smokey Mountain Moonshine taste testing facility (which is awesome, btw). To sum it up, the 5D movie theater is basically a roller coaster. You sit in a giant padded seat that gyrates uncontrollably, you wear 3D glasses and a seatbelt, and they blow snow in your face.
To translate the uncomfortable smile on my face: I'm probably going to barf on you.



So, that was nice. 
And while I planned to blog about this when I got back on Monday, I've ended up spending this week with the worst head-cold known to mankind.
And I've lost my voice for the first time ever.
It's perfect timing if you ask me.
Jesse says I sound like Emma Stone, but I'm pretty sure he's just being sweet and secretly thinks I'm actually becoming Gollum. Like for real this time.

To prevent a surefire meltdown, Jesse has totally made life better by bringing the living room jumbo-tron back into the bedroom for me to watch Dirty Dancing, etc. So, this will likely be my view for the next few days as I recuperate from my cold and occasionally wander into the rest of the house to snap pictures of what's going on.
Sidenote: I moved my entire office into the side room so that I could have a place to blog peacefully. Just look at poor Vern, all smashed up in there. I keep telling him he's gotta just man up and deal with the situation, but so far all he's done is whine.
Sigh.
 VERN.
Also, how many people want to make a joke about putting Baby in the corner?
 Raise your hand.
Also, pardon my mismatched Duo Dry socks.
I'm sick and can't be held responsible for fashion.



Anyways, let's talk about what comes next.
We've decided to do the renovation in two phases. The second phase will be the basement level (The basement level has a living room, bedroom and bathroom. It's where the cats live. I've never blogged about it. Hopefully the renovation will change that.) For the first phase, we'll be doing the entire main level first (minus our master bedroom, since I clearly need a place to wallow). That includes the living room, dining room, kitchen, entryway, both sets of stairs, hallway, guest bedroom, office, and master bedroom side room. We've also decided to replace the trim and doors, build a new stair rail, paint the entire living/dining area, do something crazy to the rock wall (which I've been systematically karate chopping for the past four years, hoping it would magically disappear), and then do one more really crazy thing that has me so excited I can barely stand it. 
This delightful video of Jesse should shed some light on that, and fully explain why he completes me.




That's all for today, ya'll.
I'll be back to share more of the story as it unfolds.
Update: You can find the rest of the story here:









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80 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness I am cracking up at this post! You are hilarious, lady!

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  2. Excited to see how this all turns out!

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  3. Girl, you make me laugh. Te whole way through this post, in a food way too. ;)

    I'm sure I sound like Gollam? My hubs says I look like him with my makeup off! ;) lol

    Love what you are doing and know how long it takes to wait to save money for the next project!!!

    Good luck!!! Can't wait to see te new floors and railing and hoping that kitty is out of ts deep depression!

    Bethany

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  4. I've been to Gaitlinburg once. And I bought the BEST glasses (as in eyewear) there ever. I refer to them as my "disco librarian" glasses. They are Elton John like (I saw a video of him wearing some once in the 70s that are exactly like mine). Those glasses were probably the best $10 I ever spent. They're so ugly they're beautiful.

    Anyhoo, good luck with all the new flooring and renovations. My own energy for doing things up in my house petered out awhile back. Waiting for my second wind. I did get my kitchen cabinets done and some furniture painted and spray painted the heck out of some stuff.

    I do plan on doing the thumbtack art idea soon. Bought some thumbtacks (yea Kroger!) but not sure exactly what I want to do.

    Oh, and I totally LOL'd at the cat pictures.

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    1. OMG those glasses sound amazing. And hey, kitchen cabinets are tough...you should pat yourself on the back for gettin' stuff done!! It's okay to take breaks and regain your desire to do stuff....I love breaks. :)

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  5. Wow, that's quite the undertaking, I'm excited to live renovations through you! As for the mystery room off your bedroom, my gut instinct says build a dream walk-in closet/dressing room (I would be in heaven!) but my more practical side says it could make for a nice nursery if/when the time comes :). You mentionned that there are no windows, but can you put a window in? (read: new blog post!) Good luck with everything, I know it will turn out beautiful!

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    1. Wouldn't a dressing room be soooo awesome? I would just have to convince Jesse to walk through my dressing room everytime he comes into the bedroom though. That's the same prob with an eventual nursery. We have to walk THROUGH that room to get to our bedroom. So, I'm still kinda stumped. Maybe I will tear a whole through the outside wall, install a window, and move my office in there. Or just make Jesse walk through my fabulous dressing room. :)

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    2. *tear a HOLE, not a whole. :)

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  6. Speaking as someone who recently just went through a month-long home renovation with a husband and a cat, you're handling it really well! The worst part for me was the dust and all the heat escaping from the house when we had no walls or insulation during the coldest winter we've seen here in decades. Bringing in the TV was smart. We couldn't do that, so turning on th3 TV for the first time in a month was fun! BUT, seeing the progress was what kept me going. It's going to look so amazing when it's all done! Oh and Dirty Dancing, FTW!

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    1. Oh my gosh, Christine! I am so thankful to still have walls. If we had to completely gut it, or if we didn't have a bedroom to retreat to, I probably would be handling it A LOT worse. The TV really does help. I love to read, too, but my house currently sounds like the set of STOMP, so the TV watching is a much more convenient way to distract myself. :)

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  7. Oh I would love new floors, so I am so excited for you. Tons of work, but oh how gorgeous after. Hugs, Marty

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    1. Thanks so much Marty! It's exciting!! xo

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  8. Oooo, this is beyond exciting! I hope everything goes smoothly! Can't wait to see it as it all unfolds!

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  9. So excited to see the "After." Good luck living in a construction zone for a few weeks - it will be worth it in the end!

    Meghan
    whenLmetM.blogspot.com

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    1. I think so too! That little nugget of hope is what's keeping me sane! Thanks Meghan! :)

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  10. So exciting! When we did our hardwood floors downstairs, we discovered the same thing-- floor that was both nailed and glued down, and like you, we had decided to tear up the carpet etc ourselves. WHAT A NIGHTMARE THAT WAS! We even accidentally put a hole in the wall while tearing it up-- we had so much leverage yanking on the floor that it flew back into the wall behind us. Oops.

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    1. HA!! Oh my gosh, Heather. So funny....Jesse knocked a huge hole in the hallway when he was removing the trim. HUGE. I just kinda laughed and was like, WELL, add that to the list!! :) Also, I had no idea you guys installed your own floors. You just continue to surprise me! xo

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  11. oy! my husband is originally from the gatlinburg area, love love love going there for visits!

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  12. Isn't it funny how a project can completely envelop your life! I feel your pain sista.

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  13. I love all your stuff, I can't wait to see how your house turns out! You've definitely inspired me a ton with home projects!

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    1. Oh, that's so awesome! Thanks Roxanne!

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  14. I am a new fan to your blog, having recently discovered it. I love your writing! You enlighten me on all-things-decorating while making me laugh out loud. I've learned so much and gotten encouragement here and look forward to your new posts. Thank you!

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    1. YAY! Thanks so much, Sara! Love hearing that! xo

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  15. So I tried to comment earlier but my computer went whacko. BUT I think you should turn your mystery room into a huge walk in closet. Like the one Big built for Carrie in Sex and the City. With a table and bench right in the middle. With chocolates and other snacks on the table at all times in case you get hungry when you are picking out outfits. It would be amazing.

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    1. I'm not even kidding, I told Jesse a couple years ago that I wanted him to 'Big me.'. And by that, I meant build me that closet in that room. It has yet to happen. But, I'll keep trying. :)

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  16. I love the cat perspective... amazing. And I'm so excited for you guys that all this is happening in one big swoop! Woo hoo!

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  17. So exciting! Can't wait to see it all unfold!

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  18. Oooooohhhh I can't wait to see EVERYTHING!!! Please take lots of "during" photos!
    :0)

    http://polkadottedbluejay.blogspot.com/

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    1. Oh, I definitely am. I think I seriously already have about 300 pictures. There's just so much going on. It's going to take me awhile to narrow it down to post-worthy pics! Some of them are totally terrifying! Ha! But, I pretty much plan to show you guys everything that's going on. It's feels kinda awkward, but I know ya'll will enjoy and appreciate it!! :)

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  19. A) Your cats are awesome, and remind me of a time when I was allowed to have felines. Alas, the husband is allergic.
    B) Just the pictures of the construction zone make me a little neurotic, so good job keeping control.
    C) Gatlinburg! You must try New Orleans Sandwich Company, which is in the little alley behind Claire's. The owners moved there after Katrina and they have the most amazing food. And all kinds of dollar bills that people have stuck all over the place. Wonderworks is also an excellent kid-place that can be enjoyed by kid-like adults. (I also enjoyed Ripley's and the Aquarium) Also, I find it strange that Pigeon Forge is a dry town, yet Gatlinburg has a MOONSHINE DISTILLERY! Some of the Moonshine soaked cherries might make you feel better though.
    D) Feel better!

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    1. A) Tootie and Cheese say thanks. They love their fans. :)
      B) I'm feeling a little neurotic today, 3 days after this post, but it's the last day of demo. I think. So, it should get better soon!
      C) We saw that place!! It looks amazing! Also, Jesse has been to Wonderworks and said it was awwwesome. The upside down building cracks me up. And holy moly, those moonshine cherries were intense. Little balls of terror. :)

      Oh, and D) thank you!! I feel like I'm inside of a tunnel right now, as the cold seems to have migrated to my ears, but I'm hoping it will migrate completely OUT of me very soon. :)

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  20. Oh my gosh, Virginia! You crack me up. I can't wait to see everything when it's all finished. I just know its going to be amazing. I hope you feel better soon and that your little Tootie recovers from his kitty depression. I seriously have two cats that look just like yours. It's crazy! Good luck with your remodeling!

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    1. Aw! Thanks so much Sarah! Tootie seems to be coping well lately. The initial shock of furniture removal has subsided. She's excited to get a chance to be back in the bedroom, too. We never let them back there, and they are basically living there now, so it's almost like they are on vacation. :)

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  21. Good luck on keeping the cats contained. During my bathroom reno the old tub was removed. The wall was fixed and the new tub installed. After everyone was gone I realized one of my cats was AWOL. Yes, I did hear meowing inside the wall. I ran outside and opened the hatch to the crawl space under the house and called and called. I was sure she could get out that way, but... So finally I went back inside and made a new hole in the hallway. (An area not included in the reno, of course). But no cat. I was frantic. As I went to the phone to call someone, anyone, I glanced at the sliding glass door and there she was on the patio, happy as a clam. She got out thru the crawl space after all. Crisis over, but couldn't she have emerged before I put a new hole in the wall???

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    1. AH! That's so terrible, Linda! We've been super duper careful and they are safely contained. They are basically my infant children and require constant supervision. :)

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  22. I think you have an opportunity to create for yourself some nice storage and a mini-library. Purchase (or however you want to acquire them :)) a large storage cabinet, some big comfy chairs and some shelving. A demilune table with a large mirror (silver?) would be very pretty. I love your blog, and you give me a better attitude about all the work we are doing on our house.

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    1. Thanks Theresa!! I really do love the idea of a library or sitting room. That was my original thought, but since it's so dark in there (and since I'd rather just cozy up in my bed with a book), the realistic part of me knows I would never use it if I did that. So, I'm trying to figure out a purpose for that room that would actually result in me frequently using it. I'm thinking the only option is to eventually build a window in there, as it's just such an awful dreary space without a window. I love your suggestions, though...really brilliant! xo

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  23. Cave room = library. Or cat den. Or librarian cat den.

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    1. HA!!! That's just hilarious. It would make for a fabulous cat den. But, I know all Cheese & Toot would do is sit at those double doors and meow at me. Like, let us in the REAL room, mom!!! :)

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  24. As awful as I'm sure it is to live in a construction zone, I'm totally jealous!!! I can't wait until we can get new floors!!

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    1. I sooooo know that feeling. Seriously. I've basically been in a floor depression for four years. The carpet drove me crazy every single day. I hope your day for new floors comes soon, too!! In the meantime, I totally feel your pain. xo

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  25. Thank you so much for the chuckle! :D

    I am now cleaning up our kitchen, dining and laundry are from flooding / renovation. I totally understand about chaos and the mess that happens when tearing our walls and floors. Keep envisioning the end result and have fun picking out some wicked balusters. ;) I look forward to seeing the aftermath. :D

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    1. Oh no! Flooding! That's the pits! Hope everything is getting all fixed up and back to normal for you soon! :) Thanks for the encouragement, Julie!!! xo

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  26. I love your blog, you crack me up. I am pretty sure the hubs and i would need marriage counseling if we ever went through a major renovation ha ha.

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    1. HA! Thanks Jamie! You aren't kidding! We thought long and hard about doing all of this ourselves, but I really, REALLY love Jesse and kinda want to keep it that way. Turns out, that was a really great decision. Our house is way more of a hot mess than we originally thought. 1970's...GRRRR! :)

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  27. Love seeing the progress! My husband and I are renovating/remodeling a farmhouse built in 1902. It took us 9 months to even get it to the point where we could move in to the downstairs. We had some walls stripped down to the studs and were knocking down 110-year old plaster. (Let me tell you, I could probably hire myself out for demo work now! And it's a good way to get out some frustration/aggression. :)) So I totally understand the chaos and the mess! But the end product is so worth it. Keep up the good work! :)

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    1. Oh my gosh, that's so awesome!! I would love to do something like that! I've always wanted to buy a 'real' old house, like a 1902 house, and gut it down to the studs! I mean, not that I would necessarily even know where to start, but I would love to figure it out! So fun! And thank you, btw! :)

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  28. You go girl! So excited for your new floors and to see what you do with the new railing! I've shared your blog with pretty much everyone I know since I have applied approximately 87% of your posts to my own place...keep them coming!

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    1. AH! Sara, that is SO sweet of you! Thank you! xo

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  29. How exciting! I can't wait to see.

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  30. Love the carpet removal boycott. That's how my cat always sits too and cracks me up!

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    1. HA! That's so awesome, Julia. I'm so relieved to know that Tootie isn't the only little weirdo out there! :)

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  31. Great post! The cat pictures were so funny, too!

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  32. I love your master bedroom! Your cats are adorable.

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  33. Was the dresser to the left of your bedroom ( in the pic with the two different color socks youre wearing) originally a greenish/light color and now it is white with a grey stripe down the mddle? Or....am I crazier than I think :)

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    1. Hi Kelly! Yes, you are totally right! Good eye! That's Vern, and he's been through a couple different makeovers now. That room usually is much more stylish, at least that's what I tell myself, but it's currently housing about 3 rooms worth of junk! :)

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  34. I bet your mystery room would make a great Library/reading nook. and you could make your bedroom door a hidden room! fun fun!

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    1. Thanks Shawna! I love hearing everyone's suggestions....it totally encourages me to actually make that room less of a haunted house! :)

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  35. That squatter pic cracks me up! All of the cat pics rocked my socks right off! I'm really excited for the new floors in your house though, I'm sure they will look AAAAAAAAAMAZING!!! Can't wait for pics!

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    1. Thanks Traci. Tootie makes for an awesome squatter if I do say so myself!! Not every girl can pull off such a look! ha! The floors are coming along already and I can't wait to show you guys soon!! xo

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  36. Virginia,
    I discovered your blog several months back and have been a fan ever since. I feel like we are long lost sisters, as I also bought a 70's house 4 years ago, with much wood paneling and trim. We have been updating it by mostly painting every surface we can get our hands on like you and changing out all the awesome brass fixtures. I am so looking forward to your basement reno, as that is what we are starting on next, and although we are pretty good DIYers, this is a huge project. We have a basement dungeon that is so hideous we cannot stand to be down there. I will look to you for inspiration as we start to rip down the burgandy paneling and "cardboard" tile walls in the bathroom. Thanks for all your ideas and tips and I can't wait to see how your floors turn out!
    On a related note: Dirty Dancing is the BEST movie of all time and I totally rock my T-shirt that says "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" :-)

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    1. Hi Mary!!! I'm pretty excited to have you as a reader! Sounds like we do indeed have tons in common! Our basement is kind of a dungeon, too. It has SO much potential though (when I can force myself to look past the catbarf carpet and wood trim...ha!) so I'm excited to finally spruce that area up! We won't move on to 'phase 2' of the renovation for a couple month though, but I promise to share ALL about it when we do! Also, that's an amazing tshirt. :)

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  37. You are adorable, and you are SOOOO decor savvy!!! Your bedroom evolution post (may have been a while ago) was beautiful at EVERY stage, with each little change you made! I very much enjoyed sitting here going thru several of your blog posts last night, until my hubby pulled me away....

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    1. Aw!! You are too sweet Josanne! Thank you so much! So happy to have you as a reader! xo

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  38. I seriously spent two hours last night on this site. I pinned a zillion things. We are moving into our first home in May and I can tell you...I will be on this site daily! SO GLAD I FOUND IT! And all from that little ampersand project!

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    1. Hi Tanika!! Congrats on your first home! That's so exciting!!

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  39. Virginia, I just came across your blog and it is Awesome. You have the energy and fresh ideas you young girls do. I'm going to send my daughter here for ideas. she's also remodeling her home. Thanks for all the info and great pictures. Denise

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    1. Thanks Denise! So happy to have you as a reader! xo

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  40. I love your style, your house (thanks to you as you did all the magic!), your cats, your blog and you (it sounds weird but that is true)! Can't wait to see After images. Myself and my boyfriend are dreaming of buying a big beautiful Georgian house in English country side some day and doing it up! What you have got going on at the moment might not feel like much fun but I think you should try to enjoy it! All the best!

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    1. Thank you so much!! I am definitely trying to enjoy every little moment, as I'm sure I will look back on all of this and think it was a really happy time! :)

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  41. I truly enjoyed this post! I recently moved from East Tennessee (Morristown), so it was fun to connect on something more than DIY and decorating! I now live in the Midwest, where I was born, but the south will always own a part of my heart! I too moved around for the majority of my life and completely understand the love of sweatpants and being at home. Love your blog!

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment!! I do the hammer dance every time I read one.

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