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DIY Series: Home Projects for 2017

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DIY Series: Home Projects for 2017

This year I am doing Lara Casey's Power Sheets, which I LOVE by the way! I intended to do a whole post on my goals for the year but you know work and 10-Ks and coordinating a move with our church to a new building and ski season have just really taken over... Maybe I will do one later this month though. Anyways, one of my goals is of course home projects for the year. In Denver, everyone goes dormant in the winter then as April starts to come around the whole city kicks it into over drive and does a TON of home improvement projects. The rush is real. Contractors just stop caring and are so over booked there is a wait list of like 6 weeks just to get a bid, it is really something else. Each year I try to start getting bids in March so I can get on the schedule for renovations.

Ben and I had our annual meeting to discuss our house to dos so we can stay focused this spring and summer and accomplish our goals! Here is what we have narrowed down the list to:

  • Bathroom
    • Full gut and renovation (I am so excited... I already have two contractors scheduled to come out this Friday to give us quotes)
    • See my inspiration here!
  • Basement
    • Replace the carpet with vinyl wood-esque flooring
    • Do something with our exposed brick wall (yes, yes I know everyone loves it in theory but its not sanitary, it is crumbling, and just not really practical... We are probably going to put up dry wall.)
    • Fix the windows
    • Paint all of the doors, trim, and ceiling with fresh white paint
    • Paint the rest of the walls grey
  • Paint the front door & fix a piece of glass that has been broken since we bought our home
  • Paint front porch ceiling with a fresh coat of white paint and switch out our old light fixture
  • Backyard
    • Re-seed & re-vitalize our grass (unfortunately it died and dried up last year after we sodded)
    • Expand our garden by building some raised garden beds (SO excited about this!!)
    • Refinish deck (the Colorado sun is so intense!)
    • Organize storage under our deck
    • Setup our outdoor fire pit
    • Purchase an electric smoker (Ben is beside himself he is so excited about this... he at one point was telling me we could smoke 100 lbs of meat... Good LORD.. what are we gonna do with 100 lbs of meat!!)
  • Front yard
    • Re-fresh our front yard flower bed areas by pulling up our old rose bushes
    • Re-vitalize our grass and mud patch (we finally killed all the weeds but now its just dirt)
    • Pull up and replace a ginormous prickle bush by our porch
  • Miscellaneous
    • Patch some wall areas around our new Nest and light switch plates then touch up the paint
    • Replace our old smoke detector with the Nest CO2 and smoke alarm
    • Replace the light fixture in the entry way
    • Replace the light fixture in the hallway to our bedroom
    • Poly the handrail & post
      • This is leftover from last summer and really we have just been procrastinating like its nobody's business and could easily do this before the spring/summer arrives.

I will keep you updated with our progress this year. Our next plan is to finalize our timeline and budget for each of these projects!

Planning is my middle name -

Chelsea
 

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DIY Series: Backdoor & Storm Door

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DIY Series: Backdoor & Storm Door

Since we have moved into this house we have had heating and air condition problems. It is a 1910 home and we are lucky to even have HVAC in Denver. Most friends do not have this luxury. We have no insulation in our house. Like zero. Behind this plaster is brick.. well hopefully (wink wink). In one instance, we removed the baseboard to the left of the door and we were able to see straight outside. This was also the case next to the pantry. (No wonder there was once a mouse problem...) Our food would be COLD, like icicle cold, in the winter in our old pantry. We wanted to get this door and door jam repaired since it is original to our home but unfortunately the door was just too warped. Look at the top left corner of the door. It was bowing out significantly and we were able to literally see outside at all times. This created a bug problem and also our house was losing air quickly. Throughout the last 100 years or so, this door faced the elements and the storm door was offering little to no protection at this point. So it was concluded we needed to replace the original back door (cue Nicole Curtis yelling at me...) and my dad graciously gifted us a new storm door & installation for a house warming present.

Funny story: When we first bought our house my step mom came in town to help us with a few projects. When she first got here we went to Home Depot to purchase supplies for the weekend projects and I was asking Ben for a new storm door because the one originally at the house would slam shut so loud and it actually ripped several pieces of clothing because it was broken. This was week 2 of owning our first home and Ben was like "No! We can't spend all our money right now!" haha soo my step mom told my dad this story when she got home because real adult life set in for us. Since that day my dad has been set on gifting us a storm door!

This sound so silly but I have been absolutely so excited about this! You will see why below but the full glass allows for this mini indoor/outdoor feel that I just love when having guests over to sit on the back porch under the twinkle lights! Also I like to leave it open when I am cooking to look outside and get all the natural light possible! It even has a self closing mechanism so NO MORE SLAMMING! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this the most about the new storm door. Anyways back to the back door...

Here is a before shot from inside our kitchen. Looking back on it, the door was rough.

I really wanted to keep the integrity of the home and this meant ordering a custom wood door. We went to The Door Store in Denver and their prices were really reasonable (actually WAY cheaper than Home Depot) and they had a style that was really close to our original door. The only detail we lost was the look of the 4 windows. I truly like the all glass because again it lets in more light and I can look outside unobstructed.

This is the day our contractor installed the new door!

I will get into a few other problems we had with the door that are common with old homes and shows you just how much craftsmanship went into this from our contractor. You can see above that the concrete slab under the door was crumbling. Also the deck is right up against the doorway so this causes water to pool up against the house. In addition, the wood around the transom was rotted. Basically we needed help. Our contractor suggested that he could add concrete to stabilize the door below the new threshold, he could add another picture window in front of the original transom to increase energy efficiency and he could install some decking to redirect water away from our house. No sooner than he discussed this with us, we had a major rain and hail storm in Denver. The water came pouring in our kitchen on the newly finished hardwood floors. We had cardboard all over the floors to protect them and the water soaked underneath and to top it all off our floors are of course uneven so we were in a scramble to clean up all the water in the kitchen. Thankfully we were home and heard the water gushing in so we were able to act fast. Once we thought that we had averted this crisis, we went to the basement and there was water everywhere in our office. Oh joy. So we decided we should proceed with making some additional repairs to this back door area to reduce the risk of future water issues. We absolutely do not regret this add on to our project.

Next it was time to pick a door color. We decided that we wanted something bright and fresh for the door. Because why not? On Snapchat I asked friends to weigh on what color to pick. Ultimately we decided to go with the far left color. My signature turquoise... Ben keeps calling it green. I highly disagree. (wink, wink)

After we painted the door, our contractor installed our new storm door! Isn't it beautiful? It has a feature where you can pull down the glass halfway and it turns into a screen. This is so nice to have in Denver. I pretty much leave the back door open all the time now! You can also see the new grey decking that diverts water and snow from the doorway.

After installation of the door, this is what the inside looked like. I was insistent that we keep the original molding around the door so it looked quite rough right after installation. We caulked and painted all the molding and it changed the look of this door dramatically. I was also insistent that we keep the original door handle. However, the latch was very old and a weird shape so we found an online shop that sells antique hardware parts that would allow us to still use our doorknob but were smaller in overall size so wouldn't threaten the integrity of the new door. Door knobs are so complicated! The metal stick that actually turns the door open is a 5/16" square pole. This is not the standard anymore. But luckily for about $25 we were able to order a new inside piece from House of Antique Hardware. I learned a lot about door handles and latches through this process. We specifically ordered this one. This website has tons of great info and I went to the glossary often to determine exactly what we needed and called their customer service #. They were great to work with!

Below is an in progress shot of the finishing details. Again it is so amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for your space! Cheapest way to freshen it up!

After:

Some of my favorite elements about the backdoor project are:

  • Buying a traditional wood back door from the Door Store and painting it a fun color! We didn't lose the charm of the old house.
  • Keeping the original doorknob (We just replaced the inner latch hardware through House of Antique Hardware, which has parts for old door knobs and sells antique hardware.)
  • Replacing the light switch plates with fresh, clean ones from Wall Plates Online. (Found lovely mouse poop when I took the old wall plate off.)
  • Putting a fresh coat of white paint on all the trim around the door and in the kitchen to really clean it up!
  • Adding a fun and eclectic rug from West Elm!

P.S. Sorry you can see me in the reflection in ALL of these pictures haha. 

Chelsea
 

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DIY Series: Kitchen Reveal

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DIY Series: Kitchen Reveal

Hiiii friends!! I am so excited to share the reveal of our kitchen renovation. This has been a labor of love. We hired a contractor to oversee and do the majority of the work and we finished off the kitchen ourselves with painting and some finishing details. I will post a few more detailed posts in the coming weeks about specifics, favorite features, and recommendations we have for the whole process. But for now we are just thankful the kitchen is complete and functional again! Also the sunlight in Denver is something else. It comes in from every angle in our house!

Before & After:

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Leave any questions you have below and I would be happy to help answer any of them! 

Chelsea
 

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DIY Series: Kitchen Before

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DIY Series: Kitchen Before

We are wrapping up the final details of our kitchen renovation. Before we show the big reveal, I thought it would be fun to reminisce on where we came from. 

Kitchen sink area from when we were first looking at the property. Aren't those staged decorations just so lovely? haha I dont miss that dishwasher, at all.   

The kitchen sink area right before we started the renovation. What you can't see is our new dishwasher we bought when we first purchased our home.

Okay lets get real... Who designs a kitchen where the sink is off center from the window... and to go ahead and top it off they move the light fixture over to be directly above the sink? This was easily my least favorite part of this kitchen was this whole area.  The tile went partially onto the actual window. It was dim and yellowy and this faucet spewed everywhere from the faucet head when you turned it on. This tile was a PAIN to clean and it just looked really dingy.

The weirdest nook/dead space in our kitchen has to be this corner. We love the window here but it creates limits to what you can do right here. This is where Trigger's bowl and food sat... out in the open. Not so glamorous. Also our friends kids loved to play in the dog food and maybe even taste test it themselves. haha

The stove area from when we were first looking at the property. That stove.. yuck yuck. 

Stove area before we started the renovation. Do you notice how the back of the stove is higher than the wall? 

The fridge area when we were first looking at the property. The fridge was TINY!!!

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The fridge area from before us starting the renovation. Notice some of the tile had already broken off? (Left hand corner of the photo)

Our pantry... There is nothing Texas sized about this pantry. You know how people in Texas have WALK IN PANTRIES?! Yeah that's a thing. Not in Denver but else where. I could fit approximately 1 bag of chips and 1 box of crackers in this pantry previously. LOL joke but it was small.

Below is this weird pony wall in the kitchen. To the left of the pony wall is the staircase to our basement. At one point when they made this open concept this was their solution so the stove didn't just fall into the stairase. I am thankful for an open concept in this tiny house nonetheless.

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Our house was renovated by the previous owner at some point before it became a full-time rental and he removed all the other walls upstairs except for the one into the kitchen and this little pony wall. This one wall that is sticking out totally closed off the kitchen.

The backdoor area when we were first looking at the property. 

The back door area right before we started the renovation.

Ahh... Those dingy floors. Make me cringe thinking about their unsanitary-ness. I spent hours cleaning them to no avail.

Our entire kitchen was packed up and sitting in these tubs for about 8 weeks. Looking back this renovation stretched us in so many ways but I am really, really thankful for the final product! Can't wait to share it with y'all. This home is such a blessing to us and we constantly praise the One who hand picked it out for us!

Are you ready to see our fixer upper? :)

 

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Breaking Bread

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Breaking Bread

The dream I had for our back deck/porch/yard has always been to gather together with our family and friends and talk about God's word and our lives, laugh, break bread together, and play games! We have been working on our backyard for over a year now. Here we painted our deck (which sadly did NOT hold up in the Colorado weather elements). Here we laid sod, which sadly ended up frying towards the end of the summer (#renoprobz). We also decided to renovate our kitchen starting in May and much to my dismay our deck became the outdoor storage unit for our appliances and our contractor's tools and supplies. We had a dishwasher and stove among other renovation debris and tools on our deck for about 8 weeks. FINALLY, when our kitchen was nearing completion we were able to finish decorating our back deck and get some use out of it before the winter rolls in. I was afraid I would miss the precious summer time but as I am always reminded, God is faithful and I still had plenty of time to enjoy the backyard.

The day after our contractor finished up with the kitchen, I texted a group of girlfriends to see if they wanted to join me for an evening on the deck complete with yummy food and wine! I got a resounding "I am in!". During this party, my sweet friend (and also current ROOMIE! - more on that later) mentioned that she wanted me to teach her all my hosting ways for when she gets married soon. I had another friend comment to me about how it is hard to know how to host. This got me thinking. I love to host and it comes somewhat naturally to me but it isn't that hard and really everyone can do it! We all grew up with our parents showing us different skills and gifts. My mom, as well as, my dad and step-mom are all amazing hosts. My entire life, I have watched as they have thrown party after party and gathering after gathering. It is easily one of my favorite memories of growing up. Somewhere along the way, I picked up my own hosting style. A few tips I have learned through experience can go a long way for throwing an affordable gathering with a specific theme or style.

I am going to share with you how you can put together a girls evening at your house for less than $50 and not stress out in the process! I want to encourage you to invite others in to share in the hosting and use all the fun stuff you already have in your home that was a wedding present or a special purchase that we just don't use enough!

First - pick the night of the week that works for you invite girls over. I know that about 8 girls fit perfectly on my back deck. For me, I work a 9/80 schedule which means I have every other Friday off so I usually pick a Friday evening that I am already off to host my gathering! This automatically makes it less stressful for me.

Next, decide on the menu for the evening. I usually make the main meal and at least one side or appetizer. I will text the girls letting them know what I need help with. Do not hesitate to tell your girls specifically what to bring or just give them suggestions. Most of my friends love direction when it comes to contributing to one of these gatherings!  Sometimes I am as specific to say that I want someone to bring a cheese and cracker platter and sometimes I say "a side that goes with chicken". This allows people to make something they like but also lets them know what would be helpful! I love my girls, everyone is usually fighting over who gets to bring what and we always end up with SO MUCH FOOD! I love it.

My go to recipe for the meat is crock pot pork. I literally make this so much. It is affordable, easy, and Whole 30 approved!

I shop at my local Sprouts and pick up a 3.5-5.0 lbs of pork loin or pork shoulder (whichever they have that's on sale). I usually spend about $5-9 on the pork! That's it!!

The morning of the party, I put the pork in the crock pot. Then I add about two spoonfuls of garlic that is already chopped in the jar. Add some fresh oregano or other herbs from the garden (pick what you love but some suggestions are: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, & Basil). Then I add some salt and pepper to taste and put about 1/2 cup of water (or wine if you prefer. P.S. cooking with wine is not Whole 30 approved.) for the juice. That is IT! Just put on low for 8 hours and it is completely ready for your evening! Crockpot recipes make it really easy when you get home from work. You can just focus on prepping the table or the space you are going to hang out in.

For this party, I also made some basmati rice with garlic and some cilantro. I then just rummaged through my pantry and fridge and threw in a bowl of fresh cherries, some pistachios, and a bowl of green olives. All things I already had that were going to go bad if they weren't eaten soon!

When I am the hostess, I usually provide a few bottles of wine for the evening. Nothing fancy, I literally go to Trader Joe's and get 3 buck Chuck or maybe one "special wine" that is $4. I know big spender. To cutesy things up - I just poor the red wine in a decanter (a wedding gift) and put cute wine stoppers in the white and pink wines! I let the girls know they can feel free to bring their beverage of choice, so again there is no stress! I always provide some lemon and rosemary infused water in a cute pitcher (another wedding present).

To make the dinner special and set the ambiance for the evening, I usually pick up one of the $3.99 bouquets at Trader Joe's the week of the party. I keep a stock pile of my wedding decor for various church events and events at my home, so I will usually pull out a few lanterns and candles to set the table. Here is where it gets really fun... You know all that china, fancy cups, platters, and other STUFF you got for your wedding? Yeah, get all that stuff out! It is time to use it. I have been using Ben's grandmother's beautiful blue glasses, my grandmother's weeping willow dishes, and all the platters, pitchers, etc. that I have for these parties! It is so fun. At first all the girls were like, "wow! Where is all this from?" and I was able to tell them that it was basically all gifts and hand me downs and it was time to just use all the fancy stuff! This makes them feel very special and just makes the evening so much fun! You totally don't have to do this but for me, it is just really special to actually get to use all my serving ware. Finally, I pulled out the real napkins that my mom gifted me for Easter. Yep, that's right, real napkins. Don't be scared of the clean up, just throw them in the washer at the end of the night! These are from Target and are really cute!

If you can't tell already, I LOVE blue. Everything matches because, well, I buy everything in shades of blue and grey. Haha

This time together with friends was so sweet. I cherish these nights. I love encouraging the other women that they too can throw a dinner, that isn't overly expensive, isn't over the top but fosters an environment where others feel special and cherished! As you can see above, we had everything from pork to pizza rolls, to a cheese and fruit tray, to fresh cherries & veggies. We didn't have fancy Hors d'oeuvres. These nights are about being present in the moment. As a hostess, you can't lose sight of the point of the evening and you need to enjoy the friends you have over. Once I get the table set, I usually just sit down and focus on being present, I don't run around the whole time or let myself get stressed out. I just know that I don't have to control everything and it doesn't have to be perfect. I usually have at least one friend who brings their dog over to play with Trigger. We listen to country music or our favorite worship songs, sit under the market cafe lights, enjoy the amazing weather that Denver offers in the summer, and talk about life, marriage, our jobs, our ministries, and what we are learning about who Christ is. One of my favorite parts is towards the middle of the evening I usually prompt the girls to share what they are learning in God's word, what this season of life is teaching them, or how they are being stretched. I am always so encouraged during this time. I am beyond thankful for a community of women that are on mission in this city and are loving others with their time, their words, and their hearts. 

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We had such a wonderful time that I planned another evening just two weeks later. We changed up the menu but again it turned out to be such a precious time with these girls. As I swept the leaves on our deck last week, I was reminded of the changing season and I am so thankful I had these special evenings under the stars with my precious friends!

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Trigger and Abe were totally infatuated with all the food droppings they got! They were not happy to be temporarily locked inside.

Happy gathering -

 

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