Friday, August 15, 2014

House Updates

Since the house we are purchasing is pretty much exactly like our old house but with an upstairs, we decided that we would do a few things to make this one feel new.

At first I was uncertain and I am still a bit nervous, but honestly, I am so darn excited, I can hardly wait!

We talked about painting ourselves, we got bids from an independent guy and then met with a designer at Lowe's for the kitchen who talked us through dollars and processes as well. At closing, the sellers realtor referred us to the guy who did the fixes we asked for when we bought the house. I figured that we might as well let him give us a bid as well just to see where we could stretch our dollars the furthest.

Long story short, if we did the painter for the house and Lowe's for the kitchen, we would still have other projects we wanted done and we would be coordinating lots of people in lots of places at different times. Matt's company {the guy the realtor referred us to} could do it all and his price was a bit less than the other two, plus he would throw in a bit more - since he was doing the whole job. On top of that, Lowe's would take 4-6 weeks for some of it and Matt and company will be done by Monday.


Yep! The trucks come Tuesday with our stuff and the contractors will finish up on Monday!

Here is the short list of the upgrades we are doing::

  • Painting the entire house. 
  • Updating lights and fixtures in the bathroom. 
  • Trim/switch out bathroom mirrors.
  • New counter tops and a new back splash. 
Picking out colors has been fun but a challenge. I wanted light, airy, cool, calming and neutral colors. No brights or bolds here as I am a huge proponent of painting plain Jane and then fancy up with accessories or pillows or lamps or something that you can change easily if you hate! I knew the idea I wanted, but took to the interwebs for help! 

Sherwin Williams has this cool feature where you can upload an actual photo of the room and then select the paint color and paint the walls. This was super helpful just to get an overall picture of what it would look like. 

Thanks to all in blog land, Instagram and all who emailed, messaged and commented with paint color suggestions! My SIL clued me into the fact that you can take any color to Sherwin Williams stores and they will color match it. Though we chose a Benjamin Moore color, we got it all through Sherwin Williams. We tried six grays on the wall and decided on Revere Pewter for the entire house and the bedrooms Revere Pewter at 50%. With the exception of one wall, all walls in the house will have a shade of the Revere Pewter on it. That one special wall will be pink and will be in a sweet little girls room... 

{Insert Mommy sucker award here.}

We were on our way over to talk about paint and she was SO excited about her PINK room. I couldn't tell her she wasn't getting pink - especially after she told others about it and was almost in happy tears, so instead hubby and I smiled and nodded as we picked out a light pink for a sassy little princess! 

....Speaking of pink. We were at my parents and I was trying to pull out the samples to write down the names to text CT3. Lets just say that Brother Bear and Sis Sis were trying to help me put them back and Brother wasn't as gentle as he could have been. The top was not all the way on and it busted off and paint spilled all over my parents hard woods. I grabbed it and ran. Literally, through the house, out the door, down the driveway and threw it in the pine straw.

DON'T even ask why I thought grabbing it and running was the right thing to do, but I did. We spent a solid hour and a half scrubbing the driveway on that one. Oops. 

You cant tell here, but the left wall has one coat so far of paint! 

As mentioned, in the bathrooms, we are switching out lights and hardware. Our contractor pulls it all down to paint so he said if we had it all in there and ready, they would install the new at no charge since they would be putting it back already. Here is the current/old pictures of two of the three bathrooms.

As of now, the mirror in the master bath has been pulled down, they will patch and paint and then we will install the new mirrors as well as the new lights. 

This may be one of the things I am most excited about. I feel like its relatively inexpensive but will make a HUGE impact and give it a totally different look and feel. 

I think my Dad or CT3 or someone is just going to trim out the other one to give it a framed look versus  us pulling it down and purchasing new. 

Lastly, the kitchen. The day we were starting, we met Matt at the house and by the time we got there at 10 am, all of the upstairs had been taped to paint, the vents and lights and all pulled down and the counter tops gone! EEEEK! No turning back now, right!?

We are going with a lighter granite with more of a silver {versus gold} undertone and a white subway tile and a white sink. I think that the granite will provide the perfect contrast with the walls and the white back splash and I cant wait to put our butcher block table in. The silver frame on it and the light wood really will pull everything together and I think make it look super sharp! 

So that's it for now!! Friday they will finish the paint, Sunday the granite will be installed and then Monday the back splash and then Tuesday we move in! 

Many more DIY projects are ahead {including the hubster tiling the laundry room floor} and I cant wait to show you the finished product of it all! 

Happy Friday! 
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Monday, August 11, 2014


I blogged last week on how I plan {hope} to decorate. One of the things I loved when perusing Pinterest was the idea of my kids silhouettes adorning our living room wall. Here was the picture and idea that I found and fell in love with on Pinterest::

As yall know, I love all things crafty and as we prep to move in, I figured I would try my hand at cutting my kids silhouettes.

I randomly snapped profile pictures of my kids as they were watching TV and figured I would go for it. I picked up some ivory artists board with a woven back and some black paper and was ready. I was half way nervous that they would turn out like a kids craft project but after a quick learning curve and a few extra cuts with the exacto knife, I was more than thrilled with the project!

Annie M, CT4 and Moose

In fact, I posted it on Instagram and Facebook and got so many messages, likes and comments that I realized I may have something actually going for me!

I tried one of Champ and one of a pregnant friend and all of those came out fabulous too. I did one of my niece and was in awe of the resemblance, but also the classic feel.

Truly, I loved how just looking at my little silhouettes made it seem as if time was standing still, for only a moment.

Without waiting another second, I opened up an Etsy shop. Sounds crazy, I know but, I am loving it and have already had a few orders!!

In the shop, you can select the size and even customize your color - for those who may want one but may not want something traditional, just jazz it up with a fun color! They come matted to the art board but not framed. If you want it framed, you can add a frame with your order and I will take care of it for ya!

I posted this picture yesterday of all of the ones that are on their way to people who have ordered! 
Since I have JUST opened up my shop and would love a few orders and reviews, I am offering a 25% off, good through the 15th. At check out, use the code "GRANDOPENING" and it will discount your order.

You add the number of silhouettes (like if you have three kids, select three and their respective sizes) to your cart, check out and then email me the profile picture. For girls, I recommend hair in a pony tail or bun so you can see their sweet necks! People have asked whats the best way to capture kids, I put mine in front of the TV, walked to the side and snapped two pictures with my iPhone. Easy breezy!

If you have questions about anything, please email me at talkofthetrains{at}gmail{dot}com.

Thanks again for everyones excitement, love and support! Feel free to share my Etsy with others in Blogland, Facebook, email, etc!

Speaking of decorating, here is my current layout for the gallery wall! The pieces of paper are place holders for things that I am in the process of framing. Can you spy my hand cut, Champie silhouette in there!?

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014


We have had our fair share of hiccups as we move forward to closing, but the good news is that this week, we will once again be homeowners! 

In all of my moving excitement, I have started thinking through what our new house will look like. I have narrowed down paint choices and sketched out where our furniture will fit and go. I have made a list of things here and there and I have used Photoshop to show hubby the look and feel I am going for.

As I pinned ideas and sketched my own, I decided that I wanted a timeless and classic but rustic feel for the living room. I wanted grey-ish walls and CT3 likes leather, so I would incorporate that and neutrals into the seating. I wanted a gallery wall, composed of mostly things that are meaningful to family and I wanted lots of pictures of my kids. I wanted bright and happy in the main areas and kitchen and while its the same lay out as our old house, I figured that new paint and some furniture and decor upgrades would make it feel completely different.

That said, here is the sketch that I put together and I think the look that CT3 and I are going for and how they compare with the old house.

Old House

New House

Totally different, right!? The walls are currently the beige and we will more than likely paint a grey. We will need a place for our TV and a stand similar to this would be awesome. We will also need a bit of storage space since we wont have my beloved built in bookshelves {see below} and so something with some shelving will be a must. The furniture we may wait a bit to get, but I think we would rather save and get what we want now rather than just piece meal it together like we have in the past. 

I LOVE the silhouettes on the wall and I will give more details on that soon!
Old House
New House

On the other side of the living room, is where I want to do the gallery wall. I am collecting stuff - traditional, modern, historical, family - of all shapes and sizes for the wall. I want it to be random, fun and meaningful in some form or fashion and I am having fun with it! 
My Grandmother is graciously giving us her dining rooms set and also the side table pictured. I am thinking of putting that there, but we will see if it fits! 

I have done little sketches for a few of our other rooms as well and I am anxious to see how close I get in the real life designs and how it all turns out! I am by no means a decorator, so feel free to give tips and ideas! I have just a few more days before it all comes off the paper and into real life and couldn't be more excited! 
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Monday, August 4, 2014

The Hunt

Back to the story of the move...

Where I left off was that we moved out, went to the beach, came home, drove back down, signed the papers and then officially moved in with my parents. 

Now that we were home-free or home-less{and very thankful, I might add!} we felt like we were ready to start the house hunting process. We had piddled around online before, but really, until we had sold our house, I refrained from looking. I didn't want to get my heart set on something and then not be able to buy it and now it was time to start the search! 

We had a rough idea of the area we were looking, price range and the space needed. Some of the things that were important to us were good schools {top priority}, safe area, a neighborhood with a community pool and sidewalks, driving distance to CT3's work, a house that would have space for a formal dining room table and my grandfathers baby grand piano, kids rooms and a play space, a laundry room and the master on the main. Bonus points for a bonus room where we could put craft stuff for me, our elliptical, etc.  

Knowing what we know now {after being home owners for five and a half years}, we enjoy having people over, the kids need a place to play that houses toys NOT in the middle of my living room, we need a laundry room and I love having a back yard with out steps where the kids can just go out back and play. 

I am not going to lie, Champ was a consideration in all of this...and my growing older by the day joints. I didn't want to have him and me running up and down stairs inside and outside all the day long and so the master on the main {where he usually is} and just walking out into the back yard was a big deal to me! Ridiculous, I know, but true that it was a consideration of mine!

The first time out, we looked at 9 houses. The second time out, we saw 8. The third time we saw 6 and the fourth 6 more. Are you seeing a pattern here? I think we looked at just over 40 houses and I had a stack three times that of specs and pictures I had printed to put in our "maybe" pile.

Wear a sista out! Here I am in the 90 millionth house we looked at...taking a selfie in someone elses bathroom mirror.

#noshame #arewehavingfunyet

Every time we went to a house, CT3 and I went all HGTV style and we named the house and made notes of loves, hates and no way, jose's. There were a few houses we liked but they had drive under garages. The thought of three little kids, groceries and all of those steps about did me in and I quickly ruled out drive under garages. Some houses were really yucky and needed lots of work and those got nixed pretty fast too. Many that were built back in the 80's were cute but very boxy with lots of cut off rooms and low ceilings and it made me feel claustrophobic. Seeing those houses helped me realize that I need light and openness.

And pantry's. WHY do people NOT have pantry's. I cant figure it out. Where do you put your food?? We looked at at least a handful of no pantry homes. Those got nixed too.

In the end, there were five houses we really loved. 

Two were your traditional two story, formal living, formal dining, bedrooms upstairs and on a basement house. Both of these had a ton of space but potential structural issues and while I LOVED one of them, hubby and both of our Dad's cautioned about taking on the possible problems.

Then there was a one story with an extra little house in the back that was an in law suite. I loved the neighborhood, they had this amazing add on sun room and the space was do able. The kitchen and all bathrooms had been upgraded and our talk was to expand the wall between the house and the in law suite and make it huge. I loved this house. It had character, updates and all seemed golden. We had the Dad's join us before we made an offer to look at whether the expansion would be feasible.

{this is how men discuss stuff!}

That week, CT3 had some crazy stuff come up at work, we were waiting on documents from our closing and he was trying to get stuff together to make an offer. Our realtor had asked theirs to let us know if they had other offers and we never heard from them. CT3 wasn't sold on the house but we got our stuff together, made an offer and got the call that they had just accepted another one. I was crushed. I could see our little family in that house and I could see how it would all work. 

For me, envisioning is a big deal. If it feels forced or if I cant see it, then it is not a good fit. 

We kept looking and looking and looking. We would leave the kids with my parents and go see as many houses as possible and then CT3 would leave from there and go to work and I would come back home to the babies. The next day, the same thing. 

My parents have many a jewels in their crowns for taking on the troops and allowing us to shop!! We did take the kids here and there but lets just say that my middle child in someone elses house with someone elses stuff is not the ideal situation! Love you, Brother Bear, but those are NOT your toys!!!

We found another house that CT3 fell in love with. I wasn't sure about this one but at this point, I just wanted a house. It was pricier but pretty and was huge. It was move in ready, brand new Pinterest kitchen and on a little man made lake. I liked it but didn't love it and was having a hard time "seeing" how our family would live in the house. It also didn't have room for my piano but after seeing my husbands love for it and my anxiousness to get in a house, I told him just to go for it. Long story short on this one, the home owner didn't want to negotiate. I know it was a blessing in disguise because while the view and house would have been pretty, I think both CT3 and I felt like dollars wise, it would be tight for a one income family so we walked away and both felt relieved and ready to move on.

Then, we went and looked at one more house. It had the master on the main, a bonus room and most of the other features we wanted in a house. Neighborhoods, schools, dollar for the value, dining room, piano room, friendly neighbors that we have already met, everything seemed almost too perfect for this house, so whats the problem you are asking? Buy the house already, you scream, right!? 

Its the EXACT SAME HOUSE as our old house with an upstairs and the downstairs floor plan reversed. LIKE THE EXACT SAME. 

At first I was all, eh, whatever, don't like the house, lets move on. But then, the more I thought about it, the more I fell in love. Then I got more excited and then I wanted the house so bad, I could taste it! Annie M was happy too and did a little happy dance in her soon-to-be new room!

Truly, it had everything we wanted. Sure it didn't have the charm of the added sun room with exposed wooden beams and no, it doesn't have a lake view, but all that it does have is truly perfect!! With that said, we made an offer, negotiated and are now under contract on this house. 

There is a certain peace with going into the familiar territory of our old house. I loved that house and this one will feel the same, but different. We do want it to feel a bit new as well and so we are going to paint the walls, decorate differently, replace the kitchen counter tops and back splash and hopefully eventually get some new furniture. 

I have already sketched out ideas in my brain {and on the computer for hubby to see!} and have made a few new things for the walls! We have lots of furniture that my grandmother has graciously given us and that will make things feel new and different as well. This house also has a back patio that we are thinking of turning into our own cute little sun room some day and so there is lots of potential! 

As of Friday, I officially signed the kids up for school and then this week we are meeting with painters and contractors to get some bids! We have loved living with my parents, but I am ready to shop for a refrigerator, washer and dryer and have my own little house to leave my own little messes in! 

...surely, Mom and Dad will come out there and clean up after me, right!? 
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