Category Archives: At Home

“Before” and “During” Pictures of our House

It has been a while since I updated you on our HOuSe!  As most of you know, last summer we had our house lifted and moved to our new farm.  It traveled over 100 miles!  Here is a picture of what it looked like shortly after it was moved and set back down on a new basement foundation:July 2012

Over the past 16 months we have added on a new “front” to the house.  In August I began painting the exterior–which still needs to get finished–but already has helped improve the overall look.  We have many “phases” of the house we need to complete before it becomes our “dReaM” home.  Since our current garage is used as my office/woodshop, our next plan is to extend the garage and have a porch which will connect the new garage and current front door area.  Not sure how soon this will happen, but in the meantime I am enjoying each new phase of seeing it come together.

Sept 2013

Sept 2013

Many of you wonder how our house has held up after traveling such a long distance.  There were only a few hairline cracks in the sheetrock above the interior doors but besides that, you’d never know it went through such a haul!  We continue to feel blessed about the entire process of the move and are glad we stuck with our CrAzY idea ;)  We couldn’t be happier in our new location and look forward to making more memories in the first house we ever purchased (just with a different landscape)!

To read about the MOVING journey, click below in the following order:

read Why Move A House? , Demo Work , Moving Day, Moving Our House and Did We Make the Right Decision?

Cheers,

Lara

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How I Fixed Our LAUNDRY Situation in 15 Minutes

If you were to ask me what area of my household chores stresses me out the most, I would say “LAUNDRY”.  I feel like our laundry takes over my life and my mood!  Like most people, we have a small laundry room, which also serves as a mudroom next to our garage.  Since I don’t have much room in there, laundry always ends up in our bedroom.  Clean clothes, dirty clothes—you name it—ends up either folded or unfolded on our bed.  By the end of the day, I usually never get around to putting all of it away, so where does it end up?  On the floor!  Yep, we are always so tired at night that the easiest thing to do is throw it on a dresser or make a pile on the floor.

This makes me CRAZY because the very next morning I feel like I have to rewash or dry everything due to unwanted wrinkles or not knowing what is really clean.  What a waste of time, energy, and laundry soap!!

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when we noticed some of our clothes smelling bad, even after being washed.  Since I didn’t have a good laundry system all of our clothes, musty towels and kitchen washcloths would sometimes end up in the same load.  What happens when you don’t do a good job sorting?  Your shirt smells like the onion you made for dinner last night :-/

I couldn’t take it any longer.  One morning, I decided I had to make a major change.  I headed down to the basement and grabbed a couple old card tables and plastic tubs.  I cleared out the corner of my office (which once consisted of a comfy chair and lamp) and I set the tables up.  Sure, I was sad to see my “reading chair” go (which never got used—but “looked” nice!) but I knew this area could be better utilized for something more practical.DSC_0577

I labeled each tub “whites/colors/smelly stuff—washcloths/other” and slid them under the table.  Within 15 minutes I had a functional laundry area and my life has been drastically changed every since!  I now have room to fold and make piles for each person in our family.  I also decided that I needed a place to hang clean clothes, so I took the hanging rod out of one of my kids’ closets and hung in above the card tables!  It only took me about 10 minutes to move from their closet to the new spot, and now it saves me tons of time from walking back and forth to bedrooms to hang clothes!DSC_0571

If I don’t get around to putting clothes away, everyone knows that their clean piles are now in my office.  My entire family has done great making sure they put their dirty laundry in the correct tub (but I even have an “other/don’t know pile” tub in case someone gets confused!) and I am proud to say that we haven’t dealt with any onion-smelly clothes since! YAY!  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!DSC_0572

One more thing I want to add…as you can see, my laundry room does not look “pretty”.  In the past I would have put off making a makeshift laundry room due to feeling like I needed custom cabinets and a reconstructed room in order to have a functional laundry space.  Because I did it this way, I was able to create a better laundry situation within 15 minutes AND it will give me time to try it out before I decide when and if I should ever upgrade to something more permanent.

Is there an area of your daily routine that makes you CrAzY (like my laundry situation)?  If so, I encourage you to think outside the box and find a way to make it less stressful.  Sure, I am sacrificing looking at dirty laundry baskets in my office, but now my master bedroom is ALWAYS clean and laundry free.  I am also saving time this way!  Just remember, even though you want your home to look like something from Pottery Barn, you have to ask yourself, “Would I rather have a magazine-looking house, or eliminate DAILY stresses by making an area more functional?””

Good “looks” don’t always mean a HaPpY HeArt!  Make a change TODAY!!

Lara

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Kitchen Makeover: Backsplash, Shelving and More Painting!

Now for the pictures that you have been WaiTinG for!  As I worked on painting the cabinets, I also added open shelving.  Check it out!DSC_0399

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I bought the corbels at Home Depot and used MDF board for the shelves.  Next, I added a wainscoting backsplash, which I don’t have ANY pictures of that process (sorry!).  But, I do have pictures of the nearly finished kitchen at Christmas!

Just for dramatic effect, let’s see where’ we’ve come from the beginning…

BEFORE

BEFORE

Here is an “after” picture (as of December 2012)!

After 2

We added a new light fixture above the sink and painted the trim around the window.  The trim, shelves, corbels and backsplash are all the same color.  I used white trim paint from Sherwin-Williams.

After 1

Here is a “before” from the right side of the room.  Remember how I said I was going to build a cabinet to hide the range hood pipe?  (where the greenery is in the picture below)

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Well here it is!

After 3

I took a cabinet door from a “lazy susan” cabinet that I bought on Craigslist.  I cut the cabinet door down to size, and hung it.  It opens from the bottom (the hinges are on the inside top) but I LOvE that it gives us extra storage space!  The other big changes on this side of the room is a new fridge and range hood!  I also added wainscoting to the back of the open cabinets (the one with the microwave and the cabinet above it).  This really prettied them up :)  What do ya think?!

After 4

These pictures pretty much bring you up-to-date on how my kitchen looks today.  We recently replaced the light in the kitchen ceiling and put in recessed lighting.  We also finished taking off the popcorn ceiling and now have a “knockdown” texture on the ceiling.  It looks so much BeTTeR!  All I have left to do is paint the ceiling (white) and add crown moulding to the top of the cabinets.  We eventually need to switch out our kitchen sink and replace the countertops (since those are the ones I painted 5 years ago!) but I am so indecisive on what I want…so it could be a while :)

My kiddos are officially on sUmMer bReaK, so who knows when I will finish up the kitchen!  We are so close though, and I am thrilled with the results!  It has really opened up the space and feels like we doubled our cabinet space since we added the open shelving. Gotta love that!

Let me know what you thought of the kitchen makeover!

Cheers,

Lara

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Kitchen Makeover: Painting!

Now for the fun stuff!!  I painted the lower cabinets “Mourning Dove” by Martha Stewart.  I had it mixed at Sherwin Williams, and since it is a discontinued color, just ask them and they can find the formula and mix it up for you!

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I decided to add some FuN to the room by adding chalkboard paint on the back wall.  I love it!  And so do the kids!!

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Remember this cabinet?  This is the first cabinet I removed when I started the kitchen makeover!

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And here it is painted!

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To this day, I am still debating if I like the distressed look (see the left cabinet door below) or if I want the cabinets to be solid white (see right cabinet door below).  What do you think?

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The upper cabinets were painted Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.  6

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I never shared with you the picture of the ceiling after I ripped out the soffit.  Here it is!  The ceiling also shows were I started taking off the popcorn ceiling.  Yep…I opened that can of worms and will share that process with you later.  I can assure you, all the mess and work was well worth it ;)

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So just to see where we’ve come, here is a “before” of the left side:

BEFORE

And here is a “during” of the left side:

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Here is a “before” picture of the right side of the kitchen:

DSC_0168And here is “during” the painting process of the right side!

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Stay tuned!  Next week I am going to share pictures of the backsplash, open shelving, and the rest of the painted cabinets!!

Cheers!

Lara

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Kitchen Makeover: Tearing Out MORE Soffit

Last week I shared with you how I tore out the soffit and raised the cabinets on one side of the kitchen.  Was Doug surprised when he came home?!  To be honest, he wasn’t as ShOcKeD as I anticipated.  In his defense, it is a “norm” for me to take on projects, and for some reason I get itchin’ to do it when he is gone.  Serves as good motivation to surprise him I guess ;)  The AWESOME thing is that he is extremely supportive of my love for this type of work, but under one condition….that I don’t drag him into helping me all the time ;)

…But every now and then I give him that puppy dog face that he can’t resist, and he becomes my partner in crime!  Which is why I want to share with you how much easier and faster it was to raise the cabinets on the other side of the kitchen!

I obviously was so tickled when Doug agreed to help me that I didn’t take NEAR as many pictures of the pRoCeSs!  In fact, due to having a helper this time around we were able to demo the soffit, raise cabinets and finish the left side of the kitchen (below) in 2 hours!  That’s right…2 hours!  To get started, here is a before picture:

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Same process, just much faster with two people!  (for more details instructions, visit Kitchen Makeover: Raising Cabinets)

2 Score Sheetrock

3 Tear off Sheetrock

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As you can see below, we threw plastic over the stove and counters for easy cleanup.  I learned my lesson after doing the demo without it last time ;)

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We raised the cabinet on the end first (as the white rectangle BELOW shows where the cabinet use to be).  This made raising the cabinets a breeze because all we had to do is go straight up.  Didn’t have to worry about keeping them level because they stayed flush to the cabinet next to it!  We just worked our way across the kitchen, unscrewing and raising one cabinet at a time.  We also didn’t mess with taking the food out of all the cabinets at the same time.  With each cabinet we moved, we took out the food, raised it, and then put everything back.  Super easy!

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Notice the cabinet above the stove in the picture below.  We didn’t raise this cabinet to avoid messing with the range hood and exhaust vent.  I decided I would eventually make a new cabinet and door which would maximize our storage space and hide the pipe!  You’ll get to see how that turned out in a future post!

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To recap, here is a BEFORE picture of the left side of the kitchen (that I took a few years ago!)

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And here it is AFTER!  10

The cabinet above the stove is the only one that stayed where it was originally.  And in the meantime I tried to make the exhaust pipe “pretty” by throwing a plant up there Ü

One more thing, notice the 2 small cabinet doors above the microwave…

shoup house 3

…and then how I removed them in this “after” picture.  I think I am digging the idea of open shelving ;)  And speaking of shelving, see all that extra wall space we created by raising the cabinets?  Stay tuned for pictures on how it looked once we added open shelving under all of the raised cabinets!

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We did It! (**I couldn’t help but do the Dora song and dance**) What a great project for a Saturday morning.  Tackled it right after breakfast and we were done by lunch!  I wish all projects were that quick.

Next week I hope to share the different changes I made in the kitchen by PAINTING!  Here is a sneak peek…2Have a good weekend!

~Lara

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Kitchen Makeover: Raising Cabinets

For those of you that have patiently waited…the time has FiNaLLy come!  I am starting my Home Makeover Series today, beginning with my kitchen makeover!!  If you remember, last April we began preparing our house to have it MOVED 100+ miles.  It was during that time that I probably lost my mind for good Ü

The same month that we tore off our old mudroom in preparation for the move (which use to be where the door/clock/purses hang in the picture below) I decided if I already had a demo pile of trash outside, I might as well add to it by tearing out the soffit in my kitchen!  Here is what my kitchen looked like 12 month ago….Demo before

Kitchen Before

KITCHEN BEFORE

Believe it or not, one morning I decided I had lived with this soffit long enough…and I knew Doug would be gone for 24 hours so he couldn’t talk me out of it…so at 10:30 a.m. this is what I did:

Step #1: Cut Hole

Step #1: CUT SMALL HOLE in soffit to see what you are getting yourself into.  Luckily, our soffit was hollow!!

Step 2: Score Your Sheetrock

Step 2: SCORE YOUR SHEETROCK from the ceiling so you have a clean cut when you pull out your soffit.  This will keep you from tearing up your ceiling!

Step 3: Rip Our Soffit!

Step 3: RIP OFF THE SHEETROCK!

Step 4: Keep Ripping!!

Step 4: KEEP GOING!! DON’T GIVE UP!

After I made it halfway across the kitchen, I removed the first cabinet (as you can see in the picture below, the white area is where the cabinet was).  Moving the cabinets would allow me to rip out the rest of the soffit AND keep the cabinets safe from demo!

Step 5: Remove Cabinet

How did I do it ALONE, you ask?  Well, since my kids were too little to recruit AND cabinets are HEAVY, I had to get creative Ü  I flipped one of our barstools on its side, wedged towels in-between the cabinet and stool, then held the cabinet in place as I unscrewed the screws with the electric screwdriver.  Once I got my balance, I carefully took them off the stool and placed them in a safe spot.

Support Your Cabinets if Lowering Them By Yourself

Step 5: SUPPORT YOUR CABINETS before removing

The idea was working, until I got a too CrAzY and wedged the stool so tight that I couldn’t get IT or the cabinet loose!  So…I ended up having to take the barstool apart. :(  But no worries!  I screwed it back together and it is just like new!!

Demo 1

Once the cabinets were out of the way, I started pulling out the studs.  Some of the studs were hard for me to remove due to really big nails securing the studs.  I used a sawzall and cut most of the studs, then used a crowbar to remove them.  Yes, I did make some pretty obvious gashes in the sheetrock.  We’ll worry about that later ;)

Step 6: Remove other Cabinets

Step 6: REMOVE remainder of cabinets and CONTINUE TO DEMO SOFFIT!

In the picture below, see how the soffit comes out to the middle of the room?  I removed this cabinet and took it out for good!  I knew doing so would really open up the space!  (And as far as giving up a cabinet and loosing the extra space, I have a solution for that in a future post!)

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Don’t you agree?  Look at how much it opened the room!

Step 7: Find Studs and Rehang Cabinets

Step 7: FIND STUDS and REHANG CABINETS

I thought I took pictures on how I hung the cabinets by myself, but apparently I was getting tired by that point!  The picture above shows the first cabinet I hung.  As you can see, I purposely left a gap between the cabinet and ceiling so I could add crown moulding in the future.

The idea of hanging the cabinets was pretty easy because all I was doing was moving them straight UP.  The screws could stay in the cabinet holes because I would still hit a stud.  The hardest part was doing this alone and having the strength to hold the cabinet exactly where it needed to be AND screw in the screws at the same time.  I used the barstool and towels again, and to make sure the cabinet was level, I taped it to the top of the cabinet so I could see if it was level or not!  My body is sore just thinking about this step of the process.  It was quite the workout, but I finished!!

10 hours later I had cleaned up the demo pile, tossed it outside, and got to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Here is what the kitchen looked like at 10 A.M.:

Kitchen Before

KITCHEN BEFORE

And here it was at 8:00 p.m. (I took some of the cabinet doors off because I wanted to see if I liked open shelving):

Step 8: Done by Evening!

KITCHEN AFTER

Ya think Doug noticed when he came home the next morning??? :)

If you want me to continue “Lara’s Home Makeover Series” comment below by telling me what you think of this kitchen project!

Cheers~
Lara

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Easy Outdoor Game

The hour before dinner in our house is always difficult because the kids can’t help but get restless waiting to eat and waiting for my husband to get home from work.  In an attempt to avoid taking out every single backyard toy, I came up with this simple game that kept them busy and didn’t leave the yard a mess for me to clean up!

If you have a walkway similar to mine you can use each stone individually.  If you have concrete you can divide it up into squares and play.  I used sidewalk chalk to write down the sight words that my son is working on.  I also drew some pictures for my daughter to color in to keep her busy.  I had my son pick out a rock and instructed him to toss his rock onto the walkway filled with words.  Once it landed on a word he had to run to it, say the word, then bring the rock back to me.  It was such a simple game, but it kept him busy and helped him practice his words!

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You can modify this to any level:

*Write letters on the stones to practice upper and lowercase letter recognition.

*Write numbers on the stones and use 2 rocks.  Have your child add together the two numbers that the rocks land on.

*Draw pictures with your kids and have them tell you the first letter for each picture and the sound that it makes.

The possibilities are endless and the only thing you have to do is collect your sidewalk chalk when you are finished!

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~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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