Bathroom Renovations Part I

One of the bathroom sinks was leaking into the kitchen.

I’m so glad we noticed before I repainted the bathroom. Jesse and his dad had to take out the sink, the vanity, and part of the wall behind it to repair the leak.

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And things can never be as simple as they seem. Just when they thought they fixed it, they realized that one of the previous owners had hammered a nail for the paneling through a stud and through the pipe. Then the pipe cracked.

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This leak had been many years in the making and we had no idea. The downside to home-ownership is having to use your own resources to fix anything that breaks. Out with the old…

…In with the new! On top of fixing the pipe, the Lane men replaced the vanity and faucet and installed my medicine cabinet. All it cost me was a few homemade meals.

Now that things are back in working order, I am ready to paint!

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Earth Laughs in Flowers

“Earth laughs in flowers.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

We worked on the flower beds a few days ago, but it’s been a busy week and I had a bad case of writer’s block. Without further delay, here’s what we did with the flower beds this year…

We kept the white rocks from last spring, but chose some different plants.

For our green plant, we chose the corkscrew rush. This plant does well in heat and sun, except in extreme conditions and is a semi-evergreen. Corkscrew rushes do best when they have lots of water, though, so we will have to make sure to water it everyday.

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For color, we planted Dianthus, basically a smaller carnation. We wanted something that would last at least until winter. This plant is pretty versatile and easy to maintain and multiplies easily.

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For a separate planter I have on the porch, we bought some Magellan Zinnia. Like our other choices, these should last until winter and won’t take much care. I love the color variety. These may be my new favorite.

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Since we didn’t have to completely start from scratch this year, the flower beds cost us half of what they did last year. It was about the same amount of labor, though. A lot of leaves from the pecan tree had accumulated in the flower beds over the winter, so we had to clear those out. It was tedious work picking the leaves out the rocks.

There were also a lot of weeds growing up through the rocks which had to be pulled. I picked weeds a few days before we started our project and new weeds popped up just a few days later.

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Something I’ve learned over the past year is that it takes work and time to maintain a yard. This year, we’re going to try to do a little every few days so the yard isn’t such a chore. What we have now is pretty basic, but eventually I hope our yard looks something like what you see in Better Homes and Gardens.

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Springing Into Action

We planted a few flower pots today to pre-game for the flower beds this weekend.

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We’re going to keep the same layout as last spring, but try some different plants. (To see our work from last year, view Flower Bed Makeover.) More pictures to come!

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Making the Man Cave Manlier

Previously, this was the man cave…

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Not very manly. In our defense, it was painted this way by the previous owners. While they did a great job, it just wasn’t working for us. We use this extra room for my husband’s many instruments and some extra, “outdated” game systems. Hints why it’s the man cave.

We knew when we bought the house that we wanted to repaint this room. I never imagined it would take this long, but I finally tackled it this week.

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The first problem was choosing a color. Jesse and I liked so many of the colors that it was hard to pick just one. We liked navy blue, grey, red, brown, and the list goes on.  Ultimately, we decided on (drumroll)…

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Lyndhurst Jade. We picked this color because it went well with the drum set, one of Jesse’s prized possessions. I also really wanted a color that would match the decor we have in the other rooms because I tend to move things around.

Prepping was the hardest, and by far the most important part of the painting. Because the walls were bright pink, we had to be serious about priming. I found some primer specifically for drastic color changes from Valspar. I’m so glad I spent a little more on it because it was definitely worth every penny. It not only covered up the pink, but also covered up the stripes the previous owners had made. Our paint went on evenly and smoothly.

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Priming and taping does take a lot of time, but it made all the difference. I also waited a day between priming and painting with our new color. Then, I waited another day and painted on an additional layer.

One thing I need to watch out for next time is painting the tape to the wall. I did that on a couple of places around fixtures without realizing it. When I peeled the tape off, some of the paint went with it and now I’ll have to touch up those spots.

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Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s a color we both love and it’s a big change from the hot pink.

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Porch Sitting

I apologize for my almost month-long break, but I’ve been busy having a great summer!

We recently celebrated the 21st birthdays of Jesse and my sister, Erin.

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Erin and I, who knows how many years ago.

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Erin Bearin’ now.

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My hunk of a husband as a toddler.

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Mr. Lane now.

Aren’t they cute?! They were born just 5 days apart. My sister always says that it must have been the best week of my life.

Now that summer is winding down, I’m resuming my projects. Last week, I refinished a hand-me-down porch set. We recently acquired this really comfortable couple’s outdoor furniture. The chairs rock and there’s a little table in the middle.

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The finish I used didn’t have any stain in it, just a sealant against weather. It’s called Thompson’s Water Seal. It really made a difference with the color of the wood, though. The set looks brand new.

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We’ve already had an outdoor movie night in our new rockers. We love sitting on the porch together, so this set is a great match for us.

I still have a few more projects I want to conquer before summer is officially over:

  • Repaint all of the inside doors
  • Paint the man-cave/music room
  • Paint the kitchen cabinets and install new hardware
  • Clear out the garage

Cheers to the last few weeks of summer!

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Seeing Green

After getting the flower beds in line, my husband made it his mission to get the rest of the yard up to par. He’s been working hard the past few weeks, watering and fertilizing the yard to get it to grow.

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Fortunately, we’ve had an unusual amount of rain lately in West Texas, so he only had to water about 5 minutes every evening to get the grass to spread.

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Progress has been made. We’re down to one patch of dirt and it’s slowly but surely turning into grass.

Flower Bed Makeover

This morning, we woke up early and redesigned our flower beds. The flower beds were set up by the previous owners, but they had been filled with little green bushes and mulch. This winter, all of the bushes except one died.

Jesse’s previous job at a landscaping company gave him some ideas. We wen’t to Lowe’s and picked out some more durable flowers that are more likely to survive the West Texas climate. We picked out some red petunias and some purple robe dwarf cup flowers. When the weather gets colder, we may replace the robe dwarf cup flowers with Mexican feather grass.

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We filled the hole for the plants with Miracle-Gro Garden Soil (with a little help from Willie) so that the plants will grow faster and bigger.

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For the flower bed filler, we replaced the mulch with white marble rocks. We think this makes the windows stand out and will look even better when we get all of the trim painted navy blue.

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After everything was in place, we watered the plants and the rocks down to get rid of the dust. It looks so much better than it did before. I can’t wait until the plants have grown and take up more of the flower beds. All of the work only took about an hour and a half and all of the materials only cost $110.

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Now, if we can get the grass to turn green, then we will have some curb appeal.

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Custom Windows

A few months after moving in, we had a salesman come to our door asking if we wanted to buy new windows. We had been looking at replacing our windows with storm windows, but had not done it yet. Really, we hadn’t had the time and we didn’t know a lot about it.

The salesman sent one of their lead guys out to talk to us about the benefits of windows and blah, blah, blah. I thought it would be just a quick, boring meeting, then we could forget about the whole thing. Actually, the representative was very informative and helpful and even convinced us to buy the company’s windows.

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The windows are custom built from Woodbridge. There are several things I love about Woodbridge.

What I’ve loved the most is the customer service. Obviously, we liked the salesman, but we also liked the installation crew. They finished the job in less than a day and they were very friendly and informative. They were very courteous the entire time they were at our house.

Second, I love the way the windows look. They have different color options, but we chose the white-trimmed windows. Eventually our house trim will be navy blue, so we thought it would be a good contrast.

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And another thing that I love is all of the special features of a custom built window. They are triple pane windows with locks, which means that they are almost impossible to break into and let less dirt in the house (very important in dusty West Texas). You can also lock the window while it’s cracked open, so you can have fresh air without worrying about someone opening the window and intruding. Each half of the window can also open toward the inside of the house so I can clean the outside of the window from the inside of the house.

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What sold us on the windows is how much money they will make us over time. We won’t notice the difference immediately, but in the next few years our electic bill will decrease because of how well the windows insulate the house. Jesse and I plan on staying in this house for a very long while, so we will benefit from this change.

But ofcourse, custom-made anything isn’t going to be cheap. Fortunately, Woodbridge Home Exteriors is very flexible and offers financing. This deal was perfect for us since we’re just starting out. I would and have recommended these windows and this company to anyone interested in updating their home.

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