small house, DIY yes!

For the first time since June 8, 2012, the small house feels like OUR home.  Not just a project, to-do list, or investment, but our home.  Maybe it’s because our to-do list is now down to six-ish major items, or because our new floors make the house feel “warm” even though they are literally cold (thankful for my UGG slippers), or because it smells like gingerbread?

From floor-to-wall there are memories of family and friends fixing, cleaning, laying new floors, painting, and the list goes on…  It has made this house, ours.

Matt and Dad after they finished hanging the “beastly” mirror.  Notice the white cabinets and linoleum in the kitchen, GONE!

Mom and Dad after a day spent cleaning and washing windows last June while I studied for the bar and Matt learned how to be a resident.  Notice MORE linoleum and laminate, also GONE!
Before we bought the small house, I was not a fan of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. Period.  But I have learned that the grunt work, dust, and dirt, add value and appreciation that cannot be obtained by simply hiring a professional.  
We have also learned a lot about home repairs, and ourselves, like a fear of spiders should not result in throwing a cup of stain which lands on the cement pad underneath your carport–story for another post. 
AND, we have had so MUCH help.  Thank you!  We could not have done it without ALL of you–but we’re not quite done yet, so your help is still much appreciated 🙂
Next on the list… toss up between window treatments and the MUD room.  I must admit, the MUD room just isn’t going to happen in February.  
But there is always March.

small house, big INSTALL

So this week was FLOOR time!  It was dusty, dirty, and FUN!

We were blessed to have David Jeffries here from Monday-Tuesday helping with the BIG install.

Remember, first was the RIP OUT of the sub-floor and the old padding:

Then we put down new underlayment–the purple stuff.  David and Matt measured, laid the first row, and then kept clicking!  The engineered hardwood floor is a click lock system.  No nailing or gluing involved–just a bit of man labor and LOTS of cutting!

Ah!! So exciting!!

All was going great until the front door decided NOT to open.  Notice the shop vac IN FRONT of the door serving as a reminder not to OPEN the door.

There was a reason for the old ugly linoleum directly in front of the front door, it was LOWER than the old laminate that was put in everywhere else in the main living areas.  This allowed the front door to swing open.

So what do you do with a STEEL door that is too long?

CUT IT!  Credit to Bruce Jeffries.  Discredit to Lowe’s who tried to tell us you could not cut a steel door.  Unfortunately we didn’t get any pictures of this process, but the end result WORKED!  We were able to keep our former door and it swings open beautifully, without scraping the new flooring.

Here are the guys after DAY 1 of the floor install:

 On DAY 2, Matt decided to leave our mark on this house, indefinitely:

Awe!!!

Then, after the floor was INSTALLED, it was time for TRIM:

We painted:

And realized that 12 ft. pieces would be more helpful than 8 ft. pieces in certain rooms of the house–thanks David!
Although the little VW did a good job bringing home the 8 ft. pieces, the 12 ft. pieces mandated borrowing the VK’s truck (accurately named BIG BLUE):
Once the 12 ft. pieces were painted.  Ryan, Matt’s brother, came to help install the new trim:

So by Friday around 4:00 p.m. the big INSTALL was complete, well almost (we have some caulking and painting to finish with the trim).
The end result is LOVELY giving the small house a NEW feel:

Also, there is a new area rug in the small house!! Take two:
While I loved the COLORS in the first rug I tried (click here to see FIRST rug), it made the room feel like fall.  Not a great concept heading into SPRING.  
So one of my coworkers tipped me off, thanks Ashley, saying she found her new area rug at HomeGoods for 1/4 of what I had paid for the FIRST rug.  
So I checked out HomeGoods and found the cream/gray subtle pattern wool rug shown above.  I loved the rug, the price, and that it is REVERSIBLE. 
And just like that, the small house, big INSTALL was complete.
Clearly, the WHOLE family is enjoying the hickory…

small house, big MESS

The couch is arm to ottoman.  The piano bench is “decorated” in pillows.  Guest room full of dining room chairs, lamps, and everything in between.  I thought we moved already?

Take a look:

Don’t worry Mom, the piano is not being “smushed.”  Promise.

Our weekend has been jam-packed.  We removed flooring:

Thanks Sush and Dave!!!

Sold old flooring on Craig’s List:

Bought trim from Lowe’s:

5.25″–it rocks

Loaded trim into our Passat.  Way to go VW/little car that makeshifts as a truck, kind of:

Removed old trim:

Touched up paint before new floor install:

Opened boxes of new flooring to allow acclamation to humidity/house for 24-48 hours pre-install:

and did a little decor shopping–OOPS slightly over budget, but hey, we did sell the old flooring:

The rug is PERFECT– Moroccan-Kladioscope fusion.  Pier 1 sale!  It picks up the orange in the chair and will work to “warm” the room.  I had been dead-set on a gray rug, gray is the new taupe, right? But then I saw this and loved the COLORS.

So the small house is a BIG mess, but fingers-crossed it will be well worth it!  Can’t wait for David Jeffries to arrive to get the small house, BIG install going.

wall of ECLECTIC things

The dilemma: bare walls “issue” in the family room:

Photo wall? Art? Paint? Wallpaper? too many options.

Usually I am anti photo walls. Stereotypically cluttered, disorganized, and slightly crooked.  Always.  They bother me.

Then World Market changed my mind with this:


Dear oil rubbed bronze bicycle, you were love at first sight.  The perfect piece to center my “eclectic things” wall around.  Problem, Matt and I had implemented a $100/month home decor budget, and this one “eclectic thing” was approximately 1/2 of that budget.  Stupid budget.  
Before I knew it, my arms were worth $150 of World Market frames.  Not happening.  So I chose one white frame, the bicycle, and a joy sign–$80ish dollars.  Score? Not quite.  I needed more frames.
That left one option: thrifting.  Those of you who know me, know I am more the Pottery Barn, less the thrifting type.  As previously discussed–“germaphobe“–I hate germs.  So thrifting results in me feeling a bit grossed out.  
But I was on a mission, I had to finish the “eclectic thing” wall.  So we went to the Salvation Army and found these beauts:
For $1.50, total.  They were on sale.  
So I mapped out my plan:
I moved the “eclectic things” around on the carpet until I was satisfied with the layout.  The “eclectic things” included the bicycle, frame, and wall art from World Market, two frames from Salvation Army, and one frame from my Gramsiebaby (remember her: chocolate cabinets).
Took a picture to document said layout.  Matt started hanging:

Then it STRUCK me and I changed my mind.  Plan B–woman’s prerogative.  
I needed Mercer Beasley to be part of the “eclectic thing” wall.  Allow me to explain.  
Our family has a tradition that involves an OLD tennis racket, Mercer Beasley.  According to Uncle Bob, this racket is named after THE Mercer Beasley, the most famous tennis coach who NEVER actually played tennis.  Meet Mercer Beasley:
Every some odd number of years Mercer Beasley gets passed to a different member of the Lokers family.  This year it was my turn and this wall was the PERFECT spot: 
It worked–the “eclectic things” wall makes the family room feel like home.  
Then, a little rebalancing by moving the height to the opposite side of the tv leading into the “eclectic thing” wall:
And the family room came alive–note: photos currently in frames are temporary.
But I couldn’t post all of this without a shout-out to the hubs, who made this meal for his valentine last night:
with heart-shaped cookies for dessert.  Love that man!
***
P.S.  A preview of what’s next on small house, big city:
 such a poser.

a little LEIBSTER award action

I realize that most of the people who read my blog KNOW me.  But for those of you who don’t, this little LEIBSTER award will hopefully provide insight into who I am, not just the most recent paint color utilized in our small house.

Because I’m new to the blogging world, I had no CLUE what the LEIBSTER award was.  This is what I’ve learned:

I was nominated for the LEIBSTER by Meredith VK @ the mitten wife (thanks, friend)! It’s an award given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  LEIBSTER is a German word meaning: sweetest, kindest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

It works like this:
1. Each person nominated must post 11 things about himself/herself;
2. Then, answer the questions posed by your nominator (Meredith) and create an additional 11 questions for your nominees to answer;
3. Choose 11 people and link them to your post;
4. Go to their page and tell them; and
5. of course, NO tagbacks!
Here we go, eleven things you should know about Me:

1. I hate cooking.  Although the hate has lessened slightly over the past few years, it is still time consuming and bothersome that you spend hours preparing a meal that takes 15-30 minutes max, to eat. BUT, because eating is sort of a life requirement, and eating out is not an everyday option, I still cook.
2. I have an EXTREME soft-spot for ALL kinds of animals.  When we are driving, and a squirrel tries to commit suicide by dashing in front of our car, I freak out!
3. I am “germaphobic.”  Slight problem when your husband is a RESIDENT at the University of Michigan.  We have a decontamination/mud room that is on the “To DO” list (meaning finish) this month.
4. I have a shoe fetish.  My favorite pair: Tory Burch Quinn ballet flats (sigh).  I went so far as to carve a Tory Burch pumpkin this year.  Friends and family were confused.
5. I eat ridiculous amounts of ice cream.  Hudsonville Chocolate Almond is currently my favorite flavor, but in the summer we frequent WASHTENAW DAIRY!
6. Spiders are one of God’s scariest creations.  And He put LOTS of them in our new small house, that are now dead.
7. My husband loves me, even on difficult days.  Married for 3.5 years, most of which we were simultaneously medical and law school students, plus his boards and the Michigan bar, we have had extreme highs and lows.  He hasn’t stopped loving me.
8. Our Wheaten Terrier, STELLA, has a WHEAT allergy.  Her food costs more than ours on a pound-to-pound ratio.
9.  I want to live on a farm.  Not a big farm, but one with goats, chickens, cats, and a few BIG dogs.
10.  I am passionate about, and saddened by, immigration and child hunger.  We plan on adopting someday.
11. I love commas.  In legal writing, blog writing, creative writing, I use TOO many commas (Shout out to my former professor Carla Vissers :))
My Answers to Meredith’s Questions:

1.  Name the song that best represents you: amazing grace.

2. If you could be an animal, what would you be: a parrot–they live for many years in TROPICAL places, have the ability to “talk”, and can fly.  How sweet would it be to fly!?!
3. What’s your guilty pleasure: sadly, the bachelor/bachelorette.
4. Best vacation you’ve ever taken: honeymoon in Jamaica at the COUPLES resort in Ocho Rios.
5. Most embarrassing moment in a public place: walking full-speed into a curb, resulting in eating said curb, and my skirt coming up WAY past my knees.  Not sure what downtown Holland walkers saw that day…
6. Biggest fear: losing a family member.
7. Favorite board game: Not technically a board game, but BOGGLE! I love messing with words/letters.
8. Go-to recipe: Gramsiebaby’s artichoke dip.
9.  Would you ever get plastic surgery:  That may depend on how vain I am in 20+ years or on our plastic surgery doctor friends 🙂
10. 10 years ago when you dreamed of your future, are you doing what you dreamed of: I always wanted to be an attorney, but I never thought we would live in Ann ARBOR for this long, or buy a house that needed FIXING.
11. Best ice cream parlor ever visited:  the Shake Pit.  Hands DOWN the best shakes in the U.S.
Okay, so that’s me in 22 line-by-line questions/facts.  Now it’s your turn:
With these questions:
1. Your favorite trip and why?
2. Best restaurant?
3. Biggest goal for the next five years?
4. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
5. Craziest college past-time?
6. Whether you hide chocolate in your home?
7. The accomplishment you’re most proud of?
8.  If you had $1,000 to spend on ANYTHING, where would you spend it, and on what?
9.  Favorite cheese?
10. Happiest moment?
11. Your favorite blog post that you’ve written?

small rooms, MANY people

When we bought this house we had one major concern: no big room.

There wasn’t a single room that could hold upwards of 20 people.  For most, this may not matter, but we LOVE to have friends, family, and neighbors over to our home.

Birthday celebrations on the front porch, wine and cheese night with the ladies, or even the upcoming super bowl party (which teams are playing??).  No matter what the occasion, it is about community:

Technically, our house has 3 bedrooms.  Two upstairs–our master and a guest room–and a third on the main level.

When you enter our house you see:

Off to the right is our sitting room, approximately 9 ft. x 13 ft. :

(excited for new floor install, potential new couch, and a sweet rug)
But if you keep walking to the back of the house you run into our third bedroom converted into a tv/family room.  It is another small room, again: 9 ft. x 13 ft.  At first we had this setup:
Which was cozy for the two of us, but we couldn’t watch tv or hangout with more than two people without someone having to sit on the floor, problem.
Enter, couch shopping.  We checked out IKEA and found this gem: Corner sofa-bed Manstad, but it wasn’t extremely “cushy” and didn’t seem to say “come sit on me.”
A bit discouraged, we went for the extreme Crate and Barrel experience and fell in love with: Moda sectional, too fun, too much $.  But, an out-the-door, $4000.00 couch, simply was not in the BUDGET (I am beginning to hate that word).
So we checked out VanHill Furniture in Holland, Michigan, and found the PERFECT–for us, sectional couch:
We were able to choose our fabric color, CHARCOAL, and pillow pattern.  Then a fun Christmas present–new Samsung tv:
plus a new entertainment stand from World Market–1/3 the price of Pottery Barn, thanks Meredith VK for the tip– and we had the BONES of the room put together.
The best part, we had 14 people circled up for our weekly Community Group through Grace Ann Arbor, and it was a SUCCESS!!
Now the goal is to add some corner lighting, wallpaper action on the tv wall, and family pictures.  Photographs of finished family room to come.
Do you have small rooms in your home? I would love to hear your suggestions for how to best utilize space!