Thursday, February 13, 2014

Project 52: Date Jar

We usually don't exchange gifts for Valentines Day because I'm not a big fan of the holiday. In the past we've used the day as an excuse to do something adventurous. We've gone horseback riding on the beach, boating and rock climbing. This year we are going skiing for the first time at Perfect North in Indiana, but when I saw the Date Jar craft on Pinterest I couldn't resist

I'm the ultimate homebody. Nothing says great Friday night to me than a couch, a warm blanket and Netflix. On weekends, all I want to do is veg out and snuggle on the couch with the hubs. However, I do know that too much indoor time makes Tomas go a little stir crazy so the Date Jar is the perfect way to motivate me to go out a try some new things.

I saw this idea on Pinterest and there are a hundred different ways of doing it but I'll give you a quick rundown of what did. I grabbed a box of the biggest popsicle sticks I could find, a HUGE mason jar and 4 colors of acrylic paint. I spent 2 hours using leftover foam sponges to paint 3 coats on each side of the popsticle sticks.

I decided on having 4 categories: Stay at Home (Green), Less than $50(Blue), Less than $100(Purple) and More than $100 & require planning (Grey). The plan is to pull out a popsicle stick once a week so that we can go on a different date every week for the next year.

Please ignore my awful handwriting

$- Stay at Home
Movie Marathon
Thai Food and Board Games
Start a Game Tournament
Play Just Dance
Play PS3 (Her choice)
Play PS3 (Her choice)
Bake cookies together
Watch an entire season of a TV show
Cook Together a 5 Course Meal
1000 piece puzzle
Bubble Bath & Wine
Italy Night: Wine, Pasta & Movie
France Night:Wine, Cheese & Movie
Mexican Night: Margaritas, Tacos and Movie.
Asian Night: Takeout, Sudoku & Movie

$$- Under 50
Dessert Only Date
Go Bowling
Got to Arcade
Go Mini Golfing
Happy Hour
Grab some coffee and take a hike
Trip to the Dog Park
See a Drive-In movie
Trip to the Zoo
Trip to a Musuem
Trip to the Aquarium
Trip to the Farmers Market
Play Laser Tag
Walmart Bingo
Go Geocaching

$$$- Under 100
Dinner & a Movie (Her choice)
Dinner & a Movie (His choice)
Got to a new Restaurant
Take on a House Project
Restaurant Hop.
Head to the casino
Take a Cooking Class
Take a Painting Class
Take a Pottery Class
Dinner at Melting Pot

$$$$ - Over 100+
Weekend getaway
Concert and dinner (his choice)
Concert and dinner (her choice)
Dinner and a Show
Tickets to a Sporting Event
Go to the Symphony
Couples Massage
Day Trip to a different city
Go Horseback Riding
Go to the Ballet

Finished product

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

House One Year Anniversary

This past weekend we celebrated the one year house anniversary. 365 days later and we're still in love with the house and every day take us one step closer to making it the home of our dreams. Things have been a bit slow in the home improvement side because of the cold weather, but we're hoping once it arms up a bit we can start working on some new project.

The front of the house has stayed EXACTLY the same for the past year. We have loads of plans for the front of the house come spring, but unfortunately it still too cold outside to do anything fun. I'm dreaming of big colorful hydrangeas and  a new fun color for the front door.

First Floor
Of the dozens of houses that we saw, we fell in love with this house because it was a blank slate. From the minute you walked in everything a blank canvas I could work on. 

Shortly after moving we painted all of the rooms in the house, all four colors we used can be seen as soon as you walk in the door.

~Home Office~
Here's the former living room/now office as it looked on move-in day.

We painted the walls a light mint green called Behr Frosted Jade, added some Ikea Jannette curtains and hacked some Ikea Expedit 2X4's into a DIY semi built in bookcase with a desk.

~Dining Room~
The dining room was just another room painted beige when we moved in.

The dining room was painted a tealish turquoise blue called Behr Lap Pool Blue, we added our refinished dining room table and bought some metal dining chairs and 2 Henriksdal (with Gobo white cover).

There's a tiny half bath on the first floor.

We painted the half bathroom the bright tealish turquoise Behr Lap Pool Blue and brought in a little of gray and purple through the towels.

The two-story staircase is illuminated by a big side window.

The downstairs & upstairs hallway and the staircase were painted in a light grey from Behr, French Silver. We swapped the old brass light fixture for a purple globe light fixture and added a colorful gallery wall to bring some color into this bland space.

We recently changed the curtains to INGERLISE in Lilac from Ikea ($24.99)

The curtain is exactly the same shade of purple as our beloved YHL globe light fixture.

~Family Room~
The family room is a great entertaining space, open to the kitchen and breakfast nook.

We painted the family room a dark gray, Behr's Dark Pewter. We bought some light gray couches, added some colorful cushions and a cute throw. For now, the coffee table is the only place to store our many board games.

~Breakfast Nook~
The breakfast nook is a very useful space right off the kitchen on the day we moved in.

The kitchen/nook were painted in Behr's French Silver and since we loved our large purple light fixture in the stairwell so much, we decided to switch out the breakfast nook light for a smaller version of the purple globe. The house is officially brass free, since this light fixture was the last thing we needed to switch out.

The kitchen had all white appliances and beige walls.

The walls were painted in Behr's French Silver. The microwave and refrigerator were upgraded to stainless steel and satin nickel hardware was added to all the cabinets.

Second Floor

~Hall Bathroom~

We painted the hall bathroom in Behr's Dark Pewter and added some teal towels and a couple of colorful bathroom accessories.

~Guest Bedroom~
The room started out with just the dark blue carpet as a stand out.

The room was painted in Frosted Jade by Behr and HomeGoods carried a bedding set that tied in together the mint green of the walls with the dark blue of the carpet.

No babies yet, but the smallest room in the house was designated the nursery.

We painted it a neutral light gray, French Silver by Behr, thinking that is could be personalized with colored accents whenever a baby moves in.

~Master Bedroom~
The master bedroom gave is a lot of space to play with.
Sorry for the mess. We were so excited after closing that we decided to buy an inflatable mattress and stay the night.
We painted the walls a tealish turquoise blue, Lap Pool Blue by Behr, and paired it with some gray bedding. Recently we painted 2 Ikea Lack dressers to use as bedside table and scored a pig mirror at HomeGoods for $40.

~Master Bathroom~

 The master bathroom was painted in Behr's French Silver with some gray/teal accessories added.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

5 Tips for New Homeowners

This weekend marks one year of the purchase of our home. In honor of such a big occasion for us, I though it would be fitting to write up some tips on diving into your first year of home ownership

1. Save.Save.Save. (and then save some more)
Plan to have more money in savings that just what is needed for the down payment + the 3 months house expenses the bank requires. Then save even more for furnishing and moving in.  In addition, there should be some saving for unexpected house work, you never know what will break or when. In our first year we've had to deal with a broken toilet, a leaking kitchen faucet and a sagging deck. In addition, it's a good idea to have savings in place to be able to tackle some project after closing but before moving in. Replacing flooring and painting are much easier to do in an empty house rather than once all the stuff is brought in. 

2. Plan & Attack
Even before closing on the house, I had a running list in my head of all the things that we had to buy to furnish or home improvement projects we wanted to do in the house. When I first sat down and wrote it all down, I was extremely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things we wanted to do. Having them written down gave order to the chaos and helped us prioritize what needed to be done first and budget accordingly. The House To do lists has changed in the past year, some projects we are no longer interested in doing and some new ideas have been added. List making also gives you a sense of accomplishment when you get finally cross out that item that has been bugging you for the past couple of months.

3. Clean Up Time
Cleaning your house for the first time will get you one step closer to making it feel yours. Pay attention to those often ignored places, like atop the cabinets and fan blades. Make good use of all the empty space to clean and paint the baseboards. It's also a great time to wash all the windows and steam the carpets. Bathrooms should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, you might even want to get new toilets or at least toilet seats. It so much easier to do a deep clean of the house before bringing a new mess in the form of boxes.

4. Use Color, but Use it Wisely
One of the most frequent compliments we receive when people visit our house is on our choice of paint colors. The compliment is most often accompanied by guests lamenting the decision to paint their whole house the same tone of beige or gray for fear of using color. Painting,although a quick way to give a space a big update, is a pain in the ass once your all moved in and furniture is in the way, so choosing the right colors soon after closing can save a lot of stress in the long run.

You can see all 4 colors we have in he house as soon as you walk in the door.

We decided early on in the house buying process that the "neutral" tone in our house would be gray accompanied by some cool colors. Immediately after closing we stopped by Home Depot to pick up paint samples for the different colors we were interested in; We picked a couple of different shades of dark gray, light gray, teal and light green. Since paint colors look different in every room, due to lighting and other factors, we painted swatches of each of the shades in the all rooms and narrowed the options down from there. We ended up choosing only four cool colors and using them around the house. This way the house colors have a sense of unity and the rooms flow into each other rather than having a really contrasting colors throughout the house.

4. Make It Your Own.
Embrace your home and make it your own. Break all the design rules if needed and fill your house with colors, patterns and things that make you happy. It's extremely important to us to live in a place that we love. I believe a home should represent the people that live in it. I want people to walk in and have no doubt that this house is ours, so we try our best to reflect our personalities in the design decisions we make. People look at me weird when I mention having a huge purple wire chandelier, but it's one one of my favorite pieces in the house. It's in my favorite color, simple and a little  bit quirky but it makes a big loud statement.

What was the most important thing YOU learned as a first time homeowner?