Saturday, July 30, 2011

Date Night

Lately I've been really bored.  Other than trying to find a job, I don't have much going on.  Our renovations are done for the time being and the rest of our unpacking can't be done unless Marcus finishes unpacking some of his office/computer stuff.  If you follow my facebook, you know that I even posted that I thought married-life had been really boring of late.  Marcus worked ten hour shifts the past three days and my days at home were filled with cop shows and detective series.  Good times...

However, tonight Marcus took me on a date to Veritas, a wine and tapas bar in Olde Town Augusta.  It was absolutely delicious, and I would recommend it to anyone with a taste for wine and an adventurous palette.  We each started with a glass of white wine.  I had pinot gris and Marcus chose a chardonnay.  We had scallops, ostrich carpaccio, frog legs, and baked brie with strawberries and rhubarb confit for our tapas.  Then, because you all know I live for dessert, we got the sampler that included four-bite tastes of cheesecake, chocolate ganache, caramel pecan pie, fresh mango and berries, and a beautifully smooth french vanilla creme brulee.  I cannot put into words how wonderful our meal was and the customer service was amazing.  Our server, Zelda, really knew her stuff!  We can't wait to go back and try some of the other interesting dishes and their most popular dessert, Chocolate Chili.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stuff I want to blog about...

I am so sick of talk about the house, working on the house, shopping for the house... ugh.

Here's some other stuff I'd like to talk about...

  • clothes and accessories - where to find the best deals and where to shop
  • lack of funds for education (aka not hiring teachers) while numbers are still going up for school populations
  • cats vs. dogs - why I think cats rock and why I REALLY want my puppy
  • food and drink... restaurants and other fun things to do 
  • art - my trip to the museums in Paris and Venice and what I enjoyed most
  • Lady bird - my puppy :)
Yes we're almost done with the house for awhile... but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging.

One week after moving in

I realize I'm being greedy with my after pictures... but I really want them to be perfect.  Those of you who know me well know that I take pride in my surroundings so I'm going to have everything spic and span before I show it off.  Since last week, Rachel (my sister) came to visit and kicked us back into gear so we could get almost everything unpacked and taking yet another trip to Lowe's for last minute items.  We installed curtains in the den, kitchen, and living room.  The Comcast folks came and hooked up our digital cable and wireless internet.  And went to Lowe's AGAIN for even more last minute stuff.

Speaking of Lowe's... they often get a bad wrap for being a big warehouse store but I wanted to let my readers know about our experiences because we've used them through so much of our renovations and move.  Here's a list of what we used them for:

  1. All major appliances - washer and dryer were purchased there three years ago, fridge, dishwasher, electric range purchased this summer     NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER WITH THE APPLIANCES THEMSELVES
  2. All paint and painting tools/accessories - cans of paint, brushes, rollers, etc.
  3. Curtains for den, kitchen, and dining room - Lowe's actually has some good patterns and colors for very reasonable prices; the material is of average quality but when you have pets and you're going to have kids within the next 5 years or so it doesn't really matter
  4. Garbage disposal (which works great)
  5. Faucets for kitchen sink and both bathroom sinks
  6. Marcus' big rain shower-head
  7. Lots of nails, screws, and other hardware type things
  8. Electric circular saw and other power tools
  9. Carpet
  10. Counter-tops in kitchen (Corian)
So obviously with our Lowe's right around the corner it's very convenient, but the things that we've bought there have been great.  The only thing that didn't go so well was delivery.  We had to move back the delivery of our appliances a couple of times due to the conflict of scheduling the installation of our wood floors.  The day after our wood floors were put down our refrigerator, range, and dishwasher were supposed to be delivered.  The guys arrived and they had the fridge and range... but not the dishwasher.  They promised to bring it the next morning so we could leave to pack our stuff up for the move.  We waited all day and didn't get it even after calling time after time.  So they promised to have it to us the next morning as the first delivery.  Again, we only had 3 days to pack all of our stuff up for the move.  We had to wait AGAIN until about one or two o'clock for our dishwasher to be delivered.  It was rough when Marcus went to talk to customer service...

Other things that have  been going on:
Yesterday our bathroom counter-tops were installed.  We used Augusta Granite remnants at $40 a square foot which is much less than you'd pay for whole pieces of custom cut granite.  Mine is green to match my bathroom and Marcus' is a cream base with veins of dark brown, tan, and black/gray.  We talked to Summit Green Solutions for an estimate on foam insulation.  Evidently our split-level has two attics (one over the living and dining rooms and one over the bedrooms) and the insulation in both of them is, like so many things in the house, original to its build (34 years ago).  In many areas, the insulation is either gone or much thinner than it should be.  No wonder the power bill is so massive!  So the plan is to save up (because now that we're at what we thought were the end of our renovations our funds are lacking in a major way) and try to do this before winter so we don't freeze to death or before next summer so we don't roast like we do now.  Really the only room that is comfortable all day is the den, which because it's halfway under ground-level could be considered a basement.  As a matter of fact, Marcus' mother has a house with a similar layout and this room is their basement.

I still haven't heard thing about a job in the school system or a nearby preschool, and I'm freaking out about it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We are officially members of the Columbia County Community!

Moving day is over... and we are completely exhausted.  We are now in the process of unpacking and getting organized in our newly renovated house.  Pretty soon we'll be ready to compare before and after pictures so be ready!

By the way, the cats are loving all of the space we have now.     :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rustoleum Cabinet Kit

The Rustoleum Cabinet Kit has to be one of my favorite transformations we've done so far.  The difference is just astounding.  Here's the before:

There are only a few steps and altogether it only takes a couple of days.  Obviously, you do have to take off the cabinet doors and take out the drawers.  You also need to take off the handles and knobs.
Step One: Use the deglosser to take off the glossy outer coat of the cabinets.  This product also takes off bad stains and if you scrub hard, paint.
Step Two: Paint everything with the base coat.  We chose pure white, but there are tons of colors to choose from.  We decided not to waste the base coat on the inside of the cabinets, so knowing that our end product would be closer to a cream color, we painted the inside of them antique white.
Step Three: Use a 2 in. paint brush to apply the glaze.  Then immediately wipe it off with the clean cloths that come in the kit.  Marcus said using a tiny paint brush (like an artist's) helps get the glaze down into the grooves.  But you have to make sure to wipe the grooves too or they'll be way to dark.  This was my favorite part because you really get to control where the glaze goes, how light it gets, and what your ultimate look will be.
Step Four: Apply the protective coat.  The kit comes with a clear protective coat that is a very important step to protect your hard work from scratches, stains, and fingerprints.  Marcus is a clean-freak so he was considering putting a polyurethane coat on top of that, but I convinced him that it would be enough.
Make sure you follow the directions explicitly as far as drying times are concerned because that makes things so much easier.  We actually had a lot of time to let it dry while we worked on other things so most of the time we just let it dry overnight before going to the next step.

Today we put all the knobs and handles back on, then hung the doors and put in the drawers.    The effect is amazing... with our paint, new counters, and now the cabinets I can really see it coming together.  Go back and look at the before...
Now see the after!  I'm so proud.

Tomorrow, our wood floors are being installed and then on Monday our appliances are being delivered.  After the appliances, we're going back to the old house to pack (hopefully we'll be able to finish in time).  The movers are coming on Wednesday morning, so by this time next week we'll be unpacking in our house!!!

After we finish unpacking, I'm going to take tons of after pictures to compare.  Make sure to come back and take a look!

Rinnai Water Heater

Last week we had our new water heater installed.  Marcus is really excited about it and wanted me to do a post specifically about it.
Our old water heater was original to the house (34 years old).  It was huge!  Almost as tall as I am, it was as big around as the average pine tree.  It was rusted out and definitely didn't work, so we knew we were going to have to replace it.  We called a few local plumbers and got a call back from Brittingham Plumbing.  They came out to do an estimate and talked to us a little about our choices for a new water heater.  Marcus explained that we wanted a tankless, gas water heater and Mr. Brittingham suggested a Rinnai.  Instead of holding hot water in a big tank, it instantly heats the water we need and pumps it where we need it to go.  And it's so small!  Where our giant tank used to stand, we now only have a book-sized digital controller where we can change the temperature the water heats up to.  The actual water heater part is located outside next to the AC unit.
I took some before and after pictures which I'll add below this weekend.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

oh my god... I have never been this exhausted in my life

Over the last week, Marcus and I have painted the entire downstairs.  Painting the living room and dining room wasn't that bad.  The walls were already white, and I actually painted them both in one day.  The kitchen and den were another story entirely.  This week, we primed the kitchen, the den, the trim in both, and the old stains on the ceiling.  Then we painted the kitchen and den, the trim in both, and started our Rustoleum kit for the cabinets.  Most days, we've been working on the house from  eight in the morning until nine or ten at night.  Ridiculous I know.  But it was all to be done in time for our wood floors to be installed tomorrow.  And guess what... the installer called and pushed our installation back another week and a half!  I'm disappointed, but it gives us more time to finish a few things.

Other than painting and painting and painting... we also did a few window enhancements to the front of the house.  I may have mentioned before that our windows are original to the house (34 years old to be exact), so they're not energy efficient and so much light gets into the house that it's roasty toasty inside!  We chose to do two things to make our windows a little better: an application of film/tint to block light and heat from getting in and cellular shades to further the process and for privacy.  The film was made by Gila and it was so easy to apply.  All we had to do was spray the windows and film with Windex, then stick the film to the window, and cut it to size with the tool included in the kit.  The cellular shades are Levolor.  At Lowe's, all we had to do was pick out the basic measurement and color, and then they cut it to the exact measurement you need.  They look really cool and are easy to install.  
I picked sand to go with our Irish Cream walls and colorful decor.
I did finally pick up some fun stuff... lol to me, fun stuff is the furniture, curtains, comforters, etc.  As far as window treatments are concerned, I stuck with a neutral for the living room because the couch is patterned.  I chose a formal looking floral print for the dining room because our ideal dining room is simple but elegant.  And for our den, I chose a chocolate brown print to go with our golden yellow couches and autumnal throw pillows.  Can't wait to share pictures!
There was one mishap though... I chose a paint color called "mandarin glow" for the kitchen and den.  The paint swatch (shown above) seems like more of a butter-cream, but on the walls it seems like a pastel shade of melon.  Marcus thinks it will look better once the floors are installed because the lighting will be different... but I'm worried.  I do NOT want to paint again, but if our couches and decor are warm colors and the walls are cool colors it will look horrible.  Time will tell...  

But all this hard work has been taxing.  Marcus and I have been so irritable because of the level of exhaustion.  We've been staying with his sister so it's been tough going back and forth... but at least she's been really sweet about having us.