Monday, February 28, 2011

One Thing Always Leads to Another

Well, as usual, I'm having a terrible time making up my mind. I SO apprecited everyone's comments about my fireplace painting question. I was pretty sure I'd be painting it (and am pretty sure I still will), but I was surprised at how many people voted for me to leave it.

I actually started to consider it. I know for sure I'll hold off on it for a little while, at least. I figure I should live with it for awhile before I do something drastic that I can't undo. But every time I look at it, I still feel the desire to paint it. We'll see.

One thing that all this "reconsidering" did was cause me to totally rearrange all the furniture in the living room and family room. I know. We've only lived here a week. My husband was thrilled.

But that means that the room with the fireplace now has neutral furniture, and lot of beiges and whites (it's not as boring as it sounds, I promise). And the red couch has been relocated to the front living room, where it is still awaiting its flowered chair.

So obviously, the wall around the fireplace is not turquoise, although I did paint it. The office/homeschool room became turquoise. The family room is taupe. Do you follow? Neither did my husband. He's surprised every day when he comes home, because I've done something totally opposite of what I was planning. What can I say?

Anyway, things are still VERY rough (we have no trim in the family room, no curtains or blinds...hello, neighbors!...still haven't even put up the outlet covers), but I'm hoping to post pictures sometime this week. So far, I like the result. It's been a lot of work. I think those whole house renovation/redecorating thing might go a little slower than I had originally planned.

On a negative note, we started removing some wallpaper in other rooms, and have discovered that NONE of the walls in our house are made of drywall. I'm not entirely sure what they're made of. It's not drywall, it's not plaster, it's not paneling (although we do have that in some rooms). A friend suggested that it might be cement board.

All I know is that it's ugly. And not textured, so therefore not paintable, at least not as is. The family room (which was a later addition to the house) had untextured and damaged drywall, so we had a painter come in and spray it with texture before we painted. It was EXPENSIVE. And now we're looking at having to do that to EVERY wall in the house. That's definitely not in our budget at this point, so we're trying to come up with some alternatives. Anyone have any suggestions? I'd love to hear them!

For now, we'll take it one project at a time :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To Paint or Not To Paint - I Need Your Opinion!

So, I'm considering my first big "remodel" project on the new house. I was totally sure of my plan, but now I'm getting cold feet, because once I start, there's no turning back.

I'm thinking about painting the brick on this fireplace:

**Look closely, you'll see a tiny glimpse of the gorgeous floor that my hardworking husband just put in!

Now, before any of you gasp, and go "you can't do that!" (which is what both my mom and grandma did when I mentioned it), check out these two blog posts, which have been my inspiration:

Young House Love - How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

The Lettered Cottage - My $82 Fireplace Makeover

Gorgeous, right? I think it would be a major improvement. I like brick, I'm just not crazy about it in this room.

I've got big plans for this room, and it's going to be a little bit funky. I've got a red sofa, and a crazy, colorful floral chair that should be arriving in the next couple of weeks. I'm thinking of going way out on a limb and painting the wall around the fireplace this color:

With a red couch, I know that's a little out there, but my chair has both red and turquoise in it, so it will all make sense when I'm done. I hope.

If I do paint it, it will be kind of a soft white color. Basic, but nothing too bright. I'm thinking of using one of the colors below. Can you tell the difference? I nearly went blind at the hardware store yesterday as I looked at 400 different shades of white. Sheesh!

So anyway, I need some encouragement. Share your opinion: should I leave it, or should I paint it?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

All Things New

Well, it's official. We're in the new house. And we're loving it!

It's completely trashed, as is to be expected, but I have high hopes that within the next few days, I'll at least have all the boxes emptied. I've been working non-stop for four days trying to unpack boxes. Considering the fact that we had a storage unit full of stuff (**junk), I find myself saying, "Why do we have this?" a lot.

Nate has been wondering the same thing for years.

So, aside from the fact that I have enough dishes to serve dinner to a group of 70 people, things are going well.

I have to take a moment to say that having professional movers do all the work for you in is the BEST THING EVER. Seriously. These three extremely nice guys show up at my house, pack every single piece of furniture and junk that I own, and two days later they drop it off at my new house. They take every box into the room that we instruct them to take it to. They put together all the furniture. AMAZING. I am now ruined forever. I can never move again unless I have movers doing the job for me.

The movers had to inventory absolutely everything they packed (add "mover" to the list of jobs I would NEVER want to do). Every box and piece of furniture was numbered, and marked with a red sticker. When we got to the new house, Macieo decided a good job for him would be to take off all the stickers. I'd say he was pretty thorough.

Macieo was such a trooper through the whole moving ordeal. We were planning on him doing half a day of school on Wednesday, so we could drive up to the new house that afternoon. But, wouldn't you know it, Tuesday night, he ended up with a fever of 103.5. So, he had to miss his very last day of school, and had to move while feeling terrible. But he rarely complained, and aside from a lingering cough, doesn't seem to be much worse for the wear.

As if moving isn't chaotic enough, the day we arrived, Nate was still working on installing the new flooring (which looks amazing, by the way...hopefully I'll be able to post pictures soon), and the painters had just finished texturing the walls. So in addition to all the boxes, I had a big, fat mess.

So on top of unpacking, we've been sawing, mopping, scraping, dusting and being totally overwhelmed at the amount of space we have, and the amount of work there is to do (in a good way). As soon as Nate finished the floor, he decided to tackle his first "demolition" project.
We really love our kitchen. It has a ton of space, and is laid out really well. Like most of the rooms, it needs a coat of paint and some wallpaper removal, but it has good "bones."

Expect for one cupboard that hangs over what would be the breakfast bar. It cuts off all view of the rest of the house when you're in the kitchen. And it's this weird "display" type on both sides, with frosted glass doors. I guess the idea is that you could showcase your collection of dishes (or something), but I'd rather be able to see the people sitting at the dining room table.

First, here's a picture of how the cupboard looked when we first saw the house:

As you can see, it completely closes off the kitchen. Here's a view from the other side (the cupboard in question in on the very left:

I walked in to the kitchen on Friday to find Nate, wielding a hammer, doing this:

And within a few minutes, voila! Goodbye horrible cupboard!

We are loving having the kitchen and dining room open. The only problem? Now there is major wall and ceiling work that needs to be done. We're not entirely sure when we'll get around to fixing this, so we may be living with the damaged walls for awhile. I'm sure this will be true of most of our projects :) We're not entirely sure what our plans for the kitchen are yet. We just knew we had to get rid of that cupboard!

So aside from a total mess, we're getting settled. After the first few nights, we're starting to remember where everything is. I made a major grocery run today, and have actually made dinner the last couple of nights. I'd call that an accomplishment!

The guest bed is all made up (amazingly, that's on of the most organized rooms in the house!), so stop by any time to visit!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The View From Here

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Before we can DO the things we want in the new house, we have to UNDO the things we don't want. We've got a long list of projects, and are attempting to complete a few before Macieo and I officially move in.

We like to force our child to do extreme manual labor as often as possible :) Actually, he was super excited to help with this job. What kid doesn't want to tear out things he's usually cautioned to be careful with?
I removed 14 valances from the house. Yes, we have a lot of windows (and some doorways...).

We also have a lot of cupboards (26 in the kitchen alone). That meant there was a lot of contact paper for me to remove.
And wouldn't you know it, our first day in the house, it snowed. So there was shoveling to be done as well.

But after a hard days work, we took a much needed pizza break.

(On a side note, we ate Casey's pizza twice while we were up there, and Macieo LOVED it. He said it's the best pizza he ever had, and he keeps telling everyone he's really excited because he's moving to a town where he can eat Casey's pizza! Little does he know, there's a Casey's down the street from our old house, we've just never eaten there!)

This all happened last weekend, and then we left Nate to finish the rest of the work himself (poor guy!). We're officially moving into the house on Thursday, and Nate has been BUSY trying to get things ready for us.

As you can see from the pictures, we have lots of wallpaper. Nate started removing some of it, and discovered it had been hung on the bare drywall when the family room addition was built on the back of the house. NOT GOOD. So, on top of tearing out the carpet and putting in the new floor, he's hiring drywallers to come repair and texture our walls.

Apparently there's no such thing as a "small" project. Have you seen this movie? Our house is far from "hopelessly dilapidated," (it's actually really nice, just outdated) but I feel a little bit like that right now :)

But, only a few more days until we're officially together as a family again (finally!). The movers come Monday, and then the real fun begins!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Little Blue House on the Prairie

Welcome to our Little Blue House on the Prairie. Also known as the Pritchard Family Bed & Breakfast. Visitors welcome.

**Yes, that is Macieo hiding behind the basketball hoop. He voluntarily shoveled the ENTIRE driveway. I love that kid.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Reflections from the Road

Welcome to our new neighborhood.

Well, okay, maybe we don't exactly live in a cornfield, but there sure are a lot of them around here!

Macieo and I drove up to our new town last night, and I've got to say, I'm a little out of practice at rural driving. I'm a pretty confident driver, but windy, ice covered, unfamiliar Iowa roads in the dark will have even me gripping the steering wheel with both hands!

I love hearing things from Macieo about what he thinks moving to a small town will be like. Sometimes his questions make me laugh. Other times, they make me realize that there are going to be a lot of really good things about this.

Macieo (while pointing to the sun as it was setting): "Mom, living in the country is going to be awesome. Just look at that!"

Macieo: "Mom, I'm really glad we're moving to a small town. I don't really like cities, they are loud and noisy and you don't get any sleep and you can't see any stars. Look at all the stars out here. It's just so much more beautiful."

Macieo (when we stopped at a Casey's): "Mom, why are there so many people here? It's just a gas station." In this particular town, it was the ONLY place open at 7 PM on a Thursday, besides a couple of shady looking bars. It was PACKED. Everyone wanted pizza.

Macieo: "Mom, what's that smell?"
"That smell" is pigs and cows, and the particular, unpleasant aroma that accompanies living in their vicinity. Up here, hogs and cattle outnumber people by ten to one (or twenty to one...). I've been assured by numerous people that eventually, we won't even notice the smell. :)

We closed on our house this morning, and I couldn't be more excited. It is a GREAT house. We don't take possession until tomorrow morning, and I can hardly wait. I've only seen it once, so I'm hoping it's as great as I remember it.

The people we bought it from seem really sweet. We met them at the closing, and found out they have owned it since it was built in the sixties. I was shocked...I would never have guessed that the original owners were still living in it. You could tell she was sad to be selling it, but we assured her we'd take good care of it.

We went to Menards today (it took us just under an hour to get there!) and bought some new flooring. In the next few weeks, we'll find out just how handy we are as we attempt to install 800+ square feet of laminate. Thankfully, the bulk of that burden will fall to Nate.

Like I said, we love to the house, but there are quite a few things I'm excited to change. After the walk through tomorrow, our big plan is to tear our carpet that looks a lot like this:
And replace it with something that looks like this:
I think it will be a vast improvement, especially considering the fact that I have a bright red sofa. Yikes.

Today was full of, lawyer, real estate closing, "enrolling" Macieo in a school district (we're homeschooling). We got all the nuts and bolts out of the way.

We did discover a few happy things along that way. The highlight of my day? There is a charming little coffee/wine bar in our town. They serve yummy soup and sandwiches. And the best part? They have really good coffee. I was thrilled. Even my sweet husband was relieved. After we left, he said the following:

"I'm really glad there's a decent coffee shop here. I was a little worried that about what would happen to you if you couldn't get coffee."

Very funny.

My parents are coming up tomorrow, to visit my grandma (she lives near here), and we're going to meet them at this restaurant. It looks awesome. Considering the fact that the thing I'm going to miss most about the city is all of the good restaurants, I'm feeling encouraged :)

All in all, it was a good first weekend. Now, we go home, and wait for the movers to come. Only two more weeks, and we'll be calling this home for good!

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