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Archive for July 2015

Cue the Fireworks and Confetti!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

One of my most popular posts was about how I paid off $10,000 in credit card debt. Here is the very last line from that post, "Neither of us have car loans, so our only debt at the moment are my student loans, which will be paid off in December 2015 (4 years early)."

I am SO EXCITED to announce that my student loans will be paid off on THURSDAY!

I followed a very simple plan for paying off my student loans - about every six months I would increase the amount I was paying. The first time I increased my payment above the minimum, I think it was $40. Then I moved up to $70 above the minimum six months later. I would check my progress and calculate when my loan would be paid off by using this calculator. By 2012 I was paying double the minimum payment.

Eventually I was paying 3x the minimum payment, and I decided I was happy with the payoff date that the calculator showed. I've been paying 3x the minimum since April 2014. I made the payments automatic and never looked back. Even when I was paying off my credit card I still paid extra on my student loans.

And here I am, six years after graduating and my student loans will be gone forever in TWO DAYS!

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Changing up the Living Room

Monday, July 20, 2015

Shortly after buying our house, I posted my renovation ideas for the downstairs rooms. I found this Amy Butler fabric and thought it would make pretty curtains, but I wasn't 100% in love with the fabric. When I buy things for my house, I have to be absolutely in love with it.

When I'm coming up with a plan for my personal projects, I usually start with fabric as a jumping off point. In April I bought a new rug, and I was having trouble find a curtain fabric to go with the rug, probably because I was working backwards from my typical procedure. Note to self: always start with a fabric.

I took a look at my Pinterest Fabric board, and I realized that I posted this Waverly fabric three different times. 

 I have loved this fabric for years, and I have the same fabric in a different colorway on my dining room chairs (by the china cabinet). I've decided to use this fabric for my living room curtains, and here's what I'm thinking about for the rest of the room:
Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Moonshine. This is the current color of the room, and it's a blue-grey.

Yellow rug from Ikea. I'll move the existing rug to a different room.

Finn (I just love the name!) loveseat

New West Elm light fixture. We actually already bought this and installed it, but I haven't taken any recent photos of the living room.

I want to keep our existing lamps and paint them navy and get a new lamp shade from Etsy.

I've already ordered the curtain fabric, and I can't wait to get started on this next project!

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House Update: Powder Bath

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

  The only true before photo I have of the powder bath is from the listing. When I took before photos of the rest of the house, I somehow missed the powder bath.

 I thought we were going to try to salvage the vanity, but Sam got really enthusiastic about demo!

 After the floors were installed on the entire 1st floor, we didn't do anything with the powder bath for a couple months.

 We eventually bought a toilet (the box says it can flush up to 8 golf balls!) and Sam installed half the toilet. He wanted to wait to install the rest of the toilet until after the room was painted.

 I scraped the popcorn ceiling and Sam sanded, patched, and painted.

 I evenutally want to wallpaper this room, which you can see here on my inspiration board, but we don't have the money for that right now. We painted the room Benjamin Moore Pashmina.

 Finn's job during our renovations is to be the inspector, and he takes his job very seriously!

 I can't tell the difference between Benjamin Moore Pashmina and Revere Pewter. If I had known it was practically the same color, we could have just used the can of Revere Pewter that we already have in the garage!

 I found a beautiful vanity on Home Depot's website, but every time I checked online it was out of stock. I checked the website again in April and it said discontinued. I was devastated! Around the same time I got an email from Home Decorators Collection that we were having a Bath sale. I checked out their selection and ended up buying this one at 20% off. I don't love the granite top as much as the Home Depot vanity, but it's fine. And it was a good price. I tried to find it on their website, but it looks like it's been discontinued.

 I picked out green knobs from Anthropologie and bought the mirror at a thrift store. The mirror is painted Pantone Emerald. The light fixture is from Shades of Light.

 The artwork is from our honeymoon in Venice.

 Sam just installed the faucet last night.

Here's the before again, so you don't have to scroll up.

 Here was my inspiration board that I made back in February:

Now I just have to save up for the wallpaper!

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House Update: Staircase/Entry

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In June we worked on two different house projects - the staircase/entry and the powder bathroom (which I'll post about tomorrow). As a recap, this is what our entry looked like when we bought it:

So much beige. I hated it!

This is what our entry looked like at the beginning of June. The other thing that bothered me about the entry was that the wood on the stairs did not even closely match the wood floors.

I decided to attempt gel staining the stairs, so they would blend in better with the stairs. Gel staining is much easier than regular staining because you only have to lightly sand the wood, instead of stripping it completely. The stain is also very thick, so it's not that messy and doesn't splatter everywhere.

 My dad pulled out the spindles. I had read online that it was easy to remove spindles, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. I asked my dad and he just popped them out. There were two spindles left because those wouldn't come out.

 On the left side is the hand rail, which was removed to paint the wall.

 I decided I was pretty happy with the results after 2 coats. It's not perfect, but I think it blends better with the floors.

I really wanted the stairwell painted before the 4th of July. For months we've had the hand rail just sitting on the stairs, not attached to the walls. Sam's family was going to be visiting, and I thought it was important that the hand rail be installed back on the wall. It didn't seem safe to have guests going up and down the stairs without the hand rail.
 The entry had only been painted up to the staircase. I didn't know how we were going to paint the staircase since it's two stories. I was pretty sure we would have to hire someone to do that. 

 Sam came up with DIY scaffolding. Our ladder (which is made to go on stairs) went on one end, a step ladder was on the other end, and a board went in between the two ladders.

Sam did the edging and then my dad rolled the walls. It only took them a couple hours.

 My sister, Stephanie, had given me this green light fixture a couple months ago, and I really wanted to hang it in the stairwell. Sam hates it, but I think it's beautiful!

the quarter round is that light beige piece at the bottom of the stairs

I stained the quarter round. It was flexible and stainable and the floor guys left it for us.

 After: all done!

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