Baseboard Refresh : Easy Tutorial on How to Upgrade Your Baseboards

Baseboards are an understated accent that can go unnoticed in a home.When installed properly baseboards will give your home a facelift that cannot be beat. Our home was built in the 1980s and as a result our baseboards were tired and small at 3 1/2”. Typical homes have 4 1/2” to 5 1/2” baseboards and some of those stunning homes on Pinterest are 10”! Personally I did not understand what the big deal was but once Alex started installing new fatter baseboards the difference was obvious. After the baseboard facelift our home felt fresh, new, modern and clean and it only cost us $2k! A contractor would probably charge triple the cost of what we paid to do it ourselves. Giving your home’s baseboards a facelift is a mid priced project that can generate big rewards!

See tutorial below on how to upgrade your baseboards:

  1. Complete baseboard renovation room by room. Once you have selected a space start measure the room to determine amount of material to purchase. Give yourself a bit extra during measurements in the event  you make a mistake and need extra material. We find the first step to be the hardest as it cane difficult to perfectly measure and cut the boards to size. Don’t get discouraged it happens to the best of us!
  2. Start ripping out baseboards by taking a razor blade to top of the board where baseboard meets sheet rock. This will cut the caulking and paint and will ensure you do not tear the sheet rock. Once complete rip out baseboards and quarter round with crowbar and hammer.
  3. Purchase desired size base boards from local home renovation store. We went to Home Depot and selected 4 1/2” baseboards. When shopping for baseboards ensure the boards are not overly warped and manageable. Each board will have a slight bend or twist (this is unavoidable). Just make sure the boards do not resemble a banana curve.
  4. At Home Depot also be sure to buy quarter round, finishing nails, spackle, sanding paper and paint. We like Benjamin Moore stock white in satin finish.
  5. Paint the baseboards and quarter round, we normally use two coats of paint, then cut to size with a miter saw.
  6. Use a nail gun or nail by hand the new baseboards to drywall. Important to use a finishing nail as this will be smaller and less noticeable. We used finishing nails to nail trim to wall and quarter round to walls.
  7. Make sure to nail baseboards into a stud (a stud is an upright support in wall). To find studs in you can either buy a stud finder or use a finished nail and tap into wall. Important to find a stud for the baseboards as this will ensure a more secure install.
  8. Once baseboards and quarter round are nailed to drywall, spackle the holes where the nails are visible. This step will ensure the nail heads appear flush to the trim.
  9. Sand down the spackle till smooth and nails are no longer noticeable. Important then to take a shopvac or old paint brush to get the dust off, otherwise you will paint over the dust and will create an unfinished look. We have learned this step the hard way!!
  10. Then caulk the top of the trim and top of quarter round for any gapes that you find. Normally you find most gaps in the corners. Like here!
  11. Apply two coats of paint to the baseboards and quarter round. Two coats is essential since dust clings to caulk and you want to ensure the caulk is properly covered.

If you have an older home and that feels tired try updating the baseboards! Please let us know if you have any questions or comments! Would love to hear from you.

 

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Buying Your First Home? Learn How to Buy a Home and Love it Too

We were clueless when we bought our first home. Renting a 2 bedroom condo for a year, life was pretty good, but when an appliance broke or we wanted to add our own personal touch we were limited. Alex is incredibly handy and it wasn’t until we moved into our first home that I realized by renting we were holding ourselves back. Our home has become a hobby and without it I don’t know what we would have done with our spare time.

Once we decided to buy our first home we were clueless to initial costs and responsibilities that would arise. If you are thinking about buying your first home see below for tips we wish someone had shared with us:

  • The mortgage WILL NOT replace your rent. There will be extra monthly expenses than just your mortgage, such as taxes, home insurance, home warranty, sewer, and anything extra that comes up and stuff will come up! As strict as we are with our budget we find every year something arises.
  • If you’re just starting to talk about buying a home set a budget for your family. Include 20% of the initial home price for a down payment, enough for renovations and furniture (depending on the state of the home) and try to set aside another substantial cushion for surprises.
  • We cannot express the importance of having an extra cushion! If nothing happens then use the money on a fun trip!! Our cushion has been used so far on a hot water boiler and broken furnace. If setting aside extra cash after a down payment seems scary to you then insist the seller give you a home warranty. The home warranty will cover the repairs of any major appliance, it will feel like a landlord whenever you need something fixed. We had the sellers buy us Home Shield. If you get so lucky to avoid surprises be sure to send us pictures of your vacation!
  • Once you decide on your dream home it could take 2-3 months till you actually move in. We found our home in October and our condo lease ended in December. We avoided paying rent and a new mortgage within the same month it was amazing!
  • You will not owe your first months mortgage payment till 30 days after closing. Unlike rent which is paid the beginning of the month a mortgage is paid once it has accumulated. As a result, the first month in your new home will be mortgage free! YAYY!
  • Be sure to put down 20% !! If you have your eyes on a dream home and you cannot afford 20% down payment DO NOT BUY!! Haven’t you experienced enough debt from student loans?! By avoiding 20% downpayment of the home’s purchase price mortgage lenders will give you a higher interest rate or have you purchase points to achieve a lower interest rate. In each instance you are giving away more hard earned cash towards interest. With low mortgage rates and a rising housing market putting down 20% makes you an attractive buyer. Lenders and sellers will be more willing to work with you despite your age. Everyone treated us like kids till we revealed we could put down 20% 🙂
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your mortgage broker, lawyers and relator will try to use all these home buying fancy words but this is your first time buying a home you have no prior experience. If you are afraid to ask questions comment below and we will be happy to answer!!

What were some unexpected costs you found when buying your first home? Also let us know if this article was helpful! We plan to share more of our first home buying experience soon!

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Modern Farmhouse Ultimate Decision: Subway Tile Grey Grout vs White Grout

You have made the ultimate modern farmhouse decision and picked subway tile as your kitchen back splash. Congrats! Your parents will say things like “you mean the tile found in the New York City subway”. Kinda but no Mom! The subway tile you see in most farmhouse renovations and 90% of Fixer Upper renovations. Once you get past that hurtle the toughest decision approaches, do you go with trendy grey grout or keep it safe with white grout.

First grout is a mortar or paste that is used to fill gaps between the subway tile. Let’s explore the options from Pinterest.

In order to stay on budget we prefer to do renovations ourselves. As a result we like to keep our projects simple. At Home Depot we found these amazing subway tile sheets. Rather than laying down each individual tile we simply mounted these sheets to the dry wall. Once the tile was up we decided to make the project even simpler by picking white grout.

White grout worked for us due to the following:

  • Kept our project simple, there was no need to worry if we made a mistake as the white was more forgiving
  • The lighting in our home can be minimal and the white grout keeps the kitchen bright
  • We chose a deep grey paint for our kitchen walls and needed more white hues to balance out the space

Grey grout is the trendier option of the two and we have seen many homes where the result is spectacular. However if your taste is more conservation, completing the project yourself or have low lighting in your home maybe give white grout a chance. Either choice is gorgeous and gets you one step closer to the modern farmhouse of your dreams. When finished the side eye from your folks quickly disappears 🙂

 

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How to Save $1,000 on Powder Room Renovation: Part 1 Inspiration

Do you remember the wallpaper growing up in the 80s or 90s? Get ready to have your mind blown! If you haven’t noticed the wallpaper game changed big time! A dear friend thankfully convinced us to use wallpaper in our bathroom and we are forever grateful.
Here are some wallpaper examples from Pintrest we were inspired by.

When choosing a wallpaper understand that it will make a statement even if you go a bit conservative with the color like we did. We found the toughest part was deciding how much of a statement we wanted to make with our wallpaper. I personally would have gone bolder with our choice but this was our first time installing wallpaper and we wanted to be 100% satisfied.

Our powder room was a mess when we moved in. To start it’s a small space and the paint color was dark. Additionally the walls were textured but not in a good way. Either old wallpaper graced the walls and was ripped off then immediately painted over or an animal took their nails to the walls and someone decided to paint over it. The texture was everywhere!

Our powder room has one window that receives natural light in the morning. As a result we wanted a bright color that transitioned well with the rest of the house.

Below includes list of the items which helped save us thousands on our powder room renovation.

  • Wall Paper – We picked this great paper from York Wall coverings, it can also be found on build.com in various colors. Plus build.com will send you a sample! We purchased the light grey and its a perfect pairing with our edgecomb grey walls. Buying our wallpaper on Wayfair saved us nearly $500 than if we went to a regular paint store.
This picture was not edited we wanted to show the true color of the wallpaper.
  • Sink Console –  Next, we found this great console from American Standard, at the time it was deeply discounted but you can find a similar one here. We wanted to mimic the Pottery Barn single sink console without the high price tag of $1,800.

  • Faucet – On Amazon we found American Standard Portsmouth faucet for nearly half the price! Personally we wanted a nice light bathroom so we chose Chrome fixtures but for a more rustic feel and less finger print cleaning the oil rubbed bronze is a great alternative!
  • Toilet – We got the American Standard Vormax toilet at Lowe’s and it might be the prettiest toilet if there ever was one. However a great alternative for less is the American Standard Cadet at Home Depot.
  • Mirror – My family had a leftover mirror (not sure where this is from) but you could easily find something similar at HomeGoods or Wayfair!
  • Curtains – The curtains are from Bed Bath and Beyond, it was tough to find 45inch curtain panels.
  • Light Fixture – Finally we splurged on light fixtures since we had extra reward points from Pottery Barn. Once I had assembled my items it was time to get started on the renovation!

The search for these items took months. Keep patient and the price you want will eventually turn up :). Stay tuned for Part 2 to see how we executed this gorgeous bathroom.

 

*This post does not include affiliate links, however Cortney previously worked for American Standard and received discounts. Their items are fantastic and great prices can be found on Amazon or Build.com. 

 

 

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Mud Room Part 2

Welcome to Mud Room Hack Part 2, click here if you missed part 1.

We pick up our Mud Room renovation with our trip to the lumber yard where we selected the wood for the bench.

At the lumber yard it’s important to be selective as you do not want a warped or flimsy piece of wood, additionally it’s important to pay attention to character in the grain.

After selecting the right piece that would serve as our bench

  • Check to find if there were any deep scratches in the wood. Luckily, for us there were only minor scratches to the board. So we began sanding the bench using #150 sandpaper,
    • Note the lower the grit number the coarser the sand paper, if we had deeper scratches in the board we would have started with a grit closer to #100 or lower.
    • Remember to sand with the grain of the board, going perpendicular will result in scratches that will be brought out when staining.

  • Once the board is smooth, grab a piece of scrap wood and clamp it to your bench.  Use this piece to practice your router cuts before using on the bench. Make sure the depth and edge of the cut is the one you’re looking for.
  • Use the router to cut the edges into the bench, lightly sand the routed edges with #150 grit paper until its smooth.
  • Once finished cutting the edge into the bench and sanding smooth, wipe the bench to remove all dust. It is important to maintain a dust free environment when staining!

  • Using a rag or a brush, apply the stain to the bench and be sure to get an even coat over the board. With a clean rag, wipe the excess stain off the bench. Should you want a deeper finish let the stain sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping down the bench.
    • We repeated this step 3 times before we got the finish we were looking for!
    • First time staining? Check out this site for helpful tips on how to do so: Tips on Staining Wood

  • Once the desired stain was achieved we finished the bench by applying Minwax Fast drying Polyurethane Clear Semi-Gloss. The polyurethane finish acts as a shield and will protect the wood during future use. When applying the finish follow the grain of the wood and use a nice brush.

  • Once the bench was complete we then framed out three cubbies, similar to earlier step when we mounted the media stand, by first identifying the studs.
  • After measuring the width of the opening, we divided the space into three cubbies by lightly marking up the wall on how we wanted them placed.
  • Following the markings, we first mounted a piece of trim that would serve as the coat hanger in the cubbies. Then by using the identified studs, we made sure this piece was screwed into several studs for strength purposes. We then completed framing the cubbies out.

  • Afterwards we cut the beat board to the widths and heights of the openings that we had framed out. Then mounted it in each individual cubby.

  • The beadboard was mounted using finishing nails and construction adhesive (insert adhesive)

  • Following the framing of cubbies and mounting of bead board. We turned our attention to the top shelf. We weren’t as selective with the wood for the top shelf, since we would not be staining the wood, we grabbed a shelf piece from home depot.

  • We painted the shelf before putting into place,  This step was done because of the available space it would be hard to paint in the given area.
  • We then cut the shelf to the appropriate size and put in place. We did not screw the top shelf in place.
  • Once the top shelf was in place, we installed the shelf hangers. These were found at Home Depot in the moulding section (we had trouble finding link online sorry!). Now that the shelf supports were in place, we screwed the shelf in place.

  • To achieve a more polished look we outlined the entire mud room in quarter round.
  • After the shelf and quarter round were installed we sanded the nails smooth. Always remember to vacuum and dust afterwards!
  • To finish the unit we then caulked gaps that could not be hidden. Then painted the entire mud room Ultra White from Behr.

  • Finally it was time to DECORATE!! Rather than building individual cubbies in the top shelf we thought even sized wicker baskets would be a great alternative.

  • At HomeGoods we found wicker baskets, grey pillows and a wreath. Additionally there are extra cubbies at the bottom of the unit for our outdoor pillows and the Hunter Boots have a new permanent parking spot 🙂 .

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Mud Room Ikea Hack – Part 1

My husband and I are still recovering from 2014. In one year we planned a wedding, got married, accepted new jobs, and bought our first home. Pinterest was our best friend during that year and whenever I say I found a new inspiration on Pintrest my husband knows to head for the hills! Prior to this knowledge we had just finished the kitchen and I was studying every design magazine, catalog and Pintrest page I could get my hands on. We found this great article from A Charming Nest and were immediately inspired. The project took more time and effort than we anticipated but we learned ALOT from the experience.

We decided to turn the closet off our laundry room into mud room by using an ikea media stand as the base. With some strategic planning and late night painting the result far exceeded our expectations. See below for steps we took and some take away advice 🙂

  • Have a plan! While we wanted to just dive into the project we took some important first steps by measuring the opening width length and height. Additionally, we took a visit to Ikea’s website to understand the stands size. Try avoiding going to store and buying whatever you find to make it workimg_1620
  • Then we took a glorious trip to Ikea to meet our media stand in person (we chose the two drawer Hemnes Media Stand). While there we measured the gap from bottom of tv stand to see if our trim would be tall enough. We wanted our new trim to be 4.5″. Article to come on the importance of updating your trim!img_1618
  • We bought the TV stand even though we knew the piece would be too tall, we then trimmed legs of stand to ensure trim would not overlap with drawers.img_1622
  • This is when we really get into the meat of the project. After the legs were trimmed we then mounted 2/4 in opening of front to give more space to nail trim, we needed to nail the trim to the base of the stand.img_1623
  • In order to ensure the seated bench of the mudroom would be secure we needed to mount the tv stand into the studs behind the dry wall of closet. We located all studs on wall of closet then indicated location of stud with a pencil. Additionally by identifying studs at the beginning of project this ensured the cubbies and hooks of the mudroom would also be stable. img_1625
  • We then framed out the opening space to fit my Hunter Boots (I hope those stay relevant for years to come). After we framed out the boot cubby we then painted and framed out length of tv stand and boot cubby
    for wooden bench.img_1639
  • Part 2 will pick up with tutorial on wooden bench and framing out cubbies!
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Kitchen Rennovation

When looking for a home we both knew a full kitchen renovation was not something we wanted or could afford. During the search for our first home we looked for clues to see if a few simple updates could make the kitchen dream worthy. The house we chose, our current home, the kitchen was originally painted tangerine (YES tangerine!). However the previous owners had installed new stainless steal appliances, grey gradient, and white cabinets and we could see the light through the tangerine paint.

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The kitchen was our first renovation as a married couple and we credit a lot of the initial inspiration from a DXV Faucet and a beautiful deep gray paint from Benjamin Moore. After we painted and installed the new faucet the dream kitchen started to shine through! See below steps we took to achieve the kitchen of our DREAMS.

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  • Paint color Benjamin Moore Galveston Grey. See our article about neutrals and how we got initially inspired!
  • DXV Victorian Pull Down Faucet in Ultra Steel. We love American Standard and cannot say enough about how amazing their fixtures are! They just launched an awesome brand called DXV and the products fit our modern farm house theme perfectly (this is not an endorsement we love the faucet).

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  • Brushed Nickel Nantucket Knobs. To match the DXV Faucet we picked brushed nickel knobs. These knobs can be found at Home Depot or Amazon. We love how the knobs brighten and provide a profession feel to the kitchen.

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  • We received a custom farm table my family no longer needed (we got lucky and if my sister reads this I might be in trouble!).
  • Black Farmhouse X Chairs from Target. We love incorporating inexpensive neutral items with expensive items, similar to that Forever21 dress you wore with designer shoes! These chairs are similar to Pottery Barn’s but for a fraction of the price. We have been using these chairs for 4 years and they are still in great condition.

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  • Light fixtures from Pottery Barn. Even though we have low ceilings we still wanted the kitchen to be modern, bright and airy. You can cut the cord to fit your ceilings height (we were nervous but trust us its worth it!). Alex installed the lights himself and he plans to write about it soon!
  • Vegetable art from Crate and Barrel. These pieces were perfect for our modern farmhouse theme and they come in different vegetables, we liked the kale and carrots best.

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  • While the previous owners had a nice backsplash we could still see hints of tangerine! We did the backsplash last and found amazing white subway tile sheets from Home Depot. The tile sheets made the project move fast and we used white chalk to avoid showing any errors. We promise to do a separate article on how to lay subway tile, it is easier than you think!

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  • I convinced Alex and his dad to move the refrigerator to add more space when you first enter our kitchen from the garage. Alex and his Dad thought I was crazy but it turned out great! Now the kitchen allows more light from the dining room and does not feel as choppy. Do not be afraid to move appliances you might see something a different way than previous owners, play with the layout! Now when you enter our home from the garage you see the beautiful granite and white cabinets rather than a massive appliance.
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Refrigerator in original location.
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After we moved the Refrigerator. With this simple change the kitchen feels much larger!

Here are some more after pictures and by the way we made biscuits 🙂 We just looove our new kitchen!!

 

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Share your kitchen renovation stories below!

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