Home Goals: How We Did & Goals for 2015

10 Jan

2014 was a year of major changes at 12 Oaks, most of which were on the exterior of our home. I shared our goals for the year in this blog post and I’m happy to report we got most of them done! Here’s the checklist on how much we accomplished.

Our 2014 home goals were to:

1) Build deck out back. Done! You can read about the building of the deck here. It has since been stained and a pergola is in progress.


2) Install retaining wall and landscape back yard. Retaining wall is complete and we did some landscaping. Still lots more to do though.


3) Replace rotten trim and paint the house. Done! A major game changer. You can read about that here.


4) Finish addition upstairs (master bathroom and closet). This is about 80% there and should be done by the end of January. I’ll have an update on it soon.

New Zealand 1035

5) Finish addition downstairs (powder room and laundry room). Done! You can read about both rooms here.

New Zealand 1028

6) Makeover the office/playroom, including a fireplace re-do. Didn’t get to this. We painted the fireplace but have since decided to cover it up since the room is going to be a playroom and it takes up too much room and is a hazard. This is at the top of our list for 2015 after the master bathroom/closet.

7) Blacktop driveway. Done! So nice. You can read about the driveway here.


8) Relocate master bedroom. We should be in the new master by the end of the month. Can’t wait!

9) Update living room built-ins. No progress made unfortunately.

10) Build a dining room table from native New Zealand wood. Nope.

11) Build out basement storage. Done! Ben built out new shelving down there. It needs organizing again though….

Overall pretty good considering we were also raising an infant.

For 2015 our goals are to:

  1. Finish master bathroom and closet and move in to our new master.
  2. Build out a playroom, including adding a wall and covering up a fireplace.
  3. Build mudroom cabinets on the opposite side of the new playroom wall.
  4. Renovate the final bathroom upstairs.
  5. Add window boxes to the front of the house.
  6. Landscape back yard.
  7. Finish pergola on the back deck.
  8. Build a fire pit.

Master Bathroom: Ready for Tile

12 Dec

Lots of progress and planning has been made on our future Master Bath over the last couple of months and now we’re all set to start tiling! The last time I showed you the room it was looking like this:

New Zealand 1038And now:


Ok it doesn’t look like much, but Ben laid all the Durock cement board on the floor and shower walls, laid the underfloor heating, poured the shower base, waterproofed the shower walls with RedGard, and poured self leveling underlayment on the floors.




We also purchased a vanity and all the tile. The vanity is the Cranbury by Home Decorators from Home Depot.


All the tile is Carrera Marble and was purchased from The Tile Shop and Floor & Decor. Here’s a peek at it:


Our original goal was to be in the new Master by the end of the year. That might be a little overzealous at this point, but it should be pretty close.

Driveway Surprise

6 Oct

The outdoor transformations keep on coming this year; we now have a new driveway!


I say it was a surprise because we weren’t planning on getting this done until next year, knowing we would want a nice surface for Kate to play on/ride bikes/use chalk, etc. Ben already had a quote priced out with his normal guy, but then we noticed our neighbor was getting their driveway done. Out of curiosity he walked over there to ask if they would cut us a deal on ours since they already had all the guys and machinery there. When they said yes, and they could do it for less than $2/square foot, we had to pull the trigger. Since they were already there, they started that same afternoon and were 100% finished the next day!



We love how much tidier the place is without the gravel. And Kate has already gotten to enjoy it, taking rides in her wagon.


Here are a few before and afters:



There is a ton of parking space. Here is the before/after view from the garage.



We love being able to run out to the car or onto the driveway without shoes on now.



Here is the before/after view toward the street.


IMG_4933It feels a like a park!

And lastly here is the before/after view toward the house from the street.



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White House No More

4 Aug

The exterior of our house is now gray! Amherst Gray by Benjamin Moore to be exact.


It is truly amazing what a little bit of paint can do. The siding looks brand new.


Such a change from when we moved in almost two years ago now.

front-oaks-exterior-beforeDoesn’t even look like the same house does it?


We were debating whether to paint the exterior this summer, but when we got an amazing deal from one of Ben’s sub-contractors to paint the whole thing, we went for it. One guy sprayed almost the entire house in one day!


We were a little nervous about painting over the brick, but think it looks so nice and charming now.

IMG_4786Ben also hung new black shutters that we got on sale at Home Depot last year for $7/pair.


The garage door and all the trim went bright white. We also hung a new barn-style light over the garage door. It is this one from Lighting Direct.


Off to the side of the garage we planted a row of emerald green arborvitaes and the arbor we got married under (which Ben of course built). It creates a nice separation between the pool area and the driveway and rest of the property.

Here it is from the other side. We also laid some bluestone pavers as a walkway. The grass is slowly filling in.

IMG_4820Ben is in the process of building a big pergola onto the back of the house so I’ll wait to show you the back until that is done. Very exciting things happening!

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