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The Big Backyard Reveal: So Many Updates

24 Aug

Our backyard area has undergone A TON of changes over the past 2 summers. I last shared an update after we built the deck and retaining wall in May/June 2014.

Here is a view of it from then:

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Here it is now:

back of house from diving board

 

pool view retaining wall

back deck white pergola

back deck and garbage enclosure

Yeah.. we’ve been busy.

One of the biggest changes was installing that extra concrete by the back door and a stone path that leads all the way around to the driveway.

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Ben put up the arbor which he built prior to our wedding and we got married under. I was so happy to see it get a new life here.

view from other side of arbor

We also planted several arborvitae on either side to really divide the backyard area.

Here’s a farther away look, including a look at our new garage door:

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We also built this garbage enclosure which is so functional and keeps our dog out of the trash.

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gabage enclosure

The deck, garbage enclosure and wood part of the fence were all stained the same color, which is a custom color mixing two Rymar Xtreme Weather colors (Hickory Bark and Sienna 50/50). This is supposed to be the best deck stain on the market and should last us many, many years.

Here’s a close up of the fence, which Ben built by mixing cedar railings and aluminum fence posts from Home Depot.

close up of fence

The plain aluminum part on the other three sides of the pool we hired a local company for.

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view from diving board across pool

Here’s a view of the other side of the pool, and a close up of our new chaise lounges from Target (found here in 6 colors) and a new diving board.

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Target chaise loungers

Ben also built a pergola over the back deck which provides much needed shade in the afternoon.

back deck

We strung up cafe lights under the pergola (similar here) which provide the perfect amount of ambiance in the evenings.

string lights on pergola

Our outdoor table is from Pottery Barn five or so years ago (similar one here). It was starting to get weathered, so we gave it a quick coat of stain and now it looks as good as new.

pottery barn table

The outdoor rug I purchased this year from Home Decorators (found here).

On the other side of the deck is our hot tub, grill and deck box (from Lowe’s here) for pool toy storage. 
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Ben also built that fence on the left for safety reasons because it drops down to the basement stairs.IMG_5906

Outside of the pool/deck area we have a little fire pit area with adirondack chairs (from Ace Hardware here) and a fire ring.

fire pit

We plan to do a recessed stone fireplace (like this) next year, but for now it gets the job done.

We also installed a playground (used off of Craigslist), and gave it a facelift by re-staining it (same color as the deck) and putting in a sandbox. Our 2-year-old loves it.

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kids sandbox

Finally, let’s look at a few before and afters.

Here’s the scariness it was when we bought it:

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And a similar view now: pool long toward chairs

A photo from 2013 when we were digging out the retaining wall:

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And now:

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Another before from almost 4  years ago (yikes!):

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And now:

back of house from diving board

A view of the back shortly after we moved in:

Back of house and pool

And now:

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That last view is a good comparison showing our small addition to the house (to the left of the pergola). It houses the powder room and laundry room on the first floor, and our master bathroom and master closet upstairs. And we painted the house Amherst Gray (more on that here).

Phew, I’m exhausted just writing about all that!

It was definitely a labor of love though and was worth all the hard work. We still have a few more things we’d like to do which includes paving around the pool, landscaping a bit more, and doing the fire pit like I mentioned. But I’d say we are 90% of the way to calling this baby D-O-N-E.

 

How We Did in 2015 + Goals for 2016

13 Jan

Each year we set out a list of the things we want to accomplish on the house. Here’s how we did with our 2015 goals…

  1. Finish master bathroom and closet and move in to our new master. Done (mostly). We moved into the new master bedroom early in 2015 and I shared the master bathroom reveal here. We also had custom closet shelves built out and now the only thing left to do is paint them. Hope to share soon!
  2. carrera marble showerBuild out a playroom, including adding a wall and covering up a fireplace. Done! I just shared the playroom reveal this week. It is my favorite.
  3. right corner goodBuild mudroom cabinets on the opposite side of the new playroom wall. We started the cabinets, but it’s nowhere near complete. At least the mudroom is semi-functional right now. Put this one on the top of the list for 2016.
  4. IMG_0676Renovate the final bathroom upstairs. Done! You can see the full reveal here.
  5. IMG_5533Add window boxes to the front of the house. No progress made here. This may have to wait.
  6. Landscape back yard. Some progress was made here, but it is nowhere near done. I will share some photos come spring.
  7. Finish pergola on the back deck. Done! I still need to share photos of this. We love it. Again, I will share some photos in spring.
  8. Build a fire pit. Nope. We have some adirondack chairs around a fire ring, but we really want to build one in with stone. Add it to 2016!

Overall not too shabby, considering we also spent 3 months renovating an entire income property.

For 2016 our goals are to:

  1. Finish the mudroom.
  2. Paint master bedroom closet.
  3. Finish the pool fence and re-stain the deck.
  4. Install pavers around the pool.
  5. Update the living room built-ins.
  6. Finish the shed.
  7. Build a fire pit.
  8. Create a big girl room for Kate.

By the end of 2016, we will be nearly finished with major updates to the house. So exciting!

P.S. I just launched an Instagram account for the blog. Find us at 12oaksblog for progress and reveal photos! 

Income Property Reveal

1 Oct

We’re officially landlords! We put the finishing touches on our rental property this week and have tenants moving in today. We are SO pleased with how the home turned out and thankfully had an easy time finding good tenants.

Here is a before look at the front exterior of the home:

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And now it looks like this:

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Admittedly, not much of a transformation, but we did rip out all the overgrown bushes and plant some boxwoods and other plants. We also replaced the light over the front door, had a new screen door custom built, and stained the front door.

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The home desperately needs an exterior paint job, which is on our radar for next year.

The back yard was also very overgrown and there was a hole in the garage roof.

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After replacing the garage roof and ripping out those bushes, it looks like this:

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Moving inside is where the big transformation happened. The kitchen looked like this before:

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And now after new stainless steel appliances, cabinets, granite countertops, arabesque tile backsplash, new hardwood floors, paint (Analytical Gray by Sherwin Williams), lighting and more:

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Here’s the other side of the kitchen.

 

And view from the dining room.

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Here was the dining room before:


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And now after new paint (Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore), crown molding, lighting, hardwood floors, baseboards, and more:

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The other side of the dining room looking into the living room used to look like this:

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And now:

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Into the living room, it used to look like this:

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We updated the fireplace, added sconces (from Home Depot), an overhead drum light, and continued the paint, crown, baseboards and new floors.

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For the fireplace, we replaced the paneling with new drywall, painted the brick white, stained the mantle, and updated the tile on the hearth.

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The other side of the living room looked like this.

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And now:

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I just love all the arches throughout the home.

Here’s a before & after of the hallway leading to the bathroom and bedrooms:

hallway Coolidge

The bathroom looked like this before:

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And now after adding a subway tiled shower, refinishing the bathtub, adding a new black vanity (from Home Depot), toilet, lighting, beadboard, and more:

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We were able to save the vintage floor tile, which fits the home perfectly. Here’s a look at the other side of the bathroom.

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The two bedrooms looked like this before:

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And now with new ceiling fans, paint, baseboards and hardwood floors:

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Upstairs used to be unfinished:

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We made it into a 3rd bedroom or bonus space by adding new lighting, HVAC, carpet, paint (Gray Owl as well), baseboards, and more.

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It is a huge space and nearly doubles the square footage of the home.

Before:

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After:

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We absolutely loved bringing this old home back to life and look forward to having this income property for many, many years to come.

Update on the Rental

15 Jul

There has been lots of progress on the rental property over the past three weeks and one major setback. I’ll get to that.

Starting out front, we ripped out all of the overgrown bushes, planted boxwoods and day lilies and laid mulch. The plants are still small but should grow in nicely to cover the foundation.

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The back looks totally different with the bushes ripped out. The yard almost doubled in size. We laid grass seed so it will just be all lawn back here. The neighbor is going to continue his fence so that will be nice too. The garage roof is new as well. It had huge holes in it.

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Moving inside is where our big setback occurred. It broke our hearts (and pocketbook), but we had to replace all of the hardwood floors due to pet odor/stains from the previous owner. We learned from neighbors that the previous owner had 30 cats! We had to replace all of the baseboards throughout the house as well. But it had to be done, and now no smell!

Here are the new red oak floors in the living room and dining room. Ben is finishing up the baseboards in here and then the walls and trim will get painted and floors stained.

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Here is one of the bedrooms with the new baseboards installed. We went with a chunky baseboard to keep with the style of the home.

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In the bathroom we ran the plumbing to add an overhead shower (it was only a bathtub before), installed new chrome fixtures, and tiled the shower with white subway tile, a black rope pencil tile and dark gray grout.

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Upstairs looks totally different! We added new electrical and HVAC, framing, drywall and a primer coat of paint. It’s going to be a really nice space up there.

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This week kitchen cabinets are going in and painting continues. With having to replace the floors and baseboards, our Aug 1 deadline is shot. But we’ve had more than a dozen calls and stop bys from people interested, so we shouldn’t have a problem renting regardless of the school year.

In case you missed the before tour, you can see all the before photos here.

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