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Home Goals: How We Did & 2014 Goals

8 Jan

2013 was a year of pretty big changes at 12 Oaks. I posted our goals for the year here and I’m happy to report we got most of what we set out to do done! Here’s the checklist on how much we accomplished.

1) Put in Upstairs Hall Bathroom. Check! We completely gutted and re-did the bathroom. It is one of my favorite spaces in the house and has turned out to be quite the Pinterest sensation, lol. Full tour here.


2) Re-locate laundry and renovate first floor powder room. Check! Sort of. What was once the laundry and powder room is now our pantry and part of our kitchen. The new first floor powder room isn’t done, but it is functional (sink and toilet working), and we have a new laundry room.



3) Take down a wall to create open floor plan. Oh yeah! It feels like a whole new house since we did this.

Here was the before:

living room wall removed

And here is a similar view now.


4) Renovating the kitchen. Check! Just a few minor tweaks left, but this was the biggest transformation yet.



And now:


5) New windows. We’re on a roll, another check.


6) Renovate Master Bathroom. Ok, this didn’t happen. BUT, our master is now moving and the addition is built so a new master bathroom is started.


7)  Get the pool up and running. It took until the end of summer but we got another check!


8) Build a deck and/or patio around pool along with landscaping around it and the rest of the property. No check. We designed the deck, poured the footings and bought the materials but it got too cold to build. We did landscape the front of the house though.


9) Add french doors off of the dining room. Check! Love these.


12 Oaks Before 137



10) Paint the house and install new front door. No paint, but we did get a new front door.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 11.32.36 AM

11) Update fireplace in the den. No progress. This is going on the list for 2014.

12) Add shadowbox molding in dining room and stairs. Not yet. Though our stairs did get a nice makeover.


13) Put in can lights in living room. Check! We put in dimmable can lights in the barn wood beams we installed.


14) Add hardwood floors in the entry way. Check! Our floors are all one material and color- love them so much.


12 Oaks Before 156



Phew! We were busy. It was a lot of work, but the house totally feels like ours now. I doubt we can keep up this pace in 2014, especially with our little one arriving in a few weeks, but there is still lots to accomplish.

Our 2014 home goals are to:

1) Build deck out back

2) Install retaining wall and landscape back yard

3) Replace rotten trim and paint the house

4) Finish addition upstairs (master bathroom and closet)

5) Finish addition downstairs (powder room and laundry room)

6) Makeover the office/playroom, including a fireplace re-do

7) Blacktop driveway

8) Relocate master bedroom

9) Update living room built-ins

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

11) Build out basement storage

All with an infant. Think it can be done?

Stairs/Entryway Makeover & Addition Update

6 Jan

Now that the makeover of our stairs and entryway is complete, it’s time to show some before and afters.

entry cropped

It looked like this when we moved in:

12 Oaks Before 156

And now:

entry cropped 2

The new front door has been in and the stair treads have been stained and painted for a while, but most recently we:

  • Ripped out the front hall closet
  • Removed the slate tile and installed and stained new hardwood floors
  • Installed and stained a new chunky newel post, railing and balustrades
  • Skim-coated the walls to remove a weird texture
  • Opened up the doorway to den/office and installed french doors
  • Re-worked a bunch of electrical
  • Painted the walls Sherwin Williams’ Analytical Gray to match the rest of the first floor

Another before:


Look at those old floors:

12 Oaks Before 210

Here’s a progress shot after we stained the stairs and painted:

IMG_2996And now:


The chunky new newel post makes a world of difference. We stained it and the railing DuraSeal’s Spice Brown to match the floors.IMG_4201

The french doors also make a huge difference.

Here’s a progress shot:


And now:IMG_4183

The walls are now all a nice, smooth coat. They looked like this before:


Here’s a before from the top of the stairs.

12 Oaks Before 218And now:


Now to share the latest on the addition. The new powder room has drywall, tile underlayment, electrical/HVAC/plumbing, a door, and a working toilet and sink.

IMG_4191Next up will be tile (we already purchased some from Lowes), and mudding and priming the walls.

The laundry room is also taking shape.

IMG_4193Next to the washer will eventually be our dog, Doc’s bed so he can stay in here while we are gone and doesn’t get on the furniture or eat anything. His dog door is closed in this picture because it is currently -12 degrees outside (-40 with windchill), a record-breaking low!

Moving to the upstairs addition, the master bathroom is framed out, insulated and has electrical/plumbing/HVAC. Now ready for drywall.

IMG_4197Check out this gigantic icicle outside that window. It goes from the roof and almost touches the ground.


Here’s a look at where the shower will be. It will have a seat and a half wall as you can see.


And lastly the walk-in master closet. A double rod for hanging clothes will go on the right, shoes on the back wall and probably hooks on the left.

IMG_4198Our plan up here is to drywall, mud and prime and then leave it for a while and finish later in the year.

Stay warm, people!

Toasty Toes, More Paint, New Lights & A Furry Rug

2 Feb

While I was in Las Vegas for work this past week, my darling husband installed the underfloor heat in the bathroom and finished painting the 2nd spare bedroom.

He said the underfloor heating was really easy to install. First, he laid down the cables in a “S” pattern. You can see in the photo there are little steel straps that you weave the cables through.


Next, he applied a coat of thinset over everything to keep it in place and prep for tile.

IMG_2288I’m traveling for work again this coming week so maybe I’ll come home this time and see some tile down (hint, hint Ben ;)).

And here is the 2nd spare bedroom with its final coat of paint. I ended up tweaking it a bit from the first coat, toning it down a little by adding about 15% of some grayish paint we had to the original color.


As you can see, we are using it as a staging area/workshop for the bathroom right now, but I can’t wait to get it all set up!

See that wood in the picture above? We are going to use that to plank the walls in the bathroom. I’ve always loved this look and am so excited to get to do it in here. Here is one of my inspiration images:

Found here:

Found here.

We also had a bunch of items show up in the mail this week, including a new light fixture for the office.

It’s a 3-bulb semi-flush light from Wayfair for $99. Simple and clean. IMG_2334

But my favorite is our new bedroom lamps! They are from Pottery Barn and are more than I would have liked to pay except we had a leftover gift card from our wedding, so they weren’t too bad.

IMG_2355They are nice and big and make a major impact in the room. The base is mercury glass and the shade is burlap. I wouldn’t have thought those two things would go well together, but they totally do.


Here’s the room before so you can see what I mean about the big impact.

MasterThe final tweak this week (I’m a poet) is a faux sheepskin rug that was intended to go in front of the fire but it didn’t look right with our other area rug so ended up in our bedroom.


I think it works great in here and helps balance out the dark wood furniture and floors. Plus it’s soooo comfy. Doc loves it.

That’s it for now. Tomorrow we are having some friends over to watch the Super Bowl and I am attempting to make chili for the first time. And make these cute little strawberry footballs. Wish me luck…I’ll need it.

Strawberry footballs

Found here.

Floors, Doors & More

9 Dec

Sorry for the delay in posts, I have been out of town every weekend for the past 5 weeks (Fiji for 2, Nashville, Miami for a bachelorette party, then Rockford this past weekend). I’m ready to spend some time at home and away from airports for a while.

Even though I’ve been traveling so much, lots has been going on at the house. The big thing being the floors are refinished upstairs! Not without a hiccup of course though. Our plan was to have them all done while we were on our honeymoon since you can’t walk on them for several days during the process. We came home hoping to finally move in upstairs, but they were messed up. There were bubbles throughout the top coat, so we had to wait another week until they were fixed. Meanwhile, we were sleeping in the dining room.

But alas, they are done and look great!

Here’s one of the bedrooms sans furniture.


The stairs:



Here’s a look at them when we moved in.


Stairs- Before

We still need to get new railings for the banister (several are missing), stain and paint them, and clean up the paint on the risers, but we’re almost done. We started hanging frames going up the stairs today too, so I will be back with an update later.

Here is the upstairs hallway now. Doc wanted to be in this photo.


Along with new floors, Ben installed new shoe molding. The old stuff matched the floors so we bought white stuff and painted all the baseboards and trim bright white.


You may notice the doors are missing. That’s because they are all in the basement in a makeshift spray booth getting sprayed with the paint sprayer. It looks pretty funny like a door graveyard.IMG_1989

Ben gave them their first coat today, so we should have them ready soon. Also still need to get new oil rubbed bronze door knobs to replace the shiny brass ones.

On the subject of doors, we scored this 1920’s exterior door yesterday at an architectural salvage yard in Rockford.


We’ll put this on the front of the house and haven’t decided if we will stain it or not. They just don’t make them like this any more. This was only $140 compared to if we tried to buy something like this new it would be $1,000 or more.

We also put the Christmas tree up this week. I love it. I like to switch up the color scheme every year (God bless Ben for letting me), and this year is purple and silver. You like?


IMG_1993And last but not least we welcomed a new family member this week! A new little Tuxedo kitten named Mia.

IMG_2008She is teeny tiny, just 2.5 lbs but were already fattening her up. She is SUPER cuddly and friendly and after a couple of days has warmed up to Doc. Here’s how I caught them in the kitchen today. I’d say they are going to be good friends.


Today we spent all day unpacking the rest of the boxes, hanging picture frames, moving furniture, laying down rugs and getting organized. It’s coming together. I’ll try to do an upstairs house tour soon!








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