Thursday, September 1, 2016

Confession 3: Feelings about Handy-Me-Down Furniture

  While I haven’t written in a while, it’s not for a lack of projects happening over here at the Larochelle house! This summer has been a flurry of unfinished projects in the midst of vacations and exploring our new city. I had high expectations for this summer, as I’m sure most teachers do, about the home projects I would conquer in these 2 months. While I did get a lot of things accomplished and done, I also spent a lot of time doing absolutely nothing. As the summer comes to a close (well sort of since I don’t actually have a teaching position lined up for this coming school year, but I’m still holding out hope! Think good thoughts everyone!), our kitchen still sits without most of the cabinet doors, with hopes of it being done by Eric’s parents visit at the end of September. There are other projects we have completed in the kitchen, but I’m waiting to unveil the whole thing, hopefully soon! If I haven’t said it before, painting cabinets is the worst. I’ll probably stick that in there again when I blog about our kitchen.
  Now, enough about what we haven’t finished, let’s talk about something we have finished!
College means getting hand me down furniture from your parents.  I think every adult has a piece (or 2 or 3) of furniture in their homes that hold some weird sentimental value, but is also somewhat out of date. It’s hard to decide what to do with those pieces that you have been forcing your friends to move for you since sophomore year of college. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been leaving my parent’s hand me down furniture in states for years. There are couches, a tiny desk, tables, throw pillows, and some other stuff scattered from Gainesville to Atlanta to Roanoke. The things that made it with us all the way to Roanoke, made it for a reason.
  Enter in my dad’s childhood dresser. It’s a great, solid wood, dresser that holds some value because of its age and the fact that it stood in my dad’s room and held his boyhood clothes (see what I mean about the weird sentimental value??). I want it to be in my future children’s room so I can tell them about it:

Me: A little misty eyed smiling at my child fondly- 
You know this was your grandpa’s dresser and it sat in his room and watched him play just like it’s watching you play.
Child: Looking at me like I’m nuts and probably thinking that my statement was crazy… because it was- 
Cool Mom…. 
Goes back to playing Star Wars Legos or reading Harry Potter. 

See?! Who wouldn’t want that kind of loving interaction with their child? I can’t wait. Anyway, since it was my dad’s (I won’t embarrass anyone here by saying just how old it is), it was a little outdated. The stain was a little orangey yellow and the dresser pulls dated it even further. The before pictures show some of that, but I forgot to take one of the before with all of the drawers in it. I thought a lot about what I wanted to do to update the dresser and looked at a lot of dresser remodels on Pinterest. I wanted to make sure that it would be something my dad would like too, I didn’t think painting it pink would be his idea of a good remodel of his old dresser. In the end I decided to paint the dresser and leave the drawers without paint and re-stain them. We had to fix the back as well, which Eric did really well. He’s very handy! As I started sanding the dresser though, I became attached to the wood look. Also, if you have ever stripped paint off of a piece of wood furniture you would never paint wood ever again without seriously thinking about it. After staining a drawer I decided that I really liked it without paint and that I was going to stain the entire dresser.

  The pulls were another task. Eric and I have different styles at times, most times. We have definitely learned what we both like and have learned that if we both like it, we should buy it. This is marriage people! When we stumbled upon some pulls that we both loved at an Anthropolgie in DC, we bought! I’m really happy with the pulls, I think they add the right amount of update and keep the dresser looking fresh, but also sweet enough that I can put it into a nursery in the future, if that’s what we decide.  I’m super happy with the way it turned out and it fits right into our guest bedroom for now. I also think my dad will like the new look and it will mean a lot to him to have it in our new home.

Confession: Sometimes you get attached to the furniture that was in your parent’s house and ends up in your college apartment and then somehow ends up in your adult house and after you update your strangely sentimental piece you love it all over again and daydream about putting it in nurseries. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Confession #2: Chip and Joanna Gaines made me believe I could be an HGTV Host

  On February 19 Eric and I closed on our house. I have never closed on a house before and I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do after you close (champagne? Fireworks? Crying?), but I know that Eric and I went straight to work!
  If you’re like me, or any person over the age of 24, you love HGTV. We watched so much HGTV before we even looked at houses. So going into any house we had this idea in our head that we were the Chip and Joanna Gaines or the Property Brothers and that any “problem” the house had we could fix. Not only we would be able to fix all of the cosmetic problems of a house, but we could do it in 30 mins to an hour. Well I’d like to tell HGTV that they gave me false hopes. First of all, everything having to do with a house is expensive! We should buy Lowes stalk because we are keeping our local one in business. No joke, we are there at least once a week. Some of the staff recognize us. Second of all, we are not Chip and Joanna so when I go to an antique market I feel really discouraged when I can’t find super cute things that aren’t going to break our bank. Third of all, it takes forever! I guess when it’s only 2 of you doing the work and not a whole team, it takes a lot longer. I felt pretty duped by HGTV and was even a little angry at Chip and Joanna for giving me misconceptions about my redecorating ability.
  Before we became jaded with HGTV, we took on our first home project. We had decided to paint our living room and the kitchen along with the kitchen cabinets. We closed on a Friday and we wanted to get our living room painted before the movers came with all of our stuff on Tuesday. The pressure was on! We decided that the best way to get as much done as we could before the movers came would be to divide and conquer. Eric was given the task of working on the kitchen cabinets and I was going to paint the living room. We will get back to the kitchen cabinets in a different post (AKA they aren’t quite done yet)!
  So let’s talk about our living room. It’s an older, northern home so we don’t have an open concept house. Our living room is a separate space with a French door that goes to the covered porch. The room is already a little dark and it was painted a very ugly brown color, as you can see in the below before picture. The brown made it darker and a little depressing, which wasn’t quite the vibe we were going for in our living space. We decided to use the color to lighten up the room and make it more relaxing. We went with a light green.

  After making sure the color was exactly what we wanted, I set about the chore of painting the room. I have to give my mom some credit here. I wanted to paint my room as a child and I begged her to do it. I didn’t understand why she hesitated, now I know. Painting is a pain! All the cutting in and up and down the ladder. It was exhausting! I really wanted one of those butt scooters you used in Elementary school PE to scoot around the room. This room also has wood paneling so for the first coat I had to use a brush to get in the cracks because the roller wasn’t doing it.

  The trim in this house hasn’t been repainted since it was built in 1979 so it was more yellow than white. Add that to the list of things we needed to do! It’s amazing how much painting trim will brighten up a room though and I’m glad I decided to do the extra work. Also, taking the tape off after (in almost one piece) was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done!

  I know you all are wondering if we beat the clock and got the room done on time for the movers and the answer is… yes! I managed to get the room and trim painted in time for the movers. We love the color of the room. We think it has a beachy feel that we weren't really going for, but really like and adds to the relaxation. I enjoy watching TV or hanging out in our living room with Eric and can’t wait to put a Christmas tree and decorate our mantel for all of the seasons! It was well worth the work and push for us to get this room painted!

Confession: Chip and Joanna duped me into thinking I was a home makeover superhero!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Confession #1: Buying a house AKA an expensive way to get our bed back

Here’s a little back story on the Amanda & Eric Saga…
Eric and I met in January of 2013 while we were both living in Atlanta. In July, Eric learned that he had been accepted into a program at Norfolk Southern that would have him moving every 9 months for the next 27 months.  It was terrible. We obviously made it through, but it wasn’t easy. There were ups and definitely downs. Despite all of the odds, we got married in April 2015. Eric was supposed to be done with his program in September, but didn’t end up getting a job in Roanoke, VA until December. Soooo after 9 months of marriage we were pretty stoked to be FINALLY moving in together! We didn’t know that there were many more obstacles, far more challenging than long distance relationships and marriages that awaited us….
Norfolk Southern came on December 15 to pack up all of our stuff and move it into storage. They hold onto it until we have found a house and are ready for it back, pretty nice of them. If you don’t know me, I HATE, LOATHE, and DESPISE packing. I can’t even pack to go on vacation, I need all kinds of rewards (wine) and incentives (more wine). So to say I was pumped that NFS was going to come and pack my stuff for me and move it would be the understatement of the century. I said sayonara to our stuff and a tearful goodbye to Atlanta and met Eric in Roanoke in January (it didn’t take me that long to get there, but I skipped over the boring bits in there about Christmas and working and blah blah blah, you’re welcome).
Now I know what you’re thinking and no, Eric and I didn’t live on the mean streets of Roanoke until we found our house. A guy at Eric’s work had a house that he was trying to sell and was willing to let us rent the place for as long as we needed (or until he sold it). There was a bed, couch, TV, and heat so we were pretty grateful. Well we were grateful for about a week and then I realized something… I was… haha just kidding! Got ya!... what I realized was that the bed was super uncomfortable. I am talking top 5 worst beds I have ever slept in in my life. Terrible. It sloped in in the middle and squeaked every time you breathed out. Now, remember Eric and I hadn’t really lived together that much (a summer and some weekends) so we were adjusting to things and having a terrible bed was like having an annoying cat that you don’t even really like. It’s always there at the end of the day and it makes you resent each other because you don’t even like the cat so why do YOU have to scoop the poop and feed it. Every night we squeaked into bed and tried to scoot as far apart as we could only to find ourselves right next to each other in the middle of the night. A lot of our midnight conversations went like this…

E: Huh? What? I’m on the edge.
A: You clearly aren’t! My arm is hanging off the bed *dramatization*
E: I can’t move over anymore. I promise.
A: Doubt it! *leans over to see how close to the edge he really is and realizes he is in fact on the edge of the bed and can’t move over anymore unless he wants to be on the floor, which might be more comfortable*
A: FINE. But, stay on your side from now on and stop breathing so heavily *definitely not what woke me up anyway, but at midnight I can’t be reasoned with*

Eric and I weren’t having problems, but had we slept on that bed for another month, I think things would have gone downhill quickly. If you’re having problems in your relationship I would suggest buying a new mattress, it might just do the trick.
After a few weeks and what felt like several hundred houses later and several thousand uncomfortable nights on the mattress from hell, we found the perfect house! We were excited and thrilled when we got the house and I was on pins and needles until we signed and the house was ours! From what I know about house buying, it was a pretty easy process and we were lucky to be in the house quickly.
Our stuff came a few days after we signed. I was at work (got a job the day we signed, of course!) and when I came home I ran up to our bedroom and flung myself onto our bed and wept the happiest tears anyone has ever wept to see their bed. OK, so I didn’t cry, but I did fling myself onto it and promise to never let it go anywhere without me ever again.
We love our house and I’m sure as we get settled our love will grow. We can’t wait to really make it our own and start a family that can also grow there. Right now though, we are thrilled to have our bed back. I’m sleeping a bajillion times better and I don’t resent my husband for being on my side of the bed in the middle of the night. We are back in newly wed bliss!

Confession: It was probably the most expensive way to get a mattress back/a better night’s sleep, but I’d say it was pretty worth it!

Monday, March 7, 2016

New Life, New House, New Confessions

This is not my first trip into the world of blogging. I started a blog to record my crazy adventures in online dating. I loved blogging and sharing my stories with everyone, but I stopped blogging because I met this great guy who took up all of my time and that great guy is now my husband!
The adventures are just beginning in our life together. We have finally moved to the same city together after almost a year of marriage- can't rush these things! We had some catching up to do, so  we bought a house! It's an exciting, expensive, and exashperating (see what I did there with the alliteration??) time for us and my friend, Angie, encouraged me to get back to blogging to share our stories. Challenge accepted!
This blog will be about our house projects we decide to take on because we watch too much HGTV and think we're Chip and Joanna Gaines and also about our life together as a married couple. It will help us chronicle our life and to keep those informed that are interested!
So! Strap on your seatbelts everyone and get ready for the crazy, kookie, and sometimes corny (more alliteration) Confessions of this DIY-aholic.