Starting to Get Settled

January 11, 2011 4 comments

I didn’t want to post any pics until things were a little more organized and we’d made more progress unpacking, but I’ve had quite a few requests for “moved-in” pics so I guess I can share a few! Please excuse the clutter, boxes, empty walls, DUST, and general disarray – we’ve got a lot to do still! It’s crazy but the house makes all of our furniture feel so much smaller!

Great Room

Great Room

Dining Room

  (this table will eventually go in the nook but until we get a real dining room table it will stay in here!) 

Guest Bathroom
Master Bedroom
Master Closet (his side)
Master Closet (my side!)
Master Closet

(we still have more shelves to install on the empty walls…)

Deck + Backyard

Notice I didn’t show any pics of the guest bedroom, laundry room, garage, or basement because those are a complete mess right now! Until we get all of our closets installed it will be awhile before I can really get organized. Our washer and dryer didn’t get hooked up until just a few days ago so I am FINALLY catching up on laundry…. such a relief! My next priority is getting the garage cleared out so I can finally park in there – that will be such a luxury after having only street-side parking for the last five years!

Slowly but surely it will all come together… stay tuned!


The House is DONE!

January 11, 2011 2 comments

I am so very sorry for my delayed update! The house isn’t officially “done” but we are officially moved in! We had to be out of our old house by January 2nd so we spent New Years Eve and New Years Day moving. It was crazy to say the least but we got it done and have now lived here for 10 days! There are still some important things that need to be completed on the house (interior doors installed, trim in some places, paint touch-up, cabinet hardware, bathroom mirrors, most of the closet systems, etc) but we’re just so happy to finally call the new house *home* 🙂

We’re still very busy trying to unpack and get settled in, while also enjoying some relaxation and getting back into our old routine (Jimmy has already cooked several delicious meals in our amazing kitchen)! I wasn’t able to post until now because we didn’t get our cable/internet until just this past weekend and then when I sat down to upload the pics, I couldn’t find my camera cord! Luckily I found it today, so I’m able to share these pics I took the night before we moved in (while everything was nice and clean and before the storm of “stuff” blew in!). Since there’s quite a few pics I’ve uploaded them as a gallery with captions – you can click on each link to see an enlarged pic:

I wish I could post more details but right now I’m just happy to get this message out!  The cardboard that you see protecting the floors in these pics is embarrassingly still in place – we’re just so nervous for anything to happen to them! Once we are done with the remaining work (which includes having contractors in and out) we should be brave enough to remove it. We have until Valentine’s Day to finish what needs to be done and close on our permanent loan so not too much longer now!

Thanks to everyone for your support, kind words, and funny comments through all of this – you inspired me to keep posting and I’m so happy I did because this blog will be a cherished keepsake of our crazy adventure and will be so great to look back on in years to come. We could not be more happy with our new home and appreciate it that much more knowing all the hard work that has gone into making our dream a reality! We are planning to have a big party this Spring to say THANK YOU to all those that have worked so hard, but of course everyone else is invited too. Can’t wait!

Plumbing Complete

December 22, 2010 2 comments

The house is now fully functional in the plumbing department.. the faucets, sinks, and toilets were all installed today!

We used Delta for the majority of our fixtures and I was definitely influenced by their marketing because we totally got this

The Touch2O Faucet!  It is soooooo cool! Watch the video above if you want to see how it works. Here it is in the kitchen:

 Of course I’m loving the blue light 🙂 :

As for the rest of the fixtures…

Master Bath Sink:

Master Bath Tub:

Master Bath Toilet:

Master Bath Shower (again, with the marketing):

(oh, we ordered the master shower doors (frameless glass) and the big mirror for behind the vanity this week so they may or may not be installed before we move in.)

Guest Bathroom Shower:

Guest Bathroom Toilet:

And finally, the much-anticipated Guest Bathroom Hanging Vanity!:

It’s not fully assembled yet, but it is fully functional. Here’s a reminder of what the final product looks like:

I love it!

Tomorrow the appliances are being delivered. Not sure if we’ll install them right away or not, but I’ll keep you updated as we have more progress!

Granite is in!

December 21, 2010 3 comments

Our granite countertops are in… and they look amazing!!!!!

These pictures do not even do them justice (partially because we don’t have lights in the kitchen yet)  –  they are simply gorgeous in person! I am beyond thrilled and so happy that we were able to save elsewhere to be able to afford this upgrade. I believe it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made.


The elevated bartop is so much cooler than I ever pictured – I can’t believe how much dimension it adds to the room! And the bar overhang is going to allow a lot more seating than we anticipated – perfect for entertaining (and we’ve got plenty of outlets for plugging in crockpots)!

Master bathroom:

I’ll have to take more pics later this week when we have lights or in the daylight. I just can’t get over how gorgeous they are – it really adds so much to the look of the kitchen. I can’t wait to see everything once the lights, faucets, and appliances are in… just a few days to go!

I have to give a HUGE shout-out to Metro Marble & Granite – we are so happy to have found them and could not be more pleased with the entire experience! The quality of the granite is unbelievable and their staff has been such a pleasure to work with. They really know their stuff and have been so patient and accommodating by answering all of my questions and fitting us in (last-minute) during their busiest time of the year.  Seriously, the turnaround time from measuring our kitchen to installing the granite was literally one week! The office staff and installers are just so great to work with and we are beyond impressed with our install. They did such a phenomenal job! I would seriously recommend anyone that is thinking about upgrading your counters or adding some elegance to your bathroom – CALL METRO!  The GM Dan is so nice to work with and will help you find a great fit for your budget – like I’ve said before, they are really more affordable than you might think!

We are just so happy with the end result – definitely one of our best decisions to date!

A peak at the hardwood…

December 20, 2010 7 comments

Things are coming together so fast right now that I’ll have to increase my posting frequency to make sure I include everything!

The majority of the hardwood is now finished – we just have the garage hallway and dining room left to do. We have to send major thanks to Jason Cooper for all his help on the crown and hardwood – we’re so close to the end now that we couldn’t have done it without him!

Here are some pics of the progress over the span of a few days:

It’s soooooooo pretty!:

Our one and only Christmas tree this year 🙂 :

The doors are going in! (still need to be painted):

I spent several hours cleaning drywall drips out of the tubs and showers – here’s the clean master tub with the trimmed out window:

And good news – the floor heat in the master bath works! Here’s the neat-o control for it:

Our cedar deck is almost done! Just need to finish the rails:

Jimmy trimmed out the nook window all by himself and added a special ledge for the cats – they are going to LOVE it!:

That’s it for now. This week is going to be an exciting one – here’s what we have to look forward to:

  • Tuesday
    • Granite install!
    • Guest bathroom floating vanity installed
  • Wednesday
    • Plumbing fixtures installed (faucets, toilets, etc – so exciting!)
  • Thursday
    • Appliances delivered

This week will also consist of lots of trim work – base boards, door trim, and doors installed. Soon we’ll be starting on the lighting fixtures and finally next week carpet! Thankfully I’ll be off for 10 days starting on X-mas Eve so hopefully I can keep things organized and do any last minute running around.  

It’s all coming together – we CANNOT believe we are moving in less than 2 weeks!!!!!!

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Cabinets, Crown, and a Little Light!

December 13, 2010 6 comments

Major progress this weekend… the cabinets are all installed! They are fab-u-lous!:

Here are some pics along the way…

Jimmy and JD hanging wall cabinets (Shawn was there too and SUCH a great help!):

Wall and base cabinets installed!:

Followed by cabinet doors!

Sink base:

The hardware won’t be installed until the very end but here’s what it will look like – we got the long bars for both the cabinets and drawers:

Sooooooo excited about my ginormous pantry!:

Pull out trash and recycling:

Spice cabinet:

Master vanity! We almost didn’t have enough clearance for the vanity between the two walls – it was very, very close and the install involved using sheet metal to slide it in!:

The master vanity will have the blue pearl granite countertops as well. I forgot to mention in my last post but we’ll be doing a standard undermount (white) sink as opposed to some of the vessel-type bowls we were previously considering.  I think the granite will provide enough *wow* that we don’t need a fancy sink too. Here’s the faucet we’ll be using (the master tub and shower will coordinate as well – from the Delta Lahara collection):

Speaking of granite, they measured for the template today and the install is scheduled for next Tuesday! Only 1-week away! I wasn’t there for the measure but Jimmy said it was so crazy – they placed this tape on all the surfaces where the counters will be and then took pictures (here’s the tape I dug out of the trash):

Somehow the images of those dots are then transferred to their NASA-developed software program that translates it into the exact measurements to cut?  Soooooo crazy!

On to the electric!

Remember when the basement looked like this?:

Here are the panels mid-way through the process:

And here’s Jimmy and Jerry hard at work doing what they do every day:

It’s not very often that we get to see them working together so I stealthily took a little video to capture it. It’s just 20 seconds long but my favorite part is when Jimmy catches me at the end 🙂

It just amazes me how they make that mess of wires look so nice and neat:

Just about finished!:

So what’s the best part about these almost-finished panels? We have lights!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Finally! You’ll see the pics toward the end of this post.

Here’s the awesome blue-glow thermostat I mentioned in a previous post – I smile every time I walk past it 🙂 And the best part is, it does a great job controlling our totally-heated house!:

On to some exterior progress…

This weekend we had a really bad rain storm on Friday followed by the first big snow of the year on Saturday. Luckily we timed our gutter install perfectly for early Friday afternoon and in just a few hours the gutters were complete. We are really happy with our choice of larger, 6″ gutters and think it totally helped to make the exterior finally look finished (well, we still need shutters and the column finished but still!):

The cedar shakes are finally all done too! I think they look great:

A few pics of our woods during the snow storm… it’s so peaceful:

And finally, on to the trim work.

All of our trim was delivered on Friday so Uncle Kenny has been busy the entire weekend sanding and painting it all. There was a TON!:

Here are the fabulous 5-panel doors!:

Our good friend Jason Cooper of Cooper Construction is an excellent trim carpenter and did an amazing job installing all of our crown moulding – yup, it’s done!

Here’s Jason and Jimmy working on the dining room:

And the finished product! Here’s the great room crown moulding and the infamous can lights!


Small hallway in front of the guest bathroom:

Dining room (the dust ruined this pic):

In addition to the crown moulding, we also started trimming out the windows this weekend. The office and guest bedroom are done so far:

My favorite little closet window in the office:

Guest bedroom:

Phew, that was a LOT of pictures! I just checked my “new house” folder on our computer and I have 1600+ pictures so far! Surprised?

This evening they started sanding the floor joists in preparation for the hardwood to start tomorrow! We have a TON of stuff scheduled over the next 2 weeks including granite install, final plumbing (toilets, sinks, faucets), carpet, bathroom mirror and shower doors, and cable/internet. The main things left to do on our end are all of the trim, interior doors, guest bathroom vanity, light fixtures, closets, and finish the deck. Not too bad in the grand scheme of things – and it’s all so exciting right now (and very, very hectic) – 3 weeks to go!

I already have more than 50 boxes packed at the old house – we plan to move starting December 30th. We close on our old house on the 31st and have until midnight on the 1st to be moved out – so we’ll either be spending the last night of 2010 or the first night of 2011 as our first night in the new house – SO EXCITING!

The Big Upgrade

December 7, 2010 4 comments

In my last post I hinted about an upgrade we are making to our kitchen and master bathroom and now that everything’s finalized I can finally share the exciting news…


Here are the actual slabs that will be used – I just finalized our choice today!:

Our Blue Pearl Granite!

Let me back up a second and explain how we got to this point…

We have always absolutely LOVED granite but had always assumed it would be completely out of our budget so we never even considered it. We had chosen our Formica counters and were happy to settle for the “HD” version, which was considered an upgrade. We figured we could always change them out for the real thing down the line (I highly doubt that would ever actually happen). So, we chose the Formica months ago and never gave it a second thought. The only thing we were on the fence about was the master bathroom vanity top as we really wanted something nicer for our bathroom. I started looking into granite or marble for the master and was not at all happy with the crazy expensive prices and poor selection I was finding. I had almost given up on real stone for the bathroom when a friend told me I should call Metro Marble in Granite City – that they are one of the biggest distributors in the area and that they would surely have a larger selection of remnants.

So, last week I called Metro and talked to Dan, the manager.  He was extremely helpful and immediately got back to me with a quote for remnant granite for the vanity. I went in that very same day and was shocked when I pulled up and saw how huge the place was – it’s amazing! Dan took me straight back to the shop (which was MASSIVE) and pointed out a few different colors and types of stone. I immediately fell in love with the Blue Pearl and was thrilled with the price they offered.  So, I of course began thinking about the kitchen and long story short, one week later, we have confirmed Blue Pearl granite for both the kitchen and the bathroom! Metro was able to work with me and my budget and we were able to reach an agreement that I could not be happier with. I would definitely recommend them to anyone thinking about upgrading – it’s more affordable than you might think!

Metro Marble and Granite

4261 Crescent Drive     ¨     Granite City, IL 62040     ¨     Phone 618-931-3494 

Anyway, on to the granite! Like I said, the image above is our actual slabs of Blue Pearl for the kitchen. I hand-selected the pieces today. They will use a remnant piece for the master bathroom vanity. It will look like this before they cut-to-size and polish it:

The thing that I love about Blue Pearl is of course the metallic sparkle, but also the fact that it’s so multi-dimensional – the color can look gray, black, or bluish gray. Here’s a few pics of to show the difference in various lighting: 

We are so excited about this upgrade and think it going to look AWESOME in our black and gray kitchen. Here’s a little collage I put together to show how everything will come together – from the cabinets to the appliances to the lighting

(the image on the left is our same cabinet/hardware color and style).

Once the cabinets are installed they will come out and make a template for the granite, then cut and polish it, and install it in the next few weeks!


Anyway, on to the house progress. Last weekend the guys got the deck platform built:

We will be doing cedar planks and black iron balusters for the deck surround, FYI. 

Today the small gable was sided with the faux cedar shakes (the big gable above the porch should be done tomorrow):

Jimmy’s been busy installing MiraTEC trim (painted white) around the garage, front door, and front porch – it looks REALLY sharp!:

Here’s a peak at the shutters! (and yes, my husband looks like a marshmallow man here but you would too if you worked out in this freezing cold! He’s got a lot of layers on, poor guy):

Master bathroom tile – finished! Thanks Jason and Paul!:

Kitchen tile all cleaned and sealed. It looks GREAT!:

Also, really good news – we finally have permanent power and gas! It has been super warm inside the house which is such a relief! The cabinets will be installed in the next couple days, crown moulding starts tomorrow, and hardwood any day! Sweet!