Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Big Condo Reveal

It's been three months in the making but the moment is finally here to unveil the before and after photos of the condo.  In case you missed the condo announcement (click HERE), we found a little place in our new residence where Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne can come and spend part of the year.  Beyond just a real estate investment, this condo is an investment in our family - a way to bridge the distance between us even though we're 700+ miles away.
Without further ado...
We started the project with some cleaning supplies and paint rollers.  Painting was eventually outsourced after it took me hours upon hours, up and down on a ladder, to paint one bedroom (stupid vaulted ceilings!). 
 I wanted to tie the wood tones together with a warmer beige paint and freshen things up by getting rid of that heavy, chocolate brown accent wall.  Mission accomplished.
 The majority of the furnishings came from Target and Ikea.  Loyal readers may recognize some accessories from our previous house.  The room was designed around those two chairs from Target - I fell in LOVE with the fabric. 
The sofa is from Ikea and it pulls out into a bed - perfect for guests!  If you have questions about a specific item, leave a comment or email me and I'll be happy to provide more details.
 I wanted to paint the cabinets white.  I reeeeeally did.  But after it became apparent that painting is not a quick and easy project, nor am I by any stretch of the imagination, a talented painter, I reconsidered.  And I'm so glad I did.  Because I'm pretty sure I would still be painting cabinets when my kids leave for college.  So we simply replaced the shiny silver cabinet hardware with an antique bronze and it seemed to suit the old oak well! 
The black appliances were in bad shape so we replaced them and chose white ones for a more cohesive look.  Special thanks to Uncle Corey for his help with this project!  The former laminate counter tops were definitely showing some wear so we considered replacing them.  Then, a nice man at Home Depot convinced us to try a Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformation Kit instead.  Bad idea.  I won't get into the whole elaborate story about how Travis took a day off of work and literally sweat and bled over those counters only to have it result in disaster...we'll just say that it did not work out but fortunately, the kind folks at Rust-Oleum did refund our money...which we applied towards new laminate.
 Travis, strategic project manager by day, freelance plumber by night, then tackled the bathroom.  It got a new toilet, shower drain, and a fancy hose attachment to the shower head.  If you must know why this is a necessity, click HERE.  It was also painted and accessorized by Target/the junk in our basement.
 Aunt Leanne's room was a fun one!  I so desperately wanted her to LOVE it.  I wanted it to be a upbeat and youthful sanctuary where she could relax and watch The Disney Channel while doing her word searches.  I wanted her to come and never want to leave. 
The most important thing was that it incorporated enough of Leanne's favorite color: GREEN!  The last thing I needed was to p*ss Leanne off (If you don't understand this reference, click HERE).  Hell hath no fury like Aunt Leanne without her favorite color.  Luckily, Leanne loves the room!  I do, too!
 Mama Hop's bedroom is a warm and cozy space that walks out to the patio.  She likes simplicity and earthy tones.  She also likes having a Pack N Play at the foot of her bed ;-)  What grandma doesn't?! 
 And now it's time for my favorite room of all: the laundry room.
 I know, I know.  It sounds crazy to get that excited about a laundry room but I truly believe this room was the biggest transformation and I am so grateful to my talented husband for that.  Check out that before picture: a closet with no doors just beckons a cluttered look.  It bothered me even more since the laundry room can be seen from just about anywhere in the condo.  So I looked at Travis, batted my eyelashes, and pleaded with him to put doors on that closet.  He said it was impossible (well, it might not be impossible but he said "Eh uh.  Nope.  No way!  Not gonna happen!").  Time for Plan B:
 Seriously, folks - that's the SAME closet only instead of looking at mismatched hangers, a dozen colorful jackets, paint cans and an ugly water heater, you see this adorable little nook!  Travis built the shelf with hooks so it can be used to display photos and to hang coats.  He also designed and built that bench complete with a hinged lid to offer more storage.  Talk about a perfect spot to sit and remove snowy shoes in the winter!  And if that wasn't enough, he added more shelves and hanging space to the right of the bench!  The final touch was to throw up a cheap curtain panel from Target to hide that ugly water heater and ta daaaaah....
What we learned:
1.  Travis has an undergrad degree in IT and a MBA - he's never taken a wood shop class in his life.  And yet he's an incredibly talented carpenter...and plumber, and electrician, and general handyman.  Sorry Ladies, he's taken!
2.  I possess none of the talents listed above but I can clean better than Heloise!  And I can Pinterest with the best of 'em!  Oh, and I can now add "battery powered screw driver operator" to my resume.
3.  Little things can make a BIG difference.  Travis replaced the grimy, old light switch covers with bright, new ones and at 15 cents a pop, it was SO worth it!  Talk about a difference!
4.  Day beds are very practical!  They maximize space and really open up a room.
5.  Don't try a "counter top transformation kit" unless you're willing to replace the counters if it doesn't work.
6.  Ikea furniture is pretty easy to assemble.  Case in point: I even assembled a few things! 
7.  Target is just the best store on earth!
8.  Save the plastic, zip-around containers that sheets and comforters come in.  They can be labeled and stacked easily to store spare sheets in the linen closet.
9.  They won't tell you this on HGTV, but the fridge must contain a case of beer to sustain the labor throughout the duration of a home improvement project like this one.
10.  Include babysitting expenses in the budget.  Two toddlers underfoot during any of the aforementioned projects is ill advised.


  1. Wow--you are so talented!! I love your work.

    Tell me, did the condo come furnished, or were you using odds and ends before the new furniture?

  2. awesome! You must NEVER sleep, between blogging, being a mom redoing a condo, building a home. Bless you!!!

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  4. I can attest to Travis's carpentry skills - you definitely have a keeper! Not only is he talented, but he is also just an all-around great guy. Keep batting those beautiful lashes, girl! But you did forget to mention one thing....WINE. That beer may get lonely without its favorite counterpart! ;)

  5. It looks BEAUTIFUL!
    And that kitchen looks just like my mom's kitchen...ah looks so comfy and inviting!
    You guys really put a LOT of work into that place (and especially Talented Travis too), and the end result is just stunning.

  6. You guys did a great job with the condo - it looks so fresh and airy and welcoming! Fun to see the before and afters (and how odd that the shelf unit around the toilet was backward...); I think I like Leanne's bright and cheery room best of all.

  7. Great Job!! I agree with No. 7: Target isthe best store on heart!!!

  8. It looks great! I like all of it, but where did the shower curtain come from?

    1. Thank you! It's from Target and they even have all the towels and accessories to match :-)

  9. I think I may have posted long ago, but just wanted to reiterate how much I enjoy your blog! I have an 8 year old boy with DS. Love the carpets you have in the condo, did those come from Target as well?

  10. Thank you, Kelly! The living room rug came from Overstock and the bedroom one came from Target :-)

  11. Hi awesome post, I just love your writing. What do you think is a tankless water heater looks ugly?