August 29th, 2013
My gorgeous and talented friend Toni Roberts of Design Dazzle is hosting a blogger party & giveaway this month. I am so thrilled to be part of this event because I do love a good party. I also love to celebrate blogging and our readers that make blogging worth while. Here’s the info on the party and giveaway:
A group of local Utah bloggers are getting together to throw our blog readers a party. Yes, an actual real life party Mary Poppins style! We are hosting a giveaway for you to enter to win a chance to attend the party! Ten winners will be chosen and each winner will invite a guest of their choice to our AWESOME party.
The Mary Poppins party is adult only and will be held on Friday, September 20th 11:30 AM in Alpine, Utah. Lunch and goodies will be served!
This party is all about YOU (those who win and their guests). And we even have fabulous party goody bags for you and your guest. I know that many of you won’t be able to attend because of distance. But for those who live in Utah and want to join our celebration, please enter the giveaway for a chance to attend. We are all very excited to meet you and make new friends.
Check out all of the bloggers who are participating and will be attending the party.
Kara’s Party Ideas
Paisley Petal Events
The Dating Divas
The Project Girl
One Charming Party
Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust
Just Between Friends
Made From Pinterest
The Shabby Nest
If you won, who would you invite? Your best friend, mom, sister or a friend who loves anything Mary Poppins?
Prize: 10 winners will each receive an invitation for two to the Mary Poppins Party on Friday September 20th in Alpine, Utah. The winner and their guest who attend the event will each be given a party goody bag.
Eligibility and Rules: This giveaway runs from 1:00 pm MT on August 29, 2013 to 1:00 pm MT on September 5, 2013. This giveaway is open to individuals over the age of 18. This is an adult only party. Winners must be able to provide their own transportation to and from the party located in Alpine, Utah. The winner will be chosen randomly through the Rafflecopter form. It is the sole responsibility of the winner to adhere to all laws , which includes payments to any governing tax body. This giveaway is void in any country where it is prohibited by law.
Claiming Prize: The winners must claim their prize within 48 hours of receiving notice. If you do not claim your prize within this time frame, your entry will be void and another winner will be chosen. To claim your prize please email toni@designdazzle [dot] com.
Disclosure: This giveaway is a blogger-sponsored event that is in no way affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social media channel. If you have questions about the administration of this giveaway, email Toni at Design Dazzle at toni [at] designdazzle [dot] com.
It’s super easy to enter the giveaway using only your email address! For extra entries leave a comment or follow us on Pinterest!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
August 28th, 2013
The Project House V.2 has officially begun! We got our hole in the ground one week ago, and boy has it been a crazy crazy week!
We knew going into this process that there would be a lot of quick fire decision making, but we didn’t expect those decisions to come so early in the process and have such a huge impact on the build. On the first day we found out that our sewer was only buried 6 feet deep. That might not mean much to many people, but in Utah most homes have basements and if you plan on having any plumbing in your basement, then your basement has to be at least 1-3 feet above the sewer line. And then the basement foundation walls are another 8-10 feet tall on top of that. Then your floor joists are another 15″-18″ on top of that. Generally speaking sewer lines are buried 12 feet or more deep so that the basement can be fully underground.
Originally we had planned on a 9 foot basement. I love tall ceilings in basements, and really had my heart set on 9 feet. Well with this sewer issue, the first thing that had to go was the 9′ basement. Even with the 8′ basement, the house is sticking out of the ground 4.5-5 feet. Which is a lot. And because our lot slops a few feet in the back, the house now sticks out 7-7.5 feet in the back. Which is a lot. So as you can imagine, we’ve been panicking… wondering what are the best decisions… wondering if we should even keep going! And it’s the first week people! So stressful! Cooler heads did prevail… we dropped the basement to 8 feet tall, and decided to embrace the “daylight” basement and make the foundation wall feel less like a basement and more like a house. Here was our initial elevation of the back – we did have one portion “dug out” to have an exit from the basement. There was going to be about 4 feet of stairs to get out of that digout area:
I changed the window configuration to take advantage of being above ground – added several windows (there weren’t any before where the triple windows now sit). And also added siding/board & batten instead of having giant exposed concrete areas. The result is that the rear of the house doesn’t feel like a giant concrete basement is just sitting out above ground. Seeing this helps me not panic so much.
Of course this is just the house portion of the house. There is also a very large garage to contend with. We found out a few days later that because of the slope in the lot, the garage foundation will need to also be 8 feet tall. Which is a lot. Twice as much concrete as we had budgeted. And this is not a small 2 car garage… So we went totally off the deep end trying to see if it was worth it to completely halt construction and just go ahead and excavate under the garage and have an extended basement (daylight still in the back, so not unlivable). We could have a rentable apartment and a theatre room, etc etc etc. But to be able to afford all of that, we’d have to take money from the budget elsewhere, and we’re already camped firmly in the danger zone of the budget. So again cooler heads prevailed, and we coined the motto “STTP” Stick To The Plan. And as tempting as it is to gain another 2000 sq feet of space for pennies on the dollar (we’re already paying for 8 foot foundation walls!), we decided it wasn’t worth the cost of sanity, time, dollars, and a million more what-ifs and try-this. Have I mentioned it’s only been ONE WEEK? Anyone want to trade therapy for design advice?
So the build continued. Except we had record rain fall, mud slides, call-in-the-sand-bags crazy rain. All this AFTER we just dug a big hole in the ground (I really could use that therapy). And we were told that everything would have to wait because they can’t set up concrete forms while it’s raining, and they certainly can’t pour concrete when there is mud pouring down the mountain. We must be lucky though, because when the rain cleared up, our site just had a little compacting, no flooding, and no back flow into the hole. And we must be really lucky, because even though it was supposed to rain for many consecutive days after the big storm came through, it didn’t. The ground dried and the workers came and set up our footings.
The house is kind of long, so I can’t get it in one frame. This is the middle section where the breezeway is.
And here is a panoramic shot – the panorama distorts the image, but you get the general idea.
This morning Mr. Project went on his morning jog to the build site, and could hardly believe his eyes when he saw this big concrete pump at OUR BUILD SITE. I got his excited text message and this photo:
So amazing to see actual progress after so many odd setbacks. It’s happening. It’s really happening! Here is the concrete in the footings forms:
The city will inspect tomorrow, and then foundation wall forms will begin to go up. And then I think it will really begin to feel real.
One interesting part about this whole process is comprehending the reality of the whole thing. Up to this point, it’s all felt like a fantasy in a way. A plan, something fun to think and dream about. Kind of like when your a kid, and you can’t wait to be a grown up… but you don’t think it will ever ACTUALLY happen – even though you KNOW it will of course happen. So your knowledge of something doesn’t quite jive with your experience. Up to this point we’ve only experienced the design & planning phase. Even now, I don’t believe that this house is actually being built, although I can see it and actually touch it. In my brain, it’s still just a dream and binder/blog full of plans. I look at the floor plan, and I know it backwards and forwards at this point. I’ve imagined living and using every single space in the house. And now even with something concrete in place, it still only exists in my imagination because the final product doesn’t exist. So maybe it wont feel real until we’ve actually moved in. I guess I’ll let you know when it does feel real.
Either way, I’m through the moon excited. I miss my old house every single day. I miss having my own work space, my own creative space, everything pretty much organized, and clean. I miss my clean house. I can’t seem to keep this transition house clean because nothing really has a spot, everything is transient and wondering when it’s going to taken to its final destination. Soon enough. My daily motto – soon enough. And it really is happening!
August 21st, 2013
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted! I have a big huge mega update…time just got the best of me lately, between 3 business trips, a trip to the ER, the usual design deadlines, plus trying to get this house started, I’ve been falling into bed at night instead of my working on blog posts. Here’s my July + August in photos:
We drove out to CA and were able to see some friends while we were there. I also found out that it’s nearly impossible to take pictures of 3 little boys:
We also made a special trip to the Restoration Hardware OUTLET in Vacaville (totally worth the trip) and found tons of gorgeous hardware and mirrors for 40-60% off regular price. Score!
When we got back, Mr. Project started building the kitchen cabinets for our new Project House Kitchen.
And I started potty training Ollie… but he did most of the work. And in this photo you can see the utter CHAOS that our rental is. Way too much stuff (and acquiring all our lighting and plumbing fixtures), and no place to put any of it! I so cannot wait to get into our new house and get organized again. Oh and we love our Froggy Potty! He’s totally potty trained now (like a boss!) and it’s awesome not to have to worry about diapers for him.
Then I went to CHA for a few days with My Minds Eye. I debuted my new line Cut & Paste (which I still need to pick my winners for)
I came back home and got sick and had to go to the ER… turns out I have gallstones and need my gallbladder removed. But I was feeling well enough a few days later, and took some time to stop and smell the roses with my two sweet boys.
Mr. Project continued to work on cabinets.
And a few days later we headed to Costa Rica for a little bit of work and a little more smelling of the roses (with no kiddos!)
I got back home and was too beat to run the 5k I’d been training for. But a few days later, I ran for 20 minutes straight… which is a huge accomplishment after taking up running just a few weeks ago. Here’s my view that keeps me going for my morning runs:
Leo started walking… I still haven’t got this on video. He did take a good 10 steps in a row today, but my phone was out of reach!
Mr. Project continued working on cabinets… He’s working on the farmhouse table island in this pic. Made completely out of rough-sawn reclaimed oak. It’s going to look amazing when it’s all done.
And today, our house construction began with a big hole being dug. After all this time of planning and prepping, we have started. It’s thrilling, and scary all at the same time. I can’t wait to dive in, but I know it’s going to go so fast that I might not have time to blink. And I’m terrified that we won’t make all the right decisions, and we’ll be unhappy with aspects of the design here and there. But mostly I want to enjoy every minute of the journey.
Here we go… 3…2…1… blastoff!! I’ll be posting more now with all the construction and design progress. Also I usually post daily on my Project Girl Facebook page and my Instagram as well. So there are lots of ways to keep up on our project house adventures!
July 17th, 2013
We’ve had quite a few requests for our tips and tricks on keeping costs down while renovating our Project House on a shoe-string budget. I compiled a basic list of things we did to keep our costs under control both in our project house and in other renovation projects in the past.
1. Mis-tinted paint
When I moved into my second home I had very little money to spend on paint, but I wanted to paint every room a different color. So I went to every local paint store and started collecting mis-tints in similar colors to what I was looking for. For smaller rooms 1 gallon would do the trick. For larger rooms, I found several mis-tints of similar color and actually put them in a 5-gallon bucket and mixed the paint really well. It would never be able to be matched again, but I made sure to mix enough to have a quart+ left over for touch-ups in the future. For the whole house I spent less than $30 on paint. This is also a great tip for small furniture painting projects. I found that a quart or gallon of mis-tinted paint run $1-$5 and sometimes they even have free ones as well.
I’m a huge clearance shopper. Every time I go into any sort of home improvement store, lighting store and even Target, I go straight to the clearance areas. There’s nothing like that little red sticker to make me excited for house projects. I found the glass mosaic tile that I used in my guest bath marked down 60% to 3.98/sq ft in my local Lowes.Much like mis-tints you should get enough of whatever clearance item you are buying to repair/replace areas if you are buying something like flooring or tile.
3. Floor Models & Discontinued Items
We recently found out that once a year a local premium appliance dealer – Mountain Land Design - has a Floor Model & Discontinued Model sale. We were able to go in preparation for our new home and pick up some amazing appliances for 30-70% off of the regular price. Now we ask everywhere we go when/if they replace floor models with the new year’s designs and if they have any corresponding sales. This is a great tactic for appliances, vanities, lighting, plumbing fixtures etc. Some stores like Sears & RC Willey also have outlet stores that carry this type of merchandise year round.
4. Scratch & Dent
I’m always amazed by the things you can find in the Scratch & Dent section and the killer deal you can get them for. Our fridge was marked down from $2200 to $1300 because it had two small scratches on the side of the freezer part. Not really noticeable, and easily touched-up with a little dab of appliance or automotive paint. I’ve found faucets in great condition, a black composite sink with a banged up edge – mind you this was an under-mount sink so the edges would never be seen. Toilets and tile with an irregular (but barely noticeable) finish in one spot. Mr. Project went out and bought a “cheap” steel exterior door for our old shed for $115 at Home Depot. The next day he went back to get some other supplies and found the same style door in the scratch/dent section for $35. It had one small black scuff on the front. I wouldn’t have put it on my house without repainting the whole thing, but it was totally fine for a shed! And doors tend to get scuffed anyway so for $80 savings, it was well worth it to have it pre-scuffed.
*Brand new appliances should still be under manufacturers warranty even if they have scratches/dents. Verify this if you’re buying a floor model or scratch & dent model just to make sure you are covered against any mechanical defects.
5. Shop Classifieds
Because Mr. Project likes to build stuff with wood, he is constantly scanning KSL & Craigslist to find wood and tools. He got his new table saw for a fraction of the price brand new. We find lumber all the time for 50-75% off the price of the local lumber yard. You can also find light fixtures, tile, flooring, cabinets, and other home renovation materials that people have left over from their projects, or they have removed from their home and are re-selling.
6. Home Improvement stores
I love shopping at Lowes & Home Depot. They do really have some amazing prices because they can buy such mass quantities. Lowes especially has increased their lighting department to include a lot more designer-style lighting, and both have pretty good basic tile departments. Where we were in California there was a store called HD Supply. It is owned by Home Depot, but it is more of a contractor supply store. They had great prices on doors, windows, basic cabinets, and all sorts of builder-grade type standard items. We bought all of our baseboard, trim, and casings there for a fraction of the price of anywhere else. I wouldn’t buy everything at large home improvement stores, but they are a good resource for discount goods and construction supplies.
7. Discount websites
My very favorite discount website right now is Joss & Main. They frequently sell designer lighting for unbelievable prices. They also have great home decor items, mirrors, and furniture. I’m not even just saying that because I am an affiliate, I seriously click through all their emails every single day because every day I find something I want at a price that works with my budget. Overstock is a great resource for sinks, plumbing fixtures, tile and lighting fixtures, BuildDirect (one of my Project House sponsors) is my go-to place for great deals on floor tile, subway tile, and wood flooring. Also not just saying that because they are a sponsor – they really do have great prices and high quality products. Lamps Plus Open Box & 55 Downing Street are also great sources for discounted lighting and accessories. If you can’t tell, I’m obsessed with lighting. I am constantly on the lookout for a deal and so I watch like a hawk any site I can get good prices.
9. Pre-finished Engineered Wood Flooring
In our Project House we went to Simple Floors to look at flooring and fell in love with their selection and pricing. We were on a tight budget – we couldn’t afford solid wood, and we didn’t like the feel and sound of laminate. They had something that we hadn’t really seen or considered – pre-finished engineered wood floors (and for a fraction of the price of solid wood). We got our Rococo Oak floors for $2.75/sq ft and installed them ourselves. Engineered floors are basically a ply wood (which is great for humid climates and concrete subfloors) made of different layers of wood. The top 1/8th- 1/4th inch being the Oak (in this case). According to our sales rep at Simple Floors, the oak on our floors was thick enough for one refinishing. Our carpet ended up costing more than our wood floors!
10. Carpet Remnants
Speaking of carpet… we only had to carpet 3 rooms in our house, and so we looked at remnants that would be able to do that. Sometimes remnants are surprisingly large. We were able to carpet all 3 rooms and under the stairs with one remnant AND we still had a huge piece left over for a bound rug. So don’t rule this option out if you need several rooms done.
Mr. Project is quite the talented handy man and carpenter – he built all our kitchen cabinets in our first home, and is currently working on building them for our new home. We saved a considerable amount of money with him doing the majority of the work on the house. There are lots of classes at local home improvement stores, and Mr. Project highly recommends how-to books and YouTube in learning a new skill.
12. Repurposing & Remixing
We needed a quick and cheap vanity for our Project House, but I wanted it to look anything but quick and cheap. I found a white console table on craigslist, had Mr. Project tear off the top and replace it with a wood one, and install a sink and faucet. The total cost was around $25o and he had it done in one afternoon. Bathroom vanity furniture re-mix
13. Go directly to builder suppliers and sub contractors
These are the stairs the house came with:
But we wanted stairs that looked like this:
Mr. Project didn’t feel comfortable doing the stair carpentry himself. We considered calling a general contractor, but didn’t want to pay the up-charge for him to sub it out. So we looked online and found a local stair parts supplier and just decided to go into their offices and get some advice. They were surprised to see homeowners because they normally just deal with builders and contractors. But they were happy to serve us and before we knew it, we were picking out all the design elements and negotiating the contract which included labor from their very seasoned and professional carpenter. I estimate that we saved 30%-50% over working with a contractor who would have just done exactly what they did – show us a catalog and then send over the stair supplier’s carpenter.
14. Get at least 3 quotes & ask for cash discount
If you are working directly with subcontractors and suppliers, make sure to negotiate rates. We tried to get referrals to all of our subcontractors so that we knew we were working with reputable people. In general we tried to get 3 quotes from 3 separate sub contractors, and then we negotiated as we felt necessary and also asked for an additional 10% off for paying cash upon completion.
If you are buying a large quantity of goods such as windows, doors, hardware, trim, casings, etc from one supplier, call and ask if they have “unit pricing” “volume discounts” “price breaks” or if they set up “accounts” for bulk buyers. Also find out if any retailers have special group discounts – student, teacher, senior, military are a few that you may qualify for.
16. Shop Sale Cycles
This seems like a no-brainer, but it can be hard to wait for items to go on sale. We needed 13 doors for our renovation, and we kept going into the door department at Home Depot and asking them what their upcoming sale would be and when it would start. Then we waited for what we thought was the best deal and bought the doors then. You can score good sales if you’re willing to do your homework – possibly footwork – and be patient. Generally product categories go on sale in cycles. Talk to sales associates, watch flyers, and keep your eye on prices to see when the best time to buy certain items is. Big sales weekends such as labor day, and memorial day are great days to get appliances and other big-ticket items.
Those are 16 ways we saved money during our Project House Renovation. You can also see our before pictures and after house tour if you want to see how it all started and turned out. And be sure to watch our progress as we work on our new Project House – Canyon View House.
July 12th, 2013
A month ago I posted about running again for the first time in 3 years. I laced up and got out there following the C25K program. Now (despite getting some awful flu for a week), 4 weeks later I am feeling and doing great. Today I ran for 6 minutes straight and clocked my first 13 minute mile! In comparison my first run was a 17 minute mile.
I’ve also signed up for a 5K that will be in another 4 weeks. And my goal is to do the whole thing without stopping/walking. Or maybe just a little break in the middle . Either way, I’m just excited to complete it and feel like I’ve made a change.
One day at a time, one foot in front of the other. If I can do it, so can you! So get out and do something good for your body.
If your interested in C25K, I’m using an iphone app called Get Running that I really like. If you have another app to recommend, I’d love to hear about it.