Posts filed under ‘Home Improvement’

Looking Back at 2011

2011 sure went by fast for me! In addition to all the home improvements that Jeff and I had done, I was busy with my paralegal classes plus my regular day job at Go Media. I’m happy to say that I only have two semesters of classes left, so I’m close to being done!

I thought I would take a look back on what improvements we did to our home in 2011, which was the second year we lived in this house. To start off 2011, we got the living room painted. The bland white room was transformed into a warm room with a red accent wall. To complete our living room makeover we put up a new curtain rod, new curtains, and various decorations to match the color scheme including art work, candles, a rug, and a clock. The final addition to the living room was a new sectional which we bought in May of 2011. The sectional is so comfortable! Jeff and I both have our own side where we can lay down and stretch out when we watch a movie.

Another new furniture item we got in 2011 was a futon for the spare bedroom. It’s been used several times for overnight guests, but I think it’s been used more by Jeff when he takes a nap! I am glad to have something available for guests to sleep on, instead of just an air mattress.

In January we also had to replace the water heater and in June we had to replace the sump pump. Not very exciting, but we had to do it.

I never posted about this on the blog, but we got new vinyl flooring and a new toilet in the half bathroom. The half bathroom was really in need of an update. I still want to get a new light fixture in that room, but it’s not a huge priority since that bathroom isn’t used a lot.

Another home improvement we did was getting part of the basement waterproofed. The basement already had an “interior system” done back in 1999 which was clearly not working right due to the efflorescence and crumbling block in one corner of the basement. The interior system is basically where they open the floor next to the outside walls, and drain tile is installed and a sump pump is put in. The company we hired, Ace Basement Waterproofing believes in treating the outside of the house in order to keep water out. Their process is explained on their website here. The waterproofing work took about 3 days and was completed in October. The work was expensive but I am glad we got it done.

Not exactly a home “improvement”, but an addition to our home in 2011 was a cat who we named Cookie. We adopted her from the Cleveland APL and she is very sweet and loveable. She is always waiting at the door for us when we come home. She follows us all around when we are home too. If I take laundry to the basement, Cookie comes down with me. If we are watching a movie, Cookie lays on the couch too. And when we eat dinner, Cookie sits on her post that we put right by the dining room table! She’s a real pal.

Looking ahead for this year, we don’t have too many home improvements planned. I think we have spent enough money on the house for a while! Jeff and I are planning to get a new faucet in the kitchen and get the air ducts cleaned. Right now I want to focus on getting rid of items that we no longer need and donating them to Goodwill. I already have a stack of clothes ready to go. What home improvements do you all have planned this year? Here’s to a great 2012!


January 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm 3 comments

New Futon

Hello readers! I haven’t been able to keep this blog updated as frequently as I would like to due to being so busy with work and school. I only have one class this summer though, so hopefully I can post more often.

Jeff and I recently bought a futon for our spare bedroom. Before this, the only furniture in the spare bedroom was a craft desk that I use for wrapping gifts, scrapbooking, and framing photos. This futon will be great for overnight guests. The previous option for an overnight guest was either the couch or the air mattress. The futon is a lot more comfortable! We bought it at Sleep Source in Cleveland Heights. The nice thing with that store is that you can choose any combination of frame and mattress. There were so many to choose from! We ended up spending $600 after the delivery charges. You can definitely get a futon cheaper than that, but the quality will not be as good. Here is the new futon!

We also decided it would be a good idea to buy a cover for the mattress in order to protect it. Luckily Sleep Source had a deal where if you buy your futon there, you can get 50% off a cover. We picked a nice colorful one!
futon cover

I am happy that we finally have some furniture in the spare bedroom instead of just boxes! I would actually consider the room to be a multi purpose room rather than your average guest room. Since we don’t have guests very frequently, it makes sense to keep the craft desk in there so we can get more use out of the space.

May 8, 2011 at 11:01 am 4 comments

Living Room Painting

Our living room has been painted! It was actually painted a few weeks ago, but I thought I would wait to post pics on here until we had the new clock and art work up. The paint color we chose for the living room is called Nomadic Desert and you can get it at Sherwin Williams. The accent wall color is Brick Paver, also available at Sherwin Williams. The room feels so much more warm and cozy now compared to before when it was just painted white. Paint can sure do a lot for a room! Below you can see the before and after pics of our living room.

Living room before

Living room after

Here are the pics of the accent wall before and after.
Before tv wall

After tv wall

The red wall color you see in the photo above is more accurate to how it actually looks, since I took that in the daylight with no flash. The red doesn’t look quite right in the earlier photo where you can see the whole living room.

I first posted on here in October about doing the living room makeover. I would say it’s 85% complete at the moment. The final remaining piece is a new couch and new love seat, and possibly an accent chair. I will wait to get the new couch and love seat and see if there is space for a chair too. We plan to get the furniture in a dark brown color.

March 13, 2011 at 9:54 pm 4 comments

Winter Ready

Our home is ready for winter now that we have had some recent maintenance and improvements done.

  1. Sprinkler system winterized. Last year a company charged us $120 to winterize our underground sprinkler system.  This year I was lucky to find Precision Irrigation who did it for half the price we paid last year!  I hope to use them every winter.  They were easy to work with.  I called them to say I wanted the work done and they said they would come in the next couple weeks, we did not have to be home when they came.  After they came and winterized our sprinkler system, they left us a bill and that was it!
  2. Insulation installed in basement. Our handyman John pointed out that we had no insulation in the basement.  Jeff and I did not even know this was a problem or something that we should do!  (He also recently pointed out there is no insulation in our walls, but that is a project for another time.)  John bought the proper insulation and put it in the basement ceiling.  It was a long process as the insulation had to be cut to fit in each area, and the drop ceiling panels in one half of the basement had to be removed to put the insulation in.  I am glad it is done and now the basement definitely feels warmer!
  3. New furnace installed! Our home now has a brand new 80% two stage furnace.  The old furnace was the original furnace put in the home, way back in 1962!  I still don’t know how it lasted that long, and I was really worried it was going to break right in the middle of winter.  This is why Jeff and I decided it would be best to replace our furnace before the start of winter.  The guys arrived to install it around 10:00am and were working until 5 or 6pm.  They even had to come back the following day to finish up a few odds and ends such as putting new mortar on the chimney.  If you need to get a new furnace, be prepared to take a day off work or find out if it can be installed over the weekend, because it takes all day to put in!  We got a good deal on our new furnace by asking for help from the realtor who sold us this home.  He used to work in the heating/cooling business so he has a lot of connections.  Tip for home owners out there: don’t be afraid to ask for help from people you know such as your realtor, handyman, etc.  They may be able to get you a better deal than you would get on your own!  Our new furnace is a lot smaller than the old one, and seems a little louder.  Check out the pic of the new one!
    new furnace

December 21, 2010 at 10:41 pm 7 comments

Painting Complete – Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, I would put up some before and after photos of painting that we had done in the kitchen. We had Mazco Contractors paint the second coat of “dusty leaf” green in the kitchen, as well as painting the ceiling white. The ceiling really needed to be done because the previous owners had gotten their paint color all over the edges of it, and it looked sloppy to me. Now that is all covered up and it looks great!

This BEFORE photo shows where we have the darker green painted. If you look closely you can see some of the darker green on the lighter colored wall. It came through a bit even though we put tape there! Also you can see the bad edges on the ceiling.



It’s a perfect neat edge now and looks a lot better.

In this next BEFORE photo, you can see what I mean about seeing the previous owner’s orange paint color all along the ceiling edge! Yuck!
Before - messy paint

AFTER – the lousy orange color is no longer seen!

The green color in the last two photos looks different. That is due to the first photo being taken at night with all the lights on and the second (after) photo taken in daylight. Lighting in a photo really makes a difference as you can see! Overall I am very happy that we got the professional painting done. I think we will hire Mazco Contractors in the future to paint our bedroom and living room!

August 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm 1 comment

Painting Complete

Way back before Jeff and I moved into our first home (about a year ago now) we decided to paint a couple rooms.  The previous owners had the kitchen and dining room an ugly shade of gold/orange so we painted that green, and the room that is now our office was pink, so we painted that a very light blue color (arctic stone).  This was our first time painting, even though we did some research beforehand, we made some mistakes and it didn’t come out as perfect as I had hoped it would.  The office is fine, but the kitchen/dining room I was never happy with the whole time we lived there.  We did only one coat of primer and one coat of paint, and then never got around to putting on the second coat.  Plus the previous owners were rather sloppy with their paint, and a lot of their paint could be seen on the edges of the ceiling.  It was so ugly and bad looking to me!  I didn’t care if anyone else noticed or not, I didn’t like it and I’m the one who has to see it everyday.

Finally we had some extra money to hire a professional painter!  We contacted two different companies for quotes on doing the second coat of green in the kitchen and dining room, the ceiling in there, and painting the main bathroom walls and ceiling white.  The first quote we got seemed a bit high, so I looked for a different painting company on Angie’s List.  Mazco Contractors had a lot of good reviews so I contacted them.  After showing John of Mazco Contractors the rooms that needed painting and talking with him for a while, he presented us with a quote that was HALF the price of what the previous company had quoted!  WOW!  I certainly learned my lesson: for any work on your home (unless it is very urgent or low cost) contact at least two companies for a quote!

The painting was completed last Friday.  Jeff is working at home this month, so he was home with the painter and I got to come home at the end of the day and see how great it looked!  The painter from Mazco Contractors was at our house from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.  Here are all of his supplies!

painting supplies

Now for a few before and after photos.  First the bathroom.  We put a new light fixture in there, and you could clearly see an outline of where the old one had been – yuck!  After the painting, you cannot see the old outline at all!  Check it out.  (the pictures are a bit dim, but hopefully you get the idea!)

before-after lights

Also in the bathroom, I guess there used to be a bigger size fan, because we could always see an outline of where a bigger one had been at some point.  Now that cannot be seen anymore woohoo!


fan after

The previous bathroom shower rod was very old and rusted, so that was one of the first things we took out of there.  We bought a nice shiny new tension rod, but big holes could still be seen where the old rod was in the wall.  Now that area has been spackled and painted over and it looks great!  Overall, painting the bathroom was mostly about filling holes and covering up marks where old things were at.  The color change wasn’t very big – we basically went from off white to white.  But I think the bright white paint color looks better with the bright turquoise tile.

I will put up a few before and after kitchen photos in a separate post!

August 16, 2010 at 12:06 am 3 comments

Roof Ventilation

Way back when we had the inspection of our home (about a year ago!) our inspector brought up the fact that the attic was super hot and installing an attic fan up there would help get some of the hot air out. Our house gets especially hot in the summer, sure we can run the air conditioning, but I would prefer to run it less and have a better ventilated roof and attic.

We didn’t have any money to get an attic fan when we moved in the home last August, but figured this spring or summer we would get the attic fan in there. Jeff and I recently purchased a fan at Lowe’s and were all ready for our handyman to install it, but I started to have second thoughts and wondered if there was a better solution for us. We returned the attic fan and I read online about other ventilation options such as ridge vents, wind turbines and more.

With all the options out there, I didn’t know what would be best for our home, so I had a roofing company come out to give us an estimate on a ventilation solution. Drew from Brad Smith Roofing first mentioned that we didn’t have enough soffits, which are vents installed into the underside of your home’s eaves.  These vents allow fresh air to be drawn up into the attic.  Here is a photo of our soffits. I think we only have 2 to 4 on each side of the house, which is definitely not enough!


From what I read online and talked about with Drew, a roof needs to breathe basically. You need to have air coming in from the soffits or other vents, and air going out at the top through an attic fan, ridge vent, roof vent, etc.

Unfortunately (according to Drew) you can’t just add in more soffits unless you are replacing the roof or siding. Our roof is fine now so no sense in doing that! Basically he suggested that we install about 6 roof vents, and replace the 2 that we have for a total of 8 new roof vents. Total estimated cost = $1,000. That’s not too bad, but I’d still like to get another opinion so I’m going to have another roofing company out to see if they have the same roof ventilation suggestion, and how their price compares.

June 10, 2010 at 9:18 pm 2 comments

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