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

New Bunny

Jeff and I have adopted a new bunny from the Cleveland APL!  We already had one bunny, named Cocoa, who I have had for about four years.  Cocoa is a boy and the new bunny is a girl.  We have not named her yet though.  She is already spayed, so I do not have to worry about her having babies!  Baby bunnies would be very cute but I don’t have space or time for more bunnies and I don’t think I know anyone who would want one either.  I would hate to contribute to the high pet population and overcrowding of animal shelters.

I have known for a while that I wanted a second bunny and now seemed like the right time to get one.  I found a great cage on Ebay and put that all together.  It’s a really big “condo” with two levels!  Check it out.
bun condo

After it was all together, the cage almost did not fit in the office because it is so big.  We had to take the office door off in order to get it in!  It was a challenge but now the cage is set and hopefully we don’t have to move it for a while.  The office doesn’t even feel cramped with both my desk, Jeff’s desk, and two cages in here.  The room is a pretty good size.  Eventually we can put the two bunny cages next to eachother, but for now they are on opposite sides of the room.  Here is our new bun in her cage!

new bunny

We brought the new bunny home and Cocoa did not notice for a couple hours because he was sleeping in his castle. When he finally came out and noticed the new bunny, he was frozen in place for several minutes just sitting and staring at her! Then all of a sudden he ran back into his castle and thumped for 5 minutes! In case you are not familiar with bunny language, thumping indicates unhappiness or danger. Cocoa sure was not giving the new lady a very warm welcome! Since that first day we brought her back, I think Cocoa is getting used to her. I have noticed many times they are both eating, sleeping, or drinking water at the same time! I hope eventually they will be good friends.

July 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm 3 comments

Mini Bedroom Makeover

As I have said in some of my previous posts, you can really change the look of a room with a few inexpensive items.  We changed the look of our turquoise bathroom by adding a new shower curtain, matching towels, and a cool rug!  For our master bedroom, once we decided on a color scheme, decorating was easy.  Jeff and I decided to go with dark brown and blue.  The first step for us was picking out a duvet cover in those colors.  After a lot of looking around we finally bought this one from Bed Bath and Beyond.
duvet cover set
We then added some new curtain rods and a nice set of curtains I found at JCPenney.  We may paint the bedroom, but I’m not sure of the exact color yet.

Here are the before and after photos:


bedroom before

The previous curtain rods were very old, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were originally put in when the house was built in 1962!  Also the curtains that the previous owners had up were ugly and covered in cat fur so we had to take them down and replace them with the temporary ones that you see in that photo.  They didn’t really match anything, we just got them because they were cheap and the right length!

bedroom now
This is how our bedroom looks now. I really like our new duvet cover, curtains and curtain rods!  We went with chocolate brown curtains because there is a lot of blue in the duvet cover including the bed skirt, which is not shown in the photo.  We still need to get some artwork or photos on the wall, but overall I like the look of the room.

June 22, 2010 at 10:28 pm 1 comment

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

Sump Pump Busted!

Just this past Friday I was standing in the kitchen when I heard an odd sound in the basement.  It sounded to me like water was spraying out from the sump pump.  I know the normal sound of the sump pump running and this definitely sounded different.  I was so scared at what might have happened that I didn’t want to go downstairs to check!  I asked Jeff later to look in the basement to see if there was water on the floor, but he said it was fine.

Tuesday I was off from work and so was Jeff, as he was taking a much needed day off after the fest that he had planned for months was now over.  Again I was in the kitchen and heard the water spraying sound!  I asked Jeff to run down and check again and he said yep, water was spraying out of the top of the sump pump and the floor in the laundry area was all wet!  Great.  I suppose it had been doing that at least since Friday, but Friday we didn’t see any water on the floor so we didn’t think much of it.  Then we were not home most of the weekend or in the basement at all.  Luckily it hasn’t been raining much, so the sump pump probably wasn’t running a lot. Also there is a drain near the sump pump, so most of the water had made it’s way there but the floor was pretty dirty as a result.

We called a plumbing company we’ve used before but they were all booked up Tuesday and could not come out.  Luckily they referred us to Cornerstone Plumbing and they were able to come out Tuesday afternoon.  Mike from Cornerstone Plumbing discovered that the check valve had broken off and the clamps were busted.  So basically there was a gap between the two pipes where the check valve used to be, which you can see in the photo below.

sump pump

Thankfully this problem with our sump pump just required the installation of a new check valve which ended up costing us $118. Our sump pump is now fixed and back to normal. Experienced home owners always tell you to be prepared for the unexpected because you never know when something may break in your home! Having a savings fund for home improvement and repairs is a good idea.

May 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm 1 comment

New Furniture

Jeff and I have recently purchased a few new furniture items for our home.  First up was a new TV and TV stand.  Our old TV was a big bulky one that we’ve had for several years and felt it was time for an upgrade.  I let Jeff pick it out so he decided on a 42 inch plasma flat screen from Panasonic.  We knew that the wider TV would not look right on our old stand, and plus we wanted to get a darker stand to match the rest of our living room furniture.  We shopped around and ended up buying the stand online for under $300.  Not bad!  Here is the new set up.  Looks great!  I still can’t believe we have a TV that’s that big!
new TV
Our old TV and stand are now in the basement, which I think is perfect for guests because we also have a full bathroom in the basement.

The other item that we got was a new dining room table!  Way back when Jeff and I had our first apartment in 2005, we needed a table and didn’t have much money, so we went to Walmart and got a set with a table and 4 chairs for about $100!  It’s lasted us through a few different apartments, but now that we have our own home and more space, we wanted to get a bigger, nicer table.  Our new table and 6 chairs were delivered on Monday and I kept thinking “Wow, that table is so big!!”  I think it fits our dining room well, but I’m just so used to our small little table we had for many years.  Jeff kept saying how much he loves the new table and how cool it looks.  I’m really happy with it, and now we have space to have guests over for dinner.  (More than 2 guests I should say!)  Below is a photo of the new dining set.
new dining room set

We probably won’t be buying any new furniture for a while now that we got the TV, stand, and table and chairs.  But the next items we get would probably be a new couch and love seat and then a new bedroom set – bed, dresser, and nightstands.  Oh, and some type of guest bed like a futon.  Currently we just have an air mattress (or the couch) for any overnight guests.

May 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm 3 comments

Dryer problem solved

When Jeff and I moved into this home, we had to buy a washer and dryer because the previous owners did not leave theirs.  After doing some research we decided to purchase a Kenmore 600 washer and a Kenmore 800 dryer.

The washer works well but the dryer never seemed to work properly.  For some reason, the dryer would always take two hours (or sometimes a little longer) to dry a normal size load of laundry!  No matter what settings we chose or what we were drying, it would always take two hours.  From my experience, a clothes dryer shouldn’t take more than one hour.

We lived with the dryer problem for a while and tried to look up some solutions online.  I read somewhere that the dryer lint hose gets clogged with lint over time and that could cause it to take longer to dry clothes.  I knew that wasn’t the problem because they gave us a new hose when the dryer was put in.  I also read that the vent on the outside of your house that connects with the hose can also get clogged with lint.  I thought that might be it.  Jeff and I were outside doing some spring cleaning when Jeff went to check the vent.  This is what he found:
lint block
Wow!  I can’t believe that much lint was clogged in the vent!  Who knows how long that outside vent was clogged like that.  It had to be like that when the previous owners lived in our home but they didn’t do anything about it.
Besides causing our dryer to work extra hard, I think it was a fire hazard as well.  You can see that the air could barely pass through.  We got it all cleaned out and the next load of laundry we did was dry in only 45 minutes!  That is less than half the time it was taking before we cleaned out the outside vent!  I was thinking we would have to pay someone to come out and look at the dryer, but I am really glad we figured it our ourselves and saved money that we would have given to a repair man.  Below you can see our newly cleaned vent.
outside vent

April 15, 2010 at 7:59 pm 4 comments

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