one year living

We just passed our one year mark of living in this house and so much has happened. My kids have grown a lot (I mean, look at this picture of Lulu taken the first time we saw the house!) and we've actually done a lot to the house.
When I look at my to-do list (which, by the by, is an obnoxiously detailed Excel list), I get frustrated because it still needs SO much work but when I consider how many changes we've made in the year we've been here, I feel proud of all the hard work we've put into it. I believe they are changes that will really increase the value of our home and that we'll be happy with for many years to come. I would be happy to stay in this home for a while - it has plenty of space for our family and we love our neighbors and the area, which is growing a lot and has been rated the "coolest suburb in Seattle". Plus with the demand for homes in Seattle as the new Silicon Valley, we are glad to have purchased this home when we did.

Here are some of the changes we've made (which you can see more in depth on all my home posts here). So far, we've:

- Removed the kitchen wall (here)
- Skim coated the entire first floor and painted in Benjamin Moore Horizon
- Removed wallpaper in entry (here)
- Did a mini remodel on the kids / guest bathroom (post here)
- Replaced dining chandelier (here)
- Removed the closet wall in the laundry room
- Expanded the laundry / mudroom door way (here)
- Ripped out the laminate flooring in the laundry room
- Closed in the closet in the downstairs bedroom
- Mini remodel on the guest bedroom downstairs (here)
- New drywall in the laundry / mudroom
- Added recessed lighting in the laundry / mudroom
- Got new washer + dryer
- Fixed a major leak in the master bathroom (here) / front of the house
- Removed about 8 trees in the yard (here)
- Painted the front door (here)

Still SO much to do but it feels good to do a recap and remember that we've made progress!


camping at deception pass

At the last minute, we decided to go camping at Deception Pass. The jury is still out on whether the 6 hours it took to pack, set up camp, clean up and unpack was worth the 24 hours that we spent camping... but it was beautiful and good memories were made. It was also the most perfect photography weather there ever was so, uh, picture overload. Sorry, not sorry.
The kids slept horribly (and therefore, so did we) but you know, what else can you expect with five people crammed in a 4-person tent? It was still a great time for the kids with all the rock throwing, hiking through the forest, chasing critters around the camp site, going on walks, climbing the boulders along the beach, squishing black sand between their fingers (mostly Lulu), eating lots of junk food and s'mores and just being together. I love these people, so much. I hope they'll always love to be together as a family.
This is the part where these two grabbed handfuls of sand and threw them in my face and down my shirt. At least we got some laughs!

Fritz brought his compass and was very concerned with telling us which direction "Norf" is at all times. You know, serious 4-year-old business. He's the cutest.
On the way home, we stopped at Snow Goose Produce (a very cute market, in itself) in Mount Vernon for some ice cream. It is THE BEST. The most enormous scoops of the most delightful ice cream ever. Like, seriously really good quality ice cream and really generous servings. David, William and I all shared one cone (while Fritz and Lulu slept, poor babies). It was plenty for the three of us! And a fresh waffle cone to boot! OK, I'm really worked up about this ice cream cone because we haven't stopped thinking/talking about it. I guess we'll have to make another trip out there for one. Catch ya later, Deception Pass! We're coming for you again this summer!


house tour: kids bathroom [mini] remodel

I'm finally sharing some photos of our mini bathroom remodel. Here's my disclaimer(s) though. First of all, I'm calling this a "mini" bathroom remodel because we have plans to gut the entire thing along with the master bathroom and create a larger en suite. Because of that, I didn't want to spend too much on this remodel with things like new flooring, countertops or a tiled shower and just worked with what we had. Secondly, the remodel isn't technically complete because we ordered all new interior doors that won't be here for two (long) months so it doesn't look completely done. I also have a few finishing touches I want to do. I will probably do an update again once I feel like it's done (and maybe when I finally figure out how to take good pictures of a weird angled bathroom with terrible lighting... tips anyone?)

This is our hall bathroom that the kids and guests use. I wanted it to be colorful and fun, especially with a temporary remodel, because I could! Without further ado, here is what the bathroom looked like BEFORE. Black trim, black vanity cabinets, butter yellow laminate countertops, trellis vinyl flooring and cheesy, builder light fixtures.
I started by hiring myself (haha) to make a design board so I could visualize what I wanted. Here's what I came up with and I feel like the vision really came together the way I wanted. 
I sanded and painted every last surface of this room - no lie. The baseboards and trim were painted black so I sanded and painted all those bright white. It was a messy job, but someone's gotta do it!
The walls needed a ton of patching so I ended up just skim coating and sanding the walls (with David) and they look a lot better since they're not as textured. This is what it looked like mid-projectn when I was COVERED in drywall dust.
The sink vanity had the same terrible black painted cabinets that we have in the kitchen... and the same cabinet hardware. They are NOT good quality and I wish we could have ripped them apart but it'll have to wait for a full remodel. This is after I had removed the "unique" 70s hardware.
I decided to try my hand at the painted concrete countertops that I've seen and I think they turned out great for a temporary fix. I wouldn't do them if this bathroom was a permanent remodel though, but that's my personal opinion. I used a combination of this tutorial and this one and they were both really helpful. It really was easy (albeit pretty messy) and I think anyone can do it. I think we had the ideal countertops to start with since they were smooth 70's laminate. 
I also bought a pair of these stools from IKEA and painted them kelly green. Here's the before.
I apologize for the shadowy pictures. I need a wide-angle lens (I think) and this room is difficult to photograph because of the funky angles. I also had just wiped a spot on the countertops that was still wet so just pretend that's not there cause it normally isn't. Anyway, this is pretty much what it looks like, except I'll be changing a couple of things: new bulbs for the vanity fixture, possibly new faucets if I can find a good price on something I love, new closet and room doors, a new heating vent plate, put on the schoolhouse light fixture shade, fill frames with art... but you get the idea, right?
So, the flooring... remember how I said it was vinyl? Well, it wasn't in the budget to replace it with tile or anything so I just painted it with Benjamin Moore's Floor + Patio Porch Paint in Gull Wing Gray. It went on so smooth and was actually really fun to paint! I just deglossed the floors before and painted it on. I am a huge fan!
For the trim, stool and vanity I used Benjamin Moore's Advanced Line... that stuff is awesome! I've tried painting furniture several times and it always dries sticky and streaky. This stuff is magic! It's kind of pricey but totally worth it. I will never use anything else. It goes on like oil and cleans up like latex. The color for the vanity is Cabana Blue.
This shower curtain is kind of the main inspiration for the colors in the bathroom. I wish I could photograph it better but because of the weird alcove that the shower's in, it's hard to photograph. Just trust me - it looks awesome in there!

Well, that's all (for now!) folks!