January 13, 2012

Accent Finds: Turquoise and Chartreuse

Last night I took a trip to Pier 1 and Target.

I'm seeing so much of turquoise and chartreuse (which by the way work perfectly with Pantone's 2012 Color of the Year: Tangerine Tango)! If you know me, you know that turquoise is my color...I'm obsessed. When I get to my "after" photos of our living room you'll see what I mean. I'm considering an accent wall as we speak. But mainly I love it in small doses for a splash of color. And chartreuse is perfect for that pop, too.

Here's what I stumbled upon:

A whole section at Target devoted to just turquoise accents

And lovely gorgeous pillows at Pier 1

(My husband loathes my love for throw pillows.)

Happy weekend!

January 10, 2012

Stripping Wallpaper

And so the fun began. Only a couple of hours after closing, we were stripping wallpaper…in our dress clothes!

wallpaper removal

Tools we used to remove wallpaper:
-spray bottle with warm to hot water
-paint scraper, both plastic and metal worked fine, but the metal gouged marks in the drywall if we weren’t careful to approach it at the right angle
-big yellow sponges
-a couple of large buckets filled with water that is as hot as your hands can bare!

We thought about using a chemical-based wallpaper glue remover, but in the end, good old water and patience did the trick. And it’s safer.

 wallpaper removal 
There were 2 layers. Thanks to the seller’s cat, the job was already started for us on some walls :-) We picked up where it left off!

wallpaper removal
The backside remained glued to the wall after we easily pulled the top layer off. This is where the warm water in a spray bottle came in handy. We sprayed sections at a time, letting it soak in and loosen the paper. Five to ten minutes later, we would return to that section and use the scraper to get under the paper and lift it off.

wallpaper removal

The kitchen wallpaper was an older type (if you couldn’t tell by the pattern) didn’t want to come off in layers like the living room and hallway.

 wallpaper removal

wallpaper removal

 wallpaper removal

We had a much harder time removing it. LOTS of patience was needed here!

When all the paper was removed, it was time to wash the walls and get rid of excess glue.

Hot water and a big yellow sponge did the trick...and repeatedly washing sections at a time. And, any hidden glue that was left was eventually either sanded away or covered with primer.

wallpaper removal

We attacked it ferociously, and finished removing all wallpaper in the living room, hallway and kitchen in about 3 days!

January 8, 2012

Home Tour: The Before Photos

Our 1962 Ranch home has 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, an eat-in kitchen, living room, 1-car garage, a full open basement (lots of storage space!), and a huge yard!

Bedroom 1
Bedroom before
Bedroom before
Full closet and 2 windows

Bedroom 2
Bedroom before Bedroom before
Full closet and a double window

Bedroom 3
Bedroom before
Bedroom before
Full closet and 2 windows; pretty much a mirror-image of the 1st bedroom

Hallway Before
LOVE the 2 closets! We have so much storage space.

Bathroom before
The bathroom was refinished in 2004; not our style, but it’s functioning and I love the white tile aside from the floral accents. Just needed paint and some of our own personal touches. What you can't see is a closet which is on the left when you walk in. Again, loving the storage! And having a window in our bathroom was a necessity.

Living Room
(by the time I took the “Before” pictures, we’d already furiously stripped some wallpaper off!)
Living Room Before
The front door is off to the right of the window.

 Living Room Before
Full bay window = lots of light.
Not sure if you can tell in any of these photos but the kitchen, living room and hallway had popcorn ceilings.

Dining Area
Dining Before Dining and Kitchen Before
We like the concept of open kitchen/dining area

Before closing, we’d been sitting here in the dining area waiting for the inspector to finish and I was staring out these windows. The seller was telling me how her parents built this house and how her Dad took such care of the property. I’d spotted a round bush and she went on to tell me it was a blueberry bush. And there was a pear tree over to the left…and a beautiful stone wall. I started to get teary-eyed thinking of how homey this place felt; one of my grandfathers (whom I never met) built his own home (which is still in the family), had fruit trees and took pride in maintaining his property. I could relate. It was a nice feeling. Just really feeling meant to be for us!

View from dining area into the kitchen
Kitchen Before
That door leads to the garage. You can see how badly it’s placed…I can’t imagine walking into the kitchen next to a hot stove. And that black appliance next to the door is a dishwasher: a free-standing dishwasher. We’d never heard of or seen such a thing. But it served as extra countertop space. And that sea foam green phone: we saved it when we renovated the kitchen. We scored some other gems too. More on that vintage goodness later! The fridge was huge and oddly-placed, but newer and functioning. We ended up moving that into our garage as a second fridge.

And a close-up of that sexy wall paper
Vintage Wallpaper

That’s a wrap for the inside Before Tour!

Up next: Stripping Wallpaper and Knocking Down Walls

In the Spring I’ll be showing landscaping before and after photos, and if Mother Nature didn’t mess with my tulip bulbs so far this warm winter, I’ll have growth results from my first time planting bulbs in the Fall!   

January 6, 2012

Buying Our First Home

Time to Take the Next Step
It was around this time last year we were frantically looking for our first home. Why frantically? Well, we were getting married on May 29 and really wanted to have our first home by then. We lived with family before that, and we just wanted to be on our own by the time we were married. It was just time to take the next step.

We Weren’t New to the Home-Buying Game
It wasn’t our first time looking for a place to buy. Back in June of 2010, we THOUGHT we wanted a condo for our first place – for a nominal fee, which around here ranges on average from $125-250 a month, we wouldn’t have to do a single lick of outside maintenance, not much needed to be done to the inside, just move right in...sounds perfect, right? Well, it was a short sale, and by nature, those deals take FOR-ever to close. We knew when we signed the paperwork and put a deposit down, we were in for at least 3 months of waiting. We figured, what the heck, we aren’t getting married for another year and a half, we can wait. Well, 3 months came and went, so did 4, 5 and 6 months…promises were made but never kept by the selling agent who was just seemingly stringing us along. By late December of 2010, we excitedly decided to cut the cord and end the purchase and sales agreement. We were no longer contractually-bound because 6 months had passed, so there were no penalties and we were able to get our full deposit back. And we never looked back. It was refreshing.

Why a Condo Wasn’t Right For Us
Those 6 months of waiting for the condo short-sale to go through really made us realize a lot Like: we wanted a yard to maintain, to plant a garden, to grow flowers, to dig up old plants that were ugly or overgrown, to plant new life, to build a deck as big as we want, to just do what we want! When something breaks, we want to be able to fix it on our time with our choice of maintenance person, not the condo association’s. We just wanted something of our own...let alone the fact that condo fees equated to a lot of other things: a car insurance payment, 2 weeks of groceries, a one-night stay in a hotel somewhere, or lots of other things. Also, the condo was only 2 bedrooms. Add one child to the mix and we would have begun to quickly outgrow the place and have to sell. Again, we are thankful it didn’t work out for US. It IS right for some people though! Read more on to see if a condo or a house is right for you.

The Hunt Continued
After we cut the cord on the condo deal, we were referred to an amazing realtor Monique Robert with Weichert Realtors. She stopped at nothing to help us find our first home – she even showed us a house on Christmas Eve! God bless her. Completely responsive to all of our needs, she brought us to look all over Kent County, Rhode Island and we must have seen 20 properties within 3 weeks. Many instances occurred where one of us would say:

“Honey, I think this might be the one...”

And the other one would say:

- “Wait, is that a crack in the foundation?”

- “Is that a water stain on the ceiling?”

- “But, how old is that roof?”

- “That floor isn’t level...”

- “Oh, those are old radiators...we don’t want those if we’re raising a family here..”

- “There is way too much traffic on this street!”

It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. We had a budget, we wanted it to be a good old fashioned regular sale – not a short-sale, not a foreclosure. AND we wanted it to be in a great neighborhood where someday our kids could grow up, make friends and be in a good school system.

We Found The One!
So it was around this time last year we’d seen 3 houses in one particular day, and one of them stuck out in our minds. We didn’t even schedule a second viewing...with our good note-taking and images of the property online, we didn’t need to.

We knew going into the purchase of this particular property that it needed:
- a new, more functional kitchen
- wallpaper removed
- carpet removed - BONUS: there were original hardwoods in all three bedrooms!
- all three bedrooms, hallway, bathroom, kitchen and living areas would need paint
- all rooms needed ceilings painted

Monique got the deal in motion by filling out a Purchase & Sales Agreement and soon after we had an inspection scheduled. A few minor repairs were needed and easily made by the seller. The roof was covered with 4 inches of snow at the time so we didn’t get to have that inspected. But, thanks to the seller’s accurate records, we found out the date it was last replaced/repaired. So we signed, knowing we’d replace the roof in the summer. Our closing date was set for 2/18/11 and we couldn’t have been happier!!

After our closing, we went to our new home, popped champagne, and in our dress clothes, began to strip wallpaper! What an amazing feeling! More on all the juicy renovation projects to come :-)

Happy Weekend!


If you're looking for an outstanding realtor in Rhode Island, contact Monique { }

January 3, 2012

Welcome to the Rhody Home blog!

A new year = new adventures.

The backstory: I started blogging in July of 2009 when we began planning our {what turned out to be picture-perfect, amazing} wedding. After we were wed in May 2011 and returned from our honeymoon in June, I slowly lost interest in blogging about wedding "stuff". After June, I really put some thought into what I wanted to blog about, if anything at all.

Then it hit me: February 18, 2012 will mark ONE YEAR of home ownership for my husband and I. Where did that year go? How did it go by so FAST? We were busy renovating, getting married and settling in!

I'll be showing you before and after photos of our home renovations, decorating projects, some fun paintings I'm working on to deck our walls, and some fun in between...maybe some meals I/we have prepared, or a great pillow or lamp at Pier 1! Does your husband just not understand the female obsession with throw pillows? Mine doesn't either :-) What this blog will not be: a daily re-cap of our everyday private life. I might only post every few days. The goal is to have fun and share what we've learned with others.

We've done a ton of work on our 1962 Ranch. Luckily we had lots of family helping out. This all took place in 2.5 months before our wedding day. Yeah, we were exhausted!

So, here's to a new year! I look forward to sharing our home styling projects with you. I have a lot to share!