Kitchen Renovation: Before & After

Today I’m sharing part two of our home renovation!  Our living room, dining nook and kitchen are all open to each other and our kitchen was the focus of most of our renovation.  Before we check out how beautiful it is now, let’s see what we started with:Dark, mismatched hanging lights, laminate counters that were peeling off, cabinet doors that were a cream color and didn’t match the boxes and really old appliances.  Plus there’s the higher bar counter and a lot of dead space behind the sink.

Needless to say, we had some big plans for this area:

  • Lower the bar to be one countertop height
  • New countertops
  • Refinished cabinet doors + hardware
  • New appliances
  • Paint walls
  • Crown molding
  • New sink + faucet
  • Paint trim
  • Paint back door
  • Frame out side & front of cabinet walls
  • New lighting
  • Paint ceiling & tray ceiling
  • New ceiling fan
  • New outlet plates & switch covers

The guys started by cutting down the bar & making the countertop all one height in the kitchen, then installing the new countertops.  This was an area where we found issues with the house, so extra time was spent leveling everything and doing it right.

I am so in love with the piece of granite we got!  It’s white & gray with little flecks of a purple color here and there.  Dropping the counters to one level and installing the granite immediately changed the look of the kitchen and had the biggest impact.

I also love how Hunter’s dad framed out the front and sides of the counters and painted them white like wainscoting.  It was another place we were able to add a lil polish.  Our new sink is just one bowl instead of two and it makes washing large dishes SO much easier.  Combined with a new faucet and less clutter on the counters, we’re in good shape. The lighting in the dining & kitchen has always annoyed us.  Our kitchen light was crooked, the owners before us took a light out over the counter and just put a plastic piece over the hole, and the dining fixture was dark, bulky and not centered with the room (plus I’ve hit my head on it).

All the mismatched lights were taken out and we decided to install can lights everywhere instead.  This lets your eye just look into the kitchen and not focus on the hanging lights.Replacing the dark fan in the living room with a white one was another way to lighten up the area and let your eyes focus on the openness of the room instead of a fan.  Now when you look up, the fan blends in with the ceiling and you notice the tray ceiling instead!We never painted the living / kitchen when we moved in and the space really needed it. We chose a light gray to use in every room, but the master.  The addition of the bright white crown molding pops on the gray walls and added some polish.  Do you spy Cleo in one of the pictures? She always sneaks in 😉

We’re both so happy with how the kitchen, dining and living room look now – so open and bright!  All of the small touches ended up making such a big difference and the color choices look great together!


Master Bath Renovation: Before + After

Ready for a look into our recent renovation?  First we’ll go through the master bathroom.  We painted our master bedroom & bathroom when we moved in, and only did minor things until this point like adding floating shelves & replacing hardware.  Here’s a before picture:

Not bad, but it was all contractor grade and didn’t really feel like a master bathroom.  We don’t have much square footage in there to work with, so we needed the little we have to be functional and look good.

We started by getting rid of the existing medicine cabinet, vanity, light fixture & mirror attached to the wall.  The wall had to be patched, and they patched a few other places before adding crown molding to the master bedroom and bathroom.A new vanity was put in, then the vanity top, and new faucets.  They repainted the walls and areas that needed patching, then hung the mirror and new light fixture.We kept the floating shelves, previous owner’s stone floors and shower / tub combo.  That can be fixed later and just hidden behind the white curtain 😉The last piece was to buy new knobs / handles and replace the outlet plates.  Even just freshening up the outlet plates was a nice pop of fresh white!What do you think?  It’s nice to walk in and have an updated master that’s so bright!

Garage Clean Out

The weather in Charleston has been nothing short of wonderful: 70s and sunny!  This weekend was beautiful, so naturally we spent Saturday… cleaning out and organizing our garage.

Not the most glamorous thing, but it needed to be done and since we were in town and had a free weekend, it was the perfect time.  After breakfast we headed to Lowe’s and picked up some new shelves.  Thanks to everyone who gave us Lowe’s giftcards for our wedding – I think we’re officially out, but our house has enjoyed every dollar!

First step, Hunter put together the shelves while I weeded & watered the beds, and sprayed weed & feed on the grass.garage-update-07Then we basically cleared out the entire garage and went through everything – Like everything in our garage.  A lot was trashed, and more is going to Habitat for Humanity & Goodwill.  The previous owner had nails everywhere and random cabinets & even a medicine cabinet hung on the walls, so we cleaned it all up, swept it out and started from scratch.garage-update-03Next we put it all back, in the right spots.  Some of my wreaths that I keep in the garage have a new hanging place, above the lawn mower’s new home.garage-update-01This may not seem exciting, but I was thrilled with those white shelves – they are my Coastal Kelder shelves!  My paints, bleach, and buckets to the side are for all my oyster shells.  The 3 lower shelves will be used for shells drying after their bath.  Even my cornhole boards have a home hanging on the wall now.garage-update-04We also bought this rail system at Lowe’s for storing our yard tools like shovels, rakes, etc.  It was easy to install and keeps our tools off the ground & organized: total win.garage-update-05Here are the new shelves all loaded up with coolers, tools & tailgate chairs!garage-update-06Again not the most glamorous day by any means, but it was super productive!  The last time the garage got this sort of attention was almost 3 years ago, right after we moved in. 😳 We’re both excited that the garage is back in great shape, and yes – I enjoyed a glass of wine after all of our work.garage-update-02


Live Edge Side Tables

Like I’ve mentioned before, I finally had a vision for our guest room and the next piece to tackle were the side tables.  I imagined these beautiful, live edge side tables with little hairpin legs, and I was determined to find some.  Naturally, I couldn’t find what I wanted in stores or online, so I decided to make my own and delve into super basic furniture making.

Live Edge Side Tables

What you’ll need:

  • Live edge wood, cut to your dimensions
  • Sander
  • 80, 120, & 220 grit sand paper
  • Saw horses
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Disposable gloves
  • Epoxy (two quart Glaze Coat boxes)
  • 6 quart sized buckets,with measurements (3 per table)
  • 2 Wooden stirrers
  • Plastic scraper
  • 8 Hairpin legs (4 per table)
  • 1 1/2″ Star screws (20 per table)
  • Impact drill with star bit
  • Furniture wax
  • Cloth

Coming into the project I knew the hardest part would be finding wood to make the tables out of, and once I had my heart set on something with live edge, I knew it’d be even harder.  Lucky for me, one of Daniel’s friends’ family owns a mill in Ridgeville, SC (like 40 miles from my house).  I used the random Wednesday we had off from work in November to take a road trip and get some wood for the project!

Andy was awesome.  We looked at different pieces, then settled on one and he cut it with the chainsaw for me on the spot.  Talk about service 🙂

side table 01

When I got home, this is what I had: two 30″ pieces of oak.

side table 02

These sat in our garage for a few months while we were busy with football and the holidays, but when I finally had “free time,” I was ready to get started on them again.  Next step: sanding.

With sanding, start small and get bigger with the grain.  I started by using 80 grit paper, then progressed to 120, and 220 grit.  Slowly, I took off the top layer and smoothed it all out on the top, sides, and just a touch on the bottom.

side table 03

side table 04

This was another point where a few more months went by because I was busy, or other projects had a higher priority than these tables.

Since the table tops were sanded down to a nice, smooth finish, I needed to seal the natural wood in next.  My friend, Daniel, made some tables for the shop out of a similar live edge, so I got his recommendation on what to use: Glaze Coat epoxy found at Lowe’s.

Why did I use epoxy?  It’s self leveling, easy to use and mix, and it’s a lot thicker (and more durable) than just staining the wood a few times.  Plus it’s basically clear, so the natural beauty of the wood would come right through.

I set up a little area in the garage to continue working with the plastic drop cloth on the bottom, 2 saw horses to hold the wood, and more plastic over the saw horses and under the wood to protect the saw horses from the epoxy that was doing to drip.

Before we worked with the epoxy, Hunter wanted to get the legs measured and marked so it’d be easy to attach them to the wood after we sealed the top in.  It took a little bit of time, but we laid the legs out on the wood, made sure they were level, and arranged in a rectangle, then we marked them with a blue sharpie.  We probably overdid it with marking everything, but I wanted to make it as simple as possible when I was ready to screw the legs in.

side table 05

side table 06

side table 07

Okay, we were ready for the epoxy!  Follow the directions on the box and mix the epoxy correctly so it’s a 1 to 1 mixture.  This includes mixing the concoction together for 6 minutes — hello arm workout.

side table 12

Pour the epoxy on top of the wood and use a plastic scraper to smooth it out, covering the top.  You have about 15-20 minutes to get it how you want before it starts hardening.  I wanted to make sure the sides were coated & sealed as well, so when the top was good, I applied some epoxy to the sides with the scraper.

To avoid having bubbles harden in the top, use a blow torch ~6-8″ above the wood to warm up the epoxy & get them out — they’ll come up to the surface, then pop!  Check the wood every hour to see if any other bubbles need to be popped while it’s drying.  Then you wait.

side table 09

We used 1 pint of epoxy (8oz resin & 8oz hardener) for the first coat on the first table.  Let the first coat completely dry – the box recommends 4-5 hours, but we let ours dry overnight since we did this part after work.  The next day we applied a second coat (another 1 pint), going through the same process again, with a clean bucket.

After the first table was done, I repeated the steps all over for the 2nd table.  All in all we used two quart boxes of the Glaze Coat.  Here’s what table one looked like while it was drying after the second coat:

side table 11

When the table tops were completely dried & cured, it was time to attach the legs to the bottom.  I was really digging the hairpin leg look, and found some great ones for sale on Etsy (I couldn’t find these anywhere in Charleston).  I ordered 8 24″ legs (4 per table) so the tables would be about ~26″ tall with the wooden tops.

side table 13

We screwed the legs into place drilling 1 1/2″ star screws into the holes. I learned that the star screws were better to use than normal ones in this case (learned this after we stripped a few screws).  Once we got into a groove, we got the legs in quickly because of our preparations earlier marking everything.  I also got to play with the new impact drill we now own 🙂

side table 14

The last step was to seal the metal in.  The legs were a raw, unfinished metal, and the maker recommended finishing the legs with a light coat of furniture wax.  I wiped on some SC Johnson wax I had leftover from finishing our dining table, then these were ready to put in the guest room.

side table 16

These were no corn hole boards, but the project definitely took some time and patience…. I really enjoyed being able to build these with Hunter too.  He’s super handy and I learned a lot during the process, plus it was just fun to work on a random house project together a week before our wedding!  They will always have a special place in my heart 🙂

At the end of it, I finally had the 2 new live edge oak tables that I wanted!  I put them in the guest room, added lamps and some accessories, and enjoyed the view.  See ya later scuffed, college side tables!

side table 17

side table 18

side table 24

side table 25

side table 26

You can check out the slow transformation of the guest room here.  We think the last piece for this room will be a large, standing mirror.  Anyone have thoughts on where to find a big mirror for a great price?

Back Patio Revamp

Remember a few weeks ago when Hunter and I had a yard-a-palooza and did a bunch of yard work?  Well part two of that was completed this past weekend, and I’m excited to show off all of our work!

Starting with the front bed that needed help –> When we first moved in, there were huge bushes that were tall and reached out 7ft in some areas.  Needless to say, we trimmed them back and let them grow back in a more manageable way.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago when we finally removed the bushes and started putting new plants in the bed.  This weekend we went back to Abide-a-while for another consultation and bought more plants to fill out the space.

Oh, and I laid 10 bales of pine straw afterwards. It was much needed, but super tiring.  So here’s the newly planted front bed with the addition of Samantha lantana, and white trailing lantana.IMG_7547


And to see where we started from 2 years ago (and the huge hedges), here’s a before and after of the front of our house.

yard_16 10

Okay, onto the backyard.  Outside of the yard, we haven’t given the back patio much love and it’s looked pretty sad — I think I’ve only sat out there once or twice in the two years.  IMG_7314

We decided to finally add some furniture and went with a lounge instead of the traditional table and chairs.  World Market had some great options, and we grabbed an outdoor rug, and garden stools too.  I found some pillows at Target, and we were looking good…




Friday night, I enjoyed a little happy hour out back, and after Hunter and I finished cleaning up the yard on Saturday, we sat down and took advantage of the couch while watering the grass and plants.  Finally, a backyard to be proud of — I can’t wait to enjoy it with friends and family!


An added bonus, the pots in the back by the fire pit are the same colors!  Unintentional, yet awesome.


Now we just need to trim a few trees, pressure wash the outside of the house, and keep all the plants alive!  Onto the next project…