Ooooh, shiny!

We installed shelves in the garage – woot woot.

Aren’t they awesome?  And so shiny…  When we learned that you can buy diamond plate shelving for the garage, we knew we had to have it.   It’s just screams “Someone loves the cars in this garage!”

Diamond plate shelving doesn’t come cheap though.  We found a great price on them at Sam’s Club and ordered them right away.  They cost about half what they cost at garage suppliers, so we were sold.

Here’s what the garage looks like now:

Notice the other additions?  Let us help you out:

The tool chest is eventually going to move to the space currently occupied by the wheelbarrow, whose permanent home will be somewhere else.  But currently, the wheelbarrow is full of weather-sensitive concrete mix for the wall, so it’s in the garage.

Oh, and the coat hooks?  They can hold a lot more than coats.  Anchored into the brick, these puppies can literally hold a human.  Trust us, we both gave it a try. 

Here are a few storage closeups:

The best part?  Our basement doesn’t look like this anymore!

Just in time too… we had a delivery of hand-me-down furniture arrive only a day or two after we finished installing the shelves.  New furniture pics coming soon!

To Do for Number 2

We are approaching the pregnancy half-way mark.  The baby is due in 21 weeks, and we are only 2 weeks from finding out the baby’s gender!  We love that milestone – it makes the baby feel more like a future family member.

From a home improvement perspective, we need to get planning.  We don’t want to waste any time.  Our past experience with Kasen’s room taught us two lessons:

  1. Little projects can turn into major renovations.  (It took us 8 weeks to paint Kasen’s room, thanks to the discovery of the painted-over wallpaper that bubbled up when the paint was applied.)  This can be a problem when you have a firm deadline like the birth of a baby.
  2. Finish everything, Everything!, before the baby’s arrival.  We planned to do Kasen’s built-in shelves after a few months…  but we didn’t touch it until over a year later.  Admittedly, we still have some exposed screws and some moldings that were never installed in his room since he’s usually sleeping in there when we’re working.

So, we’re getting started on the second baby’s room now.  We haven’t picked the baby’s name yet and don’t plan on formallly announcing his or her name until he or she is born.  Since we casually refer to Kasen as “Little K,” we’ve decided to nickname the second baby Littler K.  (Get it? Because all of our names start with K?)

First things first – we picked a room that we want to use.  We decided that our exercise room will be the best choice.  Well, frankly, it’s the only viable choice – the only other rooms are the large guest room that we hope someday to turn into the master bedroom, and the basement, which we hope to turn into a playroom/guest room.  So, from here on out, the exercise room will be known as “Littler K’s Room.”  Here’s what it looks like now:

Next, we measured out the room and started space planning.  We will need the room to hold a lot of stuff (toys, clothes, and gear) and we need it to accomplish that task smoothly.  Next we asked what types of things aren’t working for us in that room.  As we said, we need to accomplish as much as possible before Littler K is born.

So, here’s the to do list:

  • Replace the moldings to match the ones we’ve been updating in the rest of the house.
  • Install new overhead lighting.
  • Fix the closet.
  • Paint the walls and pray that we don’t have another wallpaper situation!
  • Bring in the furniture and accessories!

We were shocked to realize that there was actually very little that needs to be done, as far as we can tell on the surface.  Right now, we’re thinking the floor plan will look like this:

It’s a tight fit but it looks like we’ll be able to get all the necessary furniture in there – and maybe a few fun extras!  We have Kasen’s bureau and changing table under a window and it helps to keep him distracted during diaper changes – we’ll do the same for Littler K.  The big wall will be perfect for the crib.  We’ll put a nice plush baby-friendly rug down to give the baby a soft surface to crawl/fall on.

The color pallette is not likely to be the same color pallete we pick for the bedroom -it was entirely random for the floor planning software.  We want to make some more progress on our Someday Patio before diving into Littler K’s bedroom, but we’ll consider this plan a good start!

Are we really this dirty?

After two years of living in our home, the carpet looked terrible.  Stains everywhere!  The poor carpet had held up to Gigi’s sensitive stomach, Kasen”s infant reflux, and our backyard mud pit (the someday patio), but it was showing some wear to say the least.

Kristin was convinced that we would have to live with it until we could afford to replace it.  Krister suggested we have the carpet professionally cleaned before we replaced the whole thing.  Kristin was still skeptical but agreed to give it a go!

Check out the stains:

We made an appointment with Stanley Steemer.  (We don’t get any swag for mentioning our experience with Stanley Steemer – we just want to share our experience.)  Our expectations were low, but we were pleased by how easy it was to get an appointment.  We found some coupon codes online to keep the price reasonable.  We had the living rooom and stairs cleaned and protected.  When the team came out to do the work, they tried to add on some deoderizing treatment (some of our pet visitors had accidents on the carpet and the team thought it would smell after cleaning).  We declined, figuring that spraying some Febreze over the carpet would do the job just fine.

We moved all the furniture out of the room so they could clean every inch.  The team showed up in the middle of the arrival window.  We watched them clean (we’re so curious!).  It was really iimpressive.  We could literally see the stains disappear before our eyes.

So clean!

We weren’t allowed to move the furniture back on the carpet for 24 hours while it dried.  We really couldn’t believe how much we use the living room; we had such a hard time living upstairs.  Fortunately, we’re TV lovers so we had something to do!

Our rug looked as good as new afterwards – and it was so much cheaper than ditching the carpet and starting from scratch.  We’re glad we skipped the deoderizing treatment.  We did spray the carpet down with Febreze after the team left, but we don’t think that was really even necessary.  The rug had a slight musty smell for a couple hours after the treatment, but it disappeared.  All we’re left with is a mighty clean carpet.

Retaining Wall Update

Well, we warned you that our posts were going to be few and far between in our last post…  but his was a bit longer than we expected!  We’ve been so busy growing a sibling for Kasen and preparing fellowship applications for Krister (it seems like only yesterday he was applying for residency), and our jobs have been abnormally crazy this month too!  But we’ve made a little bit of progress on the retaining wall and we’ve got some fun projects up our sleeves for the next few months.  Now, without further ado…

The retaining wall!

We’re down to the far end, only 10-15 feet from the wall we will connect it to!  Of course, then we have to lay the flagstone (and throw a PARTY!).

We are also happy to report that the pachysandra is filling in nicely on the side we’ve already finished:

We’ll update you more as it grows (like Kristin’s belly is!).

Buzz, Buzz

We have been quiet over here on K&K, but don’t be fooled.  We’ve been busy little worker bees.  We have been laying stone and concrete every chance we get; we just aren’t updating you every day, becuase, frankly, watching us slowly build a wall isn’t worth a whole bunch of blog posts.  That said, we have made some significant progress since our last post:

We took down  one of the half-pots, which was very exciting:

We also uncovered some of the buried pachysandra, which is starting to perk up:

If you’re interested in how we share the work, here’s how we break it up.  Krister handles laying the stone in the wall and pouring the concrete.  Kristin backfills the wall with gravel and, when Kasen is awake, takes care of the little guy so his Daddy can work.  Kasen loves to watch from his window and yell “Hi Dada!”

Now, back to work!

Alpha Beta

Sometimes it’s the accessories in a room that really brings it together.  Each layer adds a little customization that makes a house feel home-ier.  We added two little touches to Kasen’s room that personalize his room a bit more: an alpha(bet) and a beta (fish).

Since it’s been a while since we’ve shown you a view of Kasen’s room from the door, here’s a refresher of how it looked yesterday:

On top of the already-awesome-looking room, we added two accessories to his reading nook: a framed alphabet picture and a pillow featuring a red beta fish.  Here’s what the reading nook looks like after the new additions:

The alphabet picture used to hang in Krister’s childhood bedroom and was passed down to Kasen.  The alphabet is comprised of colonial figures bending and contorting to look like each letter.

We like adding a few touches with family significance to balance out all of the new furniture.  Actually, the stuffed animals on Kasen’s built-in bookshelves are also from Kristin’s & Krister’s childhood.

But on to things new…

Kristin spotted this adorable beta fish pillow case at West Elm – on sale – and knew immediately that it would be perfect for Kasen’s chair.  Kasen’s room has a fish theme and is packed with bold colors, so a red betta fish was perfect.

West Elm actually has a number of different fish pillows.  All very cute.  All on sale.

(Picture courtesy of West Elm.  P.S. We don’t receive any incentives to advertise West Elm.  We just like this pillow and want to tell you about it.)

Now Kasen’s room has another layer of adorable cuteness.  We’re sure it won’t be the last layer either!

Two Years

Can you believe it?  We’ve been calling our house “Home, Sweet Home” for two whole years.  How lucky are we?  Look at this beautiful place:

We love everything about it – its proximity to parks and shopping and our jobs, our wonderful neighbors, the gardens….  you name it.  Did we mention the pretty gardens?

Although sometimes it feels like we’re always under construction, would you believe the projects we’ve completed since moving in?

  1. We kicked off our home improvement blitz with the baby’s room: after months of trying to remove wallpaper, we finally gave him new walls, moldings, and carpet.  We painted, brought in new furniture, and remodelled the closet just in time for his arrival.  And a mere year and a half later, we finally gave him his built-in cabinets for his toys.
  2. We overhauled the master bedroom, including a new ceiling (bye-bye popcorn!), crown moldings, a homemade headboard, flowing curtains, and some fun decorative details.
  3. The garage went from old school to super modern after we ripped out all the old shelving, painted the concrete walls, and applied epoxy flooring.
  4. We updated the kitchen and living room with fresh paint and crown moldings.  We brightened the space up with recessed lighting in the living room and cozied our dining area with a chandelier that casts beautiful shadows on our ceiling.  We also pulled the valence off of our picture window in the front, which brought in more beautiful sunlight (and an even better view of the front yard).
  5. We remediated the leak in the sunroom and added new furniture and a patio door, for easy access to the backyard.
  6. And we don’t want to forget everyone’s favorite project: Our Someday Patio!  We dug out all the dirt and have a partially assembled wall.  Progress indeed!

We can’t help but reminisce about all the great memories we’ve made in the house.  We’ve hosted countless holiday celebrations and parties here- our baby shower, Kasen’s first birthday party, and Kristin’s annual “Mimosas and Coffeecake” party, to name a few.  We brought Kasen home from the hospital to this house and caught Gigi stealing food from him almost everyday since then.

And, for an idea of how the house has changed over the last two years, here are a couple pictures showing our progress:

(You can see the status of any room by going to our website and clicking on the name of the room you want to see.) 

You must expect that we’re far from done, of course!  We haven’t even touched the laundry room, any of the three bathrooms, the exercise room, the laundry room, the guest room, or the basement.  And the rooms we have been working on are far from finished! 

We’ve got big plans for them over the next year and you know we’ll keep you posted.  We can’t wait to see what the next year brings us, but we’re sure that nothing will be the same on our next home-ownership anniversary in 2013.

What’s Flowering Now? (Second View, June Edition)

With June we get the beautiful blooms on the hydrangeas, which are extra vibrant this year thanks to some hefty fertilizing and adding a piece of rebar to the soil (the rust helps with the blue color):

And look how well the grass is doing after the flooding from a couple of weeks ago:

The ground covers around the mailbox are also filling in nicely, despite the road work being done on our street, which kicks up a lot of dust and dirt.  The wisteria has grown much farther up the lamp post too.  We can’t wait until it makes it up to the sign post.


Last, but certainly not least, a picture of our yard would not be the same without a picture of the stone deliveries we’ve been getting for our retaining wall out back, since this is a scene we’re getting quite used to these days! (Do pardon our cell phone/Instagram photo filter.)

Happy June everyone!

We see the light!

We see a much prettier light, now that we’ve actually paid some attention to our lamp post garden.

What did we do? We…

  • Weeded (a lot);
  • Filled in the empty space with some ground covers;
  • Planted a wisteria to grow up the lamp post;
  • Added a border to the lamp post garden with granite cobblestones;
  • Painted the sign post that attaches to the light post; and
  • Put up an awesome sign.

Here’s a before:

and After!

The sign was an awesome buy from The Freckled Owl Studio on Etsy.

The shop did an excellent job and even was willing to give us a beautiful double-sided sign to hang from the lamp post.  It’ll look even awesomer when the wisteria has grown up the lamp post more.  And it is growing fast!  Look at all the new growth:

And the wisteria will hopefully (f we trim it properly, according to this website) have beautiful purple flowers, which will match the purple flowers on the various ground covers that live at the bottom of the lamp post:

…and those ground covers look totally awesome with the granite cobblestones:

And a view from it as you drive up the street:

We love it!  Especially our lovely sign.  Have any of you scored anything extra awesome on Etsy recently?

It’s Like Building a Pyramid.

…because you have to move a lot of stone.  And move a lot of stone we did.

Without delay, here’s how the retaining wall looks after the 3-day weekend:

As a reminder, this is how it looked after last weekend:

Now, let’s admire our hard work from another angle:

It’s only about half as tall as it will be (hopefully) when we’re done.  Now, let’s zoom in for a close up:

You can (sorta) see that the wall leans back – into the hill mountain – and that’s intentional.  It helps the wall combat the weight of the hill.  That and the concrete we’re using as mortar.

Now we’re just counting down the minutes until we can build some more!