The Swanky Hen

God Made. Jesus Saved. Texas Raised. Crazy Wife. Hot Mess Mommy.

Remodel Chronicles Vol 1 — March 22, 2019

Remodel Chronicles Vol 1

Looking back, I can’t pinpoint what it was that made me say yes to this house. We had looked at so many places and nothing was working. This place had all we “needed” in the house and bonus … the land. We weren’t sure that land would be in the budget, but with this place we were able to make it work. I’m still not sure we should have because its so much work, but I am sure that once the work is done, we will be thankful for the beautiful 23 acres.

Overall the house was in good shape, but it needed some updates. I knew I wanted to update paint, flooring, and light fixtures, but there were also some bigger problems to tackle.

First was the kitchen. Whew … it was little. My main goal was to open the space, bring in some light, and create an area where I could enjoy cooking and spending time with my family. That meant taking down a wall. Opening the space completely changed the house. After we removed the wall (not as easy as it looks on TV) I updated the counter tops, added an overhang to allow seating at the new island, added shiplap, open shelving, and new facing on all cabs and drawers. I went with light and natural tones to try and keep it bright. Removing the wall meant losing lots of uppers so we built a large corner shelf to make up for the loss. The focal point of the kitchen is by far the vent hood cover. It is exactly what I wanted and turned out perfectly. I love the space we were able to create and the changes we made.

 

The guest bath was also in need of some love. It had been updated, but it was dark and not for me. We removed the dark wall tile and added some light shiplap. I updated the vanity and added some new fixtures to create a space that was more our style. I love this sweet little bathroom and that’s a good thing because the master bathroom is still in progress …

We love the way the house is turning out and still have a list of things to accomplish. I met with a new contractor this week to discuss the finishing touches. This project took a lot longer than expected due to a plethora of challenges, but slowly it is becoming home.

 

DEMO DAY — March 20, 2019

DEMO DAY

When Chip yells, “DEMO DAY” it looks super fun … right? I think it appears that way because he only does it for a little bit and it is fun … for a little bit. Then the crew comes in and Chip goes onto something else.


I admit, there is something quite therapeutic about busting tile, knocking down sheet rock and making a big old mess. My kids loved it! I only got to take part in the fun for about a week before I had surgery. After that I was sidelined from the whole demo situation. That was a shame because there was still a lot of demo to be done. Once the contractors stepped in to help my husband things went quickly. After the walls are down, the tile is busted, wires are exposed, and it looks like a shell instead of a house it gets a little spooky. That moment of, “what did we do” creeps up on you in a hurry and it gets rather easy to wonder if the process will ever end.

Just like many remodel projects, when you tear into something you often find another problem that needs to be addressed. You also might have great design ideas that create more work in the long run. It was easy to tear things out, but it is not easy to put things back together, especially if you have a picky customer, like me. In all reality, most things went quite smoothly, but the things we thought would be easy created the most frustration.

I was sure that tearing out the wall in the kitchen was going to cause problems. We knew it was ok structurally, but I was worried about electrical, sheet rock, and everything else that could go wrong or cause issues. It went smoothly and my husband completed nearly the entire project on his own. The electrician and the granite installers were the only professionals that helped him tackle the project. We also hired plumbers for the project and I shouldn’t leave them out, it was just bad. I think the guys were new to plumbing because my husband had to tell them how to install the faucet, it was that bad. Everything in the kitchen went as planned and there were no major hiccups.

The guest bathroom was another issue, major case of hiccups. Once the old vanity was removed and the new vanity was installed we discovered that the tile had not been installed in all areas of the bathroom and we had some 1980’s leno shining through in my new design plan. The plumbers I mentioned before also struggled in the bathroom. They left the job with exposed blue pex pipe in my bright white newly remodeled bathroom. It was so bad that I cried. Not only were they very slow and extremely expensive, the work was not good. We paid them and moved on. My husband came up with an idea that fit perfectly in my design and we were also surprised to find some matching tile out in an old storage shed on the property. The issues were resolved and we moved forward.

The never-ending DEMO DAY is still ongoing in our master bathroom. Some issues you don’t see until you pull back the layers. We found out that the drain was done incorrectly when the home was built and we have to have the concrete jack hammered out and new plumbing installed. AKA … this is why you haven’t seen any pictures of the master bathroom. It has a beautiful new door that stays closed and I am praying it is complete soon!

What was the biggest issue what we have dealt with? What do you think? I never would have guessed that the most stressful and maddening issue in the entire remodel would be the ceilings. Seriously … the ceiling? YES!!! THE CEILING! UGH … On my list: remove popcorn, remove florescent lights, add can lights, move a couple of fixtures, remove skylights, sheet rock skylight holes, hole from previous wall, new texture and paint. We hired it all out too, y’all! It wasn’t like we were in here playing construction crew. We hired a crew with references and great photos to come knock it out. It was so rough … more crying. Aside from just generally doing bad work they also sprayed texture all over every window in the house, the antique stove, showers, it was everywhere. There wasn’t a room in the house that looked good. Here is another mistake we made that you can all learn from. I was still not able to get around well and I couldn’t be here to check the work. They finished after hours on a Friday and it was dark with only a few spotlights for Jason to check work with. Insert contractor sob story (love y’all … but all of you a lot of you do it) “It’s Friday and I have to get the cash to pay my guys, we can come back and do touch ups”. Don’t do it, don’t fall for it … poof they are gone. Then you walk into your house in the light the next day and loose your ever-loving mind!! Like … HULK OUT … then remember you are a Christian and you can’t hulk. UGH! After this experience we hired another guy to come in and re-do the ceilings. This next guy was a good kid and he was a jack of many trades, but I don’t know that texture and painting were his strong points. Our bedrooms and bathrooms all look fine, no major issues. The focal point of my house, the living room, dining room, and kitchen are not ok. In certain light it looks alright, but to anyone that knows sheet rock and texture or even to an untrained eye in good lighting, its just REAL BAD! At this point we were really done with the ceiling, done with contractors and we needed a place to live. We moved in knowing that we will have to re-do the texture and pain in the main living space of the house at some point in the future. I’m praying that it is at a point when we are gone on a week long vacation because I just can’t with the dust anymore.

So what do you think? Do you want to tear out some walls and get busy? DEMO DAY!! The demo is fun, but the putting it back together part, not so much. I can firmly conclude that I will gladly take part in demo day on future projects, but reputable contractors will be taking it from there. The best part is that is was another project under our belts and more lessons learned. Previous projects we have tackled have not involved as many design and functionality issues, but I learned from each challenge and every frustration. Here’s to another demo day … hopefully coming soon! (NOT AT MY HOUSE) hahahah!!

Focus on what you love — March 18, 2019

Focus on what you love

What are some of your favorite things to do? I might be wrong, but I don’t think many will answer, “stare at my phone”. Even though its not something most of us want to admit, how much time are you spending looking at your phone each day?

I have spent the last few years focused on marketing and a lot of that focus is centered around social media. I was constantly working on posts, creating content, studying competitors, trends and was completely engrossed in social media. Since it was a big focus at work I got my fill of it there. I scrolled occasionally, but it wasn’t something I was doing a lot outside of work. Now that I am out of that world and especially since I spent a few months sick, I found myself spending too much time on social media, particularly Facebook.

I’m not going to hate on social media, I think its great! I love sharing photos and seeing my friends posts! It’s all great! Great until you are constantly pulling out your phone to mindlessly scroll. Sitting in a doctors office, the park, car trips, family time, before bed, when you wake up, when are you scrolling? I decided that I didn’t want to be scrolling anymore, I wanted to look up and focus on what is important to me. If you ask me to make a list of what is important my phone does’t make the cut . I like social media and I’m not getting rid of it, but I did get rid of Facebook on my phone. It’s been a relief, y’all! That right there was proof enough that I needed it. I still have insta and my page manager app, but no mindless scrolling on Facebook at every quiet moment. I check it a couple times a week on the computer and that is perfect for me.

I’m not sharing to tell anyone else they need to get rid of their Facebook app, but I would say that we should evaluate what we are spending our time on. Last week I spent spring break on fun adventures with my boys. Everywhere we went there were people with their heads down, looking at their phones. We aren’t living in the moment. We are so obsessed with reading about other peoples lives that we aren’t living our own.

My oldest noticed that I haven’t been on my phone as much and he sealed the deal that I was spending too much time mindlessly scrolling during downtime. Last week he said, “Mom, you haven’t looked at your phone as much lately”. I agreed and told him that I got rid of the Facebook app on my phone because I didn’t want to be on it as much. He said, “I like that, you are just looking at everything around us now, not at your phone”. They notice, y’all! It might just be on a park bench while they play, or while you are waiting at a doctors office, maybe during a movie night, but they notice! Look up and see what is going on around you, I promise its better than whatever is on your phone!

I challenge you to evaluate how much time you spend on your phone. Could you benefit from a little less? I don’t feel like I’m missing out on a thing just checking my Facebook like we did pre-iPhone … on a computer … dark ages, right? I see the highlights, but my highlight reel is my own life. What do you want to focus on?

I decided I wanted to spend my time living in the moment with my family. In the down time I want to read my bible, read books, grow and challenge myself. I’ll still be checking in occasionally on my private FB account, but don’t use that as a way to communicate with me! You might end up feeling ignored and it will be by complete accident! Watch for cute pictures of my kids and other adventures on Instagram. (side note: handy little button on insta shares those photos with you guys in Facebook land too)