ALL POSTS TAGGED "renovation"

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Love It or List It‘s David Visentin and Hilary Farr are here to help!

Love It or List It hosts

Have a question about buying or selling a house? What about renovation projects? Submit all questions to hgtvmagazine@hearst.com with the subject line Love It or List It for a chance to have your answer appear in an upcoming issue. ONLY questions received via email will be considered. Must include full name and hometown.

  • Tell Your Friends

Love It or List It‘s David Visentin and Hilary Farr are here to help!

Love It or List It hosts

Have a question about buying or selling a house? What about renovation projects? Submit all questions to hgtvmagazine@hearst.com with the subject line Love It or List It for a chance to have your answer appear in an upcoming issue. ONLY questions received via email will be considered. Must include full name and hometown.

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Do you ever get the feeling that things would be so much easier if you just had a totally-not-evil twin? If I did, I would dispatch said stylish twin to do half the home projects I had planned, leaving me to actually accomplish the other half. You see, we’ve been enjoying spring at our new house, as well as planting, raking and building flower beds (more on that later!). All this has left our bedroom project languishing a little.

But aside from amassing inspiration and used furniture, we did make one big update: After months of sleeping on the floor, we finally have a new vantage point, in the form of this Danish modern-style bed:

Modern Bedroom in Progress

Miles enjoys his new view.

Actually having a centerpiece for the room has motivated me to finish the makeover. This weekend, we’ll be painting the walls a warm gray shade, and adding accents in green, turquoise and yellow. (Sorry, tangerine fans, the brighter palette won out.)

Bedroom Color Palette Reveal

I’ll keep you posted on the progress! To see more about my inspiration for this room, follow my bedroom design board on Pinterest.

Bedroom Pinterest Board

My bedroom inspiration board on Pinterest

Read Liz’s previous House Diaries posts here and follow her home inspiration board on Pinterest.

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As most of you know, our sunroom has been the biggest current project in the Loechner Lair, and I’m happy to report that after a few snafus and some scheduling conflicts, we now have progress to share (did that rhyme? I think it did!)!:

Sunroom Renovation Drywall Progress - Erin Loechner

Well worth the wait!

Yes, that is a fully, 100% drywalled space. Are you starting to envision how beautiful it will be when finished? A vast improvement from the insulated room we shared just over a month ago, yes? We’ve tackled the electrical and finished spraying our insulation, so our renovation goal checklist for the room is coming along just swimmingly.
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Some surprises you get with a new house can be less than positive. They can range from annoying (Surprise! The sellers left a giant oil painting of a quarterback in the attic.) to slightly more horrifying (Oh look, the faucet suddenly has no water pressure!), but luckily, there are lots of good surprises too.

Good surprise exhibit A: Discovering the new-to-us garden. Since the yard thinks its spring (It was 70 degrees yesterday…in February.), each day we’re seeing new bits of green shooting out of the ground. And almost every day, a different flower pops out. Of course, as gardening novices, we have to run to a flower book (or to the all-knowing HGTV gardening editor, Marie) to identify most of them.

Everything from crocuses…

Purple crocuses

Freshly-sprouted purple crocuses

…to daffodils…

Yellow daffodils

Yellow daffodils, after the rain

…to rambling vinca. And more is popping up every day!

Purple vinca

Vinca major

Read Liz’s previous House Diaries posts here and follow her home inspiration board on Pinterest.

What surprised you most (good or bad) about your first house? Tell me in the comments below.

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Last week, I shared photos of my embarrassingly bare bedroom. (Remember that mattress on the floor? I certainly do.)  Since sprucing it up is our first real project, I’ve spent hours upon hours this week holding up paint chips and scouring Pinterest for THE perfect shades. Besides getting a really great arm workout (fan decks can get mighty heavy…), I’ve managed to narrow the field down to two possible palettes.

Our master bathroom has ’50s-era aqua tile that’s not going anywhere anytime soon, so I wanted to incorporate that color into the bedroom palette to create a cohesive look. Overall, I”m looking for a modern natural feel, with flashes of bright colors alongside more muted hues. Which do you prefer?

Palette 1: Energetic Greens
I’m a little obsessed with yellow, so it’s not surprising that this look-at-me hue made into one of my palettes as an accent color. Chartreuse and aqua give this look a vintage feel, while warm neutrals keep it feeling modern.

Teal Green Yellow Gray PalettePillows via Coastal Living; bedding from Urban Outfitters

Palette 2:  Tangerine Dreams
Tangerine  (Pantone’s color of the year!) and aqua are color wheel opposites, but they’re a classic combination. I love the idea of bringing in a bright orange, vintage leather chair as an accent piece. Soft mocha paint (or a subtly-patterned wallpaper) would make the walls warm and inviting.

Orange Teal Red Bedroom PalettePeaches via Laura Vegas; Chair from Rate My Space contributor NYDesignGuy

Which color swatch should I use? Cast your vote in the comments below!

Read Liz’s previous House Diaries posts here and follow her home inspiration board on Pinterest.

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Yep, it’s finally time: We’ve chosen our first home improvement project. So, what will it be, you say? I’ve showed you my 5 least favorite home features. I’ve lamented about my completely paneled room. But none of those things made the first project list. Why? Because right now, our master bedroom (embarrassingly) looks like this:

Liz - House Diaries - Bedroom

Yep, this is it.

Yes, it’s a mattress on the floor. Our previous bed frame couldn’t handle another move, so we said RIP and decided to start fresh in the new house. And then there’s this sad little area:

Bedroom Messy Dresser

A clothing "vignette."

Needless to say, this room needs some TLC.  But since it’s our first project, we’re focusing more on cosmetics than the bones of the house, which will give us a chance to bulk up our DIY muscles. Plus, Josh and I figure that we’ll appreciate having a sanctuary away from the dust and chaos when we’re peeling up orange carpeting and sanding walls in the rest of the house.  So what do we have in store for the room?

So far, we’re thinking  a relaxed, modern natural theme…

Natural Modern Bedroom

Design by Jennifer Jones

…with a DIY ombre-painted dresser….

Ombre Dressers

Ombre dressers, clockwise from right, from Norske Interior Blogger, Finn Juhl via the Midcentury Modernist and Primitive and Proper

…a chic, minimalist vanity….

Vanity Inspiration

Design by Claire Bock

…and a (homemade!) plush upholstered headboard.

Upholstered Headboard

Modern upholstered headboard with bedding by Dwell Studio

The rest of the plan, including what to do about that carpeting, is still in the works. Next stop: Paint colors!  What would you do in this room? What was your first project in your first house? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Read Liz’s previous House Diaries posts here and follow her home inspiration board on Pinterest.

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I have a serious confession to make: I actually like paneling. Yep, It’s true. I know what people are saying behind paneling’s back (or maybe in front of its face): “It darkens a room” and “It dates the space” not to mention “It’s hideous.” I wasn’t always a fan. In fact, when I  first stepped inside the combination living room/dining room/kitchen of the home I fell in love with, I thought, “This paneling will be the first thing to go.”

Living room with knotty pine wood paneling

The living room paneling, pre-move in.

But after living with it for a few months, I’ve changed my tune a little. Maybe it’s the nature-lover in me. Maybe it’s in my genes (My dad makes live-edge furniture, so I’ve always loved to see wood in its natural state.) All I know is, I no longer shudder when I walk into the room. And since the huge windows give this space tons of light, it doesn’t seem too den-like. (Don’t worry, I’m still not a fan of this kind of paneling.)

Knotty pine paneling

Paneling, front and center.

While I don’t want to ditch it completely, I do want to modernize it a bit. Even adding colorful mod furniture and art, like Genifer Sohr did below in her home,  creates a “modern cabin” feel that I like.

Knotty pine modern office

Photo by Tec Petaja for Design Sponge

However, while I like the visible wood grain, I’m not as big of a fan of the color. I’d love to sand it down to its just-cut state and finish it with a UV-protecting finish to give it a more Scandinavian look, like Swedish architect Per Bornstein did in his knotty pine-happy home in Sweden.

Knotty pine living room paneling

Design by Swedish achitect Per Bornstein; photo by Pia Ulin for Dwell

Natural-hued knotty pine also lends itself well to both modern

Knotty pine paneled living room

Design by UNI Architects via Remodelista

…and more eclectic furnishings (I’d like to do a mix.)

Eclectic knotty pine living room

Design by Blackman Cruz; Photo by Timothy Street-Porter for Elle Decor

What would you do? Paint it, stain it, leave it natural or tear it out completely? Tell me your take.

Read Liz’s previous House Diaries posts here and follow her home inspiration board on Pinterest.

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I did it: I made The List. In an ambitious fervor that could have only been brought on by the combination of a new house, a new year and a long weekend, I galloped from room to room writing down everything I wanted to do, short term and long term, at my new home. (Believe me, there’s lots to be done.)

When I finished the double-sided, multi-columned list, I learned three things: 1) I really need to send more handwritten letters (it took my wrist several hours to un-cramp), 2) There’s a ridiculous amount I want to accomplish, and 3) I need a room-by-room, concrete plan.

Right now, I’m prioritizing The List (like many of you said I should), but I’m also doing something a little more fun: Scouring the web for inspiration. Here are some of my go-to renovation blogs and resources — check ‘em out, then tell me your faves!

Real Renovations at HGTVRemodels

Justine Rubin and Robin Finch's charcoal kitchen on HGTVRemodels

Real Renovations on HGTVRemodels
Okay, I’m a little biased since this is HGTV’s  newest sister site, but what I love are the amazing remodels from real homeowners — like this kitchen in Justine Rubin and Robin Finch’s airy home. (Plus, check out our blogger Bryan Patrick Flynn’s amazing basement remodel.)

Erin and Ken Loechner - Dining Room

Erin and Ken Loechner's finished dining room

Erin and Ken Loechner’s Scandinavian Reno
It’s been so inspiring to watch Erin and Ken’s Scandinavian-inspired reno unfold right here on Design Happens. Even though I’m planning to use quite a bit more color in my home, I love their DIY spirit and the way they transform ordinary objects into chic designer accessories — plywood stockings, anyone?

Young House Love

What a lovely living room! Photo via Young House Love

YoungHouseLove
It’s easy to see why this renovation blog is super-popular — homeowners Sherry and John write not only about their successes (like their blue-and-green living room) but also their not-so-successful projects (their greenish-yellow living room.) Plus, they’ve already remodeled one house — if they can do it, I can too!

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Every week, decorating and entertaining editor Liz Gray will write about the highs and lows of remodeling her first home. Read her first post for more details.

In many ways, buying a house is like starting a brand new relationship: You meet the house, fall for the house and spend hours thinking about how great it is. But a couple of months in, once the boxes are unpacked, you start to notice the little things — like the design equivalent of realizing that your shiny new significant other puts the toilet paper roll on upside down (for those wondering, the paper goes under.)

After living in my house for two months, I’ve realized certain things bother me more than others. (Surprisingly, the wall-to-wall paneling in the main living area didn’t make the list.) I’m counting down the  top 5 design crimes I’m itching to fix ASAP — which do you think is the worst offender?

#5: Grandma’s Wallpaper
We hated this so much that we started stripping it the second day we moved in. The equally ugly coordinating border is still up, but its days are numbered.

Floral Wallpaper

Buh-bye, floral wall and border!

#4: Stairway to Ugly
Okay, the entire second floor hallway is covered in burnt orange carpeting. Okay, it looks like it’s been hanging out here since the late ’70s. Not the worst part. My biggest pet peeve is this staircase:

Faded Orange 70s Carpeting

Orange carpeting, don't bother to write.

Sun from the picture windows has faded the rise of each step, leaving behind a seriously depressing yellow hue. On the other hand: It was ombre before it was cool, right?

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Oh man, I love a good excuse to make a list. What better time to write down our renovation goals than January of this fresh new year? Ken and I have an insane amount of work to do, but we’re also pretty proud of how far we’ve come. Take a look at what’s on our to-do list this year, and be sure to check back every Wednesday as we mark things off.

The dining room, oddly enough, is one of our most finished rooms. Just a few things left to do before we can call it officially done!

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

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It’s still sinking in: In 2011, I bought a house.  My first house. A beautiful, 1957 tri-level home with lots of windows, an open floor plan and an amazing walk-in closet. But, it’s also a dated home with contact paper-covered cabinets and faded orange carpeting, not to mention a room full of paneling. In other words: In 2012, I’m going to be busy.

Liz Gray House From Road

Luckily, I have help. My boyfriend Josh shares my DIY spirit and love of all things mod. (We’re still figuring out how to get our hybrid corgie-bulldog-mystery puppy, Miles, to help us peel off wallpaper. Bacon grease? )

Josh and Liz at 60s Themed Party

Josh and I at a 1960s-themed party. Guest starring: my bouffant 'do. Photo by Jennifer Harper

Miles With Stick

Miles at play. Sticks > wallpaper.

Each week, I’ll share our progress, from room-by-room moodboards to finished projects to dramatic before-and-afters. I hope you’ll follow along! To keep it all in perspective, I’m making a few more promises, resolution-style. I pledge to…

Make Progress Every Week… I’ll do something to better my house every week, big or small.

But Don’t Expect It to Happen Overnight. As any homeowner probably knows and I’m about to find out…it’s a marathon, not a track meet. ‘Nuff said.

Appreciate the Good… I’ll remember every day, even when I’m covered in bits of popcorn ceiling and shreds of tiny floral wallpaper, what made me want this place. Things like waking up to this every morning:

New House Sunrise

Sunrise from master bedroom

And Tolerate the Bad. There’s plenty of design wrongs to be righted in this house (more on that later) but I can live with all of them…for now.  It will build character, right?

Get Input From You. Yes, you! I’ll need your help along the way to tell me if my color palettes look totally crazy and help me choose which lamp is the right one.  Right off the bat: Any tips on getting rid of those last few boxes?

‘Till next week…

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Our sunroom deadline has come and gone (clearly we have increasingly poor time management skills), but I still wanted to check in to share our progress. After all, it’s not every day you see a transformation from bare studs to framing, windows, doors and siding – in just under a month! Indeed, a lot has changed since our last video tour!

And with that, we’re off to prepare for some insulation magic! We’ll check in with another video update next month – complete with finished drywall and insulation. In other words, it will almost look liveable! My estimate? We’ll be completely finished by February. But you all know exactly how my estimates work….

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t spend a few minutes showing gratitude for this crazy renovation that has been trying, rewarding, surprising and endlessly satisfying. And after a quick walk down memory lane (including my Thanksgiving post from last year!), I realized I owe an enormous thank you to you, readers, for experiencing this adventure with us.

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

It's been a long road since these days...

So, in an effort to share my endless appreciation for the support, comments, encouragement and more that you have all shared in our quest for renovation finish line, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite renovating moments – and a few I’m thankful are behind us!

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

I still get butterflies when I see this table!

1. Building A Dining Room Table
I’ve dreamed of a massive farmhouse table for years and years, so to own one (that was handmade by Ken!) is such a treat. I love that we can host our entire families – and then some – for family functions, impromptu dinners and random game nights. Isn’t that what makes a house a home?

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

Still a work in progress, but such an improvement!

2. Nearly Finishing Our Laundry Room
Yes, you haven’t seen an update in a bit because we haven’t progressed on our finishing touches, but I can’t begin to explain how grateful we are for a working washer/dryer. Earlier in our renovation days (remember this?!), we dreamed of the moment we could wash our rags, sweatshirts and rugs in a machine on-site. And to have our laundry machines in a room we paneled ourselves? Icing on the cake.

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

My bright and sunny office.

3. A Working Office
I spend so, so much time behind the computer, so having a working, inspiring office has been such a blessing this year. Long gone are the days when I’d work at coffee shops while Ken power drilled his way through studs and drywall!

4. Our Kitchen Makeover
I’m so proud of the space planning, lighting and architectural changes we made in this kitchen. Plus? Our wallets (and waistlines!) are loving that we don’t have to order take-out and delivery during huge remodeling projects. Bonus all around!

And, of course… a few memories I’m grateful to bid adieu to – forever!

1. Mold Remediation in the Basement
This one needs no further explanation, right? Ugh.

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

I am sooooo thankful this is over!

2. Siding our Exterior
Oh my goodness. The heat! The math! The torturous 12-day project! I am so, so grateful that we never, ever have to side our house again. (Knock on fiber cement!)

3. Living in Two Places
I’ll be honest – as blessed as we were to live offsite during part of our renovation, it was really, really difficult. I’m so happy to be living in our own home – even amidst renovation dust and chaos. Nothing beats the joy of being in a space that you’ve built for yourself!

As for future gratitude, I’ll be endlessly thankful when our sunroom project is done, our basement makeover is underway and all of the finishing touches throughout the rest of the home are in place.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! What are you thankful for this year?

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We’ve had some crazy beautiful weather in our neck of the woods, which makes our sunroom renovation that much more enjoyable! Of course, there have been some kinks along the way (one of which we’ll share in the below video), but things are looking up. Care to see our progress — including a rendering of what we’re hoping for?

We’re still finalizing our furniture decisions – what do you guys think? Husband is leaning toward bench seating under each window, but I’d rather have a sectional seating arrangement (with ottomans) and a bistro table by the fireplace. Help! (And when I say help, I really mean convince Husband that I’m right. Right?)

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OK, friends, I’m going to get real with you today. Because the fact of the matter is that during a renovation, your home becomes a war zone. And because my dear husband and I can’t handle living among shambles, we’ve designated one area to unload all miscellaneous tools, paraphernalia, and… well, junk. That area, friends, is our garage. Exhibit A:

Garage Organization- Erin Loechner

The dreaded before.

Oh dear. I cannot believe I just shared that image with you. All of you. Goodness gracious. Please be kind to me, Internet. Because for the past year, we’ve treated our garage like a landfill. I’m just as horrified as you are. Trust me.

And although I dream of a glistening, organized garage someday, I know that, realistically, we’ve still got a long way to go before that day arrives. After all, we still have a full sunroom and basement renovation ahead of us, and I’m quite sure our garage will become the holding zone for drywall, beams and plywood.

Garage Organization- Erin Loechner

Yep, still embarrassed.

Still, there is no excuse to live in such utter chaos. So a few days ago, Ken and I tackled a serious clean-out extravaganza. I won’t tell you everything we unearthed, but I will say the list included an abandoned art project, half-used bottles of hand sanitizer and much, much more.

Luckily, we also stumbled upon the previous homeowners’ kitchen cabinets that we knew we’d saved for a reason. With zero investment and a few nails, Ken and I now have a fully functioning closed storage solution for paint, tools and renovation supplies. Wanna see it?
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Ken and I must really like you guys, because today we’re showing you our home’s greatest embarrassment: the sunroom. Promise you won’t judge us, OK?


We can’t wait to transform this space into an extension of our existing living room and an additional seating area for entertaining. Be sure to check back as we make progress in the next few months!

Tell me, friends, what would you do with this space? Are we on the right track?

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You remember our laundry room, right? The second scariest room in our entire home? (Don’t worry, you’ll see the first – our sunroom – next month!)

Laundry Room Makeover- Erin Loechner

Still in progress, but a vast improvement.

Well. I’m pleased to announce that our laundry room is no longer scary. Not even a bit. And in case you need a visual reminder, here’s the before, photographed last winter:

Laundry Room Makeover- Erin Loechner

The frightening before...

…and a progress shot, photographed today:

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“Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.”
-Author Unknown

I had a bit of a nervous breakdown this weekend. With the impending move (the first weekend in April—yes!) and out-of-state guests coming for an extended stay in mid-April, I furiously took stock of each item on our ever-growing to-do list.

Our in-progress guest bedroom, complete with missing door handle, unfinished trim and an uncovered switch plate.

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Look at our beautiful cabinets!

A few days ago, our cabinet guy (the proper term, I’m sure) finished installing our lower cabinetry and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Cabinets were one of the few jobs we chose to hire out, mostly because dear Ken is a massive perfectionist (if you didn’t realize from our flooring debacle!) and we’re both aware that building precise kitchen cabinets ourselves would call for an estimated move-in date of July. In 2018.

I should tell you up front that these cabinets are not what they seem. They’re insanely special, fully equipped with slow-close hinges. Fancy, yes? I’ve been repeatedly slamming them since they were installed last week, completely in awe of how magically slow they close (even when faced with full force bashing from me)!

We chose all-white kitchen cabinets (surprised?) to flow seamlessly with our Pure White Caesarstone countertops. In fact, the countertops are being fabricated as I type this and I am bubbling over with excitement. Until they’re ready, of course, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of the kitchen layout and design as it is today:

Ready, Set, Peek!

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