House Update: April Projects

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I have a new-found appreciation for home DIY bloggers. Working on a house as you're living in it and somehow finding the time to blog about it as well is no easy feat. That said, we've been in our house for almost a month now, so it's high time for an update! I'm hoping to get better at these update posts because it's really encouraging to see a list of everything we've done, especially since it can feel like we're hardly accomplishing anything at times. We're doing the majority of the work ourselves, so things move much slower than they would if we had a general contractor and crew involved.

Our big project since moving in has been the kitchen. We went back and forth on which room to start working on first and, up until we moved in, we thought we'd begin with the bedrooms and bathrooms. We quickly realized the current kitchen had to go sooner rather than later. The quirky brown 1960s appliances were barely functioning and, if we were going to rip the appliances out, we may as well rip the whole room out. That paneling had to go, regardless!

So that's what we did.

It only took 8 hours to tear the entire room down to the studs. Mark was on sledgehammer duty and I was the clean-up crew, hauling wood and nails outside to the truck and then carrying it off to the landfill. We took everything out: cabinets, appliances, paneling, and flooring. It went fast and was very exciting since it made such a HUGE difference in such a short amount of time.

Once the kitchen was tore out, we were able to get a better idea of the layout we wanted. Our goal from the beginning has been to create an open concept layout between the kitchen, dining, and living room. We took the wall between the kitchen and living room and are in the process of removing the wall that separates the dining room. That one is a lot trickier since it is load-bearing and will require a header or beam to support the ceiling there. We also realized that we would need to remove one of the windows in the kitchen to maximize the space for appliances.

Here are a few before & after shots:

The two photos above are looking from the kitchen into the dining room. We removed the pantry, but the rest of the wall will have to wait since it's the load bearing portion. I'm absolutely in love with the amount of light that came pouring into the kitchen once that wall was removed....and that's only a portion of it!! Eventually there will be a peninsula island that separates the kitchen from the rest of the dining area so we can keep enjoying the natural light from the front windows.

Again with the light! The closed in rooms and paneling made the house very dark, but there's so much natural light available once the walls came down. A friend told me that you always love a house more when you renovate or build it, and it's so true! I think putting our blood, sweat, and tears into this house forces us to love it more! I find myself walking into the kitchen area and thinking, "It's just so pretty!" even though it's a complete disaster right now. I've definitely got my rose-colored glasses on at the moment.

The next big undertaking is painting the bedrooms and hallway. I knew before we moved in that I wanted white on the walls, but choosing the right white has been torturous. It's literally one of the hardest colors to choose because of the way lighting and undertones affect the color. I finally settled on Site White by Sherwin Williams which has a barely-there gray tint to it. Because we're painting the entire interior in this color, I spent an arm and a leg to purchase 10 gallons for the whole house (and I'm still not convinced that'll be enough). Mark hates painting, so this job has fallen to me. I don't mind it (taping is what gets my blood pressure up) as long as I can turn on some music and just zone out. Plus, it means Mark can spend time on kitchen-related things while I paint, which is GREAT since I am so so so ready to have a kitchen again!

Now that we're past big things like demo'ing, it seems like progress has stalled but it's mostly because there are so many behind-the-scenes little projects (like wiring and plumbing) that need to get done that aren't nearly as exciting. I remind myself every day to just enjoy the mess and the process. It's going to take time, but we're going to love it once it's finished.

You can follow more of our progress on Instagram @whit_torres and under #cubanspicedhome.

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  1. Looks great! Can't wait to see what u guys do! �� Christy Hockaday

  2. Can't wait to see the end result!! So exciting, thanks for sharing!! We are living a similar life-- kitchenless and had a hard time picking the perfect white too. I learned that the color temperature of your lights makes a huge difference too. We ended up with Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace and I love it!


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