Polished Concrete Floors

     Sometimes progress feels like “no pain no gain” and looks like “lipstick on a pig”.  My vision of forcing the home to be ready at the end of May has come and gone.  But we are close.  Right now all work has stopped for this week because the concrete floor guys are doing their grinding and whatever else it is they do to make beautiful polished concrete floors.  Here is the progress:

Have I told you I think whoever lived in this house before we bought it had foam parties?  Something weird went on here – nothing would surprise me.  From naked people knobs on the kitchen cabinets to the weird paint job on the floor.  Its almost like they first took a big bottle of Elmers Glue and spread it all over the floors AND the doors and then painted on top of it – some of it in squiggly lines and some of it looks like a feeble attempt at Aztec art.  All kinds of weird lines and goop.  So the floors guys have to grind down the floors to get back to a nice, pretty sub floor – kind of like this:


 We closed in the door to the Master Bedroom – for privacy, light control and better furniture placement in the bedroom.   You might also remember we removed the funky window and it is now framed and just open – it provides a lot of nice light to the living room.  The sun room hasn’t been painted yet, but it does have all new windows and the new French  door was delivered yesterday – we had to special order it to have an out-swing door.  Who wants an in-swing door?  Hmmmm…

Ok, so moving along to the living room.  We have replaced the front door that was basically eaten away by termites – luckily the termites did not invade anywhere else in the house.  We tore out the fireplace and added the wood paneling to the entire room.  Baseboards have been installed (love!) and crown molding should be installed and painted next week after the floors are finished. 

And now…


And now…

My world feels a little crazy when I see things like this:

And this… 

But this too shall pass, right?


Happy Accidents

I was at the “Chimpanzee” movie on Wednesday with Daughter’s 4th grade class and was getting a bunch of text messages and voicemails from Mr. Contractor.  Turns out the painters painted the Master Bedroom the bathroom color – whoops!   He wanted to make sure how I felt about it before they painted over it.  I hurried over and decided it looked so pretty in Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue that I would leave it!  The rest of the interior is Benjamin Moore Marscapone – the trim and doors will be a half blend of the same color.  What a difference a coat of paint makes.  It is SO fun to see my design choices come to life – and even more fun to love them.  Here is a photo of the Happy Accident progress:

The Master Bathroom has also received a coat of Palladian Blue paint.  I think this is the most perfect shade of blue – it has hints of green and blue and is light, but doesn’t feel like a nursery.  We did install a new black toilet – next on the list is installing the cabinetry and then steam cleaning and re-grouting the tile.  I love the vintage black/white tile – its about the only thing that will remain from the original!

Do you remember my inspiration photo?


The 3rd bedroom used to the be the home’s garage – it was turned into a bedroom and a bathroom/laundry room.  We had to drywall it, remove the door and repair the walls from the outside in. It is painted “Marscapone”.  On Tuesday this tile will be jack hammered and this room and bathroom will also have polished concrete floors in “Mocha”.  There used to be large vines growing in this room from the outside – you can see their remanants in the “Before” photo:

The 3rd Bathroom has also had a coat of Palladian Blue – this cabinet had to be custom ordered because of its unusual dimensions – very  narrow.  And therefore it requires a custom top as well…cha-ching.  Well, I found a pretty remnant (lots of silvery sparkle) at the granite showroom and this will be the top:

The Sun Room is progressing as well.  We removed that old window and have left it open for the light it provides and it is being framed out.  The door to the Master has been removed and all new windows have been installed.  There will also be a set of french doors that will lead to the back yard and eventual pool – those should be here next week.


Sun  Room Window:


The Kitchen doors were installed today:

You know I love this farmhouse sink:

The pantry is coming along:

The living room paneling has been painted and the baseboards are being installed – next up, crown molding!

This was expensive and labor intensive, but it MAKES the room:


TGIF!  It was the last day of school – baseball and softball for the kids is not finishing up until mid-June and then we will be ready for a break!  It was a great school year for both of my kids.  Daughter turned 10 and had her first ever dance recital – this shy child would never participate in dance because of the recital.  Now she wants to be an actress on the Disney channel…go figure!


Beach House Progress


     Things have been moving quickly at the Beach House – I can hardly believe the transformation.  In fact, its been moving so fast I haven’t had time to post!  I’m on a first name basis with the clerks at Lowes and Home Depot – I remember the good old days of being recognized in places like Gap or Banana Repubic!  Will-call is my friend – I buy it and Mr. Contractor picks it up.  The exterior has been painted, most of the kitchen has been installed, windows have been delivered, the paneling is complete, the fireplace has been removed, the drywall is finished, the ceiling has been painted and today the A/C was repaired and is cooling the house.  Its so hot I saw two trees fighting over a dog – I feel sorry for the poor soul who had to crawl around the attic to install new duct work. 

     Speaking of the A/C – if you are starting a project, get multiple bids.  The difference between bids can be huge.  And check references!  The first bid for the A/C included a new heating/cooling unit and all new energy efficient duct work at a hefty price tag of $12,000!  OUCH!  The second bid was less than $1,000 – they were able to resuscitate the old unit and installed some duct work to the third bedroom.  They said the unit has another 4-5 years of life and I was able to upgrade the kitchen counters with the savings…I had originally budgeted $6,000 for HVAC.

     Without further adieu, here are some pictures of the progress – this is the exterior.  We had a bunch of the “landscaping” removed and we painted the house Benjamin Moore “Fog Mist”.  This is a block concrete home covered in stucco.  We used elastomeric paint which is the best for stucco and will last a long time.  The doors will be painted “Barrista” and the shutters and accents will be “Bermuda Blue”…just like the inspiration house.

     The kitchen was partially installed – the doors will be installed after the last of the messy jobs.  Now the kitchen is completely covered in plastic.  Words cannot describe how much I love the farmhouse sink – it is huge and would be a dream for washing pots and pans and even babies!  I am also in love with the color of the cabinetry.  This is going to be one pretty kitchen.  We installed the wood paneling (at a cost of $20/linear foot…ouch!) throughout the entire living room and kitchen which will make a lovely backsplash.  I ordered Frigidaire Gallery stainless steel appliances and I went for the pricier Cambria instead of granite.  The color I chose is “Whitney” – it is a white background with lots of silvery sparkle.  It looks gorg with the sea blue cabintery.  Cambria is a quartz product – truthfully I’m a little sick of granite and wanted something different with a wow factor and “Whitney” definitely delivers.  (Since this photo can lights have been installed, that chandelier was removed and I selected some glass/stainless steel fixtures – 2 pendants over the bar and one over the sink.)

This is the “Whitney” Cambria: 

The living room now has a new ceiling, new pot lights, beautiful wood paneling that will be painted Benjamin Moore “Marscapone” and the ugly, out of place fireplace that no longer had a chimney was removed:

      I have decided to do polished concrete floors throughout the entire Beach House.  I think they are beautiful, super low maintenance and just like the Cambria, they are something different that you won’t see in every other house on the beach.  Work on the floors will begin next Thursday and should take 6 days.  They will overlay the existing floors and jackhammer the existing tile in the 3rd bedroom and bathroom.  And this flooring option actually costs a little less than the tile floors I was originally planning on.  When you have a rental property, carpet quickly gets destroyed – especially near the beach with lots of sand and wet bathing suits.  In the long run, you are better off installing tile or a concrete floor.

Have a great week!


A Greek Inspired Exterior

     When I think of Greece, this photo represents what I envision.  Husband and I had a deposit on a Greek Cruise for a recent birthday – but as the date approached, I decided I couldn’t leave the kids for 2 weeks so we cancelled.  But SOMEDAY I will take that cruise through Greece.  Or one of thoese photography tours where you follow a photographer around all the great spots.   Don’t you love the bright blue contrasted with the crisp whites in pretty much every photo of Greece?

     Last week I met Mr. Contractor at the Beach House.  Good news – our kitchen has arrived.  Bad news – work has not progressed enough inside to install the kitchen.  Sad face!  We zipped through my list of what needs to be done and stressed how much I want this to be complete in May so we can work on finding a tenant in June.

     Remember when I told you our neighborhood has Greek roots?  Well, I want our home to have that Greek color palette.  One of the Gulf Front homes in our neighborhood has the perfect color scheme.  I told Mr. Contractor this – so we drove to the house and he pulled out this nifty little computertized tool from Benjamin Moore – you point it at the color and it reads the color back to you in a Benjamin Moore color!  Voila!  And better yet – there’s an app for that!  I thought when I found an app that tells you in real-time how long the waits are for each ride at Disney World that I had seen it all.  This will come in handy:


  This home was the color inspiration – and hopefully imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! 


How cool is this little tool?

So what colors did it choose?  (Insert drum roll…)

The main exterior color is a creamy white – it showed up as Benjamin Moore Fog Mist:

And it gave 2 readings for the blue trim – Blueberry and Bermuda Blue:

On the paint swatch I prefer “Bermuda Blue” but I think I will sneak back to the inspiration house and hold up the swatches before I fully commit.

Can you picture the Beach House with new doors, windows, shutters, landscaping AND the new paint colors?  She is not going to look the same!  I met with a landscaper today and they are going to start on Phase I – removing the jungle so we can paint the exterior.  Phase II will be sprinklers, sod and some palm trees.  I also had the glamorous job of shopping for toilets today – Kohler Highline  elongated toilets in case you were wondering.


And a few more pictures from the real Greece…

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Have a great week!


The Days Are So Long, The Years So Short

     Busy.  Busy.  Busy.  That about sums up my life these days.  The kids either have a practice, game or tournament every day of the week.  Today I thought was our first day off in 15 days and then daughter’s team called a practice and son’s coach signed him up for a hitting camp.  Rewind to February.  I am sitting in the cold rain at son’s first travel ball tournament.  It was miserable and I confess I complained all morning that the tournament wasn’t canceled – bad weather was looming – and I just knew we’d get all the way there and it would get rained out.  But it didn’t.  As I’m sitting on the bleachers – cold  and wet – my phone rings with a real estate related call.  Another agent wanting an appointment to show one of my listings.  I told her I was sitting outside in the rain at son’s baseball tournament and she got real excited and said “Honey you are SO LUCKY.  I would give ANYTHING to have those days back with my children.  Now they are grown up and moved away.”  Wow.  It took that one silly phone call to give me some perspective.  Enjoy life while you are living it.  Pretty soon these kids are not going to need me or even want me to be around.  They aren’t going to snuggle at night or give me kisses goodbye at school.  I won’t have any rainy travel ball tournaments to go to and cheer on my kids.  Cherish the moment – in the moment.

     Brother, sister-in-law and their 3 little nuggets came to visit for a week during Easter.  We had glorious weather.  But my kids had that pesky thing called school.  We soaked in as much time as we could with the cousins and cried lots of tears when they left.  Daughter actually locked herself in her bathroom when we were saying good-byes.  She was crying so hard that sister-in-law had to knock on the door holding the “Bug” coaxing her out for a hug and a goodbye.   I wish we lived closer.  Actually, I wished THEY lived closer because I don’t do snow.  Here is a picture I snapped of the Bug on the beach in her cute little Janie N Jack swimsuit ensemble.  She is the cutest, smartest 2 year old I have ever met – we have holes the size of Texas in our hearts when they leave.

     We got the new swingset installed!  Its pretty great.  I told the builder I wanted it sized for my tall kids.  Well, he took me to my word and it was so tall that Husband actually had him lop off 3 feet.  Can you imagine this 3 feet taller?  We had to go buy extra chain so the kids wouldn’t need ladders to get on the swings.  Some day if I ever have some free time I need to stain or seal it.  The posts were dug 3 feet deep in the ground – would have gone deeper but we hit water.  Darn sea level.  The swings and hardware are all from Home Depot…the swings can support up to 350 pounds.  Before extra chain:

And the “after”:


 Things are moving slower than I’d like at the Beach House.  Just like everything there, the walls are schitzophrenic.   Some have beachy wood paneling (not your Grandma’s 1970’s paneling) and some have an almost stucco finish.  So we decided to panel all the walls in the living room and kitchen.  Well, one batch of wood was bad and had to be re-ordered, bringing the work to a halt.  My contractor said the Kitchen might arrive this week – that would be great news.  We are getting close.  Picture it painted the perfect shade of white.

     Yesterday I stopped by Home Depot to pick up some flowers and herbs to plant.  Son is making his First Communion on May 5, so we are having our family and a few of his friends over for dinner after.  Well turns out that day is also Cinco de Mayo so the party is going to be just that.  Mexican food, mojitos, sangria and some fun decorations I ordered from Etsy and an authentic Mexican Fiesta store!  I am planting my own basil and mint, using Miracle Gro soil and fingers crossed it will grow enough to use in time for the party.  Herbs grow so well in pots by my pool – it has a screen so they are protected from bugs and creatures.  The herbs must love humidity because they grow the size of a small tree by July.  I also bought some new cobalt blue pots at WalMart – less than $30 for the largest size.  They look JUST like pottery and then you touch it and its lightweight plastic.  I carried them to my car and I got more than a few stares of wow, that girl is STRONG to be carrying those huge pots to her car. 

And some photos of my Cinco de Mayo Party inspiration, from my Pinterest Parties board:       

 The sangria filled with chopped up fresh fruit like strawberries and apples and yes, basil from my garden.  Grow basil, grow!

I know a margarita would be more fitting, but my fav drink is a mojito.  For the two times a year I actually drink!  I am trying this recipe from the Food Network because it makes an entire pitcher and it gets great reviews.  Grow mint, grow!


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A Beach House Kitchen


     I ordered the beach house kitchen last week – this is likely the largest expense for the Beach House (formerly known as the Short Sale Project) and I had knots in my stomach when I signed the contract.  I am always afraid I’ve missed something or could have done something different/better.  I’m going to show you the CAD drawings – we did make a few changes to these drawings so they aren’t exact, but they will give you a good visual of the new kitchen.

     The old kitchen was hideous.  It had the weirdest cabinetry I have ever seen.  It was painted bright red and each cabinet had its own size and shape.  The hardware was naked people (seriously) and the layout was terrible.  They added a fridge to what once was a linen closet in the hall behind.  It was rigged up for the fridge and icemaker in a crazy way that made our plumber laugh and then we have had to do some serious untangling.  The cabinetry around the fridge had an almost Southwest theme and it was the.ugliest.kitchen.ever.   I can’t believe HGTV hasn’t called.  Maybe they are calling about the landscaping instead?  Fingers crossed!  If anyone wants to call in a favor to John Gidding, I would not complain.

We removed that window on the left so we could extend the cabinetry and add a breakfast bar.  In the CAD drawings you will see some open shelving. I actually ordered some brackets and am going to have some open shelves that will look something like this:

I ordered this farmhouse sink from Overstock and I am mildly upset that the Beach House will have a nicer sink than my house:

 This kitchen from my Pinterest kitchen board shows you the sea blue cabinetry color we chose with a simple Shaker front door – we will be using the $12 faucet I snagged at a Tuesday Morning clearance sale:

 And here she is – the beautiful new kitchen that will be installed in 4 long weeks: