Friday, November 13, 2015

Powder Room - First Room Complete!

One room of our secondhand house is COMPLETE! The powder room. Though it's the smallest room of our house, I love it. I feel like it's my style and I want the other rooms of the house to be of similar style when all said and done.

One of our "best finds" of last year's challenge was the sink that we found for our powder room. After seeing pictures of my friends Jason and Carrie's newly remodeled bathroom, I wanted something like their sink. I was all set to order that same sink online, but figured I should shop a little more before impulsively spending a chunk of cash on such a permanent object. Andrew and I went to the Habitat Restore that next weekend and as luck would have it, there was the SAME model of sink as my friends' sitting in a pile of icky, old, too-used sinks. We snatched it up immediately and gave it an inspection, noting a little scratch on the underside. Of course we bought it...for only $32.48! Andrew then found the matching pedestal on Amazon for $63.20. The new sink+pedestal sells for $328.62 on Amazon.

After scouring Craigslist and shopping retail stores for months to no avail, we finally found a mirror we liked at Miguel's, a local importer of Mexican goods.

As our projects usually go, I have the vision and Andrew makes the vision a reality. The look and function of chunky wooden shelves exceeded my expectations. Thanks to my personal carpenter!

Last and certainly not least, I purchased a painting from my talented friend Kristyn of Campfire Design Co. to hang when you first open the bathroom door. I love it and admire it everyday. Thanks Kristyn!

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER shots...

I don't miss the seashell shaped sink

And two more things...we've gotten lots and lots of compliments on the wall color. These pictures do not do it justice! The color is NYPD Blue from Behr. 

Once we took down the huge old mirror above the sink, we found no wall texturing behind it. So Andrew "skimmed coated" all four of the bathroom walls so that their textures would all match. We used this tutorial. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

New / Used Dining Room, Entryway, Stairway

New - because we got NEW tile, Used - because this is a blog about all things secondhand. To replace the carpet in the dining room (CARPET in dining room!? necessarily replaced before we became a family with two little mess makin' boys) we chose somewhere between a slate and concrete looking tile. To tie the large room (which is the open dining room, entryway, living room, and stairway) together we also put the tile in the entryway and the step up to the master bedroom by the hall closet (not pictured). So all "elevated" areas are now tile! We bought enough of this tile to also tile the kitchen, someday waaaay in the future when we totally remodel the kitchen. 
Check out the befores and afters!

Bye bye outdated chandelier...
...hello fancy tile. Table and chairs purchased from Craigslist - originally $4000+ from Crate & Barrel which bought for $800. "New" pendant light also purchased from Craigslist.

Mismatched-80s style-weirdly placed tile in the entry way. Wood trim around doorways. Yellow/gold wood stained banisters, hand rail, and cream stair railing.
MUCH BETTER - updated tile, painted wood trim around all doorways (powder room is there to the left of the front door), entry table (Craigslist purchase) and art ("W" decoration from our wedding, I find many frames at Goodwill/Salvation Army)! Two things not obvious in the pictures (1) I'm working on staining the stairway banisters and hand rails a darker color. One coat is complete in this picture (2) the stair railings are now black to give a wrought iron look (see following pictures)

Outdated glass on front door and those shutter things on the windows above the door & stairs. See how light isn't allowed in?!
Let there be light.

Still on the TO DO LIST:
Finish staining stairway handrails and banisters
Hardwood flooring on stairs 
New pendant light fixtures for entryway and stairway
Paint all doors bright white to match trim (not front door)
Replace all of the door hardware (front door and interior doors)
Paint entry table a fun color
New remote control shades for the windows above front door and stairway
Art in dining room
Add trim in dining room

Saturday, June 6, 2015

One Year! and Kitchen Update

We moved into our secondhand house on June 7, 2014 and we've been non-stop home improvers ever since! There's always something to do...and any project takes 10-20x as long to do with kids than without kids. With that said, I think we've accomplished a good amount and we have definitely made our house a home.

The most dramatic improvement and most time we've spent on a room is THE KITCHEN! I started by painting the cabinets before we moved in. This was a HUGE job both energy and time-wise (it took me probably a week of nap times and after bedtime work) and we didn't get the doors hung until after we moved in. But it was totally worth it. The lighter color makes the kitchen appear so much bigger and brighter, not to mention more modern!


Cabinet paint color: Behr Mourning Dove with new oil rubbed bronze hardware
Wall paint color: Behr Tower Bridge



New light fixture found on Craigslist replaced the ceiling fan in the breakfast room. We use the breakfast room daily; Elijah eats breakfast and lunch at his little table in the corner (which was found on the roadside and painted the same color as the cabinets).

Elijah got a "new" kitchen too! We found this old cabinet at the Habitat Resale Store, as well as the faucet. I painted the cabinet to look like an oven and sink. Andrew fashioned an oven door and cut a whole for the dog bowl sink.


 Note: the wainscoting! I love it. This part of the cabinets was really "chewed up" (literally) because the previous owners kept their dogs penned up in this area. Andrew did all the installation of the bead board, and I did all the painting (we're a great team like that). Also, see the secondhand table runner made from doilies from various flea markets. And also secondhand (though purchased before we moved into this house) the breakfast room table, and the "Learning Tower." 

Still on the TO DO list: 
-paint doors to garage, laundry room and pantry bright white
-strip and paint breakfast room table and chairs (I'm thinking candy apple red chairs!)
-refurbish already purchased vintage table fan (it gets quite stuffy in here when cooking in the summer so I can understand why previously there was a ceiling fan in the breakfast room)
-look in to possibly staining the tile grout a lighter color so there's not so much contrast between tile and grout

Someday, waaaaaay in the future we'd like to totally remodel the kitchen. Until then, we are happy with our "phase 1" update as all of the appliances function well and we now have a fresh look.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

We Did It!

We made it through 2014 without buying anything new* (*see list of exceptions on first blog post)!!! This feat was not as challenging as I thought it would be and we plan to continue shopping the secondhand way in general, though we won't be as strict with our buying used from now on. I am VERY excited to buy new running shoes and boots. And we have already picked out some pendant lights at Lowes that will update our 1980s fixtures in our entryway. We stuck to the rules outlined in the first blog, though the "home maintenance" exception was stretched somewhat by buying new rugs, a fancy new soap pump, new custom curtains, among other household odds and ends.

My favorite purchase and upcycling of the year was this desk chair. Andrew found it at Goodwill for $5!!! I glued new foam on the seat, and stapled fabric to the seat and back - not to shabby, huh?

Andrew's favorite purchase of the year was his table saw he scored from Craigslist for $200. The generous seller also threw in a grinder, extra grinding wheels, and 2 saw horses. The value of the purchase was right around $400! With the help of this power tool, we so far have refinished our bedroom furniture and put up wainscotting in our kitchen. 

It was a beneficial, money-saving year of challenging ourselves to think outside the "consumer box"! We'll continue to keep you updated on our secondhand finds and home improvement projects!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gifts Galore!

By committing to live by thrift and frugality this year, we committed that gifts that we give still apply to those "rules." So far most of the gifts that we've given this year have been handmade...

I make onesies! I think I've made 20+ onesies for baby showers and first birthdays this year. During my mommy time at home when we had a newborn (or as my neighbor referred to it as "baby jail"), I created an Etsy shop where I sell these cutie clothes
 It's fun!

As with all of my and Andrew's projects, I'm the one with the vision and Andrew makes that vision possible. We made these crosses for our godson and our baby. I found the idea from a picture online and Andrew made them a reality with a miter saw and wood glue. I finished them up with some wood stain and varnish.

Technically these were Christmas presents from 2013...but I have to share! We made them for my parents and Andrew's aunt and uncle. We put our wine and beer drinking to good use - beer cap stepping stones and wine bottle lanterns! Repurposed plus some new materials.

Another gift idea was to get our one year old friend some books from Half Price Books. Many of the books in the kid's section (and beyond the kids section) are new or barely used.

Besides "things," we've also given the gift of experience. For our friend's first birthday we took him
to the Austin Aquarium and then out for a cupcake treat.

I think people really appreciate thoughtful, handmade gifts!

Adding to the numbers, the value of the onesies...

Year-to-Date Numbers
Secondhand Item Expenses:  $312
Would-be Cost if Purchased New:   $989
Handmade Item Material Expenses:  $230
Would-be Cost if Purchased New:  $520

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ready for Toddler Times

With our baby turning into a little boy comes exploring, new found interests, and the need for bigger clothes. Welcome to Toddler-Land! Since spreading the word to my friends about our secondhand mission, and posting to Facebook, I received many tips, tricks, and recommendations for finding secondhand items.

One of the highest "bang-for-our-buck" purchases has been a toddler wardrobe from our neighbor. She let me look through all of her boys' clothes and pick what I wanted - for $60 I came away with 60 pieces of 18 month - 24 month clothes for our lil tot. Score!

Our little one has taken a liking to cars, or in his words, "beep beeps." Andrew found this race track with 10 cars on Craigslist for $8. My friend Marilyn also bought him some cars at an event held a few times thorughout Austin called Fairytale Threads. I even have scouts looking out for secondhand stuff that I want, haha!

I also went Craigslist hunting for some things…a step stool and a bed rail…both easy to find and both  were sold by someone in our neighborhood - lovin' the community here.

Once Upon A Child is my go-to for baby/little kid shoes. They have never let me down. Everytime I've gone in for a pair, I come away with at least 2 pairs.

At St. Michaels Thrift Shop, I came across this head board I could not pass up - twas only $15! I'll put a fresh coat of paint on it and it'll be good as new to put in the little guy's room for a future big-boy-bed.

My next big purchase for the little will be a "learning tower." Our guy is reaching up to the counter top and wanting to be held so he can see what's going on up there. I've been scouring craiglist for this one and there's not much supply...

In summary, I shop around many different venues (Craigslist, thrift stores, second-hands sales, consignment shops, friends/neighbors) and I can find all my little boy needs to keep him clothed and entertained the secondhand way!

Adding the clothes, shoes, bed rail, step stool, and toy cars to the numbers...

Year-to-Date Numbers
Secondhand Item Expenses:  $312
Would-be Cost if Purchased New:   $989
Handmade Item Material Expenses:  $30
Would-be Cost if Purchased New:  $120