House Progress

Yesterday was one of those success stories that you fantasize about. Both of us were sick of having had certain home renovation items on our list for OVER a year. We’d done research, we’d saved money, the holes were punched in the wall, and yet the project was still “in the planning stages”. There are actually several projects that fit this description, so with 49 minutes until the relevant stores started to close, we chose the two most dire (lights for the dining & living room, and a vanity for the main bathroom), and in a moment of wild decision-making headed north to the cabinet store. This apparently set off a chain reaction of shopping & home improvement awesomeness.

I’d been a bit hesitant about this store because the prices were so, so low. (One of those “don’t test it in case it’s not true” scenarios.) It’s a tiny minimal operation on a dead-end warehouse sort of road, which could either be awesome or horrendous. We were really impressed with the quality of the cabinets when we saw them in person, and the one we chose (it was perfect) was about ½ of our budget and about 40% of the prices of any of the other reasonable alternative options I’d found. Cherry, perfect door detailing, and nice glides on the cabinet drawers. Awesome. We were offered granite countertops with undermount sinks for $300, but the colors weren’t great so we decided to wait on that piece of things.

We tried Home Depot and Lowes for countertops – expensive and really crummy. I’m glad we checked so that we can enthusiastically cross them off the list. I know of a bunch of stone /granite places, esp south of Seattle, so we’ll try there before we jump for anything.

A break: We stopped at Pete’s Wine in Bellevue – missed the tasting but still were able to stock up on plenty of fun bottles. It was a good pause (and right next to our wedding ring store – always good for karma), and for the first time we were able to use our new, free 6-botttle bag from QFC for our purchases – a fine addition to our “green” canvas shopping bag collection. 🙂

The standard bathroom remodel seems to require matching your mirror and your cabinet. Our place didn’t do mirrors. I’m really happy about that. I don’t tend to love the standard “matching” mirror styles, and they are wildly expensive for what they are (four small pieces of wood and a mirror for $200+? Really?). I’d found a few mirrors that seemed possible at Pier 1 Imports (of all places!), and one of them turned out not only to be perfect but to be $20 off. We’ll take it! (And how amazing to have something that’s a bit more creative and fancy-free.)

At home (in my room for the moment), from 8 feet away:

The more I look at it, the more I love it. (Both photos and in person – it keeps getting happier.) The leaves are enameled, so it there’s a silhouette from afar and a great color interest close-up – it’s an interesting effect as this can be seen from our entryway/the main crossroads of the house (at 18 feet away).

From 3 feet away, with all of the color:

What’s left for the bathroom?

  • The vanity top.
  • New lights.
  • A toilet paper holder.
  • Actually installing the vanity, plumbing, etc. (My uncle/ godfather sent the most wonderful anniversary card in June that basically joked if you can paint a home without divorcing, you’re probably in it forever. That one stayed on the kitchen counter for months and months. My guess is x2 for installing your own bathroom sink without total meltdown.)
  • Paint (somewhere in the cream or yellow range) once we’re done the drywall repairs.
  • And hopefully, someone to refinish the tile and tub – goodbye to the hellacious aqua?

The goal is still to do a sub-$2000 remodel, and we’re on our way, especially with the potentially woah-expensive vanity + mirror costing less than $575 with tax. Woohoo! If we can bring a 1980s bathroom up to snuff without going over that budget I’m going to be very pleased.

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