Archive for ‘Before & After’

January 25, 2012

Some Project Updates + A House Tour

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

There have been some odds and ends happening around here for the last few months, none of which seemed worthy enough for a full blog post. So here’s a rather random assortment of progress pics…

The half bath is about 95% done. And I’ve yet to find a good angle to shoot it from. Sitting on top of the tank was the best I could do…

We still need to address the above-sink lighting situation, dress the window, and accessorize. But I’m LOVING the current space. It’s come a long way – can you believe it used to look like this?!?

We’ve also been painting the laundry room. It’s not completely done (don’t you love those yellow cabinets?), but I’m really excited about finishing the trim and back door. It’s amazing the difference a few coats of paint can make!

And the living room is beginning to feel a little more home-y since we bought our leather club chairs. One of these days I’ll get around to sharing all the space planning ideas and how we eventually ended up with this furniture layout.

PLUS I’m really excited to announce that our house tour page is up! Stop on by to check out “before” and “progress” photos of every room of our home! About time, right? :)

June 9, 2011

Dirty House? Clean It Up!

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

Summer is officially here. And the heat is downright oppressive. Temperatures actually reached 105 in Houston this week (can you believe it?) So what home improvement project did we decide to tackle? An outside one of course!

Ethan’s work week has been a very atypical one, and he’s had a few very useful things on loan. First is the biggest truck I’ve ever seen. Crew cab, extended bed, rubber floors…just riding in this thing made me feel like a real Texan. And it made me want to start a contracting business (you need the truck first, right?) Plus it made us feel like big dogs on the road. Would you believe this truck sits high enough to almost be eye-level with big rig drivers? Ca-razy. Ethan had to return the beloved loaner today, so we’re still mourning the loss. I think we need one for ourselves….don’t you?

Big truck aside, the most important piece equipment on loan this week was an industrial-strength power washer (insert Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor grunt here).

{in case you’re real perceptive, this is our neighbor’s driveway…and house}

We’ve really needed to clean the brick, and some places were definitely dirtier than others. For example, our chimney. We’ve yet to use the fireplace since we’ve moved in, for fear of burning the entire place down. So this is all previous owner muck, and I’m very happy to see it go!

In addition to the brick, Ethan discovered that our pathetic looking fence was power-washable too! (Is that even a word? If not, I’m claiming it to be one as of right now.)

I’m not gonna lie. This probably isn’t the best solution for a 25ish year old fence – the power-washer beat it up pretty badly (not that it was a jewel to begin with). But for the time being, a clean beat-up fence is much nicer than a dirty, mildewy beat-up fence.

Oh…our poor house. But it’s starting to look much better than the day we bought it!

So the power-washing is done – another thing we can mark off that master list! I’ll claim this a successful week in our world of home renovation!

June 8, 2011

The Master Bedroom Breakdown

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

Since I alluded to it in my last post, I thought you guys would love to know the whole story of our master bedroom renovation. We did this one in the days before the blog, and I kind of explained things in this post, but you deserve a start-to-finish story. One with before & after pictures and all the nitty-gritty details!

Let’s start with the basics. This is what the master bedroom looked like on HAR (our local MLS service). Somehow, this made us want to check out the place in person (well, probably not this room in particular).

And here’s what we found on our first walkthrough – the famous “person-sized hole” picture. Those sneaky realtors & their deceptive camera angles!

Before we moved in, I wasn’t so sure about this room. To me it seemed dark, dingy, and slightly scary. (I don’t know why, but our house kind of creeped me out in the beginning.) The reason for the hole (or the story we’ve fabricated) was this – there was a broken PVC pipe in the attic and there’s ample access because the attic space above our bedroom is full-height, with enough room to stand up straight. We figure someone tried to fix the broken pipe, but fell through the ceiling in the process. Hence, “person-sized hole.”

Later we found the pipe was the condensation line from our air-conditioning unit. When the AC was on, water poured from the broken pipe, through the master bedroom ceiling, and onto the carpet (why did we buy this house??) So that was one of the first fixes Ethan & my dad made before moving day. Once the pipe was fixed, there was the ceiling to deal with. After evaluating the time & money it would take to repair the ceiling ourselves, in addition to our lack of expertise in the land of drywall, we decided to hire it out. And thank goodness, because we might still be sleeping upstairs if we hadn’t!

Before the drywall crew came in, there were some changes I wanted to make to the ceiling layout (enter the interior designer with a plan). Here’s what we were dealing with.


Yes, you’re seeing that right – only two can lights to illuminate the entire room. It was incredibly dark and that just wasn’t going to cut it. I really wanted 4 can lights, essentially in the 4 corners of the room, so the entire space would be lit evenly. There was just one problem. My ideal can light location was the exact spot of the air vents in the room. So what did my dear husband do? He moved them for me! (It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds. He actually had to buy new duct work & run it in the attic…not the most pleasant job in the middle of July). Here you can see the old & new air vent locations.

After we removed the one can light you see above, our drywall crew patched up the “person-sized hole” (covered by plywood in this picture) and the far air vent holes (closest to the window), along with various large holes in walls throughout the house.

And since Ethan & I like to tackle everything at the same time, we were painting as well. My brother & his girlfriend were a HUGE help (thanks again guys!) and tackled the ceiling & walls. But Ethan & I were left to do trim work in the evenings. Did I mention we had no lights at this point? We were painting by candlelight strategically positioned lamps.

And did you know that painting trim takes forever? First there’s all the prep work (tape, sand, putty holes), which is a complete pain in and of itself. Then we needed at least two coats of paint because the new trim color was so much lighter than the existing paint. No wonder we’re dragging our feet with all the trim & door painting upstairs!!

But back to the master bedroom. Here’s an awful iPhone picture as we finished up the trim work on a Saturday morning (note the existing yellow door…it’s still yellow today). In case you’re wondering, all the paint is Benjamin Moore (Walls – Grey Owl, Trim – Super White, Ceiling – Decorator White).

At this point, we’d just brought Abby, the (very little) puppy, home with us & were desperate to move into our master bedroom. Reason being, she woke up 2 to 3 times each night to go out, wasn’t allowed upstairs (and still isn’t) and neither Ethan nor I could hear her itty bitty bark from our upstairs bedroom. So we took turns sleeping on the sofa with her for a few weeks until the master bedroom was habitable. We were both completely sleep deprived, but how could you be mad at this adorable face??

Or this one?

How about this one?

Oh my goodness – I forget how cute she was! (Probably because I was so sleep deprived.) Don’t you just love looking through old pictures?

Well, we eventually moved into the master bedroom. It took a few more months to install the new can lights (with a ridiculous amount of help from Ethan’s dad), but that seemed like a bonus after all the other work we did! Here’s the current after/progress picture. You may notice that we installed wood blinds as well. Not just in this room, but throughout the house.

I’m not calling this “after” or “finished” because we still have some work to do – new carpet, furniture & draperies, just to name a few. But for the time being, I’m pretty proud of everything we’ve done!

May 17, 2011

On The Bright Side

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

The drywall work is not done. But I’ve decided to not let it get to me. Our house is a mess & will be a mess for many more months (dare I say years!?) It’s just the way renovations go & I can either fight it or embrace it. I’ve decided to go with the latter.

Our drywall crew was supposed to work for two days last week, and they did work one incredibly long day (9am to 8pm). But they rushed….and it shows. They missed a tiny furr-down wall in the half bath (it needed texture) and did a sloppy job in the corners of the walls/ceiling. So they’re due back in the next couple of weeks to correct their sloppiness. It kind of makes me wonder if we should have just done it ourselves!

Since the bathroom is on hold (and Ethan & I have DIY ADD), we decided to tackle another little project. Check it out!

This is beyond exciting. Want to know why? Of course you do! Because this is what our poor little foyer looked like almost a year ago.

While the drywall crew was here texturing the half bath & patching up that “ceiling on the floor” situation, we had them float the wainscot in our entryway and dining room. They still need to touch things up, but we decided to hit it with a coat of primer…just so we could get excited about it almost being done. It’s amazing how paint (and a whole lot of scrubbing) really brightens up the place!

Here’s what the wainscot looked like before our crew floated it. Well, this is the dining room. But you get the idea. Please tell me why you would want a wainscot with this kind of heavy texture? It’s practically the same as the ceiling!

I wanted it to look like wood…to be more of an architectural element than mere moulding slapped up on a poorly textured wall. And so far, my plan of a smoother drywall surface + white semi-gloss paint looks like it will do the trick. Here’s a shot of our entry wainscot after the initial floating job + 1 coat of oil-based primer. I can’t wait to get it finished!

Of course, a ton of things still need to be address in this tiny space (lighting & artwork are on the short list). And the wall color may change down the road (it’s Benjamin Moore’s Celery Salt, leftover from painting an upstairs bedroom). But for today, I’m just going to look at this picture and smile – progress makes me happy!!

April 13, 2011

Four Yellow Doors

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

If you missed Monday’s post, my parents came over on Saturday to help us out with some of this DIY business. They’re experts…they renovated the 1940’s ranch I grew up in from top to bottom. The real estate listing deemed it a “tarnished jewel” and they had an 8 month old baby (me). But that’s another post for another day.

While my dad & Ethan were downstairs handling the half bath situation, my mom convinced me that it was time to deal with my ugly yellow doors. Here’s a look at the guest bedroom, last week before I painted the trim. I’d already coated the walls with Benjamin Moore’s November Rain (it’s a muted grey-green color…neutral with just the slightest bit of color). I have absolutely no plan for this room (since we have no furniture for it) so I just picked a paint color I loved! But next to the yellowing trim & doors, it wasn’t looking so hot. Don’t you agree?

{guest bedroom – before}

If you look to the far left side of the photo, that’s a closet door in the gameroom. We painted that room (walls, ceiling, trim) back in December, but I was a little hesitant to get busy on the doors. I was afraid if we didn’t have them professionally sprayed, they would look DIYed – and that’s no good.

Well Dad, the expert painter gave me the last little push I needed. He suggested thinning out the paint with just the tiniest bit of paint thinner, so any bubbles or imperfections would level out as they dried. And he had some little foam rollers (specifically for painting cabinets & doors) in the car. That was the final straw – I gave into their peer pressure.

Mom & I got working right away. The prep work took the longest…removing the door knobs, puttying holes & removing scotch tape (I’m sure this was a kid’s room at some point) and sanding down the surface (just to scuff it up a bit). Then we wiped down each door with a rag, just slightly dampened with paint thinner, to get rid of all the dust & residual gunk.

It probably took a door & a half to come up with a system, but she brushed, I rolled, and we took turns holding the door steady. That turns into quite the job when all sides are wet! And by the way, did you realize a door has 6 sides? Think about it. We only painted four. I’ll let you wonder which two are still yellow…

Enough thinking – it’s time for the big reveal! I still need to hit them with a second coat but…LOOK HOW PRETTY!

{guest bedroom – after}

I’m beyond excited. White trim makes me happy, but white doors? I’m ecstatic! I keep popping my head in that room to check them out…just because it makes me smile. It’s amazing how white trim makes me fall in love with the wall color all over again (probably because I picked the paints side by side & this is the way I intended it to look – go figure).

Doesn’t it feel like a brand new house?? Four doors down….19 to go!

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