Welcome to our home!

My wife and I are first-time homeowners. We purchased this one-story house in Conway, AR in 2009. Follow along as we make improvements and add features!

Use the (not to scale) interactive floorplan below to see updates about specific rooms.

GarageLaundry RoomKitchenDining AreaLiving Room
Daugter's BedroomOur BedroomBathroomHallwayReading NookGuest RoomBackyardFront Yard

Below are the most recent updates for all rooms in the house.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bathroom - New Paint

Our first major project of the house ended up being a huge ordeal.  We had been frustrated with the black, cream and gold wallpaper in the main bathroom since we first started renting - so naturally, painting the bathroom would make a good first project once we owned the house.  Plus, the wallpaper was peeling off anyway, so it seemed like this should be a simple job.

This pair of pictures shows off in some detail what we found once we started in on the walls.  The top layer (all waterproof vinyl) came off easily in some places but took lots of painstaking effort to flake off afterwards.  Below that was the backing layer for the vinyl paper - we used lots of fabric softener and water to remove this.  Finally below that was a second layer of backing applied directly to the sheetrock.  Argh!
Obviously a previous owner had made an attempt to peel the wallpaper but gave up before removing the original backing and simply papered over it.  The worst area was over the shower, where we found a third layer of a waterproof white paper that needed removal as well, probably to protect the walls underneath.
Getting wallpaper off wallboard is a very difficult, time-consuming job.  What eventually worked best for us is spraying the area liberally with a fabric softener and water mixture (until it was thoroughly saturated), then using a putty knife nearly parallel to the wall with a lot of force to separate the backing from the walls.  The idea is to get underneath the paper and push to force the glue apart.  For the most part this worked well, although it left a lot of small nicks and scratches in the cardboard that needed to be patched up with joint compound.  A good patching tip: use a wet sponge to "sand" over the joint compound, which helps smooth the surface without producing dust.  By the time we were done putting putty on the walls, we were pros with the knife.
Finally after tons of prep work we were ready to paint.  We used Killz Premium brand primer which was rated well for keeping mildew down, as it's a wet area in here.  Then we rolled on two coats of semi-gloss Dutch Boy interior latex paint (in "Freefall" color).  Some scratches still showed through afterwards, so I went back with sandpaper and refinished again - this helped cut down on unsightly divots.  The end result was a nice blue bathroom to offset our existing orange, yellow and red color scheme.  Perfect!

Finishing touches: we replaced the gigantic square mirrors with a pair of nice white-framed hangables from TJ Maxx, and added an over-the-toilet cabinet for storage space.  The final paint job isn't perfect: the sink wall was heavily textured before beginning, and the paint job came out uneven since sanding didn't smooth it out properly.  We still need to add another cabinet between mirrors to cover that up.  Also needed: a towel rack, and pure white replacements for the sockets.

All in all, a good (if very time-consuming) first project for the house.  Next up will hopefully be something much simpler.  I'm still looking at redoing the floors in the bedroom with laminate, but our daughter has already begun pulling wallpaper down in the dining room, so we will see what comes next.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Reading Nook - Extra Bookshelf

When we added the new sectional and TV to the living room, we ended up with this extra bookshelf and nowhere to put it.  But we are always short on book storage space.  The reading nook seemed like a great place to put it.... we angled the old one in the corner and made an even cozier setup.

The couch is now placed even closer to the window so there's plenty of natural lighting for reading.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Daughter's bedroom - New Bed

We picked up this loft bed and dollhouse bookshelf from Craigslist.  Our daughter loves the loft bed because it has an attached slide, which she uses over and over again.  The space underneath is perfect for large toy storage.

The view from top bunk, showing the old toybox and bookshelf, and dresser (former changing table).

This is what it looks like when entering the room.  We piled up large stuffed animals at the base of the slide to make a softer landing area - it's very fast!  Above the bed was a toy hammock but it was pulled down pretty quickly.

Living Room - New Couch

Over the past six months or so we've picked up quite a bit of new furniture for the living room.  The old couch and rocking chair are gone, leaving just the glider.  This sage-colored sectional was a good deal from JC Penney and opens up space in the room while providing a lot of seating space.

View from the card table in the corner, showing the other two big purchases - the 60" plasma TV, and an entertainment center to put it on.  We love this setup and get a lot of use out of it.  Still haven't figured out the best place for the old stereo and speakers yet, so they just sit on the floor for now.  One day we'll get the bookshelf out of the corner and push the sectional closer to the wall.

The view from the couch remains pretty much unchanged.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Front Yard

This is the entrance to our house.  I had recently swept off the roof but not the walkway, so it is covered in leaves.

The tall bush in the foreground peeking around the corner has large red roses in the spring and summer.

View from the entrance.


The dining area exits out to the backyard.  There is a concrete patio, a huge mound of dirt on the right, a storage shed, and some very tall trees which shed a lot of leaves in the fall.

The backyard is totally fenced in.  We have dogs on all sides and one of our own, but most of the holes have been patched up without problem.

The fence to the left has a gate to exit the backyard.

Guest Room

The reading nook opens out to this area, which we use as a den / computer area, or a guest room with a futon.

This is the view from the futon, showing computer desks and tall window to the left.

A small second bathroom is attached to the left as you enter the room.  It is badly in need of new wallpaper.

Shower and toilet here.  It would be nice to totally rebuild this bathroom area, but that is low priority.