Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful


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The Move In

So we’ve been officially sleeping in our new house for a little over a week now.  I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures of the big move, because it was just to hectic a day.  Thankfully we have some great friends who came to help, moves go so much faster with 4 men doing the heavy lifting.  Seriously we couldn’t have done it without them, I am a weakling – I have trouble carrying my purse sometimes…(which is mostly my fault since I insist on having a gigantic purse that I then fill to the brim).

We’re slowly getting settled in, thanks to my mom’s help and great advice we set up and made our bed pretty much first thing so that we had somewhere to crash.  The house is still covered in tons and tons of boxes as we try and figure out the absolute best way to organize everything.  In the meantime it’s kind of like camping, with a real roof and bed.  As with everything, the move wasn’t completely without incident my dresser suffered a big scratch right across the top of it 😦 hopefully it will be able to be fixed, we bought furniture crayons and markers to touch up the scratch and help blend it in.  That project will probably warrant its own post, once I get around to it.

Perhaps the biggest mishap came after everyone left.  Since its a brand new house, it didn’t come with some of things we normally take for granted like shower curtain rods.  As the big move was a Sunday and we both had to work the next day, installing a rod Sunday night was a non-question it HAD to be done.  We went off to the big Orange store and bought one of those nice curved rods that gives you a bit more room in the shower and Ken got to work installing it.  Three of the four screws went in and then disaster struck…a screw broke in half with half buried completely inside the wall with no possibility of removal.  A lot of 4-letter words were said but being the problem solver he is, he got the job done.

Meanwhile, I was downstairs trying to get our breakfast and lunches for the work day squared away.  Pretty interesting task when your kitchen is a mess of boxes and you have no idea what is in them.  It wasn’t until after I dug out a pot and put eggs onto the stove to boil that I realized

1.  I had no cooking utensils to use in order to take the eggs out of the pan

2.  I had no idea where the paper towels I use to dry the eggs off were.

Begin frantic search.  I wasn’t able to find either of those two things, but what i did find was a slotted serving spoon (possibly silver – it didn’t matter at this point) and a beach towel.  I almost wish this debacle was video taped because it was most likely quite humorous from an outsiders perspective.

We still have some things at the condo and are taking trips in the cars.  Luckily Ken is like the Master Tetris Packer – expert level.  This is one load in his Jeep:

Looking in the size door of the back seat

Looking in the size door of the back seat

Looking in from the trunk

Looking in from the trunk

This amount of stuff would have probably taken me three trips.  I’m looking forward to sharing pics of our new place, but it needs to be slightly less box infested first, so please be patient.

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Condo Before and After Shots

Since the condo is officially on the rental market and after all the talk the last few weeks of all the work that we’ve been doing to the condo I thought it was about time to show you some before and afters.  Since I’m new to this blog thing and didn’t get before shots (in my defense most of the work started pre-blog) I tracked down the original MLS photos from when Ken bought the condo back in late 2009.

Some rooms are more drastically changed than others, personally I think it looks much more updated in person than the pictures convey… but maybe I’m biased.

I actually like the original exterior shot better...

I actually like the original exterior shot better…

So maybe not the best photo to start with since the previous agent took a better exterior shot… but it’s a condo there is only so much we can do to the outside… Moving the agents car before taking the photo so it’s not in the lower corner should have been one of the things done.

I'm not sure you can tell in this picture but there used to be nasty wallpaper

I’m not sure you can tell in this picture but there used to be nasty wallpaper

In addition to removing the wallpaper and painting the walls, the weird wood window valance was also removed (Ken literally just grabbed on and pulled it off), as was that old corner TV. We stopped short of de-almondizing the kitchen.  We completely realize this badly needs to be done.  But we’re renting and that’s a huge expense… so almond EVERYTHING is.

Another room from the kitchen facing the living room

Another room from the kitchen facing the living room

It’s easier to see the nasty 80’s fabulous wallpaper that used to be in there from this angle.  Also, is that a corded phone?!  We don’t even own one of those.

dining room

Right off the kitchen is the dining room which got a fresh coat of paint, more modern curtains, white trim and a brushed nickel chandelier in place of that old brass one.  (extra points if you can spot Chloe’s photo bomb)

living room

living room

This room’s biggest problem was the furniture layout, it didn’t make any sense, we also removed those wall mirrors, replaced the carpet painted the walls, and the trim (that wood piece didn’t get done before the photo shoot… the TV was too heavy)

master bedroom

In addition to saying adios to the toothpaste green color in favor of a dark cool grey, we also painted the trim white and replaced the carpeting.

second bedroom

second bedroom

One of the bigger projects, in addition to patching all the walls (we mainly used this as a gym and some weights may have collided with the wall), painting the walls a more neutral color, and painting all the trim; Ken also made this awesome built in desk in one of the two closets.

upstairs bathroom

upstairs bathroom

Another de-wallpapering project.  The previous owner LOVED their wallpaper! This room got a coat of a cool light gray, white trim new doors and just to the left of this shot used to be a brass shower sliding door.  (Eww it even had frosted glass)  That was removed in favor of a bowed out shower curtain rod and modern white, and gray curtain.  I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of the new shower but I have an old one just to give you nightmares…

AHHHHHH!!!!

AHHHHHH!!!!

Here’s some bonus photos I don’t have before’s of:

upstairs hall.  Hello pretty white trim!

upstairs hall. Hello pretty white trim!

downstairs hall, the white trim and new doors look fabulous if you ask me

downstairs hall, the white trim and new doors look fabulous if you ask me

another de-wallpapering project

another de-wallpapering project

I have mixed feelings about the half bath. Granted this is a terrible photo.  We picked this paint color out two years ago and just got around to putting it up.  Now neither of us like it… it may be safe to say we hate it (which is odd because as you know orange is my favorite color).  I’m pretty sure if it went up when we first bought it I may have liked it.  Hopefully whoever rents it likes it better than we do.

So what do you think?  Two months of hard work, better before or after?


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Painting the Stair Trim

This is sort of an addendum to the post on the trim in the condo Read That Post Here since the stairs we a much bigger undertaking than the nice straight trim over tile and hardwood… It warranted it’s own post.

The first thing to do in order to prep for the job was to make sure it was adequately taped – top and bottom.  The top is easy enough, its nice and straight although on an angle.  It’s the bottom on the carpet that is the challenge.  Here’s the nifty little trick on how to move the carpet out of the way:

Use a paint scraper to push the tape down into the gap between the trim and carpet

Use a paint scraper to push the tape down into the gap between the trim and carpet

You’ll notice I am using masking tape… DO NOT USE MASKING TAPE! Learn from my mistake and pay the extra money for painters tape. There is a reason painters tape is more expensive, because paint doesn’t stick to it! Ingenious I know. As you can probably tell the masking tape was a pain and a half to remove and took a good chunk of the paint with it.  I have learned my lesson.

All taped up and ready to paint!

All taped up and ready to paint!

Once its fully taped you just get to painting it making sure to push the brush down into the grove you taped down to paint as close to the carpet as possible. I started on the right side of the stairs, and since I’m right handed it went pretty nice and smooth and I was starting to think maybe this project wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought…

First coat on the right side

First coat on the right side

At this point I was feeling pretty good about myself and jumped right into the left side. It was every bit the nightmare I anticipated this project to be. Right handed people are just not meant to paint the left side of stairs, it’s like cruel and unusual punishment. I probably should have started at the top and worked my way down, rather than working up then the angle would have been slightly better.

It takes 3 coats to get the right amount of coverage to actually look nice, so this was weekend two weeks in a row. 🙂

I think it was worth it, it makes the walls stand out so much more and looks clean and modern.  What do you think:

White stair trim

White stair trim


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Spray Painting the Vent Covers

In the never ending work that is being done to get the condo ready for the rental market on that list came up what to do with the vent covers.  We could either replace the wonderful almond colored vent covers with white ones for $10-$12 a piece :-0 for a total of over $100 for the entire place.  OR spray paint the almond ones white for $6.

How to Spay Paint Vent Covers | Hicks House

Given that option it seemed like a good idea to at least I try to spray paint before throwing another $100+ dollars into the place.  Hey if it doesn’t work, we’re only out $6 and if it does hello savings.

So we bought two cans of this:

White Spray Paint

White Spray Paint

Then Ken got to work cleaning them with a wire brush to make sure they were smooth and there wasn’t any weird things that would show through the paint.

scrubbing the vent with a wire brush

scrubbing the vent with a wire brush

Then we rigged another one of our handy dandy wire drying racks so all sides could be painted without having to flip them over.

hanging the vents from the garage ceiling

hanging the vents from the garage ceiling

Spray away!

Spray away!

Can you see what a nasty color they were? Eeewwwwww See that handle attachment on top of the spray can, that is your best friend if you’re going to tackle a spray paint project. It will seriously save your trigger finger from feeling like it’s going to fall off.

Here is what it looked like freshly sprayed:

fresh coat of white

fresh coat of white

And here it is installed! (Yes you are getting a sneak peak at some white trim too)

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Doesn’t it look brand new?! Not bad for $6 huh? It makes me want to spray paint MORE things. I have already practiced on an old cabinet Ken got to hang in the garage and hold his tool accessories. I also have my eye on an old wooden dresser that the previous condo owners left in the attic. I think with a fresh coat of spray paint and some new knobs it could be the perfect addition to the guest room!


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Signed, Sealed and Delivered

It’s official, we FINALLY closed yesterday!  After two delays and many many headaches the house is officially ours!  We still have quite a bit of work to do in order to get the condo ready for the market and then rent it out, so there will be several more condo work posts before we start really delving into the new house.

For now let’s just admire:

The Hicks House

The Hicks House

When we stopped by yesterday (you know just to make sure our new keys worked) grass was already sprouting!  Pretty soon that large dirt pile will be beautiful green grass, we’ll be grilling out on the back deck and enjoying our new house.

We can’t wait until we’re all moved in!


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Update to Chloe’s New House

You may remember at the beginning of last month I posted about the new fancy crate we bought for our dog Chloe Read the original post here.  In an an attempt to be good doggy parents we wanted to break her into the new crate gradually so she didn’t have to many new things to deal with all at once.

Things were going well… until the thunderstorm ...  Then this happened:

chewed!

chewed! Bad Dog!

Our well behaved dog that never chews turned into a monster trying to break free from doggy prison during the storm.

Don't let this face fool you... she isn't sorry

Don’t let this face fool you… she isn’t sorry

Due to this current turn of events, some alterations need to made to the crate.  It took a couple of days of brainstorming and another chewing event (apparently once she knew it was chew-able she hatched an escape plan).  Some ideas we vetoed –

  1.  Putting one of those ugly wire crates inside her wooden crate. This option is quite pricey as those crate run about $100 and in order to fit in the wooden crate it would have to be smaller which cuts down on her room.  We still love the booger so this got vetoed.
  2. Putting hot sauce or the sour spray they sell at the pet store on the crate bars to discourage chewing.  Chloe actually likes buffalo sauce and wasabi peas so this option seemed like it would just get her to chew more.
  3. Buy a replacement door.  Seemed like a viable option, the door is a separate piece that could easily be replaced.  Unfortunately an internet search revealed the door is not sold separately, they want you to buy a whole new crate… greedy jerks.

Then Ken had a light-bulb moment…  Wire meshing! It seemed like a perfect idea, nice holes so she can still breathe and look out, but will put a barrier between her teeth and the wooden slats.  So off to the big Orange store Ken went and came home with a nice big piece for less than $10.

Measured to the size of the door

Measured to the size of the door

and cut it with wire cutters

and cut it with wire cutters

Then we took it upstairs to the crate, lined it up and used some painting tape to hold it in place.

he pre-drilled in all 4 corners and 1 in the middle

he pre-drilled in all 4 corners and 1 in the middle

Thanks to the chewing machine we were aware that it was made of cheap particle board and didn’t want to risk it splintering by screwing directly into it.

then screwed the mesh in place using the pre-drilled holes

then screwed the mesh in place using the pre-drilled holes

try and chew through that!

try and chew through that!

Doesn’t look to bad, some wood putty and stain on the few visible chew marks from the front and it should be good as new. And chew proof! We didn’t do the two sides yet, and Chloe has yet to figure out that they are chew-able as well… we’re hoping she remains blissfully unaware.

Peace and order has been restored in the Hicks House (until the next thunderstorm that is)


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The Easiest Way to Paint Doors

During our “Operation Rent the Condo”  one of the things on the list to make the place as pretty as possible was to replace all the old flat panel wood grain doors with white 6-paneled doors.  I originally thought this was going to be such an easy project – I mean they sell the doors already white and pre-drilled so all you have to do is hang them right? WRONG

The Best and Easiest Way to Paint Doors | Hicks House

For starters because our condo was built in the early 1980s, or just because of the way it was built each doorway is not identical to each other.  If you are buying pre-drilled doors this is a big problem as they will not line up.  So we bought the ones that were not yet drilled – which although cheaper required a lot more labor from Ken to get them ready.

Measure each door, mark where the hinges go, where the knob goes, router out the hinge holes drill the knob hole.  It was a big production.  However it happened pre-blog so there are no photos of all that.

Perhaps the most helpful of tips though is how we painted the doors (yes you still have to paint them – even though they look white they are just primed).  I thought the idea was ingenious, and even though Ken said he didn’t come up with it on his own I’m giving him credit anyway :-).

Step 1 –  Drill 2 screws into the bottom unfinished part of the door and one screw into the top unfinished part of the door only about 1/4 to 1/2 way.  You are going to use the screws to balance the door on sawhorses so no surface of the door is actually touching the sawhorse.

Top of the door with one screw

Top of the door with one screw

Bottom of the door with two screws

Bottom of the door with two screws

See how the door is balancing on the screws?  This is important, you’ll see why in a minute.  Don’t worry about the little holes this will create as once the door is hung you won’t be able to see the top or bottom edges.

Step 2 – Paint the door.  We used Beher Ultra Premium Ultra Pure White Trim and Door paint in Eggshell and rolled all the flat parts of the door then did the panel cut outs with a brush making sure to get the corners real good.

Step 3 – Flip it!  That’s right you don’t need to wait for it to dry because the door isn’t touching anything!  Here’s how:  On the end of the door that has two screws, pick up one screw in each hand just enough so the side with one screw doesn’t lift off the saw horse.

Pick up the two screws

Pick up the two screws

See how the door is balanced on the one screw?

See how the door is balanced on the one screw?

Flip it 180° so the unpainted side is pointed up and then rest the two screws back on the sawhorse.  You can know pain the other side while the first side dries.  I know, my mind was blown as well.  My husband is a genius.

Three doors set up all at once.

Three doors set up all at once.

We had more than 6 doors to do and only room to do three at a time, so we also came up with a neat way of drying them in order to free-up the sawhorses.  Again the screws came in handy.  Ken tied a wire around the top screw then we stood them up on the bottom two screws and tied them to some sort of pipe hanging from the ceiling of the garage.  (This made me nervous but I was assured it was OK and nothing bad happened)

Drying station

Drying station

If you’ve ever tried to paint doors by resting it on the sawhorse or worse not taking it off the hinges, this method will change your life. (for the few times in your life you have to paint doors anyway)