Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful


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Yellow Door No More

Perhaps the most spectacular fail we’ve made since moving into our house was painting the door yellow. You may recall the house looking like this:

close up

One thing is for sure, if you’ve ever driven down our street you sure couldn’t miss the house. (Not sure if that’s a good thing?) Needless to say it didn’t stand out in a GOOD way. The plan pretty much since the yellow paint was still wet was to repaint. Unfortunately I made this blunder on the last somewhat warm fall day. So we lived with it, all winter.

Spring arrived and I was practically chomping at the bit to repaint, but what color? I didn’t want to choose wrong again. We were also having more and more problems with the door sealing, something we noticed when we first moved in but never had addressed. So we brought it up with the builder who came over with a brand new door.

He took the old door off…
Yellow Door No More | Hicks House

and put in a new door.

Yellow Door No More | Hicks House

When he asked if we had anymore yellow paint, so he could paint it Ken and I pretty unanimously agreed that “We had run out, don’t worry about it, we’ll paint it.” NO MORE BRIGHT YELLOW DOOR.

So now we have this

Yellow Door No More | Hicks House

Back to square one. Now the decisions start, do we want to stick with yellow but something more subdued like this (first photo) or this? Or are we too traumatized from the horror that was the first yellow?

The interior is much more geared towards gray and blue tones so maybe something light blue/teal like this, this or this, or this. There is also the gray option such as this, or this, but is that too ho-hum?

I’d love to know your thoughts! Please leave your color choice in the comments.

Hicks House

 


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How to Remove Stain from Vinyl Siding


How to Remove Deck Stain from Vinyl Siding | Hicks House

Yup you read that right, when we stained the deck, we also stained some sections of the house… oops. Sometimes despite the best preparation (we used plastic sheeting and tape to tape off the sections we thought would over spray) mistakes happen.

We obviously could not leave it like this. As its become summer we’re spending more and more time and eating more and more dinners out here and this was always taunting us:
How to remove stain from vinyl siding | Hicks House I asked several handy people how to get it off and the general answer was “It’s stain – the whole purpose of it is to NOT come off.” Well that’s just peachy. Some suggestions were to try acetone, or mineral oil.

Ken tried the mineral oil and after several minutes of severe scrubbing he got the splatters into more of a light brown smear. Wah Wah – not good enough.

There had to be better way. Then he found this stuff (affiliate link) Motsenbocker’s Lift-Off – No. 4 Spray Paint Graffiti Remover, 22 oz. Trigger Spray
:
How to remove stain from vinyl siding | Hicks House

So we picked up some scrubbers and a handled dish brush from the dollar store and Ken donned some gloves and tried again. The bottle said not to leave it on the applied area for too long because it can oxidize and strip the color UNDER what you were trying to remove so don’t spray too big an area at once.  Ken sprayed it down with the Liftoff and went over it with the scrubber.
How to remove stain from vinyl siding | Hicks House
For extra stubborn areas he used the plastic scrubber.
How to remove stain from vinyl siding | Hicks House
He didn’t even to press down or scrub that hard it just started coming off… almost like magic.

In order to wash it off after the scrubbing to ensure that it didn’t strip through our siding he then sprayed it down with Windex and wiped it off with a clean rag.

We were both in awe of how amazingly it worked. Not that I would recommend getting stain on your house but if it does happen at least there is a way to easily get it off.

How to Remove Deck Stain from Vinyl Siding | Hicks House

So what do you think? Are you as impressed as we were? I’d love to hear about your DIY oopsies.
Hicks House


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The Lawn War Rages On

After moving all the original grass seed that was planted by the builder was washed away and/or burnt to a crisp before we moved in, we decided to concentrate on moving in without worrying about the lawn for the first year. This year however, Ken has put a lot of time and effort into trying to whip the lawn into shape. However it seems like time and Mother Nature have not been on our side.

Back in April/May he spent just about every (non-rainy) night after work and all weekend digging up rocks and tilling the lawn to get it ready to be re-seeded. Everything looked like it was going good – the lawn looked like a big dust-bowl with no vegetation anywhere. Then we ran out of time and went on vacation for our one year anniversary and returned to crab grass/weed central. No lie, in that one week everything had taken root and grown like a foot high. “Sigh”

And if that wasn’t bad enough all the rain that came down while we gone (adding fuel to the weeds) also unearthed even MORE rocks. So Ken had to start all over de-rocking the lawn.
Lawn War | Hicks House

We also got a giant pile of top soil delivered to help even out some spots of the lawn that were less than flat – as well as fill in all the giant holes left behind from removing the rocks.
Lawn War | Hicks House

The topsoil itself was also riddled with rocks (are you noticing a never ending theme here?) so it didn’t make sense to fill in the holes with rock filled dirt. We’d just be trading big rocks for smaller rocks. So Ken built this handy screen to help sift through the topsoil.
Lawn War | Hicks House

It fit perfectly on top of his cart so he could pile dirt on top of the screen then shake it back and forth letting the dirt through the holes and catching all the rocks.
Lawn Wars | Hicks House
Lawn Wars | Hicks House

That’s a lot of rock! The result was what Ken called “the best topsoil EVER”
Lawn Wars | Hicks House

Chloe kept a watchful eye on the entire process – you know just to make sure he wasn’t slacking off out there. She’s a real control freak that one.
Lawn Wars | Hicks House

After the holes and low spots were all filled in we seeded the bare areas hoping to get at least some patches of “real” grass among the weeds.

Lawn Wars | Hicks House

After watering everyday for about a week (the neighbors must think we’re crazy – watering our weeds) we finally saw some GRASS!
Lawn Wars | Hicks House

One step closer to a real lawn. Ken has a plan of attack to get ahead of next spring so that the remaining weeds which still encompass about 80% of our property are gone and some grass comes back next spring.

All in all, this is taking WAY more work than either of us anticipated. We’ll be so excited when we finally have decent grass we may be out there laying in the lawn with Chloe

Hicks House

 


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Lengthening Curtains

The curtain debacle has been tackled.  You may remember my mini rant about how store bought curtains are all either too short or too long when we hung the dinining room curtains. Well the flood zone length was gnawing at me and I just had to do something.  So I did.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

They are now the PERFECT length. I can’t get over how much better it looks and how unbelievably easy it was. I had the option of purchasing the 84″ inch and trying to find a way to make them longer or purchasing the 92″ (which is more expensive) and make them shorter. I decided to take the cheaper route and went for the 84″ length. You may have noticed on a lot of store bought curtains the hem at the bottom is a few inches up from the bottom, that was the case with these. So I grabbed my seam ripper and started undoing the bottom hem.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

In order to keep the original seam all nice and tidy it had been pressed about a half inch from the edge of the fabric and then again 4 inches up. Rather than over complicate the process I decided to reuse the original 1/2 inch fold so I pinned along the bottom and up the side to meet the original stitching.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

Then sewed with a matching thread,

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

and ironed out the original pressed edge.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

When I was finished the back looked like this.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

The new length was absolutely perfect just grazing the floor rather than just grazing the top of the trim (ewww). It now looks like they were custom made for the space.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

And the before and after again just for good measure.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

I’m so happy with how they came out and can’t wait for this whole room to come together. If you’ve been following on Instagram you’ve seen some sneak peeks at the large wood shim mirror we’re working on for the wall in here.

Hicks House

 


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Silver Mink you Minx

We’ve actually had the TV room painted for a couple of month you saw a sneak peek of the wall in this post, but I have been putting off writting about it because I didn’t have any photos. Bad Blogger!

This is one of the most used rooms in the house and it’s also Chloe’s bedroom (that girl just does not pick up her toys) and therefore has the most, lived in look and we don’t like any of the furnishings in here – it’s ALL on the to be replaced list so needless to say my motivation to show this room was lackluster. But hey in the long run it will make a great before and after.

The only other time I spoke of the TV room was in this post last summer when we mounted the TV.

Testing out the TV Mount | Hicks House

One of the best photos of me ever testing the weight limit of the TV mount. The photo also showcases the blase white walls that originally made up the entire house (we’re slowly chipping away at that.) You may also remember from this post that we had selceted Benjamin Moore’s Silver Mink for this room. It’s one of the darkest color choices we made for the entire house as this is the room where we relax and watch TV and we purposefully didn’t want it to be too light.

I was slightly nervous because it seemed so dark and the rooms we’ve painted so far looked so dark when the paint first start and this room was no exception:

Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House

But we’ve learned to keep going. We LOVE it

Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House
Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House
Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House

This room still has a long way to go as far as decorating goes here’s the list:

  • Mount TV
  • Paint Walls
  • Hang curtains – purchased need to hang
  • Create custom three canvas art piece for over the couch – canvas purchased need to paint
  • Get a new sectional – Ken’s TV room DREAM is to have a reclining sectional so we’ve been on a look out
  • Get a more substantial lamp for the top of Chloe’s crate
  • New coffee table maybe a cool repurposed trunk that could double as storage?
  • Get a cool lamp for the corner of the sectional – one of those bowed ones that overhang your furniture?

Here is a super crude mock up of all of the suggested changes:

Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House

And the classic side by side showing the difference between Silver Mink and the Revere Pewter in the hallway.
Silver Mink you Minx | Hicks House

So what do you think of the color? What’s your favorite paint color we’ve used so far?
Hicks House


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What a difference a year makes

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since my first post. Since the start of the blog we’ve gotten married, and officially moved into our home.

I wanted to take a moment to thank those that have followed along from the beginning and those that have recently started. I have tried to keep up a regular schedule and post at least once a week and with the exception of the week we were on our honeymoon pretty much succeeded. As I mentioned in this post I love filling all my friends, family and readers in on what’s going on in our little corner of the world, and I love how this has created a diary of sorts of all that we have accomplished in the past year (and will continue to accomplish going forward).

Recently I’ve also created a Facebook page for Hicks House as well as an Instagram account @hicks_house where I post sneak peaks of in the works projects that have yet to be blogged about. Please continue to follow along into year two over at Hicks House as we go into year two and continue to make our house our home!

The next chapter has us looking forward to such things as grass, finishing painting, decorating and making custom paintings, curtains and wood working projects and whatever else we think of as we live and grow in our home.

Hicks House

 


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Builder Befuddlement

As with any home purchase there are always things that come with the house that need to be fixed.  With new construction the general expectation is that since the house is brand new and no one has lived there yet, the home should be in pristine condition.  That was surely our expectation – however that is not the case.

There were several issues we found when we did our final walk-through with the builder the day before we closed.  Since the home came with a one year warranty we figured these issues would be addressed.  It’s now been almost a year and with the warmer weather the builder and his contractors have been starting to rectify some of the problems.

One of the most annoying issues to me was caused when they replaced the laminate countertops with the granite ones. The laminate was much thicker than the granite and they had CUT the piece of cabinetry that surrounds the fridge in order to shove the counters in. Well when they put in the new slimmer counters this left the exposed divot.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

See that? that is raw wood. Here is another angle.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

Arggg it made me so angry! Granted it was by far not the worst thing wrong with the house or the most expensive to fix, but it was the most obvious. To add to the frustration when they cut this lovely notch they cut ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FLOOR. So there is also raw wood showing in the toe kick area.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

You’re getting angry not too aren’t you? Is there no pride in the craft anymore? Who does this?!

We were finally able to convince the builder to order a new frame piece. As luck would have it, before it came in we were notified that the cabinet company was going out of business awesome. Luckily the piece came in before they completely close up shop (along with a bathroom vanity that was also broken – although they sent the wrong one… so that’s another story) and the contractors came to put it in. They had to pull out the fridge in order to get to and remove the panel.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

At this point I went to check on the plumber that was working upstairs (it was a busy day). When I came down to check on the contractors in the garage I noticed they had the panel all marked up and were about to cut.

Me: WAIT! What are you doing!

Contractor: We have to cut the panel to fit around the countertop and cabinets.

Me: Ok… but why would you be cutting it ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM AGAIN? That was one of the issues we had with the old panel and the cabinet company is going out of business so we cannot get another one. It needs to be cut to fit just around the cabinet not all the way to the floor.

Contractor: Yeah, I guess I can do that…

OMG. Kill me know.

So he re-measured to cut just a notch around the cabinets leaving the nice finished wood at the bottom. Then started cutting with a Dremmel. Oh no, that’s not a typo, a Dremmel for a cut 42 inches long that is supposed to be straight. Ken, the tool aficionado informed me this should have been done with a skilsaw.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

You can slap your palm to your head now. This is how they “kept it still”. After all that skilled work I guess its no real surprise that it didn’t really fit.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

It definitely looks better than before but now its a total crumb catcher.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

I’m hopeful that this can be addressed with a little clear silicon so that stuff can’t get caught in there and it will blend in more. (They of course didn’t do this).

However, in the meantime at least I don’t seethe with rage whenever I go to the fridge or make coffee. Here’s a side by side.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

So what do you think, have you had any warranty issues with a new build or had work done and were unhappy with the results? I’d love to hear about it.

Hicks House