We Moved in for Christmas

I didn't realize I hadn't published a blog post in nearly two months until I went to write this one. I  don't think I've sit down in nearly two months either. So let me sit down and bring you all up to speed on the never-ending project. Because we're well into the seventh month of a project that was supposed to last four, but definitely not longer than six according to our contract. Fair warning, this post is full of crummy iPhone photos. Phone photos are just too quick and easy to resist!

Even though we're not near finished, we moved into our new space in time for Christmas and had our final professional cleaning on Christmas Eve. We just called it. So no there's no more labels on the windows, the baseboards aren't covered with plaster dust and my kitchen sink is gleaming. 'Cause when the cleaners come they do something magical that makes the sink shine.

But let's back up a little bit. Back in mid-November our order for siding was finally located. The original framing and siding crew was fired-ish (from what I understand it was a mutual parting) and the second company "bought" our order. They had it delivered and got all the siding and trim up, excluding the porch, in one day. It was a super eventful and exciting day.

Early the next morning they all came back and did a little caulking and then left the porch trim guy to work alone. He's not done yet. The porch is kind of a train wreck. I've been selling some stuff here and there on my local mom's network and I always have to warn people in advance to be careful and that the random pieces of plywood are not screwed down and are not level. It's like the most unsafe balance challenge ever for our balance beam obsessed two year old.

Our boy has currently lived through renovations for over 1/4 of his life. When the door open he hollers "hola!" to the Spanish-speaking guys who have been greeting him with "hola" for months too.

Over the past two months we also got interior doors and trim. The last bit of trim went in just after Christmas. There are no door knobs yet, but we've chosen them. Glass to match the rest of the house. The doors were all delivered with ORB hinges and as much as I like the look, they don't match the existing so they'll be corrected to satin, eventually. I hope. All the trim and doors are painted with BM's Advance in white satin finish, which is what I used on the majority of the trim as I repainted it over the past few years.

Speaking of paint, one of the coolest things that happened recently is that I discovered the perfect light gray paint for the walls. If you recall, we used BM's Iced Cube Silver when we first moved in, but it looks blue in many lights. I ended up putting a request for gray paint out on my local mom's listserv and borrowed upwards of 35 cans of paint. I put swatches all over the walls, marked the names and returned the cans.
Even with all those colors I still bought four samples from the BM color wheels I borrowed from my MIL. The winner for the great room was Benjamin Moore Graytint, 1600. It's a light gray that looks gray in all lights. It's gray, nothing else, just light gray. A perfect light gray. I LOVE it!

I love Graytint so much that we decided to use it in the family room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and master bath. In the bedroom we did an accent wall in Gray 2121-10, which is the very dark gray that we used for the accent wall in the living room.

Then, to tie things together we also used Gray under the chair rail in the dining room - the space where I agonized over grays a few years ago.

We went with Gray Cashmere 2138-60, a gray-ish green, inside the pantry and all the closets except for mine. We use a slightly darker gray with a hint of green color in the powder room (I can't remember the color and I can't even get in there since the painters decided to use it as their storage room) and used Ocean Air 2123-50 again in Little M's bathroom with Seafoam 2123-60 on the ceiling. In our old bedroom our contractor refused to paint all four walls since they only "touched" three. Since the walls were just a can of oops paint, we tried to find the closest match. I chose Harbor Gray AC-25, which was close by not the same. I love it and would definitely use it elsewhere if I ever have the chance. For now I'll just be using the leftover can to paint the fourth wall.

Last but not least, in my closet, after much deliberation, I chose Pink Peony 2078-70, which looked like a lovely blush pink perfect for a "her's" closet. OMG you guys, it was insane. It was more neon than blush. Think Pepto Bismol.

I couldn't handle it. I repainted it myself with the lightest of light lavenders that I could find. So now it looks gray. So much for making it more "hers", but at least it's better than baby girl's nursery gone wrong.

Just before Thanksgiving, while S was overseas, Little M and I packed up and stayed with S's parents while a cabinet, a wall in the kitchen, and one of the two doorways leading to the basement were removed.

We were supposed to be back in time to make pies Wednesday night, but they weren't finished, of course. So Little M and I came back anyway and after hours of cleaning, I made pies late into the night with plastic sheeting hanging down all around me.

Right after Thanksgiving S came home for a couple days and then went to Hawaii. Once again Little M and I hunkered down at S's parents' house for several days while our new floors were finished. I found an old email from our home's previous owners and was able to contact them, which was very cool, but sadly no one remembered the color stain they'd used when they finished the floors four years ago. We tried dozens of colors, but ended up using a custom mix of 50/50 English Chestnut and Red Oak with a satin finish. It's pretty close. Close enough.

A few days after the floors were finished, my parents arrived for Little M's birthday. At this point the house was most definitely supposed to be finished. At this point we started to most definitely get very, very frustrated. So we sent Little M to daycare, went to Ikea, and bought the sectional sofa we'd planned to buy for months now. And we claimed our space.

S put up our Christmas tree before leaving for another trip.

Right. Smack. Dab. In. The. Middle. Of. The. Addition.

Then my mom and I kicked it into high gear and helped us move into the new space. We cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. Then we moved furniture and carpets and toys and little play kitchens. We dug our dining room table out from where it was buried in our old bedroom and viola, we had a home.

We went from this:

To this:

So we threw and impromptu second birthday party for my favorite little boy and invited his favorite people. He had a blast. And his cake was covered with "happy" aka happy Halloween candy, his favorite.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I met with designers at the Container Store to design Elfa systems for our master closets. I finalized the designs and then price compared all the materials against Home Depot's Closetmaid systems, which we've always used in the past. I compared HD's price minus a 10% military discount v. the Container Store's 30% off Elfa sale. The two came very close, but the Container Store was the clear winner. They do ALL THE CUTS FOR YOU! Everything. You just place your order and then pick it up a few hours later. And by pick up, I mean you pull up and they load it into your car. The only issue was that the Elfa sale didn't start until Christmas Eve. So we waited. We're getting good at that.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen our two new base cabinets were installed - both have three big drawers, which is awesome! Then two days before Christmas the granite was installed. Our budget forced us to match the existing granite, which I've never loved, but the price was right. And honestly, I like it just fine. The new slab is less yellow than the old, so it just looks a little better. It overhangs by 12" on two sides, which gives us room for four stools. We only own two, but who's counting?

The counter top came in just in time for us to use the new peninsula to lay out our Christmas breakfast.Yummmmmm

While we were waiting on the Elfa sale we also moved into our bedroom, despite bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling and master bathroom drama that deserves its own post. Then at 2am on Christmas Eve, a mere two hours after the Elfa sale began, I placed our closet orders. We picked up "his" and "her" at 11am and by 3pm our closets were installed. S's clothes were hanging in no time. Mostly because he'd stored them all on hangers at his parents' when his closet was demo'd last summer. My clothes were all in boxes in the attic where I put them a gazillion years ago when I was pregnant. Now I'm faced with the unpleasant task of trying everything on and getting rid of what will never fit again. Ugh.

But at least I have an ENORMOUS space to hang them all. I swoon every time I walk in there. And not 'cause the bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling blind me.

On Christmas we came downstairs to our stockings, hung by the chimney with care
 and a huge choo-choo set under the tree in our new family room.
It was such a great Christmas - M really got it, especially since we'd talked about "the baby" and Santa for a month leading up to the big day.

Very little has happened since Christmas even though there's still so much left to do. The new space is wonderful and I'm so happy to have it, but wow. Just wow. I wish we'd chosen someone else. Who were those references I so diligently called? Apparently I didn't ask the right questions. For now I'm moving into our new spaces slowly but surely, ignoring the "warnings" that the county won't be pleased that we've moved in already, and trying my best to overlook the ever growing list of stuff that's still left to do. Slowly but surely...

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