Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Crazy Solution to Ugly Grout Lines

Warning: this is not a glamorous post and y'all are probably going to think I'm nuts! I am pregnant so maybe I am nuts, but I have major beef with our downstairs tiled bathroom. I can scrub super hard, try a million different products, and still have dirty grout lines. Like gross, dirty grout lines. I'd love to retile the whole bathroom in some sleek, modern gray tile that hides all the dirt, but that's just not in the budget. Here's what I'm dealing with... isn't it lovely?
Well, about a month ago I was using the restroom at Crazy Mocha in the Southside Works, and they had pink walls and matching pink grout lines. It got my brain thinking, why not just paint my grout lines at home? It definitely seemed a much better alternative to re-grouting, and unless you can give me a real reason why I shouldn't have done this, I'm sticking with this solution as a home run. Anything's better than dirty, right?
Here's how I did it, in case you have the same problem.
Step 1: I cleaned the floor really well, and thoroughly dried it.
Step 2: I taped off just the edges so I wouldn't get paint on the molding. The rest I decided to free hand because our tile has wavy edges.

Step 3: Paint. If you use a really dry bush (ie. barely dip it in the paint) and have a fairly steady hand, then don't waste your time taping. Plus, paint wipes off the tile really easily. If you mess up just wipe it off right away and you're good.

I used the same color as the wall. It's a semi-gloss purpley-gray. I probably should have used a plain gray if I wanted it to look a little more natural, but I wanted to try something fun like Crazy Mocha did. Best part is, no more staring at dirt.
The final result- still ugly tile, but at least the lines shine! 

It's the little things that make me happy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

To Swag, or Not to Swag: Chandelier Placement

I've been working on turning our downstairs playroom into the guest bedroom. It's been a slow process to say the least, but I think it's finally wrapping up. I've always had trouble with this room because the layout is so AWKWARD and it's completely tiled (yuck/cold). If you remember this post, I've even considered knocking out walls to make it a better working space. As a last resort, we tried squeezing the bed in the window niche* and to our surprise it actually fit! Granted there's virtually no space to climb in or out of the bed on the side, it still fits and allows some floor space to work with in the rest of the room.

My next dilemma was the light fixture. Originally the room must not have had a bathroom, and the light fixture was probably centered. Now it's so close to the bathroom door that I was afraid if I switched out fixtures, anything but a flush ceiling mount would get hit. But the room was so dark, and I hate dark rooms! My solution:a chandelier. My problem: where to swag said chandelier?

When hanging chandeliers there's all kinds of rules to abide by: how high to hang from the floor, where to place them, how wide is the proper width for your room size, etc. The list is kind of overwhelming, and we didn't really want to spend a crazy amount of money or time on a guest room chandelier. I found this cheap inexpensive "crystal" [plastic] chandelier at Home Depot (I think I might partially dip it in white to modernize it a bit).
Once we took the old ceiling mount light fixture down, we realized there was an unusually large hole where the electrical box is (I swear, hanging light fixtures is always the biggest headache in our house). We had an old ceiling medallion leftover from my shop. I could never figure out why it didn't sell... it's gorgeous! But I'm glad it didn't. We had to spray paint it white, but afterwards it worked perfectly to cover the hole in the ceiling. It's huge though- I'm a little uncomfortable with how big it is, but boy is it pretty! If you want an instant touch of glamour, I'd seriously recommend adding a ceiling medallion.

Anyways, we chose to swag it centered on the bed, although I've seen some hang more towards the foot of the bed. I was afraid of head bumping, but I read you can get away with hanging chandeliers a little lower than normal over a bed. Even after all this work, I'm not so sure about the swag so I thought I'd open it up to you. What do you think? Does it look off-kiltered? I almost feel like it's going to look off centered no matter what because the room shape is not a perfect square. Should I just let it hang straight down from the ceiling or do you like the swag over the bed look?

 It's really hard to get an un-distorted picture of the whole room (without a wide-angle lens), so please excuse my diagonal photo. 

*Side note: This just goes to show how important staging can be... back when we had our house on the market, we didn't have a bed in this room. People didn't think of it as a legitimate bedroom because they didn't think a bed would actually fit. Here we prove not only can a bed fit, but a queen sized bed! I'm not sure why, but rooms always look smaller than they are without furniture- thus the importance of staging when you're trying to sell! Alright, I'm done. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Real Estate Monday: Edgewood

Today's pick is to prove a point to myself. To trust my gut. A lot of my seasoned readers know we bought a foreclosure on Maple Avenue before, and when I lost out on the chance to act again, I thought it'd be ages till another one came on the market. Then there was 440 Maple, listed at $105,000. I called my Realtor (I wasn't licensed at the time, still had a month to go) and asked her to see it. She then proceeded to give me all the reasons why it wasn't worth seeing. Mistake #1. I should have found someone else willing to show it to me. In her defense, I was looking on behalf of my parents, who aren't the quickest investors to pull the trigger, but I was determined. Insert sob story here.
Flash forward four months, it sold for over asking price at $123,500. Clearly other people saw its value as well to bid up the price like that. And I'm going to give you a little secret: anything on that side of Maple around $100k no matter what the condition is WORTH IT! Because once you put a little money into it, these houses sell consistently around the upper $300's. That's a huge deal!
I've been driving by the house watching the progress and it's finally back on the market at a whopping $455,000! Wanna see it?
Here's 440 Maple Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa 15218
It boasts 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms. Here are some photos:
They re-stuccoed the entire front, and staged it with porch furniture & some flowers. 

I love this fireplace for some reason. Maybe it's the simple contrast of the white brick against those newly refinished floors. 

I feel like this is a very typical kitchen for a flip. You watch those shows on HGTV, you know what I mean, right? I would have liked to have seen a little more creativity here, but I understand, their goal is to appeal to the masses, not to little ole' me. 

How's this for a dressing room? 

Love fireplaces in the bedroom. So cozy! 

 Can you see why I'm a little sad about missing this opportunity? Oh well. C'est la vie.
As always, if you'd like to see this house, or any others on the market, feel free to call or email...we'll schedule a showing. And if you're a fellow investor/interested in flipping, I'm really good at finding a deal, and I promise to not talk you out of seeing something based on my own opinions (not. bitter. at. all)!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Kitchen Progress: Counters In/Choosing a Backsplash

It's been a while since I've really done any kitchen stuff. We got our new quartz countertops a while ago. It was kind of an all day event. Two guys came, measured a bunch of times, cut the stone on site, and glued it on. Honestly, I didn't share the results right away because I wasn't entirely happy with them. Bummer, huh? I didn't take into account the different shades of white between my appliances and my counters. They're slightly off, and it more than slightly bugged me.
Well flash forward about a month now, and it doesn't bother me so much anymore. Next step is obviously the backsplash. I went to a specialty store in Shadyside that was amazing, but quite frankly way out of my comfort zone price-wise. Then I went back to Home Depot to double check their stock. I just wasn't happy with any of their choices. So after much internet researching I came across a website called the tile bar. You can order five samples for $10 flat! So I ordered five and I'm so excited I did.
Here's what I ordered:

Not exactly "Moroccan mosaic" like I was originally going for... I realized quick that if I wanted to stay on budget, I had to sacrifice a little. BUT, these were a step up from what I found at the regular home improvement stores, so I'm happy. I thought I'd really like the marble, but it ended up being too drab against all my competing "whites".
Here's what a few of them looked like in real life.

I know it's super hard to tell from these pictures (it was hard to tell with how small the samples were), but I'm going to go with this last option- the Florentine Pearl Athens Gray Marble in the hexagon shape. It still sort of gives me that Moroccan feel I was going for, while also providing some much-needed contrast against all that white. I surprised myself with this one, but I'm excited to see it on a larger scale. Can't wait!


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