Madness & Method Home and Lifestyle Blog about DIY projects, home renovations, DIY tips, design plans and more Tue, 18 Sep 2018 20:39:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Madness & Method 32 32 Basement Apartment Layout Tue, 18 Sep 2018 20:39:49 +0000 I'm sharing the basement apartment layout plans that we've come up with; so check it out if you're planning a two bedroom apartment in a limited space!

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Last week I went over some of the demolition woes in regards to our rental renovation, and this week I’m sharing the basement apartment layout plans that we’ve settled on.  And by settled on, I mean all the framing is up and we’re starting the rebuilding process, so it’s pretty set!  Check out some photos of the progress and let me know your thoughts :)

Just a reminder, after we opened up all the walls and discovered pretty substantial cracks; we had to get them fixed up and that derailed our timeline a bit.

planning framing in apartment

Once the new concrete along the edges was set, our contractors came back in and started laying the subfloor pieces.  Demolition uncovered a support post, but I pretty much had that area dividing the bedrooms anyway.

laying subfloor in basement apartment

Actually, we also uncovered a missing post in the living room, so it will have to be added again!  Unfortunately, it kind of takes away from the completely open living space, but it ended up being out of the way from where I was envisioning furniture and stuff.

Before demolition began, I had gone in and measured everything as best as I could and came up with this layout:

Photo First Appeared in Rental House Basement Tour

The main thing to know is that the basement dimensions are approximately 23 x 43 feet, the furnace is located right in the middle of everything and we weren’t moving the laundry room either.  I’ll share some photos of the framing that we have up now, and if you scroll past those I’ll share the updated 2 bedroom basement apartment plan (just a bit different than this one).

shared entrance framing in basement apartment

So basically, you walk down into a shared hallway with the door to the apartment at the end on the right.

storage staircase in basement apartment

We’re going to be keeping as much storage under the staircase as possible, and the door at the end of the hallway leads into the laundry room still (similar to the original basement layout).

shared laundry room

We pushed as much into the laundry room as we could, but unfortunately, the final bathroom size had to get squished down a bit.  This will be a shared laundry space, so I don’t anticipate people will need the floor space to hang laundry on a rack (they’ll probably do it in there own apartments, right?).  The plan is to keep this room pretty much as-is (aka no drywall being added or fancy finishes).

basement apartment entryway

Anyways, once you enter the apartment, they’ll be an entryway/storage area to the left of the door – and you’ll be in the open living and dining room.

basement apartment living and dining room

My first thought was to have a kitchen with an eat-in style dining room (with a built-in bench covering up the water main) but demolition uncovered a huge wingwall (that concrete structure in the photo above!) and we can’t take it out.

basement apartment kitchen

Which means that the dining room had to get moved a bit more into the living room space, but I was able to squeeze in 3′ more of cabinet and countertop space.  I’ll be talking about the kitchen layout and design plans in more details in a couple of weeks, so make sure to stop back in then!

basement apartment kitchen dining

Oh, you notice that big hole of dirt on the ground do you?  Well, the original plumber we had cancelled, so we’re waiting for someone else and we kind of have to work around that…

When we were first planning these renovations, I was thinking of using an above-floor plumbing system from Saniflo for the kitchen because it is more DIY-friendly (plus quick to install and more cost-effective alternative compared to regular plumbing!).  However, we found out that our plumbing stack is one of the old cast ones and needed to be replaced, including running all new lines, which is obviously going to cost us a lot more :(

basement apartment hallway

Anyways, at the end of the kitchen is a small hallway that connects to the bedroom and bathrooms.  Unfortunately we have one duct that comes extra low in this area, so hopefully people don’t hit their heads on it!  (Anyone have any suggestions on making it stand out in a nice looking way?).

basement apartment bathroom

My original bathroom estimated size was at least 8 x 6 feet, but it’s been squished down to just over 5 feet (and I can’t remember the width right now).  I was first thinking that it would be convenient to just do a shower and have two doors into this room (one from the entry); but decided to do a bathtub since we might be spending more time at this house than originally anticipated

basement apartment bedroom

Right next to the bathroom is the master bedroom, and if you remember from the original walk-through, this was a super dark room with panelled walls and no windows.

basement apartment master bedroom

The second bedroom got an upgraded window too, but it’s pretty much the same size as it was before.  However, I decided to push out the closet into the master bedroom (rather than have it come into this room or go into the kitchen) so that we would get as much space as possible in here.

Basement Apartment Layout

2 bedroom basement apartment

So basically, the living room is sort of the same (but with an added post), but now the dining room encroaches on the space in the bottom right (where I have the dotted line).  The kitchen has a similar depth, but is a bit longer; the bathroom is smaller, and the bedrooms were sort of shifted a bit to accommodate the support beam.

Unfortunately, I figured most of my dimensions thinking about building walls under the support beam – but didn’t account for the fact that it’s dropped a lot from the ceiling (and we only have 7′ ceilings to begin with!).  So we couldn’t actually open any doors if we had put the walls there (or the doors would have been only 6′ high).  As it is now, the beam will kind of be in the way of some of the doors (not the swing, but it will be in your face a bit at the entries).  But like I said, the ducts come down pretty low in a few spots too, so…

basement apartment layout graphic

So where are we now?  Pretty much what you see in the pictures!

Actually, the electrical was run this weekend (and my photos are from the day before), but we’re still waiting on that inspection before we can do the drywall.  We’re also in limbo right now with the plumbing, so can’t finish the floors until that’s installed and inspected as well.  I think it’s going to be a mad dash once everything passes and we can move quickly with the finishings…

So ya, while I want to start the kitchen the first week of October, I might be forced to wait a bit until we actually have a proper room (you know, one not made of dirt floors!).

OH and we may be upgrading the furnace too now that everything is open… so definitely a project that has snowballed beyond our original scope :(

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Rental Basement Demolition Wed, 12 Sep 2018 00:57:52 +0000 I feel like the basement demolition is taking forever at our rental renovation. It seems like it's two steps forward one step back, plus a huge expense!

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Adding a second living unit to our rental home is undoubtedly the largest renovation we’ve taken on to date – and although we’ve done our fair share of projects, there have been many different issues and obstacles here that we’ve not dealt with before.  While I’m hoping to be able to start the kitchen in October (just a few weeks away!), I feel like we’re in an endless demolition and rebuild is taking forever… Either way, I need to start sharing some progress – so let’s check out the basement demolition!

I may have mentioned before, but we hired contractors for the rental basement demolition, and they’ll be doing most of the rebuild as well.  Eventually, we’ll take over for the finishing touches, but we’re super happy that we didn’t have to do the bulk of the heavy lifting!

basement demolition

Starting in the “back” of the basement, furthest from the staircase – we have the area where the bedrooms will go.  As soon as they started ripping down the panelling and walls, they realized there were a lot of small cracks in the concrete where water had seeped in.

looking at the old basement kitchen

We also uncovered a support post, and the view in the photo above is looking from the bedrooms to where the old kitchen was.  This will be where the bedrooms meet, and where the kitchen cabinets are, is where the bathroom will be.

old basement bar area

There was a lot to tear out in the bar zone, because it was a weird mashup of closets, walls covering the furnace, and the bar (you can see the basement before tour here for a better idea).

living room in basement demolition

Goodbye weird shower hallway!  The basement had been such a weird layout before, I was pretty excited when the Husband sent me these pictures, because it was already looking better :)

new hallway area for basement renovation

Because we aren’t moving the furnace, I had to design the layout with its current position in mind.  The floors were also built up from the concrete, so we actually gained a couple of inches of space by taking them out.

future dining room in basement

Unfortunately, we discovered a concrete wing wall, which is right where I was planning on doing my dining room (with a cute built-in bench and everything).  Apparently, when the house was first built, the doorway was a few feet lower and they just covered everything up (which explains the weird subfloor in the entrance!).

basement laundry room

Once everything was removed and thoroughly cleaned, we then had to address a large number of cracks along the foundation walls.

current basement window

While we were waiting to hear back from the foundation company, our contractors continued to work on other areas.  In order to make the bedrooms up-to-code, we needed to add a window with proper egress in case of emergency.

basement windows

Which meant we needed to remove the way too small window and add a larger one, and add a window in the second bedroom from scratch.  The old window was about 12″ high, and I went with some HUMONGO 4′ x 3′ windows for the bedrooms.  I figured that if we were going to have to cut through the concrete to add a window, I was going to go big!

basement windows from inside

Apparently, the concrete was over 16″ thick in the lower portion of the walls, so it was quite a beast to get through.  The new windows literally make everything look so much brighter and the bedrooms won’t feel “basement-y” at all.

The Big Expense

I mentioned last week that we had an unexpected expense come up, but thankfully everything is fixed now (obviously after we paid 20k).

foundation trench

In order to deal with the cracks, the basement specialists recommended to dig out a trench throughout the edge of the foundation and add a water catching system.  That way, any water that did come in the future would funnel down into the pieces, then into the added sump pump and pipe out the yard.

adding interior weeping tiles

While we seriously considered just sealing all the cracks properly and hoping for the best, this method ensures that no water would get through the walls and ruin everything.  Still, the expense was ginormous and we’ve had to stretch the wallet for something that we weren’t planning.

interior membrane

It also took an extra few days off the “schedule” but thankfully they were able to come in pretty quickly to get it done.  I use the word schedule lightly, because it seems like whenever something is supposed to happen, an issue comes up and puts everything off track.

rental basement demolition graphic

But the Husband has assured me that everything should be built back up in the next two weeks (plumbing, electrical, drywall), ready for us to start the kitchen by the first week of October.  Unfortunately, we’re also at the mercy of passing a bunch of inspections, and because we’re located in a pretty small town, some of them don’t happen too often and we would get pushed much further back on our timeline if they don’t go well.

Next week I’m going to share photos of the framing (which should be completed tomorrow?) and talk more about the layout and what’s changed since I originally shared my plans.  There were more (smaller) problems that came up; but thankfully they have just involved some design tweaks rather than large deposits of cash…

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Family + Life Fall Updates 2018 Tue, 04 Sep 2018 18:14:42 +0000 Giving a behind-the-scenes look with family and life fall updates. Catch up on everything that's been going on around here in the last few months!

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Since removing the monthly updates from my blogging schedule, I’ve still tried to keep everyone informed of the behind-the-scenes life stuff on a timeline that makes sense.  These family and life fall updates should give a small glimpse into what’s been going on around here in the last few months (since the spring update of course).  But remember you can always follow me on Facebook or Instagram to get a better idea of what’s currently happening.  Let’s dive in!

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Rental Renovation Updates

Next week I’m going to start sharing everything rental renovation basement related! We officially started demolition the first week of August and have encountered a wee bit of money set-backs. Time-wise, we were a bit delayed, but should be getting back on track soon. Because our rental is 2 hours away from where we live, and we’re only ever there intermittently/part-time, it made sense to hire contractors to do the majority of the work. Had we been the ones to tackle the work 100%, it would have taken 10x longer to get anything done – and considering demolition was 3 bins worth of stuff, hiring it out has been the best decision.

I’ll most likely be sharing all about the basement for the remainder of the year (with a few seasonal posts thrown in!), and I will have just a few more rental upstairs posts to share too. We’ll be working on the basement kitchen for the Fall One Room Challenge, so as long as drywall is up by then, I should be good to go :)

House Updates

I’ll go into more details on our basement set-backs in a later post, but just know that we had a 20k dollar expense come up that we were not prepared for. You’re supposed to have a contingency budget setup when you do renovations, but that was beyond anything we could have expected. With that being said, we’ve had some discussions about selling our main house earlier than we were planning (the original idea was to sell this house, then build our forever house right after). That would mean that we would be living in the rental renovation full-time for a while, so it has slightly influenced the way I was designing everything. Nothing major, but things like adding a dishwasher to the basement kitchen, going with a bathtub instead of a shower, etc.

Realizing we’ll be selling this house sooner has also put the brakes on any further big renovations around here. I’m still planning some smaller updates as the months go on, but finishing the laundry room has been scratched off the list. We’ve already put a lot of work into the house, (which I do not regret at all!), but we’re going to focus on maintaining everything we have and keeping it clean and updated instead of adding anything new.

baby on mat and toddler

Family Updates

Oh, the part that our friends/family look forward to! Can I just mention that if you don’t have kids, and then you do get them, no one cares about your updates as much as they do about the little ones, ha! But I mean, they’re super cute, so of course that makes sense :)

Zachary: He’s been a skinny bean for a long while now, and it never feels like he ever grows (been in the same size clothes for almost a year!). However, he can slowly start reaching higher things, so I guess he must be getting taller! He’s also been picking up and looking at books more in the last few days, so I’m really trying to stop and read with him more regularly. In the past, he’s been more go-go-go run around and play with toys, so hopefully he’s diversifying his interests, ha! And, although he had used the potty semi-regularly before he even turned 2, since Élise has been around he’s been less interested (or, we probably have pushed it less since we’re a wee bit more occupied with other things).

Élise: She’s a little round bundle over 4 months old already! I thought that Zachary was a little chunker as a baby, but comparing pictures of them at 4 months, it’s clear that she takes the cake, ha! She’s sleeping much better than he ever did at this age, and I think it probably has to do with the fact that we actually put her to bed with a routine every night. She was also a better sleeper/night-feeder right off the bat, so that might also have something to do with it.

Tootsie: Slowly getting used to staying at the rental house. The yard is maybe 1/4 the size of ours and it’s not fenced, so the first few times we brought her there, she wouldn’t know where the yard boundaries were and we’d find her over at the neighbours. We’ve brought her tie-out and it’s been better to keep her out whenever she wants, without having to worry about her as much, but eventually I’d like to do something fence-ier.

The Husband: Wanted to let everyone know that he is still amazing and the best (his words!). Truthfully, I think he’s happy when he gets to see us more often (aka when we go to the rental house); which is why he’s the one that brought up selling our house and moving there sooner (which I so called by the way!).

comparing 4 month old babies

Comparing both babies at 4 months. Élise on the left (wearing size 3-6mo) and Zachary on the right (in size 0-3).

Life Updates

Moving somewhere smaller (aka the rental house) has got me thinking even more about the stuff we own, and how I’d like to try getting rid of more stuff we don’t use. Last year (in the month of August) the Husband and I (and our friend!) did the Minimalism Game, so I decided I would do it again. Actually, I decided that we would do a fun “Minimalism Moving Sale” before we move, kind of like an estate sale and garage sale rolled into one (aka letting people walk through the house and buy whatever they want), but that won’t be for a long time and I still have stuff I can let go of before then.

In complete opposite news, I also signed up for Amazon Prime and have taken advantage of the shipping for a few things (our Halloween costumes will be ready early this year!). I also signed up for Subscribe and Save diapers for Zachary, and may eventually do that for Élise too (although I think she’s nearing the next size, so I am waiting for that).

Anyone have any other favourite items they like to have delivered on a regular schedule?  Let me know!

family and life fall updates

Hopefully these family and life fall updates have caught you up to everything that has been happening in our lives!  Remember to follow on Facebook or Instagram to get all my posts and news delivered to you directly, and you can even save everything on Pinterest if there’s a DIY you want to do.

Let me know if you want to know anything else that I didn’t cover here too!

HOLY TAMOLY I literally just saw that Peppa Pig is on Amazon Prime Video and Zachary has not seen those episodes yet and will be quite excited :)

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Our Weekend in Winnipeg Wed, 29 Aug 2018 00:42:36 +0000 All about our weekend in Winnipeg, including where we stayed, what we packed, and what we learned the first time we took a plane with little children!

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We survived our first airplane trip with little children – there were laughs, there were tears, and yes, there were more tears!  I’ll tell you all about our weekend in Winnipeg, including where we stayed, what we packed, and what we learned on our family trip.

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First of all, we didn’t just decide out of the blue that we were going to vacation in Winnipeg.  Our friends were getting married there, and the Husband was the best man and everything!

Getting To Winnipeg

toddler on airplane

It’s about an 18 hour drive from where we live (Sudbury, ON) but we decided to fly rather than take the two days to drive in (a lot of people drove there in one day, but with the littles we didn’t want them to have to sit in the car that long).  Besides, it was just a short flight to Toronto, then a 2-3 hour flight to Winnipeg from there.

Because Zachary is just over 2, he had his own seat (whereas Élise sat on our laps).  She cried a bit before we took off the first flight, but it’s mostly because she was hungry… and someone opened the tray table on her head too… She fell asleep and the rest of the flight was uneventful.  Same for the next (longer flight), although it was Zachary’s naptime, he didn’t nap at all and was pretty tired by the time we landed in Winnipeg.

Where we Slept

toddler in hotel hallway

We stayed at the Super 8 Winnipeg East for the first two nights of our trip, as it was close to where our friends lived.

playpens in hotel room

The littles are used to sleeping in their own rooms at home (us too!), so having everyone together was a bit different.  They were crazy tired the first night, and both slept easily in the hotel playpens.  I moved some stuff around and was able to put them next to each other, and Zachary’s little bed even had walls that closed so he couldn’t look around.

hotel pool

The last hotel we stayed in had an actual crib, so it was different having playpens at the hotel (they seemed a bit more used, and we had to add the regular bedsheets for them).  Everything else was contemporary and new, and there was even a great pool for kids!  It was Élise’s first time in the pool (since she’s under 6 months and shouldn’t be in the sun) and although she cried at first, she got used to it and was happier.

winnipeg buildings

The next two nights we stayed at the Fort Garry Hotel in downtown Winnipeg.  That’s where the wedding was being held, so it would definitely be the most convenient for the event.

napping children in hotel

Thankfully the Husband’s momma was staying there as well, so we borrowed her room for naptime that day because I arrived earlier than check-in (actually, my room ended up being ready early too).

fort garry details

It was a unique/old style hotel, and I really liked all the moulding details and the marble staircase.  We were warned that our room would be really small and wouldn’t fit both playpens, but it was actually quite large and there was plenty of room to spare (maybe we were upgraded?)

hotel wedding

Whenever Élise was hungry, I’d just go upstairs, feed and change her there (so we didn’t have to bring all the diaper stuff with us everywhere).  This was our second hotel wedding this summer, so it seemed to work both times!

kids at wedding

I had both kids in moccasins for some reason (I love Zachary’s brown ones!) but Élise’s kept falling off her feet…

Both littles were dressed up, but I completely forgot to brush Zachary’s hair before the ceremony!  Thankfully our room was an elevator ride away, so he was looking much more dapper later on in the evening.

Exploring Around

We booked/rented a car from the airport, and I made sure that it came with car seats.  You can certainly bring car seats with you as checked baggage on the plane, but we wanted to limit the amount of stuff we brought.

trip to ikea winnipeg

The day after the wedding, Zachary and I headed to Ikea while the other two slept.  We’ll be doing another kitchen renovation soon, and I wanted to get some ideas while I was there.  I also picked up some kid tableware and a duvet cover.

We didn’t explore the city too much (it’s always tricky when you have littles to lug around) but did get the chance to visit with the married couple a few times (the Husband more than us of course).

Going Home

Our plane ride back was much worse than the way there, and I’d say it was because everyone was extra tired from the busy weekend.

family on airplane

Zachary was in a big “momma mood”, so every time I held Élise, he would get especially upset.  Thankfully the plane had individual screens, so we watched a movie and snuggled as much as we could (he did not like having to keep his seatbelt on the whole time, and could easily take it off…).

What we Packed

Even though you’re allowed more luggage when you’re travelling with children (I believe they can each take a carry-on, a car seat, a stroller, even breastmilk/formula if you need it), I wanted to limit what we had, since we would be the ones to carry everything!

In our checked suitcase (just a medium sized one), we packed all the diapers we would need, a gift for the wedding, our shoes, and all the Husband’s clothes (the way back there was much more room!).

We had one carry-on backpack filled with my clothes and the children’s clothes, and one carry-on with all the diaper/changing/kid stuff for the day (both a backpack and rolly-bag, similar to this bag but not as cute).  We also brought an umbrella stroller for each little one, and checked those right at the gate for all our flights.

We had one flex bag on the way there with the spill-over stuff, including a pillow for breastfeeding, our baby backpack (which I didn’t really use), my purse, nursing cover and travel computer.  On the way back, we had almost all the clothes in the suitcase – but made sure to pack an extra outfit for each person in our carry-on in case there were any messes!

If you caught my Instagram stories, I wore this dress to the wedding, and this dress one of the days too – I’d recommend both!

What we didn’t bring: Any toys or activities for kids.  When we’ve packed fun things in the past, we found that Zachary mostly ignored his stuff in favour of all the new things (usually not toys).  With that being said, he did get some crayons and a colouring book on a few of our flights; but mostly entertained himself by watching the TVs.  He’s not really a sit-down-and-play-quietly type of kid, but maybe the next ones will be?

weekend in winnipeg graphic

Travelling with young children on a plane was extra stressful, but it definitely gave us some practice in case we ever decide to bring them on another big trip (spoiler, we probably won’t ha!).  Considering we were visiting for a wedding, I think the Husband would have preferred to hang out with his friends more…

Either way, I think our weekend in Winnipeg was a fun trip, and now I know that travelling on planes with littles is a bit trickier than travelling in cars (which I feel like an expert by now).  We’ll be planning driving-only trips with the family from now on!

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Repair Damaged Deck Boards Tue, 21 Aug 2018 20:50:36 +0000 Do you have to repair damaged deck boards? While my original plan was to replace the damaged ones, I couldn't do that and had to fill them instead!

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Even though we’re in the middle of projects at the rental renovation, there are still things we need to do around our main house too!  I figured I had to take a break from the other stuff and share this outdoor project I did a bit ago (you know, before summer ends, ha!).  Find out how to repair damaged deck boards and scratch an outdoor project off your list before the weather gets cold again!

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As part of our regular outdoor maintenance, it seems like I have to stain the deck every. single. year.  Even though I prep everything properly and make sure to follow all the instructions, we always end up with peeling stain.

worn deck before

It’s usually worse in the areas that get a lot of foot traffic, and no matter how I treat the deck in the winter (whether we shovel the whole thing, or just let the snow build up)… every summer it looks the same.

sanding deck boards

This year, I even researched different stains to see if there was a better product out there, and began the task of sanding and cleaning the deck again.

damaged deck boards

Unfortunately, I noticed that we had some pretty substantial cracks along a few of the deck boards, and even some rotted out areas too.

split deck boards

There were about 5 boards that had a big split in the middle (you can hardly tell what the normal gaps are compared to the splits in the photo above!) and I wanted to repair the broken deck boards this year so that there would be no further damage.

gap between deck boards

I think that our deck was probably not built correctly, because it seems like the boards are a bit too close together.  There isn’t enough place for the water to escape, because the seems are getting filled up with gunk and the water is just sitting on top.  I’ve also seen the proper “deck boards” at the store that have curved edges, while ours are more squared off…

How To Repair Broken Deck Boards

My initial thought was to just unscrew the damaged boards, then re-install some new ones in their place.  Unfortunately, after years of wear and tear, the screws would not come out!  They would either be stuck too tight and the drill couldn’t grab them, the hole would strip or they would snap halfway.  The Husband and I tried ten different screws, and only one came out all the way!

So much for that idea…

The Husband’s next suggestion was to tear apart the entire top of the deck and replace all the boards.  Which would mean we would have to take apart the benches we built too.  And we’d probably have to rebuild the support underneath since it would most likely need to be replaced too…

Now, I don’t know about you, but that seemed like a big time and money expense (and our time and money have been going to the rental renovation lately) just because a few boards were split.

So I thought about the next best thing… can’t you just use a wood patch compound to fill in the gaps!?

Turns out you can!

(But not really the one I used, see below for more info)

filling cracks in deck boards

Once I had cleared the loose wood debris from the holes/gaps, I took out my wood filler and filled everything in.

Side note: Apparently Wood Filler isn’t meant to be used for “horizontal deck boards”, but I didn’t know that until after I had filled everything in…  More internet research found that you can use this product to fill in your wooden deck cracks, and even this one to stop rotting!

repairing damaged deck boards

I scraped the wood filler into the gaps and tried to scrape away as much excess as possible.  I remember from past experience that wood filler dries pretty hard, so wanted to avoid as many unnecessary bumps and ridges as possible.

first coat of stain on deck

I still went back and sanded everything of course, then cleaned up properly and applied my first coat of stain.  In the past, I always stained with a brush, but this year I decided to get an applicator and it was super quick.  Cleanup was a bit more of a hassle though since it really seemed to absorb a lot of colour.

dog laying on deck

I also couldn’t get into the nooks and crannies as well and will need to go back with a brush to do all the edges, but at least the wood filler has held up nicely so far!  (It’s been almost 2 months since I did this…).  And yes, I do still have my second coat to do, but I’ll get to that eventually, ha!

repair damaged deck boards graphic

Oh, and remember how I wanted to avoid the peeling paint this time (I wish it would just fade away, rather than come off in chunks)?  When it gets wet, you can totally see the stain bubble underneath, so I know I’m in for some more peeling… (and this is the third stain I’ve tried!).

But at least my improperly wood filled gaps seem to be doing okay!  I’ll let you know how they handle the snow and cold temperatures we get :)

Just remember, when you need to repair damaged deck boards, first try and remove the damaged ones, and if you can’t, then look into the products to fill them properly!

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Neutral Bedroom Refresh Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:43:10 +0000 The neutral bedroom refresh at our rental renovation was an easy project that involved minor updates to the floors and the perfect light greige paint!

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I’d love to have another project at our Rental Renovation completed (well, a few more would be nice too!), we’re still working away and hopefully things will be coming along soon.  Which means that while I’m sharing our neutral bedroom refresh, we’re still not technically done – but there’s just another coat or two of paint left… so close enough!?

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Actually, I was hoping that the Husband would have rolled the paint last week when we stayed home (demolition started in the basement so we avoided the noise/dust).  Unfortunately, there were a few issues that came up that he had to deal with, so alas I will finish the painting this week.

unfinished bedrooms

In the original upstairs tour of the house, I showed all the bedrooms as they were, but since starting work we’ve obviously had to store our stuff somewhere.  (Fun fact: the Husband had everything willy-nilly in the living room, but we brought the littles here and I wanted to make sure they couldn’t get into everything).  We also set up a makeshift nursery, but have thankfully added a real crib.

painting trim white

Once we decided to paint everything upstairs and came up with a colour palette, it was time to get to work!  Everything was the same shade of pale yellow, so I painted all the trim and doors a bright white to break up the monotony.

staining shoe moulds

There were some gaps in the floors along the baseboards, so we needed to add some 1/4 round shoe moulds.  The Husband was going to install them unfinished, but I forced him to wait until I stained them all so it would be much easier for me :)

trying to match floor stain

I first tried a coat of Puritan Pine, but they were just a bit too light, and not red enough.  A second coat on my test piece of Ipswich Pine didn’t really change anything too much, so I knew I had to bring in something darker.

staining colour options

I brought the stains I had and tried a few things.  The top piece in the photo had a coat of Traditional Cherry Gel Stain, the middle one Early American Gel Stain and the bottom was Dark Walnut.  I originally thought that the Dark Walnut was going to work, but it was much too dark (and green undertone-y), and the Traditional Cherry was a bit too red (although the Husband liked that one the most).

Early American was the winner, and once installed it looks like an even better match too!

gaps along hardwood floors and walls

This photo shows the gaps along the edges of the hardwood floors that we had to cover (and some of the new wall paint along the edges too!).

edging the wall paint

Because we had so many rooms to paint (a whole house actually) we bought 5 gallons of paint.  I couldn’t pour it into the tray myself (can you imagine the mess it could have made?) so did all the edging first.

paint looks different in lighting

Because the walls were originally yellow, the contrast with the undertones of the PARA Sailcloth was reading much pinker than it actually was.  Each room had vastly different lighting too, but I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t be as neutral as I would have liked.

bright neutral bedroom

But I continued painting, and it was actually this view (in the photo above) that sold me on the look.  It was looking so good compared to our cool gray hallway, and I was finally seeing an end!

fresh hardwood floors

We also gave the floors a coat of Rejuvenate after hearing several suggestions about the product.  With the shoe mould installed, walls painted and floors cleaned, everything looks much better!

neutral bedroom refresh

The walls are a good blend of beige/gray, but definitely more on the beige side.  They’re pretty much the lightest walls I have ever painted, so we’ll see how it goes :)

painted bedroom walls

I wanted to take down all the blinds in the rooms, but since we’ll most likely be renting this level, figured it was easier to keep them in (who knows how long it would take, ha!).

one coat of paint on walls

Like I mentioned, I had hoped the Husband was going to finish the painting – but there is still another coat or two to do in the smallest bedroom.  Unfortunately, whenever we go we do bring the baby and obviously don’t want her in that room with the paint drying.

neutral bedroom refresh graphic

While I normally like to paint all the rooms a different colour, this being our rental house, I wanted to keep everything much simpler.  The neutral bedroom refresh was an easy project that just involved minor updates to the floors and some paint, and hopefully our future renters will easily be able to match their décor to the simple palette.

(PS: My site had been down for the last few days – sorry about that!)

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Easy Hallway Transformation Tue, 07 Aug 2018 20:31:53 +0000 The easy hallway transformation at our rental renovation was accomplished using only paint, and it's a much brighter (and bigger looking) space!

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We’re still updating the upstairs of our rental home, and I’ll continue to share rooms and projects as they are completed.  Today is all about the easy hallway transformation that we did using paint; so let’s dive in!

You can see the original hallway in the upstairs tour post and video, but it was basically a plain space with light yellow walls, wood beadboard panelling and a couple of storage areas (off-white ones at the back, and one darker wood door near the front).

wood beadboard panelling in hallway

My first instinct was to just paint the first closet door (the dark wood one), because it didn’t match any of the other wood tones in the house (ie: the floors).

painting wood bead board hallway

I was then going to paint all the off-white areas to be a bright white… but decided to make everything white instead.  This obviously added more time, but at least it would be more refreshed and streamlined by having fewer colours.

ceiling light in hallway

There was a wallpaper border along the ceiling and a hanging light fixture.  I do want to raise the light fixture up a few inches (and clean the glass – it’s actually supposed to be clear but there is a layer of grime…).

wallpaper border in hallway

I started removing the wallpaper but ran out of time, so I assigned that task to the Husband when I returned back to our main home.

removing wallpaper border

He sent me the two pictures above showing his progress.  And being the ever-supporting-wife that I am, rather than saying “good job” for completing some tasks, all I could think of was “umm, you got grey paint on the ceiling, and now I’m going to have to paint it!”.

I know, nice lady :)

beige door compared to white paint

Once all the gray was done, I had to go back in and do a couple more coats of white, and I also caulked all the seams in between the pieces of panelling.  Whenever I painted white, I also went into all the bedrooms and painted the trims and doors in there too.

We were actually using the leftover white paint from when we painted the basement panelling in our house, and luckily this wood didn’t require any special primer!

painting door knobs

While I was originally very careful around the doorknob for the closet, after the 2nd or 3rd coat I got a little sloppy.  I know I can always replace it later – but in the meantime, I decided to paint it too!

hallway doorknobs

I tried to emulate the dark and gold colour of the knobs on the back closet, and even though it isn’t perfect, it’s still pretty cute and much better than half-painted white.

gray hallway transformation

After painting the ceiling and cleaning up the edges of paint along the trim, I’m thinking that this hallway looks very different than where we started!

grey and white hallway

Everything just looks crisper and will match the rest of the upstairs a lot better (the entrance will look similar to this actually).

grey and white hallway

It would have probably been okay to leave the wood panelling as-is, but at least this way I was able to clean up all the gaps.  Although, I do think some of the doors are still coming up off-white, so I may unfortunately have to prime them with something a little stronger…

Want to see a before/after comparison:

before and after hallway transformation

Heck, just removing that wallpaper border makes the ceilings look so much taller!  Eventually, I’d like to continue the grey tiled floors from the entryway into this area, but for now, the off-white tiles will have to do (fun fact: there are actually 2 different types of tiles on these floors…).

easy hallway transformation graphic

Like I mentioned before, this easy hallway transformation was accomplished using only paint, and it’s a much brighter (and bigger looking) space.  More importantly, we were able to give everything a good cleaning, and the paint did help cover some of the weird marks and stains that didn’t come off.

It kind of reminds me of our main home’s hallway too, but originally I wanted to go a bit different here (maybe painting the panelling dark!?).

But hey, it’s just paint and can easily be changed in the future :)

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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How to Smooth Grout Lines Tue, 31 Jul 2018 19:25:54 +0000 I'm sharing some good tips on how to smooth grout lines if you want to prep your floors for paint and don't want the old tile pattern to show through.

The post How to Smooth Grout Lines appeared first on Madness & Method.

Since we’re now “going all out” on fancy-ing the upstairs of our rental home, one of the areas that needed a design refresh was definitely the bathroom floors.  When we first toured the house, I had originally assumed they were some sort of linoleum/vinyl type of flooring, but later discovered they were actually tiles.  Similar to the floors in my brother’s bathroom, I decided that I was going to paint them – however, the grout lines would be very noticeable.  I came up with a hack on how to smooth grout lines, and I’m going to share with you the easy method!

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Now, you may be wondering why a) someone would paint floors at all, or b) why getting rid of the grout lines would even matter.  Painting floors is actually a pretty common, (easy and cheap!) way to update flooring that you may not be in love with.  It’s obviously much simpler than removing it, and it can be great as either a temporary or permanent solution.  You can browse Pinterest for lots of different floor painting tutorials (remember, I painted my brother’s linoleum floors to look like tile), but none of them really tackle what to do if you have grout lines that you want to hide.

Let me show you what I did to smooth the grout lines:

bathroom floors before

Okay, so the first thing I did was thoroughly clean the floors (see the area to the left of the door stop, that was what the floors looked like before!).  This is when I discovered that they were, in fact, little tiles instead of one vinyl sheet, crazy right!?

missing tiles in bathroom floors

I had also noticed that there were some tiles that were missing and loose near the back of the toilet.  The subfloor was pretty squishy in this area, and I’m hoping that it was just from the shower overspray (rather than a leaky toilet).

Eventually, our plan is to retile the hallway and bathroom when we do the upstairs kitchen (with the same tiles as the entryway), but that won’t be for another few years!

Anyways, I knew I wanted to fill in these holes and was originally just going to use some of the new grout when I was tiling.  But again, we decided to give everything a bit of a refresh upstairs, so painting the floors became the new plan!

bathroom floors with paint on them

Besides, the Husband clearly got a little messy when he was painting the bathroom ceiling (which we had to do since it was cracking/peeling).  So I either had to remove the paint from the floors, or just paint them!

Smooth Grout Line Options:

I thought of a couple of ways on how to smooth the grout lines (since I knew that the crazy little pattern would show through whatever paint/pattern I decided to do with):

  1. Re-grout them on top of the old grout
  2. Use a self-leveller to smooth them completely
  3. Use floor patch as a skim coat

From past experience, I knew that doing a thin coat of new grout on top of old grout would most likely result in flaking.  Grout kind of needs to be thick/deep in order to harden properly, and I didn’t think it would work like I wanted it to.  A self-levelling product would result in the smoothest surface (like the super slick floors we prepped in our basement), but it would also raise the height of the floor ever so slightly.  It’s pretty wet too, so I wouldn’t have had as much control with the application; and was worried that it would create an extra layer that we would eventually have to remove when we do re-tile these floors.

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution and are not worried about the final height of the floors, I would definitely suggest the floor leveller!

But, if you want to hear about the 3rd option, check out what we actually did:

how to smooth grout lines

Since I had a huge bag of the floor patch and had worked with it before, I kind of knew what I was getting into.  I mixed up a small amount and started applying it to the floors as if I was grouting them the first time.  If you’ve ever grouted tiles, then it’s the same technique, only without the washing step.

smooth grout lines in tiles

If you’ve never grouted before, then it’s basically like you’re pushing the floor patch across the surface of the tiles so that it sticks in the grout lines.  You’ll want to use a grout float and try to make sure the “grout” is even with the height of the tiles.

uneven cement surface

After the floor patch dried, I had gone back into the room to inspect my grout lines.  There were unfortunately some areas that were a little raised, and I was worried that it would stay that way forever!

sanding sponge and trowel

Being the handy person that I am :) I decided to try and smooth them out with a regular sanding sponge.  It worked great!  For any areas that were really thick, I was able to knock them down a bit with a regular drywall/utility trowel, then sanded everything evenly.  It actually made the floors super smooth too (it was kind of rough feeling), and I just had to make sure all the dust was vacuumed before I painted.

painting tiled floors

Moment of truth time!  I rolled on a layer of my PARA Floorguard Paint (in Uniform, now called Gentrified 413F) and I realized I could still see the grout lines.  Womp womp.  At least the floors looked much better though right?!

(And I did accomplish my first/actual goal of covering up the big holes behind the toilet; and I did fill in the deep grout lines so that dirt and nasty bathroom gunk wouldn’t get trapped anymore).

another layer to smooth grout lines

Being the perfectionist that I am, I decided to do one more coat of the floor patch to smooth everything out.  I went over the tiles a lot more this time (probably overkill, as you will see in the next photo), but I wanted to make sure the grout was as smooth as possible, because I wasn’t going to do it a third time.

And again, I sanded the areas that were bumped and tried to make sure everything was nice and level before I painted.

painted tile floors

SO on went another coat of the Floorguard, and I am happy to report that a lot of the grout lines have disappeared!  I do have some areas that have come up a bit (blame the extra thick layer I did and my rush to get the floors painted), but I’m hoping my cool paint pattern will hide it.

how to smooth grout lines to prep floors for paint

I hope I have given you some good tips on how to smooth grout lines if you want to prep your floors for paint!  Hopefully, you’ll also have some realistic ideas on what to expect if you go with my method (and yes you can get them 100% smooth if you use the self-leveller).

Our floors are still just painted this one colour for now, but I am hoping to add a cool graphic pattern in the near future.

We have lots more projects to finish (I’m hoping the bedrooms are done soon so we can have a good space for when the littles are here), but for now, the painted floors are working a lot better since I’m not worried about the gross tiles that were there before.

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Tiling the Entryway Thu, 26 Jul 2018 01:12:53 +0000 Tiling the entryway really gave our rental house a more updated look, and this area is working a lot better than the bare plywood too!

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Tiling the entryway was probably the first renovation project I did at our rental home, and it was supposed to be one of the only things I had to do.  But if you caught my post last week about our colour scheme, then you know that we’ve decided to give everything a bit of an overhaul… so I’ll be sharing many more things to come!  Either way, today I’ll show you how much better the main entrance looks now that there is proper flooring.

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Oh, and technicallllyyy the entryway is not even done yet (including the tiles!) since we still have to finish the painting, redo the wood floors, then install some new baseboards.  I promised you that it would look a lot better, so here is a photo of what the entry area looked like when we moved in:

unfinished entryway

You can see the rest of the “before” photos here, but basically, we suspect that the living room (and some of the bedrooms) were previously carpeted – as evidenced by the tacks along the walls and weird built-up subfloor in the entrance.

cutting straight lines in entryway

We’re not quite sure why there were so many shapes, was there a wall there at one point?  So I had the Husband rip out the extra subfloor pieces and cut some nice straight lines through the hardwood floors to give us a squared-off shape.

different subfloors in entryway

Because we would be installing tiles (and based on my past experience with future damage), I knew that I had to fill in the gaps between the subfloors to account for shifting/moving.

patching subfloor before tiling

I filled as much as I could with the tub of floor patch I had, but unfortunately ran out and had to get some of this Planipatch patching compound to finish the rest.

planning tile layout

Once that was properly set, I started organizing all my tiles and planning my layout.  I bought these light gray 12 x 24 tiles and decided to lay them lengthwise, centered across the wood boards.  Actually, I was hoping to avoid doing weird cuts around the closet wall, so I sort of placed my tiles based on that.  (Oh and the green tape was just to mark the tiles that had imperfections so I didn’t accidentally use them).

installing long tiles

Knowing where I wanted my pattern to start (the tile butting against the closet wall), I started from there and then decided to move into the closet, then out to the main section.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get very far before we realized that we would, in fact, need a wet saw since Brutus was too short and couldn’t cut the tiles lengthwise.

Womp womp.

tiling the entryway

So we got as far as we could (including not finishing the inside of the closet) and then decided to bite the bullet and buy a wet saw ourselves (just something basic similar to this one).  We’ve actually done so many tiling projects (like the bathroom floors, kitchen floors, and more!) and I’ve either rented a wet saw or borrowed one from our relatives to do the few weird cuts we needed.

The only store that was open just happened to carry a wet saw that wasn’t too expensive; and I figured it was a good trade-off since we found a light for the entryway that was on sale for like 20$ (and the ones I had wanted to get were around 100-150).

long tiles going into entryway closet

So we finally finished all the skinny tiles and the one weird cut in the closet around a 2×4 that was sticking up.  (Fun fact, I screwed up the tiling pattern in the closet from the rest of the entry, can you spot to mess-up?).

tiled entryway

Oh, and we even ran out of thinset and had to get that too (and the only one they had was fast-setting… which I would not recommend!).  But at least the tiles were installed and I could actually grout that day!  (Note there is a larger gap along the wall side, but it matches the same depth as the hardwood floors and will be covered up with baseboards).

grouting the tiled floors

I decided to only grout in the main section (including the closet) and leave the edges near the hardwood floors open.  As you might be able to tell, there are some nasty stains on the hardwoods and we’ll be sanding and re-staining them in the near future.  I didn’t want 1) the sander to screw up my grout, or 2) the stain to ruin the colour, so figured that I would give myself a buffer area.

grouting tiled entryway

By now, I was getting exhausted and had to head back home, so left the Husband in charge of cleaning up the grout haze for the next few hours.  (Not so fun fact, I was actually miserable this day and thought that it was because it was the first big physical labour-type project I did since having the baby.  Turns out, I was just starting to get mastitis and was most likely running a fever, so the next week I was basically useless).

When I returned a few weeks later, it was looking so good!  I believe the grout colour I chose was called Platinum, and I wanted it to blend seamlessly with the tiles as much as possible.

Since tiling in the entryway, I’ve pretty much been painting everything non-stop, and am hoping we will eventually get to the last project (the wood floors) so I can actually finish the grouting!  The photo above shows the Blue Slate wall colour (and white painted trim), so you can see how that dingy door really stands out.

Next time I show off this area, everything should be complete; but for now, I’m LOVING the tile choice I made, and can’t wait until I can add them to the kitchen when that gets renovated (you know, in a few years, ha!).

I just have to hope they don’t discontinue them :)

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Rental Renovation Design Ideas Thu, 19 Jul 2018 20:06:56 +0000 An update on the work progress and rental renovation design ideas for our second home. Thinking of a mostly neutral colour scheme with bright accents!

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It’s almost halfway through the summer, our littlest baby is now 3 months old and we’ve barely begun working on our rental renovation.  Well, that’s not accurate.  We have been working on the rental renovation like crazy, but we haven’t even touched the basement (should be starting soon!) and I feel like I have a million unfinished projects upstairs that need to be completed before I can share anything.  We’ve changed a couple of ideas since I shared the upstairs tour, and today I’ll give you a bit of an update and let you know the rental renovation design ideas (for the whole house) too!

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Okay, first things first.  Rather than just “clean up” the upstairs and get it renter-ready (we think we’ll be staying in the basement), the Husband said it would be better to give everything a proper refresh, including painting ALL the walls and refinishing the living room floors.

Which is the last thing we’ll do because that seems like it will be a beast of a project!

In the meantime, I’ve been painting like crazy… and haven’t really even gotten halfway done :(  BUT planning to paint everything did allow me to come up with a design direction for the upstairs (which we’ll most likely be copying downstairs) so that was fun!

Rental Renovation Design

Here is what I came up with:

rental renovation design colour scheme

(I originally had a slightly different colour scheme posted, but just added the purple/red!)

Let me explain how this all came about because it’s probably a super-backwards-don’t-copy-what-I-did story.

Before we decided to paint everything upstairs, the original plan was to just clean the walls and call it quits.  The Husband said that one of the bedrooms had a lot of scuff marks and we should probably paint it to make it look nicer.

Okay great, so we went to the local hardware store and picked up a gallon of one of their mis-tinted paints (SICO Blue Slate, a medium-toned cool gray colour).

One of the projects we needed to do was tile the entranceway.  There was a carpet that had been ripped up before we saw the house, and it was a mis-mash of plywood and random wood flooring that was now exposed.  I headed to the Home Depot and picked up some nice gray 12×24 tiles and thought they would work perfectly for the space.  In the future-future, I’ll want to redo the upstairs kitchen and knew that I wanted to use the same floors for the entry as the kitchen, and a medium gray is what I needed for that.  (Is it weird that I designed the kitchen we’ll be doing in a few years?).

Anyways the tiling became the priority, and after I did that, then the Husband decided to make the rest of the house look good to match.

Caught up to the timeline now?

So now we have one gallon of a medium gray, and an entire house to paint (in which we’ll need a LOT more paint).  I didn’t want the bedrooms to be as dark as the gray we had, and I knew I wanted the living room to be something dark.

Oh, and I also decided to paint the inside of the front door a bright colour too and was originally thinking something in the blue-teal family.  Then I was scrolling through Instagram and saw this post about the colour coral… and it was like aha!  I hadn’t even thought of something in an orange colour, and what do you know – I had even brought our leftover bathroom paint to the rental house just in case we needed it.  (Originally it was to mix with the Blue Slate paint and white to warm it up and/or make a new colour).

Still following me?

I went home and went through all the paint swatches and books I had, and came across this:

para paint retro mix colour swatches

It’s a PARA Color Journey’s book showing a “Retro Chic” colour scheme and I was like yesssssssssssssssss.  Not only does it have an orange close to what our bathroom colour is, but I thought that the blue was similar to the one we have throughout our basement.  Which I thought would be great in the future for when we move our stuff in there.

ANYWAYS so then I decided to use the same light colour that was in this colour mix but was originally worried it was too light.  Isn’t it hard to tell how bright or dark a colour on a small swatch is?  I definitely didn’t want anything “white” but was thinking a nice, light warm gray would be great (almost a cross between a beige and a gray).

comparing paint swatch to walls

So I held the swatch up to our basement walls (which is the lightest colour we have in our house) and like that it’s a smidgen lighter, but still pretty similar and definitely not reading as white.  It should make a nice bright bedroom colour!

For the darkest colour, I found a nice swatch in the PARA Neutral Ground book, and I’m hoping it works great for the living room (it’s a super warm colour, almost like a dark gray/brown).

Either way, I’m hoping everything comes together and flows nicely, even though I’ll be using the different cool and warm colours throughout the space (the Blue Slate will be in the entry and hallway).

rental renovation design ideas colour graphic

I hope these rental renovation design ideas and colour schemes work out, and I know there is a lot of painting in my future! Like I mentioned before, I have a lot of projects that have been started… but nothing is officially done-done that I can show off yet.  You may have noticed that the green (and newly added purple) don’t have a paint colour/name yet, and it’s because I think I’ll bring it in more with the accessories.

But we shall see :)

OH and make sure to follow my Pinterest board with all my rental design ideas:

Rental Home Board

I’m thinking the upstairs will be more of a classic/traditional look, but the basement will be more modern…

Stay tuned!

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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