Thursday, August 27, 2015

Exterior Paint Final Look

I looked back at when I shared the exterior paint, and I realized the brick was not up yet! It looked good then, but you didn’t get to see the whole picture. 

For a while, the house was half-painted and looked unfinished. It was embarrassing. We had to wait for the siding to be complete.

The metal roof guys had to take apart a dormer window’s siding, and the mason’s caused some damage to the siding on Mom’s porch, so we needed that fixed. Our siding guy was difficult to get ahold of. I had our interior trim guy hang the base cap to create wainscoting on the outside.

It helped give a finishing detail. When we finally got ahold of the siding guy, he came out the next week. The next hard part was getting the painters to show up! They kept promising days and not showing up. When they finally did show up, it rained! Slowly but surely we got the final paint up there.

Columns were painted…

The front porch roof color was corrected…

The back porch was finally painted.

And the "tower" was finally painted.

This was my vision and I was happy with it, but my builder and Mr. JCrew questioned the one-color look. Mr. JCrew and the builder both suggested I use another color to help the detail stand out. I trusted Mr. JCrew just like I trusted him with the dormer colors and it turned out great!

It ties in the tower with the tudor look we were trying to achieve.

Now I look back at the one color and think it looks awful! So glad I listened to Mr. JCrew. I will gladly give him all the credit.

The porch columns were no longer white, thank goodness! They were standing out too much. 

Now I just have to get the exterior doors painted. I think they are leaving that as the last thing to do because we still had a lot of people entering the house. They will be painted the darkest color I chose.

Love it! Now the house looks complete and not half-done. Paint is a wonderful thing!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Brick Tile

To go with the old feel of the house, I used brick pavers as tile in certain areas. 

I used it at all the entrances, in the Powder Bath and in Mom’s bath and closet.

I wanted to space it wide, so I bought 3/8” spacers; as wide as I could get them. 

I chose a brick pattern with 1/3 offset.

I bought the pavers unsealed because I wanted them to be rustic. But I still had to seal them so that grouting would be easier and not soaked up into the brick.

The color of grout was difficult to choose. I went with my gut and chose Mapei Ivory. 

And it couldn’t have been better. It ties in the wall color and the wood floor.

Because the brick tile was done first, and in heavy foot traffic areas, we had a lot of cracked tile. 

Two areas had thin-set applied to the entire subfloor surface, then grooved. There were less cracked tiles on those areas. Then the other areas just had the tile back-buttered. These had more cracks. But I was told the cracks would stop when the grout was put in. I just made sure I was at the house less and avoided stepping on the tile.

Our tile guy started grouting and left quickly after because it was frustrating. So, I took a stab at it and did an okay job. It was hard to get the grout up high enough like I wanted, and still trying to keep the brick surface clean.

I am so excited for the brick floors. Some people refer to it as “Split Brick.” It definitely gives the house that old vibe that I am going for.

Our tile guy laid the brick and grouted it, but he quit our job before he could clean the brick. I had a 10-day window to work with before the grout was really set into the paver. I tried multiple chemicals and non-chemicals trying to get the grout off. Only one thing worked! I have decided to write a separate post about it here.

After the brick was cleaned, I felt so much relief. I moved on to other projects while my mom took the duty of sealing the brick. She tackled one section at a time. I covered all the brick with paper dropcloth to prevent red clay marks on the freshly cleaned brick. The mud hall had nice orange tracks on it before I cleaned it.

I tried many different sealers. Even after cleaning the brick, it still dried a lighter color. I like how when it was wet, the colors were darker. 

Yet, I didn’t want the glossy wet look some sealers provide. I found a product at Lowes that was a sealer and enhancer.

At $45 a bottle for a small bottle, this stuff was liquid gold. But it achieved the look and protection.

Mom used a small roller to apply three rows at a time. It goes on milky and you wope if off after 3-5 minutes.

I really like the end result. These floors took a lot of work, but they are worth it!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Thirty-Third Birthday

My birthday this year was EXTRA special. Mr. JCrew arranged a pedicure date and dinner with some friends.

I never paint my toes red, but I went for it. 

On my actual birthday I got he BEST present. Mr.JCrew's sister had her baby!

 Little JCrew loved holding her.

And Mr. Brigglesworth was in awe!

Mr JCrew was nervous about him holding her, but he was a pro!

I am so excited to have a birthday buddy!  

What a great birthday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


We have done the landscaping in many parts as we did that last house. But the phases were not spread out into years as it was at the last house. 

We had the yard graded for a while, but then the landscapers were waiting for it to rain to break up the big clumps of dirt. They were able to get the entire dirt pile spread out over our yard. It helped us avoid having to pay money for someone to come haul it away.

The rain never came, so they started with the irrigation. The sod was delivered the same day. 

I did not expect the sod to be spread out that day, but the guys stayed late and the sod install was complete and the sprinklers were aligned!

For two weeks we have watered twice a day for three hours a day. That was an hour for each sod zone.

I will say it has paid off. The grass is green and didn’t die in the July heat!

They say to keep the sod “floating” for two weeks. Now we will taper the watering times and let it dry out some so that we can get to the point we can mow it.

Before the sod was laid, we planted our large trees. 

Then Mr. JCrew and I started planting some plants. Our first section was under Mom’s window.

When you looked at all the plants we had, it felt overwhelming. Each person said how much work it was going to be.

And it was. Mr. JCrew and I took a day off from work to tackle it all. We arrived before any contractors and were the last to leave. It showed the contractors that we are not spoiled and we are willing to do anything. They’ve seen me with my drill, hammer and shovel. I can participate!

That day in the yard we planted 33 plants in the front and 33 plants in the back. I wish I would have taken a picture of us. We looked so cute all sweaty and muddy!

Since then, we’ve been adding a little by little. It was slowly coming together. 

The irrigation folks had to come back out to lay French Drains. I said from the beginning that we would need them. I saw the low points. Unfortunately, I was not listened to until after the sod was laid and they saw for themselves. So that tore up the yard a little bit, but flooding issues are taken care of. 

Once the French drains were complete, we could get the mulch placed. It bought me time to get all the plants in the ground.

The mulch company quoted me thousands of dollars. I told Mr. JCrew it looked like we would be doing this ourselves. I had 36 tractor scoops delivered. We received two truck loads Thursday night. We started spreading the mulch out Friday morning. 

We had reduced our mounds and were close to calling it a day, when our third truck-load came. It rained, so we took a break and got back out there. It was so hard! Physically, I felt like I was at the Crossfit Games. I would run with my wheelbarrow through the muddy parts so I wouldn't get stuck. Then we had the pitchfork that worked my core muscles. I feel stronger, but that was an intense workout!

We finished the mulch on Saturday. There were some areas we laid weed control fabric.

These were areas that I took my weed eater to to kill grass from our neighbors yard. And the weeds/grass in the back corner of our lot was never removed, so I was fighting that. I should have laid down a chemical to kill it, but I'm hoping the weed fabric and mulch is good enough. We did not buy the stakes, so we used mulch clumps to help hold down the fabric until we could get more mulch to spread all around.

We made a mess planting and laying mulch. We should have planted the plants first before sod so we weren't making grooves with our wheelbarrows in the wet sod. Lesson learned. 

I tried to choose large plants and trees because I knew they would dwarf up next to a large house. Some still feel small, but it will grow and be perfect in about five years. I paid attention to spacing carefully. I wanted to avoid placing things too close together ensuring I would not have to move it in five years.

This really was one of my favorite parts. The house started looking less like a construction zone. I even had the boys out there helping. They loved it, but they still have issues with getting themselves dirty. Poor kiddos! And the neighbors got a kick out of seeing the boys help. They were digging holes and using the hose to make it "rain."

We have utility boxes on the edge of our property. The street view has bushes hiding them, but we see them from the house. It's currently our scrap yard for material, but I planted some large bushes that will be beautiful to look at from our porch and take the attention away from the boxes.
And we already caught the geese enjoying the yard.

Doing the landscaping ourselves saved us tons of money but also got us to meet our neighbors. We had so many people stop to talk to us and they are all so nice! We've lived in this neighborhood for 7 years and the street we are moving on to has the nicest people. I am so happy with where we chose to build this house. It was the right choice. 

The yard is officially complete! I'm so excited I don't have to get muddy any more!
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