I already posted a little teaser of what we were up to on Monday, most importantly being closing on our first house. But a lot of other things also got accomplished that day too!
First, early Monday morning we met our realtor at the house, to do our final walk through. We wanted to be sure they'd removed the dog fence from the backyard, as per our negotiations, and also removed all of their belongings. We found the fence gone, and only a few mugs left in kitchen cabinets, and lots and lots of cobwebs and dust bunnies, so we were ok to move forward with the closing.
Monday night I'd mentioned that a lot of realtors seem to not put out sold signs these days (and the seller's realtor didn't even put out a pending sign in front of the house either). But our realtor brought her own sign to snap a photo for her own purposes, so as we walked back to our car I jumped in for a quick photo. Too bad all the signage was gone when we got back from the closing, otherwise we wouldn't have needed my back up sold sign bunting!
After our final walk through at the house, we headed to the attorney's office, where we signed a whole lot of paperwork, handed over a huge certified check, shook lots of hands, and received our glorious keys!
From there we went straight back to our new home, and just sat out on the deck for a few minutes, soaking it all in. But I couldn't sit still for too long, because I had a new wreath to hang on the front door, and photos from my last post to take. Plus, after seeing how dirty the previous owners had left the place, I was itching to do a little cleaning, so I wouldn't be afraid to touch anything! I quickly washed the kitchen counter, sink, bathroom counter, sink and toilet to be satisfied, for the moment anyway. The house will definitely need a though, possibly professional, cleaning before we move in!
Once I felt safe actually putting the things we'd brought with us on the kitchen counter, it was time to get our popcorn ceiling sample, to be sent off for asbestos testing. Now that we have the joy of paying for a new roof looming over our heads, we no longer have room in the budget to pay to have the popcorn ceilings removed. So we're going to attempt to remove them ourselves before we move in, assuming the ceilings are asbestos free.
To get the sample, we first wet down a small patch of ceiling in our laundry room with a squirt bottle of water and detergent, as recommended by the testing lab's instructions. Then, with both of us standing on stools and holding our breath, my husband quickly used a box cutter to cut a 1 inch square of the popcorn material, while I held up a plastic sandwich bag to collect the sample. We quickly wiped the ceiling with a damp paper towel to catch any potentially harmful fibers, and let out the breath that we'd been holding. From there we just took the sample to the post office and overnighted it to the testing lab. Hopefully we'll get the results back today, since this lab turns around your results within 24 hours of receiving the sample. Fingers crossed there's no asbestos in the popcorn ceilings, otherwise we'll have to go to plan B.
UPDATE! Since I wrote this post yesterday afternoon, and scheduled it to post early this morning, we've already got our asbestos test results back: negative! We'd sent the sample Express Mail, so it was guaranteed to be delivered by noon the next day. Well after I wrote and scheduled this post, we got the email with the results. I'm so happy we can move forward with the ceiling scraping ourselves. And I'd definitely recommend the testing lab we used, Western Analytical Lab, for their quick turnaround time!
After the post office, we grabbed Mediterranean take out, ate a late lunch standing at the kitchen counter, and got on with the afternoon's other projects.
First up was putting the paint samples we'd bought two weeks ago up on the walls. We're planning to keep looking at the colors on the walls for a week or two, and bring in some lamps so we can see what they look like in different lighting situations. We might also paint some of the trim white, like it's definitely going to be painted, and then do our samples right up to the white trim, for a better idea of what the final result will be. The pinky-beige color they've got on the walls (first 2 photos below) and the light baby pink (3rd photo below) they've got in the family room are making it hard for us to really see if these are the colors we like.
(We painted two color samples the dining room, because I want to do the dark all over, then follow it with the lighter grey stenciled above the chair rail. Once the ugly pink/beige wall paper is removed from above the rail, of course!)
(This blue looks so much lighter and brighter surrounded by baby pink paint. I definitely think a bigger patch, next to white trim is going to help us really see what this color will look like)
While our paint samples were drying, it was time to tackle our big project for the afternoon. Taking down the claustrophobic kitchen cabinets above the peninsula. When I'd first seen this house on the market this past summer, this was the first thing I'd noticed. The ugly cabinets, but the easy potential to open it all up to the breakfast nook and family room.
Here's a photo from an earlier visit to the house, with the previous owner's stuff still around. You can see from this angle how the cabinets above the peninsula are almost as wide as the counter is, giving you very little head room when working at the counter.
And a before shot, taken from standing in the kitchen, looking out to the family room.
We put down an old comforter on the counter, to protect the granite in case we dropped any tools, or the cabinets came crashing down, and proceeded to take off the doors on the cabinets, so we could access the inside.
(Yes, that banister and post will also be going away soon! Actually, pretty much most everything in this picture will be going away/getting updated!)
Outer doors removed = progress!
Then came the hard part. Unlike the cabinet doors, that were just screwed on, for some reason they had decided to attach the cabinets to the ceiling with 4 inch long, thick nails. Why you wouldn't use more secure (but easier to remove) screws, I have no idea. But that probably explained why you could shake the cabinets quite a bit in the first place--nails just don't hold as well.
But getting these out was a pain, mainly because the nail heads were so flush with the wood tops of the cabinets. So after an hour and a half of slowly digging flat head screw drivers under the nail heads until
With the pry bar, it only took about 10 more minutes to remove the last 6 nails. Before we started the last part, we put a stool on top of the counter, to break the fall in case the cabinets came crashing down, and I was supporting the cabinets as best I could with my arms while my husband pulled out the nails. The cabinets were partially supported on the wall side by the brick back splash, so while it helped with the supporting of the cabinets, we had to be really careful when pulling the cabinets away, so as not to crack or scratch the back splash.
This thing was dang heavy, but we managed to free it from the ceiling in one piece, with the crown moulding still in place (which I'll be stealing to patch the now missing moulding sections where the cabinet was).
Here's a better look at the ceiling and where the cabinet used to be attached to the wall. Not too bad, other than the nail holes and age discoloration.
With the cabinets now in our garage until we need them (I'm thinking we might spruce them up with some paint and use them above the washer and dryer in the laundry room) we have a much more open kitchen!
Some after shots! Well, "after cabinets are removed" after shots, since this room is far, far from actually being done.
I can't wait until we get rid of the post and railing, but this is still a huge improvement with the cabinets removed.
A quick look back at the room blocking cabinets.
And the wonderful openness now that they're gone!
Here you can better see the section where the cabinets used to attach to the wall. We'll be patching that up, adding crown moulding, painting it, and installing corner shelves to clean it up and get back some of the functional storage space.
You can also see in this below photo, that I'll post again, why we're alright with losing 4 kitchen cabinets worth of storage. The door on the left is to a pretty deep closet pantry, and to the right of that is where our fridge will live. On the other side of the fridge is a desk area, with shallow cabinets above it. We are planning to take out the desk and cabinets, and build new cabinets that will be as deep as the pantry and fridge will stick out, giving us a lot more storage than is there now. We think this will more than make up for losing the cabinets above the peninsula.
Actually, I almost think opening up the kitchen alone is more than enough reason to have gotten rid of the cabinets, this plan to add extra storage on the other side of the kitchen is just an added bonus! :)
Ok, last photo of our opened up kitchen. I love the look on the hub's face that seems to say "dang, that was a pain to remove, but I'm glad it's gone!"
Once we finished with the cabinet project it was nearing sundown, so we moved on to the last project of the day. We'd picked up a bird feeder and hanging arm on our Lowes run, which we hung off of the deck, so hopefully the birds will come back. On previous visits there had been a ton of pretty birds, but the previous owners took their bird feeder with them. We wanted to make sure to get another feeder up sooner rather than later, so the birds would continue to visit. The arm we got to hang the feeder on is far enough away from the deck that our kitties won't be able to reach it though!
And once we were done with all of our projects for our first half day in our new home, there was one last order of business to attend to. Having a glass of special wine on our new deck!
It's special wine because it's the wine that actually made me start to like red wine. We'd bought a case of it years ago, and had been saving the last couple of bottles for special occasions. One was on our honeymoon, on the beach in Kauai.
And the other, of course, was buying our first home!
Cheers, to many more evenings with a glass of wine on our new deck! We definitely felt like we deserved it after all we'd managed to accomplish. One thing is for sure, in this house we're never going to be bored, and it's going to be a very long time until we run out of things to do!
Do any of you like to start tackling projects as soon as you get your keys to a new place? Or do you take a little more time to relax and enjoy the place first? And has anyone else ever take down cabinets before? Was a pry bar your friend in the process?