Living Room Flip Project Before & After

Picking out a paint color for the living room flip project was the hardest choice thus far in this tiny Pittsburgh rental flip. I wanted a neutral gray and that was all I knew.  The paint color and the flooring was all we had budgeted to change in the living room, so the color was a big decision. I started with about 50 paint swatches and narrowed these down to 8 paint colors, all on the cooler gray side. I then took advantage of a 99 cent paint sample jar sale at Lowe’s Home Improvement (this sale happens about once a quarter) and got a sample for each of the 8 colors. I really recommend testing your color on the wall with a sample size before you buy it. Seeing the color in your space makes a huge difference. Take the time to paint a sample of the colors you think you like, and check the test area throughout the day, as the lighting shifts.

Simple Living Room Makeover Moscato is my Mantra Simple Living Room Makeover

Even if you have 8 colors you’re stuck on like I did, the picking a paint color process is so much easier when the paint is actually on the wall. Once I had the grays on the wall I could really see the undertones. I didn’t want something purple or brown, so those undertones were immediately eliminated. My BF wanted something darker, and I wanted a gray-blue, so we went with the darkest bluish gray paint color.

It turned out that we picked a paint color from a brand that we didn’t intend on buying product from. I don’t know what happened, but once we got our gallons tinted at Lowe’s into Olympic ONE, and painted the full wall space, the paint color appeared a lot more blue than gray. A bit of an upset to the BF, but I may or may not have intended it to be more blue than he was expecting 😉 We still only have one overhead light fixture in the space, so I apologize for the quality of the following photos, but below is our humble space post paint job. Plus, check out the post sharing on our flooring project.

Simple Living Room Makeover Moscato is my Mantra Simple Living Room Makeover Moscato is my Mantra

Our living room space is actually the only common area in our tiny Pittsburgh rental unit. We use the space as a living room and office, as this is the only place we had floor room for a desk and chair. Our furniture is mismatched, with pieces coming from both my own & my BF’s collection. Being 25 we’ve inherited most of our furniture, still working with what was scrounged up from our college apartment days. My bedroom set, the Derbyshire from Value City Furniture is the only furniture I’ve bought myself as an adult (I cried when I saw how cheap it is now versus when I bought it 2 years ago). The dresser is actually our TV stand now because this large furniture piece did not fit in the bedroom. I just couldn’t sacrifice the storage space, thus my clothes are in the living room. I’ll keep holding onto dreams of a walk in closet (or a closet at all) in the bedroom and separate living rooms & office spaces. Sigh. For now, home is where the wine is 🍷

Simple Living Room Makeover Moscato is my Mantra Simple Living Room Makeover Moscato is my MantraSimple Living Room Makeover Moscato is my MantraSimple Living Room Makeover Moscato is my Mantra

Compared to the before the simple update of new flooring, trim and paint color is a huge improvement. The before was terrible. Gross carpet, wood paneling AND lace curtains!?

Pittsburgh Home before renovation Pittsburgh Home before renovation

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Kitchen Renew Reveal

This post is titled with the word “renew” and not “renovation” because for this rental unit project not much was done to the kitchen, just a quick kitchen flip including a fresh coat of paint and flooring, for a total of $152. But from the state that this place was in, these two small tasks made a world of difference aesthetically.

For the kitchen flooring we used a solid vinyl stick tile in a simple, neutral pattern from The Home Depot. Cheap and easy to install, does the job quite well. Probably about $60 total in tile was all it took to make a difference!

stick vinyl flooring

For the walls I choose a paint color inspired by what else other than an episode of Fixer Upper of course! I picked a PPG Voice of Color paint color called Silent Storm, a pale green gray 6 months before I realized it actually truly is the PPG crossover for Joanna’s color Americana Egg in the Magnolia Homes paint line! A crossover means that Silent Storm is the closest tint formula in the PPG color palette, to the other brand’s color Americana Egg. This is discovered based on tint and formula data.

silent storm

For more PPG Paint colors similar to those used on Fixer Upper check out this Pinterest board full of Modern Farmhouse collection colors.

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I had silent storm tinted into Olympic One at Lowe’s, simply because the PPG Paints store was closed when I had time to run and get the paint. The paint is of great quality, after a coat of primer Olympic One for less than $25, went on the wall easily and covered well. We used a satin sheen to brighten up the space with a slight bit of reflectance and for easy clean-up in the kitchen. We used the same semi-gloss paint from the previous trim project. We used Speedhide Interior Enamel Latex by PPG Paints, to repaint the existing trim, door and pantry door in the kitchen.

If you’re in the market to paint I would encourage you to shop with the experts at your local PPG Paints store, here’s the 2017 PPG Paints Friends and Family coupon.

Olympic Paint

By no fault of the paints, but in the midst of a crazy late night painting session, I ended up with paint in my hair. Sometimes you’re so tired that all you can do is laugh!

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So remember the before…

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Here is the after, with a fresh coat of paint and new flooring, we haven’t even changed the lighting yet. The goal was just quick, simple, easy and CHEAP refresh.

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Yes we are having to store all my wine on top of the cabinets classy college style. We simply don’t have a ton of storage space in this tiny apartment. I’ve had to cleanse a lot of my kitchen items, flatware and etc..

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We thought about painting the cabinets, but decided not to as they are not real wood and in bad condition. Just not worth painting. My BF’s aka the owner’s plan is to actually renovate the kitchen before it is rented out. As in do all the real work after we move out, so that someone else can benefit. Not my idea, but hey this isn’t my investment project.

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Yes that’s my Keurig, espresso machine and fancy Kitchen Aid Architect all stacked on top of the fridge… again there’s no counter space here to sacrifice. We created a much needed over the stove shelf with a random piece of wood we had and brackets for about $10.

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There are also NO drawers in this entire kitchen. As in none.  Instead of using something that takes up more space on the counter, like a traditional flat silverware holder, I found this desk organizer at Home Goods to hold our silverware. I love the colors and the shape of Moroccan-inspired cutouts.

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Living with this kitchen is definitely the one of biggest challenges I’ve had to face day in, day out. I hate to be so negative, but there is just limited functionality with numerous frustrations. There is no fan or ventilation system, no dishwasher, limited storage space, even less counter space, as in no space for even a microwave. Yes, that’s right we don’t own a microwave. Not only is there no dishwasher, the sink is tiny and shallow, there is no disposal and the sprayer hose does not work. Not the best place to tackle dishes.

I LOVE cooking and baking its therapeutic, challenging and even fun to me. So this less than ideal situation really frustrates me daily, and even sometimes discourages me from wanting to cook </3 This situation also constantly challenges our relationship, as one of us is always having to clean up and keep everything in its place in such a small nonfunctional space. It is just maddening at times to deal with.

Anyways, I am very happy with the paint color and the flooring choice. They really do serve the purpose of updating and freshening the space. On the positive side this kitchen does have a gas stove, which I have never worked with before. I now know why house hunters on HGTV insist on a gas stove, the difference in heat time is amazing.

In the area above the kitchen sink I’ve hung a sweet reminder for us to know that no matter how frustrating standing at that sink and attempting to clean dishes without causing a flood throughout the kitchen is – this is the kitchen we share together. No matter the functionally of  this kitchen, its our home for the time being, our first space together.

Oh and that flower is sitting in a random inch-wide hole in the wall, covering the eyesore 🙂

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Total Project Costs: $152.99

  • Primer $15
  • Paint $25
  • Flooring $60
  • New light bulbs $9
  • Silverware holder aka desk organizer: $12.99 at Home Goods
  • “Recipe for a Happy Home” decor sign : $6 from Kirkland’s
  • Curtains: $0 sewed them myself out of curtains I acquired from a previous apartment
  • Curtain Brackets: $25 from Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Butcher block kitchen cart: $0 BF has had since college
  • Kitchen table & chairs : $0 saved from my college apartment cellar, it was just hiding in there so I kept it when I moved out 🙂

 

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Small Bathroom Renovation AFTER Reveal

Small Bathroom renovation

The only full bathroom renovation is the biggest project we’ve taken on in this tiny apartment, and it is proving to have the biggest impact! With the neutral tile we selected, I wanted to have a little fun with the paint color. I picked Spruce Shade by PPG Paints from the Voice of Color palette. I was drawn to this color having really been inspired by the 2016 paint color of the year, Paradise Found. This Spruce Shade paint color is a just a bit lighter and brighter than Paradise Found, which is a bit more of an army and natural green.

By the way if you’re in the market for paint here is a 25% off coupon for PPG Paints paints and 25% off sundries like brushes & other supplies.

I seriously love the color. It is a fun color, but still a subtle & soft backdrop for such a small space. The neutral tile, white trim and natural light in the space really bring everything together.

spruce-shade-ppg-paints

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Finding the perfect shower curtain ties the color scheme all together at Home Goods by Cynthia Rowley.

The most trying DIY project of this entire flip as been installing this bathroom storage cabinet. I was insistent on installing one as there is ZERO storage space in the entire apartment, and you always need storage in the bathroom, right? It was awful. Seriously beware, you think this project is simple and straight forward, but it wasn’t. Finding a stud proved to be impossible, so instead we had to use screws with anchors to secure it to the wall.

Image result for how do screws with toggle anchors work

It was frightening the size of the hole we had to screw into our old and thin walls to get the spring fasteners through. The mounting process calls for putting the screws first through the cabinet then through the hole in the wall, which left us blind to seeing what was going on during installation. This was combined with the struggle of trying to hold the heavy cabinet steady and in its level place. There was a bit of shrill shrieking involved in the mounting process. I thought the whole thing was going to come crashing down with half of the wall at one point. But alas we did it! It is still (knock on wood) hanging and serves exactly the function and purpose we need in the space.

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I incorporated a few pieces of silver mercury glass, a unique soap dispenser from Home Goods, and a vintage turquoise Ball mason jar for accessories.

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If the light fixture looks like it is upside down to you, it is. Remember that contractor I wrote about before, yeah he didn’t account for enough room to hang it the right way, with the bulbs down. When I hunted him down to (politely, with serious restraint) ask him why it was like that.  He tried to convince me that the light is designed to be hung either way. Ahh yeah, okay mister! There’s nothing we can do about it now. Acceptance at the time was a struggle. Again this isn’t a home it’s a rental unit, perspective is key.

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All in all I am pleased with the bathroom. Remember the before?

Feeling accomplished this Friday night 🛠🚽🚿🛁 bathroom renovation before & after ✅ time for 🍷

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Looking back now, I do wish there could have been budget to select a vanity with a counter top other than generic builder grade white. Did I mention that my BF + I are living in this apartment for the time being? The white shows dirt and hair easily, and is impossible to keep visually clean. This apparently causes a lot of frustration for my BF because my hair “Is everywhere”. Doesn’t bother me so much, as I am used to it. This is one of many joys of living in a very basic, TINY apartment with a significant other 🙂 Perspective is key to move past these tiny annoyances of everyday life.

Speaking of budgets, here is an estimated list of costs involved in flipping this tiny Pittsburgh bathroom:
$2,765

  • Contractor fees : $2,000
  • Paint: $20
  • Hardiebacker: $50
  • Tile & grout : $100
  • Vanity $139  – Glacier Bay package from the Home Depot included the cabinet, sink counter top, fixture and plumbing!  Similar to this package
  • Medicine Cabinet : $60 – extremely basic version from the Home Depot (I did NOT get to pick it)
  • Toilet: $150 – middle of the range from the Home Depot
  • Light – $65 – extremely basic version from the Home Depot
  • Over the toilet storage cabinet – $79 from the Home Depot
  • Toilet Roll Holder : $15
  • Soap Dispenser: $12
  • Shower Curtain: $25
  • Our sanity, free time ( sometimes hours making purchase decisions at the Home Depot) and labor: $PRICELESS

Here is proof that I am an amazing DIYer (haha). I installed the sink plumbing myself, because the contractors left without doing it (of course) and BF’s hands were too big for the tiny space.

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Overall, yes this is a very basic, straightforward, budget bathroom update. But it’s the journey into the unknown realm of renovation we took together as a couple – that is the story. We did it. That’s why we are so proud of this bathroom. It might not be grand, but hey for now, home is where the wine is!

Words of Wisdom: Breathe. It will all work out! 

Tackling a first ever flip or renovation project as a 25 year old couple is hard. Make sure to have an open mind and agreement on the scope and costs of the project. Keep in mind what you need in the finished project, and use that to help you make decisions that fit in scope and budget. We knew we had limited space and budget, so we enhanced the tiny space filled with cheap materials with a beautiful paint color and fun shower curtain.

We learned that a good contractor is a must. We’d suggest asking around until you settle on a contractor that has that great word of mouth street cred. We tried to motivate the contractor by saying we were hoping this project turns out great because we’d love to work on future projects together and refer them to our network. We’d suggested having a list of names of people wanting to see the work on your project, as they prepare to hire for their own. Direct referrals are a contractor’s golden ticket. Communicating proactively and clearly, plus having a paper trail of directions and decisions is a must to fall back on, in the case of anything going differently than planned.

Pin this project inspiration now!

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Small Bathroom Renovation AFTER Reveal

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Full Bathroom Budget Remodel Progress

bathroom remodel tiling

The only bathroom in the investment project apartment needed a complete bathroom remodel overhaul. It was so outdated. Plus, can you believe this place NEVER had a fan or ventilation of ANY KIND?! Gross. Water equals germs and mold. And there was a plywood ceiling, plus a dinky light. Thus a full bathroom budget remodel was a necessity in this flip project.

Bathroom plumbing, tiling and fixture installation was all handled by semi-professional contractors. I say semi because the work was done by a friend’s guy, whom in my high standard of opinion, is not up to par. In the midst of renovation I had to remind myself  that it’s not my place to expect or demand more. Again, this is not my home, nor my investment project. I constantly struggle with knowing my place on this project. I care, but I shouldn’t care too much. Not worth it on this project.

Anyways –  don’t get me wrong the bathroom turned out fine, there was just room for improvement in execution. A lot of work was done in a short amount of time, for an affordable price. The ceiling was replaced with today’s sophisticated drywall actually suitable for bathrooms. The shower was tiled in with new hardware and framing. The floor was tiled. The vanity was replaced and a new light fixture installed. A new toilet was a installed. And most importantly a fan with proper ventilation to the exterior was installed.

Below is the tile that we selected from The Home Depot. The BF’s requirement was that the tile had to be less than a dollar per square foot. My (more important) requirement was that it didnt’ have atrace of brown, beige, orange or red. This was a big, stressful decision just because we had a lot going on all at the same time. We were both feeling the stress of the fact that this project is all risky, uncharted territory for us – especially as a young couple.  We settled on this oversized grey tile with a marbled or polished finish. Grey tile was a safe, neutral choice for this rental, but also more modern and clean than a tile with a warmer undertone would be.

Full Bathroom Budget Remodel

Selecting to grout was also an important choice. We went with a very light and creamy grey, not making too much of a statement in contrast. I was just not really a fan of the idea of using a stark white or dark grout, too much of a contrast for this type of generic apartment.

We did have a post purchase meltdown. After all the tile is a big investment of money for the materials and labor, plus its going to be all over the bathroom and permanent. I don’t remember who had the thought, but suddenly someone was VERY upset that we had chosen the wrong tile. The meltdown included thoughts like:

  •  This tile won’t look good.
  • Why did we choose such a BIG tile?!
  • Did we even get a tile made for walls versus flooring?
  • Can all tiles be placed vertically?
  • What if its too big and heavy to lay vertically?

The freak out was real, panic ensued. I felt guilty and responsible since I had said I’d own the choice when we selected the tile. By the way, there’s little information out there online to help a frantic person figure out if any tile can be used on vertical and or horizontal surfaces.

But it turns out, all is well that ends well. The tiling looks AMAZING for the insanely low cost effort. I personally love the huge, modern, sleek tiles for this rental.

bathroom remodel tiling

 

Bathroom remodel update #ontheblog #linkinbio #remodel #renovation #beforeandafter

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Renovation Progress, Installing Laminate and Trim

DIY House flip

Since this is an investment property my BF is being very careful and economical with what efforts and spend he puts into the renovation. This isn’t a long-term home, it is a one bedroom rental in an blue collar Pittsburgh neighborhood.  Although this isn’t a huge remake we are still having fun with the project and making significant changes.

After demo we first started by installing laminate floating flooring. In my opinion, this is an intensive project that can only be completed with the proper tools, a more than moderate amount of intelligence, and paired with immense patience and will. The most important part of installing laminate is the measurements and table saw cuts. If you aren’t skilled in either areas you better buy a lot of extra laminate material. You should actually buy a bit extra anyways even if you are a professional mistakes and imperfections are inevitable.

My BF sneakily ordered the laminate without the sign-off from his project manager / personal shopper / interior designer (me) but he did an amazing job and picked something I most likely would have selected myself (probably because I had already given him plenty of ideas on what I would personally choose and also examples of what I would never choose). It’s a lovely warm brown shade in a thick (hopefully durable) laminate.

I was present at the next trip to Home Depot to help select a thicker more formal trim. This choice helps to cover the gap around the perimeter of the room, needed for floating flooring. We painted it with a nice crisp coat of paint in semi-gloss.  We used a paint perfect for trim, Speedhide Interior Enamel Latex by PPG Paints, picked for it’s shine and durability.

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When painting trim it is best to use a high quality brush to lay the paint on thick in the direction of the wood grain. This will minimize the brush strokes for a smooth finish.

Trim Painted with Speedhide by PPG Paints

Check out the  complete Living Room transformation post here.

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