Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Home? No Character? No Problem.

 About two years ago, Steve and I bought and moved into a new construction town house. We knew that we would only be living in this area for another 5 years max and in our budget compared to other houses we were looking at- this was the best option. It came with a lot of closet space, and didn't have 'WARNING' tape wrapped around the toilet (I am sure if you have shopped for a home you know what I am talking about! Sick!!). We liked the finishes.. White trim, light counter tops, dark wood cabinets... However, everything was just basic builder grade and there was no character in sight. That needed to be rectified (and is still a work in project). 
 There are still many things that I would like to accomplish to add more character (changing light fixtures, getting rid of the carpet, adding a back-splash, crown molding,etc., etc., etc.). I know... With that list you immediately thing "so what HAVE you accomplished?" 
 Well, I think one of the easiest (semi-cost-aware) thing to do in a house is adding hardware to cabinets. It seems like a really simple thing that could be easily overlooked- however I think it is a small thing that you can do to transform your house from an apartment look-a-like into looking and feeling like a home.
 Here are pictures of the hardware we added in the bathrooms and kitchen in our home...
Guest Bathroom
Master Bathroom

Master bath knobs (horrible picture but there is this cute little bead detail on them and I LOVE it). My favorite hardware in the house.

Master bath pulls

Kitchen hardware

more, Kitchen hardware

 For me, personally, I think that you can get away with getting something a little more whimsical in small areas (such as bathrooms). But, I think that for high traffic areas with A LOT of hardware (such as kitchens) it is best to go with something classic that won't go out of style the next season. 
 We bought our bathroom hardware at Lowe's. We just went with stuff that they had in store. But, for the kitchen we ordered the pulls from the company that the cabinets were from...
  More on the kitchen... 
 When we moved in there was a weird gap of cabinets above the sink area and it left this one little cabinet out in no mans land... 
 It looked pathetic...
It didn't even have the hardware- however that came in before the cabinets and my fiance installed that himself before the contractor was able to get here.

I called that my Hooker Island cabinet... Poor little guy.

We have also changed the covers on the peninsula light... I thought those were horrible.

 So, we headed off to the cabinet store and ordered a cabinet for above the sink. The reason for this gap is because on the end units there is a window there. However, I guess it was an oversight on the center units? I don't know... It was sooo weird! Not only did I want a cabinet for over the sink; I also wanted some open shelves for the other side of Hooker Island cabinet for some decor and my cook books. And, we wanted to add trim to the top of the cabinets which had none to make them more finished and less apartment like... This certainly wasn't the cheapest project we've ever set our minds to (I think around $600 for the hardware, trim, cabinets, and the labor to install) but I think the outcome was worth the money and it was a hell of a lot cheaper than having to do an entire kitchen reno.
 Here is what it looks like once the work was done...
We apparently had Moe's for dinner that night according to the bag.

I have since of course rearranged the shelving and changed the decorative pieces...

 This is what the shelves are looking like these days...
You can see what the changed out lights look like in this picture... Waaay better and they were only $13 dollars a piece at Lowe's. I like them even better when the light is turned on.

And, a close up of the shelves. That is Henry the Owl, I love him. :)

Another quick, easy, semi-affordable kitchen upgrade that is worth doing is the faucet. Our old faucet SUCKED. It was low, dingy looking, and the pull out sprayer was stupid and leaking. 
 Here is what it looked like... 
Forgive the sink full of dishes. Like I have said before this is real life- we actually use our sink for rinsing and soaking dishes. Crazy, I know!!

 And, here is what the new one looks at...
It is soo pretty, and super productive. The end of the faucet is detachable and pulls out to be the sprayer, you can also change the way that the water comes out. Here is a link to it (only in a different finish).
 Not the cheapest upgrade but I would say it is the single MOST productive upgrade we have made to our home. In future houses this will be one of the first things that we do (assuming it doesn't already come with an awesome faucet)!

 There are many other things that you can do for big impact. PAINT, PAINT, PAINT. I think paint is a homeowners best tool. It allows you to really make your house your own for not much money or much time. We have painted at least one wall in every room in our house. 
 I hope this inspires you to look around your house at things that are bugging you and makes you realize there are SIMPLE things that you can accomplish to fix them! Share your upgrades and favorite little fixer-upper secrets with me!

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