Fixer Upper: Finishing Touches on the House Before Selling

Move over, HGTV! WCB is here to save the day!

As I wrote a few months back, my family and I listed our house and have slowly but surely moved our stuff and ourselves into our new apartment. The downsizing has been REAL and thankfully we’ve had all this time to sort through and get rid of/donate/sell what we’re not intending on keeping.

Currently we have an offer on the table and are waiting on the bank to approve all the paperwork for the sale to be final. We really like the buyers, and they are super happy to be moving into the house. As expected, there are some things that need to be fixed here and there, and of course I’m doing whatever I can so we can call the actual handyman for only the absolutely necessary. So here are some of the home improvement projects I’ve taken on:

  • Front & garage door makeover: Our house has beautiful wooden doors that due to normal time tear as well as Florida weather and hurricanes have deteriorated pretty heavily. So I got myself lots of sanding paper, varnish, and spray polyurethane and got to work. Check out the before & after!

    Front door:

Garage door:

  • Fixed the lamp that broke during the hurricane: remember how thankfully the only physical damage we had from Hurricane Irma was a broken lamp? Aside from one glass that got completely shattered when it fell on the rock that was right under it, I managed to put back together the whole lamp structure and glue it back to the pole! Looks as if nothing had happened 😀
  • Put curtain rods and rolling curtains instead of the broken blinds in my brother’s room: a minor “side effect” of hurricane Irma was that when I was opening the windows to close the shutters, my brother’s blinds fell off (whoopsie!) and I didn’t want to replace them with the same crappy style, so I decided to add a nice touch to the room with a curtain rod and curtains that would be enjoyed by the new owners.

I did a few more things like fill and paint the holes from hangings on walls, and many other painting-related things around the house, but these were the ones that were the most noticeable issues that we wanted to fix before the owners moved in. I’m so in love with how the doors turned out and I seriously can’t explain how big of an operation it was to put the lamp together, so I’m very satisfied with my WCB handy skills!

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Extreme Makeover: New Apartment Edition

Ok, don’t get too excited because I only have two makeovers ready for publishing, but I guess it’s a good contrast to my usual lengthy posts.

With the move and fixer upper moments behind us, it’s time to improve the things that we’re actually keeping for our new apartment!

  • Bookshelf Makeover: I bought this shelf for my brother at Walmart a few years ago for his books, and it actually made it through one move with us already. It was badly beaten and falling apart, some of the nails had gone through the wrong side and broke the wood, etc. So I took out all the splinters, fixed the positioning of the back slat and nailed it down more precisely. I filled the spaces left by the missing wood chunks with wood glue, and then spray painted the whole thing a dark brown to match our new bathroom drawers. Then, I bought a Con-Tact brand non-adhesive shelf liner from Target with a pattern similar to the marble counter top of our bathroom as well. Even though originally the shelf was meant to be thrown out, this was a cheap makeover (all I spent were the $5 on the liner, everything else I already had) and it’s proving to be super useful storage for us!
  • A Quickie Makeover For a Lazy-Eye Sun: so my mom is really obsessed with suns, and she has all kinds of sunny paraphernalia around the house. But there’s this one sun I REALLY wanted to leave behind/gift/throw out or whatever to not see it again. I really wasn’t a fan of it at all, especially because the artist kind of gave it a bit of a lazy eye when he made it. Since my mom refused to part ways with it, I compromised with her by giving it a bath of rose gold, since by now you know I live, breathe and sleep on cans of rose gold spray paint. It took the depth of the design away since it’s all one flat color, but I actually quite like the little guy now!

That’s it for now! You know there’s plenty of little projects to do when you move in to a new place and especially with reorganizing all our things, but with the day to day of work, orders, and events, I’ve had to turn down the crafting for a bit. I hope you guys like these projects and get inspired to re-purpose or makeover some stuff as well!

I’m Moving!

Life update!

I currently live with my mom in a big house which I occupy by myself for long periods of time because she travels a lot, so I’m left to tend to the house alone and even though it’s usually not a big deal, it became apparent what a burden it truly is during last hurricane season in Miami. Having a house with 38 windows at the time a hurricane is about to hit is nerve wracking (and in my case, also caused a few minor injuries last time).

When Matthew hit in October of 2016 I didn’t really worry about it and only half closed our accordion shutters (which make life SO much easier!), and thankfully they ended up not being needed. This year, with such devastation being caused by Harvey in Houston, we were a little more concerned when Irma came heading straight for Florida. The week leading up to its arrival I spent preparing the house, safeguarding documents, running around finding water, and completely shutting close our shutters, many of which were stuck due to lack of use. My dad actually wanted me to leave to my sister’s in New York, but traveling seemed more stressful to me at the time than sitting the hurricane out, and thankfully I was right. We were incredibly lucky to not have lost power for even a second the entire time, and the only damage to our house was a broken lamp outside.

After that, I sat down with my mom and told her I thought the time to move had come, and she was totally on board. Taxes and all the expenses that come with owning a house that big are pretty hefty, so we decided that we were also going to heavily downsize and try to get rid of as many things as possible. Our house is gorgeous but also filled to the brim with things we’ve carried with us for years, (even decades!), including sentimental things we brought with us from Venezuela 15 years ago and everything we’ve acquired in between. When you have a lot of space, you tend to fill it. I for one have my bedroom and a craft room to de-clutter and downsize, and I’m not looking forward to that AT ALL.

I asked my mom to hold on putting the house on sale until after Michelle’s bridal shower since I was hosting it, and now I’m happy to report that we’ve listed our house on the market and my mom moved FAST so we already found an apartment we’re hoping to move into ASAP. We will take advantage of the time we have between now and when the house closes to start selling what we can, donating what’s in good shape, and throwing out what is no longer of use. I must confess, I also told my mom not to count on me too much for the process until after Michelle’s wedding, since I do have quite a bit to work on, but we’ll do little trips here and there so the move is less daunting.

Stay tuned, as I’m sure I’ll post some makeover projects and I also foresee some IKEA building fun in the near future for me 😉

Oh [Mini] Christmas Tree!

I absolutely LOVE Christmas, December, the Holidays, everything related to this time of year. Unfortunately, my family doesn’t feel the same excitement, so the past few years it’s fallen completely on me to bring the Christmas cheer to my house. I believe the last Christmas tree I put up was in 2013, but that’s also because I haven’t spent the holidays at home the past few years, so it didn’t make sense to put up a tree if I wouldn’t be here to light it/take care of it if it were real. Last year I hosted Friendsmas and tried to make up for the absence of a tree with the decor, which I think I got away with. This year, I will most likely not be home for Christmas or New Years, but I did want to have at least a bit of holiday cheer at home. Let’s get to work!

I bought a small white tree a few years ago when I was still working at an office to put up in my cubicle, and had mini ornaments in the colors that were “in” that year – purple, teal/blue, pink and green. I used that same tree last year at Friendsmas for the gift table so there was at least some semblance of the Christmas staple present, with a few red ornaments. This year, the obsession with rose gold has been extremely real, but my search for mini ornaments in that color had very little results… Until I remembered, “hey, I’m a crafter!” I found one set of mini ornaments from Target that were a metallic color scheme that included “caramel, silver, and gold,” and I decided let’s make this right. Since the pack was only $3, what did I have to lose?

I ordered the ornaments as well as a gold star topper online and went to pick them up at the store. I have gallons of rose gold paint at home working on items for my best friend’s bridal shower/bachelorette/wedding, so I needed nothing else. I got creative with my placement of the items to spray with color, and got to work! I let everything dry for about an hour before touching it, decorated my mini tree, and placed it on my kitchen table. Voila! A little bit of holiday cheer is here, and Mariah Carey is on all day. I love December ❤

Last but not least, I found this set of copper string lights at JoAnn that were down from $19.99 to $11.99, and now my little tree is properly LIT! 😉

My Adventures in Orlando – Making Over My Brother’s Room!

Due to the flexibility of my schedule, I spent the past few weeks in Orlando with my little brother, which was much needed together time as I miss him terribly and he is starting new responsibilities at his job. I was glad to be there and help out with his apartment/chores so that he had one less thing to worry about.

He’s been living in that apartment for about a year now, with one of his high school friends as his roommate. For the most part, guys have a reputation for not being great decorators or paying much attention to beautifying their surroundings. My brother’s roommate has lots of flags and posters in his room and around the apartment, so in that sense there’s definitely a good amount of visual stimuli in the common areas, but my brother is another story. He’s never been one for posters or any type of decor – and to be quite honest, he’s like 0.5% handy. I’m the one that puts the furniture together, and he’s a great cook. Role reversal to the face, so take that, stereotypes!

At the beginning of my stay, I realized his room was all white walls and grey/black furniture. That was it! For my colorful self, I really couldn’t fathom waking up in that color scheme for days without going a little crazy. I needed to add something to the space, keeping in mind 100% my brother’s taste because of course I’d only be there temporarily and he would be the one that had to stare at it extensively. Aside from the lack of art, the room also needed a little love in general. The toilet seat was broken/unhinged, the shoes took up all the space in the closet floor so it was not really a walk-in, the curtain didn’t reach all the way down the window so light would get through (and my brother decided to stack some boxes in that space to block the light haha!), etc. So, I’m going to stop talking (writing) and show you how over the course of a few weeks, I transformed my brother’s room!

Room Improvement 

 

The next part was a bit tough. It’s always a challenge to decorate for a guy, because adding art while keeping the guyish vibe is a very fine line to toe around. I think I managed pretty well, see for yourselves!

Artsy Remodel 

 

Other details

 

These changes were done slowly (even though it really could’ve been done in a day) but they really completely made a difference and my brother liked and appreciated them all. I had no budget for this, so I tried to spend as little as possible, so this is a testament to the fact that a little can go a long way if you get creative and get your hands dirty!

New OBSESSION: Mr. Kate!

Oh. Em. Gee. you guys! I just found the deepest YouTube black hole I’m about to fall into head first, and possibly never come out of. Most people don’t know this about me, but I spend a good amount of time on YouTube, half as a hobby, and half as work/research. Since I work in social media, I’m always trying to study the trends and see how we can implement whatever the kids want to see these days (hello, am I 80 yet?), but I have also inadvertently gotten invested in the lives and success of many of these digital influencers, and counting. And it’s all because of Jenna Marbles.

My top YouTuber to watch for more than a year now is Lilly Singh, aka iiSuperwomanii, who has a comedy/skit based main channel, and a second daily vlog channel where she shares a lot of what goes on behind the scenes in her life and work, and aims to motivate her viewers to hustle hard as we watch her do every day. Now, because of Lilly, I’ve come across many other creators and I have gotten attached to a few of them, but none have taken my heart and eyes by storm as much as Mr. Kate. An interior design/decorator, Kate Albrecht and her partner Joey Zehr aim to transform pretty much any space they walk into within a very short amount of time, and with all the unexpected twists and turns you can’t imagine. I consider myself a pretty creative and hands-on DIYer and handyman when duty calls, but Kate is simply fearless when it comes to juxtaposing textures, colors, materials and even multiple tastes into a single space.

mr-kate-youtube

Kate and Joey, no better DIY Demolishing Duo out there!

Lilly hired Kate to style her bedroom and her home office space, and it was simply love at first sight for me. The magic of Kate – besides her super charming and electric personality, her positive disposition, and boundless creativity – is that when you see each detail she is bringing into any space, there’s almost a speck of doubt “will this actually look good/cohesive with the rest of the stuff?,” and then you get to the end clip where they show the finished work, and you just have to scold yourself for ever having doubted Kate in the first place. She is INCREDIBLE and I can’t get enough of her. I immediately started back-watching everything she had ever posted, which is a lot of content and she has it broken up into series for our convenient viewing. Some of my favorites include:

  • O.M.G. We Bought A House! – a (so far) three-season style show on YouTube, with a format that EASILY competes with anything you can find on traditional TV and the likes of HGTV, where Kate and Joey purchase their first home, and do some serious remodel of every single nook and cranny of a decades-old house.
  • O.M.G. We Are Coming Over! – also known as O.M.G. WACO, taking the original OMG to new heights and places, as Kate and Joey style or remodel the homes/rooms/work spaces of mainly “digitally famous” people who much like themselves, found an online following. This one is a dangerous series, as Kate acts as the funnel to introduce me to many other creators I had no idea existed and now how am I supposed to ever get out of bed from watching so many people?! My favorite part of this one is seeing how Kate really absorbs the personalities and preferences of each of her Creator Customers, and creates a space that they could’ve never in a million years build for themselves, because we all have our strengths, but no one decorates like Kate.
  • Breaking Beige – a shorter series that showcases Kate and Joey making over smaller spaces where regular Joes and Janes suffer at the hands of incredibly monochromatic color-schemes in their homes, and Super Mr. Kate comes to the rescue to break them out of their beige cages and bring color and life into their homes.

All the shows are so well-done, and take full advantage of the season/show format YouTube offers like little other channels do. Kate has a clear vision, and the style of the shows is undoubtedly just as good, if not solidly better than whatever you can find on TV. It’s all really, REALLY well-executed.

I thought about adding pictures to this post of a few beautiful rooms Kate has created, but I simply can’t do that to all the other rooms. You just have to see for yourself! Also, the Mr. Kate channel is just about to cross the One Million YouTube Subscribers mark, so if anyone is looking for a new channel to watch endlessly, I can’t recommend this one enough!

Basically, if anyone needs me for the next couple of months, I’ll be binge-watching Mr. Kate until I can get through all of her videos and take in every gram of the fabulousness Kate has to offer.

A Little Makeover Love for Grandma’s House

It doesn’t matter whose house I’m at or what country I’m in, if there’s an opportunity to do some little house project or craft, I’ll jump in right away. And then when there are no projects people want me to jump into, I’ll create my own.

My grandma’s house in Colombia is a second home for me, and my grandma loves when I show a little love to any corner of the house. She has two very artistic grandchildren, and since she’s a lover of the arts herself, she is all for us getting our hands dirty – but then thoroughly washing them before we touch anything else on the property.

The end of our trip was coming and my cousin and I were itching to do something and get that feeling of satisfaction over a newly completed craft. As I was pacing around the house, I realized the outside of my grandma’s house had some very pretty columns, but they were all white, and they had a lot of detail on the top, the type you see in movies or opulent architecture structures, that should be gold. And so I immediately thought to myself, this is it. This is my project. Let’s make grandma’s columns shine in the full glory they were intended to do! Also, the entire house was white, and it badly needed an accent wall. I’m notorious for pushing accent wall ideas on my mom 😛

gh-bf-3-e1512760743276.png

I picked this for the accent wall because it was small and centric enough to make an impact with little paint

So I went to the hardware store, bought a quart of gold paint, some brushes, paint thinner, and paint tape, and got to work with my artistic cousin. It took us about two days to finish the details (there were a lot), but the final result was absolutely worth it.

Now, not so fast. for our first #FixItMoment of the year: since it was for exterior work, I got oil-based paint and thinner. And since both my cousin and I were painting simultaneously, we needed to have separate containers for the paint, so I poured some for me on a disposable plastic cup. So I’m mid-painting, minding my own business, when I start feeling a liquid trickling onto my toes and I can’t figure out where it’s coming from because I keep looking up… and then as soon as I look down and realize the paint is penetrating the cup and I’m about to cover it before it spills any further, the entire bottom of the cup gives out and disintegrates and ALL of the paint plummets to the ground and sprinkles all over me. I was in shock and unmovable for a good 5 seconds until I gathered my senses and went to grab thinner to clean up the mess before it dried, but you know what I’m also notorious for? Not wearing aprons or craft-friendly clothes when I’m working on something, and I wear pretty dresses instead… long story short, I was able to clean up most of the big mess but there were some dots that got absorbed by the gravel and by my dress, and these are permanent. The ground ones are not too bad or noticeable, and on my dress there was one pretty obvious one, but knowing me, I’ll wear it regardless. Not a total fix, but #ItsHandled.

And now, for the big reveal!

And the accent wall!

What do you guys think?! My grandma was SUPER happy with the outcome and everyone that came over afterwards said what a difference it made to the overall look of the house. Another remodel in the books!