Appliance Upgrade.

I’ve been slacking on my new blog baby this week, but for good reason.  We left for OC, Maryland on Thursday last week and got home on Monday.  It was a blast — good weather and I managed to get myself a nice little tan.   We spent time at the beach, the pool, picked crabs, walked the boardwalk and just relaxed.  But, J and I both got sick while we were there.  I’ve spent the past week recovering and swimming to the surface at work.   The busy season IS almost over….

So enough about our mini-vacay.  When J and I moved in, our house had black appliances.  We hate black appliances.  They had to go, but for as little money as possible.   What if I told you that we upgraded all of our appliances for $414.00  Yep.  It was awesome.

My parents BOTH remodeled their homes and we were lucky enough to score my Dad’s slightly used stainless steel range, saving us easily $1000.  So. that’s a whopping FREE.99 for our new-to-us stainless range.

It is an LG, which we liked, and knew we wanted to stick with LG for the other 3 appliances.  The only problem is that LG appliances are semi-expensive and not very popular.  On a whim, I hopped on to Craig’s List to see if I could find a refrigerator that was gently used.  But there was nothing….  There were hundreds of GE’s, Kenmore’s, etc. but no LG’s.  Then, finally a couple weeks later I FINALLY found a almost new LG refrigerator for $550!  I told them I would come and pick it up right now if they would drop the price to $450.  It was just sitting in their garage so they took our offer.   Free Range + $450 refrigerator = 2 most expensive appliances for $450.  yes.

Then we needed to find the microwave and dishwasher.  I decided that we would go to H.H. Gregg to look for these appliances new — maybe it’s something about cleaning my dishes with someone else’s filth?  The microwave was $275 and was a fairly basic stainless over the range microwave.  The dishwasher was on a major sale, so we got it for $539.

Free Range + $450 refrigerator + $275 microwave + $539 dishwasher = $1264.  Yes, I did actually say $414, but here’s what I meant:  We still had 4 (not being used) appliances at home that were in great condition, just black.  We posted them on Craig’s List and sold them quickly — we we’re too picky with the prices, as we had 8 appliances in our not-so-huge townhouse and needed them to go.  We sold the refrigerator for $300 and the other 3 appliances as a package for $550.  THAT’s how we got 4 new stainless appliances for $414.


Bye Bye…Beachin’

J and I are off to the beach tomorrow with friends.  I cannot wait to relax for an entire 4 days without thinking about work, life, or home projects.  It’s been a busy summer and this is just what I need to recharge!   I suppose this photo is not an accurate representation of where we are going, but it’s close enough.  Instead, we’ll be on the Eastern Shore of MD hangin’ with the rest of the Labor Day weekend vacationers.

I have lots of completed projects to share when we get back, and a couple new projects in the works.  I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend and has a safe and happy Labor Day! See you soon!



First Time Homebuyer Nightmare!

Let’s rewind for a second:  Late in 2011, we decided that we were ready to buy our first home.  After years and years of hard work, we were so excited to start the search!  We knew that we wanted to stay in Middletown, but with our middle of the road budget, we didn’t have much to choose from.  Finally, a perfectly cute 4 bedroom single family home came available.  We immediately toured the property and put an offer in!  Our offer was accepted and all was well…..
Here’s the house:
We were so excited.  We had a final loan approval, with one condition… a structural inspection.  With 3 weeks until closing and a structural inspection that gave nothing but bad news and a HUGE price tag to make the necessary repairs, we knew we needed to walk away.  The problem was, we had about 4 weeks to find a new house, put in the offer and move in.  With 30 days to close on a new house so we wouldn’t end up homeless (okay, fine, I supposed we would never be homeless thanks to the best family and friends), we started the search again and found another house within days… Did I mention it was in the same row of townhouses as our rental home?
We moved into our house on March 8th and ironically, this house is exactly the same as our rental home so our furniture fit perfectly.  We were slightly disappointed that we would be moving into a nearly brand new home, with little to no renovations, but we couldn’t be happier.  It’s MUCH easier spending your hard earned money on all the fun stuff, instead of new HVAC systems…
Now for the specifics:  We have 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms with about 2600 square feet.   The house is entirely too big for just me and J, but will give us plenty of room when we decide to add to our tiny family!  We live on a golf course and have the most amazing views off of our deck.   After living in the house for several months, we are so happy that we ended up here.  It’s absolutely perfect for us!

Cabinet Painting

Why is it that builders (and those folks who are building) always choose oak?  It’s so dated, yet it’s all over my nearly brand new house.  I am on a quest to say good bye to all of the oak house.  I’ve never painted cabinets before, so I decided to start with the upstairs guest bathroom vanity.
Here’s what it looked like before:
After wandering the paint aisle at Lowes the other day (yes, weirdly enough, once you become a homeowner you find yourself randomly wandering the aisles at Lowes…), I decided to try and tackle the bathroom vanity while J was gone for the night.  I picked up a dark espresso paint (Valspar’s Kitchen and Bath Enamel) and headed home to paint!
First, I sanded the vanity and started with a tinted primer (a light gray) to make sure the dark color would hold up in the humid conditions of a bathroom.  Luckily, the nice gentlemen behind the paint department was able to point me in the right direction.  Without him, there would have been no sanding, and definitely no tinted primer, so my finished vanity is very thankful for his expertise.
Once the primer dried, I was ready to start painting.  This project was surprisingly easy and it turned out great!
 Already, this bathrooms looks 1,000% better!  The espresso vanity gives it a much more custom look (and the ugly oak is finally gone!).  We had to improvise during the hardware installation.  I had planned on installing two square knobs on each of the doors and a handle on the panel across the top of the vanity.  J’s attempt at installing hardware for the first time ended in tragedy.  The measurements were off slightly, so the handle wouldn’t fit.  We were left with two holes in our vanity and really didn’t know how to fix it.  Thanks again to my Mom for the vision of switching the placement of the handles.  It’s not what I had originally envisioned, but it works!
I’ve been looking around for bathroom mirror ideas and stumbled upon Mirror Mate.  They will custom make a frame to go over your huge bathroom mirrors that change the look of the mirror completely.  They are not cheap, so I might attempt to build one myself…. stay tuned for that. 🙂

You guessed it… More Stripes!

I feel like I am being haunted by stripes since our recent powder room re-do.  I found this picture while looking around on DecorPad and it was like I fell in love all over again:
J was not fond of the idea of adding more “girly” stripes all over the house but he promised to let me stripe the kitchen nook wall, as long as I promised I wouldn’t stripe anything else in the house.  (Of course, I promised with my fingers and toes crossed behind my back.)  It’s like an addiction and I might need help….
Remember this?
I loved the idea of the dark gray stripes, but I had some left over paint from our powder room striping adventure, so I figured I would just use the same colors.  FREE projects are always better.  I had just finished the power room, so as a self proclaimed striping pro, I thought this would be easy peasy.  As it turns out, a much bigger wall takes MUCH longer than a tiny powder room.  Using the same method as the powder room, this project took me the better part of 5 hours to complete!  I think J knew after this I would be all striped out for a while…
Here’s how it turned out:
Again, excuse the mess on the table.  It’s crazy how this table accumulates items over the course of the week.  We’ll get better at putting things away…. right?  As much as I love the subtle “pop” the stripes bring, our little nook still feels unfinished.  It needs a nice big (maybe white?) mirror on the back wall and a funky area rug to define the space.  The table is also way too big.  Crossing my fingers that we will be able to remove the center section of our current table to make it fit the space without having to buy an entirely new table!  More on that adventure later…
Speaking of our kitchen table, I have a terribly funny, but not really that funny story.  J and I are in the furniture store and I absolutely loved the pub height table and the fact that this table had a center section that you could fold up into the table to make it a smaller size.  All of the excitement must have been too much for me, so when I attempted to fold the table, the leaf swung down from the table and smacked the sales guy right in the shins.  He fell over and it nearly broke his legs!  Trying extremely hard not to laugh at myself, or at the fact that my new table had just taken out a furniture sales guy, I promised myself I would not mess around with the leaf of the table any more!  Needless to say, I’ve been terrified to touch the table since!  He’s a feisty little table….  Maybe J will help with the table shrinking, while wearing protective gear of course.
I’d eventually like to add some open shelving to display some bright dinnerware, but depending on the table and if we can remove the center section, there might not be enough room.   Any ideas on how to add storage to this area?  I’m open to anything!

The Stripe Obsession Begins…

Next on the list was the main floor powder room… it is the first thing you see when you walk in the house and it was PLAIN.  It was so boring and white.  It needed something fun!
After researching painting techniques, we decided to try our hand in striping the bathroom walls…. here are some bathrooms that inspired us to stripe:
After deciding a colored stripe would be way too much for this tiny little powder room, we decided to go with a neutral stripe.  Tip:  Go to Lowes or Home Depot, find your favorite paint color (on a swatch with 2 other shades).  We used the lightest shade for the walls, and the medium shade for the stripes.  This way your stripes will coordinate and will not over power the room.
Here’s our version of stripes:
We painted 10″ stripes and used the amazing green frog tape that we found at Lowes.  It was not an easy process– first, I marked in pencil every 10″ from the ceiling to the baseboard.  Then, using a level, I lightly drew a line in pencil.  Then, taped the lines off and started painting.  It took about 2.5 hours to complete, but I am IN LOVE with the stripes.  So perfect for this little room…. now if I can only convince J to let me stripe the entire house?  This bathroom is far from done.  It’s in desperate need of some fun and colorful accessories.
I’ve been asked by friends to help them stripe their house…. stripes, stripes for everyone!
Powder Room To Do:
– Stripe long bathroom wall
– Add colorful bathroom accessories (towels, etc)
-Paint a new mirror and replace the dreaded builder basic one that is installed now

Let there be LIGHT!

First things first.  Our very first home improvement project was to change the kitchen nook light fixture.  The one the builder provides was nothin’ special, actually, it was pretty terrible.  I knew that I wanted something that would look great with a vintage Edison bulb.  I hope you all have seen these — the light bulbs alone add instant charm!



I searched for inspiration and saw that the folks from Young House Love ( had just installed the most beautiful ORB fixtures over their kitchen peninsula.  I went to the Shades of Light online store and saw that they had the same fixture in brushed nickel.  It was love at first light! 😉 I ordered it early, so we could install this baby as soon as we moved in!

Thanks to my awesome DIYing Mom, we installed the fixture on move-in day.  It’s basically my favorite part of the kitchen… and the edison bulb is perfect!

Excuse the disgusting pile of junk on the kitchen table.  It was moving day!  In the chaos that is moving, I forgot to take a before picture, but you’ll have to trust me, that fixture had to go!  We’re so happy with the way it turned out.

What do you think?  I’ll be sure to feature our new fixture baby in future posts so you can see it in all of it’s glory (and without a pile trying to steal the spotlight.)

Until next time…


A Sticky Introduction….

Hi everyone!  Thanks for stopping by.  We’re so excited to share the daily happenings of the Stickelman household with you.  We live a pretty ordinary life, but we’re far from ordinary which makes life verrry interesting!

For those of you who know us, you know that we okay, fine, I, love DIYing and crafting.  We bought our first house in March of 2012 and admittedly, there was nothing that needed to be changed.  It was built in 2009, but was the typical “builder basic” house and just didn’t feel like home.  We’ve tackled a couple projects so far, including paint on the entire main level…twice, a very cool stencil application in the master bedroom, updating the ugly oak vanities and even replacing the staircase railing after a very sticky (no pun intended) situation.  I have asked forced J to jump on my DIY train and devote every single Saturday, and sometimes Sunday, to my crazy projects.  Stay tuned to hear about the successes, and failures, along the way!  We’re in no way experts, but are those new homeowners that YouTube our way to installing a new toilet.  Here are some before pics to hold you over…

What about during the day?  I’m a Senior Property Manager who is working on a 27 acre campus full of renovations and construction.  Yes, my daily wardrobe does include a pink hardhat if you were wondering.  After graduating college with a Justice Studies degree and every intention of attending law school, I suddenly had a change of heart.  I no longer felt excited about law school, but instead was dreading the stressful life of an attorney.  I brought J to Maryland to meet my family and we decided that we would move.  You know, a fresh start?  It was a long way away from anything J had ever known, so it was certainly a huge step in our measly 9-month relationship.  But, we survived the move, I started working in property management and have never looked back.  No, I never in a million years would have guessed I’d be managing construction projects and working in Real Estate.  Funny how plans change…  J works for State Farm Insurance–another shocker, as his heart was in the restaurant/bar management industry for nearly his entire adult life.  We love Boston.  We love hanging out together and being silly.  Basically, we’re in love with our life and each other.  I’m blessed.  I really couldn’t ask for more.

J’s family is the best. His family lives on the West Coast.  It’s tough to be so far away from them, but they say distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?  My family is amazing.  We all live so close together, yet never seem to get sick of each other! I have a not-so-little brother who I adore.  Actually, the fact that he just started his Senior year is making my blood pressure spike. 🙂  I’m sure you’ll have the opportunity to meet these wonderful people in a post or two!

I couldn’t tell you where this blog will take us, but am looking forward to having an archive of wonderful memories to look back on.  Thanks for tuning in!