Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Mother-in-Law Suite and Cloffice

Most of you know by now that a couple months ago my Mother-in-Law moved in with us.  Most of you also know that we live in a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house and with us and 3 girls, that meant that all of our bedrooms were filled.  So, with some consideration of how we could re-work a couple spaces, we decided to turn our former office into my Mother-in-Laws bedroom and expand the footprint of our master closet so it could also house our office.

You might remember from my last updated house post that our office looked like this...

This paint color was never my favorite but when we moved in we painted almost the entire house in a two week time period, and since this was 'an okay color', we just left it alone.

So we asked Linda what color she wanted her room painted and she chose a light, neutral grey.  

Because the wall color was so dark, we primed the walls first.

The girls ALWAYS want to help paint.

And luckily, Bill found a gallon of Sutton Grey left from when we painted the entryway and living room so we were able to make her room color cohesive with the rest of our downstairs.

Sutton Grey is the most neutral, non-greige grey I've used to-date.

Next order of business was building some barn doors for her room.

I've always wanted to use them somewhere in our house, and truthfully, I had hoped we'd eventually get around to putting one up for the door going into our bathroom.  But this was the perfect place to hang a couple.

So Bill calculated what width and height we'd need, the amount of lumber we'd need, and I ordered the hardware we used to hang them.

Building the barn doors was a lot easier than I anticipated it would be.  All-in-all we ended up with about four days of labor put into the doors, and that included Bill working on the cloffice during a big part of that so I'm sure if they had been the only iron in the fire, we would've had them done even faster.

To build the door, we attached two 2 x 4's together with wood glue and clamped them until the glue was cured.  Then we'd add on another 2 x 4 and repeat until our door was the width we needed it to be.

We used Pine.

Then I sanded and stained each door with Early American stain.

Layla-bug LOVES being outside, so she had a blast watching me stain the doors.

Then we added trim pieces to the sides, top, middle, and bottom.

We attached those with wood glue and brads.

Bill had previously attached an anchoring board to the studs and we painted them to match the walls before hanging the hardware, because these doors are crazy heavy.

All the while, Linda still had renters in her house through AirBNB, so until we could get her bedroom furniture moved to our house, she was camping out in Bre's room.  For a couple weeks, we were at a standstill with her room, so we turned out attention to the 'cloffice'.

Unfortunately, I don't have a single before picture of our closet, because I never took any when we moved in and I didn't get one before Bill demolished the wall that separated our former closet space from the walk-in attic space we had on the other side of it.  However, it was a load-bearing wall so you can get the idea from the header Bill and his uncle had to install.  

THANK GOODNESS, for Bill's Uncle Dave (and his wife, Elaine) driving down from Virginia to help us, because this was the biggest house reno project we have taken on to-date, and we really did need Dave's building expertise to help with framing, running the electrical for the new lights and hanging drywall.

Behind the door, our water closet expands 30" into our closet space, so we also had to work around that when it came to re-configuring the new space.

Once this part of the project was done, we took a much needed break and headed to Disney and Universal Studios with the girls for a few days.

While there, Ava came down with the flu and I took a pretty hard fall which resulted in - a month later, I'm still dealing with residual back pain.

For the two weeks following our trip, every single person except me and Kinsey passed the flu around.  During that time, Linda was between AirBNB renters so Kinsey and I worked on packing as much of her house up as we could, priced things for a yard sale (that we didn't end up having because it got wicked cold down here the weekend we moved her), made glow in the dark T-shirts for Ava's 3D glow in the dark putt putt birthday party, and slept over at Linda's house so we could stay away from the germs at our house.

Then while we were in the process of moving the last of Linda's stuff to our house the following week, I got the flu.

Guys, the strain of flu that's been going around is no joke.

But we all pushed through and got the rest of Linda's things moved to our house before her long-term renters moved in at the beginning of March.

We installed a new ceiling fan in her room, hung curtains and some wall decor.

Finally moved Bre's Mac out of her room, because that kid would hang out in Lele's room all day if she could.

KK loves being right by the window.  I'm convinced she enjoys watching all the cars go by.

I put together her new mirror/jewelry stand (and since I took this picture, Bill hung her clock).

We've also installed handles on the barn doors.

Bill's cousin, Kevin came up to help his Mom move some of her furniture out of Linda's house and while he was here, he helped Bill mud the seams in the closet.

So thankful for family who has experience in the areas of renovations that we are just dipping our toes into.

The sanding process took a couple of days, and by this point, we were just worn out.  So we took a couple of days to just rest and spend time with Layla-bug while she wasn't napping.

I mean seriously...just look at that sweet face.  All six of us are obsessed with her.

I can't even with these two.

Or these two.

After taking a much needed respite, we got back to work finishing the cloffice.

We primed and painted the entire room.

Bill framed out the support beam and I stained it.

And then it was onto tiling.

Again...these two.

I LOVE that she wants to help and I LOVE that he always slows down enough to let her, because you guys, these are things that kids will remember all of their life.

The mortar had to cure about 24 hours before we were able to put the grout down, and then the grout had to cure about the same amount of time before we could start adding furniture to the room.

So, my super awesome friend, Kendra made the trip with me to Ikea to go pick up the pieces I had planned out with Ikea's room planner. (If y'all love Ikea as much as I do and you haven't checked that feature out...YOU SHOULD!  Once you have your room planned out, you can literally just add everything straight to your shopping list.  How awesome is that?!!!)

Bill did have to go back to Ikea the next day to pick up the wardrobe frames in the truck because it was rainy the day Kendra and I went, but she and I were able to pick up all the organizational pieces, the rug, the Kallax organizers, the dressers, desk, decor, etc.

I ended up getting a rug that was 3' longer than I originally planned because the smaller rug in the same print had this really bizarre blue/green border that neither myself or Kendra understood.  But I had my heart set on that particular print so Kendra suggested having it cut down to fit.

The first thing I did when I got home was Google 'How to cut a rug'.  Then I went upstairs and measured the water closet insert and cut the rug down to fit around it.

Of course, Bre helped.

I'm telling you guys, this rug makes this room.

And you guys know by now that black, white, and grey are my go-to colors in my house.  We painted the kitchen cabinets white and I have black granite.

 I painted my interior doors and my bathroom vanity black.

This was before we added our new faucets.

most of my walls are various shades of grey, my couches are grey....even my bedding is darkish grey (almost black) and white.

Essentially, it's my entire house colors minus the girls' rooms, bathroom and our laundry room.

But back to the cloffice...I followed suit with the same color scheme.

While I was waiting for Bill to arrive with the wardrobe frames, I put together a 2 x 2 Kallax organizing shelf for Linda's room and the 1 x 4 that we put in our closet.

As soon as Bill got home, we started building the frames.  

Not as easy as you'd think it'd be when you have to build them standing up because of the height of them.  They are 93 1/2" tall, so it took both of us standing on ladders.

Once Bill attached them to studs, I got busy bringing all of our stuff in.

Have I mentioned how thankful I am to have a clean bedroom again?!  ALL of this stuff was sitting in piles and hanging on racks around the perimeter of my bedroom for SIX weeks!  I was seriously about to have a nervous breakdown from the mess.  But it's all moved and my bedroom is mostly back in order and I now have this stunning space.

View into our new Cloffice.

I convinced Bill to remove the door between this room and our bathroom because 1.  we have a huge picture window over our garden tub so the natural light from that can come into this room and 2.  I really needed the wall the door swung open towards to hang my oil shelf.

I've had this oil shelf for a little over a year and I still love it just as much as the day I bought it.  

I've dreamed of having a closet with a truly functional organization system since I've been adulting in life.

And you guys....this is probably my favorite part....

the drawers and shelves are SOFT CLOSE!

And I have a space to put most....errrrr....okay, maybe just my most worn pieces of jewelry, but it's still a designated space.

I'm moving the pieces on the top of my Kallax shelf to the top of the dresser because I have another piece of rustic decor to put up there, but I love that I have a designated space for my handbags and wallets.  What girl doesn't want that?!

We did hack the Ikea RAST dresser to make this six drawer dresser by cutting 4" off the bottom of one, attaching them with L brackets, filling the existing handle holes, painting it and adding new hardware.

I'm OBSESSED with this POANG armchair.

And by obsessed, I mean I have never went to Ikea and not sat in one.  I just hadn't figured out where in my house to put one - until now.  And I wanted a reading chair/extra chair for the girls to come sit in while I'm in the office.  It's sooooo comfortable.

To spruce up the desk, I painted the legs gold.  I do still have to purchase some handles to go on the drawer fronts and Bill has to lower my mirror.

He, lovingly, hung it up for me last night while I was hanging out with my girlfriends and it's a little too high for my short self to see in while sitting down, but it's the thought that counts, right?!

I added an extra fuzzy rug under the chair because I like the look of layered rugs and just because a fuzzy rug feels good on your feet when you are bare footed.

In my office turned Linda's bedroom, I had a command wall that housed our bill file, calender, and some hanging pails for pens, pencils, markers, etc.  I knew I didn't want to move that to the cloffice as my goal was to keep this space more rustic glam, so I was thrilled when Linda asked me if I wanted this piece.  The top folds down so when closed it just looks like a rustic box...and the finish on it is so similar to what I stained the access door leading into the remaining part of the walk-in attic that we didn't expand into.

Bill also hung these floating shelves for me last night, and they house some pieces that are pretty special to me.

The angel was given to me along with a written prayer as a 'blessing on our new house' from the girls' step mom, Christie, when we moved in.

And the Mother Mary figurine was my best friend, Kate's.  Her Mom gave it to me a few months after K went to be with Jesus, so it's incredibly special to me and brings a tremendous amount of comfort.

I'm sure over the next couple of days I'll re-arrange things as I get settled into this space a little more, but for right now, I'm just enjoying the fact that we are 99.9% finished and we have Linda all settled in.

Friday, October 14, 2016

You Make Me Brave

"You're my person.  I need you alive.  You make me brave,"  I said to her, two years ago today.  As if those words would have some affect on the outcome.

Kathryn was one of the few people who knew the parts of me that make me feel 'untidy, less than, frightened, and ashamed.'  

"Don't hide those bits of you.  Don't be afraid to show your brokenness, because out of it, comes great beauty, and no one knows that better than you, C," she fervently responded.

"But how?  How can I do that now...when I've spent so much time hiding?  Hiding from the truth, myself.  Hiding from the pain I will undoubtedly have to feel again.  Hiding from fear of judgment...especially since I wasn't honest for so long.  Hiding from it all."

"Because you are brave.  You're one of the bravest women I know.  Because you are a deeply feeling person in a messy world.  Because while I know you think it's not just your story to tell,...just think of all the people you could potential help.  I know you can do this.  BFF," she responded.

Why does she expect ME to use MY story, MY pain, MY growth to help OTHERS?  Why does she challenge ME to grow in ways that might be more painful to ME?  

Every fiber of my being knows the answer to that.

That was Kate.



Never one to focus on the "I", "ME", "MY" in the equation, but instead...

Always using her voice to help others.

A fighter for the underdog.

A lover of life and of people.

And she was my person.


Anytime I was upset, or doubtful, or fearful, or on any spectrum of the intense feelings I would often feel, she would often simply say, 'BFF'.  It's all she needed to say because I knew that those three letters meant so much more than the typical 'best friends forever'.  She was with me.  Always.

Several months back, I stared at a blank page, ready to share.  To start at the beginning of the story.  But I couldn't.  Fear, once again, consumed me.  

How could I possibly do this without her?  It's TOO LATE! This was our thing.  These blogs.  These spaces we sometimes used to bridge the gap between the hundreds of miles between us.  How could I possibly send out into the world words that she hadn't proof-read?  I need her to remind me again.  I need her to help me be brave.  She's my person.  Why GOD?  Why did you have to take her from me?  Why? Why? Why? WHY?!?!?!?!?!    

Sometime between audibly hearing myself scream, "WHY" and a ping from my messenger app, I instantaneously felt a wave of peace wash over me.

The date was March 30.

The message was from Kate's mom.

"Hi Casondra.  I charged up Kathryn's phone yesterday and found something that I am going to send to your phone.  It is from her.  I just wanted you to be ready and aware.  It brought chills."

Rebecca went on to tell me that she was looking at our text message history and that Kate had wrote me a text....the cursor was still winking on it.  Kate never got a chance to hit send, so Rebecca was going to do that for her.

I'll forever be grateful for Rebecca's bravery that day in sending a message that would forever mean the blinking cursor would be gone on her end, because she knew the importance of receiving that message on mine.

Almost two months after she left this earthly place, I received THE message from Kate that would rock me to my core.

Three letters that would teach me one of the biggest lessons I've ever learnt in this life....

..... she's still alive.

And she will continue to be.

Inside of me.  Inside of her mom, and her dad, and her brother and her son.  Inside of every single person whose life was touched by her beautiful soul.

In August, when I was blessed to get to spend some time with her mom and son, Rebecca gave me a few gifts that I'll cherish forever:

A mouse pad with a picture of me and Kate from a trip we took to S.C. years ago, that Kate used for years.  It's found a forever home at my computer, where looking at it, daily, is a reminder to live authentically.  To strive to be the best version of me I can be.  To live with purpose.  And to never let fear prevent me from being brave.

A CD with a lot of her favorite songs that I listen to every day while waiting in car rider line to pick up my girls.

And her 'Our Lady of Grace' aka Mother Mary figurine.  It brought her comfort when she needed it the most and it brings me comfort daily.

Kinsey recently had to write a memoir at school about a painful experience in her life.  She allowed me to read it last night.  To say I cried while reading her words about one of the scariest days of her life would be an understatement.  But she was brave.  She was brave in her actions that day and she was brave to share about it now.

I hear you, Kate.

I know it's time.

It's time to show up.

Time to share my story.

My scars.

It's time to be brave.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kinsey's Room (and some updates)


The past week has been a little, errrrr, maybe LOT busy around the Price house.

For those of you who don't know yet, I left my job at RV (a digital marketing firm) due to some medical issues post-my last surgery, and let me tell you, saying, 'See you later' to some of my co-workers was hard, y'all.  They are some of the BEST, most genuine people I've ever worked with, and I'm so thankful for the 'do life together' friendships I made during my time there.

On one hand, hard, but on the other, it was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me a minute to step back and think about what I really want to be doing.  That answer came in the form of enrolling in an online program.  14 years ago, when I was blessed with the miracle of my oldest daughter, sacrifices had to be made in order to provide for her, so I quit college and got a job.  So now, with an almost 14 year old, an 11 year old, and almost 9 year old, Bill and I decided it was as good of time as ever for me to jump back in.  In all fairness to him, he's tried for several years to convince me I should do this.  I honestly thought, "It's been YEARS since I've been in school, I'm not sure I'm capable of 'doing it' and 'doing it well' at this age."  'Doing it well' is important to me because I have three girls who I'm always dwelling on the importance of doing well in school to.  And they do!  So, I need to, too.  So after years of convincing from my husband, I'm doing it.  I enrolled in an 18 month (work at your pace) program that I started talking to my friend, Andrea, about around 2 (Yes, TWO) years ago.  The wait was then on to receive all my books and syllabuses. (or is it syllabi, my grammar loving friends?  Ahem, Elaine!)

Over the summer, I've been working on a couple projects in Kinsey's room, as talked about in my previous blog post, but I hadn't finished them all.  

Fast forward to this past Monday (less than TWO weeks before we leave for Indiana to go pick up the girls) and I decided it was the perfect time to paint my kitchen cabinets.  Luckily I have THE BEST Mother-in-Law in the world (and I'm not being sarcastic) who came over, daily, and did a big portion of the painting.  My goal was to have them done by Wednesday (yes, you read that right: My goal was to have them done in three days.  Go ahead a laugh) because my books/lesson plans were supposed to be delivered on Wednesday.  BUT, they came a day early, and I had to jump right in so I would paint a few cabinets and go work on a lesson.  Sleep.  The cycle repeated itself over and over throughout the course of a week (so not three days but who's counting?), but we finished it with the help of Bill and Brandon.  And it's BEAUTIFUL.  I knew it would really change the way the kitchen looked, but I still can't get over how much brighter it is in there every single time I walk in that room.

And during that time, I finished what was supposed to be a semester class - completed all lesson plans, took 6 test, a gazillion quizzes, and my final for my first class.  I'm happy to say, I finished the class with a 97%.  I promptly sent a screenshot to my girls.  To be honest, it's important to me that they know no matter where they are in life, if they have a goal and they work hard, they can accomplish anything.  Kinsey promptly told me I need to start taking all her tests for her.  Ha!

So, here we are, two days before we leave to go pick them up and I still needed to put some finishing touches on her room.  So, I hurried up and finished what I could this morning. There's still a couple more things I'd like to add, but I've just accepted it's not happening until after she comes home.  So without further ado..... here is.....

Kinsey's Room

The biggest change you can see when you walk in is her 'glitter' wall and a photo above her chair.

Two things about this area... on the wall between the chair and vanity will eventually be a painting she had in her bedroom at our previous house.  Bill's Mom painted it, and it was perfect for her previous bedroom but she's going to make a quick color change to it and then it will match this bedroom perfectly.  

The other addition will be some string lights running from the corner behind the chair, close to the ceiling, to the corner where the glitter wall starts.  Her room theme is really clean, light colors with sparkle.

Her vanity is still the same.

I added this chair a few months ago when I was preparing for surgery and we needed a recliner in the living room for me post-surgery.  She had a bean bag chair here previously and it just didn't flow cohesively in her space, so one of the accent chairs that was in the living room got moved into her bedroom.

My mother loves these chairs (they are really comfortable) and tries to convince me to give them to her every time she comes down. Ha!  It might happen one of these days.

Above Kinsey's chair I hung a picture collage her best friend, Hannah, made for her.  These girls are just the sweetest, and I'm so glad Kinsey has a bestie like her.

The mirror beside her vanity area was white but she told me she needed a little more of her accent color in her room.  I initially glittered it but didn't like it at all, so I did what any mom would do, and I scrapped it all off and then painted it this turquoise-y color.

I love this tray her grandmother got her a couple years ago.  It's perfect for keeping all her perfumes organized.

The glitter wall.  This was a VERY quick and inexpensive addition to her bedroom.  Though I told her when she asked me to do it, that if she EVER wants to change it, she's going to be the one to sand it.

I really do love the contrast against her light bluish/green/gray walls.

Initially we were going to hang her white board back up on here, but then I found these Fleur De Lis hangers at Hobby Lobby and she loved them.  

Her bed.  The biggest change to this space was the addition of the lights and curtains behind her bed.

Her room is not that big but this wall felt big and empty when there was nothing except her 'Live in the Sunshine' picture up there.

I absolutely LOVE how this turned out.

I can not wait for her to get home and see this.  

See that lamp beside her bed?  It matches that cute tray that holds her perfume.

Her beside table isn't anything fancy...just a white/turquoise end table...but it holds one of her most prized possessions....a photo from her trip to Charleston.

One of the things I love most about where we are is the opportunities/life experiences the girls are getting to have.

The stories we got to hear when she got home from that trip were priceless.