Going Green 101

Summer is here, and with that the weekly lawn maintenance days have arrived! When we built our house, we decided to add as many smart home features as we could and since we were doing this to the inside of our house, I realized I wanted to do this to the outside of our house too! So the version of “going smart” with the outside of our home  was “going green.”

In our previous home I was tired of going to mow the lawn and not having gas in the mower, or oil in the trimmer. I wanted to Go Green for convenience and so I no longer had to deal with the oil and gasses involved in the typical lawn maintenance products. I had never thought of it before, but realized I love my Green Ryobi power tools, why not look into their Ryobi Outdoors collection as well.

Here’s the number one coolest thing about Ryobi Outdoor Tools. ONE battery can power over 25 tools. This concept was both appealing and worrisome for me. I had heard from other corded electric mower users that gas had more power and electric didn’t perform as well as gas or oil lawn equipment. To be fair, these electric mowers were not cordless tho, like the Ryobi Outdoor Product Line. As I read reviews and looked at specs I came across a lot of “gas like power” type comments, so I decided to put my trust in a brand I love.

We started with the essentials, a lawn mower and trimmer. I decided to go with the 40 volt 20 inch brushless self-propelled mower and 40 Volt X Attachment Capable String Trimmer, I also went with the EXPAND-IT Edger Attachment. We purchased our mower, and my friends at Ryobi sent me the trimmer and EXPAND-IT attachment.

Before getting into the weeds with each item, I’ll start with overall first impressions. Each item came well packaged and opened easily. Parts were well marked and assembly was east, fast, and minimal. Almost ready to go right out of the box. The longest part was getting a full charge on the batteries before putting these bad boys to work.

 

So let’s first talk about the 40V 20IN. BRUSHLESS SELF-PROPELLED MOWER.

First thing I noticed was the weight; this lawn Mower is significantly lighter than a gas lawn mower, which should make for easier pushing, right? It weighs in just over 50 pounds. A quick google search of a top rated gas mower showed that they claim their mower is “easy to operate and weighing in at just 103 pounds”. So Ryobi is half the weight? One tally for the Ryobi!

Grass is long and ready to mow, after getting the lawn mower into “mowing ready” status in all of about 1 minute (the lawn mower basically folds up for easy storage) it was time for the much anticipated start up. OMG! Hold the bar down push the button and the mower is started, one hand and 3 seconds and its time to mow. With the lawn mower started it was time to mow. One thing was missing though, the loud roar of an engine. This had me worried; with gas you can hear the power. This Ryobi mower is just a gentle purr. As you can see in the pictures, the grass was in need of more than a small trim. I pulled the levers for the self-drive and charged ahead, it didn’t get any louder but it cut the grass clean and at a very comfortable pace. Gas like power, yes. Gas like sound, no. I got about 1/3 of the way through my lawn before having to empty the bag. I would say about average with a gas mower. One thing to note here, this mower is lighter than a gas mower, as the bag filled up the front wheels were hard to keep on the ground. Not a big deal but something to be aware of. I finished my back lawn in about 20 minutes and moved to the front. 15 minutes later, mowing was done and all on one battery charge. No adding gas to finish the front lawn? Another tally for Ryobi!

Next up, 40V-X ATTACHMENT CAPABLE POWEER HEAD.

I’m a wood worker, not a gardener. Maybe I should trim first, then edge, and then mow? Or maybe it doesn’t matter. For round one of my new Ryobi products, I mowed first and decided to edge second. Our house was brand new when we moved in, as was the lawn. It had never been mowed or edged. After easily attaching the X-PAND IT Edger Head, I picked my starting point and was ready to start the edger. Perhaps even easier than the mower, was starting the edger. It took about as much effort as starting my Keurig. Again absent from this experience was the frustration of pulling that string, priming an engine and hoping it starts. As I started to edge, I noticed the blade was getting bogged down some. In fact a few times, it stopped and I had to pause and then restart the edger. Again, I’m a wood worker, not a gardener, so this could have been because I had the blade depth too deep or because the lawn had never been edged and it had more to chop through to establish that nice clean edge. Due to the stopping here and there the whole edging process took about 5-8 minutes longer than a gas powered would have. However, the final product looked great.

Next up, lets trim. I disconnected the edger head and attached the string trimmer head. Super simple, and fast. You guessed it, getting the trimmer started was painless. While I noticed a difference in a gas powered edged vs the Ryobi Electric, the trimmer felt equal to the gas powered trimmers I have used. All except the sound, just like the mower, the sound from the trimmer and edger was a quiet purr. Trimming was fast; it trimmed as fast as I could move it.

I could not be happier with my new Ryobi Outdoors products. Gone is the frustration of getting a gas engine started. Gone is the storage of gas and oil, mixing the two if needed, trying not to spill it, and GONE is the smell of gas and oil in my garage. The smell of sawdust is sweet, old gas and oil not so much. Perhaps the best part of my purchase is getting to “GO Green” by reducing my carbon foot print, and I don’t feel like I sacrificed performance in the least. Having a Smart Home and an Eco Friendly lawn care system really makes me feel like we are investing in the right things to make our house the home of our dreams.

   




DIY Kitchen Faucet Install

 

So you’re tired of your kitchen but you also aren’t kidding yourself, a kitchen remodel can quickly add up to a money pit! Over the years we have done some pretty inexpensive things to take our kitchen up a notch. In our previous house we spent $330 and DIY’d the whole thing ourselves!

Here’s a quick Before and After:

 

 

 

SO! We built a new house in a development where all the lighting and hardware was standard.

Standard can be SO boring. Changing out standard can get SO pricey. So off I went in search of where to find it for less. Mixing metals in the interior design world, is currently all the rage. It actually has been for quite awhile. Here is an amazing mixed metal inspirational photo by Glitter.com. She has copper, brass, and chrome all in the same space. I LOVE it!

 

 

I decided, even tho I completely love the big box stores and they have saved me some pennies more than once, I wanted to find another option besides the big box store. They’re great, BUT they can be so limiting in supplies! I wanted more options, without paying MORE money. Cue in e-facuets.com !   Here’s the misleading thing right off the bat about  they don’t just sell faucets! It’s everything you can think of for your bathroom or kitchen. It’s a one stop shop with thousands of options and over 100 brands to choose from.

I knew I wanted a gold faucet to go with my gorgeous new hardware we recently installed from Hickory Hardware.

I started with browsing thru the website looking at all of their gold hardware options. I narrowed it down to a touch faucet. I have always wanted a touch faucet!! This sounds cheesy, but I saw a Delta commercial when they very first came out with the Delta 2.0 and after that I HAD.TO.HAVE.IT.

What I didn’t know was, E-Faucets had quite a few touch faucets to choose from and I scrolled thru and picked the one that I felt best fit the look of what I wanted in our kitchen. The best thing about e-facuets is there is almost always a sale happening too. I did alot of looking and found a stunning faucet by delta that I ended up choosing.


The list price on the Delta Faucet website for this faucet is $734.30. Yikes! That’s a ton of money for a faucet! I found the same faucet on E-Faucets for 30% off.  Another awesome option on e-facuets was that this faucet also came without a touch option for less. Having options is essential when making sure I’m picking the right thing for our house. When spending a few hundred on something, I don’t want to end up buying something I’ll regret! This is also a purchase I knew we would have for years in our house and I didn’t want pick the wrong faucet and be stuck with something that I can’t afford to replace.

SO let’s install this baby shall we?

I ordered my faucet online and heres what it looked like when it came.I teamed up with my husband on this install because it’s not something you need four hands for the entire time, but a couple times you do so it’s nice to have a helper. First things first, before any job I like to get everything ready I may need while performing the task. In this case I recommend opening your new faucet and reviewing the instructions for what tools may be needed. My instructions called for a 3/32” allen wrench, flashlight, Philips screw driver, adjustable wrench, pencil, drill, bucket and of course safety glasses. I didn’t need the drill for anything and, shhhh don’t tell, but I didn’t wear any safety glasses. I would also suggest having a few dish towels and a straight edge screw driver on hand as well. Since you are working on plumbing, although you shouldn’t need it, be sure you know where the main water shutoff to the house is (just in case).

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Next prepare your work area by getting everything out from underneath your sink, if you’re like me its home to mostly cleaning products. I placed a towel on the bottom of the cabinet to catch and water that may drip while disconnecting the old faucet.
Before disconnecting anything, locate the valves under your sink, one for the hot and one for the cold. The valves turn the flow of water on or off. Valves vary, mine as pictured are connected to PEX and you simply pull on them to stop the flow of water. Yours may turn, remember righty tighty, lefty loosey. I also like to turn the faucet on for both the hot and the cold water to get the lines empty before disconnecting the hoses. Once the water is off, disconnect the hoses at the valve using your adjustable wrench. Have your bucket (or bowl) ready to catch any water left in the line. I collected about 7 tablespoons of water when I disconnected mine. Depending on the faucet you are removing you may have to disconnect the other end of the hose from the faucet. In my case the hoses were part of the faucet and no further disconnection was needed. 
  
Determine how the faucet is attached to the sink and or counter. Between your adjustable wrench, screw drivers, and allen wrench you should be able to remove the old faucet with ease. You may need your flashlight here to get a good look on how to do this.
Remove the old faucet and consult the instructions of your new faucet on how to install.
I already mentioned it once, but this Delta faucet was a breeze to install. First I took the faucet and fed the pre-attached lines through the top of the hole on my counter top. From here on out be sure to follow the instructions on your particular faucet. I elected to enlist the help of my husband to hold the faucet straight and centered while I used the provided mounting bracket and special wrench to tighten the faucet to the counter from underneath the sink.
Once you slide it in this is where the four hands comes in to play because someone needs to be under the sink and someone needs to hold the faucet above the sink so its straight and centered, if not this is what the faucet looks like:
 

Once the faucet is securely installed to the sink/counter you can connect the hoses up to the valves. Make sure you put hot to hot and cold to cold. In my case the hot was red at the end and the cold blue. Under the sink, the hot should be the left valve and cold the right. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN the hoses to the valves. I recommend hand tightening and then using your adjustable wrench for one additional turn. After the hoses are connected you are ready to turn the valves back to open. Turn the valves the opposite way from when you turned them off, for me all it took was pushing the valve in. Using your flashlight check for leaks. Once you have ensured there are no leaks, turn the faucet on to make sure it’s working. You should try both the hot and cold water.
    
From start to finish the install took me just under an hour including set up and clean up. I couldn’t be happier with the final look and ease of this project. Lets see the finish product! Here’s one last before:
 
And here’s a few afters! The difference is a huge and I feel like having a gold faucet bring even more attention to the gold hardware. I love how adding two things transformed it into a custom kitchen that doesn’t look like every other kitchen on the block. Click any picture below to head to efaucets and buy your own Champagne Bronze faucet!
 

*This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links. What does this mean? If you click the link and buy a faucet- I get some coffee money, (not a pony.) All opinions of the products in this post are my own. I work with companies I love and the compensation is an awesome bonus!

 




DIY Hardware Installation

We recently finished building our home in Fort Worth. I absolutely love our kitchen! Its big with plenty of counter space and cupboards. With plenty of cupboards comes a major need for some amazing hardware. If your looking to update your kitchen but don’t want to invest thousands to do it, hardware is your go to! Its minimal in cost, but can completely change the entire look of your space.

Here are some before pics of how lonely our kitchen looked before we added hardware.

  
  Our kitchen is white and grey, which I felt like was the perfect color for using gold hardware. I found inspiration on the Hickory Hardware website and Instagram page. Here are the two pics I loved of Gold hardware against white that I thought were so pretty! Hickory also has super affordable hardware that are available at The Home Depot and online thru Amazon. What’s so great about Hickory is that there are several different types of gold finish options and they have a “try before you buy” policy that allows you to choose a few different options to see what finish works the best with your cabinets.  

I ordered every finish in gold that Hickory made and decided on the Skylight Collection in Elusive Golden Nickel.

Here’s what the Hardware looked like before I installed it.

 I installed the hardware with my sister as a weekend project. I cannot believe what an easy project this was. My first thought when I was getting ready to install the hardware was that one wrong hole in my cabinet and it’s not fixable! I was a little nervous thinking about that and wanted to have a good game plan on where my hardware was going to go on my cabinets so there were no mistakes. I started with measuring the cabinets to figure out the position of the hardware. I also made a mark on my ruler so I could make sure each time I drilled a new hole it was in the same spot.

  

After I marked and drilled my initial hole I screwed in one side of the handle and then used a level to mark where the second whole should go, rather than measuring again. This was a much easier and more precise way to make sure the hardware didn’t end up crooked

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I took a picture of what my marking looked like before erased them. I drew a square around the end of the handle, lowered the side that wasn’t screwed and drilled my second hole. After screwing the second hole in I held me level up to make sure it was still level. Ta-Dah! This was so easy and efficient it made the hole process of drilling each handle very easy and quick. Here are some after photos of the kitchen. I love what a difference the hardware makes and how adding something as simple as hardware can take your kitchen to another level.

 

 

  

I loved the hickory hardware so much that when I saw they also carried Rose Gold in the studio collection, I had to have it for my daughters bedroom, and I was pretty excited when I saw it on Amazon as an add-on so I snatched up some knobs and her dresser and night stand turn out adorable.

Click here to see how I easily installed our Delta 2.0 brushed gold faucet to match the new hardware.

*This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links. What does this mean? If you click the link and buy some hardware – I get some coffee money, (not a pony.) All opinions of the products in this post are my own. I work with companies I love and the compensation is an awesome bonus!



Interior Paint 101

 

Goodness who knew picking paint was so much more than just picking paint! When we were picking paint for our house I knew

 

I wanted to go with grey and white as our two main colors. Having a general idea of the palette you want to go with is key before picking a hue in the palette. This is a good rule of thumb if you are painting your entire house and even if you are painting just one room. A home should flow and each room compliment each other, rather than each room standing on it’s own. Pinterest has some great ideas on Farmhouse/Craftsman color palettes. It’s important to pick a color scheme and to carry this scheme throughout your entire home. Keeping your two main colors neutral and then having a palette you can use for the other rooms in the house

Before even deciding on color, there is the matter of choosing oil base paint or water base paint. I have used both and can say that I prefer water base. Oil base did apply smoother and it also was more durable on our kid friendly home. But, Oil base was harder to clean up, it can crack or yellow over time and its a pain to dispose of when we finished. Water base has come such a long way in durability and ease in use, the majority of big box stores carry water base.

Choosing a paint brand depends on budget and life of the paint you are going for. If you aren’t planning on leaving the room the color you chose for very long, I would pick something cheap like a gallon from Walmart. I have used Walmart paint for several projects and rooms. The problem is that it always takes more than one coat before getting proper coverage and it also wears and shows dirt easily. In my opinion, when using “one coat” paints, I often have to do more than one coat to get proper coverage as well. The higher the quality of paint you use, the more likely it will be that you do only have to do one coat on your walls, and even have the one coat include your primer as well. More expensive paints are also more washable and offer a great scrub resistance. A cheap paint drives me bananas when I try to scrub crayon off the wall and the paint comes with it.

Paints come in a variety of finishes, including flat, eggshell, semigloss/satin and high gloss. Flat paint is more forgiving and hides flaws well, but it doesn’t stand up well to scrubbing. High-gloss paint is washable and easier to maintain, but it reveals surface imperfections and painting errors. For my home we decided to go with a satin paint on the walls and ceiling, a satin on the kitchen doors, and a semi-gloss on the trim and craftsman moldings.

The brand our builder recommended was PPG. We looked up their color palette and saw they have a color scheme that is actually named modern farmhouse, which was kinda of the theme of our home. We are incorporating a lot of the craftsman wood features, but wanted to go with all of the farmhouse color trends.

 

            

These are the top 5 rated paints with Better Homes and Gardens. They were rated 1-5 based on Coverage, Finish, Value, VOC, and Stain Resistance. Once we looked online at PPG in regard to ratings and reviews it seemed a great choice for us.

Our main color for the home is called Fog and as I said above will be in a satin sheen. The trim and craftsman moldings were painted in Semi-Gloss Delicate White. I am not fond of shiny walls and I absolutely hate the way flat looks on a wall, so satin was a basic choice from process of elimination. Here’s a swatch of Fog and Delicate White:

       

Here are some picture of these colors on the walls:

  

 

The thing about choosing a grey is to pick one in the right hue that goes with the rest of the tone of your home. This goes the same for you white. The white we picked was a tone that complimented the grey tones because this was our main color of the walls and ceiling. These pictures I hope show that even tho we picked a grey color for the walls, it doesn’t darken the house or add too much color but rather compliments the white molding.

In the kitchen we picked the same color white for the above cupboards, but for the bottom half of the colors and every bathroom but the master, we picked Gray Stone. You can see a swatch of the Gray Stone above. Here is the color on our cupboards:

Remember, we kept in our Modern Farmhouse color pallet when choosing these colors, and we made sure to pick the right hues to compliment each color. We chose sheen in the right places to have a more durable and stain resistant effect and we picked a paint that was a four star in Coverage, Finish, Value, VOC, and Stain Resistance. I hope this helps you when you’re picking colors and paints for your space.

More updates will be added to this page as we work toward completing our home!

 




Windows 101

Lets have a quick chat about windows! This sounds like an easy subject right? I quickly learned there are lots of choices when it comes to picking your windows for a home. I’m gonna try to cliff notes version it for you.

First let’s go with style of window:

Here’s the top 5:

1)Sliding Window:Gliding along a track, sliding windows have at least one operating window that slides horizontally over or past the other window. They are most often used in modern- or contemporary-style houses. Photo courtesy of Jeld Wen Windows and Doors

2)These hinged windows operate by a turn of a crank in an operating mechanism. They can be hinged on the left or the right to open outward. Photo courtesy of Marvin Windows

3)Generally, bay or bow windows give you more interior space, as they protrude out from the exterior of the siding of the house. They are a combination of windows often with a stationary window in the middle flanked by either double-hung windows or casements.

4)Stationary and Picture windows. These windows do not open, but they can be customized in nearly any angle or shape you desire. They are often found in modern- or contemporary-style houses in conjunction with operating windows.

5)A narrow window that can be either operating to let in air or non-operating (stationary) and mounted above a door or window to let in more light. This is the window above the single hung window. On a single-hung window, only the bottom part of the window operates while the top part remains stationary. A double hung window is a type of window has two sashes that slide vertically up and down in the frame. They can open wide from either the top or the bottom, but they remain inside the frame so they don’t protrude out to the exterior or interior of the house.

 

Okay next topic is choosing a window grid. We chose Prairie so lets talk about this first . As you can see from above the Prairie windows embrace the belief that a building should appear to grow organically from its site. It uses long horizontal bands of windows and trim to evoke the prairie landscape.  For us, even tho these were not craftsman style, we loved the lines and elongated feel when looking at these windows. It added a perfect simplistic touch to the windows.

PRAIRIE

ARTS 7 CRAFT

These Craftsman-style homes sport a mix of full-pane windows on the bottom accented with divided panes on the top of their double-hung window. The divided lights are generally elongated, meaning they might have just three long panes on the upper sash and no cross pieces.

COLONIAL

Typically, these types of homes simply have divided light, double-hung windows with six individual panes of glass separated by muntins in both the top and bottom panels of the windows.

TUDOR

With their brick, stucco and exposed timber accents, many of these homes had diamond-pattern grids on their windows to add an Old World, European look

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Happy Window Hunting! To see where I found the photos of the windows not in my home and for more ideas on window styles and grids you can always visit: www.hgtv.com