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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bruce Before and After

It's Before and After time for Bruce! But before I get to the parade of pictures I feel I must clear something up........ Y'all.... Bruce is not a real person..... I made him up. (I'm going to give you some space to let that sink in)

I promise I was not trying to mislead you. I never dreamed people would think he was real. I thought it was understood that my stories are fiction. But when some of my closest friends asked me if I would introduce them to Bruce the Bohemian I knew it was a problem. You know how a tiny light seems to fizzle from your child's eye when they first learn the truth about Santa or the tooth fairy? Well that was what I witnessed over and over again in the eyes of my middle-aged friends when they learned the truth. It was painful to watch. So I thought it was necessary to get on here and set the record straight. I sure hope knowing that Bruce only exists in my head and on this blog does not diminish the message of his story. 

I can sense the disappointment thru my computer screen.... I tell ya what! To cheer you up, I'm going to dive right into the Before and After Pictures!

Starting with the Exterior:

Just a few small changes went a long way to transform the outside. To bring this 1960s home to the current decade we first enclosed the laundry room to the main house.




Please excuse the pile of sod in the corner there.

Next, we replaced the wood siding under the carport and on the gable with Hardie Board and gave it a modern flair by running the batton strips horizontal and narrow.  



Those horizontal narrow strips ended up inspiring the design of the window box and address plaque as well as the vent hood in the kitchen. 

But to me, the transformations that made the biggest impact on the exterior were the powder coated windows and cutting out those darn swirlies in the columns.


And Ta-Dah:


Ok, Let's move on inside.....

Not much happened in the Living Room except new paint, ceiling fan and we removed the window unit but I LOVED and ADORED what Waterhouse Market did with the staging in the Living Room. Every project we do they seem to step up their game!



If you were unable to attend the open house, let me just tell ya the staging of this house set the perfect mood to illustrate the story and tickled every sense- from the sounds of Johnny Cash on the old-timey record player to the slightly masculine whiffs of the burning candles and the taste of Round Mountain coffee brewing in the kitchen. I could not have been more pleased. 

Then from the other corner of the Living Room you can see where we made some changes to the floorplan. 


The kitchen was closed off from the dining and living areas.


And after:

Now let's take a closer look at that kitchen transformation

Here is what we started with:

And here is the kitchen now:

There is a track on the ceiling and in the granite that allows the chalkboard to scoot from left to right. The chalkboard is not only a great place to write a note or grocery list it also serves as closed off storage for the new homeowner's noncute kitchen wares. 

Our usual cabinet guys were busy so I tried out Jeff Perry, of Perry's Custom Cabinets, and I was thrilled with the results. The quality is superb and he delivered right on time as promised. And Y'all, he even surprised me with a BUILT-IN SILVERWARE ORGANIZER! It made my little OCD heart flutter.

Ok, let's go ahead and talk about it. Chartreuse. I chose to paint the kitchen cabinets chartreuse. Annnnnd that right there is what separates us from other flippers- we are not trying to please the masses we are just hoping to attract 1.😜  
No really, I knew the color might offend some people but I had written a post earlier last year about not fearing paint colors and the story called for a fun color so I decided to put my money where my mouth was and go for it. And guys, I gotta tell ya, I LOVE it! I think it just breathes life into the whole space. 
If you love it too, let me spare you a lot of time and money on Chartreuse paint samples and tell you this one is Benjamin Moore's Sweet Vibrations
Ok let's keep going... down the hall is the guest bathroom.


I'm not a fan of a window at chest level in the bathtub, so we got rid of that and updated everything else.

And how about that hall.



We kept the wood paneling. I had thought about painting it but my friend Donna suggested that the wood was more Bohemian and I could not agree more. And check out that ART!!! How fun are those Stick Men Walking down the hall! That idea just hit me one night while I was trying to get to sleep and even though stick figures are not the norm for my friend and professional artist, Sarah of Redeemed Home Goods, she did not hesitate to humble her skills to deliver. Sarah also made some very Bruce-like inspirational wall plaques special for the open house. 

Dream big. Work hard. Make it happen.

And last on our tour is the master suite. 

Remember the bowling alley? That looooong room

Well, we borrowed half of that space to create a master bath.

Big thanks to my Dad for building the vanity. And speaking of my Dad.... remember that feature wall he helped me with?

Well..... here it is in all it's flat black painted glory!

And another fabulous custom platform bed and staging by Waterhouse Market.

Well, there he is. Before I close this chapter, I just want to give a few more shout-outs to those that helped get us to the "after" portion of this blog.

Of course, we had our tried and true favorites: Nicolas leading up the Paint,  Travis Thessing on the landscape and this was Marcos farewell job on the tile, sniff sniff.

And returning after being absent from a few jobs we had:
Robert Shearer for Plumbing
Cole of Donaco Electric for Electric

Big thanks to David from Arc Welding for custom crafting most of the metal items you see in the house; like the shower grid, the shelf brackets in the kitchen, and even the legs for the dining room table (which is for sale by the way😉 )

And last but not least one of the biggest treasures we discovered with this project was All Wood Floors LLC. Y'all, they can repair old hardwood floor damage and..... are you ready for this..... they can feather in new hardwood to match the old! You have no idea what a game changer this is! In the past, I have had to replace entire rooms of hardwoods because I could not find anyone who could or would REASONABLY patch an area if it was not near a wall. These guys came in and seamlessly feathered in brand new wood in the kitchen to match the almost 60-year-old wood in the rest of the house. They patiently worked with me to find the perfect stain color and then used a new product that cut the refinishing time in half. They literally sanded and stained the entire house and returned it to me ready to walk on in 48 hours! And I LOVED the natural matte finish. Nicolas was even impressed with how little touch-up he had to do after they finished. They tell me they have never met a hardwood floor they couldn't save..... I'm thinking I'll be testing those words with our next project😉

Speaking of our next project. Here is a peek at where the next story takes place:

Any guesses where in the 72034 this is located?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2017 Year End Review & 2018 Outlook

Happy New Year!!!! I know I need to post Bruce's "before and after" blog but I can't NOT do a New Years post...It's my FAVORITE time of year! I literally have the goofiest smile on my face right now while I'm typing- I'm just giddy about the fresh start this year and every new year brings. Right now, where I stand, the possibilities are endless and I haven't done anything to mess it up... so far.

So anyway, I thought it would be fun to review last year's Goals and Resolutions to see how I did. But first, in keeping with last year's tradition, I wanted to do another "favorites section" to highlight our 2017 projects. BUT this year, instead of me picking my favorites, I would LOVE to hear from you! So with the help of our resident techy, Colby of Colby's Creations, we have set up a quick survey after each category for you to select your favorite.... please and thank you.

We completed 3 homes in 2017.
846 Donaghey
1917 Caldwell
1406 Bruce

What was your....

Favorite Exterior

A) Donaghey

B) Caldwell

C) Bruce

Favorite Kitchen

A) Donaghey

B) Caldwell

C) Bruce

Favorite Master Suite

A) Donaghey

B) Caldwell

C) Bruce

Favorite Story

Man, just looking thru those pictures I'm reminded of all the people who skillfully worked their trade to make each home come together. Seriously, couldn't have happened without them. 

And now I will honestly evaluate how I did on the 6 Rehome/Storybook Goals/Resolutions I set for myself this time last year:

2017 Goals and Resolutions End of the Year Evaluation

1) I will make AT LEAST minimum wage on all projects.  

Evaluation: ummmmm no. Financially it was not a good storybook year. HOWEVER, while I may have not collected minimum wage (or any wage) in 2017, I am proud to say we did hire our first official Storybook Employee, Cole, and managed to provide a weekly paycheck to this fella for the last 7 months. 

2) Live out James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, 
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and 
complete, not lacking anything.

Evaluation: Not so much. Oh, I started out strong, but guys, I'm not going to lie, Caldwell nearly did me in. Every day was a new trial with that project and the financial burden nearly crippled me. Hindsight, I was able to look back and see how God carried us thru the valley and had us in his grip all along BUT I can hardly call my reaction or attitude toward this trial "pure joy." 

3)  Update rehome FB/blog weekly.  

Evaluation: Fail again. I am the slowest writer in the world, so blog posts take me FOREVER to write. Proof of point- I started this post on January 1st. HOWEVER, in my defense, we are no longer rehome....so this resolution is null and void and can't be held against me. 

4) Re logo rehome! 

Evaluation: Hot diggity! I did this one! We have been operating as Storybook Homes since last March. 

5) Get on Instagram.  

Evaluation: Guys, I tried. I really did. I just don't get it. I'm not giving up, but I've got to get a tutor or at least see if there is an "Instagram for Dummies" book. Those hashtags just stress me out.

6) Complete 5 homes! 

Evaluation: Personally I think the Caldwell Manor should have counted as at least 3 homes so I think I should get partial credit for this one.

So 1.5ish out of 6 goals met. Hmmm, not the greatest But hey, I proved I could meet one goal and surely the experiences I had in 2017 will help me meet ALL my goals and resolutions for 2018. So in addition to the 42 personal resolutions (down from 56 last year) I have set for myself here are the goals and resolutions I have for Storybook Homes in 2018 (1-5 are repeats from last year's failures with some small changes):

2018 Storybook Homes Goals and Resolutions

1. Make a PROFIT or keep the property as a rental. We have always had the backup plan to rent if we are unable to sell but this year Rory and I have decided that if I overspend to the point I can't get a paycheck we will just keep the house as a rental. So if you are looking for a high-end custom rental with a story- this just might be your year!

2. Live out James 1: 2-4! Or at least try to make it thru 1 project without crying.

3. Update Storybook Homes FB weekly. I might not blog weekly but surely I could snap a picture and post it on Facebook weekly. I'd love to think I would get back to posting about Rory and I's WWYWW (Work with Yo Woman Wednesday) projects.... yes I should do that. Of course this week he is going hunting on Wednesday.... but next week...

4. Instagram. Yes! I'm going to do it. I might not do it correctly but I'm going to do it. #try, #justdoit, #whatintheworldarethesehashtagsfor

5. Complete at LEAST 5 homes. I'd really like to start working on more than 1 home at a time and complete each home within a 3-4 month period.

6. Launch a new Storybook Homes website. We think we have found a sweet family to adopt Sister (our current home) and therefore will be moving sometime this year. Since this blog, Two Story Sister, was originally started to chronical our own home renovations (before I highjacked it for Storybook Homes) it just makes sense to reformat once we leave Sister behind. I'd LOVE to leave the blogger format and have a more professional looking website that has links to our FB and Zillow..... but who am I kidding, I can't even figure out Instagram.

7. Hire a jack-of-all-trades handyman. I think one of the reasons we can not seem to turn a profit in this business is because I'm not handy and Rory has a full-time job so we have to sub out EVERYTHING. If we had our very own handyman I think it could potentially save us money and a ton of headaches. Someone who has knowledge of most construction trades would be the dream BUT I would settle for a carpenter who could frame and trim and be an overall problem solver.

8. Take a two-week break in the summer and at Christmas to spend quality time with my family. One thing the story of Bruce taught me was the importance of balancing out work and play time. I am a workaholic. I LOVE what I do and because of that, I have a hard time turning off my work brain when I'm home with the family. It was sooo nice finishing up our Bruce Street project just in time for Christmas last year so I could be fully present with my family during the holiday break. I'd love to think I could time our projects to allow for another break during my boys summer break.

So there they are. I'm ready! Bring on 2018!!!