Category Archives: Projects

Our First Home

In 2013, a year after Andy and I started dating, we purchased our first house together in a hidden neighborhood called Underwood Hills in West Midtown Atlanta, Georgia. This house sits on a large (for Atlanta) fenced in lot at the end of a dead end street smack dab in the middle of this sought after neighborhood. With a wide open floor plan containing three bedrooms and two full baths, this house was our perfect home. Andy also had his large man cave down in the basement with plenty of room for his vast collection of tools and the storage shelving he installed. Buying this house in Atlanta proper was a stretch for newly employed salaries, but Andy and I made it work – and with hard work and a lot of DIY, we managed to turn this house into our perfect home.

Exterior

When we first moved in the front yard was over grown with bushes and English Ivy and in desperate need of some love and care. The house needed some touch ups and a little extra curb appeal.

photo5Since then, I cut back the shrubs, planted some azaleas, and pulled up all of the English Ivy to open up the front yard and bring a little landscaping back into the wilderness. The house got a huge face lift with a little bit of soap and paint and new shutters.

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Front Porch

The front door received a makeover with a fresh new paint job and brand new hardware. Andy built a beautiful custom planter to match the shutters and really make the front porch pop.

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Living Room

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The living room was old fashion and out dated, so I quickly took advantage of the good bones and brought it up to date. I started by painting the beautiful working wooden fireplace mantle a crisp white to bring it into the 21st century. Andy built a gorgeous custom coffee table to fit the space perfectly. With a mixture of new and used furniture, Andy and I made the most of the open space to create a comfortable and stylish living area!

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Guest Bathroom

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The full guest bathroom was definitely one of the biggest cosmetic makeovers we tackled. It’s amazing how far a couple of cans of paint can really go in making a room look completely brand new. First we toned down the dark walls by painting it all a clean light neutral color. Next I tackled the hideous black and yellow vanity by painting the the body of the vanity Nantucket blue. I then used Epoxy paint to finish off the vanity with a matte white finish. What a huge transformation!

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Dining Area

In the dining area, I centered my table and chairs to bring a bit of separation to the open floor plan. I added a picture collage to break up the monotonous wall and add some hominess.

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The kitchen was also outdated and ungainly and just plain blah. We started to add to the utility of the kitchen by building an awesome silverware drawer that would fit all of our utensils much better than a plastic slide in. We added a beautiful custom backsplash to the kitchen to add a more fashionable look and updated the kitchen by removing the cracked and dated siding and painting the kitchen a light neutral shade to match the new back splash.

We took out the random bistro style table that was never used and added a custom kitchen shelf that Andy built to fit the space perfectly, adding extra storage and appeal. Finally, we replaced the old faucet with a much taller, modern faucet with a retractable sprayer.

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Smaller Guest Bedroom

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While living here, we took advantage of the third and smallest bedroom by using is as Andy’s extra large closet and our office. I added a beautiful closet set to really utilize the large closet space. To showcase the fact that it is an actual bedroom, we have now added a twin bed and bedside table. Hopefully, someone will take advantage of this room as the perfect nursery!

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Master Bedroom

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The master bedroom was a dull darkish grey color, so I immediately painted it a serene pale ocean blue when we moved in. With very tall vaulted ceilings, this master bedroom fit our new king size bed perfectly under the plantation shutters. We added smaller bedside tables on either side and had plenty of room left over for Woody’s bed next to ours 🙂

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Master Bathroom

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The master bathroom got a complete renovation. Andy and I could not stand the stained and cracked white tiles, linoleum countertops, and the old plastic jetted bath tub. First we got rid of the crappy “vanity” lights that were cheap plastic LED track lights that never worked. We added a huge and luminous ceiling light that illuminates the bathroom perfectly.

Next, Andy and I demoed then entire space, leaving the original vanity in place. The contractors leveled the floor, adding new plywood and cement sub floor. We laid gorgeous ivory natural travertine tile that was a huge upgrade from the original cracked white tiles. We also bought a brand new Kohler deep soaking 60″ tub – heaven – and surrounded it with white subways tiles and a matching ivory travertine tile border. Finally, we finished the brand new master bathroom with beautiful quartz countertops from Home Depot and travertine backsplash. What a transformation!

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Back Deck

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The back deck was originally painted the same greyish green that our house is painted; however, the paint was fading and the wood was rotting in several places. We replaced all of the handrails and rotting planks with new decking and then painted the entire deck in a natural dark brown solid deck stain. We took out the old bench that was no longer in code and replaced the entire back wall of warped and rotting fiber boards with new hardiplank! The back of our house is basically brand new and looks fantastic.

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Basement / Mancave

Andy spent a ton of time over the last few years adding to the partially finished basement to make it a perfect mancave! He added tons of storage and shelving, and a huge work desk built into the foundation of the house itself. This basement really added a ton of storage and utility to this house and made Andy a very happy guy.

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Back Yard

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The back yard was a mess of dying grass and English ivy with a random wooden planter smack dab in the middle of the yard when we moved in. I spent over a month killing the invasive ivy where we then leveled the ground a bit more and added a wooden retaining wall that feeds into the existing wooden bed in the middle of the yard. We planted all new grass and added native azaleas and hydrangeas to the new raised garden. The colors are just to die for in the spring! 

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All in all, Andy and I have poured our hearts and souls (and blood and sweat) into this house to make it our perfect home. On April 30, 2016, Andy and I married down in Amelia Island Plantation and started a new chapter in our lives. With this new chapter, we are saying goodbye to Atlanta and to our first home together that we poured so much love into over the last three years.

So it is with heavy hearts that Andy and I announce that our Renos With Whiskey house is for sale. For more information please contact Adrienne Hardesty with Chapman Hall Realtors or visit the zillow link. 

While Andy and I hate to say goodbye to our perfect home and amazing neighborhood and neighbors, it is time for us to start our next chapter in Athens. Thank you all for following us and stayed tuned in for the next chapter of Renos With Whiskey!

 

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Planter

Because I love giving Andy projects to build, I decided that I had to have a wooden planter on our front porch that matches our new shutters (that Andy also built). I was inspired by the planter featured on the blog “The House of Wood.” But of course, in true Andy fashion, he decided to make it much harder for himself and build it “correctly.” According to Andy at least.

We paid a little extra up front to save us some work and purchased finished pine wood from Home Depot. It was also an excuse for Andy to buy more clamps – because Andy can NEVER have enough clamps! I finished the planter in the same cedar stain that we used for the shutters and requested that Andy add trim to the planter to make it match the shutters. And I think it turned out fabulously – take a look!

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Bathroom Vanity

Our guest bathroom was a bit of a disaster when we moved in. It is stuck in the middle of the house with no windows and is not huge by any means. But for some reason, the previous owner thought it would be a great idea to paint it in very dark colors and install a black vanity with a yellow formica counter top. Yes, I said YELLOW.

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A while back, I finally got around to repainting the dark green and yellow walls. And again yes, your heard me correctly. It was a yellow counter top against a yellow wall. Thankfully, the yellow and green walls were not hard to fix. However, the black and yellow vanity was going to be harder to tackle.

The floor was tiled to the vanity (poorly), so it was going to be hard to replace the vanity with another of the exact same size and no legs (just flush with the floor). So I decided to try and remedy this the same way I did the walls – with paint.

I read about this “magical” cabinet/furniture paint that required no priming or sanding of furniture prior to painting and thought I would give it a whirl. RECLAIM Beyond Paint claims that is an all-in-one bonder/primer/finisher that cures to a durable, washable surface in just one or two coats. No other steps necessary. So I purchased the nantucket color and gave it a shot.

My results were somewhat varied…

First of all, on black cabinets, it definitely took more than “one or two” coats. It took about 3 and a half. Which is fine – dark cabinets, I get it. The paint did not go on quite as smooth as I would have liked it to, but again, I can get over this.

Second Coat…

After three coats and some touching up in certain areas, I finally got the doors back on the vanity. Unfortunately, the paint started to chip, peel, and scratch immediately – revealing the wonderful black paint beneath. While the paint was completely dry, I decided to think positively and allow that it might need more time to cure. So I waited about a week before I asked Andy to add the knobs and pull.

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While the knobs and pull looked amazing, unfortunately, the paint continued to chip and peel. I decided to touch up the spots that had peeled and hit the entire vanity with a clear protective spray that I purchased at the recommendation of the Ace Hardware rep. It was another furniture paint brand, Amy Howard, and it worked great! I am now able to hit, scratch, and touch the vanity with no peels or chips in the paint. Success.

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RECLAIM also has a sealer that they recommend for “any project that requires extra-strength durability or weatherproofing.” However, it is a paint and not a spray paint and I was not in the mood to spend $30 more plus shipping on one of their products (and wait several days to receive it). So I am very happy with my decision to go with the spray protectant.

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Now it was time to tackle the vanity top, because no matter how much better the bottom looks in blue, it doesn’t negate the fact that the top is still yellow. I did a decent amount of research on products for this. RECLAIM also has a countertop paint, but I scratched that idea for obvious reasons. I read an article on the blog “It All Started With Paint” and decided to go with the product that the author used, Homax Tough as Tile Epoxy paint (also purchased from Ace). I was not loving the thought of brush marks and was thrilled when I discovered a spray on version of the same paint!

I followed the instructions given on the blog article and Homax box to a letter. I scrubbed the sink with CLR Sink and Bath and steel wool a total of 3 times and then wiped it down with a damp paper towel at the end. I had to scrub a little harder than most due to the fact that I use this sink to rinse out my paintbrushes, so there was some paint residue to contend with. I was also very careful to ensure that the surface was clear of any stray animal furs (as my house has them everywhere).

Since this is spray paint versus regular paint, I definitely put a good deal of time and energy into preparing the area. This was the countertop after spray one. I had to contend with a few drips that had come from the nozzle and wish I had stopped to clean the nozzle as the instructions had said. (I guess I’m not that good at following directions…).

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I continued to spray every 15 minutes for quite some time, finally stopping after seven rounds. Yes, I said SEVEN. Stupid yellow kept trying to show through or I would notice spots that I had not hit as well.

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Even with a few more drips that I decided to not brush off, I was pretty happy with the finished product! It has to cure for 3 days, so we let it cure for 4 (laziness more than cautiousness) and decided to clean it and spray it two more times to make sure everything was as good as it was going to get. And it really did come out great! While not prefect, it certainly looks much better than the yellow and only fails inspection when scrutinized VERY closely. It also seems to be very strong and durable which is exactly what I was looking for.

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Curtains

It’s the little things that matter sometimes. I have wanted to replace the curtains that came with the house since we bought it, but unfortunately it was just never at the top of my list. While it is necessary for us to have curtains we can close (or everyone could see our entire house), these curtains were a very dark heavy material that hid our beautiful window and really made the room seem smaller. When opened, they almost completely blocked the two side windows, making the windows seem much smaller than they actually are. IMG_2140

Oh look, we do have a huge window! Look at the difference already…

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I wanted to find some curtains that, while still blackout, would lighten up the room and allow us to really enjoy the window. I wanted to be able to actually see the entire window when the curtains are open to really expand the room. And wa la! These curtains really make a huge difference to the space. Luckily, this was a very cheap fix, as I got the curtains on sale on Wayfair and the rod at Target. Got to love cheap and easy!

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Front Door Hardware

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Our front door was in desperate need of a hardware makeover. After painting the door an awesome coral, and repainting the window trim, door trim, and siding on the front porch, I realized that new hardware needed to be the finishing touch.

The original brass hardware was rusted and peeling, and the “remote control” access had never worked (not that we ever really tried). After removing the original hardware, we were not so surprised that the state of the hardware and door was even worse than we had imagined…

Originally, this was going to be my project, but after I had removed the original hardware, Andy all but pushed me out of the way and took over. Oh well for that.

I bought the Kwikset new handle set from Home Depot (which can be found here) and I have to say that it was really a pretty simple install. I think Andy was a little worried – especially since I surprised him with this project – but it turned out to be very straightforward.

I did have to do some repairs of the door, because, of course, the new handle set was slightly smaller than the old. While it is still not perfect, it is definitely much better than it was before! I also spray painted the original kick board and knocker to complete the look. I used Rust-Oleum metallic spray paint (which can be found here) and they both turned out excellent!

After the paint had dried on the front and back of the door (which took 3 coats = forever!), Andy installed the new handle set…

And WA LA! For less than $150, we have a brand new looking front door!

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Drew’s New Table

This post is extra exciting and special for me to write. Drew (better known as Drewbie) is the son of our good friends Jason and Christy Norton. When Drew was almost 2 years old, he was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease. While struggling with many motor delays that have affected his mobility and speech development and multiple weekly physical and occupational therapy sessions, Drew is just your normal adorable happy child.

Now 5,  Drew recently underwent a 7-ish hour surgical procedure called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy to help with his spasticity. Over the next year while undergoing extensive physical therapy to regain and hopefully improve his walking ability, Drew will be confined primarily to a wheelchair. This kid is literally a superstar and has already come so far.

As you can tell, Drew’s wheelchair did not quite work with his previous table – so Andy volunteered (or I may have volunteered for him) to build a table for Christmas that would fit Drew perfectly.

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Because Andy is incapable of ever taking the easy route, this may be the most amazingly built kid’s table ever. But it was so worth it! Andy basically built a farm style table in miniature and it came out great. Check out the pictures…

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And thankfully, the table works perfectly for Drew (with a little room to grow). I really can’t take any credit for this project – Andy did a fabulous job and I am so glad we were able to help this wonderful family out, even in such a small way.

We met the Norton’s this weekend to give them Drew’s new table and I think it’s already getting put to good use! We love you Norton family!

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To follow Drew’s journey and recovery, please visit: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/drewnorton

To learn more about’s Drew’s battle with Mitochondrial Disease, please visit: http://mitochondrialdiseases.org/gagivesday-9-drew-norton-one-of-the-many-faces-of-mitochondrial-disease/

 

Front Door

Sometimes, some of the best updates to an old house are the simplest ones – like simply painting your front door an exciting new color!

Because I am horrible at taking before pictures, I of course forgot to take one for this. The front door was originally red I believe, but had faded to almost a dark coral color. While not horrible, the door had a few cracks and dings that I wanted to patch up which required a fresh coat of paint afterwards.

I decided to go pretty bold with this new color… and as our house is kind of a natural green/grey color, it had to be something that blended well with this color. I chose to do a light/mid range coral color. But of course, the color was not exactly what I had envisioned (is it ever?) so I had to repaint the door one shade darker. While it was still lighter than originally planned, I think it turned out really great! Check it out —

IMG_0982IMG_0979What do you think about the new color??