Spring Garden

Spring is in full bloom here in Kansas City! The trees are full of leaves, the hostas have sprouted, the irises have bloomed, and Home Depot's gardening section is bursting at the seams with new plants. I've been working in the garden to get it shaped up for the past couple weeks now and I figured I would show you some of our progress and what's coming up in our garden!

Along the front we have a whole bunch of hostas. Whoever owned this house before apparently really liked hostas - kind of obsessively so because they are filling 90% of our front flower gardens. Mikael definitely isn't a big fan of how many there are, but I do like the lighter grey-green variety in the front. 

 So ultimately, many of those will be transplanted elsewhere. This front area is on the top of my list for updating. Unfortunately, it may be a while because of the amount of work its going to take to get this looking better! For now, this will do. 

On the other side of the front walkway, we have a whole bunch of bamboo. Bamboo. I know it's going to be my arch-enemy in the near future as I try to get rid of it. It's such a weed in that it spreads to areas where you wouldn't expect it to be. Next to the bamboo we have two pretty peonies that are getting ready to bloom! Peonies are one of my favorite flowers, so I'm so excited we already have some mature peonies in our yard!

One of my favorite things to add to a front porch are bright, cheery flower pots! So this last weekend we made a trip across the street to Home Depot to pick up some plants to fill our big IKEA pots. The challenge we experienced was to find plants that would do well in pretty much full shade. So I ended up picking up some Creeping Jenny, begonias, and ferns.

The side of the house is my current project. It has a few chrysanthemum plants, some other plants I'm unsure of, and a bed of iris. The iris are absolutely gorgeous right now with their bright purple blooms. 

As I envision this space in the future, I see big dahlia, hydrangea, and peony plants that adorn the side of the house. To accomplish this, I'm in the midst of digging everything up - especially the weeds that have taken over the area. I'm not exactly sure what I'll do with all of the irises and chrysanthemums, but they'll find a new home in our garden!

Up near the front of the house, just past the irises, a white trellis adorns the side of the front porch and is covered in a few mature rose bushes. One has begun to bloom with dark red flowers. I cannot wait to see the colors of the others! Eventually, we'll remove the old trellis and put in a new modern-style one later.

In the back, I added a few of the extra plants from our flowering pot project to a shady spot near the garage. We also have a bunch of irises and other plants I'm unsure of! (Story of my life, people!)

The back needs quite a bit of work, but largely it's landscaping the space for future outdoor living areas. That's likely a next year project, so for the moment I'm making do by cleaning up the flower beds and adding new black mulch! Black mulch is my favorite. It's basically like giving your garden a new coat of paint that makes it look sharp, tidy, and clean!

Of course, the bane of my existence now are the tree seeds and debris that have fallen all over my beautiful black mulch! So heartbreaking.

So that's what's going on in our garden! I'm going to continue cleaning up the side garden and spreading that gorgeous black mulch! So pretty! Have a great week! 

Powder Room Reno - Part 1

before demolition

A few weeks ago we started work on our powder room bathroom - the half bath on our first floor. It seemed like the perfect starting point for our more major renovations that would include our kitchen. As we initially got into it, we quickly began to realize the monumental scale of this project in terms of effort and time! 

Our first major goal of the little bathroom was to rework the layout. It just was awkward! The toilet was in such an odd position that when sitting, your knees nearly hit the wall. So we wanted to turn the toilet towards the door to give our guests more room! We also wanted to raise up the sink and install the plumbing into the wall. The sink was low for me, so that's really saying something for a 5'1" person!

the new layout!

Mikael was also really set on putting in a new door to the bathroom. It was just 6' high (fine for me, but not for him), so many of our taller guests have to duck. Mikael then began to demo the wall to remove the door. As he began to pull off the dry wall, he realized how shoddily the wall had been constructed. You see, we've got a sneaking suspicion that the bathroom was not original. If it had been, the wall would have been made of plaster and lath. It likely was all a butler's pantry, before it had been converted around 20 years ago. So once Mikael saw the poorly constructed wall, he just tore it all down! We also noticed that the ceiling in the bathroom and hallway were lower than the other nearby rooms. So, why not? Let's take that sucker down too!

As you can see in the above picture, the ceiling had just been dropped and covered with drywall. Our plan is to demolish the old bracing and build new framing that just drops the ceiling about 4-5 inches, so it will be 9 feet tall. The reason why we are still dropping the ceiling a bit is to give us room to run electrical in the ceiling to install a pendant light. 

We demolished the tile and cleaned up the floors with a wallpaper steamer, sponge, and scraper. We will be removing the rotten wood floors in the bathroom and be replacing it with tile. Last week, a plumber came out and reworked the pipes for our new bathroom layout, as you can see above!

We've done so much already, but have so much more to do. Honestly, for me, it's a bit overwhelming at points and culminates in events like yesterday where I start crying in the car with my husband in the Target parking lot. I now understand why many people don't do this themselves. It's a lot to handle, especially with working 40 hours a week, keeping up the rest of our house, hanging out with friends, working out, and family visits. But, we're trying to save money and Mikael is excited to do a lot of the work! So here we are, the major DIY-ers and I frankly have no idea when we'll be done with this! I'm working on trying to be more excited about the projects, so that way it feels like a fun task, instead of something miserable. 

So what's next? Mikael needs to demo the rest of the wall (he's just made it up to above the door) and the framing of the ceiling. Then we're going to build the new framing for the wall and ceiling and install drywall. We'll hire out professionals to mud and finish the dry wall. (Thank god!) Between framing and drywall, we'll bring out a electrician to install new wiring for our pendant light and move the light switch. Next we'll skim coat the plaster to even out the walls and then start painting! We'll clean up the moldings, install the tile, and put those moldings back on the wall. Then, it will be easy-peasy! We want to build shelves into the little nook we discovered in the back corner for additional storage in the tiny bathroom and then it will just be the final install of the bathroom fixtures! 

I'll keep you updated on how the next steps are proceeding! I hope you have a great week!