Monday, May 21, 2012

My New Entryway Table {Before and After} Makeover

We have had this little chest of drawers for a long time. I think it was Todd's when he was young. Then after we were married we used it in Monica's room when she was a little girl. This is my very first furniture renovation. I didn't get a real "before" picture, this one was taken after we already started. We took out the top two smaller drawers and boxed in that space to use with two baskets.

Todd seems to really enjoy working out in the man cave on a project, it just seems hard to find the time to do it. Finally life is settling down a little, now that we are "empty nesters". Here he is doing some of the finishing work on the dresser.

After we boxed in the top part, we added a little piece of decorative trim around the opening to make it look nice. And, we changed the hardware to my favorite glass knobs. That really changed how it looks.
For the finish, I painted it Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black {no primer, because I didn't want it to show through when I distressed it}. Then I used some sand paper to distress the edges. I went over the edges with a dark brown stain touch up pen. And lastly applied a coat of poly to seal everything. I love how it turned out and its perfect for the new space I wanted to use it for.

Here it is, in its new spot, right inside our front door. Its the first thing you see when you enter. We finished right before Christmas, so it was really fun to decorate it for the holiday season. The window in the photo above was saved from our very first investment property, the one that got demolished after the flood. I cleaned it up a little, gave it a coat of  Sherwin Williams, Alabaster, distressed it and put on a coat of poly. Todd made the shelf, I made the little tissue paper balls and the hollly berry letter "S". All of these I found on Pinterest!! I Love Pinterest. I will give the links to these projects on another day, soon.
I love how it all came together, what do you think? 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yes, I Am Still Alive! And, I'm Back! And We Are Finally Finished with ALL of our Flooded Properties!

The last part of 2011 was very long for us. And also very rewarding. We finally finished our last flooded rental property and actually got both units rented. Three years and six months after the flood of 2008 we are FINALLY DONE! I hope to share all the final photos and some before and after photos also this week.

It was such a feeling of relief to actually realize that we were going to make it, going to get back to normal. I have to say one thing, I do realize that there are so many people in this world that are going through things that are so much more tragic than what we have been through and I am thankful for all that I have, everyday of my life. I have learned so much about life and about myself from this whole experience. This is just our story of what we have experienced and I hope that by sharing it, maybe I can inspire or help someone else even a little bit.
This is our duplex and the last of our properties to be renovated after the flood. It worked out that we had a construction crew do most of the work on this last property. Mike Cutter Construction started working in July of 2011 and after much red tape, working with the City of Cedar Rapids and Small Business Administration we were finally finished with the upper unit and the exterior by the beginning of December 2011. It looks so nice with its new windows, doors and siding, Cutter Construction did a great job!

Here are a few photos of the finished upper unit:

Everything is so clean and new and fresh!

I really like the colors. The wall color is Sherwin Williams, Killim Beige and the trim color is just straight out of the can white, Sherwin Williams.  I love it, and I am so happy its done!

This unit is a two bedroom with the whole upstairs as a loft.

And, a shot of the happy new tenants on moving in day. They may look familiar to some of you, it's our daughter Monica and her fiance, Drew.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Flashback Friday!!

Last week, we purchased a Canoscan9000F. We needed to update our old scanner, which was probably as old as, oh, I don't know, when they first began to make scanners for home computers. Yeah, it was old. Sometimes you don't realize how out of date your technology is until you get something new. This new scanner is amazing, it scans negatives!! I know, right!

So, in the process of scanning a few old negatives, I have come accross some really great old pictures and thought I would share some of my favorite "flashbacks" this friday. These are all from the early nineties, all scanned from negatives on my new Canoscan900F.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Three Years Ago Today......

Three years ago today, we looked like this!  Ughhh!

That's right, it has been three years since the "Flood of 2008". I thought it would be nice to do a little recap of the last three years and our recovery since the flood.

So, for those of you who don't know the story.....In May of 2008 Todd and I owned three pieces of property in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that we considered investment properties. A small house located at 908 7th St. SW, a duplex which also had a small guesthouse on the property located at 914 7th St. SW and another duplex located at 700 6th St. SW. That's six separate rental spaces, all fully occupied.

We had started purchasing the properties in 2001, we were able to purchase them at below market value prices most of the time (usually due to their condition) and had worked very hard to remodel and restore them. Lots of painting, landscaping, refinishing etc. They were nice, Life was good.

I am realizing I could really write a book here, but I will try to give you the condensed version. was the second week of June in 2008, let me back up a little, we had had over three feet of snow the winter before. The week before, it rained 9 inches up in the northern part of our state {Iowa} and it just wouldn't stop. It rained 6 inches in one day!! That monday our well flooded, the old copper pipes were rusted and broke. The tanks were floating in the pumphouse and the water all came out into our yard, flooding the pumphouse and shorting out the electrical system in there. It was a mess! It kept raining, and raining and raining some more the water in the Cedar River was rising. It went over its banks and flooded sooo many home and businesses, including ALL of our rental properties. I couldn't believe it and we were kind of in shock and definately unsure what we would do and how things would end up. And best part of all, we had NO flood insurance!! I take that back, I now realize that the best part was that our own home {where we live} DID NOT flood, thank goodness. So.... let's get to some pictures.

914 7th St. SW {the Guesthouse} - BEFORE

Here are some pictures shortly after the flood:

It was so overwhelming, pretty much all of the tenants belongings were ruined. It was such a mess, over four feet of dirty, stinky sewer water. Everything was covered in gunk.

Everything had to be removed immediately. Furniture, cabinetry, carpet, bathroom fixtures, {EVERYTHING} all hauled to the curb for the garbage man. It was depressing, it was hot out, and it smelled BAD.
All of the drywall had to be removed and the studs had to be sprayed with bleach and hosed off.

Remembering, I am going to try and give you the short version,
Here is how it finally looks today.

It is so nice now, all brand new. This guesthouse has been finished and rented since may of 2009. Even the windows and door and the siding are new. I can't believe all that we have been through to get to this point. Thank you so much to everyone that has helped us in anyway. We could not have done it without you!

That brings us to our second property. Our small house at 908 7th St. SW. It is right next door to the one shown above.

Here is 908 7th St. SW {shortly after the flood}

And here it is during the cleanup and renovation process:

And here it is after:

I love the color, especially the front door. This property has been finished and rented since September 2009.

700 6th St. SW Before the Flood:

This duplex was marked as unsafe two weeks after the flood because the entire foundation wall along the front of the house {under the porch} washed into the basement leaving no support on that side of the house. It was accross the street from an elementary school and very dangerous so a year and half after the flood the city demolished it. We no longer own this property.

So that leaves one other property, we have the duplex at 914 7th St. SW. That property is about 60-70% completed and has just been sitting there since we stopped working on it about the middle of 2010. It has brand new furnaces, water heaters, central air and wiring and some odd other things completed, but the loan that we recieved from the SBA {Small Business Administration} was not sufficient to complete the project. They would not loan us anymore money and since we already had a loan out on the property we could not accept any other form of monetary help due to "duplication of benefits". Basically we have been trying to get through A LOT of red tape with the city of Cedar Rapids, and the SBA. We hope to wrap it up by the end of this year. We have a contractor on stand by.  It has been VERY VERY  frustrating working through this and I, for one, CANNOT WAIT until the day that we are 100% back to normal.

Then, the day after the flood in Cedar Rapids this is what happened at our own home:
You can see where we were testing stain colors to see which one to stain the deck, LOL, before this week happened that was our biggest worry, little did we know what lied ahead.

We had a hailstorm! It ripped our pool liner to shreds and our roof began to leak! Happy to report that after two years of fighting with the insurance company and one more hailstorm { it was the size of hockey pucks }on April 3rd 2011, almost three years to the day, we finally have a new roof. 

So, there you have it, an update on the worst weather week in the history of my life!!

On the Up side of things, we have been so blessed by the loving people of this community, our church family {Shueyville United Methodist Church}, our own family and friends and so many groups of people all across the country that have reached out to help us. We have so many new friends and we are so thankful for each and every one of you and we could not have come as far as we have without you!!!

Hopefully by this time next year we will be able to report that we are 100% finished!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

West High....Senior Prom.....Trevor & Emily

Saturday night was Miss Emily's Senior Prom. We were hoping for nice weather for photos but it rained ALL day. We made the best of it and got some pretty sweet photos anyway.

The traditional pinning of the flower photo. Trevor likes to jump and fake like he has been stabbed, every year, he thinks it's funny. Emily, not so much.

I love Emily's dress, especially all the little gemstones and sequins, Trevor did a great job picking out a fun corsage that went with it. The colors are so pretty.

Trevor and Emily with Emily's brother Kevin.

We all met at the Marriot to take pictures, there were a lot of kids. It was fun to see them all dressed up so nice. They were all so excited and having a great time!

I think this is the sweetest picture of these two, they are so cute!

And this last one is my favorite of all.

And of course a picture of my two most favorite guys in the whole world!

After all the pictures were taken, the parents went out for dinner together at a place call "Bob's You're Uncle". We met some new friends, had some great food and a lot of fun!!
I love prom, springtime, flowers and pretty dresses, shoes and jewelry.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

After the Wedding - The MonteBello B&B Inn

Saturday after the wedding, after the clean-up was finished and all the goodbyes were said {after Maureen & Alan left for their honeymoon} we all headed to Ames, Iowa. To the MonteBello B&B Inn. 

We came around a corner and to the end on the road and there it was. Isn't it beautiful!

Our gracious hosts and owners of the inn, Daphne and Jaime Reyes. Thank you so much for everything, we had such a great time!

As soon as we got there, we had to go exploring of course. I love the bright colors and all the little details.

So much to see everywhere, I wish I had a few more days. Check out the tile work on these stairs! I love it! Trevor, I can see you in the mirror, what are you doing?

This is our room, for tonight, doesn't it look comfortable and inviting?

Todd thought so.....he had to try it out right away.....a little afternoon siesta. It was a really long day, but SO much fun!

Left to right: Trevor Sniegowski, Grandma Kay Eden, Kristy & Chris Billings (brother and sister-in-law), Michelle Nighswander (sister), Me and Mr. Sniegowski
Keeping with the theme of the evening, we decided to head into town for dinner at La Fuente restaurant. The food and drinks were awesome, it was so good to get caught up on life with my family. It had been way too long since I had seen some of them. And it was so nice to finally meet Chris's new wife Kristy {she's a keeper}! Thanks for taking the photo, Emily!

Oh what a great day! Good Night!