Back and Forth and Up and Down

Around the time the GoldNugget was born, I started struggling with the blog. Mostly, my feelings toward the blog. It started to feel a bit… self indulgent… a bit too “look at what I did, everyone!” And then all the self-promotion that went along with it just started to feel a little… smarmy. So I stepped back. But also, I had a kid. A very busy, very active kid. He started sleeping around 9 months (HOLY COW HOW DID I MAKE IT THAT LONG), which is around the time he started cruising. And then walking around 10 months… CHILD, PLEASE. He’s so much fun (when he doesn’t yell at me), and I’m so, so thankful I get to have a front-row seat in this kid’s life. His smile. The dimples. The happiness. GAH.

2016-04-28 12.38.40

I still am unsure if I will step back in to blogging or not. It’s kind of nice to not document each and every step of every single project… and it saves our camera from getting grout, caulk, paint, and other such items all over it. So in my uncertainty toward the blog, I’m going to show you our most recent project. Which, surprisingly, we paid someone to do 90% of the work. Okay, 85%. Okay, 92%.2016-04-28 09.03.06Why did we pay someone? My time is limited. I get about 1-2 hours a day to not run around and read 16 books in a row. And also? It’s really, really nice to have someone else do the work and only dabble in a couple things. And also? I probably wouldn’t have done as good of a job on the tile. Or the trim. Or the plumbing. Or you know, any of the actual construction stuff. And our contractor said this is the very last job he’s ever going to tile. I think he wasn’t a fan of the marble.

My role in this? I painted the newly plastered walls (primed, first!), grouted everything (WORST THING EVER), and did the final touch-ups and such. Guys, I’m not kidding. When you grout, do it in the tiniest tiniest areas (like a 12″x12″ square) and then wipe it up. Otherwise, it’ll dry onto the tile itself, and then you’ll be on your hands and knees with a razor blade, scraping it off each and every mosaic tile by hand. *Speaking from experience*2016-04-28 09.02.40Honestly, we did a good bit of price-checking (Home Depot, Amazon, Overstock, etc.), and found that Amazon is still a better place to order most of our finish items. Amazon is taking over the world. Mark my words. (These are affiliate links to Amazon.) We ordered the Showerhead (and Valve! Don’t forget the valve!), and drooled over it for about 3 weeks before it was installed. Also, just in case you are wondering, it’s a Moen Wynford. Basically a rainfall showerhead, but not massive and crazy and weird in the space.2016-04-28 09.05.18The Light Fixture is from Progress (Archie two-light in Oil Rubbed Bronze). In our design phase, we decided to go ahead and also have a recessed LED light installed above the shower, and put both of the lights on a single dimmer. It’s awesome to be able to dim your bathroom lighting. HIGHLY suggest that. (Thanks for the suggestions, internet-friends.)2016-04-28 09.01.58Since marble is a natural stone, it had to be sealed… twice (even before the grout!), and once after! The Sealer and the grout Caulk (this is amazing for touch-ups, as well as any place vertical surfaces meet horizontals) came from Amazon also.2016-04-28 09.05.29The floor tile is from Home Depot (greecian marble hexagon mosaic), as is the grout (platinum Unsanded), the medicine cabinet (I’d only kind of recommend this. It looks great, and is a great price, and they have excellent customer service… it’s just not the highest quality piece), and the wall paint (Evaporation, by Behr).

Above the toilet, we reused our old ikea shelves (Dad had to hang these… Mom brain wasn’t working at all that day. LITERALLY, could not hang anything to save my life. Tried to hang the Towel Hooks, — used a measuring tape and everything! and mounted one 1″ higher than the other.).

2016-04-28 09.06.14We are so, so excited to be showering in a non-cave. And it’s a wonderful, relaxing way to start your day. I mean, as long as you’re not trying to squeeze a 7 minute shower in before child wakes up and wants to play.


Dealbreakers, Volume 2

Last time, we talked about dealbreakers when thrifting. Today, we’re tackling an even bigger subject: homes. Being married to a Real Estate Agent, I get to wander around people’s homes occasionally (totally judging them on their paint selections, over-use of candles to mask cat pee, and weird naked sculptures throughout— WHHHHYYYYY would you ever use high gloss throughout your entire house… and stripes on every surface?!?). We went shopping with a good friend of ours one day (who just so happens enjoys long walks on the beach, Jesus, and crafting– duh, she’s a total babe), and came across some gems.How to Homes_HouseofGold

I’ve even covered a bit of “what to look for when buying a home” here. But here are a few more specifics from what takes a home from “needs some work” to “heeeeeck no, step away, please and thank you.” When on the hunt for an abode, make sure you wear some good sturdy shoes. #butforreal You need to take a walk around the exterior of the house, and possibly even in a shed/ attic/ crawl space and nobody wants to be walking around weeds and thorns and crazy things with flips on. Or maybe that’s just me.

  1. Things like the yard are cosmetic issues. See this concrete jungle? Purely cosmetic and hours of manual labor to break up the concrete and/or restore it to its glory days (yeah, right. I don’t think this had glory days). For us, though, a pool is a dealbreaker. I don’t want the maintenance, upkeep, and potential dangers for a future heir. Concrete Yard_HouseofGold
  2. While you’re traipsing the yard, you’ll want to check out the a/c and/or heating unit. Again, for me, oil fuel is a dealbreaker. Virginia Beach has a few pockets of homes that still use oil heat… I would not be able to handle the up-front costs of filling that tank up. You’ll also want to check out the age and condition of the a/c unit.
  3. Check out the roof. Replacing a roof can cost a lot of cashmoney. You’ll want to look for wear and tear, but see this guy? You can see a slight bulge in the roof– this could be potential for issues. Not necessarily a dealbreaker, but something to look for. Bubble Roof_HouseofGold
  4. Not really lastly, but for this particular post, I’m going to say lastly (for the exterior): check for cracks. Small cracks around windows and doors are normal. This, however, is a big crack. I’d stay clear of this house for this crack alone. It just looks… like a pain.Brick Crack_HouseofGold
  5. Inside the house! Check out the flow of the rooms- some of this can be adjusted by removing a wall or opening up a wall… and some of it can’t. Notice where stairs are. You can’t really move that. Look at the layout of the kitchen. We’re talking major expense to move things around in the kitchen (count on at least $20k for a remodel). Your goal with this first look is to get an overall feel for how the spaces can or would be used.
  6. Like I said in #5, check out the kitchen. With our house, we were lucky, and didn’t have to move around any of the appliances. And we were able to re-use our cabinets. But still. $10k for our kitchen remodel. Just remember that.
  7. Bathrooms. These could get expensive as well. This room, for example, would probably have to be gutted and completely redone. Sure, there could be a couple quick fixes if you weren’t able to gut the bathroom before you moved in (namely, remove that nasty door-thing). Just take note of all these things and put it on a mental list.Second Bath_HouseofGold
  8. Ceilings. If you’re looking at a home that was built in the 80’s or 90’s, there’s a good chance you’ll have popcorn ceilings. These aren’t a big deal at all to remove and fix– just messy and time consuming (but not necessarily expensive). But this drop ceiling thing? This is just weird. I’ve never before in my whole life seen something like this. Star Ceiling_HouseofGold
  9. Lighting. You’ll want to see where the lights are (or aren’t) in bedrooms and hallways, specifically. A lot of times, builders can get away with not installing an overhead light in bedrooms– just as long as one of the outlets is wired to the switch, they’re meeting a code of sorts. (Annoying, for sure.)
  10. Cosmetics. Paint and drywall are cosmetic issues. Pay no attention to those things, although ugly. Holes in walls, such as this? Still not a big issue to me. Patch that sucker up and call it a day. Hole in Wall_HouseofGold

All in all, pay the most attention to structural issues (including the roof), layout/flow of the home, and systems. That’s where a remodel can really turn in to a money pit.

How to Homes_HouseofGold

Also, this room is incredible. I want it.

Hope those were helpful– any other suggestions you can think to add? I’m all ears.

And if you’re in Hampton Roads and are looking to buy (or sell), I KNOW A GUY! Get in touch with him: jgoldman (at) lelandcorp (dot) com


A little recap. Okay, a big recap.

We’ve been in our house for almost five months now, although it feels like about one. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of things on your to-do list, especially if you don’t take the time to sit back and reflect on all that has been accomplished so far. So. We’re going to make some lists, including what we’ve accomplished and what we have yet to do. By no means are these to-do lists exhaustive- they’re just hitting the major points.

But we’ve done a dang lot of projects in the meantime. Without further ado, the house as it is today.

The living room:livingroom

  • Remove paneling, insulate wall, install drywall
  • Paint
  • Crown Moulding
  • Built-in unit along wall
  • Cut hole between LR & Kitchen
  • Remove Carpet/ refinish flooring
  • Install new ceiling fan

The Cabin/ Man Cave:


  • Paint walls (almost complete- need touch-ups)
  • Paint trim
  • Install new ceiling fan
  • Repair hole where intercom was
  • Paint ceiling
  • Window treatments



  • Prime/ Paint/ Add trim to Cabinets (almost done!)
  • Paint Cabinet interiors (1/2 done- they’ve only been primed)
  • New lighting (remove fluorescent, install recessed)
  • Flooring
  • Countertop
  • New Sink/ faucet
  • Dishwasher/ New Range (Remove cooktop & wall oven)
  • Tile backsplash
  • Light above sink
  • Paint
  • Crown Moulding

Dining Room:


  • Cover the ceiling swirlies
  • Remove the pocket door between the kitchen/ dining room
  • New Chandelier
  • Window Treatments
  • Paint
  • Crown Moulding

Guest Bedroom:


  • Paint
  • Crown Moulding
  • Install new ceiling fan

Craft Room:


  • Fix hole in wall
  • Paint
  • Add Board + Batten
  • Crown Moulding
  • Install new ceiling fan

Hall Bathroom: (haven’t touched this space yet)hallbath

  • Paint walls
  • Remove poorly-installed linoleum/ tile floors
  • Add an electrical outlet
  • Change single light fixture to two
  • Do something with the vanity. Anything.

The exterior (includes the garage):


  • Trim up bushes
  • Remove uglybricks from flower beds
  • Add shelving/ storage in garage & shed
  • Add fence along sides & rear corner
  • Paint front door
  • Add window boxes
  • Change exterior lights (one more left!)
  • Add landscaping
  • Flowers! Plant lots of flowers!
  • Demo out ugly broken patio bricks, add a new patio
  • Make a fire pit
  • Make/ plant a garden
  • Remove trash/ trees
  • Fix the spot to the right of the shed where the dogs have created a muddy trench (Woooo post on this coming soon!)

Basically, this means we have TONS left to do, but it also means we have come a long way! Hooray for progress, warmer weather, and parents coming to visit!

Kitchen again!

As I mentioned before, we’re currently in the midst of a plethora of renovations and changes. Before Mom and Dad arrived, I was able to [almost] complete step 17 (or whatever number I’m on now…) of the cabinet repaintings. Why the almost? Well, in my haste to finish and mark this project as complete, I selected the wrong doors to finish. Instead of finishing (trimming, sanding, wood filling, priming, painting, painting, painting) the cabinets to go above the exhaust fan, I finished the doors that at one point were to go above the refrigerator. As it is now, there are no cabinets above the refrigerator. Maybe at some point. But figuring out that I painted the wrong ones may have been the biggest disappointment of my life. FOR SERIOUS. So sad for me.DoorsRegardless, [most of] the doors are complete. And that’s pretty exciting. So What’s left? Other than everything? Let’s make a list.

  • Add trim to where cabinets meet the soffitupper cabinets
  • Touch-up paint (Cabinets and Ceiling and Walls. Oh, and trim paint, too.)
  • Figure out what to do with the recycling/ dog food/ water bowl areaRecycling Corner
  • Figure out what to do with the trash can area
  • New Sink! (and faucet, too!)sink_cabinet
  • Bamboo Floors (we’ve got our sample happily waiting and staring at us.)
  • Quartz Countertops (another thing we’ve selected but not yet purchased)
  • Subway Tile Backsplash
  • Cut hole for dishwasher (we already purchased one… it’s just waiting in the garage for us to install!!!) dishwasher
  • Remove cooktop/ wall oven– replace with gas range (which also means running a gas line to where the cooktop currently is)
  • Recessed lighting throughout (remove fluorescent fixture in the center)
  • Clean. Because that jank is nasty. And organize. because it’s a mess. (really, this could go for everywhere in the house. It’s a war zone.)
  • Island (stage three)

If you’re curious to see some of our ideas, check out our pinterest boards… here! And yes. Jonathan does some pinning, too. Yay.