If you’ve been thinking of refinancing your mortgage with today’s low rates, I have a great recommendation for you. We just closed on our refinance this afternoon and were able to drop our rate down to 3.5% from 4.25% with absolutely zero closing costs. After shopping around a little bit, we used a recommendation from my brother and it couldn’t have been any easier. I contacted Ron Erdmann Jr. with First Place Bank on October 1 and we closed less than 20 days later. Most of the work was done through email and faxes, with just a couple of minutes spent on the phone to put together our application. Now that’s how I like to do business!
Archive for the 'Home Improvement' Category
We have slowly been adding more decor to our home over the last year. I wanted a way to display some of my photography and was sold on the idea of getting one of those canvas prints created. The problem was that I wanted to get something at least three feet wide, and I just wasn’t finding many options for that.
Enter Fabness and a recent LivingSocial deal. For $69 I was able to get three 12×18 canvas prints. And with their simple to use website, you can easily have one photo span all three canvases. Essentially that created one three-foot wide and 18 inch tall print.
The LivingSocial deal did not include shipping, which was another $20. However I think it is still a deal for under $100 and the results look great! Normal price from Fabness would be $315 before shipping, though they do seem to run sales very regularly.
They have many other options available. So I may have to use them again for another print in the future.
With all the fun going on down at Williamstown Lake this past weekend, it’s amazing that we still found time to do a little work on the lake house. I was too busy to make it down last weekend, but my future brother-in-law started working on the baseboards and trim in the rooms where I put down new flooring. He came down again on Saturday and we worked together to finish this project. All of the trim is done except for the main living room / kitchen area. We still have some major work to do in the kitchen, so we are waiting to put down the finishing touches.
Slowly more furniture is being added to the house. Two weekends ago bunk beds were brought down for one of the smaller bedrooms for the kids to sleep on. I also think we have two full size beds coming down over the next few weeks. Ideally we won’t have adults sleeping on cots for too much longer. The spare queen size bed that Kim and I brought down has already given us a nice place to sleep for the three nights we’ve stayed at the lake.
I’ve written before about Kim’s uncle Joe and his cabin down at Williamstown Lake. On one visit to the lake earlier this summer we all noticed a nearby property that was going to be auctioned off. Even though we have put in a lot of work at Joe’s (plumbing, wiring, dry wall, etc.) and it is looking really nice, it is just a one bedroom cabin. The property for auction was a four bedroom, 2 bathroom house, that definitely needed some TLC, but we soon realized that it could be a great addition to our lake trips.
So when the house went up for auction at the end of May, my father-in-law was logged on to his computer and putting in bids. Kim and I, along with Joe, and another family, decided to chip in on buying the house. When the auction was over we all became vacation home owners! Once all the paperwork went through, we all started working on the new house. First up was ripping out all the old nasty carpeting. Then many holes were patched in the walls, and a fresh coat of paint was applied. Last weekend I started putting down new vinyl flooring in one of the bedrooms.
The house is set up for central air conditioning, but the previous owners took the air conditioning unit with them upon their departure. We rigged up a window unit in one of the bedrooms, which has so far just been used as more of a living room, with a large wrap around couch. Although some of the group have slept on the couch, so I guess it is part bedroom too. Anyway, I started putting the flooring in this room. Even with the window unit, it was still a hot and sweaty day.
We decided to use vinyl flooring after researching the various types and realizing that this is the most waterproof and should be the most durable in the varying climate changes of the lake house. The floor comes in planks that stick together, but not to the sub-floor, so it’s a floating floor. It was really easy to put down, but all the up and down of left my legs extremely sore for the next few days.
I started early in the afternoon by prepping the floor by removing staples, nails, etc. Unfortunately we then realized that we needed to take the baseboard off, which led to some sanding and painting. Once I finally got started on the floor itself it was already getting late in the afternoon, meaning the floor wasn’t finished until almost 9 that night. Hard work, but it is definitely worth it in the end.
Trey wanted to help out the whole time, as you can see from the last couple of photos. Two photos up shows the door that leads from this living room/bedroom to the dining and kitchen area. The photo just above shows the large closet door on the left and the door to one of the bathrooms on the right. Back by the bath is the utility closet and hookups for a washer and dryer. Neither the washer or dryer are there, so if you are looking to get rid of some let us know. Also note that there is no oven, and the refrigerator is definitely showing its age.
The door in the photo above goes out to a very large deck. You’ll notice that I still need to put baseboard back on the walls, but that will have to wait. Plans for this weekend call for getting the flooring put down in two additional bedrooms. Once done we plan to move some beds in and we can finally stay the night down at the lake. It’s a lot of work now, but it will be so nice to have all of this for many years to come.
Before I turn my attention to the happenings of this past weekend and this week, I wanted to provide a few pictures from the recently ended Homearama. Kim and I decided last-minute to go check out the Homearama on the last day it was open. This years event took place just off my parents exit on I-275 (Wards Corner) so I drove by it fairly regularly during the two-week opening. Though it never looked overly crowded, it was a relatively cheap ticket to get in ($11 if you bought them at Kroger ahead of time).
Basically the Homearama is a new home showcase that features some of the latest trends and styles, although it is done at a much higher cost than the average homeowner can afford. Regardless it is still pretty cool to see these lavish homes and dream the day away. Take a look at some of the crazy things that were in these $675,000 – $1,000,000 homes.
Saturday was a productive day for us at the Paff house. We spent the majority of the day working on the baby’s room. Details can be found over at kimandedjr.com.
I am really amazed at how much our little vegetable garden has grown over the last month. I hope it’s not too much longer before we have some fresh produce. Here is a picture I snapped as I walked into the house last night after work.
The tomatoes are by far the biggest and I put some cages on them a few weeks ago. They are followed by the broccoli in the third row, and then probably the kale. The peppers on the far left side haven’t grown too much, though I’m not sure if that’s normal or not. The onions were doing great a week ago but then we had a rainy week and they don’t appear to be as tall and strong as before. Overall I am very impressed with the progress, take a look at this second picture which was taken just over a month ago.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about some improvements we had made to a built-in china cabinet. We finished the work last week, but I kept forgetting to get a picture of the completed project. Well I finally remembered, so here are the before and after photos of the china cabinet. I wish I had a better full size picture of before, but you can still tell how much our work really changed the look.
We removed both of the big glass doors, sanded them, and repainted them. I also spent a good amount of time sanding and painting the inside shelves and trim pieces. We bought matching knobs for the doors, and installed some magnetic cabinet catches to keep the doors closed. I also removed a trim piece of wood from each shelf that must have acted as a plate holder in the past. This allowed us to fully use each shelf and now all the glasses fit much better than they did before.
Over the weekend, Kim and I finally planted our very first vegetable garden. We were out picking up supplies for the built-in china cabinet (update coming soon) and decided to buy a few plants. As mentioned earlier, I measured the sunlight in our chosen spot, and though it didn’t ever register as full sun, we decided to use the space anyway. I did cut down a tree branch that hung overhead, so that should help some. And we figured that Denver averaged so many sunny days, that we should have enough sun.
So, what’s in the picture above? From left to right, we have a jalapeno plant and four bell pepper plants in the first vertical row. The next row has a zucchini plant and four tomato plants. Then we have nine kale plants. I didn’t necessarily want this many, but that was the only option at the store. Besides Amstel, our pet rabbit, eats this stuff daily. Then we have nine broccoli plants. Again, more than wanted to but limited to what they had. Amstel will also help eat this. The last two rows we dedicated to onions. The plant in the far right corner is a strawberry plant. I had forgotten about it until the end, so we had to squeeze it in. We put down a row of landscaping bricks, that you can partially see on the right, to separate the garden from the yard. Hopefully the hard work will pay off.
This past Sunday, Kim and I spent the majority of the day painting and finishing the built-in china cabinet drawers that I mentioned last week. We removed all of the drawers and took them outside to avoid making a huge mess. While Kim prepped the drawers for painting, I sanded and painted the bottom half of the frame. Once the drawers were primed and small holes filled, we painted the front and sides of the drawers. We didn’t want to paint the actual drawer itself, just the part that you can see when they are closed. Later in the day we also took a trip to Home Depot to get some new knobs.
We still have to refinish the top half of the built-in, but this is definitely a huge improvement already. We will likely install matching hardware to the glass doors, along with installing some new hinges. I think we are going to leave the old shelves inside as they are. Hopefully we find some time this weekend to start and hopefully finish the remaining pieces of the project. Thanks again for John Monks at Trim Works Carpentry for his excellent work!