Thursday, November 13, 2014

YouTube For the Win!

We've officially been homeowners for a few months now and I have to say I love it so far! Mainly, I really love having a fixer-upper. It keeps me busy, and I'm learning so much. Andrew, not so much. Mainly because when he's actually in the same city he's working. Navy life. And also because I'm OCD/a slight control freak. 

But he just left for deployment. Which, for a submarine means that maybe, if I'm lucky, I'm going to get an email once a week from him. No phones, no Skype. Maybe one email. So it goes.

This means that I'm especially bored. I've still had no luck with the whole job hunt, so that means a lot of time at home. With two leaky sinks. 

I had originally planned on just calling a plumber to switch out the faucets/fix the leaks. Then I got sick. While my husband was deployed.

Let me preface this by first mentioning that I don't get sick. Really. But, in the spirit of togetherness I decided to get the flu mist with Lizzie. Being of an incredibly good constitution, I had never had the flu shot/mist before. So of course I got sick that same night.

Let me tell you, puking on the toilet while your two year old whacks you on the head (in what I'm sure she though was a very soothing way) is not pleasant. Nor is it pleasant when she demands that you move away from the toilet because it is HER turn for the potty. Or when you realize that if you want to brush your teeth, you'll have to crawl all the way to the kitchen because the faucet in your bathroom leaks when you try to use the cold water. 

That's when I decided to fix them myself.

The first leaky sink was in our unused master bathroom. It remains unused because the toilet, while functional, shakes the house with its power flush and runs water constantly. I am determined to replace that myself. Next month. We also haven't gotten around to using the master bath because our house lacks exhaust fans in both bathrooms which means that in that tiny room, even with the window open, we would be lost forever in the fog if we tried to use the shower. That's another next month project.

Old Crusty
So I tried to tackle old crusty, the faucet on our tiny sink, as well as the leak underneath. After watching a few YouTube videos on how to replace a faucet, I discovered that the plumbing under your sink is really not that scary at all. Even replacing a faucet and installing a new one is pretty straightforward once you understand the basic system.

Check out that sexy countertop.
Armed with this YouTube knowledge, I fought the battle against leaky, crusty faucets in both bathrooms. The hardest part was removing the old ones. We have a wall-mounted sink in the master bath, so after half an hour of trying to pry the faucet loose from the bottom, I just took the sink off the wall and went at it from a different angle. In the main bath, I gleefully just took a hammer and smashed the porcelain to get the old faucet out after spending an hour trying unsuccessfully to remove the drop-in sink portion. 

The best part though, was the deal I found on the new countertop for the main bathroom at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I spent just $16 on a new solid surface countertop. Score!

Sure it looked gross in the beginning....

Things like this just need love. And elbow grease, lots of elbow grease. 

Basically, I just used a vinegar/water mix and a utility knife to scrape off all the gunk. 

The end results are so worth it! And no leaks!


Overall cost for both updates on both sinks was minimal, and I had supplies such as caulk on hand.
  • Basin Wrench. $16
  • Master Bathroom Faucet. $54
  • Delta Lorain Faucet, Lowes $89
  • Replacement Vanity Countertop, ReStore $16 
  • Plumber's Putty, $5
  • Replacement Seals, $1
Total Project Cost: $181

Not too bad for my first major DIY project!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We're Home!

We finally did it! Andrew and I are homeowners! It's been a very busy few months getting settled, but we are so happy we decided to buy a home instead of living on base again. While I didn't hate living on base, it's nice to know that for the next four years at least, our money will be going toward our future, and not lining the pockets of Balfor Beatty.  

Buying a home in a completely different and unfamiliar part of the country was stressful, but not as horrible as it could have been. We worked with NFCU and they actually had a program called Realty Plus. They got us a great realtor, and we ended up getting about $1000 from them just for using their program! 

Plus, we were extremely fortunate to find this property on our very short house hunting trip, and were fortunate that there were no hiccups with closing.

The house was built in 1997 and is solid...but in desperate need of updating. We wanted a fixer upper, and we definitely got it! I'll be sure to post more pictures as we get to it. 

Check out this carpet! It's definitely dated... 

and these hideous hardware we pulled out of the kitchen first thing!