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Drop Cloths? Gone.

At the end of last week, our contractor officially handed over our keys; they were done. It was such a long time coming, that it almost didn’t feel real; our shoulders felt instantly lighter, the weights removed. As you can imagine, months of contracted work, drywall mud, wood splinters and loose electrical snippings created the mother of all messes, and although they tidied up with a broom clean, our home was downright filthy.

But as of Sunday evening, drop cloths were lifted from furniture (after several days of clean up, followed up with an intense, final 13 hour cleaning spree, no less), and the living room suddenly felt a lot more welcoming:

Before leaving for Mexico, we did a smaller clean-up, knocking down the dust on the newly drywalled surfaces and following that up with a quick mop. For everything, we used microfiber cloths to collect and pick up as much dust as possible, which is not only the recommended method (says Google), but works.

After our return (and finding out that it would still be another week until completion), we asked Mike what the best options were for officially sealing out the dust, and he said to really get rid of it, we would need to prime everything that was fresh and new. We went so far as to cover up all the orange paint, and again, we mopped. We wiped down windows, walls and floors. We scrubbed stubborn spots with a bristle brush, and we fell into a rhythm of scrub, mop, wipe.

Even after all of that, we still had to breathe life back into our things – my desk, the stove, cabinets, television, dressers, mirrors, clocks, tables and sideboards. I went around the whole house with a microfiber cloth in hand, then shined everything up using this JR Watkins All Purpose Cleaner:

The amazing folks behind the brand sent a handful of sprays, hand soaps and dish cleaners our way – knowing full well that we had a demolition clean-up in our future; hugs to them! – and we couldn’t have been more smitten with the results. With a full pet household (and two of the three having allergies), we try to use all natural cleaners, and this not only fit the bill, but it really polished off the home. (Not to mention, the White Tea & Bamboo scent reminded us of the beach; or maybe were were just really missing it already.)

Sunday night, we sat on our couch for the first time since the end of August. We kicked off our shoes and dashed from the couch to the kitchen – in our socks! For the last several months, we had gotten used to what we considered “dorm living” – using the guest room bed (our safe quarters) for sleeping, dining and sitting. We had forgotten what it was like to sit on something cushy and soft – with back support! – and be able to rest your feet on the floor.

It was magical.

Our furniture arrangement is temporary, as we simply grabbed what we could from the second guest room (currently being used as our storage). THE LIVING ROOM: Eventually, our couch will move to the second floor studio, making way for something less apartment-sized and more house-sized (we thought we’d never see the day!). The green velvet chair might also make it’s way upstairs, and it’s obvious we’ve yet to decide on curtains, rugs, art and shelving – but all that will happen with time.

THE STUDIO: Even our 6′ farmhouse table seems dwarfed in the space, but we’re looking forward to adding built-in shelving and storage, as well as creating a relaxing seating area and layering in art, textiles and anything that evokes happiness.

We have a full crew of in and out of town guests that we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with (and seven people staying under this roof starting tonight!), so although we hit a handful of road bumps along the way, we couldn’t be more grateful that we were able to close the chapter on demolition in time for the upcoming festivities – and to finally start moving forward! We’re still tying up the loose ends in the basement, endlessly researching the best way to cook a bird (tips?) and finalizing the menu among our veggie, vegan and gluten-free friends (meat eaters, too!). We’ll be spending the rest of this week and weekend soaking in the time with others; it’s something we’ve missed, as we’ve been burying ourselves in crossing off the to-dos.

For those toasting with friends and family this week, cheers!

This post was brought to you in partnership with JR Watkins. Opinions, magical moments and the spring in our step belong to these two.

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  • The house looks amazing and having been down the major renovation road I know how amazing it feels when the contractors leave. But I have to say that I’m appalled at the state in which they left your house. I’ve never heard if a contractor just sweeping up with a broom and walking away. JR Watkins to the rescue!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi11.26.13 - 7:20 AM

    hooray!!! it must feel AMAZING to be able to get a little comfy again. good luck with the next phase. looking forward to seeing what you do with your incredible space.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel11.26.13 - 7:23 AM

    Your home is so gorgeous! You have done so much work and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving :-)ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K.11.26.13 - 8:00 AM

    Wahoo!! It looks so much better already!! Can’t wait to begin the transformation (virtually)!ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.26.13 - 8:12 AM

      Erin, to be fair, they did suck up / sweep the majority of the dust and do a once over with a mop (although they ended up having to sand MORE, so that created a whole new dust storm!), but yes, there was a LOT of tidying up to do. I used the term “broom clean” too loose – simply meaning, it was cleaned up, but not CLEANED UP. Regardless, the house felt about a million pounds lighter without all of their equipment there! Despite all the frustrations in this roller coaster ride, their work is impeccable. Now, looking forward only!ReplyCancel

  • Kim11.26.13 - 8:51 AM

    Yay! It looks fanTAStic. The floors! So shiny. Congrats on making it this far.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly @ Turning It Home11.26.13 - 10:14 AM

    Strangely enough I was actually able to BREATHE better while reading this post. I can only imagine what you must be feeling! And what great timing for Thanksgiving. This is my first year making the turkey, so I have no experienced tips for you. Homemade pie, on the other hand, I could talk about all day…ReplyCancel

  • Kim11.26.13 - 10:18 AM

    Kimberly, OOH we love us some pie, but luckily, that ball isn’t in our court this year! This will be my first year making a whole turkey… SCARY.ReplyCancel

  • Kim11.26.13 - 10:23 AM

    Nice job guys!ReplyCancel

  • misie11.26.13 - 10:54 AM

    WHOOP! Looks beautiful!! Welcome Home guys – officially!!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving in your new digs!ReplyCancel

  • Kim11.26.13 - 11:28 AM

    I’m wondering how many Kims can comment on one post? ;) Thanks, you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Kati from so happy home11.26.13 - 12:01 PM

    Congratulations on getting all the dirty work over in time for Thanksgiving! Our contractors cleaned, too, but the dust gets EVERYWHERE. There’s no way to avoid the deep clean phase of the post-contractor project.

    I think our most exciting thing to do was to be barefoot in the bathroom again. It’s so nice to spread out after months of keeping it all together (just barely).

    Happy Thanksgiving! Best bird tip I have for you is to brine it for 24 hours (flip it halfway through). In the past we’ve had to use an empty cardboard box in the fridge lined with (scent-free!) trash bags to get this done, but it makes all the difference in the world. And it makes it harder to overcook it. Good luck! I know the wisdom of the internet will guide you! (And, seriously, Martha Stewart is just called Martha for a reason. Trust her.)ReplyCancel

  • Julia at Home on 129 Acres11.26.13 - 12:10 PM

    Congratulations! What a luxury to not be confined to one room and to be able to walk around in sock feet. Thanks for the cleaning tips too. Happy Thanksgiving. Good luck with the bird.ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square11.26.13 - 12:14 PM

    Perfect timing, just in time for the holidays (and your guests)! Good luck with the turkey-ness… my specialty is cranberry sauce, so I’ve always left the turkey to others. I’m sure yours will be great!

    One thing that caught my eye is your mid-century-modern-ish coffee table in the living room, I love the lines of that. Especially the open-bar shelving underneath. Is that a new piece or a vintage one? (We’ve got something similar but smaller, we found it in our alley ;)ReplyCancel

  • Helena11.26.13 - 1:08 PM

    I have to dorkily chime in that I LOVE Watkins! My sister went to Winona State in Winona, Minnesota – home of Watkins. They are such a wonderful company. Our family was giddy-like-Christmas-Morning when they were picked up by Target and we can get them down here in Chicago.ReplyCancel

  • Alexis11.26.13 - 2:35 PM

    Oh my gosh!!! Congratulations, your house looks amazing. I can only imagine the sighs of relief and excitement.
    Enjoy your Thanksgiving!ReplyCancel

  • Kim11.26.13 - 3:02 PM

    Thanks, everyone!

    Kati, thanks for the brining tip. I’ve read everything from 12-24 hours for the brining, but I’m getting nervous, because our ridiculously large turkey has been in the fridge for 2 days and it’s STILL frozen… here’s hoping I can start brining by tomorrow morning!

    Laura, we picked it up on Craigslist a few months ago! So happy to have it out from underneath a drop cloth finally!ReplyCancel

  • Marie from France11.26.13 - 5:20 PM

    You got there guys, congratulations ! Enjoy your house celebrating Thanksgiving with your friends and your family, have a nice weekend.ReplyCancel

  • The place looks great, I can’t wait to see what you do next!ReplyCancel

  • Cait11.26.13 - 10:04 PM

    Hooray!! So exciting! Happy (and drop cloth free!) Thanksgiving!ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design11.27.13 - 11:16 AM

    You’ve come such a long way. It looks so good!
    Happy Thanksgiving!ReplyCancel

  • Amy11.27.13 - 1:40 PM

    OMG – I just wrote a post on Monday about how living through a reno is a lot like dorm living! Congrats on ‘moving off campus’ if you will. You guys have made incredible progress! Enjoy your time with family and friends! You’ve definitely earned it :) Happy Thanksgiving!


  • Roy11.28.13 - 8:45 AM

    Wow. It sure has come a long way! I am such a huge fan of white walls with hardwood floor, and with your furniture it looks absolutely lovely. Must be a relief to live in more than one room of the house. Good job guys!ReplyCancel

  • Pascal11.28.13 - 1:03 PM

    I think the idea of having a coloured piece of furniture in a light room is such a nice accent. So far the place is looking really nice.ReplyCancel

  • Brock11.28.13 - 2:04 PM

    I can’t believe how messy they left it! Regardless so far you’ve done a great job at cleaning up and tying everything together. Nice progress!ReplyCancel

  • Angela11.28.13 - 2:38 PM

    It is so clean looking, I really like what you have done with the place so far. Keep up the good work :)ReplyCancel

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