Easy, Affordable Master Closet Renovation

Easy & Affordable Master Closet Remodel via Chaos With Coffee
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You’ve probably heard me talk about our master closet for weeks now on Instagram, but WHAT AN UPGRADE! Funny story, we actually weren’t planning to redo our master closet but when they came to do the floors Chance went into major home renovation mode and the next thing I knew our closet was completely ripped out and we needed a solution FAST.

We lived without a closet for almost 3 months! I didn’t even start planning until almost month after Chance removed it, but I have to tell y’all this was definitely one of THE BEST spontaneous decisions we have ever made. PLUS, this CUSTOM CLOSET was designed completely by ME and it was affordable and SUPER EASY to install!

I designed the closet using the Home Depot Closet tool by Martha Stewart and it was WAY easier than I expected. All I had to do was measure the dimensions and input them into the system, then the closet tool spit out a recommendation and I was able to customize it by adding drawers, shoe racks, etc. I just want to call out that I did a lot of research before going with this option. Home Depot has more tools that allow you to build a closet, but this one was the easiest to use and the most affordable. I also explored having someone come in for a consultation, but even that seemed so daunting and I was afraid they’d come back with a price that was way over my budget. I liked this tool because you gives you transparency into how much it’s going to cost, although keep in mind it doesn’t include shipping and that was almost $500+.

The great part about this closet system is that it’s totally customizable so when it arrived and I started putting it together, I changed my mind on the configuration and shifted things around. You can adjust all of the shelves and racks at any given time and it’s super easy to do.

Hardest Part

The most difficult part was hanging the rack that holds the units to the wall. If I can do it anyone can do it. But I didn’t have a stud finder so I was using my hand to knock on the wall to find the studs, which resulted in more work. Having a leveler is KEY to this project - I basically had it resting on the rack the entire time I was installing it so if you chose this route, by all means invest in a leveler if you don’t have one. I’ll even link one for you right here it’s less than $7.

It was much easier than I expected!

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My Closet Inspiration

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My Custom Closet Design

Left Wall

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Back Wall

Right Wall

I ended up putting the shoe racks on the left and right walls instead of the back wall because it began to feel too clutter with so many clothes hanging right as you walk in. Another major reason I would recommend this unit! You might start putting it together and decide to change things once you see how everything fits. We have double racks on the left and right sides of the back wall now, which works much better.

Bringing My Design To Life

The first photo is from the listing when bought the house, I hated the closet so much that I never any other pics of it until we started ripping the carpet and shelves out. Scroll down for the rest of the before/after photos.

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Before & After

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I am super thrilled with how the closet turned out! As I mentioned, what I love most about this is that it’s completely customizable and I can move things around as needed whenever I want, which is extremely important if you change wardrobes often or switch things out by season. I ended up with extra shelves and racks as well so there’s so many options for adjusting as needed.

How To Paint A Metal Front Door

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When we moved in, one of the things I wanted to do was replace our door - not just because I don’t like it, but because it wasn’t even installed properly in the first place and always has to be deadbolted. I really wanted a entirely new door because ours is metal and I would love to have a wooden door, but after doing some research it was more expensive than I anticipated so I decided to focus on other projects and just save this for another day. That said, I started to consider painting it and was able to do enough research around painting a metal door that I felt pretty confident in doing so! My best friend Chrissy, who’s a realtor and has a contractor husband, gave me some tips and quickly convinced me in like 5 minutes to just pull the trigger and paint it, so VOILA! We now have a coral-colored front door and it was SOOOOO easy!

The most important piece is the prep, I used a kitchen degreaser to clean the whole door and then tapped up everything with painters tape before I started spray painting. I went with Krylon spray paint because it goes on really smooth and is a paint+primer for metal surfaces. The whole process probably took me less than 30 minutes, which is super exciting because this basically means I can change our front door as many times as I want if I ever get tired of the color.

So, don’t be afraid to paint that metal front door! I think the pop of color really makes our house and I’m so please with the result! Hope you enjoyed the quick tips! 

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Refinishing The Hardwood Floors

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Hey everyone! If you've been following along on Instagram then you are WELL aware that we have been under renovation for about 2 weeks now having all of the hardwood in our home refinished and we've even had them replace some of the carpet upstairs with hardwood in our master bedroom and one of the guest rooms.

I'm not going to lie, living in this type of renovation sucks because we've had to move everything out of the house - furniture, shoes, beds, etc. We don't have a single chair in our house right now and have been living out of hotels and Airbnbs, but it will be worth it when it's all said and done! For now, we only had them do 2 rooms upstairs so that we could at least stay partially in the house when we were able too, but we're going to have them come back in October (hopefully) to do the remaining 2 rooms upstairs (guest room + my office). I'm sure I've shared with you the awful carpet selection that the previous owners chose, literally every single room has different COLORED carpet except for the master - blue, green & red - it's hideous and not to mention quite disgusting since they weren't the cleanest.

Since this is the biggest project we’ve tackled since the kitchen renovation (learn how to chalk paint your cabinets here), I thought it would share the progress we’ve made and eventually I will actually share my pros, cons and tips/advice if your considering having your floors refinished or doing them yourself! For now, enjoy the before, during and current photos of our home under renovation.

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And since the staining starts tomorrow, Winston and I have checked ourselves into the most adorable Airbnb in Montgomery, NY for the rest of the week! Stay tuned for the end result y’all!

 

To Stay or Not to Stay? 3 Signs You Should Keep (or Leave) Your Job

Keep or Leave?

My BFF has been a constant source of inspiration throughout my years of blogging and has inspired yet another blog post today! Being that we are both in our mid/late 20's and navigating adult life, our careers are so important to us and we're constantly "hustling" and being girl bosses looking for the next move so we can achieve our dreams. 

Recently, she was faced with a tough challenge because she just started a new job several weeks ago, but received an offer out of the blue from her dream job! To stay or not to stay? Career coach and workplace issues expert Holly Caplan shares the answers in her article, "Should I Stay or Should I Go? Three signs you should keep your job and three signs you shouldn’t.


SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

3 Signs You Should Keep Your Job & 3 Signs You Shouldn’t
By Holly Caplan

How employees view their current companies & jobs:

• 71% of workers said they are looking to change employers
• 37% of engaged employees are looking for jobs or watching for opportunities, as are 56% of not engaged and 73% of actively disengaged employees
• 47% of people actively looking for new positions say company culture is the main reason

So if you are feeling like you need a job change, you are not alone. Here are three signs that maybe it is time to take the leap, and three signs that you should tough it out a bit longer:

 

3 Signs You Should Quit Your Job:

1.    Deficit in Development:

If you notice that your company isn’t doing anything to develop, train, or promote you, it is a sign that it may be time to go.  This is two-fold. First, it shows they have little interest in your future and how you contribute to the organization. Second, your professional growth can be hindered if the company does not actively develop or promote. This deficit can create frustration on the employee’s behalf and it shows that the company is not invested in their people.

2.    Getting Out of Bed:

 We all go through periods where our jobs are miserable, or we are just flat bored. Getting out of bed can feel like a chore itself.  If you are not mentally engaged in what you are doing for a living, don’t wait too long to make a change. Staying in a role you find completely uninspiring will do a number on your self-worth will and will be detected by your manager. When you feel this stagnancy or boredom linger, it is a sign that it is time to go. Give yourself the chance to find something new that will interest and inspire you!           

3.    High turnover:

Employees stay in their jobs if they actually like their work environment. If they have a good boss, work-life balance and consistency, they will stay for a while. But, if these components are not present, most people will jump ship. If you see your respected colleagues leaving right and left, know the issues are most likely systemic. This is a signal that it is time to find a new ship that is sailing in the right direction.

 

3 Signs You Shouldn’t Quit Your job:

1.    If you are under 12 months of employment:

This is the sweet spot, 12 months. Say you get involved in a job that you don’t feel is a right fit or you wish you didn’t take, do your best to make it last one year. Leaving at 6-9 months can look questionable to your next employer. Staying 12-18 months, even if you want to go, will show stability and that you were dedicated to this period of your career journey.

2.    Leadership change is coming:

When you see that the people above you are moving on or moving out, hold tight. This could mean a positive change for you. Their movement makes room for perhaps your advancement, a role change or maybe even just a better work culture. This type of transition can yield professional growth, so watch what happens and then figure out what this can mean for you!

3.    Look for a job while you have one:

It has been said, again and again, it is best to look for a new job while you have a job. Even if you know you want to quit, stick with your current position (barring horrible circumstances) while you are in the new job search. Clearly, by doing this, you are maintaining your current income, while at the same time you appear more marketable and desirable to your potential employer.

In today’s environment, there is a lot more freedom of choice based on social acceptance of job hops, which can work in your favor. If you find you are in disengaged or perhaps indifferent, don’t waste any more time. Assess your current professional situation and don’t be afraid to ask yourself if you should stay or if you should go.

Holly Caplan is a workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male-Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit,www.hollycaplan.com and connect with her on Twitter, @hollymcaplan.


Everyone's career path is different, but keeping the above in mind can come in handy if you're unsure of what to do. What did my BFF do? She took her dream job is officially moving to Naples! I'm so proud of her for following her dreams and working hard to get where she is today. I can't wait to visit her so please send us recommendations for things to do in her new city!

 

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a glimpse of our kitchen remodel here and there. When we first saw the house, I knew the first thing I wanted to change was the kitchen because I hated the oak cabinets. It took us more than 60 days to close so I had a lot of time to do research - at first, I thought we would completely redo the kitchen with new cabinets, but then quickly realized I could save a ton of money by painting them myself.

Now, I want to start by saying that our kitchen is nowhere done yet, but several of you have been asking for some tips so I thought I would start with a phase one and then post updates as we go! We still have to finish the tile (I'll share a tutorial for tiling later on) - our main hold up on this is that we are waiting for the rest of our copper wall plates to come in so we can measure and cut the right sizes around our light switched and outlets.

After doing all of my research I found a great article on A Beautiful Mess comparing chalk paint to latex paint for kitchen cabinets, which convinced me to go with chalk paint 100% and I am SO happy that I did. All of the cabinets have been painted, which took me about a week, but I will share more on this as we go.

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

The above photos show what our kitchen looked like completely untouched by us. It's a HUGE kitchen with tons of space and natural light. I love that island is big enough to basically dance on too, but I have always dreamed of a white kitchen so the cabinets needed to be fixed. Using chalk paint was SO easy and anyone can do it as long as you have the time and patience. I am slightly OCD so I ended up using 3 cans of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and giving them probably a total of 4 coats of paints because I needed to get the brush strokes perfect, but the average person probably only needs to do 2-3 coats depending on the coverage you want. Most of the articles I read stressed the importance of cleaning and I do too, however we got really lucky and the previous homeowners were very clean so I didn't spend a ton of time prepping and basically just started painting after a quick wash of the cabinets.

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

You can really see in this picture how well the chalk paint covers the oak grain. That was another huge reason why I chose to go this route because I knew I wanted the grain gone and everything I read said that chalk paint would do the job without me having to remove all of the doors and sand everything down. I am a little impatient so I don't think I would have gotten through all of that work - I wanted my new kitchen ASAP lol.

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

Here you can see more of the progress. Chalk paint works so well on wood cabinets, but if you look at the side of my top cabinet, you'll notice that the paint started peel - this is when I realized the sizes (parts that most people don't focus on) weren't actual wood so I have to go back and sand those down in order to get the paint to stick.

When you order the chalk paint, you can also order a special chalk paint brush, which basically (in my opinion) just allows you to hold onto more paint, but because I had so many corners I felt that a regular paint brush worked better for me and I liked the brush strokes better, but I'll leave that up to you to decide. Honestly, I would just buy the chalk paint brush and a small all-purpose paint brush and test out the strokes - even though I didn't like using the chalk paint brush on the cabinets, I have used it several times to redo large pieces of furniture and it was great!

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

So now you've seen what my kitchen looks like with several coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I chose to go with Pure White because it doesn't have any hints of warmth or blue - I just wanted straight up white on those bad boys and I am very happy with the color! I haven't finished painting the insides of the cabinets or the base boards so that will come next. I started sealing the cabinets that we are using the most with Minwax Polycrylic - it's water-based and won't yellow as time goes on. It's worked great so far and has prevented the paint from chipping, I think it's especially important to call out that our cabinets don't have knobs or pulls yet so the faces of each drawer and cabinet see a lot of traffic and have still held up using this top coat!

I'll continue to update you guys as we make progress, but in the meantime feel free to reach out with questions or tips on how to update your kitchen easily with chalk paint!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel Life: Pt. 2

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After this morning, I am really over living in a hotel. The fire alarm at our Residence Inn went off TWICE - once at 3 am and then again at 4 am. Not to mention Chance works all night so I had to wrangle Winston by myself twice, who was NOT happy about the alarm and peed all over the floor (sigh). Afterwards, I wasn't sure if I should just grab a coffee and stay awake or go back to sleep, but now it's a little past 5 am already as I write this.

That whole mess got me thinking about how slow I was scrambling to get out of the building so thank god there wasn't a real threat.  

Anyways, let's do a little recap of what we have been up too since the last Hotel Life post!  

1.) It has snowed almost every day, except this week

2.) I traveled to California for work

3.) Chance's parents came to visit  

4.) Orange County officially has the best HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx I have ever seen

5.) We finished all the paperwork for our house and should be closing any day now (THANK GOD!)   

6.) Brie and wine are life (thank you Sam's Club) 

And now for a visual account of the adventures we have had this month so far, as well as the first picture of our new home during one of the snowfalls! I like to drive by our house a few times a week because it honestly just makes me a happier person so I snapped this pic as I passed by one day, #SorryNotSorry.

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The REAL Cost of Buying a Home

The REAL Cost of Buying a Home

As most of you know, Chance and I are waiting to close on our house towards the end of the month. It's the first house we're buying together and the anticipation is killing me because I just want to be move in already! While we wait, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips for first time home buyers from my lovely friend Jessica Deleo over at RVA Homes With Jess.

I met Jessica through work 4 years ago in Richmond right after college. We were working closely at a small advertising agency and became quick friends because Jessica had such an ambitious personality and sort of became a mentor to me. Fast forward to today and even though we hadn't really kept in close touch other than the occasional comment on social media, we recently reconnected through our blogs! I'm thrilled to finally have a real life blogger friend that I can collaborate with, which is why I am so excited to share this post today. 

Before buying a house, I definitely did not realize the true cost that goes into it before you even close on your dream home. Like most people, I assumed the downpayment was pretty much it and then we would jump right into mortgage payments next - nope there's actually many other upfront costs associated that I'm going to share with you all courtesy of Jessica and her expertise in real estate! Did I mention she's a Virginia licensed Realtor® in the city of Richmond - so definitely connect with her if you're buying a home in that area and don't forget to read more of her guides here.

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The REAL Cost of Buying a Home

 8 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU’D NEED TO PAY FOR UPFRONT VIA JESSICA DELEO

 

Inspection costs – ~ $300-$500

Our inspection costs were almost $800, but the average price can range between $300 - $500 depending on whether you have gas, oil, septic tanks, etc as well as the size of the home and any additional buildings you may want inspected. You may want additional inspections like radon tests, fireplace and flues, lead paint, sewer and water pipers, or asbestos – all of which would be additional fees. We ended up having a radon test done luckily the results weren't bad, but we were able to get the sellers to install to a radon system.

 

EMD –  ~ $1,000+

Depending on the price of the home or requirements by the seller you will likely be asked to put $1,000 or more into an earnest money account. This is typically money that is held by your real estate agent’s brokerage but the good news is it is often applied to your closing costs or returned to you once your transaction closes. Read more about earnest money deposits.

 

Closing Costs – Varies

Your closing costs are dependent on your loan type, amount and what you work out with the seller. Sometimes the seller is willing to contribute to closing costs if you ask for that in your original offer for the home. If you are short on cash you can also offer to pay over the asking price for the home so that it is rolled into your loan if they are willing to pay the cash at closing. This is a good tool if you can still buy the home within it’s appraisal value. This is definitely a strategy to discuss with your Realtor®. Ask your loan officer to review all of the options with you as far what your closing costs will look like.  

 

Materials to fix items found in inspection – Varies

If you have a new build this should be a minimal cost or should be taken care of by the builder. Check your builder’s contract for a 60 and 90 day repair option. The older your home the more potential you’ll need savings to fix or replace major systems like your water heater, air handlers, or appliances.

 

Getting keys made/locks changed – $2.50-$500

If you are someone who is concerned about who may have previously had keys to your home  you’ll want to change the locks or get them rekeyed. If you a little more of a carefree spirit (or just forgetful like me) you may just make an extra copy or two of your keys once you get them at closing.

Time off work – depending on the type of work you do and how you get paid, this might be a significant cost for you.

 

Movers – $300+

If you don’t have family or friends where you’re moving (or they have opted out of helping) you’ll likely need to hire movers unless you want to spend multiple days and a ton of money in Advil packing a U-haul.

 

Overlapping Rent/Mortgage

If you are renting you may be able to perfectly time your rental contract to end by the time you have to move! Wouldn’t that be amazing?! Just incase that isn’t the case (closing gets moved back, you can’t move that weekend, etc.) you should be prepared to pay to extend your lease, pay month-to-month (which is usually a higher cost) or potentially have to rent a storage space if you can’t extend your rental but can’t move into your new place yet.

 

New Appliances – $200+

If you have a new build or if the previous owners decide to take larger items like the washing machine or the refrigerator with them you’ll need a cash stash to be able to purchase those items. If you move around any American holiday though (Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day) or good ol’ Black Friday you can find great deals at the major home improvement stores.


HUGE thanks to Jessica for sharing these tips, which you can also find on her blog by visiting this link here. We seriously cannot wait to share our new home with you all! We have a lot of work to do but I'm so excited to see how we can make our first house our dream home while we are in New York!

Here's a sneak peak into some of the rooms and some of the ways I'm already planning on decorating once we get settled in. Feel free to share your tips in the comments below!

 

SNEAK PEEK

I know this isn't giving you all a whole lot, but I want it to be a surprise when I share the full house with you all - plus I'm already planning to take you through room-by-room when we start to makes changes in order to make it exactly how we'd like. That said, enjoy these photos of the current kitchen in our house that I pulled from the listing. 

 

HOME UPDATES

Only 20 days until we close on the house and I already have tons of Pinterest boards and ideas for how I'd like to redo certain rooms - starting with the kitchen. I'll definitely be sharing more once we get moved in, but below are some items I'm looking forward to using to remodel the kitchen.

 

 

 

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

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Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone. How do I even begin to describe 2017 - my life has completely changed in all the right ways since January and for the first time in several years I’m actually quite thrilled to jump into a new year!

Chance and I have so much to be thankful for and even more to look forward to in 2018 that the anticipation is killing me! Together we traveled across the east coast, explored 15+ cities in 5 states over the span of 5 months, missed flights, got lost on country roads, ate way too much breakfast food (just kidding, that’s impossible), moved to New York, bought a house and so much more, but my favorite thing that we did was meet each other. 

2017 was a BIG year for me personally, I left New York City and moved back to Virginia, landed my dream job, bought my first car, moved back to New York upstate and SO much more that I can’t even begin to go in detail about (and honestly don’t want to), but the most important thing I did was to let myself be happy, start living my life and surround myself with positive, motivated, ambitious, genuinely good people! Bring on 2018 world!

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So, with that said, here are some of my New Year’s Resolutions: 

Try out a vegan or vegetarian diet

Do Kayla’s BBG on Sweat every week

Budget properly

Be kind and patient  

Volunteer at least once

Read 12 books

Travel to Europe

Explore 20+ new cities  

Be more creative

Run a half marathon

 

What are you resolutions for 2018? If you're like me, my favorite resolution is to be healthier and workout more often so I've included a little round up of my favorite workout gear to get you ready for 2018. Cheers to a new year!