Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Walls need love too!

I must admit that if you came to my house you might wonder, "where is everything?"  I like to call it "simple."  The less there is, the less there is to dust :)  But the Shiplap Wall needed a little love so what better way than to create a wall display from the beautiful pictures Stacy Kron Photography took of our family this past summer.

I'm normally one to do a canvas display but thought I'd try something a little different this year.  I love laths.  Yes, laths!  I used laths on our accent wall in our Master Bedroom as well as the desk I built for the studio.  They add a unique accent to any room and are easy to work with.  I also like the idea of layering frames.  So I put together 5 lath frames, bought 2 matte gold frames as well as 2 matte gold knobs, tied some twine to the frames and hooked them on the knobs and woo-lah!  The wall is no longer bare and I finally have our family pictures up!  2 birds, 1 stone baby!

You'll also notice that I gave our piano a face lift :)  That tutorial is for another day!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Shiplap, Shiplap, Shiplap!

I know, I know, it's been 6 months and I'm finally back to another blog post.  Life got busy so this was put on hold.  I'm hoping to catch up since we are now enjoying our life in the house and it's my slow season.  Thanks for sticking in there with me and even asking when the next post is gonna be!

Let's see now...where did we leave off?  Oh yes, that's right, PAINT!  Now that you know there are over 50 shades of white out there, I'd like to stay on the topic of walls!  There's this "little" trend going around called Shiplap!  If you've never heard of shiplap you either live under a rock or...you must seriously live under a rock!  Please do yourself a favor and binge watch Fixer Upper on Netflix now!  Like right now, stop reading and go watch it!  Our beloved Chip & Joanna Gaines brought this unique way of accenting walls to all of our attention.  It was a must have for our home but had to be budget friendly!

Step 1:  Figure out how wide your planks are going to be and measure your walls.  I purchased 4x8 sheets of 7/32" Underlayment and I knew I wanted wide planks so I divided my 4 foot sheet into 6 inch planks.  I added a couple sheets in case some weren't in good shape (I had a few throw away pieces) because it's better to have a few too many than not enough.

Step 2:  Find a Home Depot or Lumber Yard that will cut the sheets for you!  Some places don't cut at all - avoid them unless you have a super awesome table saw at home.  They may charge you a small cut fee but it's worth it, trust me.  I think I had to pay an extra $.25/ cut after the first 10.  I talked them down and only ended up paying an extra $2.50.  We're on a budget here people!

This is what you'll get!

Step 4:  Warning - this is the sucky part - buy a sand paper block (not the paper, get the block) and sand the shit out of the edges.  They are rough and you don't want any slivers.  Sand, wipe, grab another, repeat...repeat...repeat!

Step 5:  You have options here - you can paint them before you put them up or paint them after.  I didn't want to worry about running paint in the gaps so I actually primed and painted them all before installing it.  It took 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint "Simply White" purchased from Hirshfields Paint.

Step 6:   Use finishing nails and nail gun to secure the boards.  We started at the top, and nailed it to every stud, one high one low.  Then we put pennies in-between the secured board and the next board to give a gap.  Push up, hold secure and nail.

Step 7:   Elmers makes a nail hole filler that matches my "Simply White" paint color perfectly!  I filled in all the holes with this and didn't have to do any touch ups!  We finished the edges with inside and outside corners.  And this is the final result!

12 sheets at $11.99/sheet +$2.50 cut fee & tax = $156.44
Paint = $35.00
Trim/Corners = $12.00

Total = $191.44.  A great accent to any home for under $200!

FYI - If I would have gone the route of buying 1"x6"x6' tongue & groove pine boards the boards alone would have cost me over $650.  That's not including paint and trim.  I saved myself over $450! Something to think about!

FOLLOWERS:  If you've done a ship lap wall I'd love to see it!  Post a pic of it in comments or e-mail it to me and I'll post it!  I love seeing DIY projects!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

50 Shades of White...Let's Talk Paint!

Actually it's closer to 30,000, that's right 30,000 shades of white!!!  Never could I have imagined that white would be the hardest color to choose.  There are yellow whites, blue whites, green whites, red whites and everything else under the sun.  So I'm here to settle it for you.  If you plan to put any white in your house check out Benjamin Moore's Simply White!  It was chosen as the 2016 Color of the Year and I would completely agree.  Our house is on the cool side when it comes to the other colors selected but this Simply White adds a touch of warmth with a bit of a yellow undertone making it a warm but perfect white.  

We used Simply White on our trim, doors & casing.  Kitchen, main bathroom, laundry and living room cabinets.  It is also in a hallway, Lucy's room and our ship lap wall.  It's kinda everywhere.  Once we had our base color it was time to add in pops of color!

Where to start?  I wanted to focus on the main living area and create the color scheme from there.  If you read the previous post, you know my inspiration came from here so we were planning to go with similar colors.  I looked and looked and looked some more and came across this house by the same Four Chairs Desingers and found this aqua backsplash and fell in love!

Since the cabinets were to be Simply White I thought it added a nice touch of color pop.  So I went to the AMAZING TEAM over at Hirshfield's Paint here in Alexandria and we went to work finding a perfect match.  We came up with what I call our Chameleon color Deja Vu

Sometimes it looks blue, sometimes it looks green and I love then I don't have to re-paint my walls to get a different color :D

From there it was figuring out the color palette and this is what we came up with

We added in a little gray with Eider White, and my favorite gray which was Passive Gray that went in Jackson's room.  The dark blues are for our master and accents for Jackson's room.  For Lucy's room I had painted all the walls pink...the girl loves pink, but then it was just WAY TOO MUCH PINK, so her room is the only room I repainted and chose to keep 1 accent wall pink and the others Simply White.  We took one more risk doing a glitter paint.  Let's just say it was a major fail, and was painted over.  I also fell in love with shades of Mint!  We painted our main bathroom ceiling...wait what?!  Yes, we painted our main bathroom ceiling a mint color as well as the vanity.

Speaking of ceilings we also did a wallpaper ceiling in our dining room!  It is probably one of my favorite accents in the house.  We chose to do tray ceilings in our foyer and dining room to break up the ceiling a bit and I had planned on painting one or both but then I came across a house that put wallpaper in the ceiling and I was sold!  I purchased the pattern Flourish by Candice Olson from Sherwin Williams.  They always have coupons available and you'll want to use them.  This wallpaper was $85 for a double roll and it took us 2 double rolls because of the pattern.  We purchased the glue from Menards, learned how to "book" wallpaper (don't forget this step or it won't work) and worked together as a team to get it done.  Let's just say Mr. Bertie requested we never hang wallpaper again...especially on a ceiling.

We sprayed the primer on the ceilings and walls first.  We actually didn't paint our ceilings, WHAT?! Unless there is a major food fight we really didn't think that was a necessary step...let's face it, 2 less coats of paint, hell yes!

Back to the budget!  I went into Hirshfields and gave them our plan and they gave me a number.  One thing to consider though when budgeting for paint is all the supplies that go along with it.  You will need trim brushes, big rollers, little rollers, MORE rollers, tape, can openers and so much more.  We should have planned for an additional $$$ because we didn't take those items into consideration.

Budget: $1000
Over: $388.72 (cash flowed)

So I think that covers the gist of selecting paint colors.  Go to the experts and get their opinions but in the end it's all up to you!  Find colors that flow well together but don't be afraid to step out of the box!

Paint colors will be noted when I show the final pics in each room.  If you ever have questions please just ask in the comments section!

Check out my "Paint" Pinterest board to get more inspiration for your home!


1) Master Bedroom
2) Kid's Bedrooms
3) Bathrooms

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Our Happy Home

     Ok, let's kick this blog off again!  Now that things have slowed down I'm making this blog more of a priority it's time to get back to business and share our building experience with you all!  I run into you followers once in a while and every time I do I get the, "when are you going to post to your blog again?!?!"  So here is what I'm going to do.  I'm going to do a finished space post today and next time I'll talk budget again.  Everyone cool with that?

     When designing the house my main goal was to make it a bright, airy and most important HAPPY!  I wanted to walk in and simply smile and I'm pretty sure we've accomplished that.  It is not elegant, it is nothing fancy, but we put a lot of special love and attention into many details in our home. The inspiration for our home comes from this gorgeous home out in Utah which was designed by Four Chairs Furniture & Design and featured on House of Turquoise.

     I'm going to start with our Family Room if that's all right with you.  This is such an important room to me.  It is where after a hard day you can come home and kick your feet up.  It is where we sit to play Battle Ship, Guess Who and a crazy game of Twister!  And it is where we will decorate our Christmas tree as a family.  We wanted it welcoming, warm, and comfortable.


Let's start with the fireplace.  It was purchased through Woodland Direct.  We weren't going for the woodsy feel as you can see, but rather a more modern clean look.  We love the rock bed, the amount of glass and the heat it gives off.  We wish it came with a blower and had less of a black boarder around the glass.  One mistake we made was when we originally had it framed in, it was way too high.  Mr. Bertie's biggest pet peeve is having a TV too high above the fireplace.  Well when we moved the frame work down, we forgot to lower the beam support as well which caused us to still have the beam high and the TV higher.  It's on our list of things to fix/change but that will be at a later date.  The tile around the fireplace was a new product through Home Depot.  I loved it the minute I saw it and hated it the minute we had to try and cut it down.  You see the dimensions of the fireplace don't match up to the tile dimensions so we had to cut it.  Let's just say it lead to a few cuss words.

My favorite one-of-a-kind details are the barn beam fireplace mantel and the barn wood used in the entryway and kitchen.  These came from the farm I grew up on in Pelican Rapids, MN.  One day last summer...let me reword that...one very HOT day last summer Mr. Bertie and I pulled barn wood from that barn.  Someday it won't be there but I now have a piece of memory in my home from that barn.

We used 4 10" lag bolts to support the beam and chose not to cover up the bolts.  I like rustic touch it adds.  

Ok, so now let's talk about the custom shelving!!!  This was one project I was jacked about and was lucky enough that my custom cabinet guy Jeremy with Hazel Hill Cabinets was willing to assist me in creating my vision.  Pinterest is incredibly inspiring and so the idea came from this here.  I love photography and I love my kiddos so I wanted to have a place to feature each of their beautiful faces. Mr. Bertie was nice enough to put puck lights above each picture so that at night they can still shine.  We used MDF for the shelving and added dattos to make it stronger.  We also framed in the middle square to add support.  All in all I am incredibly pleased with how it turned out!

Below the shelving are 3 cabinets to store blankets, board games, DVD's and more.  The reason we did the frosted glass is because our DVD and any other entertainment system people have these days will be inside the cabinet.  We didn't want the wood to cause a weak signal for any remotes.  

And now I want to share with you all my newest obsession, Bord!  Jill Arnquist is the owner and the artist behind this incredibly beautiful furniture.  I kinda want to be her someday ;)  I respect any girl that's not afraid to get her hands dirty!  She's located in Alexandria now but still serves the Twin Cities area.  I cannot recommend her enough - inspiring person and stunning furniture! 

I am very simple...less is more kinda person.  

She has her hands on every aspect of her furniture from design, to cutting, treating, staining and fabricating those amazing metal legs.  There are so many options that every piece she makes is unique!

So that's our family room!  Any questions and comments are appreciated!  

Wall Color: Deja Blue
Cabinets & Ship lap: Simply White (best white out there!)
All paint was purchased through the amazing team at Hirshfields Paint

Floor: Shaw Brushed Oak Sandstone 
purchased through Adam Arnquist at Arnquist Carpets Plus Colortile

Rug & Accessories: Home Goods

Window Treatments: Ikea

Ceiling Fan: Lowes

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Hardest Day

So let's fast forward a little bit.  We set the footings, ran the in-floor tubing (purchased on eBay), and poured the foundation.  Framed the shell, moved into the garage and let's not forget showering with hoses.  Ugh, does that bring me back to some memories.

Mom & Dad took us on a trip to Disney and we had an amazing time (THANK YOU MOM & DAD!!!),

but of course the house was on our minds.  One of the best decisions we made was to have someone else, Alvord Drywall, hang our ceiling sheetrock while we were away.  They apparently got it done in just one day and did a FANTASTIC job!  It cost us $1,056 but probably the best money we could have spent.  It would have taken us WEEKS to do it ourselves even with the drywall lift we bought.  It saved us time, and time is money!

The day we got back home from Disney there was no time to spare.  We ran to Menards and rented an insulation blower.  The 1st hour is $35 and then it's $5/hr after that.  We blew in insulation in all of the ceiling.  We used batting for the bonus room ceiling and the walls.  If I have all the insulation receipts correctly:

BUDGET: $6445
ACTUAL: $4859
SAVINGS: $1586!!!

Other options would have been to spray foam - incredibly efficient but also incredibly spendy and something we were unable to do ourselves.  We did not go light on the insulation and also insulted the interior walls for a sound barrier.

Now onto the hardest days - sheet rocking.  Now hanging the sheetrock itself on the walls really isn't too bad.  It's not the most fun part of the project but it's not too bad.  The bad part is hauling it!  We carried approximately 278, 4x12 and 54"x12 sheetrock into the house.  The worst part and again HARDEST DAY was hauling the 35 sheets up the stairs to the bonus room.  It was incredibly exhausting and pushed me to my physical limit.  I would literally have to tell myself, "you can do this, you are a beast, pick up this f*#%ing sheetrock!!!" and then we'd lift and start up the stairs again and again.  So my recommendation - get a couple sets of these:

Panel Carrier

Now sure you can pay the lumber yard to boom it in for you.  And if money were not an issue, you better believe I would have had them do this.  However, once you see the numbers you figure out a way to do it yourself.

BUDGET: $5273
ACTUAL: $2294
SAVINGS: $2979!!!

And once we were done hanging drywall it looked a little like this.

We then had Dennis Schmiesing (Breeze - 320-987-3662) mud, tape & texture.  No one else could touch his bid and from previous experience we knew he did great work.  Trust me when I say unless you are good at mudding and taping, pay someone else to do it.  Dennis does an incredible job and is a great guy to top it off!  His bid and bill were the same so our budget and actual are the same at $4216.68.  If you've never hung drywall before talk to your mud and taper to get tips on how they like it done.  There are right and wrong ways to do it.

Last tip before I go.  We opted out of having a dumpster on sight.  We had a dump trailer from my dad instead.  We had to dump it only twice but did it with 2 different companies for 2 completely different amounts!  Waste Management (who we have service through) charged us a whopping $103.62 to dump a trailer.  Then I got smart and called around.  Alex Rubbish & Recycling was only $37.80!  What a difference!  Kudos to Alex Rubbish for having great prices - we may be making a switch simply because of this and their amazing customer service!

I know those of you that are just reading for the design aspect are getting impatient but this was such a huge part of the process.  It's a part that I'll never forget but I also hope it gives encouragement to those that are about to build themselves.  I hope you find the information helpful and again if you have any questions on vendors or process please do not hesitate to ask!

In My Toolbelt:
-Work Gloves
-Safety Glasses
-Insulation Cutter
-Sheetrock Screws
-Sheetrock Bit (helps sink the screws perfectly)
-Panel Carrier
-Utility Knife
-Sheetrock Saw
-Chalk Line
-Drywall Lift
-Tape Measure
-Rotozip (to cut our boxes & windows)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

2 Shakes & a Lantern Short

As we wrapped up work tonight we are officially 99% done with the exterior of the house!!!  We are, however, 2 shakes and 1 lantern short.  UGH!!!  Sometimes these "projects" we start feel never ending.  We have to order yet another box of shakes for the foyer and I still have to find my lantern that I'm turning into a light fixture that's in storage...somewhere.  All she needs now is a concrete slab in front of the garage door, sidewalk and of course grass and landscaping - all summer projects.

It's time to get back to business and share this crazy journey we've been on.  Building came before blogging and I couldn't manage doing them both at the same time.  Sorry to leave you hanging!  So I'm going to give you a little update as to where we are today and what recommendations I have if you're starting a project of your own.

Where we are today:

After 5 months of living in a garage we are now officially living in our house, cooking in our house, and we even sat down for about 30 minutes the other night...let me just say it feels amazing!!!   We are due to close the end of this month and couldn't be more ready to settle down and have some family time.

Getting down to business:

If you are planning a big project this summer the time is NOW to solidify your bids and lock in your vendors.  The longer you wait, the more booked they become and the higher they bid out your job.  That's right, if they have enough work, they will bid your job extra high that way if they don't get it, it's no sweat off their back but if they get it, it's a bonus for them.  So get them now while they are shaking in the knees not knowing what this year will bring!  And if you use any of my recommended vendors please tell them the Bertram's sent you :)  Oh and always, always, ALWAYS get 3 bids!  Yes it will take time but it will save you a ton of money!  But don't always go with the lowest bid as you might not be happy with their work.

Drafter:  We did all of our initial building materials through Hilltop Lumber so we used Nate as our drafter.  I drew up my own plans already with ideal sizes and he fine tuned it.  When it came to making changes I gave his a numbered list of things I wanted changed.  He said because I was so detailed and gave it to him in list form it saved him time and us MONEY!  We came in under budget for the drafting along with partial credit back on building materials.  Then we went to Ed for the sales end of things.  These guys will work one-on-one with you in making some key decision.  Be sure to ask a ton of questions and write it all down.  www.hilltoplbr.com

Excavator:  I highly recommend Jamie with Seph Excavating.  First of all, he just a hoot to talk to, but beyond that, the guy is a work horse.  They came in less than ideal conditions during less than ideal times of the day to get the job done.  He was a connection through Mr. Bertie so it was easy to ask the questions and find out where we can save money and what needs to be done and what doesn't.

Framers: Lennes and Lorentz was our number one choice when we went into this project as the Lennes is family and we trust him and know he does excellent work.  We were right with this decision to go with them because it really went without a hitch...well maybe a few changes but for the most part, it was smooth sailing.  Their bid was what they charged us except we did have an add on when we had them install the soffit and facia because when we came to that point it made sense to just hire it out.

Concrete:  We were recommended to use Lake Mary Concrete and yet again, it was a great choice.  Frank and his crew were by far the hardest working vendor we had throughout the entire project.  They were there sun up to sun down.  They let Jackson help with the footings and even got us set up to put our handprints in the corner of the garage.  Everything was incredibly level and there has been very little settling.  I would recommend them 100 times over.  The amount they bid was the amount we paid.  There were no unexpected charges which was nice.

I'll leave it at that for now, but if you have any questions about these vendors and others that we have used please just ask.

Thanks for checking in and I promise the next post will have some fun pics :)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Berties are Back!

I feel like we're a TV premier, or a boy band that's come out of retirement or...well that's all I've got.  We left you all high and dry after some crazy moments in our building process.  One might have thought my computer was stolen too!  I am so sorry it's taken us this long to come back with our latest post.  I've been asked so many times when I'm going to start blogging again - love that people are actually following :)   Let's just say life was beyond crazy with busy photography season and building a house while trying to manage a family all at the same time.  Have you ever had too many balls in the air and eventually you start dropping them but you try your damndest to keep the most important ones going?  Well that was my life for the past 2 months.  Now I'm as caught up as I can be so I'm here with an update!

After 2 months of living in a camper we are officially living in the...garage :\.  We can call it an upgrade as we now get to sleep in normal sized beds, we have a working oven (purchased from an auction), kitchen cabinets (purchased off of craigslist), a couch, carpet remanent and concrete floor for Jackson to ripstick on.  We also have our washer & dryer hooked up!  Peace out Laundry Mat!  We temped in our bathroom with a toilet - oh how nice it is to have a toilet that flushes and a shower that for about a month we used a hose to shower with - I know what all you ladies are thinking - CRAZY MRS. BERTIE SHOWERED WITH A HOSE?!?!  Yep, I did and let's just say I have a whole new appreciated for continuous water flow from a shower head.

So here's a panoramic pic of our current living conditions:

Lovely don't you think?  Yes, that is a picnic table as our dining set.

Here is an outside pic of the house from about 2 months ago -

For now this post is just a quick update, but I'll rewind and talk more about the steps it took to get to where we are today.  Tomorrow we get texture on our walls and will start painting and even laying tile in the bathroom that we currently use.   We also chose the worst time of year to start siding our house.  This morning when we went to work it was 1 degree...1 degree...yes, 1 degree and it sucked.  Mr. Bertie is a work horse though so we went outside, nailed a few on, came inside to warm up and then back out again.  We still have a ways to go but I'm going to say it out loud...we are hoping to be done by the end of February.  I sure hope we can make it happen, but it's going to take a lot of hard work, persistence, and of course money.  We'll talk budget next time if that's ok with you - I've got some catching up to do with it.

Wishing you all a blessed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!