• Home Improvements

    Game Room {Before & After}

    Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. For more information, click here.

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    The room we are using as a game room was built to use as a master bedroom. This room is located behind the kitchen and breakfast room, and we converted one of the closets in this room into a really great walk-in pantry (see the house floor plan). This room has a nice size bathroom off of it and part of that bathroom is what we call the guest half bath. This is another room that we finished last year, but I’m just now getting around to writing about it.

    The room was originally painted light blue with off-white trim, crown molding, and doors. I painted the walls gray using Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte/flat Anonymous (Behr – 780F-5) and the ceiling was painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte/flat Full Moon (Behr – 780E-2). The trim, crown molding, and doors were painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra satin Ultra Pure White. The interior of the closet was painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte Ultra Pure White.

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    This room had carpet, but we wanted to have wood floors in here like in a lot of other areas of our home. So, we had the carpet ripped out and new flooring installed. It looks great!

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Other improvements were:
    – Hired someone to remove the popcorn ceiling.
    – Replaced the ceiling vent register.
    – Replaced the return air vent grille.
    – Placed LED light bulbs in the ceiling fan and the closet light fixture.
    – Replaced the pull chains on the fan.
    – Replaced the bronze door knob on the game room door with a Baldwin satin nickel knob.
    – Replaced the bronze door knobs on the closet doors with Baldwin satin nickel hall/closet knob.
    – Replaced the bronze door hinges on both doors with satin nickel hinges.
    – Installed new doorstops for the game room door and closet door.
    – Replaced the windows.

    We hired an electrician to update the electrical work in our house. For this room, that was:
    – Replaced the ceiling fan.
    – Replaced the outlets with white decorator outlets.
    – Replaced the toggle light switches with white decorator rocker switches.
    – Replaced the cable outlets with white decorator coax cables.
    – Replaced the phone jack with a white decorator jack.
    – Had hardwired smoke/carbon monoxide alarms installed in the house – one alarm was placed in this room.

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    We replaced the felt on the pool table when we set it up in this room. When we’re not using this room, we keep the pool table covered.

    It’s great to have it finished and the pool table finally set up and ready to use! This is a fun room to have! We haven’t been using the game room much lately, but it’s great to have when we want to relax and shoot some pool.

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

  • Home Improvements

    Home Gym {Before & After}

    Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. For more information, click here.

    Home Gym | rainerlife.com

    Years ago, one of the previous owners enclosed the garage and created two bedrooms. We are using one of those bedrooms as a home office and the other as a home gym. This is another room that I finished last year, but never wrote anything about it on the blog.

    The room was originally painted off-white with off-white trim and doors. I painted the ceiling and walls light gray using Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte/flat Full Moon (Behr – 780E-2). The built-in shelves were painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte/flat Sparrow (Behr – 780F-4). The trim and doors were painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra satin Ultra Pure White. The interior of the closet was painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte Ultra Pure White.

    Home Gym {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Home Gym {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    This room has a concrete floor. The floor originally had two coats of paint on it, the bottom coat was red and the top coat was black. The floor was scuffed up pretty bad since I had been using this room as a storage and work room, so I wanted to repaint the floor. Since I wasn’t happy with how the floor turned out in the home office, I decided to paint the floor with a concrete stain instead of using a dye. I cleaned the floor and scraped up all the loose paint. After making sure the floor was as clean as I could get it, I used Behr Concrete Stain on the floor, hoping it would work better than the concrete dye. I used a paint roller to apply two coats of Tar Black. I opted not to use a sealer since it caused a cloudy look to the concrete dye floor. So far, this floor looks much better than the floor in the office, plus it has held up better.

    Home Gym {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Other improvements were:
    – Hired someone to remove the popcorn ceiling.
    – Replaced the ceiling vent registers.
    – Placed LED light bulbs in the ceiling fan and the closet light fixture.
    – Replaced the ceiling fan pulls.
    – Replaced the bronze door knob on the office door with a Baldwin satin nickel knob.
    – Replaced the bronze door knobs on the closet doors with Baldwin satin nickel dummy knobs.
    – Replaced the bronze door hinges on all three doors with satin nickel hinges.
    – Replaced the ball catches on the closet doors.
    – Installed a new doorstop for the door into the room.
    – Replaced the windows.
    – Removed the blinds and hung curtains. I used a double curtain rod with curtains already had – I had used them in another room, but wasn’t happy with how they looked, so they got moved to this room.

    Home Gym {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Home Gym Closet {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    We hired an electrician to update the electrical work in our house. For this room, that was:
    – Replaced the outlets with white decorator outlets.
    – Replaced the toggle light switch with a white decorator rocker switch.
    – Replaced the cable outlet with a white decorator coax.
    – Replaced the phone jack with a white decorator jack.
    – Had hardwired smoke/carbon monoxide alarms installed in the house – one alarm was placed in this room.
    – Had the light switch for the attic lights moved into the attic. The attic access is in the room, and the light switch was in the center of the wall and looked out of place, so it’s nice to have it moved into the attic.

    Home Gym | rainerlife.com

    Home Gym | rainerlife.com

    It’s nice to have this room finished – it gives us a nice work-out space and we both want to use this room more. We already had the treadmill, but we bought the exercise bike and weight bench last year. We had another weight bench, but decided to get a new one since the other one wasn’t in very good condition. The exercise bike was something I wanted because I prefer it over the treadmill. Now, I just have to make more time to use this room!

  • Home Improvements

    New Fencing

    New Fence | rainerlife.com

    Last year we had the fences removed from around our yard. We had always planned on getting new fencing, but we weren’t exactly sure what we wanted. When we decided to put in a swimming pool, we also needed to decide on a fence. Obviously, we wanted a fence around the pool, but we also wanted an area fenced in for the dogs to run and play.

    We liked the look of black metal fencing, so we started with that. We decided on a 4-foot black fence with a pressed spear top. Our fenced area is off the back of the house and splits the yard into two areas. The fence that divides the two sides runs off the deck. We had a small gate put in the fence between the two sides, so it’s easy to go from the pool area to the fire pit area. The other two sides each have a wider gate, so lawn equipment or other larger items can be taken into the fenced areas.

    Gate on fence | rainerlife.com

    Pool fence | rainerlife.com

    Pool fence | rainerlife.com

    Gate on fence between pool and fire pit | rainerlife.com

    Fence off deck that goes between pool and fire pit | rainerlife.com

    New fence | rainerlife.com

    New fence | rainerlife.com

    It’s great to have a fenced in area behind the house. I love that the dogs can be left outside for a little while to run and play. We had to have them on leashes at all times before the new fence went up, so I’m sure they like the fence too. The fence around the pool adds a lot of safety. A big concern since we have a toddler. We’re happy to have this project complete. Bonus, it looks great!

  • Home Improvements

    Swimming Pool

    Swimming pool | rainerlife.com

    Michael and I had talked about putting in a swimming pool, pretty much since we moved into our house. We have a large yard, so there was plenty of room to have a pool constructed. We had originally planned on waiting until Gavin was a couple of years older, but we decided now was a good time to go ahead and put in a pool. We had visions of what the finished pool and spa would look like, and the pool designer we worked with was able to come up with a dream pool for our family.

    DESIGN

    We talked with a couple of pool companies to see what they had to offer and get ideas on prices. We decided to go with Trinity Valley Pools. The pool designer was able to include everything we wanted on the pool, plus he addressed the concerns we had about location and layout. We met to go over the design a couple of times, but it didn’t take too long to decide on a final plan. We wanted a good size spa to go with the pool, plus a few other fun things. I really wanted a waterfall, and the designer added a weeping wall to the design, which makes the whole thing look amazing. We also wanted a tanning ledge with a bubbler, because we thought that would be a great area for Gavin to splash around in the water. The pool design came together very nicely, and we were eager to get started on the construction phase.

    EXCAVATION

    The pool excavation took less than a day. The guys doing the work arrived bright and early to get started. They used spray paint to mark the pool boundaries, and after I approved the outline, they began digging. The excavation work went quickly once they got started. This was a fun day for Gavin because we had an excavator in our yard, which was pretty amazing for our toddler. He may not have understood a pool was going in, but he had a blast watching the big equipment work.

    Pool Excavation | rainerlife.com

    Pool Excavation | rainerlife.com

    Pool Excavation | rainerlife.com

    STEEL & PIPING

    This phase only took a day! Once again, the work crew got to the house early to get started. I’m amazed at how quickly they were able to place all of the steel and plumbing for the pool and spa. We don’t have a huge pool, but it’s a good size. Plus, we have “extras” like the waterfall and weeping wall. Placing the steel just right, and connecting all the pipes for the plumbing was a big job.

    Steel & Piping for Pool | rainerlife.com

    Steel & Piping for Pool | rainerlife.com

    Steel & Piping for Pool | rainerlife.com

    GUNITE

    This phase of construction also only took a day. After the gunite was sprayed, it really started to come together and look like a pool.

    Gunite Sprayed in Pool | rainerlife.com

    Gunite Sprayed in Pool | rainerlife.com

    Gunite Sprayed in Pool | rainerlife.com

    TILE & COPING

    We chose to use flagstone for our coping, plus we used it for the decking. We liked the look of the gray stones rather than brown, so we went with Silvermist Flagstone. For the tile, we chose the Verona Tondela Blue – we wanted a blue tile that coordinated well with the flagstone and rocks on the waterfall. The tile and coping took a couple of weeks to complete, though it did rain some during that time, so they were unable to work on those days.

    Tile & Coping on Pool | rainerlife.com

    Tile & Coping on Pool | rainerlife.com

    Tile & Coping on Pool | rainerlife.com

    Tile & Coping on Pool | rainerlife.com

    Tile & Coping on Pool | rainerlife.com

    Tile & Coping on Pool | rainerlife.com

    EQUIPMENT

    The plumbing was in place from the steel and piping phase. We had our plumber install a gas line for the heater on equipment pad. Additionally, we had a plumber install an auto-fill on the pool. Electricians installed a breaker box at the pool equipment pad and connected all the electrical components.

    Pool Equipment | rainerlife.com

    PLASTER

    The plaster took a day to do, and was the final phase before water went into the pool. We used Aquastone Mini Pebble plaster in white.

    Pool Plaster | rainerlife.com

    Pool Plaster | rainerlife.com

    POOL STARTUP

    The day after the plaster was done, we filled the pool. We used a garden hose to fill the spa first, and then started filling the pool. It was the Friday of Father’s Day weekend, and we were ready to start swimming in our new pool. The pool company had a couple of guys come by to set us up and show me a few basic things to get us started. We have a chlorine pool, and I needed to know what to add to get the pool chemistry off to a good start. They also got the waterfall and bubbler settings adjusted, and showed me how to change those. I had a more in depth lesson on the pool chemistry and equipment the following Monday.

    Spa filled with water | rainerlife.com

    Pool filling up with water | rainerlife.com

    Pool almost full | rainerlife.com

    Pool up and running | rainerlife.com

    THE FINISHED PRODUCT

    We are loving our pool! It was finished in mid-June, so we had a few months to really use it. Now, the weather is cooler, so we’ve only been using the spa. The pool can be heated too, but the spa is big enough for the three of us to relax in, so we just use it. Next year we may try keeping the pool heater on this time of year so we can use the pool longer.

    I’ve gotten the hang of the pool chemistry and cleaning the pool. Actually, I usually find the pool chemistry and cleaning to be relaxing. We have a pool cleaner that runs in the mornings, and we have two skimmer baskets on the pool, so a lot of debris is caught in those. We have a lot of shade around our pool, which can be a good thing. The downside, is the trees shading the pool are starting to lose their leaves – the pool cleaner is getting a work out in the mornings.

    We keep the water features running all day, so each time I go out or look out our back windows, I get to see and hear the waterfall and weeping wall, which really add to the beauty of the pool. We positioned the pool, so that we could see the water features from the kitchen and breakfast area.

    We look forward to many years of swimming and relaxing in our pool. Not only is it fun to be in, it’s also a beauty to look at!

    Gavin in the new pool | rainerlife.com

    Gavin and Michael in the new pool | rainerlife.com

    View from in the pool | rainerlife.com

    Jets going in the spa | rainerlife.com

    Pool in the evening | rainerlife.com

    Pool at night | rainerlife.com

    Swimming pool | rainerlife.com

    Swimming pool | rainerlife.com

    Swimming pool | rainerlife.com

    Swimming pool | rainerlife.com

  • Home Improvements

    Home Office {Before & After}

    Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. For more information, click here.

    Home Office | rainerlife.com

    Previous owners of our home had enclosed the garage and created two bedrooms. We are using one of those bedrooms as a home office. I finished this room last summer, but never wrote anything about it. Now I’m thinking about redoing this room a little bit, so figured I’d write about the original changes before changing it up again.

    The room was originally painted off-white with off-white trim and doors. I painted the walls gray using Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte/flat Sparrow (Behr – 780F-4). I used Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte/flat Full Moon (Behr – 780E-2) on the ceiling. The trim and doors were painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra satin Ultra Pure White. The interior of the closet was painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte Ultra Pure White.

    Home Office {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    This room has a concrete floor. The floor originally had two coats of paint on it, the bottom coat was red and the top coat was black. The floor was scuffed up pretty bad, so I wanted to repaint it. This was a big job because I had to first strip off the paint that was on the floor. It took a lot longer than I had hoped it would, but the bottom layer of red paint was hard to remove. After finally removing the paint, I used Behr Cleaner & Etcher to prep the floor. I used Behr Decorative Concrete Dye on the floor, hoping it would adhere to the concrete better than regular paint. I put two light coats of Industrial Gray and then two light coats of Arctic Black. I used a paint roller for the gray, and I used a large sponge to apply the black dye. I applied two coats of Behr Low-Lustre Sealer to help protect the concrete floor. The floor looks okay, but the dye doesn’t stick to the floor well. Moving stuff back into the room and rearranging, I dinged up the floor in a couple of places and realized it peels up like latex paint. Not at all what I was hoping for, so I’m disappointed with the floor in this room. It was a lot of work, so I’m not in a hurry to remove this paint and try something else. I’ll be living with it for a while, and hopefully, it doesn’t get too messed up.

    Home Office {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Other improvements were:
    – Hired someone to remove the popcorn ceiling.
    – Replaced the ceiling vent register.
    – Placed LED light bulbs in the ceiling fan and the closet light fixture.
    – Replaced the ceiling fan pulls.
    – Replaced the bronze door knob on the office door with a Baldwin satin nickel knob.
    – Replaced the bronze door knobs on the closet doors with Baldwin satin nickel dummy knobs.
    – Replaced the bronze door hinges on all three doors with satin nickel hinges.
    – Replaced the ball catches on the closet doors.
    – Installed a new doorstop for the office door.
    – Replaced the windows.
    – Removed the blinds.

    We hired an electrician to update the electrical work in our house. For this room, that was:
    – Replaced the outlets with white decorator outlets.
    – Replaced the toggle light switch with a white decorator rocker switch.
    – Replaced the cable outlet with a white decorator coax.
    – Replaced the phone jack with a white decorator jack.
    – Had hardwired smoke/carbon monoxide alarms installed in the house – one alarm was placed in this room.
    – Replaced and moved the breaker box. An old breaker box that was a bit of a fire hazard (it was a recalled model) was in the closet of this room. Since we needed to replace the breaker box, we had them move it to a safer location too. This was a big part of the electrical work we had done before we moved in the house.

    Home Office {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Home Office Closet {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    I’m happy with the room, though I wish the concrete dye had worked on the floor. At first, I thought the room would be too cluttered with the bookshelves, desk, and chair, but it seems kind of cozy. This room gives me a great area to work on the computer and take care of household management items and small projects in a nice, organized space. We already had the bookshelves and oversized chair, but we bought the desk. I wanted a simple desk, and this one matches the bookshelves.

    Home Office | rainerlife.com

    Home Office | rainerlife.com

    Home Office | rainerlife.com

    Home Office | rainerlife.com

  • Home Improvements

    Backyard Deck

    Backyard Deck | rainerlife.com

    We had a deck in our backyard, but we recently made some improvements to it. Previous owners had built the deck – not sure when but it’s not that old. It was in need of staining and we wanted to cover and screen in part of it.

    It’s a large deck with two levels – a top part then a step down to a lower part. We wanted to cover the top part and leave the bottom area open. Our design was pretty simple – a metal roof with wood frame that was stained to match the rest of the deck. The guys did a good job and it looks great. We extended the roof a few feet past the screened area to have a little bit of covered space that wasn’t screened, so the entire top level is covered but not all of it is screened.

    The deck has three sets of stairs down to the backyard. One set of stairs is with the screened in area and we had a screen door put there. Michael built gates for the other two stairs. This has been very helpful with keeping an active toddler and puppies on the deck. Before the gates it was just open, so Gavin and the dogs would take off down the steps as soon as given the opportunity. Now we have gates that slow them down.

    When we bought the house the deck had an orangish colored stain. Neither Michael nor I liked the orange, so we went darker with the stain to get something we thought we’d like more. We picked Olympic Dark Mahogany Semi-Transparent Stain, and are happy with the way it turned out.

    Under the roof in the screened area we had a ceiling fan installed. We also had a couple of outdoor plugs added to the deck (inside and outside of the screened area). The ceiling fan is great since it’s always hot in Texas. The extra plugs are useful too. For now, we’re using one plug to keep a mini-refrigerator on the deck to keep cold drinks handy.

    Ceiling Fan on Backyard Deck | rainerlife.com

    We’ve been enjoying the deck every day since it was finished. We spend a lot of time outside, especially with Gavin and the puppies. This turned out to be one of those projects that was definitely worth the time and money.

    Backyard Deck {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Backyard Deck {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

  • Home Improvements

    Stormwater Drainage

    After we lived in our home for a while, we discovered a stormwater drainage problem. We had heavy rainfall last Spring, and following a big storm, we had water seep into our house. It happened again in the Fall. Big problem!

    This was a project we needed to get done before we started any other home improvements, mainly since this was a bigger concern and the other projects are more want-to-do than need-to-do.

    We hired a landscape company that did a lot of drainage work, and they did an excellent job. We had river rock between the house and retaining wall, but it didn’t serve any purpose – it just held water during heavy rainfall since the water had nowhere to go. The guys that did our drainage work cleared out the river rock and dug down to put in a 30-foot French drain along the end of the house and two twelve-inch drain boxes, then put the river rocks back in place. They tied the downspouts on the end of the house into the new drainage system. Lastly, they hand-dug across our front yard (140-feet) and installed PVC pipe for the water to drain down with a lawn pop-up drain at the end of the pipe.

    Less than a week after the work was completed, we had a heavy rainfall. The new drainage system worked perfectly! It was great to not have any water seep into the house, and we can check this project off our list.

    Stormwater drainage - French drain & drain boxes | rainerlife.com

    Stormwater drainage - French drain & drain boxes | rainerlife.com

    Stormwater drainage - French drain & drain boxes | rainerlife.com

  • Home Improvements

    House Floor Plan

    I’ve written a lot about the updates we’ve made to our home, but I never posted a floor plan. I recently came across a floor plan Michael had drawn in SketchUp, and thought I would post it. He did this floor plan when we first bought the house and were trying to decide how to use different areas. I labeled the rooms based on how we are currently using each room. It’s not exactly to scale, but it’s close enough.

    The house was originally built in 1973, and has been added on to over the years. It is currently just over 3900 square feet. The room we are using as the Master Bedroom was a den. This room was not original to the house… I’m not sure when it was added on but I’m guessing some time during the 1980s. The original master bedroom is the room we are using as the Game Room. Additionally, the garage was enclosed (not sure when) and two bedrooms were built. These are the rooms we are using as the Home Office and Home Gym. So, the back door was originally at the end of the Hallway by the Mudroom. Now, we have to go through the Back Entry to get to the Mudroom, but it works for us. Last year, we added the walk-in Pantry using a closet off the Game Room.

    Click on the image to open a large view.

    Floor Plan | rainerlife.com

  • Home Improvements

    Updated Sprinkler System

    We recently updated our sprinkler system with a new controller and expanded the system to cover the entire yard. We had an older automatic sprinkler system that controlled sprinklers for the front yard and the flowers beds around the house. We wanted to expand the sprinklers to encompass our entire yard, which is 2.5 acres. We also wanted to replace the old controller with a newer one and have a rain sensor installed. The old unit was from the early eighties – someone had written 1984 on the inside, so I’m guessing that’s when it was installed.

    First, we had the sprinklers that were already in place repaired. We had a few minor issues that needed to be fixed, plus we wanted everything checked out to be sure there were no other problems. Fortunately, the repairs weren’t a big issue and didn’t take too long.

    Next, the older controller was removed and a new Hunter unit was installed. The old unit was inside the house, but we were able to have the new one installed outside. We wanted to get a new unit that was more user friendly and had more options, plus we needed one that would control more zones since we expanded to cover the entire yard. We also had a rain sensor installed, which is nice because our old one didn’t have a sensor… our sprinklers were always going off when it rained because I never seemed to remember to manually turn it off.

    Our old sprinkler controller | rainerlife.com
    Our old sprinkler controller.

    Controller for updated sprinkler sysytem| rainerlife.com
    New Hunter controller for our sprinklers.

    Controller for updated sprinkler sysytem| rainerlife.com
    New Hunter controller for our sprinklers.

    Lastly, sprinklers were placed throughout the yard to get full sprinkler coverage. Lots of trenches were dug to get everything in place, but it doesn’t look as bad as I was expecting. It’s winter, so we don’t really need to run the sprinklers very often now, but it seemed like a good idea to get the work done in the off season when they wouldn’t be as busy working on other repairs.

    New sprinklers | rainerlife.com
    New sprinklers in backyard.

    New sprinklers around the shed| rainerlife.com
    New sprinklers around shed.

    It’s great that our yard now has full coverage for the sprinkler system. There are lots of zones, so if we decide not to water the whole yard, it’s easy to turn off the appropriate areas. The new controller is also nice – lots more options and very user friendly. With this system, we have the option to add even more sprinkler zones if we want to – that’s nice in case we add more flower beds or gardens. Hopefully, our yard will look lush and beautiful in the future!

  • Home Improvements

    Finished Painting the Dining Room

    Painted walls in dining room | rainerlife.com

    I finally got around to removing the red wallpaper in our dining room. I’m not a fan of wallpaper, and this wallpaper needed to come down anyway – it was looking worn. I put off removing the wallpaper and painting because it didn’t really look THAT bad, and I wasn’t sure how involved the project would be. Turns out, the wallpaper wasn’t too hard to remove. I didn’t do much damage while removing the wallpaper, but I did have some areas to repair. After the wallpaper was down, I primed the walls and skim coated. Then I primed and painted the walls using Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte/flat Dark Granite (Behr – 780F-6). This is the same color I painted the kitchen, and I thought it would be a nice way to tie the rooms together. It’s great to have this project done, and I think it looks better painted.

    Painted Dining Room (Before & After) | rainerlife.com

    Painted Dining Room (Before & After) | rainerlife.com

    Painted Dining Room (Before & After) | rainerlife.com