The New Window Is In!

Earlier this week, I shared the installation of our new window in the living room in real time on Instagram, but I am here to report some more details on the window itself and some progress photos, too! Here’s how the wall looked beforehand:

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And here’s how it looks now!

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The thing I wish I had was the original of the first photo because just looking at it, I can tell I had to brighten it quite a bit. The new window lets in so much light, the above photo isn’t brightened at all. We still need to paint and trim out the window and add window treatments (all of which we plan on doing this weekend), but we can’t get over the difference it made in our whole great room.

It feels larger and makes more sense–like it should have always been there. In this progress photo below, you can see there is another large window to the right of the patio door. The large blank space to the left, puzzled us since we moved in. We knew almost immediately that we wanted to add a window. Fortunately there was room to fit one of the exact same size.

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There are a few key differences though. This window opens and the other, as well as most windows in our house besides the bedrooms!, don’t. While our house stays very sealed and warm all winter long–an important thing in Idaho–in the summer, we roast. The other main difference besides having our new window open is the shape of the panes. The window to the right of the door has an extra row of panes, making them more square shaped. We prefer a rectangular pane, so we did 4 rows x 6 columns for this window and will eventually switch out the other window to match (and open!).

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Backing up to when our contractor first arrived, there was a lot of nerves flying around. We are generally DIYers. We like to be in control and get our hands dirty. But cutting a hole in the side of our house?! That makes us way too nervous to attempt to do it ourselves. Our contractor spent a lot of time measuring and staring and measuring and running outside and inside. And before he made his first cut we held our breaths. There’s really no telling what is behind that wall. We felt like we were clear of the water pipe outside and the plug we were pretty sure stayed south, but we weren’t 100% on anything. As he opened the wall up, we were faced with spray foam and no sign of anything else. It was the best feeling. Also, I was really glad it wasn’t us having to remove that foam.

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The above photo was taken around 2pm during a short break for lunch. He had arrived just before 9am.  So, it took about 5 hours to cut the hole, remove all the insides and frame it for support. It took another 2.5 hours to get it to this point where we’re taking over:

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Naturally, the exterior had quite the update too.

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As for the question that we’ve been getting quite a lot–How much did it cost?!

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The window–a good quality, 5′x6′, custom Pella window we special ordered from Lowes–was $335. A steal, right?! I hate commenting prices on contractor wages, because they vary so much from place to place. But I’ll say we paid him about what we paid for the window to give you an idea.

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We’ll have another window update next week once everything looks a little nicer. Ha! But, I am already anxious to add more windows to the great room–more specifically the kitchen. What a difference!

Ps. I got a super flattering email informing me that Chris Loves Julia was named one of Better Homes and Gardens top 10 DIY blogs. The #1 DIY blog is decided by votes–although we truly feel like we already won–if you want to vote for our blog just hit “select” under our name right here. Thanks so much for following along for so many years!

How Often Do You Change Your Air Filters?

Us? Honestly? I think the last time we changed our air filters was a year ago. We had just finished the floors and there was a baby on the way shortly and that was a part of our we’re-going-to-do-everything-right check list. And, yeah, we haven’t since. It wasn’t until FilterEasy reached out to me wondering if we’d be interested in partnering for a post (this post, fyi) that I even remembered about that necessary nuisance. I paused before accepting the sponsorship because we aren’t exactly the poster blog for changing our air filters (I learned in the year we went without changing our filters, we should have changed them at least 4 times!), but then the more I explored the service, the more I realized we are exactly the people that FilterEasy was made for.

FilterEasy is a subscription air filter delivery service that ensures consistent clean air and easy breathing without the hassle associated with changing air filters. And boy, do I know that hassle. Oh we haven’t changed our filters in a year (what!?)? Let me run to the store. Get to store. Realize there are a bunch of different sizes. Run home again. Check size. Back to store. Back home. Two babes in tow.

FilterEasy offers an easy ordering process that you only have to do once:  You enter how many filters you have in your home, the individual size of each, how often you want them changed, and the level of allergen protection. And that’s it. FilterEasy ships you the exact number of filters, in exactly the right sizes, just when you are supposed to change them, so you never have to remind yourself, and you always have the right ones on hand. The hard part is done. The filters are delivered right to your door!

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Lest you think actually changing them is the hard part, do you know how long it takes to change the air filters in your house? About 13 seconds. Literally:

Most homeowners and renters forget to change their air filters (guilty!), but when they do, they notice how disgustingly dirty the old ones were. Guilty again. Ours were downright embarrassing:

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As you saw in the quick video, we popped out the old and placed in the new in seconds.

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It’s that time of year when we’re all thinking about spring cleaning and this would be the perfect jumping point. Changing your air filters on a consistent basis saves energy since clean air makes for efficient air flow, provides clean air to breath by removing allergens, pet dander, dust, and bacteria and lowers your carbon footprint and saves on energy costs.

This is something that every renter and homeowner needs to do at least every three months. We just gotta. (Did you know that not changing filters are the leading cause of expensive HVAC repairs?!) So why not use a subscription service that delivers it right to your door for cheaper than you could buy them at a home improvement store? No brainer! Here’s the best part:

FilterEasy is replacing all the filters in all of our readers’ homes for free! Your entire first month’s order is on the house when you use the code CHRISLOVESJULIA at checkoutclick here to redeem! And really, when is the last time you changed your air filters?

Update! Although it isn’t listed in the main drop down menu, FilterEasy also offers any custom size or 4” filter.  Email hello@filtereasy.com and mention CHRISLOVESJULIA to get the deal. Thanks!

This post is sponsored by FilterEasy.

How to Patch Drywall like a girl, Our Freshly Painted Room + $100 to Ace!

Our bedroom is finally painted, and I can’t believe I waited so long to do it. (I say that every time.) But before we get into that, let’s first address the gorilla-sized hole in the room, seen in the picture below:

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See on the wall under the window? Last year, as we were doing the floors, we discovered that some water had been seeping in through our windows during the winter, and that water was turning to mold. Chris pulled this section out to see how bad it was, and thank goodness it didn’t require taking down the whole wall. We re-sealed all the windows and had some people look the drywall. Fortunately, we were able to treat it without further deconstruction to our home. BUT, this hole has been there, staring at us, for a year now. This month, Ace Hardware challenged us to take on a home maintenance project and I decided to fix this eye sore once and for all myself (#likeagirl amiright?!) with my camera timer set, while Chris is on the mend. Here’s a quick little walk-through:

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You can see the hole was an irregular shape. First, you want to square off the area to be patched. Make sure where you cut lands in the center of a stud, so the remaining sheetrock and the new piece each have the stud behind them for support.

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Cut a small piece of sheetrock to fit. We picked up a small 2ftx2ft piece of 1/2inch sheetrock from our local Ace for a couple bucks, and it was just perfect.

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Screw the sheetrock in, one screw in each corner. If you have a larger piece, you may need to use more screws. Also put a screw into the original sheetrock, just to keep it secured to the stud.

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Spread a thin layer of joint compound over the gaps and top with mesh tape. The mesh tape keeps the joint compound from cracking. It’s a good thing.

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Then add more joint compound and let it dry completely. For this we er on the side of adding too much joint compound, because you’re gonna sand it anyway and you want to make sure you have enough so you can sand it flat.

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I started sanding it using coarse grit sandpaper, and then worked my way to a fine grit.

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Many of you have expressed your wonder and amazement (disgust?) for textured walls. And I get it. I grew up in Pittsburgh where we didn’t have textured walls or ceilings and, man, I didn’t even know how good we had it. But since moving out west a decade ago, I have yet–YET!–to come across a completely smooth wall and ceiling combination. In our home, our walls have a slight orange peel texture, so the last step is to add some of this:

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Once that’s dried, prime and paint.

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Of course we still need to install baseboards here to really make everything appear seamless, but getting that hole patched, however big the job felt for an entire year, was an easy (really easy!) step in the right direction. Another step toward a better room? Our new paint color:

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Boom! You saw the paint swatches we narrowed it down between here, and they were all over the map. While they all fit into the mood board we made up for our room, in the end, we decided to do something darker and keep things warm and cozy. Valspar’s Flannel Gray from Ace Hardware turned out to be thee perfect choice. It’s a warm, dark, slate grayish-blue.

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It’s going to be a great backdrop for the rest of the plans we have for the space. You can check those out here. Numero uno–new bed linens. Goodness, we’ve been rocking these for six years and it shows (I know!)

To kick off another great year with Ace Hardware, and three cheers for tying up those home maintenance loose ends!–we’re giving away a $100 gift card to Ace! You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway runs through Wednesday, March 4th. Take luck and Happy Weekend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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We’re excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel again this year! Ace has provided us with compensation and the materials necessary to complete this project and strive to be as generous with our readers (thanks, Ace!) All opinions are our own.