Our DIY Bed Frame and an Unsponsored Review of the Casper Mattress

I promised another project, and I’m already delivering! Good job, me.

We didn’t purchase a lot of furniture for the new house — besides the couch and the desk, we had a lot of what we needed to fill up the majority of rooms in the house. One thing we both agreed was a must-purchase was a new king-sized bed: the master bedroom was more than large enough to accommodate one and we’ve been dreaming of a larger mattress every time we stayed in a hotel.

There was a lot of debate over which mattress we were going to get. We loved our queen mattress, which was a Laura Ashley, but they’ve discontinued the exact model, so we started searching for something else. I initially was set on getting a Hilton to Home mattress after sleeping on one during an extra-long layover in New York last year. But even with the frequent sales they were running, we couldn’t justify the cost of the Hilton bed when we were also considering something much cheaper: the Casper bed.

Casper is one of those direct-to-consumer mattress companies. You order online, it arrives at your door about 3 days later, and you have 100 days to try it out. If you don’t like it, you can return it, at no cost to you, for a full refund.

I have to admit, I was super skeptical at first, but the risk-free trial period sold me on the Casper — not to mention it was half the price of the Hilton bed.

We’ve been sleeping on our Casper mattress for about two months now, and I am a true believer in the wonders of this mattress — Casper didn’t pay me to say that, either (although those are referral links up there). I just love this bed!

I had plans to purchase a cheap bed frame for our new mattress until we decided what we wanted for the room, but Troy didn’t want to spend the money on something that wasn’t going to be permanent. So we slept on a mattress on the floor for a couple of weeks until Troy decided he was going to build us a bed frame.

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A Rundown of our Appliance Selections

It’s been quite the whirlwind since we moved into the house — unpacking, deliveries, decorating, organizing, maintenance visits, and tons of shopping, all while holding down our normal jobs, of course. Add into that my best friend’s wedding and a work trip to Europe and I’m still trying to get my head to stop spinning!

So many fun, amazing things, but it hasn’t given me a lot of time to sit down and write about our move and some of the early decisions we’ve made as we’ve begun to settle in to our new home.

One of the very first things we did after closing was order our appliances. Since we essentially started staying at the house the moment we got the keys, we were without appliances for nearly a week — thank goodness for the grill we had in storage (and takeout, obvi), or else we would have starved.

The majority of our appliances were ordered on Friday and arrived the following Thursday. A good friend extended us his GE employee discount, which was great because we were already a big fan of GE appliances as they had a lot of the features we were looking for in their products. We got our fridge, gas range, dishwasher, and washing machine from him.

Our dryer and microwave were purchased at a local store called Big George’s. If you are in the Ann Arbor area, I cannot recommend Big George’s enough. Their salesmen are friendly, knowledgeable, and very low-pressure. Their customer service is great, delivery was seamless, and their prices are the best around.

We picked up the TV and microwave on the day that we moved and had the dryer delivered and installed. Troy installed the microwave above the range himself without too much difficulty.

I wanted to give a quick run-down of the appliances we purchased and why — they are going to likely make quite a few appearances in future posts, so hopefully it will help to have this information all in one place.

First up, the kitchen…

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New Home Inspiration: Living Room

If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ve probably noticed that it has been blowing up with decor ideas for the house. Since we seem to be in another building lull, I thought it would be fun to share some of my ideas for the interior of our home, starting with the living room.

The main floor living space is not huge. I’ve already posted about the couch, but here’s another photo to jog your memory:

buchananvia the Pottery Barn website

We chose this couch because we want it to “float” in front of the fireplace and, in order to have room for a walkway on either side, we had to choose something less than 90 inches in width.

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Customizing Our Home: Selections, Part 2

Read part 1 here

Even though the backsplash took some time to decide on, most of the kitchen decisions came fairly naturally. Another very easy decision was paint color. We had the choice of several designer paint colors as part of an upgrade package discount that was being offered. I had narrowed it down to two colors (one in the dark category and one in the medium category) and was leaning toward the lighter of the two. Kim recommended we go lighter, since the color would cover every room in the house, including the small spaces like the closets and powder room, and that sealed the deal. Our color: Sherwin Williams Knitting Needles.

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Paint swatch from Sherwin Williams

We also upgraded our paint option to have the ceilings painted white to provide some contrast.

Once we had the hardwood, paint, and most of the kitchen elements selected, we moved on to carpet.

Choosing a quality carpet was one of the things on our “important” list. We didn’t have any carpet in our last home and are already looking forward to utilizing it in the new house (ever tried at-home yoga on a hardwood floor? Not so relaxing). I’d over budgeted for the carpet and the padding so we’d be able to get exactly what we wanted.

This was another decision that took a bit of time: even though we had our pick of almost any option, finding the right color was challenging. We finally settled on a Mohawk UltraStrand UltraSoft nylon carpeting in Snowflake.

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Carpet sample from the Mohawk website

Another whole-house upgrade was the interior doors. For less than $40 total, we got every door upgraded to a craftsman-style door that we liked much more than the standard wooden doors. The knobs and hinges will all be black, a subtle difference that makes a big impact.

interior doors

Next up were the bathrooms.

If you remember from the floor plan, we’ll have a powder room (half bath) on the first floor, and two full bathrooms on the second floor. While the master bath was definitely on our “important” list, it was also very important to Troy that the powder room be upgraded as well, since that is the bathroom that most guests will see, and likely the one we will use the most as well.

For the powder room, we upgraded the toilet to a fancy Kohler Archer toilet, which will match the (also upgraded) Kohler Archer pedestal sink and Kohler Alteo faucet. Like most of the first floor, the powder room will have the hickory hardwood flooring.photo (7)

The master bath will also receive the upgraded treatment in the form of a raised vanity in dark wood with a 72” Evercor countertop in Kaberwheat (which the website shows as very tan, but is mostly white).

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Countertop sample from US Marble

The double sinks will have the same Kohler Alteo faucets with the matching Kohler Alteo shower faucet.

We went with tile in the master bath (well, it feels like tile — I think it looks more like wood). They had it installed in the showroom and it looked really nice with some dark grout.

master bath flooring

The shower insert was upgraded to a curved wall stall. Originally I had wanted a tiled shower stall, but it wasn’t offered unless we upgraded to a premium bathroom package. I didn’t mind the insert, so we just left it at the much lesser upgrade, coming in way under budget on that front.

master shower inset

We requested a special quote to be done to add a window in the master bathroom. This came in at a reasonable price, so there will be one on the wall where a linen closet was originally planned.

As for the second full bath on the second floor, we went with the standard laminate in Deep Slate for the floors (same for the laundry room, which is also on the second floor) and the same dark wood vanity as the master bath. The countertops are a 48” standard white marble with a single sink, but we did upgrade the counter height here as well.

second bath cabs & floor

 Here you can see the cabinets for the upstairs bathrooms, as well as the flooring for both bathrooms. That little white square is the actual color of the master bath countertops — not very tan in this picture, huh?

Lighting in all three bathrooms are multi-lamped fixtures (number of bulbs depends on the room, but I believe it is 2, 3, and 4 for the half-, guest-, and master bath, respectively).

master bath lighting

Speaking of lights, we also decided to upgrade the hanging lights in the breakfast nook and the dining room. Originally we planned on doing this upgrade ourselves after we moved in, but decided, for less than $90 a piece, it was simpler to have the builder install them and save us the trouble.

hanging lights

In the forefront, the dining room fixture; bottom left, breakfast nook

We added recessed lights in the kitchen (six of them, to be exact) and also two in the living room flanking the fireplace.

Oh, did I mention the fireplace? It’ll look something like this:

fireplace

The standard flush-mount lights will be pretty much everywhere else. The master bedroom will be prepped for an eventual ceiling fan. My hope is that these get replaced fairly soon after we move in, since they aren’t my favorite.

flushmount light

Next up, we finish with the exterior, and I have some final thoughts to share.

Ready for Part 3? Click here!

Customizing Our Home: Selections, Part 1

We’re back from our selections appointment, and I am so relieved it’s over! Yes, it was fun to design our new home, to see the different elements coming together to form a palate of colors and textures, but it was exhausting. I’m not naturally a decisive person, so having a full day to not only select the finishes but to finalize them, with no changes allowed once we left the showroom, definitely caused some anxiety.

Because we spent the whole day in the showroom, and because so many details were decided, this may take a few posts to get through, as I attempt to be as thorough as possible. I also have to apologize for the subpar photos — not only did I forget my good camera, the lighting in the showroom was absolutely terrible (you would think an investment in some daylight bulbs would be a priority, so people can actually see what they are getting). I did the best I could under the circumstances.

I was a mix of anxious and excited for the appointment and barely slept the night before. We were scheduled to start at 9:00AM, so after a hearty breakfast at a local spot, we arrived at the showroom, binder of preparation materials in hand, ready to make some decisions.

showroom_entrance

It’s just how I imagined it!

Once we were checked in, we were greeted by our selections consultant, Kim. Kim was there throughout the whole process, offering suggestions, looking up prices, and keeping our overall look consistent throughout the house.

Kim went through all of our structural options with us for a second time (we’d already done most of this with our sales consultant) and asked what were the most important parts of the house to focus on. Without hesitation we answered kitchen, master bathroom, and flooring, which were the areas we started with.

First up was the kitchen.

Starting with the no-brainers, I knew I wanted white shaker 42” cabinets with black hardware, dark granite countertops, and a large undermount sink. Based on the price booklet we had been provided prior to our appointment, I had put together a spreadsheet with estimations on what each upgrade would cost. For the kitchen, we were under budget on the cabinets, but upgraded to a higher level granite to get the color we wanted (Arctic Pearl is what we ultimately decided on).

kitchen

Ignore that rogue tile, we went with something fancier for the backsplash.

We opted not to include hardware when the color we wanted wasn’t available, and our big sink was included as a standard option.

kitchen sink

Another place we went over budget was the backsplash. Originally neither of us necessarily wanted a backsplash, but since it is a requirement to include one, we needed to pick one we liked. All of the standard options weren’t doing it for us, so we went with a nice matte gray tile with light gray grout.

kitchen cabs & backsplash

Very, very washed out photo, but you get the idea…

The backsplash was one of the harder decisions we made that day, since neither of us were thrilled about spending money on something we didn’t really want in the first place. But it was required, so we picked something we were both happy with, and in the end I know it will really finish out the kitchen and look great.

We also upgraded the kitchen faucet to a nice Kohler Bellera in a stainless finish.

kitchen faucet

Same faucet, different finish.

Because we wanted to get higher end kitchen appliances than the builder offered, we didn’t plan to even venture into the appliances area in the showroom. However, Kim still showed us the standard range, dishwasher, and hood vent, since those would need to be installed in order for the house to pass inspection. Ideally, once the house is nearing completion, we are hopeful that our project manager will leave these appliances uninstalled so we can have our own put in instead.

In tandem with the kitchen, we also chose the wood floor that would be installed in the kitchen, breakfast nook, foyer, mudroom, and powder room. This was actually the very first decision we made, and might have been the easiest: I had previewed all of the wood options online and priced them out. As soon as we saw our top contender in person, we both agreed it was exactly what we wanted (I’d even say better in person!). It’s a 5” hickory engineered hardwood in “charcoal” so it has a bit of a grey tint to it (are you sensing a color theme yet?).

wood floor

Yikes, an entire post devoted to the kitchen?! This might take longer than I thought…

Ready for part 2? Click here!