By now everyone’s probably aware that there’s a $5,000 bonus up for grabs for the person who earns the most votes on their project over on BHG.com (remember we did this to our porch?). And although we’re holding steady at second place, a bunch of people have commented and emailed us to ask what we would do with BHG’s $5,000 bonus if we were lucky enough to take it home. Of course our initial reaction is always “well, we hate to count our chickens… especially since the competition is so fierce and we definitely have some ground to make up…” but since you guys are very (very) persistent we figured we’d indulge you (and ourselves) and let our home-improvement-loving imaginations wander.
After all, $5,000 is ten times the amount of money that we had for the challenge (!) and although we would donate some of it to one of our favorite housing charity here in Richmond, we’d definitely put the rest right back into the house (no shopping sprees at Bloomies or fabulous vacations for us). Of course your votes would help that become a bit closer to a reality (if everyone who read this post voted once a day until June 12th we’d definitely be contenders). So without further ado, here’s what we’d do:
#1. Retile the hearth of the living room fireplace (it’s actually just old red terra cotta tile that we painted white and then sealed with about a hundred coats of water-based polyurethane). We’d love to do something with white river rocks, glass mosaic tile or even white marble so here’s hoping…
#2. Replace the boring builder light fixtures in both of our guest bedrooms. But they both won’t just be something off the shelf. That would be too easy. We’re thinking we’d love to DIY a large drum shade with little cascading tabs of white felt, or even something woven or rattan (perhaps made from a repurposed runner or a few woven placemats).
#3. Completely overhaul the 50-year-old bathroom. We’re talking tile work, maybe some wainscotting, a new vanity/sink, etc. We did our best to salvage our vintage tile, but there are cracks and discolorations everywhere we look, so one day we’d love a complete redo. And that day would certainly come sooner with a little extra cash in our wallets (and you know John’s itching to pick up the sledgehammer, right?)…
#4. Add a lounging area to the patio. We’d bring in some planters, some posh West Elm-ish lounge chairs, a few accent tables and even an all-weather rug to make our little table-only patio into a bona fide outdoor room. Maybe even build a stone fire pit. That would be cool, right?
#5. Introduce a bit of layered, textural interest in the half bathroom. This one’s gonna be a surprise so that’s all you get.
#6. Transform our secret room. Yeah, we actually have a separate entry basement under the sunroom that currently looks like this. Pretty nasty, eh? But we’ve dealt with some pretty bad befores and we actually have a plan for this mindnumbingly terrible cinder block prison.
You may be asking yourself if we’re confused and think that the BHG bonus is $50,000 and not $5,000, but we’re cheap little buggers and a few of these projects would only run us around $100 which would leave a lot more bank for a few of the more major tasks on our dream to-do list.
And of course we have to say that we’re extremely thankful just to have been included in the challenge and to be among such fabulous fellow bloggers! And if the extra moolah isn’t in the cards we still have big plans here at Casa Petersik. This is just what happens when we let our imaginations wander… we get all hyper and sweaty. Thanks for the fun!
I would love to see you guys win so I can see your amazing projects happen. :) Voted again. Good luck!
new reader here, you’ve got my vote today!
hey, question about your copper fire-pit/bowl/whatever it’s called. My parents have one too and we used it during my brother’s wedding (also a backyard affair) – but the next day we realized we killed a spot in the lawn that was under the fire pit. It took a long time to fill back in. So after that my dad glued some leftover tiles to a piece of wood and attached a rope handle, and now we put that under the fire pit to protect the lawn or deck when we use it.
Have you guys had a similar experience or were you smarter than us and protected the lawn from the get-go?
We’re so not smarter than you guys, in fact we also have a little circle of grass that has disappeared under the small iron fire pit in the yard. The only difference is that we assume it’s because of the lack of sun since we rarely ever actually use the fire pit but it keeps that part of the grass in shadow 24/7. Does that make sense? Anyway we’re not too worried about it because it’s not visible since the fire pit blocks it, and we can always move the pit and reseed the little circle of dead grass in the fall and it should come in like new (grass is very “enthusiastic” in the fall, so it’s always the best time to reseed). Hope it helps!
I vote for you guys whenever I remember because I want to see all the house projects you do afterwards! It’s helpful when you remind us to vote though because some days I forget. Thanks for the “preview” of possible projects!
I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now and it was love at first site. I’ve been voting everyday since I learned that you were in this competition. I really hope you win because I look forward to all the afters of all of the projects you listed! Good Luck!
Voted!! Good luck.. I love these design ideas and very interested to see those guest bedroom light fixtures!
Actually, if you guys win, we ALL win :)
Bethany at Emmy Lu says
Ok, I finally registered today, and have placed my vote for Young House Love!! I will vote daily for you guys… I’d love to see all these project become a reality!
I’m still voting every day! Where’s all the people who wanted the white ceramic thingies?
I’d love to see the bathroom or basement revamp. I love your “holy crap, I can’t believe it looked like that!” before/after projects!
And of course, voted today. :)
Julia Ryan says
I’ve been looking EVERYWHERE online for a DIY drum shade chandelier how-to. I really hope y’all win so you can teach us how to do our own! I have found the price between drum shades and actual drum shade chadeliers to be pretty big and I’m dying to do one in my new fixer upper house! By the way, I was born and raised in Richmond but I live on the coast in South Carolina now and love all of your decor ideas!
I have been voting for you guys as well…..LOVE your website!
Quick question….what color of white did you use for all your trim work in the house!?!?!
We actually used Glidden’s Ready-Mix white (the semi-gloss gallon of stock paint that you can buy right off the shelf without getting it custom mixed). It’s a great white tone that’s not too stark or too dingy. We also love Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White. Hope it helps!
I am a quiet reader…but I have your blog in my favorites and read often! I absolutely love your DIY wedding! It is my fave.
AND…I voted for you guys!:)
Jaime @ Project [Casa de Ayala] says
I just found your blog a few weeks ago through the Nest, and I’m already hooked. I don’t even own a house yet, but you are very inspiring! I just voted for you at BHG and I wanted to let you know I hope you guys win so you can keep up the cool projects! Can’t wait to see how they turn out! I’ll keep voting for ya!
Already voted this morning…. just like every day! I hope you guys win, I want to see what else you can come up with on a dime!!
And I’m with Jennifer… where ARE all the people who entered to win the ZGallerie goodies??? C’mon folks, John and Sherry help us out around the house AND keep us entertained… help ’em out! :-)
did you do the back patio pavers yourself or did you hire out? if you dont mind sharing, how much did it cost? approx. thanks.
Just a few weeks before our backyard wedding we decided the old patio was a safety hazard and it would be too stressful to try to DIY something with such a tight schedule (and so much wedding work to do – we even catered it ourselves!). So we opted to use some wedding-present money towards replacing it. After a bunch of estimates we found someone who would demo the entire original patio, haul it away, level the ground, lay the new patio with cobblestone pavers (with custom-cut curves and a walkway to our back gate) and finish in TWO AMAZING DAYS! It ran us around $2300 but it was totally worth it for the stress-free installation (which we definitely needed right before our big day) and we’re sure you could get it for even cheaper these days now that times are tough. Hope it helps!
I’ve been voting everyday because I just know that what you do with the money will be great material for the blog and I can’t wait to see your creative ideas!
ok ok i finally voted :)
I just registered and voted for you guys! I love your porch, and this whole blog.
guys, I bow down to your superior skills of bargain hunting and diy. best of luck on the challenge!
Hi, I love your blog! I happened across it a couple of weeks ago and have been very inspired lately.
I was wondering if you use fresh flowers in your home to decorate or buy fake? And if fake from where? Thanks so much :)
You’re getting my vote daily!
Juliet Robinson says
Still voting for you guys just about every day! Would really love to see what you do with the prize money.
Two questions though. One, do you use your fireplace? I also have a white painted fireplace and I’m wondering if it gets sooty on the outside after being used. (new house for us, and we haven’t tried out the fireplace yet). I love the idea of covering with river rock, but wondering if that would be harder to keep clean than the painted brick which I would think would be easy enough to wipe down.
Second question: Is there some trick to taking before/after pictures? Just wondering because the After pics I’ve taken just don’t look quite as impressive as yours. I am wondering if there are any “cheats” that you know of to make the before pics colder/darker and the after pics warmer/brighter? Or maybe I’m just not as fabulous of a re-designer as you!
Love the blog, keep it up, and I’ll keep on voting for ya!
Marie- So glad you found your way to our little blog. We actually only use fresh flowers (usually under $5 from the grocery store or cut from the backyard) but we also like to display certain varieties of dried flowers (like the blue hydrangea that lives above our fireplace for all eternity- or until it gets too dusty…hehe). We really like decorating with fresh green plants in crisp white planters too. Here’s a little more info on that. Happy decorating!
Juliet- Good question about the river rocks- there are actually sealants that can be applied to natural stone to make it just as wipe-able and non-porous as polyurethane so we’d definitely do our research to make sure that whatever we install is “soot safe” before the big hearth makeover! We don’t often use that fireplace (although we do every now and then for that “it’s Christmas” feeling) so it’s definitely something to keep in mind. And as for our picture-taking tips, we always always always turn the flash off (opening up the blinds to let in the light and turning on all the lamps and fixtures in the room makes for photos that are a lot more natural and pretty) and we try to take a number of photos from a variety of angles so we have a lot of options to choose from. We also like to use the “macro” setting on our camera if we’re doing a close up detail shot (trying to capture the weave in our jute rug for example) since that makes things look very clear and crisp when they’re up close. Hope it helps!
Mary Anne says
I think you and Nicole both rocked the challenge, but I am voting for you two becuase I love how accesible and real you guys are!
Have been voting every day since the polls opened up. Your project was the essence of DIY combined with professionalism….make sense? Like an approachable project for people to do at home but looks like a professional did it. Plus, I have 2 dogs and I am a sucker for anything that incorporates Burger.
Aww, thanks for all the voting love guys! We really appreciate it and can’t wait to see how it all shakes out.
Sherry & John (& Burger too)
I’ve been voting and will continue to!! I really hope you two win!
I’m going to play devil’s advocate and tell you that in light of the recent paycut…and the possibility we all face of layoffs…if you win..put that money in the bank.
We appreciate your level headed response! And it’s definitely something that we weighed heavily before announcing all these dream projects. We’re actually very lucky to have spent years creating an emergency fund for just this economy so we feel safe enough to put the unexpected prize money towards home improvements without guilt… if we’re lucky enough to win. We can’t forget that important detail!
We also like to put a good amount of money that the blog generates back into the blog (ie: into home improvements we can share) because it’s our business so we do our best to nurture it. And of course we just love sharing our adventures in home improvement with you guys and it’s an awesome opportunity to tackle some pretty cool projects!
i would argue that they ARE putting the money in the bank by improving their home. it may not be something they can recoup right away (they’ll probably have to wait until they sell the house) but it’s still good as gold to improve the house, imo.
john & sherry…
i love both your blog and nicole’s i read both on a daily basis, and i find it so hard to choose who to vote for because i love both of your projects so much. to be honest, i do vote for you guys one day and nicole another…not sure if that’s actually helping anyone, though!! but this post has definitely swayed my opinion…i can’t wait to see those fabulous afters!! i will be voting for the “youngsters” from this day forward. ;) love you guys!!
Yes I can’t understand where all the voters are. All you people who leave comments when there is a freebie where are you now! If you all voted there is no way the youngsters would be behind in the polls.
Ummm, you mean to tell me there may be people who read your blog regularly and don’t vote everyday????? People, you must vote! Everyday! It’s easy. I have my co-worker voting, too. I remind her everyday :) It’s the least we can do for all the incredible ideas and inspiration y’all give us! I don’t spend much time reading blogs. Actually, yours is the only one I do read, although I am giving All Bower Power a little attention now, too (Go, Katie). You’re special, see? You guys rock!
I am voting daily!! I think you guys are great and I love your blog :)
Have been voting every day. And so what with the hyperactive dreaming and sweating… that’s what deodorant is for!!!
Melissa Anderson says
I vote everyday and I think it’s great you shared with everyone what you would do with the $5,000 – it makes even more happy that I vote for you two everyday.
Voted for the first time…will continue to daily! :)
Love this blog – ya’ll are such an inspiration! I voted today!!!
Cecily T says
I really want to see what you are going to do with those lights. They are nearly the same as what we have *everywhere* and frankly, they look like boobs. with nipples. I can’t stand them. I get what kind of light to put in when it’s a ‘room’ light like you have, but they’ve also installed them here as walkway lighting, since we have a sort of hallway along our living room, and a chandelier or anything with a shade just seems to big for just getting us from A to B. I’ve been thinking about it lately.
Sierra Nething says
I vote everyday! You all should too… it takes like 15 seconds. I can’t wait to see what you guys do with the basement!
Those are some awesome ideas! I would LOVE to see the basement transformation! I’m sure you guys would totally rock that room :)
I usually don’t like to tamper with features that are original to a home, but could totally see your entire fireplace refaced with, say, glass tile mosaic while still keeping the mid-century look.
Come on, people! Thirty seconds to register, and fifteen seconds every day to vote. John & Sherry even make it easy by including the link in the P.S. every day! If you read the blog regularly, vote regularly too. How amazing would it be to see all these projects, and the DIY tips that will come with them???
Still voting daily! :) I really want to see you guys tackle all these projects–it’s wonderful inspiration!!
Your roof may be fairly new, but if you and John put on a new roof at some point would you change the color and style of the shingles? Just curious if you would go darker since your black shutters compliment your bricks so well. Being frugal, I’m sure you’re hoping to get as much life out of your existing roof as possible, since it’s a high dollar home improvement expense.
Tackling the roof is definitely another dream project but we have a good 5 more years out of our current gray roof (at least) so in the interests of being frugal we’ll probably wait as long as possible before replacing it. We actually go back and forth between wanting a black slate roof (or a faux-slate one since there are engineered products that look like slate but have more durability) or a deep oil-rubbed bronze seamed tin roof (which would definitely be an investment but they’re said to last forever, which appeals to us since we plan to be here forever). Someday…
Thanks for telling us your plans. I have to admit, I haven’t voted up until now, but this definitely inspired me. :-)
Starry-Eyed Barefoot Bride says
We are keeping our fingers crossed and continuing to vote for yall! I love the current redo ideas – very inspiring!
Ok, ok, ok. I am a faithful reader who (gasp!) has been resisting registering at BHG. But the guilt is overwhelming now, and I just can’t stand it anymore. John and Sherry are so great. Off to register and vote . . .
Wahooo! Thanks Laura C. Every vote counts and we really appreciate the effort!
s (& j)
Voted! Now I wish I could vote more than once a day. Hey – I’ll ask my hubby to vote too! And maybe my mom will be willing to . . . Cool! I got a note from YHL! Just made my day! ;=)
Perhaps I watch too much Suze Orman. It is possible. I just always play devil’s advocate. While I LOVE LOVE LOVE to see all that you guy’s do, there is that little voice in my head somewhere. Never at all meant that you two are not levelheaded etc. because that is so so far from what I’ve encountered here.
I suppose I do not currently see home improvements as investments in light of all that is happening with real estate, etc. I’m sure it will all turn around and if you intend to stay forever, then there is no shame in buffing up your glam.
Hi! I adored hearing about YHL’s plans for the potential prize money. I’ve been voting daily! Good luck!!
Bridget B. says
Hi there, this is a little off topic, but I noticed that you painted your fireplace screen white. We have the exact same one and I spray-painted it a hammered silver color last week trying to get the brushed nickel look.
It looks a little dull but I wasn’t sure how to fix it. I hear you guys talk about polyurethane as a top coat a lot. Do you think this is the way to go to give it a little shine?
We actually just used good old white semi-gloss paint (applied with a brush) for that easy sheen. But a few thin coats of water-based poly would probably do the trick for you! Good luck…