Over the last seven years I have blogged. a lot. And one of the biggest things I get asked is “How is blank holding up?”. Everybody is interested in blank and how it’s surviving the Bower household.
Usually I answer that with “none of your business…it’s my blank not yours”….followed with “stop judging me…blank is happy here” and then an emotional and remorseful “I am so sorry….I need a nap”. Seriously. I do. And I need to lay off the cheesy jokes.
I just didn’t realize what a frequent question that is….until recently when I started counting how many times that has been asked. It’s over 400. I lost count at that point. Also I lost a lot of brain cells too because I’m not used to counting over twenty. That’s the top number in Curious George’s Big Book of Curiosity 🙂
So I thought that I would answer the majority of the 400+ questions and give you an update on the products and projects that we have installed and used over the years. This post is to answer the question “How is ________holding up?” and hopefully make you more informed on whether that item is the right choice for your own home!
Item : The Martha Stewart Winterthur Carpet in our second floor bedrooms (read the post here)
Grade : A-
Review : We installed our carpet four years ago in our upstairs bedrooms. We bought our carpet directly from Home Depot and were really pleased with the installation and the initial quality of the carpet. It has a lattice type pattern that adds interest and hides dirt well. We have never had the carpet professionally cleaned but we do vacuum regularly and we have our own cleaner so our wear is based on four years of normal traffic. I would not say that our bedrooms are high traffic areas. Overall, we are still loving our carpet (although we do think that this year it does warrant a visit from a pro carpet cleaner) and we have noticed that over the years we will get a loose thread here or there but nothing that a quick snip of scissors can’t handle. The areas that receive the most traffic are Jeremy’s side of the bed (he wears shoes more than anyone else in the house) and if we don’t vacuum it regularly, it will mat down and not look nice and new. We use Folex carpet cleaning spray on little spots and so far, we have had great success with that.
Buy or Pass : Definite buy for low to moderate traffic areas. I recommend regular vacuuming and cleaning every other year at least.
Item : LG LFX28978ST Refrigerator (read the post here)
Grade : C+
Review : Overall, this fridge hasn’t been terrible…but it hasn’t been the wondrous machine I thought it would be either. It cost us roughly $2000 and for that kinda moolah, I fully expected to live with it for a couple months and fully jump onto the french door fridge train. Just. Didn’t. Happen. There are some features that I do like about the fridge…it’s relatively easy to clean, easy to find filters for and the adjustable shelf space in the fridge part is great. I realize though that the freezer part is just not great on french door fridges. Things get buried. Things get lost. And then you find an old frozen fish stick at the bottom and question how long it’s been in there. A couple of the shelves in the doors have broken and that is disappointing because we don’t use them for anything heavy…just condiments…and the ice & water dispenser thing still confuses pretty much every single guest that comes to our house. Also, in the last year the water button sticks…so you could be filling up your cup and stop pressing the button…but it keeps spewing. We have a worn floor spot in front of the fridge from numerous spills and constant wiping just because nobody can figure it out. I don’t have any other french door fridges to compare it to so that is why it still gets a passing grade.
Buy or Pass : Pass unless the price is right and you love french door fridges.
Item : LG LDF6920ST Dishwasher (read the post here)
Grade : C+ for the first three years, D- for the last year
Review : If Jeremy were writing this review, it would be full of curse words. He currently hates the dishwasher. When he started working from home, he asked me what he could help with…housework wise….and we quickly learned that laundry is not his thing…so dishwashing has become a shared task (he does the morning load and I do the night time load)…and he has said numerous times that he hates our dishwasher with a passion. In our last house, we had a much cheaper dishwasher and it worked great. This one…notsomuch. It stops constantly. It doesn’t always dissolve the soap. It’s not a great indicator for the drying agent….which you absolutely have to have. You actually have to put clean dishes in before washing because otherwise it just cements the food particles onto the dish. We have taken it apart to clean all the parts and tubes and sprayers and filters and it still doesn’t clean like we expect. The positive part is that the inside LOOKS clean and that the door is still intact.
Buy or Pass : Pass. Pass immediately.
Item : Our painted kitchen and laundry room cabinets (read the post here)
Grade : B
Review : This is a hard one because honestly, we still love our cabinets. We painted our cabinets with Clean Start primer and then Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint to change them from brown to white and used a sprayer for a better finish on the kitchen cabinets and a brush for the laundry room cabinet. Overall, they are holding up well. The only part that is even showing real wear is the trash can pullout cabinet front and that is probably because I constantly have to wipe it and scrape stuff off the front. The finish did take a lot longer to cure than the paint can said. When I clean, I use a antibacterial spray with a paper towel and then for tough marks, I pull out the Magic Eraser. There aren’t a whole lot of marks that survive that cleaning method. The only reason I give it a B is because now I have handled the factory finish of the basement cabinetry and that is SO nice. Way nicer than painted cabinets. Overall though, painting cabinets is a lot cheaper than purchasing new and ours did not justify replacing.
Buy or Pass : Buy….great alternative to spending thousands on new cabinetry
Item : Target Belvedere patio furniture (read the post here)
Grade : A
Review : The patio below our deck has this furniture and so far, it has been exactly what we expected. We actually don’t pull the cushions inside…we just leave them out….and after it rains we just turn them on their side so the water drains out. The “wicker” has held up great and we can clean it when we pressure wash each year. Overall, this area does stay moist and we expected more rust on the metal screws underneath and green junk growing on the chair surface but we have been pleasantly surprised that the rust has been very very minimal and the green junk takes a long time to show (a yearly pressure wash takes care of it!). The cushions have bedded down a very slight amount over the years but still look new. I did notice one seam started to come apart (it was on a hidden area and it was a one inch separation….so I probably will try to fix that with a needle and thread but since these live outside and we have three kids (four if you count the neighbor kid and seven if you count the kids in the basement) climbing all over these, I’m surprised there aren’t more. We do spot clean the cushions and do a light pressure washing to them when we do the rest of the patio.
Buy or Pass : Buy! Very nice quality!
Item : Pottery Barn Kids Madras bedding in boys room (read the post here)
Grade : A+
Review : I honestly questioned my sanity when I bought the madras bedding for the boys room….it’s kinda pricey (like a hundred dollars a pop for the quilt and then $30 for the sham) and kids are notorious for ruining things. But I couldn’t be more pleased! It has held up great and still looks bright and new. Our boys don’t love quilts so they definitely don’t get normal wear but we do follow the instructions to wash cold and dry low and so far, the colors have lasted and the fabric has gotten softer and perfect for sweet little boys!
Buy or Pass : Buy!
Item : Target Brookline chairs in our current dining room (read the post here)
Grade : B+
Review : I bought the Brookline chairs for our dining room and so far, they have received VERY light use (maybe 12-18 times!). The legs have needed tightening twice in the last year (easy fix but surprising since we hardly ever use them) and the fabric has held up ok. We did ScotchGuard these and children rarely are on them so that probably helps with the wear and tear factor. Overall, I still love the style and besides the loose legs, there has been zero problems with them (I expected zero problems!) so I guess the less than stellar grade is because I hate digging out the little tightener tool 🙂
Buy or Pass : Buy….good price for the chair but expect to tighten them legs 🙂
Item : Ikea Hemnes dresser – dark in nursery, white in boys room (read the post here)
Grade : B+
Review : We have two Hemnes dressers and both are holding up well. The top of the dark one has some fairly large dents (we attached the changing pad to the back of the dresser and tucked the belt under the pad….we just never buckle them for diapers….and those buckles did leave marks) so I definitely would not say that the wood is hard as nails. Overall, these hold a great amount of clothing and the size is great for diaper changes (Jeremy is 5’11” and I am 5’7″ so if that is an indicator).
Buy or Pass : Buy
Item : Ikea butcher block countertop in our first house (read the post here)
Grade : A-
Review : We installed the butcher block countertop in our first house in the master bathroom and so far, we have been pleased with it. We still own that house and rent it out and over the past four years have noticed that there will be marks and spots indicating that the top needs to be refinished which is not difficult with an electric sander and some sealant. We did choose not to stain it just simply because refinishing would then mean restaining and that is one extra step that seems like more work considering it’s a rental and will probably get increased wear and tear. Overall, it’s a great piece and has not warped or cracked.
Buy or Pass : Buy
Item : The Pallet Accent Wall in our first house nursery (read the post here)
Grade : A++
Review : I love going on Pinterest and seeing that the pallet/wood wall has been such a huge trend. I feel like I was on the forefront of that trend when we did Will’s nursery five years ago. I had never seen one before and there were no tutorials to follow (Pinterest didn’t exist then!) so we did our best to make this accent wall safe and last for the long haul. It is still in our first house (currently a rental) and has been great! At one point this room was even used as a homeschool room and papers were stapled all over the pallet wood and those little holes just disappear! We do recommend vacuuming the wall for dust that might find it’s way into cracks but other than that, it’s super low maintenance but adds so much dimension and personality. All the boards have stayed attached and not shown any wear and tear.
Buy or Pass : BUY! Or should I say do!
Hope you guys liked the little blast from the past and hopefully that convinces you to either jump in or steer clear of similar items! If there is anything else that you want a long-term review of, put it in the comments and I’ll do this again at some point. ya know. in another seven years 🙂