Saturday, March 31, 2012

Steph's Birthday Weekend!

So last weekend was Steph's birthday so we vowed to take at least one day "off" from working on the house. We figured with the impending move, the big-ticket projects, and the work we had put in that we deserved a day off. That didn't mean that we got to take the whole weekend off of course though! Steph and her mom were at the house painting until 1am on Friday, so I stopped by to help and to bring a little birthday snack...
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Magnolia's cupcakes and some beer make any painting party better.
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My Saturday was spent in the normal fashion... working on something or other. This weekend's project was putting down a new sub-floor in the kitchen. We wanted to even out the new and old spaces and clean everything up. I think that I literally used about 1,000 tacks to put it down. If anyone goes to rip it up in the future they are in for a very unwelcome surprise...

We also spent the day cleaning up everything, from the yard to the basement. Since we we moving in a week later, we wanted to make sure that everything was nice and clean. Sorry - I know you really wanted to see pictures of our nice clean basement aka temporary living space / kitchen, but I did not snap any... don't be too disappointed.

So after a "relatively" relaxing work day, Steph and I got into bed with the thought that we did not have to get up at all the following day. The day started as any Sunday should... with brunch! I made her a Cinnamon Baked French Toast (courtesy of Pioneer Woman). We cut up some berries and made some nice strong coffee. It was pretty much perfection.


After that, it was off to a 1:30 showing of the Hunger Games... which was AWESOME. We decided that we need to make a Sunday matinee movie a staple in our lives - especially on rainy days. Even though we had vowed to do nothing house-related, we couldn't resist a trip to Target. Then, we had to (of course) drop off everything... I mean, we had to do SOMETHING productive! Here's the birthday girl now!

After that, it was dinner at one of our favorite Indian restaurants, Indie Blue and then a stop at Steph's parent's house for "cake"... We aren't sure what happened here....

After an enjoyable visit, it was back to the apartment to prepare for the next day of packing and other fun...

Goodbye carpet, hello hardwood.

As you most likely remember, our lovely home was covered from top to bottom by beautiful carpeting. The color schemes ranged from green, to yellow, to red shag. Now, we have nothing against carpet (we have had it in our apartment for the past few years and have been very happy with it), but if we have hardwood that has not seen the light of day in at least 50 years, you know we are going for it. All we had done to date was lift up the edges to see that there was some sort of hardwood under this sea of carpet - we were really rolling the dice by assuming a) the floor was in good condition, and b) that it would be in a decent state throughout. Either way, we were to doing it. We booked the floor refinishers to start on Monday so we had to get all the carpet up before then. We brought in a dumpster to clean up and went to town.

We had a lot of junk to get rid of besides just the carpet! Look at how clean the yard looks.

Steph and I attacked the upstairs and my friend Jon and I took care of downstairs. We were very pleased to find that the floors were actually in great condition.


A couple places needed to be patched, but nothing terrible.

Who rips up carpets in Uggs? Honestly...

The biggest crapshoot was the middle bedroom. We took up all the tile, but there was still cement on the wood. Everyone told us there was *no* way they were getting it up.

But they were wrong!!!

What we found underneath were the original antique heart pine floors. People pay a premium to get these installed in their home, and we had it hidden under our carpet.

In a house where we have had a few issues along the way, it is definitely nice to have something come out so nice.
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We have some paper down to protect the floors, but we are are all set for our furniture...

Sunday, March 25, 2012


A couple weeks back, my parents made the trek up to help us paint some of our rooms. We started off by wiping down the walls to get some of the dust off, but found that the walls were not primed quite as well as we had hoped! Not to fear... we had allotted plenty of time to get the main rooms done and my parents have proved be master painters with an uncanny ability to be incredibly efficient. My parents, Steph's parents, Steph and I all joined forces and re-primed the bedrooms and the hallway in no time flat. Then came the fun part!

The mast bedroom was the main goal.

The color (not pink, as Steph says.. haha) is actually really warm will compliment the furniture that we already have.

The middle bedroom got a nice light grey color.

The back bedroom is "carmel" - Steph definitely has good taste - I trust her judgement.

My dad hard at work. Some visit! This is supposed to be a vacation, right!?

My mom taking a much-needed break! Poor guys just got back from hiking the Grand Canyon.

Unfortunately, as with everything (it seems) with the house, there were some issues! We we went to remove the tape, full chunks of the paint came off with it! We think that the walls weren't properly washed before the first coat of primer was put on my the drywall workers. This caused some unsightly spots along the edge.

Fortunately, we had still gotten a lot done and we were able to fix the problem spots for the most part. There will always be time to touch up in the future!

We were also able to put the first coat of paint on the kitchen while they were here.

When all was said and done, we got the 3 bedrooms painted, the hallway primed, and the kitchen got its first coat. It was a "fun" visit and we hope next time we won't have to do so much work!

We got a lot of painting done, but we still have more to go. Steph and her mother have been attacking the areas that need to be painted whenever they have free time.

See - even painting until 1am can't keep Steph from smiling!

Moving day is LESS than a week away!! We will get there - not that we have a choice now! :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

End of the bathroom saga... Hopefully...

So the saga of the bathroom is *almost* at an end. After the firing of deadbeat tile guy (and still not getting back the funds we were promised) we kept our heads high and decided to attack the floor ourselves - or that was the plan at least. Steph's dad and a family friend, Gary, have been leading most of the projects and hand-holding us because they have done this work before, but the bathroom floor was one job that they were hoping to avoid. However, when I showed up bright and early on Satuday morning, they were attacking it vigorously. Maybe it was because they didn't want to hear about from us anymore… maybe it was because they were tired of not having a bathroom… or maybe it was because they needed a project / challenge… but either way, they were getting it done!

Steph showed up and helped lay the tile out, and with a keen eye and a precise mind she figured out a way to make it look good despite the fact that this 100 year old bathroom is not quite as square as we might have thought! After hours of work, carefully laying out tile pieces, we had everything set up. The following day (our "day off") Steph's dad and Gary went to town cementing the floor and laying the tile. Gary had never laid tile before, but Steph's dad has some experience (and luckily a wet saw too). The cuts were perfect and everything lined up - it was truly amazing that these two could do an exponentially better job than someone who claimed to be a professional.

We still have to grout the floor this weekend, but the hard part is done and we couldn't be happier with the results.

Also, we decided to have our tub refinished because it was in dire need of some TLC. This was a job that deemed a little too large for us, so we brought in someone who knew what they were doing - and thank goodness we did. It looks like a brand new tub!!

This weekend, we will finish this room once and for all - and it couldn't have been done soon enough! A little over a week until we move in!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Who said plaster walls couldn't look new?

So once we were done with a lot of the tearing down and rebuilding, we decided that it was time to focus on our walls. The benefit of not living in a house you are renovating is that there is no furniture to move and nothing to worry about damaging. Add that to the fact that the floors were covered with a semi-permanent drop cloth (i.e. the carpet we are planning to rip up), and you have a perfect opportunity to make a mess. Now, as you may or may not remember, most of the house was overed in plaster walls that were not in the *best* condition. Once the wallpaper came off, there were some significant cracks that had been covered up.

We also had a number of walls/rooms that needed to have new drywall put up. The plan was to do all the patching and hanging of drywall ourselves and bring in someone to tape and finish. In the end, the "all in" price the drywall company quoted us to skim-coat all the walls, hang the drywall everywhere, and make the place "ready to paint" within a week was too good to pass up. This was something that I, personally, was very hestitant about. I felt like we could have handled the work - I had done drywall and Gary had already hung a couple walls himself in the house. In the end, though, we decided to hire Jesus and his crew. Let me tell you… watching them work was amazing. I showed up at 8 to work on something else, and by the time left at 1, they had finished the first coat in all the rooms. They worked with the efficiency of a well-oiled machine. After day 1, the results were astounding!

Are these the same walls?!

In the end, we decided to bring them in to prime all the walls too - thanks to Steph's parents who got it for us as a birthday present. So clean!

They are like new walls!

Some people are just very good at their job! In the end we were so happy that we brought these guys in. A little extra money spent in the right places goes a long, long way…

We had some snags with them - having to re-prime a lot of the walls before we painted, a couple spots that needed to be "touched up", and an unfortunate and unwelcomed incident involving a bucket (don't ask…) - but on the whole, this was one place that I was glad we reached out for some help. The work they did in a week would have taken up at least 3 weekends, and we are crunched for time as is. Now the "fun stuff" begins!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Starting to tie it all together...

This past weekend, we decided to build the deck! Steph and I weren't sold on putting up a deck right off the bat because of the cash that we have spent already, but we need one to pass inspection - and lets be honest, decks are pretty much the best things for the summer. We hitched up the trailer and headed over to Lowes. We opted for the Trex Saddle color, which actually turned out to look great!

There is a neat little tool out there that you can use to space the individual boards out and allow us to drill into the sides of the planks. Halfway there... only took a couple hours!

We still need to pick out the railing for the deck, but we will get there! I think that is this weekend's project... or at least one of them... It'll be nice to have a nice cold beer on this deck in a month!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The bathroom will be the death of us.

Once our tile "professional" finished the walls of the shower, we figured... hey, maybe he redeemed himself and the initial hiccups were just a fluke. And then he put in the floor for a second time...

Apparently he did not get the concept of spacing the sheets out evenly. There is a ~1/8" space in between each of the mosaics, so one would think that it would mean that this spacing would continue between the individual sheets. We were wrong... He put them completely flush in most places. Sometimes there were even larger spaces.

When he did decide to put in spacers, he used rolled up paper... sometimes cardboard! At least he was creative!

So, unfortunately, I had to show up in my shirt and tie and take a shovel to the floor for a second time! And we are back to square one. We had an un-grouted shower and no floor... and of course a promise of half of our money back (which we will never get). Luckily, we have some good help... Gary and Steph worked on the grout on Sunday and it came out GREAT.

After they finished, we decided that we are going to lay the floor ourselves. Steph is unbelievably precise - and OCD ;) - and Gary is basically a Jack-of-all-trades. I think it will come out great! As we have been saying all along... onward and upward. We are in the home stretch.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kitchen: Part 2

So whats behind that wall??

Our new fancy-pants addition!

"Someone" was supposed to order a door before this went up, but thats ok... we improvised (doorknob was our attempt at a "joke"... )

Love this window!! A gift from Steph's parents.

We are making sure that we have LOTS of lights!

One of the downfalls of gutting an older house... you can't always see the issues until the wall comes down. We discovered that this was a bearing wall so we had to put an extra support beam in.

When the door finally came in, it went in with no problem at all!

New window too!

Next came the insulation... Fun fun times...


Its truly amazing what this has turned into - we are so excited to see the next steps...