Friday, December 23, 2011

A 2010 Christmas

December 2010
So for those of you coming into this blog a little late.  I figure I should remind people that I have started at the beginning of our adventures.  This means we are only slowly moving closer to present day.  In the wonder that is my procrastination and random happenstance we are now exactly a year out in my projects.  At this time last year, we had completed our small kitchen reno, our outside landscaping, painted our dining and family rooms and done numerous other small and large projects behind the scenes projects to get us to this point.  We decided to take it easy through late November and December as we travelled to see our families and celebrated Josh's brothers wedding in Mexico.

I figured if 2011 Christmas is upon us, what better time then now to show our small but in many way momentous first Christmas in our own home.

I look forward to speeding through 2011 projects and getting you caught up and hopefully embrace the new year and blog more often.  Thanks for the reads... please 'follow' me if you can... purely for my own self esteem.  Please have an amazing year my friends for we are indeed truly blessed!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Yard Redemption

October 2010
After our planting trip, Josh and I stepped it up and pulled some long days to turn up the soil and get the plants in the ground.  We laid it all out and spent an entire day planting, mulching and laying the stones.  By 6:00 pm it was getting dark and we called it a night.  Step one was complete and we had unearthed our house from behind the rhodies.  We felt satisfied to go into the holiday season with a fresh look outside.

Also, on a similiar landscaping note we added two 'street trees,' these reside in our planting strip between the sidewalk and the road.  We are the only house on the entire block without street trees and while I enjoy the sunlight, it also makes us look a little bare. 

In the Spring, Josh and I purchased a dwarf Bing Cherry tree, in the Fall, we added a hybrid Cherry tree, which had four separate cherries species grafted onto one trunk.  I am very excited for the day our little saplings are beautiful trees, and of course for all those delicious cherries. My neighbor told me there is a Chinese proverb about trees... "when is the best time to plant a tree?  20 years ago.  What is the next best time to plant a tree? Right now." 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yard Destruction

October 2010

So I went a little out of order with my posts because I wanted to get the kitchen saga out all at once.  In October, a month prior to the kitchen remodel we took advantage of some great weather and addressed our yard a little more.  We had made some unsuccessful attempts earlier, but I have not recorded them on the blog because I am supposed to look good on this thing.  So failures are being glossed over. 

My biggest issue in the front yard was the five HUGE rhodies that were overtaking the house.  We could have cut them way back, suffer with a year or two of weird filling in, or we could remove them.  These are absolutely beautiful rhodies, they were just too big for where they were, I wanted them gone.  We put a 'you dig you get' notice on craigslist and had a few takers, however, no one could have envisioned how hard these were to remove.  We had an older couple work for three hours before giving up without one rhodie out.  It appeared we needed to rethink this.  So after we did some digging of our own, Josh decided that we need some more power, a lot more power.  He borrowed his companies truck and we chained the trunks to the back of the truck.  We were nervous, but decided slow and steady would be our approach.

It was AWESOME, we ripped out four of the five rhodies in about 20 minutes, after three hours of digging.  We lost two rhodies, which were placed in our backyard to rot all winter. Until we broke them down into our yard debris bin.  The other two were craigslisted and went in a week.  Our real problem was landscaping in the front, or I guess you could say the lack there of.  It was October and we had to get moving! We went out to Garden World, a huge nursery 30 minutes outside of Portland, and took advantage of the late season to stock up on some goods.  We bought hydrangeas, mums, a Virginia Sweetspire, a crape mrytle and some other smaller ferns.  

We also bought several stepping stones from lowes to create a pathway from the driveway to the front walk.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Making A backSPLASH

November 2010

Now that we had replaced our counters, sink and faucet we had to deal with the missing backsplash.  At first, we thought about putting in subway tile.  We price out the tile and realized this was a bigger investment then we had first thought.  The other issue was the time involved.  Neither Josh nor I have ever tiled before, we knew we were capable, but a little nervous of our finish craft.  Then we thought about the weekends of work to install the tile, grout it, and seal it.  We also realized this would all have to happen while we were using the kitchen, not ideal.   There was also the lingering thought in the back of our heads that one day we really wanted to gut the kitchen and create a more functional space.  Our new goal was to put in a backsplash in the fastest cheapest way without it looking like an afterthought. 

We decided we would beadboard the backsplash.  We felt that the beadboard matched the overall style of the house and it was about half the cost.  We went to Lowes and got some 3' x 4" pine beadboard wainscotting.  We laid out all the pieces and primed them at night during the work week, then Josh spent two days installing them, cutting around our various switches and cabinets.  He also installed some trim underneath the countertop to dress up the transition.  It was a whole weekend of work, but it made such a difference. I followed behind with my trusty caulk gun and white acrinamel semi-gloss.  All in all, we felt pretty good about our solution.  It was fairly easy and kept with the style of the house.  We worry a little about the durability of having wood right near our sink but it seems to be fine. Our little kitchen was wrapping up.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Spicey Mini-Project

November 2010
As work continued on our kitchen, we started to think more about storage solutions in our little space.  One thing we needed to deal with was our growing spice collection. In the past, we have always lined them up on the top of the stove in an orderly, if not super elegant formation.  Our new stove does not sit close enough to the wall to allow this to continue (ie. they kept falling behind the stove which lead to frequent cursing).  The solution was to line them up on the window sill above the sink, which was also not ideal.  I decided we need to buy a spice rack, the only problem was there aren't a lot of spice racks.  Who knew?

The only spice racks I could find were made for the counter top, definitely no room there, or else were super modern and didn't quite match our kitchen.  Next, Josh and I thought about building one, which seemed a time consuming and frustrating solution.  Luckily, things can happen when your not quite looking.  We were at IKEA buying a bookcase for the office and it occurred to me we would need to buy spice jars that were all the same size.  After buying 24 spice jars I thought... what if we just bought some shadow boxes to put them in?  However, there were no shadow boxes that were the right size, yet, there was a small planter box that did seem the right fit.  We brought three home and held them up, perfect fit!  They were deep enough to hold the jars but slim enough to not block the window.  We painted each box (4 coats in total) and screwed them on to the wall.  A little bit of caulk (cause what project doesn't involve some) and some touch up and for $43 bucks we had a complete and custom spice rack. 

Another kitchen project completed!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dishwasher Debacle Day 2 & 3 & 4

September 2010

Fast forward 5 hours after the countertop install and we have the dishwasher in place, and the sink is set... however we have no plumbing.  No worries, it should be a quick number to split the water supply over to the dishwasher and run the dishwasher waste into the sewer line... right?  It's a Wednesday and I decided that as a 'gift' to Josh who had been pulling some long hours at work that I would have my friend Gordon come over and help me get everything working by the time he comes home.  You see I can be nice everyone once and a while!

Gordon showed up at 5:00pm and quickly alerted me to the fact that this was NOT going to be simple.  Our amazing new-to-us sink was significantly deeper then our previous harvest gold number.  A whole 9" deeper, which now means the waste line is far too high in the wall, urgh.  So, he rips a hole in the wall under the sink and he explains he will need to cut into the sewer line put in a new T and cap above it.  I am all for it, but another snag, our sewer line is not your modern day PVC pipe.  It's galvanized steel, so now he is cutting it with his drummel wearing goggles and spraying my kitchen with sparks at 6:15pm.  He also needs supplies, new supply lines, a new elbow for the waste line, etc.  He leaves at 7:00pm.  This was the point I thought we would be toasting our working dishwasher over a beer. He comes back at 8:00pm.  8:15 Gordon is on his back under my sink re-plumbing my entire wall.  He finally gets the sink hooked up and it appears to be draining properly.  Next, we find out the faucet that came with the sink is busted and leaks, we need new o-rings. Josh comes home to a hole in our wall and a quasi functional sink. It's 9:00pm.  Next we try and run the dishwasher.  It's not draining properly, it needs to be re-balanced and secured to the countertop for stability. Gordon calls it a night at 10:00pm. I am sure cursing me and my house.
The next morning I purchased a new faucet on-line (upside-- I get to buy some new bling that looks AMAZING) and manage to score the item on Overstock for 50% off.  I decide for the next 2-3 days we can live with a towel wrapped around the old faucet handles.  Two days later, the cabinet guys show up to finish the cabinets and help us re-balance the dishwasher and screw it in place.  We ran our first load of dishes 3 months, 2 weeks and 3 days after we purchased it.  No sweat right? 

So for those that have been following, this is how you can take a $600 dishwasher and spend $1,000 installing it.  Although in all fairness this included: all new countertops, a new sink, a new faucet and cabinetry-- but lesson learned. Well mostly, we learned Gordon is a good friend and we cannot be trusted.  I have also included a picture of the new counter on the other side of the kitchen.  As you can see we still have to install a backsplash, add trim to the underside of the countertops and touch up paint.  But we had working appliances so it felt like a win after a bunch of fails.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dishwasher Debacle Day 1

September 2010
If you have been following my blog you will know that we decided to buy a dishwasher for our kitchen, without having a) a place for it b)electrical for it c) a general idea of whether it would even work.  I mean honestly how bad could it be?  We did have a large two door cabinet to the right of our sink and we had always planned on removing it.  So, after three months of owning our dishwasher and watching it sit in our dining room we decided to tackle the beast.  A couple of weeks earlier we had the electrician add a new circuit and outlet under the sink.  Then, Josh removed the existing cabinet and we dragged the dishwasher into place.  At this point, problem number one occurred.  Dishwashers are designed for current standard cabinets, our lovely 1920's cabinets are original and built-in and of course not the traditional depth of modern day cabinets/dishwashers.  Thus our dishwasher stuck out an inch past the counter top.  Wonderful!

But okay, this was not a huge issue, we already knew we were going to replace the counter tops, but it meant that our new counter would now stick out from the cabinets an extra inch then normal, which we were okay with.  However, it would have to take a weird jog to line up with our dining room door.  Not my favorite moment but we will have to chalk it up to character.  Our amazing friend Deana had managed to score some free laminate in town that was a second (although we have never found the supposed flaw).  It was a great neutral charcoal color and would go great with our white cabinets.  Josh's boss also donated a stainless steel sink that had been sitting in their shop for years after being pulled out of a clinic. 

Armed with our free items we paid a cabinet installer to make us new counters and box out the sink and dishwasher cabinet to accommodate our new bling. We figured from there we could take on the rest....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trash Can Be Pretty, I Promise

September 2010
Oregon is big on composting, it's even bigger on recycling.  Now that we had our own place these things were suddenly a part of our world.  There was no trash room anymore, instead we now had to go outside to dump it, and remember to drag it to the curb every week.  Welcome to the world of home ownership.  My google searches have recently changed from 'new restaurants' and 'beer fests' to finding a good composter. hrmph.  If there was one thing I knew, it was that we were not the type of people to turn our compost every week.  I mean honestly, I can barely remember to shower every day... keeping a composter turning schedule was not going to happen. After much research, I stepped up and bought an Aerobin 3000 and for that fancy of a name you would hope it would make dinner too.  

Unfortunately, the Aerobin did not make dinner... however, it was big and green and required placement on a hardsurface.  In order for us to start greening our lives we need to set up an area for it.  We decided the muddy weedy area next to the driveway would be a good fit.  We went to Lowes and bought 12 stone pavers and constructed our composter. 

Then it happened, what we would soon learn is the way every project begins... the project tripled.  The composter looked so pretty on it's pavers. I was smitten, but then you looked left there was our sad trashcan and recycle bins sitting there in the weedy abyss.  So, another trip to Lowes followed and we got 120 more pavers, three bags of gravel and spent one long hot Sunday bringing 'a trash center' into our lives.   

This was our first exterior project on the house.  It seemed a little silly to spend that much time and money on a trash area when there was so much other work that needed to be done.  Yet, every Wednesday when we smoothly roll the trash over the pavers instead of dragging it out of the mud I am glad we did it. O and for those who want a review of the Aerobin... it is amazing! We never turn it, we put about 3-4 gallons of food compost in it a week and it hasn't been close to full.  It rarely smells and looks a lot more attractive then most of the ones I have seen around town.  So trash can be pretty, although I hope that this blog does not involve many more entries about it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Electrical: Important! But Unsexy

August 2010
During our home inspection it was brought to our attention we had a 1960's pushmatic electrical panel. They were called pushmatics because instead of switches for your circuits they were actual buttons you pushed to turn the circuit on or off.  These were not recommended since they tended to leed to electrical fires.  Wonderful... cough. After talking with some electricians at work, we found out it wasn't 'horrible' but when they got a surge of power they tended to not trip... making them: a fire hazard.  On top of this, after living in the house for almost three months we had started amassing a large list of electrical needs and figured it was worth it to bite the bullet. Also, for those who don't know, my Grandfather owned his own electrical business and I am sure somewhere in Virginia he had started developing a twitch, sensing my electrical deficiencies.
Josh called in an electrician he worked with and we went through the list: 
1. Replace panel
2. Add circuit for our new (still in box) dishwasher
3. Install exterior outlet on front porch(yay christmas lights)
4. Change electrical outlets on exterior to GFCI
5. Repair taped together electrical line to cabinet light
6. Install fancy new light in kitchen
7. Add another outlet to back bedroom
8. Correct anything that looked very scary
Randy came out and spent the whole day bringing our house up to some level of code.  He also fixed our doorbell for free, bonus.  It was our biggest expense to date on the house and we slept a lot better. 

Since electrical is necessary, but unfortunately not so sexy.  I bought the aforementioned fancy kitchen light and a new globe for the kitchen cabinet light. Apparently, fire safe still isn't quite enough for me.  But, when you find a light in the character of your house that happens to be the same lime green of your kitchen, it is meant to be (this was my line to Josh).

Let there be light! and no fires.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dining Room Bliss and Other Rambles

July 2010
I abruptly left the last blog post about the dining room because I felt it was getting long and probably not overly interesting.  Also, I wanted to convey the length of time it takes us to finish these projects.  It feels a bit criminal to sum up 2-3 weeks of work in one blog entry... although I am sure to blog world it makes it look like Josh and I are rock stars. 

Since I broke this blog up into two I can also talk a little about our trim/ceiling color.  As many of you may know from this blog, life, or any other interaction with me I do not like white.  Apparently, this is one of the reasons I can never be a true architect.  I feel quite simply, white is for pussies... wow I said it, gulp.  I love color, I think in colors, I want to express my moods in colors.  To the white lovers, I apologize, I try not to make it personal- I just feel deeply about this and wish I could go into every white house/apartment and paint it when their on vacation (so far this has not happened, so friends and family you are safe).   I realize that artwork and furniture can 'pop' against a white wall but so to can a sky blue vase on a chocolate brown wall.  Okay wow, that was a huge aside. I didn't know you could ramble in writing but proof is here.

So yeah, trim, I didn't want white trim in the house. Trying to pick out non-white white is kinda similar to a slow death by fire.  So I was lucky that we were using an 'attractive' cream white at our buildings.  It seems crazy to use a color that is used in health care clinics... how is that not cold?? But it is the perfect shade because it doesn't seem to fight any colors and doesn't change much with the lighting.  So, I had Josh buy a huge 5 gallon bucket for the trim and another for the ceilings.  We applied our Bone White and let me tell you, it was a leap of faith, against the stark white of the primer it kinda looked the color of flesh, urgh.  And Josh was looking at me in that... 'we just spent $200 bucks on the ugliest thing ever look.'  However, as soon as the white was banished with color it looked AMAZING.  It was antique without looking dirty, cream without looking pastel, and it looked fabulous with our oil rub bronze hardware, yay!

After we finished with the trim we pulled up the paper on the floors, cleaned the room and rolled out my favorite rug I got in Morocco, which fit perfectly!  Josh's boss was amazing and gave us an 80 year old Oak dining table and chairs that had been in his basement for years.  It is adorable and totally something I might have bought at an antique store if we had to go.  We slowly unpacked the room and ate our first dinner at a table in our own dining room.  Bliss.
Also can we all love this Gus photobomb?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adults Have Dining Rooms... Now I Do!

July 2010
It was now July and we had moved into the dining room.  I want to start by saying this is my favorite room in the whole house. It was probably one of the reasons I agreed to buy the Castle.  The room is almost a square, which is my favorite shape for a room.  There are two large windows on the East and a set of small English Cottage style casement windows (you know the ones you see on Masterpiece where the farmers wife puts her head out the window and calls everyone in for supper, those kind).  The room has an original built-in and a small arch over the windows.  This is probably too much information, but I am an architect and I get excited about these things. 

I wanted to make the dining room feel intimate and cozy, the kind of place you can sit with friends after dinner for a long time.  We decided to go with a warm dark chocolate color in the space.  This ended up being harder then we thought.  Did we want a blue brown, a red brown, or a purple brown... ummm kinda just wanted dark chocolate.  In the end, we chose Benjamin Moore Barista and I am very happy about it.  This room had a lot of damage to the trim work and we ended up tenting the doorways off and sanding for many many days.  This was also the point in the project where we stopped hand sanding and bought an orbital sander... why we did not do this earlier? I can't really tell you, but it makes life o so much easier.

After a week of sanding we got about priming everything in the room and applied the Barista, it went on like fudge.  It was so delicious looking I felt tempted to eat it several times when it dripped on my fingers. Over share, maybe? This is a much smaller room than the living room and only required two coats, phew. We removed the tenting and got to work painting out the trim each night. I was really excited to see this room happen because we have never had a dining room and it felt very grown-up to have one.  Also, its right off the family room and I have to look at it every day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Living Rooms Are For Living

June 2010
At this point, we are about two weeks into our house owning adventure.  Josh came home every night and dutifully worked on the living room.  I helped taping, caulking, and scrapping paint off the windows.  Finally, late on a Saturday night we realized... we might be done?? 

We pulled up the paper on the floor and looked at our new walls, new floors and new paint and there was a wonderful moment of exhaustion fueled satisfaction.  However, it was also 11:00pm and there was no way I was moving furniture.  I cleaned the floors and woodwork and then went to bed.  If I wasn't so dang tired I would have thought about this all night... The best part of moving and projects is unpacking your stuff and making the room yours!

The next morning we went into our 'hoarders room', or as Aunt Cindy termed our 'room of requirement' and unearthed our two area rugs, coffee table, side table, chair, blankets, tv stands, hall table, lamps and pretty much proved that the back bedroom was Narnia because there was no way this all was in there.  As each item went in... it fit!  Yay, no new furniture! And I got to unpack about 16 boxes of movies and cds.  Hello, living!

Monday, August 8, 2011

So, It's Like Camping...

June 2010

Upon moving, we still had a ton of work that needed to be accomplished.  For the first two weeks we entered a time period I like to term 'house camping.' Half the rooms were not even started, others were halfway, some were future projects.  We asked the movers to pile everything in three spaces, the back bedroom, the basement, and the office so we could work away in the other spaces.

Status Updates:

Kitchen:  At this point I had finished painting the upper cabinet and installed cork liners. I had also finished up all the painting on the walls and trim.  The new fridge was in, yay!  We were half way unpacked.  In a moment of pure frustation, I pulled the backsplash off.  By backsplash, I mean faux sandstone exterior metal paneling.  It was special, and I was happier with the particle board backing (Josh was undecided).  I was still scrapping and priming away on the lower cabinets and drawers every night after work.  I went to Restoration Hardware and got some new kitchen hardware that was traditional in the bin pull fashion and modern in it's clean lines.  I think it was a good compromise between our two styles.  Camping rating 2 out of 5

Family Room:
When we moved in the the only thing we had completed in the family room was the putting two coats of paint on the ceiling.  We tried roughly 6-7 different paint swatches on the wall trying to get the right gray/green.  We first tried the colors from our old apartment, which we loved, however, these just did not work in our room.  This was a learning experience, what looks amazing, rich, antique, and warm in your west facing 100 year old apartment, does not necessary give the same feeling in your smaller, east facing, 80 year old house.  All the colors appeared dull, washed out, and sad.  We started going more and more green, until suddenly we found ourselves with Dark Celery.  This was a mix between army green and fern gully.  Dare I end that statement with 'in a good way?'  After much debate Josh started painting and we soon realized our small family room was quite large and required a lot of cutting in.  There are three doors, 5 windows and one large fireplace.  So we painted, every night, every weekend, 4 coats in all.  All the while, the only thing in the family room was one couch (covered in a sheet) and our tv, on the ground.  Camping 4 out of 5

Back Bedroom:
In the meantime, 90% of our belongings were in the back bedroom.  We called this the 'hoarders' room.  There were boxes of dishes, bags of food, books, lamps, boxes of kitchen utensils, rugs, side tables, and pillows.  Everyday we had to go into the room for something, it involved stepping precariously through a warren of objects and junk to dig in a box.  The best part is that once you had used the item you had to bring it back to the hoarder room because there was no place for it.  We bought a house to have more room and now we were back to living in about 500 sqft, which consisted of a small bathroom, half a kitchen, and a bedroom... lovely. Camping 5 out of 5

So it gets better right?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sometimes We Buy Shiny Things

June 2010

After three long weeks of house prep we were getting ready to move in.  We had help from friends and help from outsiders, but in the end, sometimes you have to shell out the big bucks.  Everytime Josh and I have moved, which is about 13 times in 12 years collectively, we have always done it ourselves with a friend or two to help.  This time, I made the big leap and called a moving company to see the damage.  We had already moved all of our boxes, clothes and loose items over.  We just needed the man power to move couches, dressers, beds, and various other 'very heavy items.'  The guys showed up and moved everything out of our apartment in 45 minutes... no joke.  They then moved everything into our new house in 1.5 hours.  Josh and I were in shock.  This is amazing, this would have taken us all day, we would have sweated, cursed, gotten in about 15 small fights and damaged half our belongings.  Instead we found ourselves at 1:00pm standing in an empty apartment.  Wow, worth EVERY penny.
We realized pretty quickly (ie. the first load) that the washing machine at our house was shot, we also left the refrigerator out on the porch for two weeks.  When we opened it we were pretty sure a crime scene had taken place.  This called for one thing: an appliance buying binge.  Luckily, we were looking to buy appliances in the sexiest time of the year for that sort of thing... Memorial Day weekend. 

We went to Lowes at 8:00pm on a Saturday night and set about buying.  All appliances were 10% off, not good enough you say... well all Samsungs were 20% off on top of that... still not impressed?  O yeah and free warranties, free delivery, and free take away.  Well Mr Lowes salesman you are about to sell shiny objects to us today!  That night we bought a new shiny stainless steel freezer bottom fridge! Yay! A new dishwasher, even though there was no existing dishwasher (this is America gosh darn it)... we were gonna make it work!  And a VERY fancy steam washer and dryer set.  It was crazy and exciting and overwhelming.  Luckily, we have amazing parentals and they had agreed to make these 'home buying' contributions.  This was HUGE in our books!

On Sunday at 7:00am they delivered the first big purchases of our adult lives (minus the house of course).  We were very excited!

Please note that a dishwasher can also make an amazing paint table for 2 months.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Honestly... You Can't Do It Alone

May 2010
Josh and I had made a very extensive list of things to get done before we moved in. I think we got about 50% of the list done before the fateful moving day.  I ended up taking a few days off work just so we could get some smaller projects off the list.  While we were packing, painting, and stressing, we had hired Nolan to come in and replaster our front two rooms.  The original plaster had some big cracks, hundreds of nails and screws and a few areas of water damage.  It made sense to get a fresh lease on life.  Nolan was amazing!  We showed him some pictures of the plaster work from our old apartment that had a light texture to it.  He got really close and worked long hours for us to make sure it was done before we moved in.  He also dutifully abided our 'careful on the floors' cautions and wore his slippers the whole time!

Nolan worked while I bleached and cleaned three closets and set about painting them. If you have ever had the pleasure of painting a closet, especially ones that are not walk-in's, you can feel my pain.  I spent two days in 2 sqft areas, usually on a chair, painting the closets and more often myself in the process.  In the meantime, Josh was experiencing the joys of painting ceilings as quickly as possible before our furniture was moved.
The weekend we moved in our friends came over for a small work party. Together they helped us with some tasks that were daunting!  Jen and Zack mowed our lawn (neighbors rejoiced) and leveled out a large dirt patch in our parking strip that was left from the new sewer.  Dean carefully cut cork liners for all our kitchen cabinets (yay!) and Dana helped me clean what might have been the scariest broom closet in history.

All in all, I can sum up this entry by saying... you can't ever do a project alone!  There are moments that you have to pay someone because their talent is definitely required, and other times when friends are willing to step up and help you when you need it most.  Josh and I have a lot of pride and don't like to ask for help, but we never could have gotten here without help and encouragement from everyone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kitchen The Saga Begins...

 May 2010
For the next 6 days we officially owned a house, but were not able to enter it.  The flooring guys came and worked their butts off but we were breathing down their necks.  There was a list of things that had to get done before I was willing to move into that house and we now had only two weeks until move out day in our apartment.

Kitchen was #1:  My first job was washing the walls.  There appeared to have been a small but smoky stove fire that had left everything in the space with a grimy layer of soot.  Josh and I both agreed we wanted a fresh green kitchen, however, our bold choice of Eccentric Lime was probably due to the depressing dinge of the original walls. 

Everything in the house is lead, that is the truth, you really can't expect anything less in a house of that age. My take on it is: encase it, and don't allow toddlers to knaw on your wood work.  Everything required a thick coat of white oil primer, thank god for kilz!  It is pretty much the wrapping that protects us from our house's true inner dirt.  Before we could prime we also had to remove some AMAZING vinyl floral 70's wallpaper that I honestly wish we had kept as a souvenier.  Josh set about that task and I went about removing the 2-3 layers of contact paper that covered every cabinet. We scrapped for two straight days, it was mind numbing.  


In the end, everything took three layers of paint on top of the primer.... so yes that is four coats of paint.  This process took a very long time and the cabinets required endless patience with a wee roller. We were painting the kitchen LONG into our move in process.  Which meant we 'camped' for about 2 weeks before we could unpack everything.  The kitchen would become and continues to be a daily struggle for me.  You will see more blog entries about this kitchen then you ever thought possible.

Co Pilot #1 Additions

May 2010
So Josh informed me he had better pictures of our first night ripping up the floor.  Who knew?  Apparently not the person who lives with him and was in the pictures... But here it is, the moments of zen..

This blog already appears to be enlightening more about the process.
This was how the floor looked after we removed two layers of linoleum and a layer of particle board. Check out the original handpainted floors, we wish we could have restored them!


Staples ssooo many staples.

Most people would NOT do this 4 minutes into owning their own home.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Who Can Celebrate at a Time Like This....

 May 2010
After weeks and weeks of delays we finally closed on the house and received the keys on a Wednesday.  It was pretty anti-climatic to be truthful.  The real estate agent dropped the keys by Josh's work (he wasn't even there) and then we went and saw the house after work.  It was pretty crazy to be in. And by crazy I really mean scary, thoughts raced through my head 'you mean I own this? For better or worse?'  The past homeowner was great, he left us two glasses and a small bottle of champagne with a welcome home card.  After the whole she-bang we had to remind ourselves this was supposed to be a celebration....

But of course, our first goal, was not celebrating, but to rip up a corner of the 4 layers of kitchen flooring.  We were excited to find out if we had hardwoods underneath? Over our glass of champagne we removed a section using a crow bar and hammer.  Underneath, we fir floors HURRAY! It was good, because we had flooring contractors coming in the next morning to give us quotes to refinish the floors. We knew this was step one, it would be dirty and the biggest project.  We debated for about 4.5 seconds doing it ourselves.  But, we had three weeks to move in, 1250 sqft of floor, and too many horror stories to think about this being a diy project.   Luckily, we found a great company to take over and they were willing to start on Monday.  
However, they were not willing to remove the 4 layers of flooring in the kitchen, turns out it could be asbestos and honestly, I don't think they wanted to do it.  So without really knowing it we had our first project and our tightest deadline to date.  We had until Monday AM to remove the flooring.  Equipped with crow bars, pliers, and knee boards we went to town.  Only to realize what a daunting task 250 sqft of flooring can be.  For two 10 hour days we removed flooring on our knees.  There was two layers of linoleum floors, particle board and the original handpainted flooring on burlap. Josh pulled out roughly 2000 staples by hand.  We listened to music, we did books on tape, we laughed, we got too tired to even talk. In the end, we finished and I remember those two days more than any of the others.