Thursday, December 31, 2009

Safety First

We are two switches shy of a finished bedroom electrical. This is not a comment on our mental stability. We are moving the switch to the closet light in between the two closets but will wait until the roof is off since it will make the change immensely easier. We also added a dimmer to the over head lights and took out a double wide electrical box on the outside wall by the french doors and replaced it with a single wide box. It was housing two switches, one for the back yard and one for the bedroom. The switch plate was also stuck under the door and window trim. We are keeping the two switches but are mounting them vertically so as to avoid that "we almost got it right" look.

The same goes for the electrical sockets in the house. Most of them are upside down or cracked or missing a bit here and there. In the master bedroom, most were unable to be mounted to the electrical boxes due to a double layer of drywall on most of the walls in the room which is a great little bonus for sound proofing. The silly part is that there is a 4' section of a longer wall that only has one sheet deep of drywall, thus it slants inwards lending a lovely fun house feel to the place. We'll fix that along with re-trimming out the doors and windows so that you no longer can see drywall sticking out in the door jambs and window frames.

I tackled removing the old dryer outlet and with it an unused dryer vent. I found some of the infamous dry rot in the process. My first discovery of the stuff - although our pest report before buying the house notated its existence in MANY locations.

E added a GFCI outlet to the outside power, along with a new cover and rewired it to be up to code. Safety first!

All in all it was a very productive day. We even made a run to the Depot and had time to eat out at Barney's Burgers and grab a Boba tea.

In planning land: Kitchen Cabinet Knobs and Pulls (

1 1/4"
Clear Glass Knob - used on 4 glass doors on upper cabinets of buffet

1 1/4"
Oil Rubbed Bronze Mushroom Knob - used on all other cabinet doors

Oil Rubbed Bronze Bin Pull - drawers

It has taken me a ridiculously long time to come to this conclusion. I've tried every possible combination of these and several others. (Thanks Robin for your help!) E isn't in love with the glass (I was aiming for them on all the cabinets). They are reproductions of the original knobs on the built-in in the dining room. I hope this detail along with several others helps make the buffet in the kitchen look more like a built in than a shallow piece of kitchen cabinetry. We don't have the budget to recreate the cabinetry as it possibly would have been in 1929 so I'm aiming for visually similar.

Yes, I've also changed my mind a bit about the kitchen lighting but more on that later. I'm almost certain that the current plan will stick because it was my first impulse but we'll see. I don't have to order the lights anytime soon.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ready, Set ...

The great race has begun. It is a race to the bitter end. In the lead is "money" not far behind but loosing steam is "work". At this point in the renovation money is flying out fast, big ticket items like foundation, seismic retrofit, plumbing, sewer, windows, cabinets, are on the books and we are quickly realizing the cash drain is faster than the cash flow. Our new strategy is to finish off the back portion of the house, fix the leaks in the roof then move in half way. We will then rent the back cottage which we are currently living in and put a new roof on before next winter. All the while, cash flow picks up in order to make up for our love of soundproof super windows and we are back in business.

It is a double edged sword. The faster the work gets done, the quicker the money disappears. Boy oh boy is the work getting done quickly. I woke up this morning and found dry wall up and sub floor repaired in the utility room, a wall in the kitchen removed and the ceiling framing all sparkling new and shored up. We met to discuss the framing for the outside kitchen wall today which was well underway by quitting time this evening.

The great flooring conundrum of 2009 has also been solved. No longer will we be subject to a 3/4" - 1" difference between the kitchen and mud room's sub floor. By removing the original but irreparable doug fir in the kitchen we corrected the gap between the dining and kitchen. The new gap appeared when the previous 70s addition of a mud room and master bedroom occurred. Instead of putting the floor joists at the same level as the rest of the house, they decided it would be neat to raise them up just a bit. It truly was laziness and nothing else. So with a fancy slight of hand, the mud room will now be level to the rest of the house. We are not removing the oak flooring in the bedroom to mess with that though. A nice piece of transitional threshold will have to make do.

Below, E and Sophie check out the new floorless mud room. Note that this picture was made possible by a missing wall. Silly me, I thought things were going to start going IN the house not out of it.

E and I finished wiring the master bathroom, sans fan. E is at this very moment in an e-mail struggle for an exchange method that doesn't sound like a complete scam. Upon realizing that not only was the metal housing box for the fan bent, but the fan itself was mounted crookedly, we asked for an exchange (damage seems to have been done in shipping). The response we received consisted of

"I am sorry to hear that u r having a problem. Please tell me if what I am proposing is acceptable to u. I won't make u send back the unit that u have there. U can use parts or get rid of it. And I will ask u to just pay us for the amount it cost us to ship u the new one. If that is ok with u ( I think its fair ) just email us and we will ship it out and let u know the exact amount that usps charged us last time. And u can send us a check made out to cash please."

It is me or is business casual really getting out of control? Plus, cash, I think not. So the battle continues.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thank You This Old House

This changes everything! Well, perhaps that is an exaggeration but it does make some decisions much easier and the final product will look worlds better and more cohesive, in my humble opinion. We learned that the exposed wood trim in the living room and dining room was never intended to be left thus. It is was originally installed as a paint grate wood, always intended to be kept as such. I was planning on toiling over the wood (baseboards, picture rail, doors, mantle, built in) in an attempt to make it look uniform and polished. What a struggle that would have been! For the most part it is all fir with random pieces of other paint grade wood tossed in for good measure. I still wasn't convinced that it was always intended for a life of paint so I did some research. Imagine that. This is what I found and what I shall do:

1) What would be authentic to the era? (referring to a 1920s bungalow style home)
During this era trim made of fir was meant to be painted. Hardwood trim was meant to be stained and varnished.

The fir wood isn't particularly nice looking - it's coarse-grained and doesn't take stain very well, so would it have originally meant to be painted?
Yes - I tell my clients that fir was "born to be painted". It wasn't considered a fine finish wood. But since they didn't finger joint it that clue isn't there. During the last part of the 20th Century many many people stripped painted pine/fir trim, stained it and covered the stain with polyurethane. That is another clue you picked up on.

The trim seems to have a polyurethane finish on it, so it may not be authentic.
I had a client that was making himself just crazy because he stripped all the trim in his 1910 home and sanded, sanded, sanded...he just couldn't "get all the trim to match". When he showed me I found that the trim was actually a couple of different kinds of wood - gum, pine, fir, etc. I asked him to sit down before I delivered the bad news: The trim was "born to be painted". The good news (and yours is the same) is that since he stripped it and sanded it the painted finish would be beautiful - no alligatoring, no chipped paint in the final coat just a beautiful painted finish!

2) Would it be terrible to paint only the crown molding to match the ceiling colour? Even though the ceilings are about 9 feet high, the dark band of trim really accentuates the line between wall and ceiling.
Consider painting the ceiling above the crown molding the same color(s) as the walls in the room. If you paint all the molding in the rooms (probably some shade of white) and leave the ceiling white the moldings will disappear. Consider showing off the moldings by painting all the plaster areas on the walls and ceilings. The colors need not be dramatic, though they could be if that is how you are inclined.

3) Is this an all-or-nothing proposition? Could we paint some rooms (i.e. the living/dining room) for a more refined look and leave the more informal areas (kitchen/family room) as wood for a warmer more informal look? Or, is this just a bad idea?
I would vote for painting all the trim - and painting it all one single color. It is usually best to not use bright white - that color is too modern and too stark. It also reflects the most light possible and the nuances of the milled trim can be lost.

Most of the top paint manufacturers have standard white ranges that can be used to coordinate with your final colors for the plaster walls and ceilings. Don't forget the ceilings - they are a large part of the overall room decor and when you have moldings to set them off they can really show off the craftsmanship in your home.

Painting all the trim throughout the building will provide a consistent background, place the look in its proper historical perspective and allow for each room to be customized, decoration-wise in its own way according to your desires.


We received a quote for sheet rocking and texture in the bathroom/kitchen/MBed and tying the sheet rock into the old plaster where necessary. We also learned that the walls in the front of the house were skim coated (plaster covered over with a bumpy layer to hide cracks). Fortunately, it seems that when we remove the popcorn we can also take most of the ugly skim coat off. I'm not sure what we will find but ultimately it will be a much more polished look more authentic than what someone called the "Sesame Street Walls". If I were to guess, I think it refers to the fact that our walls look like a Muppets shaggy fir. It is just a guess.

Up Next -
Kitchen wall framing Monday & Tuesday (Rick Hoffman Services)
Electrical placement (K begins tomorrow)
Utility room sheet rock (E next week)
Remove wall heater in MBed (K next week)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dumpster Overload - almost

Another dumpster was filled and carted away. It took several days of work, my father in-law helped for a day and E helped out at the tail end in order to get the heavy cumbersome items. I now know that if my singing career doesn't work out, I can always find respect in the dumpster and trash hauling community. The truck drivers were very impressed with my loading skills (it was perfectly over weight, just enough so that they could still haul it) and with the weight distribution of the materials inside.

Saturday something magical happened - we left the house and returned to a newly framed door, re-studded wall and fixed sub-floor in the master bath. How novel to leave the house while work is being done by others. Our contractor was wonderful enough on Friday afternoon to send a few guys over on Saturday to get the master bath ready for the final plumbing to go in. It worked! The master bath is plumbed. So far we have the guest bath, master bath, and laundry taken care of. I'm waiting on a schedule for the kitchen and water main. Prepping for the
tankless and heating system is up to us.

I'm itching to start putting stuff back into the house. I'm still on the fence (ok, overwhelmed) with tile options for the guest bath. The floor is a 1" white hex with cornflower blue accents
here and there. I'm thinking of putting a wood wainscot up around and behind the pedestal sink and the toilet, using a white subway tile for the tub/shower. I would like some other accent tile in the tub/shower surround but can't find what I want or decide on what I want. I like the idea of a multi color liner as in the photo from
I don't think I can commit to a bold overall subway tile, although I love the look. I plan on using paint as my major color. Since I'm already wed to a cornflower blue, the task is to find some other colors to broaden the pallet a bit.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday (Sunday) Guest Blog

Please welcome E, blogging for the first time. Well, he technically didn't blog but obediently responded to my request for a blurb on the radiant/solar water heat system via e-mail.

This is my first pass at the radiant heat/domestic hot water/solar assist design. I'm relieved that it all fits in our utility closet, although I'm still unsure as to how the city inspectors are going to feel about it.

Since our house had a broken floor furnace, we had a great opportunity to install a radiant heat system, as we had to install some sort of heater. The word on the street is that radiant heat is best... so I've been studying the various ways to do it. I suppose hiring someone to install it would have been the easiest, but threading thousands of feet of pex tubing under the floors is a labor intensive process so it's quite expensive to have done. We work for free, so there is much money to be saved by doing ourselves. Also, something with this many tubes and pumps and valves is just too tempting for me to just hand over to someone else.

In addition to the radiant heat, I plan on installing a solar water heater. Some of the plumbing in the picture is for the solar heating loop. The solar water heater is sized larger than a typical domestic hot water only panel, as it can contribute to the house heating because of the storage tank.

Next year when we're (hopefully) living in our new warm house, please ask me how the system works because if it actually does I'm going to be quite eager to explain!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Appliances arrived yesterday. Cabinet order set and standing by . Checking with contractor and City Permitting on small changes. 

Tile Idea: Subway with herringbone pattern behind range.

Colors: Black, White, Grey, Orange, Lime, Robin's Egg
Courtesy of

Black, Honed Granite for Cabinets, White for Island

Dove White, Huntington Kraftmaid, (similar to those in image). Island Honey Maple

Lights: SchoolHouse Electric, Colors TBD, Lime or Aqua

Eco-Dumpster arrived yesterday but the day was spent in the cabinet shop. Today I filled out rebate forms and got them in the mail. I was able to put in 4 or so hours loading the dumpster and burnt out before sunset. The dog got her second walk of the day thanks to piles of crumbled particle board and tiles. I just couldn't face them any longer. Tomorrow more dumpster diving.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Curve Ball

Our exterior wall in the kitchen came out today. The walls between the kitchen and dining room similarly disappeared. Then the ceiling joists went *poof*. This was all before 9am. 

Once I was up and conscious, we met with the cabinet lady who, along with our contractor, had some great ideas for how we could utilize the space better. This of course meant taking out 
yet another 5' section of wall, moving the header for the opening between the mud room and kitchen above the ceiling line and replacing the wall support with a stud in the wall so that the mud room and kitchen effectively become one room. Go figure, more demo. All that being said and done, I was very lucky that our contractor was there and such a help. He on the other hand thought that his 'helpful suggestions' of demo and destruction would cause him to receive a crowbar to the brow from E. I assured him that if something like that were to happen, E was far to calm to deliver the blow, he'd most likely distract him while I took a swing. Of course, we are thrilled with the outcome of the meeting and our new plans are in the works. I go take a look at them this Wednesday. I'll be in NY over the weekend then we'll order our cabinets on Monday! I'll submit new plans to the permit department as well, "yay." (I truly hope you caught the sarcasm)

The past few days have been filled with visions of tiles and mosaics dancing in my heads. Literally, I've been dreaming of bathroom tile - not kidding. I went a hunting and came up with all the tile in one lovely store, again, at the suggestion of our contractor. Before calling him I did spent several hours (o.k. 4) missing the mark. He's truly indispensable.
Here is the inspiration for the Master Bath:

I found a flat 2" large hex tile with a matte finish along with a matching white 4" square and a matte 1/2" matte black liner to replicate the floor in the above bathroom. Let me tell you, matching white to white is no picnic.

I am taking a cue from this bathroom tile job and using the same tile pattern on the shower floor as on the rest of the floor. I'm just crazy enough to add the 1" black and white square pattern around the lower portion of the shower. Our shower is a 60" by 32" rather than the corner unit pictured above. It's pretty standard. 

This is the picture that started it all. I fell in love with the double black liner around the top of the subway tile wainscoting. Needless to say, that too will be in our bathroom. When the lines approach the shower, the top line will make a 90-degree turn up and over the shower while the lower line will remain at the same level crossing the shower much like the liner in the previous image.

Of course the color inspiration is important too - fresh minty blue walls with rich red accents. We have two pretty stained glass windows in the bathroom that have a touch of this blue and red in them. I hope that this helps them stand out. The previous color scheme of glossy black walls and ceiling with half white and blue linoleum and half dark cracked slate didn't quite win me over.

My father-in-law was over again this past weekend lending a hand. The old insulation came out in the kitchen ceiling, the old plaster got opened up in the utility room allowing for the world's largest water storage tank to fit in it. The remaining header separating the mud-room from the laundry room came down. Similarly, the header dividing the master bath in two had it's last hurrah. Meanwhile, I tore down the rest of the tile from the front bath shower, revealing some pretty black spots, aka nasty mold. Not to fear blog followers, it was contained in the sheet rock under the tile and has been safely removed from the property. 

And not to be outdone, Sophie caused a bit of destruction and mayhem of her own. Although her master plan on not getting caught went out the window the moment E found her sitting calmly in her bed. 
"What do you mean I ate my way into the trash? Foolish human, it was the fat cat, I swear it." Please note stylish new brown paper bag handle collar Sophie inadvertently acquired. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Kitchen appliances? Check! 

After many months of consumer report research, "see it, feel it" shopping, and comparison shopping we have a schload of appliances ordered and on their merry way to our abode. May I introduce the newest members of our household.

Jenn-Air Counter Depth Refrigerator 
Ge Cafe Microwave/Hood

Ge Cafe Dual Fuel 5 Burner Range (The bottom drawer is an oven. Mmmm, pie)
Ge Front Load Washer & Dryer

Kenmore Dishwasher

Oh yeah. My neighbors and I were definitely among the throngs of crazed shoppers braving the outlet sales today. Let us all pause for a silent victory dance in honor of non-housey things like purses, dresses and sweaters.

That aside, I'm sure E would like me to tell you about the demolition and work going on in the utility closet - aka command central. Yup, there's demo going on in there. E is working hard to prepare the facility for technology installation. 

Have we talked windows? Oh, I know WE've talked windows over here. We talk in code using R values and STC Ratings. I finalized the silly decisions on Wednesday - hardware color, style, aluminum clad color, etc.  E and I also decided on the tough stuff, using code and much forehead slapping (codes are confusing and costly). In short, we are getting dual pane -one pane glass, one pane laminate - offering a STC rating of 35 vs. your average dual pane which clocks in at 28. So, with insulation and information age windows, we'll soon be blissfully tucked into our cocoon, the husband, the wife, the dog, the cat and the appliances.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Free Gym Membership!

For a limited time only, I'm offering a free trial gym membership. This once in a lifetime offer includes access to one convenient location open from sun up to sun set. You will have unrestricted access to a facility offering weights, cardio, resistance training, and your own personal trainer by your side, motivating and supporting your daily work outs. 

Learn to wield a sledgehammer in a body friendly manner. Free pent up stress and frustration with a crowbar as you rip 3/4" wood from 3" nails.  Increase your cardiovascular fitness as you schlep 10' lengths of wood and bins of tile and drywall around the facility property. Perhaps, "schlep" isn't the best word. How about: Sign up for our truly unique cardiovascular and strength circuit training program designed to provide a total-body workout involving a series of different exercises in a short 30-minute period.  Benefits include total-body strength training increasing lean body mass and muscle tone while aiding balance and a sense of mental well being.

Do I have any takers? Did I mention it is free?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shift in Focus

Now that the insulation went in the roof of the Cottage and the Cottage bathroom fan is vented, my mental and physical energy will be devoted almost exclusively to the Main House. E and his dad worked on the insulation and fan vent today. My mom-in-law and I worked on pulling up more flooring layers in the kitchen and were later joined by dad-in-law. 

The kitchen demo has been an interesting undertaking. 
Dad-in-law and I removed cabinets, a very sturdily tiled counter and wall tiles this past week. Everything was very solidly attached to the walls and floor. The 1970s remodel was constructed to stand the tests of time; if not designed to withstand a shift in tastes. I do have to say the old plaid wallpaper we found under the range hood would have added some fun to the room. The brown and orange cabinets and counter wouldn't have looked so out of place. I'm kind of digging it. But we've decided to go a different route all together. The plans are drawn, approved and permitted. I'm super excited about the new lay out. Yes, super excited, one could even say super duper excited. 

The kitchen flooring demo has been a bit of a thorn in my side
 though. Who knew so many layers could exist on one floor, and well attached layers to boot. What is it with this house and the in-exhaustive number of flooring layers. The linoleum has come up relatively easy. Certain patches were glued down quite well. After scraping them off we had to remove the particle board, yes particle board which I'm sure you can imagine didn't come up in large pieces but rather in smaller particles as the name would imply. Two half days worth of 2-3 people working on the linoleum and particle board, henceforth known as p-board. Next came the 3/4" douglas fir. I started on that later this afternoon and lost my strength and energy only 4 rows into the removal. It was interesting to piece together what the original kitchen must have looked like from the marks and discolorations on the fir floor. What is the kitchen today was once both the kitchen and the laundry/mud-room. You can see in the floor where the old walls were. Then there is the spot under the window where the sink used to be, flanked on both sides by counter. It is great to know we are moving back towards the original floor plan for the room. It won't be exact but I feel nice knowing the plan preserves the feel of the house and some of the historic integrity. I in no way am claiming that we are doing a completely historical restoration, but we are bridging the gap. 

I love this old house. I love the work that is going into to it to make it ours. I love that it is something our families are participating in too. It feels warmer and more loved each and every day. This house knew we would take care of it and here we are. Not just E and I, but E, our families, our neighbors, and our great sub contractors all building something great together. 

OK. I'm done with the mush. BRING ON THE REST OF THE DEMO!

Oh yeah, and paint colors...oooo.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009





I accomplished very little in demolition today. I finished removing type 1 flooring (slate) from the MBath. I succeeded in removing 40% of type 2 flooring, the linoleum and with it the small square tiles it was covering (type 3). It is a shame the tiles were covered in the first place, they seemed to be in super condition but with the linoleum glue on it and only spanning half the space, not worth saving. Plus half of them came up with the linoleum, the ones that weren't super cemented to the sub-floor

The wood refinisher/repair/do-it-all man came by today. He can match the hardwood in the rest of the house and put it in the kitchen/mud room! It will all be the same height as well. We do have Doug Fir under the kitchen but decided that for the work it would take to refinish it, we'd still be left without a continuous floor in the mud-room, chopping up the space visually. I do have to pick some sort of flooring for the laundry nook. I was thinking of wood all the way but reality has set in and a laundry machine on top of wood doesn't seem to be the best idea I've had. I've called upon my in-laws for tile inspiration. 

I ordered the lights for the Master Bdrm today. I've been mulling it over since we moved in. The previous owner of the property absconded with most of the fixtures and anything that was cool and not nailed down, well, even those things nailed down. This leaves us with a serious lack of lighting in the house. Today, I added these two to the collection: 

Now, I am off to cook diner. You have no idea how exciting this is. I have a kitchen again - small but mighty.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Moved In

We are officially moved into the cottage in back. We are unpacked and only have a few minor things to do before it is home sweet home for the next 6 months to a year. It didn't come too soon as we aren't very far ahead of the plumber and need to begin demoing in earnest. I'll post photos of our new digs once the pictures are hung by the bedside with care. 

Our sewer is legal! We ended up having to
replace the whole thing, the portion that was not clay either leaked or was 3" rather than the required 4".  Paul Croxton and his team did a great job and they didn't even mind me taking pictures of them digging in the mud. E and I too took our turns ditch digging but the camera didn't come anywhere close to that activity.

Today the gas fireplace insert went in without a hitch. The plumber ran the gas line and E installed the electrical for the blower.  We are already much happier with this one that with the one in our previous house. For starters, the insert is flush with the front of the fireplace. E will make a nice metal surround, designed by  me of course. It is a bit funny to me that we moved out of the MHouse (where there was no heat) into the cottage that is a bit chilly (on a concrete slab) only to install a nice heating unit the day after our big move. Ha-ha. (ha ha) sigh. Oh well. It will be there for us when we move back in. 

We did begin the dirty-dirty demo on the master bath today. It is amazing how back breaking and time consuming demo can be. I successfully mastered the art of removing a sink and toilet. The door trim has been salvaged and I was able to remove a large portion of the dry wall myself but called in the special forces for the high up areas. E took over from there while I took to hauling out debris and started removing the tile. The pièce de résistance was getting the horrid fiberglass tub/shower unit out of there. E charged at it with a hammer, a crow bar then the Sawzall. The dividing wall and door is also out turning the two black boxes into one continuous room. 



I made a few more purchases today. I've been eyeing these for months now and just stumbled across a 20% off sale just pushing me over the edge from thinking to acting. Plus we are at the point where we need the products in order to continue the project.

Inset Medicine Cabinet for MstrBth

Vanity for MstrBth
The fixtures are all picked out and I'm getting ready to order those as well but I have to figure out the whole "which valve goes with which trim" thing first. This is what we're aiming for: Kohler Bancroft. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Faster Go Demo

"What a whirlwind of a weekend", typed K at 8 am fully intending to post something before starting for the day. It is now 10:30 pm and E is still working on plumbing. I however have hit a wall and am lounging on the air-mattress. 

The foundation work commenced at 9 am this morning.  The team jack hammered up half the driveway. We've added to our moat, intending to forgo the traditional fence. Note the strategically placed bridge in the background allowing safe passage over the sewage trench. 

I am patiently waiting for city work permits to come through for the MHouse plumbing/ electrical/ kitchen/ bath. It has been quite a process and I'm sure it will continue to be so.

In the meantime the Cottage is moving right along. We have power, and organization! The electricity was upgraded from a 30amp romex cable running in a non-water tight conduit under ground to a 60amp 6-gauge wire laid to code. I managed to salvage a light for the eating area: aka cleaned off 40yrs of grime.


The Cottage bathroom is close to completion. We have tile; I'm not a fan of the non-sanded grout after my experience setting the floor and baseboard. We have textured and painted walls, sconces, a tub yet to be plumbed and a plumbed toilet. 

The kitchenette is installed and fully functional as well. As E put it, "The sink doesn't even leak."  I'll post pictures later.

The MHouse experienced its first bout of true demo this weekend.  Some of the kitchen cabinets came out and were re-purposed in the garage. My father in-law helped with the transformation. Welcome to command central:


E started on demoing the guest bathroom last night while I was at an audition. In the rubble, we found some of the previous renters' belongings. Since we live right next door to them we were able to get them back to their rightful owner. I got the feeling that these particular items weren't exactly missed. 

Please note the child's pink toothbrush in the center. Above it and to the left, laying perpendicular you can just make out another toothbrush. Below the pink one you'll see the man's black comb. If only were were as fortunate as one of our friends to find $60,000 worth of gold stashed away in the wall when demoing. There is still time. We have until Friday to complete demo of both baths and the kitchen. Demo a go-go!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I was wrong. I thought I loved tiling. It seems that what I liked was when someone else cut the tile and I got to play with it making it look pretty. Today I began to tackle the floor tile in the GHouse bathroom. It went something like this: (Step 1) Clear out room, sweep, vacuum, sweep, vacuum, spray with chemicals, let sit, wipe off. (Step 2) Open new tile cutter, find directions, put together, look up on internet info missing from directions, call E frustrated. (Step 3) Lay out teeny-tiny tiles on floor, try to get lines straight, re-lay out teeny-tiny tiles on floor, try to get lines straight, give up on getting lines straight start to cut. (Step 4) Cut, tiny tiles don't cut so well on gigantic saw, cut, lay, cut, now measure. (Step 5) Call E frustrated again. (Step 6) Deal with it, measure, cut, measure, cut. (Step 7) Call it a night without laying a single tile. 

In other news, after 3 trips to the permit office I got all the papers filled out in good order and submitted the permits for the bath/kitchen/general electric/plumbing/windows. Now I wait and cross my fingers that work can begin on Monday as planned.

I ordered a gas fireplace insert today as well. That will go in next Thursday if everything goes as planned which means I'm golden if two weeks go by before it is in. This is the current state of affairs. A bit sooty and dulled out.
It seems that along with installing an insert, I have some tile/concrete restoration to take care of. The three tiles embedded in the facade are really quite lovely, and valuable. Of course, they need a little love too. I only hope I can get them to look half this pretty:

OK. I admit it. I love tile, still.