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.