Monday, November 29, 2010

Teaser Pics

Yes.  I definitely had timecrack.  But I did accomplish rather a lot on the punchlist, with some help, and at the expense of rather a lot of sleep.  Turns out you actually can paint until 3am and have it look good.  Not that I'll be repeating that again...I hope.  The kitchen looks and acts like a kitchen, even if there is plenty left to do still!

Anyway, a few pics to keep you interested ;)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just. Keep. Breathing.

Timecrack.  noun.  definition:  the belief that you can accomplish something in x amount of time, which actually by all physical laws requires 3x amount of time.

I have it.  I still firmly believe I'm going to have a "finished" kitchen before Thanksgiving.  By finished, I mean the bulk of the work that needs to be done by me will be done.  It will not have new windows or door yet, nor will it have a permanent step, and there are several things that will wait until I've raised more funds.  But in terms of walls, molding, cabinets, ceilings, etc, I'll be done.  I know, mildly crazy, given the amount left.  However - see the definition of timecrack above.

The countertop will be installed on Tuesday!  In order for the template to be made, I had to disconnect the sink (still not sure exactly why), and remove the temporary faucet.  In that process, I discovered that the hot water cutoff valve (very recently installed by the cheaper plumber) does not actually entirely cut the hot water off.  Really?  Really?  I mean, I figured it was ok for them to not clean up their workspace at all, and even to have to get them back to center the sink, since they weren't the high-end quote.  But c'mon, the stuff is still supposed to work!  Sigh.

Spent a good chunk of last night installing the cabinet hardware, finally!  In the process, I discovered the first real mis-step of this process.  I've made plenty of timing mistakes, but I'd always liked how stuff turned out.  But - I don't like the drawer hardware I chose.  It doesn't go with the door hardware I really like.  Not that this is a major issue, I can find new, and for the interim it's nice not to have to use your fingernails to open the drawers, but kind of a bummer. 

Please excuse the bad quality of this cell phone photo - but look, hardware!  A kitchen!  We progress - and I just need to keep breathing...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Goldilocks is fired.

She took too long to make decisions.

I, on the other hand, rocked it.  This weekend I purchased:
4 windows.
1 door.
The rest of the cabinet hardware.

Yes.  It is bought.  And it's nothing I blogged about before.  See, turns out I just kinda forgot that Home Depot and Lowes exist.  Know what?  They sell countertop.  For cheaper than the specialty companies.  I now own 25 sq feet (although I need only about 17) of Zodiaq quartz countertop in Eclipse Blue.  Here's what it looks like, though it's not quite as greeny in person.
It's not recycled.  It lacks in cool factor.  It's also nearly a grand cheaper than every other option, and it looks good.  I tried, World.  I really, really did.  (As for those ebay suggestions - did you really think it was a good idea for me to have $2K worth of Icestone sitting around in the hopes of finding a buyer?  If nothing else, that stuff is heavy and takes up a lot of space!  No thanks.)

Back to the windows - why 4, you may ask?  Well, I'm getting awning windows in the kitchen instead of double hungs (so they crank out, not push up to open).  Due to the height of my windows, that means I actually need 2 in every opening.  Yet another budgetary estimation.  Oops.  But it'll look great and I can leave them open without fearing burglar entry!

Run along kitchen, run along...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Goldilocks has decided bears are not helpful in countertop shopping.

They just keep coming up with problems...  Guess what?  The Caesarstone isn't significantly cheaper than the Cobalt Ice option.  In fact, it's approximately the same price.

I think I will apply beer to the problem later, and make the final decision that way.  'Cause you know what?  It's going to look good either way - and it's going to be more than I can really afford either way, too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wherein Goldilocks and the Bears tackle the problem

I have absolutely no idea why I seem to be relating to a blond-haired destructive trespasser in this case.  However.  At least there's tackling. 

After recovering from sticker shock, Goldilocks investigated some other places who fabricate and install Icestone.  The Bears came along for moral support, and the intimidation factor.

A different installer came back with a quote that was even more expensive than the first one.  However, this guy actually broke it down - it's not that they are holding Goldi over the coals on the fabrication and installation, it's that Icestone only sells FULL slabs.  So even though I don't need and won't use a full slab, I have to buy it anyway!  This guy was smart enough to offer another option - he has a remainder slab of IceStone in Cobalt Ice that is the right size, and would bring my cost down to the (still excessive) predicted amount.

Know what else this says?  That even though I have to buy the full slab, the fabricator gets to hold on and resell the rest of it.  As the biggest Bear said - "no effing way."

So, smart guy has emailed IceStone to see if they by chance have a remainder piece of Sapphire Snow lying about.  Somehow I doubt this will come through.  So now the question is:  
go with Cobalt Ice?

Or give up the recycled idea and go with something like the deep ocean from Caeserstone?  (which would be cheaper...)

Ugh.  The options.  No tile suggestions please though, I don't like it.  Goldi and the Bears are on hold, waiting for the page to turn...

Monday, October 11, 2010

This one is TOO much.

That's what Goldilocks would have said if she was countertop shopping with me.  Allow me to summarize, full story coming soon (and somehow this is more palatable as a fairy tale):
Goldilocks wanders amongst the countertop options.
"This one is too boring.  This one is too bright.  Oh look, environmentally sound made in Brooklyn!  This one is just right."
Then she tries to pick a color.
"This one is too white.  This one is too grey.  This one is bright blue - and just right!"
Finally, she thinks to actually price it, having realized that in the search for just right, she has wandered out of the easily purchased at Ikea.
"This one will not install.  This one installs but doesn't have my color.  This one is - $4K????  You must be joking.  It's only 15 sq feet!  So much for just right!"

Stay tuned while the 3 little bears provide Goldilocks with restorative beverages and help her find new options.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I may be slow on the posting, but the work is moving along!

Actually, I'm really slow on the photo uploading.  And I think posts without pics are somewhat boring.  Project for post kitchen - get my tech situation situated!  For tech support, this is just embarrassing ;)

Anyway.  Thanks to some amazing help and some great contractors, here's where we are.  Floors are done, except for the final coat.  My great floor guy said he would come back when I was pretty much done with the kitchen to do the final, as he's pretty sure I'll scratch it during the process.  All drywall is up, and drywall patching and taping is probably about 3/4 done.  The plumbers are coming back tomorrow morning to center the sink, so I can order the island countertop soon.  All cabinets are assembled and attached, and the butcher block countertop (for the cabinets on the stove side) is on!

So what's left?  I get that question a lot.  Still quite a bit.  But at least the thing is now usable!  And we should be done enough with the dust that I can put things in the cabinets and clean up the dining room...  Anyway, things that are left:  (Actually, I'm not going to make a list.  I started to, but it got kind of overwhelming.  Answer - quite a few things.  I'll just keep chugging along!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2 weekends of work and only one blog post

I know you were all waiting with bated breath!  ;)

Ok, sorry.  But somehow there also seems to be a ton to do after work as well.  And at work.  Besides my actual work, which I still do on occasion.  At least often enough to hit all my deadlines.

Anyway - the electricians came and roughed in.  The plumbers came, turned off the stove and the sink, and roughed in.  I destroyed.  R2 destroyed.  I put up drywall.  R2 very patiently held heavy drywall so I could put it up.  A journey in photos below...

After the electricians and plumbers came, I had holes in the wall, wires on the floor, pipes sticking up out of the floor, and a detached stove and sink.
From Kitchen Reno 2

I tore out the old sink and base cabinets, to discover -
From Kitchen Reno 2
tile.  Set on about 2" of mortar, which was set on a half inch of plaster on wire mesh.  Translation:  about 2.5" of concrete.  Never fear, I had a plan.  I would just put up a sheet of half inch drywall on the top portion of the wall, down to the tile, pop off the tile to reduce the thickness, and construction-glue a sheet of 3/8 drywall to the bottom part.  Sure, there'd be a little mismatch, but no problem.

First, I had to pull the tin molding away so the drywall would slip under.  Then, we had to chisel out some holes for the outlets, one of which was just chilling out on the floor, and the other was fastened to the old backsplash.  Finally, we had to put up the drywall.  R2's muscle was key here.  (Her height was pretty handy too!).
From Kitchen Reno 2

Does anyone see the hole in this plan?  Anyone?  Yeah, me neither.  Until - the drywall wasn't even close to sticking on to that mortar with the glue.  See - glue needs a flat surface.  Mortar is bumpy; there are lines in between all the tiles.  Plan = fail.

Well, ok, fine then, I would do it properly and tear out enough of the concrete to put up another piece of drywall where it would be seen.  I did this much in 45 minutes.
From Kitchen Reno 2

Then R2 came back from the gym, and did the rest in a half hour.  (I loosened it.  I swear.).
From Kitchen Reno 2
So then it looked like this:

From Kitchen Reno 2
And the part of my hand I kept hitting with the hammer when I missed the chisel looked like this:
From Kitchen Reno 2
So I went to the bar.

Next day - remember that 1/2" drywall I put up yesterday?  Yeah, well, now it's too thick.  R2 flexed again, drywall came down, 3/8" went up, and I went about my merry way covering the new hole.
From Kitchen Reno 2

Which left me with a conundrum.  See the base there where the two wires are coming down?  See the exposed insulation?  Honestly, I'd have just cheated and ignored it, since you'll never see it.  If it was behind cabinets.  But - that part would be behind the stove.  Maybe exposed insulation behind a stove is a bad plan.  Back to the drawing board...  I was tired of re-doing though, so I consulted.  The Dad and the Google.  And Rachel's brother.  End result - I cheated again.  I perhaps should have torn it all the way down.  But it's perfectly sound concrete.  And all that chiseling just takes too long (and hurts!).  So I popped off the tile again, cut a piece of drywall, and used concrete screws to fasten it to the wall.  Problem solved.  Sort of.  Well enough.  I hope.  Pics to follow when I upload the photos from last weekend.

What else did I do?  What, you think that didn't take me 5 days (one 3 day weekend + one regular)?  'Cause it kind of did...  Ok.  I also put up some more drywall, and put together a few cabinets.  I thought the plumbers would need the island cabinets ready when they came, but they did not.  They will need them on Thursday though, when they hook up my new sink and faucet (and old stove)!  Sans countertop still, but who cares, we'll be using the kitchen again!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sink ordered!

Thanks for the voting all - went with the stainless.  I think my favorite design guru is right and I'll probably like the look of the white a little better, but I don't think it's worth all the extra scrubbing to keep it white.  I mean, let's be honest, I can't even keep plaster dust out of the dishes...  Thanks, I appreciate all the thoughts!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gotta order the sink

Ok, so a ton of work was done this weekend, and I'll post when I get the pictures downloaded - but the plumbers are coming, and I need to order the sink.

So, this one:

Or this one?

It goes with this faucet [update due to voter confusion - both sinks will use the faucet below]:

The countertop will be blue, and the cabinets are beech.  Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Leaps and bounds

And the kitchen jumps forward!  The electricians have been and gone.  They did a great job, managing to move the riser line without a splice box, and even removed an old unsafe outlet that I hadn't noticed while they were adding the new line for the fridge.  And I came home to a basement that was neater than I'd left it!  Mind, they did accidentally steal my tape measure, but I consider that karma from the time the insulation guy left his...

Last night I trekked out to Ikea and ordered the cabinets.  Akrum built ins, Nexxus Beech.  They'll be delivered on Sat.  Please please let me not hate them when they are in...  The plumbers are coming on Fri to turn off the gas and the kitchen water, so there will be lots of work to do this weekend!  Hopefully a big fat update post to come next week.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This is what happens when you plant self seeding things.

And then ignore them in favor of working on your kitchen.

Crazy Dr. Seuss plants (no, I don't know their real name) and morning glories!  Make me laugh every morning though.  And then swear when I try to walk down the path to the composter or water the tree...

The electrician is selected (I went with the guy that didn't annoy me), and coming next Tues and Wed.  Progress keeps inching forward!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let's be honest.

My budgeting estimation was crap.

I mean, ok, it probably would have been closer to fine (though still not flawless) if I wasn't putting in an island, and thus moving plumbing. If there wasn't a random electrical wire that was discovered in the reno process and needs to be moved. But the fact is - I am and there was. Which means I have blown the budget already, and I didn't even buy anything fun like a fancy stove or something. So this means - definitely Ikea cabinets. No new appliances until next year. And maybe a great deal more eating at home for a while (if I ever finish a kitchen to cook in...).

So now I have to decide which electrician to call. Electrician A, who was there for 10 min, grasped everything I said, and called me back 3 days later with a price? Or electrician B, who was there for 30 min, did a lot of investigating, was slightly slower on the concept grasping, gave me a detailed estimate on the spot - but also sort of irritated me by wanting to do other work and by charging for said estimate? (I mean, do I really need to replace the doorbell wires? Yes, I know they are old, but everything old is not necessarily bad...). Roughly the same price. Which to pick?

And the plumbers. I wanted to go with the guy I used for everything else, but he was significantly more expensive. Looks like I'll be trying someone new.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Well THAT was messy.

And exhausting - it's taken me a week to get this post up!

There was destruction.

From Kitchen Reno 1

There were unforeseen issues.
From Kitchen Reno 1

And in there end, there were new walls.

From Kitchen Reno 1

There was also, as usual, a lack of good photos. Sorry, but I was BUSY.

So, the recap.
Day one - Dad ripped out plaster. I came home from work and shoveled plaster into garbage bags. Then R2 came home from the gym and carried said bags. Whew.

Day two - Dad created wall frameworks. I went to the hardware store 4 times (note - the open box is always missing something, and it doesn't matter how well you bungee 2x4x12's to a roof, they will bounce). Kaitlin came and ripped up the linoleum. Guess what was under there! Give up? Wood! Wood that will be nice all finished! Super exciting. In the process of removing the existing pantry wall skeleton, Dad noticed the ceiling dropped a little. Since he worries about knocking my house over, he decided a supporting header and some jacks to re-raise it would be a good idea. Small glitch - tin ceilings are not actually fastened directly to the ceiling. They are fastened to small strips of wood. Translation: there's nothing above the ceiling to push up against, thus the jacks didn't raise much.

Day three - I ripped out the rusted tin ceiling panel in the former pantry, while Dad continued to make walls. After viewing the tin ceiling construction, we went with brute force to get the new wall frame in, instead of trying to jack the ceiling back up first. After re-measuring and trimming (we all know measure twice, cut once - but we should all follow an amended version - measure twice, do math 3 times, cut once), we sledgehammered that baby in. Wall!
From Kitchen Reno 1
Then...we tried to remove the header and jacks. Note - next time, wait for Kelly to come home. Result - one dropped header, two spectacular bruises, and an adjournment for beers.

Day four - Dad went to Home Depot for drywall, since we needed to rent their truck to get it home (which requires you to already have car insurance, stupid Home Depot). Rubbish guys came and moved a ton of stuff. Casey came and showed spectacular electrical skills. Hobs came and showed excellent drywall screwing skills. I went to 2 different hardware stores. Then...there was a knife incident (3 stitches for Dad, drywall cutting can be dangerous), I used my new sawzall, and Kelly was a general all-round help and made us stop for dinner.

Day five - Dad took a well earned break and went to visit friends in LI. I went to the basement to turn the water on to water the plants. One would not think this was a dangerous occupation, except - plaster is heavy. And when you remove a lot of it, the floor rises up a little bit. Which means that the jack that was firmly against the floor and helping hold your floor level is suddenly no longer tight. And might unexpectedly fall on you when you breathe near it. Result - more bruising, plus a new fear of my basement.

Day six - Dad headed home. I cleaned. Then Kelly and I cleaned. Then I cleaned some more. And - it's still dirty. But at least it's now functionally dirty! Meaning, the most functional parts are clean enough...

So what'd we get after 6 days? Well, we got a LOT. Opened doorway, moved doorway, built what will someday be the new wall for the bathroom, got drywall up, got upper cabinets out, moved some electrical. What's next? I have one estimate for plumbing, and get another on Thurs. I also get the electrician estimates on Thurs. Then we schedule and get those moving! In the meantime, there's still a little linoleum to get up, and some tin that can be patched (though some has to wait until the plumbers are done). I could start removing the other paint. But really - I think I better get some cabinets ordered...


Monday, July 19, 2010

And we're off!

Like a herd of turtles, as my family always said. Really, quite apropos...

The kitchen reno is officially starting. Dad's on his way here. Tomorrow he starts swinging the sledgehammer. It may not be as fully planned -ahem- as one might hope before they start tearing apart their house, but really - close enough. Maria came through big time with the plans, and the smart cooks I know have agreed this is a kitchen they'd like to work in.

My very patient cousin, and then Mom and brother and sister have gone cabinet shopping with me, and the light colored solid doors are definitely the winners. The exact configuration and Ikea vs Kraftmaid are still tbd.

I know the countertop material I want, though still have 3 colors to pick from. Icestone (made in Brooklyn of recycled glass in concrete).
Manhattan grey:
Denim moss:
Denim sky:

The plumber is coming on Wed to give me a work estimate. I think I'm going with casement windows instead of double hung so we can leave them open at night without worrying about silently entering psycho killers, or having to install bars. If the linoleum comes up cleanly, I'll just refinish the subfloor. We'll find that out pretty soon.

So what if I don't know yet the sink, or fixtures, or whether to buy a new stove. Don't rush me. This project is going!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I wish I knew what I was doing.

If I ever write a book (don't hold your breath, Mom), that'll be the title.

But really, I do. I mean, in everything. I spend most of my time in every day life muddling through (doesn't everyone? I hope?). And then I come back to this renovation project. With all this stuff that needs doing. I've been getting some comments from friends recently that they're very impressed with my "know how", and with all the work. How do I know what I'm doing?

Here's the answer guys - I don't. No idea. Don't get me wrong, I've been very lucky to grow up in a very DIY family, and therefore have faith in my ability to figure it out, and enough grounding in certain things to understand what I'm researching. And people to call (hi Dad. So glad you answer your phone at random moments.) for advice. I'm willing to put in the effort because it's damn satisfying to see something I've made better. But I don't know what I'm doing, as a whole. Even the stuff I would have said I do know how to do - like paint - constantly has new things come up that I didn't know how to deal with before. For instance, did you know that the line between the red and yellow paint on the hallway wall would be visible after a coat of primer and two coats of paint? Yeah, me neither. Should have sanded that down. Oops. Every project I've done thus far in this house has elements of "if I'd known X it would have looked much better when I was done".

Which leads directly into this kitchen reno. Plans aren't quite ready - but yes, I'm doing it. And no, I don't know what I'm doing. I've done some research. I've consulted some knowledgeable people. I know some basics. But at the end of the day - I'm gonna call for some friend reinforcement, pull out the sledgehammers, tape up the plastic, and start swinging. And hope that I can figure it out along the way. If I can't - well then, I guess I'll find a contractor real quick. If I do - it probably won't be perfect. But at least the next time I renovate a kitchen, I might know what I'm doing. So - anyone up for some on the job learning?

Monday, May 17, 2010

All these things - just no pictures.

I just keep forgetting to take them. But there has been lots going on in the house lately!

Firstly, finally, the hallway walls are painted! Still have to figure out the moldings and the staircase, but the walls are now a lovely grey-blue. SO much better than the weird two-tone thing going on. And SO MUCH brighter! Many thanks to the friends that came together for the day long painting extravaganza to finish it.

Lots of work going on in the back garden. There was a plant sale at the Botanical Garden, amongst other things, which have all led to a back yard that really looks like a pretty yard, and not an urban wasteland! Or at least - the yard part looks like a yard. The patio part is a little urban wasteland. But it's coming along! The "cat-repellent" plants seem to be helping a bit too, which is quite nice for being able to sit down at the table and not smell cat poo.

Those are great things! Last week's broken sewer pipe in the basement was not such a great thing... There was some early-century living required for a bit. But that has been repaired. If nothing else, at least THAT particular piece of pipe can be relied on not to break for a while...

Friday, April 30, 2010

I am very beautiful.

Nope, I'm not bragging. Just sharing the text message I received yesterday - from the contractor I hired to skimcoat the ceilings. While he was IN MY HOUSE. With KEYS. Can we say awkward??? It was just a generic compliment - he's married, and that was his last day of work so I wouldn't be running into him again - but really. This is the kind of message you send your clients? Oy.

(A friend reminded me that his livelihood depends on his rep, so he's probably not going to copy my keys and murder me in my sleep - ok, I watch too many crime dramas - but I still asked R2 to check the house to make sure he wasn't hiding in it last night :P).

Anyway, the hallway ceilings are ready for painting! He didn't quite do as much as I was hoping - he didn't patch some spots on the molding, and he's not quite the perfectionist that I am - but it looks damn good. Already much better than I could have made it! So here's to painting this weekend. And with any luck, a hallway that looks somewhat normal!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Look, pretty!

I planted a tree in the backyard! Thanks to Max, who found a tree giveaway at work and reserved me a tree, Cornelia has been added to the backyard. I think she's making a difference already! Now, if only I can manage to keep her alive... (crossing fingers away from my non-green thumb...).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Colors. Have some. Need more.

So, does anyone else have any interest in paint colors? Thought not. This is for you, Mom.

I need a color for the molding. The horrid peach pink shade in the hallway just isn't cutting it... Here's the current color palette of the house. And - I swear it isn't actually this ugly in real life.

I have all these nice paint chips... Help. Suggestions welcome!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Adventures in lame-handed painting

As it turns out, it's not the actual painting/priming that is difficult one-handed, it's the prep work. Perhaps this should not be shocking, but I was a little surprised... But after sanding the last coat of compound, then cleaning up the dust, then washing the walls - that was one tired right arm!

At the end of the day, the long hallway wall is about 3/4 primed. I had some small technical difficulties along the way. Like - R2 kindly set up the long ladder for me to reach over the stairs before she left for the day, but I needed to move it in order to reach one spot on the wall. Um - can't move the long ladder using only one arm. So - that spot not sanded, therefore not primed. And the wall over the stairs would require lots of ladder shifting to paint, so that one isn't done either. I'm also messier when painting using only the right arm - but I have to say, no longer looking at the red/yellow wall is a vast improvement. Even if I'm now looking at splotchy primer ;) Look for more lame-handed painting to come!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Did I mention

That I fixed the fence? 'Cause I did. Before and after below. Dang those winds - and all the things I know now about fence creation with lattice that I didn't know when actually creating the fence...

From Re-fencing

Did I also mention I was trying to fix my elbow again? Yeah. Fun fun. But enough already with the tendinitis. I mean, not only does it make picking up a beer painful, but the hammer swinging was really not joyous. So all real work is on dr-ordered hiatus. However, I am looking forward to trying right-handed painting this weekend. The last hallway wall needs one more light sand, and it should be ready for the priming! If the right-handed priming goes well, then I'll actually paint too... Don't get too excited to see results yet, though. One friend has already told me she has "a feeling it's going to end with a quarter of the wall painted and you with a beer in your right hand - icing your elbow". Only time will tell... Wish me luck!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Another day of wall-work. Joy. But the upstairs hallway wall is about ready to go. And the stairway just needs one more sanding, which would have been done this weekend if I hadn't already tired myself out sanding and decided dealing with the unruly and heavy ladder was beyond me.

I got a little excited at the end of the day, thinking that I could actually prime the moldings as well (for those who don't know, they are a hideous peachy color). I have realized, however, that there might not be much point in doing that... If I'm going to tear up the equally hideous linoleum, I'll end up probably needing to redo the moldings after the floors are redone. Or maybe not. Maybe touchups and shoe moldings will cover it... I shall contemplate. Because they're really damn ugly.

In other news, thank you to the nor'easter for exposing my mediocre construction skills. Part of the fence blew down. Just two cross braces and one piece of lattice, but still. Well, now I get to showcase my mediocre repair skills!

Oh - and from an article in the Real Estate section of today's NYTimes:
"Much work remains. “Once you own something, it is never going to be done,” Mr. Krause said, “but I didn’t expect that so many things would present themselves so quickly.”" Man is he ever right!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yup yup, still going.

Still workin' on the walls. I know, super exciting. I did take a tiny pause and actually hung some of the art that's been waiting in the living room and the library. And I primed one part of the hallway during the "snow day with no heat and therefore no power." But basically, still working on the hallway walls. Which reminds me - anyone have a brilliant idea for vacuuming behind a radiator? The tool doesn't fit, and there's plenty of joint compound dust back there now.

Mom suggested that I hire someone to skim coat the hallway ceilings. And she's probably right. But, um, the washing machine broke. So I fixed that - and therefore must really do the ceilings myself. Anyway, it's supposed to be a rainy weekend. So if anyone is around and feels like some wallwork, I've plenty to share, and some beers for after...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The thing is, it's just boring.

I've gotten a couple comments from friends lately asking what exactly I've been doing, since I keep saying that I'm working on the house, but I'm not updating the blog. I have been working. Thing's boring work.

I'm really trying to get the hallway walls done soon, which involves patching the walls (there were some good sized holes caused by loose plaster, as well as cracks), chipping all the loose paint off the ceiling and then spackling the edges of the remaining paint so you can't see where it came off, removing the paint from the medallion before repainting it (so you can see the detail), and then finally painting the damn thing. And that doesn't even include the work on the stairs, and painting the molding. I've spent the past couple weekends, with some help from friends, thank you!, just getting the walls ready. Another day, and I think the hallway walls themselves will be ready to prime and paint. The ceiling will need more time though. Lots of loose paint there!

I did have to buy one of those 22-in-1 ladders to get at the walls and ceiling over the stairs. That sucker is heavy!!! And just barely fits on the stairs.

In other news, the house is really complaining about the work. In the space of two weeks, the boiler refused to turn on one morning (apparently it just needed to be cleaned and greased), the washer has gone on the fritz (new control board coming up), and the deadbolt actually broke (fixed). Quit it with the little stuff house, I have a hallway to finish!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pretty pretty floors!

Finally! The living and dining room floors are refinished, and the patch in the living room redone! I went with floor guy C from my flooring post, and he really did a great job. There's still dust everywhere, and I haven't entirely put the living room back together (and the whole house still smells like poly), but they look really great!

So we've gone from this:

From Dining Room
Please note the ugly floors in the above...

To this!

Hooray floor guys!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why is my paint peeling?

A marvelous question. Why, oh why, IS my paint peeling? At least - some of it. Mostly in the hallway.

On Sun I spent three hours scraping off loose paint, creating an extremely ugly patchwork effect on the upper part of the wall. I was a little unsure what the next step should be - do I have to patch all the spots I scraped, as that would almost be skim coating? Can I just feather the edges? How come it's peeling????

So I applied Google. And discovered that in the absence of a leak, the problem sometimes occurs when the house has several old layers of oil paint and is then covered with a latex paint. Sometimes it's because there was originally calcimine paint used ("Since calcimine is essentially a water-based mixture of chalk and glue binder, in time any modern paint applied over a calcimine base will fail." courtesy of

The question now is - what do I do with the areas where the paint is still firmly adhered? I'm thinking I'll just clean what came down, seal it with a nasty sealer, and then maybe just feather the edges. But that might make a really wavy wall... Anyone dealt with this one?

Monday, January 4, 2010

The tale of three floor men

Last week, in a fit of pique at my hideous floors, I actually did the research, found three floor guys that were well recommended, and called them. Surprisingly (based on my past floor guy experience), all three were responsive and all three came to see the floors and gave me estimates.

Now - which to pick?

Floor guy A - $950. Hard to understand (not so much on the English), and the only guy who didn't point out the difficulty of the repair I was asking for. But cheapest.

Floor guy B - $1300. But dustless. The most professional of the three, judging only by his printed estimate form, and fancy laser measuring tool.

Floor guy C - $650 for the refinishing, then either $200 or $400 depending on the level of repair I ask for. The only guy to give me options. Also the only guy I had to chase to get the estimate. Pretty sure he's dustless as well, but not positive.

Leaning toward C...

New kitchen ideas?

I am. Going to. Enough already.

On that note, I spent some time with the ideas floated out by all you lovely people about my original kitchen layout, a tape measure, and a mapping program. And I'm a little stuck.

Here's the new layout. Changes you can see - moved the bathroom wall out, knocked down the funny little closet, built a pantry against the wall that used to have the kitchen, swapped a door and a window.

I can't really figure out where to put the fridge and the sink. If I leave them where they are now, the fridge (square with the x) will block light from the door. Which maybe is ok? I don't think I want to move the door more over to make more room from the wall to the doorframe, as then it would be asymmetrical with the spacing of the other windows.

If I leave the sink there, I'll either have to get an under sink dishwasher, which is possible, or put the dishwasher in the island...

So. Thoughts?

Casey suggested an under-counter refrigerator and freezer. (Idea nixed. Those things are ridiculously expensive!). And yes definitely a dishwasher! While I don't have to move the door, moving it will allow me to create door that exits at floor level (so no two steps up) without dealing with the nightmare that would be redoing the basement exit. Plus it would create more light in the kitchen part.