Saturday, October 30, 2010

In the home stretch

Renovating a bathroom is messy.


Like, really messy.


It would've been awesome to have a second bathroom to use while we did this work, but alas. No such luck in our old house. (We have plans to add a half bath downstairs when we renovate the kitchen... next project!) Everything is cleaned up now and we're able to shower in our own house again...

The renovation has gone really well. We got all of the big stuff done--drywall, new ceiling, tile, paint--in our long four day weekend. We're working on buffing the tiles to remove the grout haze (from what we've read, it takes 1-2 weeks for it to come off completely) and still have to put up the ceiling trim and paint the bead board. We also got a lovely new light fixture that will be going up tomorrow.

Here's the bathroom after we primed the ceiling and that horrible yellow paint on the walls.


We ran into a minor problem when it came time to put color on the walls. We bought our paint in a semi-gloss finish, and oh man, it looked horrendous. It was way too shiny and the brush strokes were super visible.


See how terrible? Yikes a bikes.

Side note, though, see that lovely smooth ceiling up there? Branden did a great job putting it up. It's so much nicer than the gross panels that were up there before.

So, another trip to Home Depot and we got the same color in an eggshell finish. By the way, yes, the cashiers do know us and ask how our projects are coming along... it's sad.


Sooo much better!

Once the trim is up and painted I'll do a full reveal of the before and after. Until then, I'll leave you with another shower tile preview, all grouted!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bathroom renovation update!

Here we are at the start of day three of our four-day bathroom renovation. We've gotten a ton accomplished in the last two days! I'm confident that we'll be able to get all of the major stuff finished before Tuesday.

First thing we did was drop the ceiling. Then we started pulling down the tiles in the shower.


All was going well until we discovered this:


Black mold, awesome! This is the spot where the tiles had started falling off previously, so I wasn't surprised to see that we had some moisture there.

So we changed plans a bit and pulled down the drywall around the entire shower. We figured we might as well take it down to the studs and replace everything--even the spots that aren't currently damaged--to be sure that it doesn't happen again.



After bleaching the crap out of everything we put up a vapor barrier across the ceiling and down the walls. This helps prevent further moisture.


Then Branden and our bff Josh hung the drywall (the purple board underneath in the picture... didn't have time to take a pic of just this step, sorry!) on the ceiling and walls, taping and mudding along the seams. This particular drywall is mold and mildew resistant, so ideal for bathrooms.

After that we put up a cement backerboard, which is used to prevent mildew and also to help tiles adhere.

Last but not least, we put up the tiles!

Neither of us had ever tiled before, but it was really simple. It took a couple of minutes to figure out exactly how much thinset to use on the wall, but once we got that down, we were able to zip right through.

So the entire shower is finished now and that's where we're at! All that's left now is to do another coat of mud on the ceiling, grout the tile, put up trim, and paint!

I hope to have the full reveal in just a couple of days! Until then, here's a sneak peek of the shower tile:


Friday, October 22, 2010

It's bathroom demolition time!!

As I speak type Branden is in our bathroom ripping down the ceiling. See, late last night he decided that since we both have the next four days off, this would be a good time to renovate the bathroom. The bathroom has been on my list of dream projects for a while, so naturally I thought this was a fantastic idea. That settled it, and off to Home Depot we went.

Our upstairs bathroom (the only one in the house) is a major eyesore, and we haven't touched it since we bought the house in June because we knew it needed a total overhaul. And, frankly, we had bigger fish to fry.

Here's the unsightly mess that we've been living with for the last 4 1/2 months:


Nasty. I know.

The walls are painted a bright as the center of the sun yellow, and it's some kind of super stretchy latex paint. You can actually just pull it off with your fingers and it feels like a balloon. I've never seen anything like it. (Our kitchen features the same lovely paint job, btw.) We started pulling it off in some places, and you can see that equally lovely mauve paint underneath. Barf.

On top of the beauuutiful paint job, the beadboard was never completely primed or painted. You can see where the previous owners stopped priming to the right of the toilet. Awesome.

So, here is the renovation agenda for the next four days.

First, rip down the ceiling panels.


These panels were originally throughout the entire house, and we already got rid of them everywhere except the kitchen and bathroom, since we knew we'd be doing bigger renovations in those rooms. We'll be replacing the ceiling with mold and mildew resistant sheet rock.

We'll also demo the equally barf-inducing robin's egg blue tile in the shower.


See how the tiles have already started falling off? Hopefully the demolition is a breeze. We already picked up some beautiful glass mosiac tile for the shower. We plan on bringing the tile all the way up to the ceiling for a more polished look. Neither of us have tiled before, so this will be a new adventure!

After the tiles are up (successfully, I hope!), we'll strip the latex paint off these walls and repaint.


So what do you think? Can we get this done in four days?? We'll find out!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cameras and a penguin


The shelves above the tv are starting to come together. I wanted to use the space to display things that are meaningful to us, as well as pretty to look at of course. :)

I wanted to showcase my collection of vintage cameras, and I love how they look like little sculptures on display. They had been stowed away in a box for the past few years, so I'm really happy to give them a home. They're too cool to just keep in storage.


The camera in the middle cube is from the 1930s and is my favorite of them all. It's so intricate; I can't imagine using it without being a math genius. Seriously, everything is manual, and there's a chart on the top with distances and an equation that you have to use to get the right exposure. Who has that kind of time? The one on the right is from the 70s or 80s. I used it in photography class in college.

The weird man statue up there is from the 1930s and is actually a bottle opener. Branden found it when he was building his jewelry store. The wooden bowl and spoon were my grandmother's and came from Russia. I used to play with them all the time when I was little.


This camera is from the 1950s and I think was used by someone in the military. The back is engraved with someone's name.

Branden is very attached to the ceramic penguin, and insisted that it gets a proper place on the shelves. It's one of the only decorations that he is adamant must be on display in the house.



I also switched up the telephone table, since it was feeling pretty crowded with the extra stuff on the shelves above.



I picked up the apothecary jar for $7! Awesome.

The living room feels almost complete now. The shelves still need some more tweaking, but I'm happier with them now. I'm thinking about DIYing some botanical prints for over the couch, so we'll see how that goes!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fence is up!


The fence went up this weekend!

It was a big production, but luckily we had help. (thankyouthankyouthankyou!)

First we had to haul over the materials: fence panels and posts, and we rented a two-man auger, which turned out to be pretty invaluable. It made the process go a lot faster.


There's the auger in the background. Next we needed to measure everything and make sure we had a straight, level line to follow before we dug any holes.


Next Branden and his brother dug the holes and plunked the posts in.


We filled the holes with concrete, making sure they're filled completely.



Once the posts were in and cemented, we needed to let everything set overnight. The next day Josh came by to help with putting up the panels.


(Sawing things, like a man)



Because the side of the yard is a gradual slope, we needed to stagger the panels. Our plan is to cover up the gaps in the bottom with some lattice.

We got almost the entire yard fenced in. The only part still open is a 15-foot section on the left side of the house, where the gate will go in. We're still not quite sure how the gate situation works, but we're working on it. :)

Somehow, closing the yard in made it feel even bigger. I was expecting the opposite, but I think it drew more attention to just how HUGE our yard is!


I can't wait to see Lucy frolick around out here!




The next project is staining the fence before we get tons of rain this weekend. We bought a power sprayer which is a pain in the butt to use but is way faster than a brush.


I'll post more pictures when it's done!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The power of laser levels

As I hinted earlier, we solved the dilemma of where to hang our Christmas stockings. I know, this is a number one priority that needs immediate attention, given that it is not even Halloween yet. Shut it.


We had been puzzling over what to do with the large empty space on the wall above our living room television. It was so huge, we knew we needed something large enough to fill it up. After looking around for some large, substantial artwork, we realized that wasn't in our budget. (One antique gallery we went to had some amazing 19th century maritime oil paintings, so we will continue to dream of winning the lottery and bringing home one of those...)

We found some component shelving at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and picked up a couple of sets to play around with. As we don't have a fireplace mantle, I knew I wanted to create a long shelf above the tv. The shelves we bought came with some handy paper templates, so we stuck them up on the wall and played around with different configurations.


Happy with the final set up, Branden drilled the holes for the four shelves along the bottom. It wasn't until the holes were drilled and a few of the anchors were hammered in, that we realized that the templates did not actually match the shelves exactly. So many of the holes we'd drilled were off by a good amount.

So, we threw out the templates in a rage, dug out the spackle from the basement, patched up the holes, and let everything dry overnight. The next day, refreshed, we tackled it again, this time measuring the brackets on each individual shelves.


It's funny the way that Branden approaches these projects: so methodically and mathematically. The total opposite of my "just eyeball it" method. He double and triple checks each measurement before doing anything, calculates the exact distances from each wall to find the perfect center, and makes sure that everything is exactly level. With this kind of project, being exact is a must! Our laser level (found on clearance at WalMart for less than15 bucks!) was the saving grace though. So helpful! I can't believe we hadn't had one before this.



And because you know how much I love a good before and after:



It's looking pretty blah right now. Once I can get some accessories up there, I think it will all come together really nicely.

Today Branden's dad and brother are coming to help dig post holes for the fence. It's a huge job, but I can't wait to have the yard all fenced in for Lucy! I'll have lots of pictures to share soon.

In the meantime, here's proof that it's officially, definitely, absolutely fall:


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lost without a mantle


I love my house. Really, truly, love it. The more we settle and live in it, the more I love it. However. As the nights are getting colder and the leaves on the twin maples outside are turning bright red, I am really wishing that we had a fireplace with a mantle.

Don't get me wrong, I still love this house! But I can't help feeling like I'm missing out, not being able to decorate a fireplace mantle for the seasons. And what about Christmas?! Where in the world will we hang our stockings? This will require some creative solutions.

So that I don't feel left out, I've decided that our recently refinished telephone table will act as our makeshift fireplace mantle. So I decorated the tabletop for fall.




It's not as good as a roaring fire, but it will work for now. :)

I also filled the red bowl on the coffee table with some gourds and decorative green balls to add some texture. Lucy doesn't seem to want to use them as chew toys yet, but I'm keeping a close eye on her just in case.


You can see the telephone table fall mantle in the background. And NBA 2k10 happening on the tv. Boys.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm in full-on fall mode. I even broke out my leather riding boots for the first time this season. This weather makes me want to be productive, and we have tons of projects on our plates, as always. On the list for the next couple of weeks is putting up the fence in the backyard, finishing the tiles in the mud room, and installing a shelving unit in the office closet. (Plus those big trees we love so much out front are making quite a mess of the front lawn, so some heavy duty raking will be going down.) I'll hopefully have lots of progress to share very soon, so stay tuned!

P.S. "mantle" is a very strange looking and sounding word when you see it over and over again. Just me?