Ranges and tubs and fridges, OH MY!!!

Well, it has been a while since I posted. I went through a period of house renovation depression… That time when it feels like all there is is destruction and none of the fun picking out finishes one envisions when launching a whole house renovation. I promise an update with house photos soon, but for now I thought I would give an update on the fun stuff we picked out this weekend!!!

Blake and I needed to make some decisions to facilitate our construction process this weekend- first, we needed to decide where the tub drain needed to go (aka we needed to pick a tub) and second we needed to know what type of flooring we wanted for our bathroom.

We started Friday morning at Ferguson Showroom.  We knew we wouldn’t be purchasing there (a bit out of our budget), but we wanted to get some ideas for what we wanted.  So glad we went!  Blake originally thought he wanted a built it tub, but this trip brought him over to my side and we decided on a free standing one that would comfortable fit two people and could be carried up our staircase.   After we got home, I used the magic googles and we decided on this one, the Wyndham 71″ mermaid:



I love that it is modern yet classic, it will be easy to install, and can easily be carried upstairs.  The tub will be installed over the Home Depot Millsted Mineral bamboo flooring we selected, which looks like this:



Our search for the perfect tub (before the magic googling) also brought us to one of our favorite places to shop, a salvage shop called Community Forklift.  We didn’t find a tub, but we did find out that the following day was the Pirate Party- anyone dressed as a pirate would receive a 20% discount on their purchase.  Now 20% isn’t a ton when you are buying a $5 lamp, but it is quite a bit when you start to talk about appliances.

Community Forklift routinely has about a million old and not super attractive appliances, and maybe three beautiful, professional grade ones.  A few weeks ago we almost bought a range that had a double oven (one of my wish lists we can’t really fit in our closet as a wall unit), but further research revealed that it had terrible reviews.  But Friday was different!  We quickly spotted a Thermador Professional Range, a KitchenAid Architect II fridge/freezer, and a KitchenAid convection oven/microwave.  The range has only one oven, but the microwave doubles as an oven so I am feeling pretty good about that!  We also considered a dishwasher, but it wasn’t in great shape.  We put the items on hold, then went home to a) do our research and b) scrounge up some pirate costumes.  The next day, we returned to Community Forklift to lay claim our booty (with the help of my parents).  Here are some ideas of what are new (to us) appliances look like:

You can see a version of our range for sale on ebay here.

Our fridge/freezer looks like this (more info here):



And our microwave looks kind of like this (more info here):

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They come with a guarantee that they work (we can return within 2 weeks if they don’t).  All need to be cleaned, and a few superficial replacement parts will need to be purchased, but all in all these were a total steal!  New, we would have paid about $14,000 for comparable models. With our 20% discount (including taxes), we paid $4,100!  Totally worth looking like this in public:

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Blake is now considering growing his hair out.




Week 8 Round Up: The Roof Takes Shape!

As I mentioned in the Week 7 Round Up, we have been blocked out of the upstairs, so your photos this week will be exterior only (although let’s be honest, you know Blake has taken a ladder and tromped around up there- he just sadly forgot to put the memory card in the camera).  We know they (our contractors) have started demoing some of the (remaining) existing upstairs to accommodate the new roof, and the big progress this week is that you can really see the roofline taking shape!  Fingers crossed for trusses this week 🙂  The final roofline will be peaked, but you get the idea for how it will fit with the existing roof.

Roofline! image (2) image


We are also starting to enter the VERY fun part of picking out the exterior finishes.  We already ordered a slate gray standing seam metal roof from Englert, and now we are looking into the color for our Hardie Panel siding.  We just sent off for color samples on that one, and we are still primarily looking at greens and tans.  Photos to come on that one!  Our windows are also ordered- can’t wait for a full set I can open and close!!!

Week 7 Round Up: The Rain Returns

Well, Week 7 was another slow week.  Our contractor was ready to take off the roof, but the weather thought we should wait another week.  

They did get some GREAT framing done on Monday:


And we got some serious demolition work done on Sunday:Image

This week we decided to take out the exterior drywall- we weren’t sure we were going to do it because Blake (wisely) thought it might be good to reuse the insulation.  I disagreed because I wanted to pull out as much of the old stuff as possible, and after some back and forth, we decided to take it out.  Good thing we did!  Turns out two of the three upstairs bedrooms had NO INSULATION!!!!  That’s right folks- one room was packed with rock wool insulation, but two rooms were drywall on 2x4s, then just some wood and brick.  That’s it.  Imagine how much energy it must have taken to heat/cool those rooms all these years!  

That’ll be all you’ll see for upstairs demo for a bit.  Monday night I got home all amped up to go do some demo work.  I changed my clothes, put on my mask, and tried to head up the stairs only to find that they had blocked the top of the steps. Cue the sad sound effect (Wah Waaahhh).  Blake and I are out of town (yay lake house) this weekend, so hopefully when we get back we will a) see some serious roof progress and b) be aloud back upstairs so I can finish pulling out the ceilings!  

In the meantime, here is a shot of what the inside of our roof looks like in case that is what you are into:


Homemade Chalk Paint: That’s What’s Up

So, as many of you are already aware, my beautiful sister Mandy, her devoted husband Kevin, and their smarty-pants son Emmet are expecting a new (girl) addition in September.  In anticipation, my sister has spent a TON of time on Pinterest designing the perfect baby room for a little girl.  With help from my mother and her mother-in-law, she has painted the room, put together a white crib, reupholstered the rocking chair and window seat, and hung curtains.  One item she really wanted for the room was a  dresser that could double as a changing table.  She really wanted something in the shape of this dresser from Project Nursery:



For the color, she really liked this dresser from Dixie Delights:

October 2012 364 copy[2]

Fortunately, her mother-in-law, Maureen, had a dresser in just the right shape, but the wood finish was not what Mandy had envisioned (note: I can’t find a before image of the dresser, but will insert one if I can get one from my sister).

To get the look of the above dresser, one of the best options is to use chalk paint.  Chalk paint has a great matte, slightly textured finish that gives that french country sheik look I think Mandy was looking for.  The other bonus of chalk paint is that (in theory) you don’t have to sand the furniture before painting!  For anyone who has ever refinished furniture before, the sanding is the WORST part.  You (and everything within a 20 foot radius) end up coated in saw dust, and getting into some of the smaller curves/nooks is nearly impossible.  So, as you can imagine, I was intrigued by the idea of chalk paint and imagined myself Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast style refinishing furniture (read: singing perfectly on pitch while the paint brush came to life and did the painting for me- or maybe the cats learned to paint?  This fantasy isn’t all that well fleshed out).

So what is the downside of chalk paint, you might ask? The most popular brand, Annie Sloan, is a bit expensive- around $75 for a small container.  It is important to note here that a little chalk paint goes a long way, but I still wasn’t ready to shell out that kind of money on a product I had never tested.  I was pretty skeptical of the “no sanding” thing.

Enter homemade chalk paint!  After doing some internet searching and watching some you tube videos of smiling folks painting right over polyurethane and varnish without a care in the world (like this one from MsPinkFabulous), I was curious.  There are many recipes on the web, and I really appreciated this post from Salvaged Inspirations where she tested each one.  I decided to go with her option number 2, 1 part plaster of paris, water to mix and 3 parts paint.  It got great reviews AND plaster of paris is easy to get.

I didn’t want to test my homemade concoction on the dresser.  What if I messed it up?  What if it was ruined and the baby had to be changed (heaven forbid) on the floor?? (side note, in my anxious head somehow fixing the dresser or acquiring another one was not an option for some reason).  Fortunately, I had a great piece I had been waiting to finish!  I inherited this chest of drawers from my grandparents, but had avoided refinishing it because of the deep gouges on the top AND the intricate details on the pulls- sanding either would have been a HUGE pain.  So, I wiped it down, painted it, and finished it with some Minwax Paste Finishing Wax.  Here are the before and afters:


As promised, it was easy and it looked great!  The only problem is that if you REALLY dig in, you can scratch the paint off (this problem is lessened by bringing it inside where it is cooler and less humid).  I decided to make some changes for the dresser, and after doing some tests on one of the cabinet parts I plan not to use from our recent cabinet haul, I decided on a light sanding, THEN painting and sealing with wax.  Here is the final result, what do you think?  Photos to come soon of the dresser in it’s native nursery habitat!


Week 6 Round Up: The View From Up Here

This week was decidedly focused on up!  First, they created our second floor to the addition- literally just the floor- but you can see that we could walk around on it!  I was out of town for work, and blake sent me this picture with the caption “the view from your new bedroom”:

UpstairsBedroom View

Now I have to say, I was excited to see this regardless- it is so much fun to start visualizing the space by actually STANDING in it!  And no question, the view will be AMAZING once I get to landscape architecting the current invasive weed bed.

I was even more excited to see the progress on our new bedroom when I got home to see the (temporary) modifications to our current one:


Now our bedroom has never been what one would classify as “big”.  There was already very little space to squeeze between the bed and two dressers.  Side note, animals do NOT help with this- especially animals with no fear of you stepping on them.  The wall in the above photo is temporary- as they change our roof line, then have to distribute to load until they get the new trusses/bracing into place.  This is the first real incursion into our living space, and I have to admit that I am starting to feel the stress of a renovation.

Adding to the stress this weekend was the fact that we were a bit overly ambitious.  After finding out that only one of the five materials we sent away for testing had asbestos (kitchen and bathroom floor tiles, haven’t touched them yet), we decided to tackle demoing our upstairs again.  My parents (who are amazingly kind and freakishly strong) insisted on coming over to help demo on Saturday, and we got a TON done!  All of the carpets out, many nails pulled, more walls down.  Best surprise:  Blake uncovered our stairs to reveal REALLY cute stained wood runners with white wood rises.  They need some TLC, but I LOVE them. Feeling emboldened by this, Blake and I decided to dive back in on Sunday.  About five minutes in, I realized I was miserably tired (note, I arrived home on Friday night at 11pm after six days on the road- I really wanted some downtime).  Regardless, we pushed on and got a lot done.  You can now see from one side of the upstairs to the other- can’t wait to get it all cleaned up and start rebuilding, but that is many weeks (months?) of weekend warrioring away!  This is a 360 view that came out way to dark:


Definitely feeling a bit overwhelmed and like the tunnel just extends forever and ever (i.e. no end anywhere near sight).  Maybe it will be better once we finish demo, the contractor finishes their part, and we just start the fun part of rebuilding.

I am off to my yoga class, but another post soon on our successful chalk paint experiment!  I finished a dresser for my sister (and her soon to be born baby girl), and it came out great!

Week 5: The main floor takes shape!



So, in this picture, on the left you can start to see how much bigger the kitchen is going to be and how lovely the windows on the back wall will be!  On the right is our downstairs “bonus” room where we will likely have a little eating area, some sitting, and someday, a lot of kids toys.  Wow.  SO excited!


Fortunately Blake is vigilant as he has identified a couple of errors in the framing.  The biggest one is that the windows in the kitchen are set to be too low- we want to fit kitchen counters under them.  Our contractors should be fixing that this week.


Blake also met with a roofing contractor this week, and we asked Justin (our contractor) for samples of the siding.  The fun part (picking stuff out) begins!


Sorry for the brevity- I am packing for a week long work trip.  It will be exciting to come home and see a full week of progress all at once 🙂  

Week 4 Round Up: Progress!

Sorry for the delay in posting this one, folks, but last weekend was NUTS!  We had a demolition party where my amazing family came over to help us pull down about 75% of our upstairs (it needed a total gut).  I am amazed at how much we got done, and we are eternally grateful to folks for enduring the insane heat!    Afterwards, we ate delicious bbq, then I slept for 11 hours straight.  All and all, I would call the demo party a success!


As for the demo waste, we tried out these things called “Bagsters”.  You purchase them at Home Depot for about $30 bucks, take them home and fill them, then Waste Management comes to pick them up for another $120 or so per Bagster.  All and all, we were happy with the flexibility these provided- they are smaller than usual dumpsters, so we just set them up out of the way on our lawn.  Here is what it looks like when the pick them up:

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Out contractor made great time as well, although for the sake of full disclosure, this picture was actually take on Tuesday, so this is more like a week and a half of progress.