Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Let me set the stage:
It's 2002 and Dan and I have decided to live together and move into a "real" apartment in Boston. We went to see a real estate agent and asked them to show us some properties. Now, we didn't have all that much scratch so we settled on something "under 1500, maybe more like 1200" for a price range and initially refused to look outside of Boston proper. I don't quite remember how many apartments we were show by this particular agent, but, I do know two things: he drove us around in a car and illegally parked at every stop, and he showed us the most fucked up apartment I have ever seen in my like (and I have seen some doosies).
We got to an apartment in the Fenway area and from the outside it seemed just okay. It was in a larger building and this realtor explains it was a two bedroom and going for 1400. He knocks on the door. It seemed like the tenants were home. I heard someone coming to the door. I felt promise building in my heart as I waited. Maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't have to look at anymore places and I could just plunk down in this one. The door began to open. Have you seen the Goonies? Yes? Well, Ma Fratelli answered the door and Sloth is plopped down in a chair behind her in the living room - which is a trapezoid shaped space of about 50 square feet. Ma Fratelli is also wearing her pants above her belly button and some tall white sport socks with red stripes on the top. I have no idea what she was wearing for a shirt, I believe this is because my eyes barely left the floor. I just remember panic setting in that I even had to set foot in this place.
Ah, the floor. The low grade basement-type carpeting had probably never been vacuumed. The two bedrooms that were directly off the living room, were filled with bare mattresses and a messes I can only describe as being the place were all good things go to die. The galley kitchen branched from the living room and was filled with trash. Some of the cabinet knobs littered the ground. I am assuming Sloth pulled them off (because he is super strong in Goonies and I will assume that applies to this person too) and simply dropped them out of his meaty hands onto the "carpet". I have no recollection of the bathroom. I don't think I wanted to even head down that road.
This "apartment" was probably all of 600 square feet and I am so thankful, because I was in and out of there in about 2 minutes. We were all silent when we left. It probably took about a week to process that visual massacre. The fact that I can still remember it so well 6 years later proves that it certainly made an impression.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
It was best showcased with some greenery wrapping up a spiral staircase:
Again, this was done by Casa Da Mar.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This counter top glows via lights underneath. So amazing!!! It makes the space interesting without having an overwhelming feature present all the time. More on this kitchen can be found here.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
The interior designer I saw had them hung on ribbons and draped over the window lever - so they hung on the lower half of the window. This was a great idea because you can use a smaller ornament, cause no damage to your window casing, and hang it and remove it with ease. Well done! The information on the designer (whose decorating ideas were to die for) can be found at casadamar.net.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I guess I am pretty into bathroom accessories lately. Perhaps it's because I can't begin my bathroom remodel just yet. The planning stage is the best part anyway. My tryst to Waterworks yesterday really got the wheels in my head turning. Now, I just have to find some ice blue crackle ceramic tile that is not 35 bucks a square foot.
Anyway, this TP holder rocks! It would also solve two fight in my house. The first is that someone NEVER refills the TP. This same person (I will not name names here) also likes to leave copies of the New Yorker littered around the floor or shelf. I found a similar piece at Potterybarn (it may be the actual one from the photo - who knows!):
Anyway, I'll add this to the longer-than-life list of things to get.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
This afternoon I sauntered in myself. I was there to check out their amazing products and get some ideas. Now, can I afford a 2k faucet? No. Can I steal their ideas and buy one that looks like it? Yes. Yes, I can. The showroom in Georgetown is magnificent and the amazing line of tile upstairs was heavenly. I have to say, the staff was pretty nice and helpful. The bad thing was the snob factor was pretty high on the snotty scale. But, once I told them I was actually remodeling and not just leaving greasy fingerprints in their studio - they seems a little more helpful.
The specialty tile they have is insane. When you get down to it, ordering a few pieces of amazing craftsmanship can add a huge impact to your overall look. A border of hand glazed tile it what I have in mind. Until then, I'll just have to ponder over the tile samples she gave me and hope the economy gets better.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I'm not going nuts with holiday decorations this year. No tree, at least. My folks will have a tree and I will bask in it's soft glow. No need to have one at DC Rowhouse too. This year, I'm a little sensitive about cutting down a 20 year old tree for decoration. So, just one for my family seems OK.
Did this post cheer you up? Yeah...me too.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Phase 3: Kitchen remodel, refinish hardwood downstairs
Phase 4: Exterior landscaping,
Phase 5: Hall & Master bathroom remodeling
It seems there has been a lot of skipping around. That said, only two more items until "phase 1" is done! I think realistically, it would be great to get the rest of the items done in 2009. Which would mean it took 2 years to renovate the house. Oh. Dear. God. Back in December 2007, when we bought the house, I thought a year of hard work would really do the trick. Wrong! The planning and prep and making the projects are done in the right sequence is really the hardest process. Researching how and where to spend your money takes such a long time! It sure does feel good to see all those items crossed off though!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Then, the embarrassing part comes in:
The cable guy: I am here to install the digital phone.
CG: where is your phone now?
Me: Oh, Um, it's in the kitchen, but we plug it right into the network interface outside, through the kitchen window.
CG: I see. ::stares at me with a disapproving glare::
Me (standing in front of the sink to hide a pile of dishes): Yeah, so it would be nice to not do that anymore.
Later on. . .
CG: All set!
Me: Great! Now I can close the window all the way since it's getting colder out.
Soon after, I called Dan:
Me: they hooked up the new phone!
Me: Well, it's through the internet modem until we fix the phone lines and then they can hook it up through there.
Dan: So, we still only have the phone plugged into one spot.
Me: ::deep breath:: Yup.
Dan: So essentially the same thing we had before.
Me: Yeah, except this time... it's FREE!!!
Another example of a lot of effort with little to no result. Ta-da!!!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Now, it has come to my attention that I have few weekends left before the end of the year. In fact, I only have three. The others are filled with Turkey, Trees, presents and candy. It will be interesting to see if I actually get my ass in gear to get anything done. Ideally I would like to finish painting the fireplace (read:living and dining room) and install the recessed cabinet in the downstairs bathroom. But, with our recent hectic schedules there has been a mounting list of things to get done to, I don't know, function in the real world. Clean undies = good. Smelly dishes = bad. We need to get these down soon.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Anyway, the point of all this was to let you know you can recycle (or allow someone to re-use) the packing peanuts! Find a location near you here: http://www.loosefillpackaging.com/
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
These are obviously not the same color. The two on the ends being a far lighter shade then the ones in the middle. At this point I can't even deal with returning them. I hope the company will just give me a refund so I don't have to lug 45 pounds of tile to UPS.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
The house was for sale a couple months ago, but the sign left quickly. I don't think it sol. Now there is a U-haul. With stuff. I saw them carry in a roll of brown carpet. Are they going to, gulp, throw this over the rotting plywood? Seriously, there are sheets of white plastic covering the windows of this place. It is not safe. Not to mention, I think that squatters bring down housing values.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
One thing that makes DC Rowhouse so special is that it is in DC. Not, in the outlying area, smack dab in the district. Thus, making this Tuesday an extra snazzy day for me and my neighbors. Standing in line to vote so close to the capitol building and white house (to name two) was a great feeling. Trying to go to bed at a reasonable hour however, was not. I watched the election results until 10:30 and then headed off to bed. At that time, it looked like Obama was going to win and I just wanted to find out in the morning instead of biting all my fingernails off while watching county by county results come in from say . . . Virginia. With the cats keeping me company (Dan was still at work) I settled into bed. I couldn't sleep. I had too much energy from the day. So, I began doing what I always to before going to bed - mapping out my dream house building plans. 11pm - still wide awake. 11:15pm - all hell breaks loose outside. Fireworks shooting, horns honking, people screaming running outside and down the streets screaming. Since 93% of the district voted for Obama, I knew at that point they had called it. Running to the window as the cats dove under the bed for cover from all the noise I saw fireworks and tears of joy from neighbors. It was great. Until the next day when Dan called me at work:
Dan: Hey, do you think you can grab the paper when you see one?
Me: OK, you didn't get one.
Dan: Nope, all sold out.
Me: Oh, crap.
Me: You know how we canceled the paper to only Sundays a couple months ago, but they were still giving it to us everyday?
Dan: Yeah. . .
Me: Well, they called last week and I told them to stop giving it to us because we don't read it all the time and it is wasteful.
Dan: Oh. So, we could've had the paper this morning on our door instead of running to every store in town.
So, we didn't get a paper. That sucks. Wanna give me yours?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
This brings us to today. With the yard looking spiffy and the new patio a dream come true there is one sore spot on it. The huge ugly air conditioner. In searching for a cover for the air conditioner I found this great DIY project for a lovely lattice covering.
Hey, what's one more thing to add to the list. . . right?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Then, I went to take the trash out. And, noticed she blew all her leaves onto our side. Ah... Um... What? Hello? Ma'am?! Not OK. Not OK at all. Seriously, her lawn patch was all clear, and our looked like it had been double-frosted in autumn. Not to mention a lot of the leaves also blew into our stairway down into the stairwell which is a huge pain in the ass to clear out - and makes our tenant's life a little unpleasant I am sure.
So, if she thinks her kids are getting Halloween candy from us - she better think again. Kidding. I'll just give them raisins.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
My choice: Maple Shaker-style semi-custom cabinets painted white.
Cheaper option: Laminate faced cabinets, which would run be about 30-60% less.
In looking into if this is something to consider I took the advice I received from many to look at the Ikea cabinets because many have said "I know Ikea can be crap, but the cabinets are pretty good". Um, I had my doubts. Now, the cabinets are about 60% (or more!) less than those I had picked out but you have to put them together. Now, for all the Ikea furniture I have put together I have learned: it's not fun and it's easy to break something or mess it up. When I argued the drawers felt horrible in the store the response from Ikeans (those are supportive of Ikea and all their wares) replied "Do you know have many people have pulled on those drawers?". Yeah, but of I average a lifetime of use it might be the same thing. Needless to say, no dice.
The next choice is to get the laminate or thermofoil cabinets at a big box store. They come put together and can even be installed for you. So, not bad. They have a similar construction to the cabinets I picked out, but the front is coated in a laminate (or plastic paper sheet) that allows for easy cleaning and care. Sounds good I thought? But, then I heard about the drawbacks. Bubbling, burning, warping. Since it really is just paper on your cabinets, if you get them wet for too long they will tend to warp. Spill hot coffee down the side and uh-oh you may have a problem. You've all seen something of plastic get too hot - so you know what I am talking about. My folks still have burned counters in the bathroom my sister and I used growing up from hot curling iron (what's up mall bangs!) - not saying it was me, just sayin' I know what happens to laminate. I even read one testimonial from a woman whose toaster warped her cabinets above it. And, since you can't just sand them down or re-paint, you have to either replace the door or the cabinet. I guess this just didn't seem that appealing to me.
That said, my maple cabinets are still my numero uno!
What to read more about cabinets? Check out this Better Homes & Gardens article: http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/kitchen/cabinets/kitchen-cabinet-material-types/?page=1
Now, it's not like there are not fifty other less expensive projects to be done! In fact, this is probably for the best. The new focus will be on painting, wiring, closets, molding, oh I could go on and on. Hey, who knows, with Linen's 'n Things closing I might be able to get some good deals. Now, if only I could use this trick for tools . . .
Friday, October 17, 2008
Anyway, here are some amazing pools that I love:
Thursday, October 16, 2008
UPDATE: Electrician has injured himself! He scraped his elbow on some drywall. Blood. Everywhere. Don't worry, while I bandaged him up (which I think he was impressed with my First Aid supplies) I told him I get hurt a lot too. In fact, I got three substantial injuries in the four days we were on vacation. That's right, not even renovating. Just vacationing. I just recovered the ability to hear out of my left ear yesterday and I have a gash that is pretty nasty on my right ankle. The last injury... well, let's just say when you are heading down a water slide and the guide tells you to lift your butt up in your tube - you better listen. Unless you want a black and blue bottom for a while. But, it's great to know I am not alone. Even the pros get injuries.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I have a feeling this is going to require more testing. . .
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
So, the next attempt was a great success. I mixed the putty and sealed the hole (with the cord threaded through) and all worked well. Now the fountain is cordless (well, from the surface that is) as it is all hidden in the mulch.
Pictures to come. . .
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
In other news, I can figured out how to "fix" the side of the stairs and look forward to figuring it out.
Also, the closet quote is tonight so things should be moving along in that area!! I can't wait to get some closure on this (get it? Closure... ha ha. I know, lame).
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Tuesday night we are getting a quote for the closet doors and I already now it's over budget. We have spent 40% of our total budget so far and still have plenty left. The kitchen and bathrooms with eat up most of the rest, so it seems we will be doing more of the heavy lifting in some areas. It feels like money really flies away so fast.
Since the Senate passed the bail-out bill, and there is hope in the House, we are monitoring the mortgage rates pretty closely. Time to refinance? Our mortgage broker seems to think so. Hey, that mean more $ we can spend renovating. Sounds good to me!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
We mowed the lawn for the first time this weekend and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Now we just have to organize the furniture and we should be in business! It's nice to finally be able to enjoy some of our hard work and efforts. Once the deck is finished it will be perfect - but until then, its a far cry from what it used to be!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
When trying to organize the closets this past weekend, I realized I have 3 (yup, 3!) light fixtures in huge boxes waiting to be hung. One for the dining room, one for the living room, and one for the bathroom. It's time for those to go up! I called the electrician that has the best reputation in my neighborhood and spoke to them about the situation (changing the recessed lights to the pendant lights) and they walked me through the estimate and all it entailed with great detail. They then gave me a high end estimate and I made an appointment for them to come out and take a look.
Wouldn't you know that the high end estimate was just as I had budgeted! Ahh... the joy. I had first cringed a little after hearing the number, then frantically rushed to the budget spreadsheet to see if I had even included this in there or if this was one of my "extras". I love when I am ahead of myself. It's the best feeling.
Soon, there will be an actual light in the dining room/section! Oh, and more importantly, more space in my closets!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Since we will most likely have to vacate the house during the first floor renovation for a few days, does it make sense to do it over the Christmas holiday? Do contractors work then? Is this a good idea, or a terrible idea? I can't decide. It would make sense since we would be staying at my folks house for a few days anyway, might as well have people working on the house. Or... not. This would also mean I wouldn't be able to see their progress. Scary.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Since we have to water the grass morning and night (that stops today though!), I went out Monday night to move the sprinkler and *thought* I closed the backdoor as I rushed back in to watch Heroes. About 15 minutes later I glanced over to see the door ajar. No kittens to be found (Dylan and Nina are indoor cats). Dan rushed upstairs to find Nina as I hurried outback with the flashlight. Thankfully the sprinkler was on and prevented Dylan from heading into the yard and slipping under the gate (this is how Phantom squeezes in). However, he was under our neighbors deck on top of their basement roof. A small crawl space. Twenty minutes (and one tuna can of bait) later, I wrestled him out and scurried back in the house. He was pissed. Since he is also over 20 pounds, this is not an easy feat. He is strong too - and was not too happy about cutting his outside freedom short. Oh, until he ate some of the tuna, then it was all cool.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
* photo from backyardcraftsmen.com
Check out this photo slide on HGTV!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
In other news, looks like we are going to try and get the first level done by year's end or soon after. Though there is question on how we are going to do it. Since we are going to be refinishing all the flooring on the first floor, how are we going to live there? We could do what we did last time and go to a hotel - but that was mainly for the showering (since we don't have a full bath on the first floor). This time, we can technically live upstairs and just use plastic sheeting to cut off the downstairs (dust, I will never forget, the dust). The trouble is, how do we get up there? There really is one way. A ladder from the deck to the second floor. I can see it now. Climbing up the ladder with a backpack filled with pop-tarts and Bud Light after a hard day of work. Maybe this is not the best of ideas. . ..
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
In many ways, renovating a home is a luxury. In most cases those who do it are not buying an inhabitable building or renovating for safety or functionality - it is mainly aesthetic reasons. In our case, the house is perfectly sound. Yes, there are phone and cable problems that need to be worked out - but the house is functional and secure, just not the prettiest of all spaces.
It will certainly be interesting to see where is all leads. With programs like "flip this house" and other home improvement shows on the rise, the amount of jobs and businesses within home renovation have certainly expanded. I realize this is just one of the areas that is going to be compromised by our economic standings, though it is one I think about on a daily basis when running to the hardware store or writing checks to contractors. While the trend fall from travertine and back to ceramic? Will flat screens fall... flat? I guess we will all just have to wait and see.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Overall, the weekend was not a bust. I painted both front and back doors of our rental unit, replaced the doorbell, put up new sconces in the front "hall", painted the front hall, hung some coat racks, and painted the front door trim. Since the front is not finished, I'll save its reveal until the job is done.
Meet our old sconce. It's not pretty people. It was painted on, holding "debris" and just plain ugly:
While changing the sconce I decided to install a new organization center for coats and bags and mail. Here is the before:
And, the after:
Not the best picture, but you get the idea. Hopefully this will stop our coats and bag piling up on the dining room table. But, I'm not going to count on it.