Thursday, February 28, 2008

No Sir!

We received a blanket estimate for was not good (read: expensive). I think Dude will be our man! I am thrilled!

Now I get to pick out all the crap to renovate with. Not so easy, I figured out. I mean, who really knows about all the little details. Unless you (like me) tend to obsess about this stuff. I mean, I have a blog about it for heaven's sake.

One great thing about Dude (seriously, this is turning into a love letter) is that he is really willing to work with us about getting cost down. For example, we are going to do some of the work ourselves - like demo our kitchen! Isn't that the best part, anyway?! You get to come in and smash things and take them apart. Delightful. When I watch those home improvement shows and they smash the kitchens down I get all excited - it's like watching Monster Truck Racing. What? Stop looking at me like that! But, we are going to "gently" demo the kitchen so we can donate the materials. I have to convince Dan of this who is going probably ordering sledge hammers and goggles as I write this. I think I am going to have to get us some "Hulk" t-shirts for this with spray painted muscles on them. Or, even better, some flannel shirts with the sleeves cut off! Also, some hard hats will be in order. And, a tool belt. And, a ....OK, I'll stop. Maybe planning the outfits isn't the best way to go about this.

Now, onto more "normal details". One good thing about hiring a contractor is that they can get the job done faster than say, Lowes. Who told us that we would be without a kitchen counter top for about a month. To me, this means we would be without a kitchen. Since the sink would be mounted to the sink. What's a kitchen without a sink?

Looks like we will be without a kitchen for about 2 weeks though - at which point I guess we'll live off of paper plates (biodegradable of course - get off my ass!!) and a microwave. Maybe we'll pile these electronics into our bedroom and pretend we are in college again. Heck, we could even get a hotplate, some Natty Light and some pop-tarts. The only bad thing is we would have to go to work and couldn't skip class to play Mario all day. Unless we felt like we were ::cough, cough:: really sick.

** My future work shirt!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stained Glass III

Our lovely stained glass artist came up with a colorized version of our house numbers. Here it is (picture the numbers in the middle):

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mirror Mirror, not on the wall

Here is a photo of the large mirror we bought at Second Chances in Baltimore. I hope someday it will actually find a home on the wall.

Let there be light!

My enemy for the past few weeks has been a small chandelier I have been trying to hang in our upstairs hallway. Chandelier in the hall? Yup, we're fancy like that. Actually, I just wanted to replace our current light with a more updated fashion. Mr. Fancy Pants (Dan) was not pleased. He wanted "More". Therefore, chandelier time.

It arrived in the mail with a small paper of instructions. Having hung two lights before, I simply glanced them over and then chucked them in the trash. Ha! See ya instructions! I am WAY too experienced now to have to follow these! I unpacked the rest of the light and sent all the packaging to the curb for morning pick-up.

That weekend, the light proved to be harder to install than I expected. I couldn't figure it out! Also, holding your hands above your head with an electric drill proved very difficult. Apparently I have limited upper arm strength. I also electrocuted myself pretty bad. This light has two switches to it - so I just made sure the light was not on and started to go to work undoing it. Yeah, um, learn from my mistake and shut off the power from the circuit breaker. I grazed my hand against the power line and quickly realized the line was live. I screamed with horror - Dan thought I died. I on the other hand, am convinced the electricity actually cooked the muscle in my hand in that section. Anyway, lesson learned. No more playing chicken with the power.

After a lot of googling and cursing and procrastinating....the light is up. I forgot to take a picture of the light before - but I took a picture of it on my carpet. Also, Dan thought it would amuse me to take pictures of me cursing and sweating while trying to install it. Helping? Nope. Taunting, yes! Alas, I have included the final product:

It keeps going and going....

A friendly neighbor suggested a contractor/handyman so highly I immediately sent him an e-mail. Two minutes later...he replied. Now, that's what I am talkin' about! He arrived today to inspect our place. For the purpose of this blog, he will be renamed: Sir. Sir was very professional and seemed to be interested in saving us some dough. He also brought me some great books to look through for ideas! I heart him. I think we may have exhausted him with our laundry list of projects. He has promised to check back on Wednesday.

Man, well, I told him we had to go in another direction. He was too sloppy and too....liary.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Little estimate of horror

We had three contractors over to our house to price out the projects we want to do. Having a contractor at your house at early hours on the weekend and walking them through all the problems of your house does not make for a pleasant Saturday. You walk around pointing out crumbling wood and see more and more things to do. Yes, we want to fix this. Oh, that is broken too - sure, let's do the whole ball of wax! What's that? You want to install a new fancy thingamajig? it shiny?

I had flashes of the movie 'The Money Pit' flashing through my brain.

But, they all showed up on time, and two even had some genuine enthusiasm for the project. We bid them adieu and waited for the estimates.

Upon receiving the estimates, Dan morphed into Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone (hands on face and screaming). We only received two estimates, the other is still in limbo somewhere. For the sake of this ramble I will rename the contractors to Dude, Guy, and Man. Dude's estimate was very neat and very expensive. Guy' s estimate was not that neat, somewhat hard to decipher, and very expensive on somethings and reasonable on others. Man's estimate is in the wind. Man promised an estimate a week after his visit. It had been a month. Yup, a month. I e-mailed him to check in and he said he was having computer problems, which confused me since he e-mailed me back and I am pretty sure we discussed his non-blackberry phone when he visited. Hmm.... Man promised me I would have the estimate that day. No word had been two days. Needless to say, Man is out of the running.

I love Dude. He makes me feel like he will make everything shiny and new. We loved Guy too though. Guy was like a real carpenter. A craftsman who was going to widdle wood into fine pieces of art - for like...a dollar right? No, not right. Guy wanted some serious bucks for some shelving. Shelving that would have been glorious...and yet would not mesh well with our current IKEA bookshelves.

Dude is still my fav. Dan is not convinced with Dude - which he says is too pricey. Which, he is.

I have a feeling the planning process of this is going to take a long time.

Update: **Man claims he has not sent the estimate due to having the flu. Also, he forgot to measure somethings so could he ::cough:: come by again? Um, no. Keep your flu germs and your procrastinations out of my face! Thanks. This guy is a piece of work!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Trip to Murdaland...

For those of you that watch the Wire - you get the title of this post. For those of you that don't watch the Wire - WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!!! Drop everything your doing, go watch it! Now!

In a weekend excursion to Baltimore, we went to another salvage place (I guess this is becoming a habit). This place was the holy grail of salvage warehouses. It is called Second Chance and thier site is: (though it does show you the splender of this place). Second Chance consists of 5 warehouse (really 4 building - some are considered double stores) and have everything from really old stuff to brand new never used stuff. It is a non-profit and you will want to buy everything.

After scouring through the warehouses of doors, mantels, tiles, sinks, iron gates, marble, granite, windows...OK, you get the point. We headed to thier furniture warehouse. Upon entering we saw a huge map of baltimore in the shape of a large display map (lit from behind) that you might find at a buss stop or something. The tag showed something glorious..."From the set of The Wire". Speechless. We were so excited we wanted to scream. We spent the next hour or so running through the store looking for other things that McNulty or Bunk may have touched. We found some other large pieces, but nothing that would be sane to drag home.

If you like flea markets and housewares....head on down to Second Chance, but make sure you leave yourself plenty of time. You may also want some sory of GPS system to find the other people you come with - this place is huge!

We did buy a mirror. It was my score for the day!

Pics to come...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

One Man's Trash....

In an effort to be more "green", and save more "green" we visited Community Forklift last weekend. Community Forklift is a large warehouse containing donated used and new building materials. This allows homeowners to purchase items at an affordable rate, and helps stop waste.

The trip (which was suppose to take 15 min from our house ended up taking over an hour due to 'someone's' poor navigation skills. This person will remained unnamed *cough:Dan:cough*) was well worth the time. Walking in to the warehouse is a yard full of materials from sinks to granite slabs to fencing. Indoors was everything you could think of that lowe's would have - just used. It takes time to sort through everything, but we had a great time poking around. It's like one gigantic yard sale for restoration junkies!

In the end, I purchased 3 dummy levers. The satin nickel levers were brand new and we got them for a steal at $5.50 a piece! I looked them up at lowe's and they are $70 for a set. So, we saved about $88.50. Pretty good. These will look great on the new closet doors we will soon install!

Seek out your local Community Forklift or visit the one here in the DC area! Their website is

Injuries Obtained

  • Sprained Toe/Foot: 1
  • Blood Blisters: 2
  • Splinters under fingernail: 1
  • Bird Shit on me: 1
  • Eye Injuries: 3
  • Burns: 0
  • Falls off ladder: 0 (this is because we don't have a ladder yet)
  • Headaches: too many to itemize
  • Broken Bones: 0
  • Bandages Needed: 5
  • Electric Shocks: 2
  • Stiches: 0
  • Bruises: way too many