Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fireplace Tile

I ordered (and received!) marble tile for in front of the fireplace. For now, it's just sitting on top of the plywood where the old tile was removed - but hey, it's a little progress. I was originally going to go with a white carerra marble, but after looking at it it seemed a little cold next to the warm walls and the new hardwood color we have choose. But, of the four tiles I ordered, I have two colors. One darker then the other. So, I either have to send them back, or order new ones. Either way, not so pleased. But, the looks pretty good lined up so far. I would show you a pictures, but my camera is being a huge jerk. If it doesn't shape up I will dip it in water - see how it likes that! Or, maybe not.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Technical Difficulties II

I have many new projects to show you, but my camera is being a brat. Every photo comes out blurry.

I'm working on it. . .

Friday, October 24, 2008


When we moved from NYC to DC a couple years ago, I was thrilled to have central air. While New York summers are hot and standing in the subway with a million strangers on a 100 degree day is unpleasant, the summers in DC were muggy and brutal! House hunting in July was a big, big mistake!

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

Take your leaf blower and . . .

Well, you have use your imagination on the rest of the title. So last night, I am trying to rest after a days work and my neighbor decides to start using her leaf blower in the front of the house. Since our front windows (which were not fully closed since we haven't latched them for winter yet) are about 8 feet from the sidewalk, this provided a noisy fifteen minutes or so.

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

What's the deal: Kitchen Cabinets

I want white cabinets. I have picked them out. They live in a little place called a catalog. But, in recent weeks I have been a little disappointed with their price. Could I possibly get them cheaper and have the same look? I investigated.

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

Stupid Markets

I know. The market is getting worse. I haven't opened my 401k updates in a long time. I simply pop them in the shredder. I mean, I am young enough to ride this out so I am simply turning a blind eye right now. That said it's probably not the best time to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a kitchen renovation. So, it's been postponed.

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

Future Plans Friday 3

After our vacation it made me realize how amazing it would be to have a pool at home. We even thought about turning our entire yard into a pool. We would have to take a dip to get to the car. Not so practical if you are carrying your groceries or dry cleaning home I suppose.

Anyway, here are some amazing pools that I love:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh Holy Ceiling. . .

The electrician is here and is jacking up my ceiling. He has a little saw and is making holes for the new lights. I get to monitor (and be a little helper too). The good news is that we have a drop ceiling in our first floor - which makes out "real" ceiling about 10 feet. Getting rid of these crappy lights is a joy. I also love gadgets and electricians have plenty of them so checking out his gear is making my day a little better.

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

Vacation Inspiration

I have a sickness. I'll call it "Renovation Intoxication". This past weekend we took a vacation and one of the first things I did was to take pictures of the amazing bathroom. Next, I thoroughly inspected it's materials and brands (they used Kohler by the way). Anyway, enjoy the pics for your inspiration:
Look at the marble. Ooohhh . . .
Why would we want a phone in the bathroom? No one wants to be on the other line. . .
A TV on the other hand, now that is something I can get on board with.
There seems to be a new trend with windows to the bedroom above hotel tubs . . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Making it work

It's time to put up those lights I got so long ago and I have decided Thursday will be the day. This time the professionals are coming and I am thrilled to be able to actually see some new lights on the dining room/living room open space that don't make me squint in horror when they are turned on.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Future Plans Friday: 2

A ladder. Dan is always asking if we have a place to put a ladder. Yes, we have tall ceilings, but we also have a tiny rowhouse. The ladder will have to wait for another day. Check out some cool ones here:


Thursday, October 9, 2008

DIY Water Fountain: Part III

Last night, as we were heading out of the house, Dan mentioned to me that the fountain no longer had water in it. Now, this happened when we didn't have a hole in the bottom (evaporation), but none the less I was a wee bit concerned.

I have a feeling this is going to require more testing. . .

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

DIY Water Fountain: Part II

This post has taken a while because the 1st attempt was a failure and it took awhile to figure out how to make the darn thing work without leaking. This is what didn't work: punch out the hole at the bottom of the pot, thread the water fountain piece through, and seal it with caulk. Why won't this work? The pot we used was terra cotta and the caulking simply pealed off. So, it took a little asking around to find out what the best substance to use in order to seal the hole in the bottom. The answer? EPOXY PUTTY!! (Thanks Clayton!)

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

It's here!

The front door light is here! But, it's only one. The smaller one has been back-ordered until late October. Once those are up, the front of the house will finally be complete! I will make sure to do a before and after montage with pictures.

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

An evening of Political and Backyard Parties. . .

Enjoying the backyard last night was great! The lawn looked perfect and a good time was had by all! Here are some photos:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Like sand through an hourglass...

It's October. Umm... why can't it be June? Time is flying by so fast and the projects just keep remaining half done? Why can't our mystery worker come back and finish projects INSIDE the house?

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

Dress Up

Well, it's time to play dress up with the backyard. I must say... things are looking mighty nice back there. Just some extra work tonight and it will be all ready for our backyard BBQ tomorrow evening.

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!

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