Thursday, October 29, 2009

H Street Development

I'm obsessed with the development on H Street NE here in the District. When we moved to DC in 2006, we never went there. In 2007 a friend of ours asked us to join him at Granville Moore's. We cautiously agreed and were stunned when we got there. Awesome beer, cool rustic (and fun for renovators) interior, and amazing food. It reminded us of Brooklyn. . . and we were happy. Even better, it doesn't take too much effort to walk/bike here from our house. What we didn't know was that the street was about to take off. Since 2007 the H street corridor has really started to blossom, and it seems there is more amazingness to come. Below is a list of all the places that have come in (according to my knowledge) since 2007ish, and those bolded are yet to open. Check out the map for more detail.

** I know the map is really small, go ahead an double-click to make it. . .readable.

1. Napa 1015 (1015) **though it just closed.
2. Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar (1104)
3. Taylor’s Gourmet (1116)
4. Souk (1208)
5. Palace of Wonders (1212)
6. Red and the Black (?)
7. Sticky Rice (1224)
8. The Pug (1234)
9. Martini Lounge (1236)
10. Dr. Granville Moore (1238)
11. Toki Underground (above the pug at 1234)
12. H Street Country Club (1335)
13. Dangerously Delicious Pies (1339)
14. Stars & Shamrocks (1341)
15. Rock and Roll Hotel (1353)
16. German Beer House (1355)
17. Sova Espresso & Wine Bar (1359)
18. Pizza Place (formerly Sun and Moon grocery)
19. Vendetta (1352)
20. Joe’s Coal and Ice House (1358)
21. Tonic (formerly old ohio) (1380)
22. Argonaut (1433)
23. A brick oven pizza place? (1016)

At the other End of H street:
· Ethiopian restaurant: 401
· Sidamo: 417
Other tidbits: Liquid (a bar?) at 914 and Drew (a bar/restaurant?) coming on the 1200 block.
As with every developing neighborhood there are always rumors of things to come. Did I miss anything? Have you heard there is more coming to this happening street?
Looks like Souk may have opened! I'll be there!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How not to throw away trash in DC

So, we have new neighbors. I'm not sure where they are from . . . but we in DC recycle . . . neatly.

For more information on trash/recycling in the District go here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sweet Tweets

Go ahead, follow me on twitter! Go Here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Kitchen Conundrum: That which I would not have done again

Now that the kitchen is done and I look back at the process, I have to admit...I messed some stuff up. Here's my list of offenders:

- I would have chosen white grout. I know, it looks great with the gray, but it also shows every little imperfection.

- I would not have planned a vacation on the idea things would have been completed. It made the vacation not as relaxing and coming back home was no picnic either.

- I would have put a note in the contract that the workers needed to arrive on consecutive days. They was a lot of 3 days weeks which made things drag out longer.

- I would have packed up the kitchen and organized the house better before we began. I'm still unpacking and arranging and dealing with stuff. It stinks. I should have been more organized.

- I would have hired painters. Yeah, I know this saved us a lot of dough - but it also cost us a lot of time. Oh, and I'm lazy. When I am home from work, the only thing I want to worry about getting on the couch is crumbs, not paint.

I'm sure I could go on . . . I'm sure in 6 months I'll have a whole other lot of regrets.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Kitchen Kaboodle

So now that you've seen the final product, I bet you thought, "hey what did that cost?". Well, you're about to find out.

Here's the breakdown for you:

- Cabinets from IKEA: $2600
- Granite Counter: $1850
- Appliances: $4876
- Cabinet Hardware: $372.24
- Sink: $278
- Lighting: $289.65
- Disposal: $319
- Faucet: $300.45
- Tall china cabinets: $313.95
- Tiles: $198.73
- Crown molding: $28.56
- Floors: $1940

Total: $12,964

I told you it would be shocking! How did we do it so cheap? Simply: we did a lot of the labor ourselves. We saved over 1k by just doing the demo ourselves - and we also saved the environment a little by carefully removing our cabinets and donating them instead of throwing them in a dumpster. I did all the general contracting and design work myself (though many people questioned the open shelf!). We painted ourselves, and we bought all the materials ourselves (which means we were not paying an extra cost on them).

But, we did pay someone to do most of the labor for us. I didn't include it in the budget (except for with the floors), because everything they did - we could have done. So technically, we could have only spent money on the materials. Well, we couldn't have moved the gas lines ourselves, but that cost $387, so it certainly did not break the bank. So, why didn't we just do all the labor? Well, we wanted the kitchen done in the century. . . so it just made more sense.

I also did my research on the materials. The cabinets were from IKEA so they certainly saved us a bundle, and they seem to be every bit as good as the white cabinets we looked at from Lowe's and Home Depot. The granite was a super steal, and the installation job (included in the price) was amazing by the way. We got the tile from Lowe's and it was really cheap. We even have 200+ tiles left so that estimate is really high. I scored when the china cabinets went on sale in the summer for 50% off!! So I got two for the price of one. It did mean showing up at IKEA with a herd of people and running to get them, but it was a thrill. I added the casters myself (about $5 a piece) and turned them into the rolling storage I wanted.

I also splurged on items that wouldn't break the bank but would add a lot. I bought really expensive cabinet hardware from Restoration Hardware. I could have got the hardware for a fraction of the price, but in the end, it didn't add that much to the budget and it makes a big different. I also purchased the best garbage disposal. I could have spent $99, but for a little more, I got a lot more bang for my buck.

Tune in tomorrow for a reflection of the kitchen and *gasp* things I would have changed!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kitchen Resources

We went from this:

to this:

It may look snazzy, but where did all that stuff come from and who did the work?


Floors: DC Floors. These guys were great! I would absolutely use them again.

Gas line plumbing: Grayton Plumbing. They did good work, didn't mind my questions (or hovering), and were neat and tidy!

Kitchen demo: yours truly. Now that I've done it there is no way I would hire someone to do it for me.

Kitchen cabinets, tile, light plumbing and electrical: Tritsch contracting (e-mail Allen at: I met Allen at IKEA while working through the kitchen planning process. They were professional, timely, and efficient. Oh, and pretty much a bargain. While your not going to get museum quality work, these guys are great, and they were really easy to work with.

The Stuff:

Cabinets: IKEA

Sink, faucet, garbage disposal and tile: Lowe's

Large china cabinets: IKEA

Wooden crates on shelf: World Market

Glass pedestal bowl: Crate and Barrel

Baskets above cabinets: Target

Cabinet Hardware: Restoration Hardware

Appliances: Sears (Kenmore)

Anything else you wanna know? Go ahead and ask.

Tomorrow? The budget breakdown. How much did this puppy cost? You'll find out. Brace yourself.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Kitchen Reveal

Welcome to kitchen week!

Finally! Here are some (somewhat grainy) photos! We painted the walls this weekend and I purchased the final items for the finishing touches. So here it is. . . enjoy!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the resource guide!

Friday, October 9, 2009

If I had an impact driver. . .I'd use my impact driver all over this town.

Oh wait. I do!

I received this DeWalt combo kit today. I can't wait to use it this weekend! Stay tuned for my review as well as lots of updates on other projects.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Up and Running

Problems solved.

Technical difficulty

As you can see there is a problem with the blog. I'm working on it. Stand by.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fire it up

The fireplace has been an ongoing project. It required many steps to complete (er, soon to complete), including re-framing, electrical work, floor repair, and most recently, a new granite piece and paint.

Here's were we started on move in day:

It's hard to tell from this picture, but the sides are angled. Let's talk about that pink tile. Whoa mama! Then, the double sided tape and clear plastic covering the firebox. She's a beauty!

So, the destruction and rebuild began:

The tiles were stripped and the box was straightened out and brought up to the ceiling:

In order not to waste space, we added some bookshelves on each side:

And, added a nice mantle:

I originally wanted to put down some marble tiles to save money, but it never seemed to come together quite right:

So, when we filled in the hardwood on the sides, we added a nice piece of granite:

This weekend, we finally got to putting the finishing coats on the shelves and the mantle. Next up. . . the walls and full reveal!

Back to Work . . .

We've started tackling the punchlist of incomplete things in order to get the house in ship shape. This weekend we painted the crown molding and shelves in the kitchen:

I had grand plans to paint the whole kitchen this weekend, but when we started doing it there were too many steps that needed time to dry and set. So, hopefully next weekend we'll be able to paint the ceiling and walls and show the the whole complete kitchen. I have to say though, it's really awesome. I love it more and more everyday.

While I waited for the kitchen paint to dry, I got to work fixing the side of the stairs (though there is more work to be done). This area has been nothing short of a nightmare. We had the hardwood upstairs and the stairs done in April of 2008. So... 18 months ago. I have had no less than 6 people look at the side of the stairway to let me know what they could do. Out of those 6, 5 had no idea. One amazing contractor took the time to show me how to make it look better, and then proceeded to mention I could do it myself to save some money. Those are the kinda people I like. But, then again, this project was a huge pain and I can see why no one has wanted to take it on. I've been working on it for a while now. It's getting there...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dose of Design

I google stuff all day long. I'll be working away and something and an idea pops in my head. . .straight to google. After a search for an obscure woven garden stool I stumbled up Dose of Design. Lots of great decor finds there. So, if your so inclined, pop on over to check it out yourself!

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