Friday, October 7, 2011

Maryland Home and Garden Show - Winner!

The winner is . . .


Please e-mail me ASAP at to get your tickets!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Maryland Home and Garden Show - GIVEAWAY

I'm giving away a set of FOUR tickets to the Maryland Home and Garden show. The show is October 14-16 and features things like an IKEA kitchen stage and other interior design! This is a great chance for you to visit with hundreds on contractors in one room!

How to enter:

Leave a comment (make sure you put in your e-mail so I can let you know you won!) by Thursday, October 6th, 2011 at Midnight. I'll annouce the winner on Friday. Good luck!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meanwhile . . . we added another project

In the midst of working away, in the hot, sun on the deck - another project fell out our feet. Beneath our feet would actually be more accurate. In our rowhouse we have two units, the one we live in (which is the top two floors), and the english basement unit. The term "english basement" is used to describe a unit that is only partially below ground, our basement apartment has full size windows, but the bottom of the window is the ground. We were finally getting to the basement renovation we had been thinking about for years!

Our tenant (who had lived there two years before we moved in) was moving out - and the place was in dire need of a make-over.  We just had no idea how much. In fact, we had only been into the apartment a few times in the entire time we owned the property.  Our tenant was the best you could ever hope for and we never had to fix a thing. The only time we had been in the basement apartment was to turn off the main water main when we renovated the kitchen, and maybe for one or two other small things we needed.

Graciously, our tenant allowed us to tour the apartment a few weeks before he moved out so we could plan for what we would do - we only had 4-5 weeks to do everything we needed to before the next tenant moved in. During the walk through we thought it looks pretty good, but when all the furniture and wall hangings were removed, it told a different story. Here's a picture of the kitchen (I had pulled out the stove right before I took the picture).

We had never noticed the kitchen floor had two separate tile sections. Though we planned on ripping it out - it was more a must now and less of a wish list item. The walls were all stained and dirty around where the picture had been hung and above the electric heat registers. Even a mixture of bleach and soap didn't work to wash it off. So, paint would also be necessary now. We would be using everyday of that 4-5 week period for sure now! But, there was something new and exciting about working on a space where we didn't live. It was going to be a new way of renovating.

This post was supported by: RONA

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to the Deck

So, where was I? Oh, yeah, injuring myself as usual.

So, after the railing came down, we tried our hand at ripping up the deck boards with a crowbar. It did not work. At all.

So, it was time to take out the circular saw to cut through the boards - making them smaller pieces to pull up.

It did not work. At all. My cheap little circular saw was not cutting through the boards. So, off to Frager's Rental to get a better one.

Ah, much better. Though, I wouldn't say this worked like a charm. Oh, and you can also potentially sever your limbs with it. You can to GENTLY lower the saw into the wood before you start cutting - if you move a hair too fast, that saw will bounce back at you . . . and your feet.

Also, I was dumb and made too many cuts at once. Basically, we just wanted to get that scary part done ASAP, but it leaves the deck really unstable to walk on after. So, don't do what I did. Just make two at a time so you can rip up the boards as need be.

At the end of Day 1, this is how far we got. Did I mention it was also about 110 degrees that day? Yeah, I would recommend to renovated decks in the spring or fall. The work is really labor intensive and having the sun on you doesn't make it any easier.

We slept like rocks that night though. . .

Friday, September 16, 2011

Alive and Kicking

Sorry. Life got the better of me and I have been neglecting the blog. But, don't worry there is much, MUCH, to share!

I'll be back next week to start posting the new projects!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


So, the deck is done. I'll update you later on that. But first, let's talk about what happens when you drop a 4"x4" post on your foot.

After ignoring it for weeks (and not being able to fit it in a shoe), I finally went to the doc who informed me I had a "deep bone bruise" after checking to make sure it wasn't broken. Now, I'm stuck with this tape wrap for the next five days and a month of anti-inflammatory meds.

Maybe I should just re-name the blog to DC Rowhouse Injuries. Sheesh.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Deck: Part Three

While Dan left to drop off the rental truck, I stayed at the house and began the destruction.  First, I cleared the deck and moved the grill into the kitchen.

 A few strong pulls and the railings came down. One of them . . . onto my leg. At the time, it didn't hurt so bad.

But the next day showed a different story . . .

I should have known . . . 15 minutes into this project and I'd already damaged myself.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Deck: Part Two

6:30 am - My alarm sounds and I begrudgingly open an eye. We have to be at Home Depot at 7am to return the wood we have on "will call", rent a truck, pick out new boards, and bring them home.

7:00 am  - We grab a cart for the wood (this in itself seems to be a feat to track down this morning) and head to the decking section to get the 2"x8"x16' pressure treated boards. As it turns out they are stacked up higher than I can reach. I ask a (very helpful!) employee to help Dan while I head to the service counter to return the wood on "will call" and rent the truck.

8:00 am - We start loading the 16' boards on the truck. This is way more work than it looks. It takes us 30 min to get them in there and the door closed.  On a scale of 1-10, my crankiness is at a 5 now.

8:30 am  - I get the keys to the truck. When I get back outside Dan has an odd (yet gleeful) look on his face.

Me: what?

Dan: I have something to show you?

Me: Um, what? 

Dan: Come here . . .

We start walking over to the pallet of concrete blocks as he points between them. I crouch down to see this:

Do you see that little kitten face? We tried to catch it for awhile, but it was too hard to get to.

9:00 am: We head to the house to drop off the boards.

9:45 am: Back at HD to get the other boards we need to the railings etc. When you're at home making the list, 30 - 1"x6"x8', 12 - 2"x4"x12', 32 ballusters, and 6 - 4"x4"x10' boards don't seem like much. But, when you start loading them up . . . you realize how much that is.

By the time it took to load the wood, drive to the house, and unload the wood - it was close to 11am. We hadn't even done anything yet.

to be continued. . .

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Deck: Part One

While the main structure of our deck is perfectly fine, the twenty year old floor boards and rickety railings had to go. I've been talking about this project for awhile. Years. We tackled the fence and stairs in 2008. Three years later it's time to do the deck boards.

Here are some before pictures:

You can see from that last picture that the railing was incredibly sturdy.  Moving the grill was a piece of cake. I wheeled it inside and it took about 45 seconds - it was a one (wo)man job.

On Friday night we picked up our zipcar to head to Home Depot to get the boards for the deck.  We spent about 30 minutes picking out the boards and loading them up before realizing there was no way we would be able to tie them onto the roof  of our rental SUV as expected.  So we pushed them up to the service counter to get some insight to what our options were.  It turned out renting a Home Depot pick-up was the best route for us.  So, we left the wood at "will call" and vowed to return at 7am the next morning to pick it up.

While we were picking out the deck boards Dan had questioned the thickness (they were 5/4). I insisted they were the right size. Until we got home and realized the boards we had on the deck were 2" (really 1.5") boards and I had to eat crow. Which meant all the wood we had laboriously picked out (and was waiting for us) was wrong.

So, wrong wood, wrong car. Not a good way to start a project. At this point, I started to think we were over our heads.

to be continued. . .

Friday, June 3, 2011

On the agenda. . .

This weekend we are hoping to finally re-do the deck, which entails ripping up and replacing the floor boards and building new railings. The one thing I am dreading is carrying our huge 160 lb. grill down the stairs - though I suppose we may be able to wheel it inside the house for the day. But, it will be worth it once I get to smash all the gross and broken deck railings off.

Then, back to more painting. . .

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Things are happening

After another weekend of painting, we finally finished the living room, stairway and upstairs hall. We have never been so thankful for the ladder we bought a few months ago!

With the heat wave we are enduring ( tells me it "feels like" 104 degrees right now), I can't imagine getting to all the outdoor projects we have on the list. But, the weekend looks great and I'm hopefully we get to tackle the deck!

Stay tuned . . .

Monday, May 2, 2011

Living room progress

The last time you saw it, the living/dining room looked a little like this. And this . . . 


A weekend of solitude was all it took for me to muster up the motivation to tackle painting the living room. I mean, we had only lived with the newly framed primed fireplace re-framing for oh . . . three years.

Painting the trim is next. Hopefully we'll get it done in the next three months rather than three years!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A quick note

For the past two weeks, I've been having trouble loading photos. Hence, no posts.

Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Here's a quick teaser photo:

This past weekend I made some serious progress on the living/dining space (even the kitchen!). Details coming soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Save Yourself

After sealing the fence, my hands were left with a splatters of oily paint. I didn't have any hand scrub in the house so I quickly mixed up a bunch using what I had in the kitchen. It was fantastic! So, I'm passing it on to you my dears. . .

- 1.5 cups of kosher salt
- 3/4 cup hand/body liquid soap
- 1/4 cup olive oil

That's it. Seriously. Just mix them all together and store in a glass jar.

You'll save time, cash, and your poor-tired-paint-stained-hands.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Secret Shame

This is my closet . . . 

But, um, this is my wardrobe (which only includes items that were hanging) . . .

On Sunday, I rented two clothes racks in an effort to stop the madness and purge my closet. Trying to get a tally for everything, I made counted of everything I had. I stopped counting at 400 pieces. I'm here to say that no one needs 60 cotton tank tops, or 65 sweaters. When everything was jammed in my closet it was easy to overlook the sheer mass of it all . . . but once it was brought into the open. Oh my. The shame.

After roughly 7 hours, I purged about 30% of my closet. While I'm sure I could have done more, this was about all I could handle in one day. Some things had never been worn and still had tags attached. Oh, and apparently I really like cardigan sweaters and peep-toe shoes.

As I was wrapping up, Dan brought home an early birthday present for me:

I can now say that all my clothes fit in the closet. . . though I think the next step is going to be a better organized space.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Non-Weekend Weekend

Can you really call it a weekend when you spend both days on home projects while running to and from the hardware store? While I guess it's the end of the week, this past weekend we busted our tails getting stuff done.

The horror of our ceiling got to be too much so we finally decided to have it painted. There is a reason I haven't posted a full picture of the kitchen light. . .

So, a year and a half later, we tackled the ceiling. I gotta say, painting the ceiling is a huge pain in the ass. The amount of plastic we used to cover the floor and some of the walls and the light fixtures was insane. We (plus three painters) spent about two hours of time just laying down all the plastic sheeting to make sure nothing was going to get messed up.

It took me about 30 seconds before I looked down and my hand was smearing blood on plastic. It ended up being a tiny cut. Seriously, just mention "home project" and my body will split open.

In the end, the change was huge! No more holes in the ceiling or ugly patch marks, no more blue square around the light fixture.  Things are looking up!

 We even had time to paint the fence outside. 

To say we were exhausted at the end is an understatement. But, it's always worth it in the end.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Latest

It's not like we haven't been doing anything at DC Rowhouse lately . . . it's more like we haven't completed anything lately. But, there hasn't been a lack of activity.

We had a new hot water heater installed.

We put in new baseboards in part of the living room (more on that later), but haven't finished the spackling.

Plans are being made for the upstairs bathrooms, and I'm sorting through colors for the downstairs 1/2 bath.

There were big plans to paint the ceiling in the living room this weekend. . . but we never got around to it (mainly from sheer laziness on my part).

So, stay tuned, hopefully I'll have some completed projects to show soon!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Giveaway WINNER: All Modern

The winner of the $55 gift card to 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