Showing posts with label Basement Remodel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Basement Remodel. Show all posts

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Staircase Makeover

When I started our basement renovation about a year and a half ago, I knew that part of it would include ripping the carpet off the stairs and...then what? That part I didn't know. It depended on what was under the stairs and also on how I was feeling the day I decided to work on them. Er, the night I decided to work on them. Because of course I do my best work in the middle of the night. Case in point:

And, really, that carpet was great for catching the dust and debris that I dragged out of the basement every time I walked upstairs during the renovation, so I left it on until the bitter end. By the time I was ready to remove the carpet, I had plenty of inspiration pinned on Pinterest to help me decide what to do, but the one below was definitely my favorite.

via pinterest
Unfortunately my treads were not solid wood, so I couldn't stain them like I'd hoped. I've also been loving the fun striped runners that are hot right now, so I thought I might find one I loved even though the grain sack took my breath away. When I saw the Söften rug at Ikea, that sealed the deal. The charcoal grey color was great with my new grey walls and my soon-to-be gray and white curtains. Edited to add: here's a link to the bold striped curtain tutorial!

At just under five feet long, one Söften rug wasn't long enough to cover all the stairs, and so I bought three of them, hoping that the three would be enough to cover my whole staircase (true to form, I didn't actually measure the staircase before buying or installing the runners). The bummer was that when I got the rugs home, they were about half an inch too wide for my staircase (did I just mention something about how I didn't measure?). Undaunted, I trimmed off the hems on the short sides and pressed the long sides under and sewed new hems along the edges.

Using two Ikea Stopp anti-slip rug underlays (a total bargain at $3.99/each and just the right width) and my pneumatic staple gun, I made my way down the stairs stapling the rug to the top of the riser, the intersection between the riser and the tread, and then under the tread nose.

If you are contemplating installing a similar runner, I would definitely recommend using a pneumatic stapler (as in, a stapler that is attached to an air compressor). My electric stapler would not have been able to do this project. If you don't have an air compressor and pneumatic stapler, you need to beg, borrow, or steal one before you attempt this.

When I got to spots where I needed to join the end of one rug with the beginning of another, I simply turned under the end of the new rug and stapled it up under the nose of the most recently covered tread, right over the rug that was ending. Very simple and not fussy at all. Somehow I managed to have each rug end right in the middle of a riser, not a tread, so I didn't even have to cut them down...except the last one. I ended up with about 18" of rug left at the end. I assume this is due to my very careful planning and measuring.

One place I made a mistake was in keeping the rug centered on the staircase. It would help to use painter's tape to mark the edges of where the rug should go before you start stapling. Or at least step back and take a look every once in a while. But, since it isn't horribly lopsided, I'm not worried about it.

Frankly, the cat uses this staircase more than anyone else in this family (to get to her litter box in the utility room) and I don't think she cares if the runner is perfectly straight. Or maybe she does? She is a cat, after all.

Oh, and you might have noticed in the before and after that I did some board and batten down there, too. I think the white walls really help lighten up an otherwise dark hallway. I haven't done a board and batten tutorial because there are about ten million of them out there in blogland, but you might like to know that I chose not to use MDF for my board and batten. That was an intentional departure from the blogger norm -- I prefer not to use MDF because of the chemicals it off-gasses and because of the toxins in the sawdust, which I would inhale every time I cut a board. If you want to know more, I'll gladly do a post on why I don't use MDF. Just ask!

And, lastly, the louvered door in that photo above? Yeah, I added that sometime between the "before" and the "after," too. You can see my pocket door tutorial here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Our year later.

About a year ago at this time, our basement was a very different place. With much of the dry wall torn out, exposed wiring in new walls, and plumbers digging a hole under the subfloor to rough in plumbing, it was not exactly inhabitable. I whipped it back into shape before we had visitors in mid-July, but it wasn't completely done until this month.

Now it is done. D-O-N-E, done. Almost.

Okay, it's just the hallway that still needs to be finished. The suite itself is complete.

Here is what you see when you walk in.

The sofa is a pullout from Ikea, purchased at a discount because it was a floor model in the "as is" section of the store. The chest that we are using as a coffee table is an old Lane one passed down from my mom. I re-covered the top with an Ikea curtain, also found in the "as is" area. I used the same curtain above the sofa to cover a built-in bookcase. Our foundation wall tops out at the bottom of the bookcase, so as long as the studs were exposed, it seemed like a good idea to make that space into something useful.

The area rug is a 100% wool rug from Pottery Barn. I picked it up there about 5 years ago as a floor model and really love the muted olive greens, aquas, and khaki colors in it.

The wall color is Restoration Hardware's Latte, matched in Sherwin Williams zero-VOC Harmony line, and the floor is actually painted underlayment which I glued and nailed to the plywood subfloor and then filled the seams with wood filler and caulk. At only $10 per 4x8 sheet, plus the cost of paint, it was a cheap way to go for a floor. The floor is painted Restoration Hardware's Silver Sage, matched in Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor paint. The painted floor is meant to be a temporary solution while we figure out what we really want and can afford on the floor down there, but I have a feeling it won't be getting replaced any time soon.

These are the built-ins that I whined about being unfinished back in November. If there is anything about me that has remained consistent throughout my life, it is this: I am slow. Projects take me a long time. I can be meticulous about details and indecisive, too. Not a great combo, right? Anyway, these built-ins are finally finished. The base cabinets came from the ReStore. I removed the doors and have been (slowly) repurposing them, then built new doors and painted the cabinets Martha Stewart Milk Glass matched in Sherwin-Williams Pro-Classic semi-gloss. That is my go-to furniture white paint and I always have some around and ready to lend new life to an old piece.

This is the view from the sofa. Yeah, that is one big tv, which we hung with a DIY french cleat in this post. Scott installed a surround sound system using the three wall speakers around the TV, the sub-woofer to the left of the dresser, and two more speakers in the walls on either side of the sofa. When we don't have guests, this is where we go to watch movies. Scott retro-fitted the top right drawer of the dresser to hold the receiver and DVD player so that all the cords and ugly technology are hidden out of sight.

The dresser is one of the first pieces of furniture that Scott and I bought together. It came from Pier One Imports about twelve years ago. We still love its rustic look and how solid it is.

This is the view of the bathroom that you get when you first walk into the basement. I meticulously planned the placement of the pocket door and plumbing so that the vanity would be in full view when the door is opened. I am thrilled with how it turned out. More on how I built the vanity in this post.

The pocket doors (to the bathroom and to the closet) both came from the ReStore which saved us a lot of money. They are quiet, they are easy to open and close, and they don't take up any valuable real estate in the bathroom or bedroom. Working on this space turned me into a strong proponent of pocket doors!

Here is the bathroom itself. The shower curtain was another as-is Ikea find. I sewed a liner onto the inside of the curtain before hanging it. I love how fresh and clean it looks, and I especially love that it goes from the floor to the ceiling. The exhaust fan that is installed in the shower is super-efficient and allows almost no steam to accumulate in the bathroom. It's a Broan one like this, from Lowe's. It might the the only item in the bathroom that wasn't used or discounted when we bought it, and it was worth every penny.

This showerhead from Overstock is by far the most luxurious thing in our entire house. Coupled with a thermostatic control valve (which keeps the temperature from changing when other faucets in the house are in use), a shower in this bathroom is heavenly.

The tile in here is the same as what we have in our kitchen, Daltile Rittenhouse Square 3"x6" tiles in matte Arctic White. I found a few boxes of it at the ReStore for $1/sq ft and then had to order the rest from Lowe's at $2/sq ft. For the shower niche, I ordered this insert from Lowe's for about $60 and installed it between the studs before putting up the backerboard and tile. It was a challenge to tile (getting the cuts right was the hardest part), but I think it was easier than we expected. We almost psyched ourselves out but ended up getting through it okay.

The tub itself was from Craigslist and required a drive to Denver to pick it up, but it was new and in great shape. It is not a standard tub -- standard length is 5', but our space is only 4 1/2' long, so finding an inexpensive tub was a challenge that required hours of scouring Craigslist. In the end, we found what we needed for half the cost of buying from a retailer.

The toilet is another ReStore find, which we retrofitted with a dual-flush system to reduce water use. We also added a new toilet seat and lid.

The bathroom floor is always a big hit with fact, more than one woman has threatened to lie down on it and take a nap. It is penny tile in light green from Overstock. It is beautiful and smooth and cool to the touch. I did somehow manage to buy the wrong color grout (we used up all the right grout on the shower and when I went back to get more, I accidentally bought a different color...and definitely not a color I would have chosen). But the tile is so gorgeous most people wouldn't even notice the grout.

Here is a shot of the custom medicine cabinet that I built. You can read more about it here

And the super cheap bathroom lighting, which you can read about here.

When my dad stayed in the basement suite for the first time, he requested a desk. Because, know how retired men are. Apparently they still need a place to work. So, I ran out to the garage, edge-joined a few beat up boards, stained them, added a hinge, and attached them to the wall for a folding desk. Scott installed an outlet under the desk to make it easy to keep a laptop charged. Here is the desk in its usual state:

And what it looks like when the room is ready for my dad to visit. He bought himself the little lamp, so we keep it in the closet for him when he's not here. The chair was a sidewalk find that Brynn asked me to pick up and then helped me refinish.

No bedroom is complete (technically) without a closet. So, of course, ours includes a little closet.

I guess I'm not totally done...we clearly need baseboards in the closet. But it is functional. The closet system came from Ikea and was very easy to install. It offers plenty of space for long-term visitors or for hiding Christmas and birthday presents. :)

I've got a couple more small details to show you, like the side table I built from fence wood and the sink cutout from the granite slab in the bathroom. And maybe I'll even show you how Scott retrofitted the dresser to accommodate the receiver and blue ray player. More to come soon!

Psst...check out this post to see why I remodeled the basement. One thing leads to another...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The $20 Custom Roller Shade -- my Pinterest Challenge

 A long, long time ago (like when Cottage Living Magazine was still in circulation -- I'm still mourning the loss of that magazine) I saw an article about customizing cheap-o roller shades. That was shortly after I'd paid a small fortune for three beautiful linen roller shades from Smith + Noble.

I vowed not to make that mistake again.

So when I saw a roller shade at Lowe's in the clearance section a few months ago (who am I kidding -- it was last spring) and realized that it was exactly the right size for the basement window, I grabbed it. It sat (and sat, and sat, and sat) in the garage until last week when I finally ripped off the vinyl shade off the roller, replaced it with fabric, and hung it in the window.

Okay,, it wasn't quite that easy. In fact, first I painted the vinyl and that looked great. But then I had to add a ribbon edge and that didn't go so well. First I used ribbon and Jewel-It glue, but you could see the glue through the ribbon. Blah. Then I used ribbon and hot glue. But the hot glue dried so fast that it didn't flatten out before it dried and you could see the bumps through the ribbon. So I tried a warm iron, to re-melt the glue, but I kinda melted the vinyl.

Wrinkly vinyl does not make for a pretty roller shade.

So I ripped off the vinyl shade and started over.

That's when I found this tutorial and pinned it on Pinterest, and I found this tutorial which helped me out, also. Now I'm including my new shade in Sherry, Katie, Erin, and Cassie's Pinterest Challenge.

For this shade, I used some fabric I'd brought back from Mexico a few years ago, but next time I'd use something flatter and with less nubbiness. I also backed it with white muslin because I think seeing a patterned/colored fabric in the window from outside the house is semi-tacky. I don't know why I think that. I guess I like the uniformity of white from the outside. Plus my mom told me that window treatments should be lined with white. And she knows about this kind of stuff.

To back the shade fabric, first I ironed on Wonder Under. I'm not gonna lie -- there was a bit of a learning curve to this, especially since I was ironing on about 2 1/2 yards of the stuff. Just wait til it cools to rip off the paper and I think you'll be okay. If you try to take off the paper while it is still warm, the glue comes off with it. And the paper comes off in tiny pieces, like nightmare wallpaper.

Then I cut the fabric (with the backing fused) to exactly the size I needed it to be. My window is about 4ft wide by 3 ft tall. I added an extra 12 or so inches to the height so that the fabric would wrap around the roller a few times before it became visible in the window. I think this is important for keeping the fabric tightly attached to the roller.

I used Fray Check to keep the edges from fraying and then sewed a hem to hold a weight rod in the bottom of the shade. Since the fabric is a little nubby, the edges weren't as clean-cut as I'd like them to be. So...back to the ribbon.

Using Heat 'n Bond to adhere the ribbon, I lined it up with the edges of the shade and wrapped it under the hem about 2 inches. The Heat 'n Bond is a bit narrower than the ribbon, but it seemed to work well with almost no buckling when the shade rolls up.

The problem with including ribbon on a roller shade is that the ribbon stretches differently from the fabric (or not at all). But, I love the finished touch it adds to the edges of the shade.

Once the fabric part of the shade was ready, I used double sided tape (plain old double sided Scotch tape) to adhere the fabric to the roller. I rolled it around one time and then added another strip of tape between the two layers of fabric. It seems simple, but the tape is definitely enough to keep the fabric on the roller -- especially with the fabric rolled around a few times, which it always is, even when the shade is down.

Now, the financial damage. I already had the fabric, so I count that as free. The shade was about $1.50 on clearance at Lowe's. The Wonder Under was about $6, the Fray Check about $4, the Heat n' Bond about $3, and the white muslin lining was about $6. I had the weight rod and the ribbon (it came with the gift wrap on wedding presents from Williams-Sonoma 11 years ago when we got married!).

So $20.50 is the total cost, plus a few hours of my time. And I ended up with a great looking shade and a husband who is happy to see headway made on a basement "detail." Totally worth the price.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Light fixtures on the cheap

One of my early goals for our basement renovation was to use as many re-used materials as possible. One of the first things I found was this old antique brass chandelier with big glass globes on the mis-matched lights and a big antique brass ball hanging off the bottom. It was dated. And ugly. I found it sitting in a neighbor's driveway after the house had been foreclosed on. Some guys were there cleaning out the house and gladly let me take the chandelier away.

As soon as I got the chandy home (how often do you see a woman walking down the street carrying an old chandelier?), I took the big brass ball off the bottom and tossed it in the trash. I'm not a fan of those big balls -- this is the second chandelier I've owned who has lost it's ball. Haha. Then I cleaned it, taped up the electrical parts, and painted it my favorite shade of Krylon green, Celery.

This chandelier is not up to code for a bathroom -- first of all, it is not damp-location listed. Luckily, this is a seldom-used bathroom with an AMAZING ventilation fan. Second, it hangs too close to the bathtub. The electrical inspector suggested I move it over near the toilet but that really messed with the whole vision for the bathroom, which included a fancy chandelier hanging in the center of the doorway. So, for our inspections we installed an old flush-mount fixture. Once all of the inspections were passed, we traded it out for our up-cycled beauty.

The wall sconces came from the ReStore for the wallet-busting price of $4 each. They were shiny brass until I sprayed them with Krylon Celery. The shades on them came from the clearance section at Lowe's for $1.99 each. Bargain, right?

So, for the grand total of $10 plus a can of spray paint, we got ourselves three matching light fixtures with a touch of vintage-looking glam. The funny part is, it isn't like I "settled" for these fixtures. I actually did look to find something I liked as well and couldn't find anything that made me as happy as these three fixtures. I guess I'm easy to please! can see the rest of the basement here

Monday, January 23, 2012

The anatomy of the world's largest medicine cabinet

That title might be an exaggeration, but then again it might not. The cabinet measures a little over two feet wide by about three and a half feet tall. Giant, I'm telling you.

The idea with this guest bathroom medicine cabinet was to make it giant so that it would take care of nearly all the toiletry storage needs of our guests. The reclaimed wood vanity below doesn't have much storage in it, and there is no space for other furniture in the room, so this cabinet really needed to be high-impact in terms of its capacity.

Not only that, but since there isn't much counter space, we also wanted it to provide room for guests to plug in and charge things like razors and electric tooth brushes. Yep, the ultimate in livability, right?

So here's how I did it:

First of all, during the basement renovation, we already had the bathroom wall opened up. We had to remove the drywall in order to get plumbing into that wall, so I figured I might as well build the medicine cabinet into the wall to give it more depth without taking up much of the bathroom. Here is what that wall looked like after I framed in the space for the cabinet:

You might notice the two sideways electrical boxes in there. I was not certain whether it would be "to code" to do the boxes that way, but they are both GFI outlets and the inspector said there was no problem when he checked them out during the electrical rough. Whew. I had to be pretty creative in figuring out how to get them in there -- I ended up nailing them into the wooden part of the foundation directly behind them. Not typical, but it works.

In order to build the cabinet, I first lined the back with 1/8" plywood. Then I used my Kreg Jig to attach the vertical sides of the cabinet to the upper and lower framing using 1x6 pine. Next was attaching more 1x6 pine for the top and bottom of the cabinet to the rough 2x4 framing using my finish nailer. Once it was all together, I caulked the seams, filled the nail holes, and painted. Then I drilled the holes for the adjustable shelving, framed the front of the cabinet with 1x2 pine, glue, and finish nails and then and crowned the top of the cabinet with baseboards leftover from the basement demo. Upside-down baseboards, actually.

We picked up some mirror from the ReStore and had it cut to fit in the back of the cabinet and a second piece cut to fit in the door. As it turns out, mirror is relatively cheap when you're getting it straight from a local glass supplier, so next time I'd probably just get it from the glass company and be able to go with 1/8" thick instead of the 1/4" thick mirror available at the ReStore. 1/4" thick mirror is much heavier than I was expecting. We also had the glass company cut 1/8" glass shelves to fit in the cabinet.

Eventually (as in like six months later) I got around to actually building the cabinet door and finally got it up just before Christmas.

I Gorilla-glued some fun beaded trim around the edge of the mirror and used three heavy duty hinges to keep the door on. Honestly, I wasn't sure whether the whole thing would hold together so I waited a few weeks to post photos to be sure it wouldn't fall apart.

In the end, the whole medicine cabinet cost under $40 and really, the size and customized features (especially those outlets! Love those outlets!) can't be beat.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Within arm's reach

Maybe if your arms were 4 feet long the towel would be within arm's reach. Probably you'll have to step out of the tub and drip a few drops of water on the floor before getting to this towel rack, but it is as close as I could get.

This is my new reclaimed wood towel rack in the basement bathroom. It is made from the same wood as the reclaimed wood vanity. The more I work with reclaimed wood, the more I love it. It's just so easy -- maybe because its flaws don't need to be covered? Maybe because it takes so much less time than working with new wood. The non-existent finishing step saves me hours. Instant gratification, I guess.

Affixing a standard towel rack to the wall would have been the faster way to go for this, but I wanted something a little more unique. This piece took me about two hours to throw together, including time spent wondering what to do after I ran out of the wood I needed to frame the piece. I was planning to do a deeper shelf on top, but when I ran out of the narrower wood that frames the bottom, I had to re-think it. Because with reclaimed wood, you obviously have to work with what you've got. Now that it is done and hanging, I'm happy I left off the deep shelf. I think it would have become a hazard for people getting up from the toilet. Smacking your head on a too-big shelf as you try to get off the toilet is never a fun thing. So I guess it all worked out.

I love the texture of the wood contrasted against the bling of the chrome hooks. Mmmmmm.

Psst...the rest of the basement is finished now! See it here

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Almost-Finished Built-Ins

It really bugs me when projects in my house are "almost finished." And these built-ins have been "almost finished" since the end of July. Then I was torn away from them by multiple other projects. And the reality is that I may not be able to get back to them until January. They still need a few various pieces of trim, some sanding, some filling, and a few coats of paint in a few spots.

But ohmygosh, I love them. The base cabinets came from the ReStore. The one on the left cost a dollar. It was in bad shape. The middle one and the one on the right cost $20 each. They were in good shape and are solid oak. The one on the left camouflages one of those weird bump-outs in a wall that is so typical of basements. The bump-out is for the drain pipe from our kitchen sink and dishwasher above that corner of the basement. In order to make the built-ins flush all across the front, I bumped out the middle and the right ones to match the depth of the one on the left and I built the shelves above at different depths to accommodate the bump out, too.

Sounds confusing, I know. It was confusing. It took a lot of staring and tilting my head and scratching notes on paper and deep thought to figure it out. To add to the confusion, the wall that the cabinets are on curves outward as it goes up toward the ceiling, so the wall had to be furred out to get the cabinets to sit right. I'm going to be totally honest here, it was HARD. But the result is (or will be) exactly what I was hoping for. A little reading nook (with puck lights installed in the shelf above, thank you Scott!) and built-in cabinets to house sheets and towels. The cabinet on the right even has three electrical outlets and pull-out shelves to give guests a place to store and charge their computers, e-readers, phones, etc.

Yeah, I know. So stinking awesome.

I'll post more photos when the unit is totally done. So, maybe sometime in 2018.

Psst...they're finally finished, and it's only 2012! Check out the whole basement here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Reclaimed Wood Vanity

This might be my FAVORITE piece of furniture in our whole house. And that's saying a lot, because when you build your own furniture, you love every piece. Every piece bears the memories of your stage in life when you made it, your clothes carry the color of the finish, and your hands remember each imperfection in the wood. But this one is special. This is the new vanity in our new bathroom, but it comes from old wood and its granite top looks old and weathered.

Remember the basement closet doors? The ones built out of wood from a neighbor's fence and made to look like barn doors? Well, this vanity came from the same fence. I used Ana White's Farmhouse Vanity plans as a guide and then added sides and doors to hide our ugly pipes. Unfortunately, because of where our new basement bathroom is situated, the drain pipe had to go into the floor (instead of the wall) and had to include a plumbing vent in them since there was no vent nearby to tie into. So, the pipes are ugly and despite my requests to the plumber, shiny chrome pipes were not possible in this application.

Scott finished out the bottom of the vanity for me using weathered cedar that we ripped into 1x2s years ago and used in our garden to trellis snap peas. We've since found another spot to grow snap peas and this wood has been lying behind the hot tub for years. It's so fun to see it put to good use.

The sink atop the vanity came from the Habitat ReStore and was a crazy bargain at just $15. It is meant to be a pedestal sink, but I wanted to use it like a vessel sink despite the fact that the bottom isn't perfectly flat. It might not be a great application in a bathroom with kids or a bathroom that gets a lot of use because it isn't sealed against the counter top, but for a low-use guest bathroom, I don't envision that being a problem. The faucet was a bargain from Overstock. It is super heavy and really high quality and I think its shiny bling-factor contrasts nicely against the rustic wood vanity.

I am absolutely in love with this weathered piece of granite. At $300, it is by far the most expensive component of the basement. It was my biggest splurge and it was totally worth it. The granite is called Antique Brown and the finish is "leathered" (as opposed to polished or honed). After I bought it, I tried to find something similar online but didn't find anything like it. This piece was a remnant at Planet Granite, a local granite shop. Because of the shape of the sink, the granite had to be cut into a C-shape and reinforced with rebar. I asked another granite shop if they could do it and the owner told me, "It would be impossible. The granite would never be strong enough." Well, apparently it is worth it to ask, ask, and ask again. I was extremely pleased with Planet Granite's work and their willingness to do something out of the ordinary. They also worked hard not to ruin the square piece from inside the sink cutout so that I could use it later. I'm looking forward to using it as the top of an end table!

I still need to add some vinegar-steel wool solution to the freshly cut ends of the cedar boards in order to weather them, but other than that this piece is finished and I couldn't be happier with it. It is a hefty, solid piece that looks old and shows years of weathering. I adore its rustic contrast against the white and shiny chrome elements in the bathroom. This vanity is why I love to do things myself. I couldn't explain this vision to anyone and expect them to build what I saw in my mind. And can you imagine the reaction I would get if I asked a contractor to build me something like that? I don't need anyone else telling me I'm crazy. I might be, but look what it got me! A vanity that I adore.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Inspections. Passed.

It's final. We passed.

Yes, we passed ALL four final inspections on our basement remodel. Electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and building.


Not without at least one issue, of course. During the first round of inspections we learned a lot. We learned how the system works (ie: get a building permit first and then add on from there). We learned that a new bathroom must be on a dedicated 20amp circuit, even if your inspector thinks it is a silly rule. We learned that as soon as an inspector seems the least bit ready to leave, encourage him to leave quickly, lest he notice something else that is awry. Like, for instance, a 34 1/2 inch hallway that should be 36 inches.

Yesterday I learned that even though the first building inspector didn't require us to put smoke alarms in all four bedrooms, we should have. Because the second inspector? The one who had to sign off on the final inspection? He went looking for smoke alarms.

And, yeah, I'm kind of annoyed that it took an extra day to pass inspections. But, if we ever need those alarms? I'll be eternally grateful.

So let the record show (and I'm sure it does already), our home is now a five bedroom, four bath home.

Wow, that feels strange to type. Let me try again.

Five bedroom, four bath.

Holy cow.

Now all I'm waiting for is a bigger tax bill.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Feeling like a slacker

Sheetrock is up. Mud is going up as we speak. Yep, it's 9pm on a Friday and mud is going up. And I'm here writing, which means I'm not doing it. And neither is Scott. He's putting the kids to bed in a tent in the backyard.

We hired out the basement drywall. The drywaller came highly recommended by good friends who know what they're talking about. And we could afford him. And we couldn't afford to do it ourselves. That would probably mean doing it twice (like everything else -- do it, rip it apart, do it over). It might have meant some serious roadblocks for our marriage.

So I'm glad we hired it out. But now I feel like a slacker because this guy? The one who showed up at 8:30 this morning as part of the crew to hang the drywall? He's still here. He's the mudder of the group and he's been working for about 12 and a half hours. He took about 45 minutes for lunch. Other than that, there've been no breaks.

Have you ever worked that hard in your life? I think if you're the kind of person who would read a blog on your personal computer, the answer is probably no. Oh, sure, maybe you've put in 12 hour days at the office, but 12 hours of physical labor (with who knows how many more to come)? I doubt it.

I know I haven't put in time like that. Not even close. Probably not even half. And if I did, I'd probably complain so much someone would put me out of my misery. One way or another.

So I'm amazed. And I've offered the guy water, a coke, even a beer. He won't take any of it. He just keeps strutting around down there on stilts slapping mud up on the walls and ceiling faster than I could imagine doing it. And I do imagine things like that. I spend a lot of time standing in the middle of a room staring at the walls trying to figure out how I'm going to build/paint/trim/etc. In no case would I have imagined mudding as fast or efficiently as he is.

I'm a little bit in awe. And humbled. It's a good feeling.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A month out.

We're about a month out from our first guests in the soon-to-be guest suite downstairs. There is no floor, no drywall, and certainly no furniture. No toilet, no sink, no tile on the floor or walls. But the electrical is done and passed inspection, as did the plumbing and mechanical. We're still crossing our fingers for a variance on the inch-and-a-half too narrow hallway and at the same time plotting our course in case the variance doesn't come through.

All I can think is, oh my word. What have I done? My house is a pit. There's animal hair everywhere. Nobody has clean clothes. I've yet to swim in the pool this summer. My children and husband are losing weight because I can't muster the energy or creativity to cook for them (I, of course, am holding steady as always). What the crap was I thinking?

Someday this will be a long-forgotten season of exhaustion. And I will sit on a comfy sofa down there and watch a movie in 7.2 surround sound. And gaze at my beautiful built-in cabinets that I BUILT MYSELF. Mostly. On a wall that is about as flat as the earth. Which is to say, not at all flat. Someday.

These aren't the newest photos, but they're new to you and, honestly, not much different from what I'm seeing down there today. Hopefully we'll sheetrock next week and then things will resume moving along. Hopefully.

Why yes, those ARE two perfectly square and plumb pocket doors, thank you very much.

Bathroom through the doorway on the left, walk-in closet to the right.

The one existing wall with the new closet framed in on the other side.

Tub and screwed up plumbing which had to be ripped out because I chose the wrong kind of shower valve. Rookie mistake.

This is that round wall. I know you can't tell from the photos, but trust me...the cabinets and shelving I'm installing are flat and the wall is...not. Not at all.

Someday you will look through that doorway and see a beautiful custom vanity made from reclaimed wood and perfectly centered reclaimed chandelier reflected in the built-in custom medicine cabinet mirror. Seriously, what have I done?

Psst...the basement is finally done! Check out the finished product here