Monday, July 30, 2012

Bedroom redo

Even though we're working on our bathroom, I'm gearing up for our fall project - the bedroom.

Here are some before shots of our bedroom (while we were looking a the house):

Needless to say it wasn't really... "us."

Eventually I got around to repainting, lived with it for a while and I'm still just not feeling it. Maybe it's because we don't have any bedlinens that really "match." To be honest, it's kind of driving me crazy.

I mean, it's not "terrible," but it is... I don't know. It just neds something "more," or "less."

I really think just a lighter quilt would solve a lot of problems - as well as refinishing my dressers.

It doesn't help that we have Auron's huge crate to contend with. (Yeah, I know - that "A" is just kind of floating in space, but I was on a cleaning spree yesterday and I needed somewhere to put it... so on the wall it went).

So I'm thinking of doing a few things...

1. Repainting the room grey. Yeah, I know, it's the new "hot" color. Whatever. I don't care. The room is a little too saturated for me, so I'm hoping something more neutral that "goes" with the rest of the house will make me happier.

2. Making/purchasing new curtains. The current ones will be perfectly happy in the sunroom, which I'm not planning on painting. I'm thinking probably white, and more than likely something not entirely opaque. Our room doesn't get a ton of light, so we don't want to block it out all the time. Maybe some matchstick shades to provide privacy. Some lighter/brighter sheets wouldn't hurt things either.

See, they will look nice in here... even though this photo was taken before we moved in... we probably won't be ready to use the sunroom for a *while*

3. Adding bi-fold doors. Our closet doors were broken when we moved in so we have to replace them with new ones. I also personally love slatted bi-fold doors a lot more than the original sliding doors.

4. Art projects (yeah, I have them... no I haven't started them yet...) especially something for over our headboard... it's kind of driving me crazy.  

5. Buying lamps for our nightstands. I'm thinking something like colored glass so it doesn't seem like it's taking up so much physical real estate.

6. Refinishing the dressers. See, this is a hard one. I'm thinking of just refinishing them white, distressing them, spraying the handles with oil rubbed bronze finish and getting a new mirror for my dresser (well, we have a mirror, but we would need to frame it and find a way to hang it safely on the wall).

7. Crown molding. While we're at it - we need to replace ALL of the baseboard and trim too.

In other words, a lot of work to do over a length of time. I'm really feeling like doing some more projects now, so I might as well do them...

And the more I look at the photo of the sunroom, the more I want another papasan chair... I'm sure the kitties would totally agree with me.

Updated bathroom photos

Now that the tile situation has been taken care of in our bathroom, we're getting ready to start working on the next phase of the bathroom renovation project - paint.

But, I figured since we scrubbed the bathroom down yesterday, I'd take advantage of having a clean space and took some photos.

Please forgive me, this was early in the morning and the bathroom doesn't get the best light to begin with because of the tiniest window... you'll see it in one photo coming up.

Here's the finished tile in the shower. Not too shabby huh?

Okay, now for the not-so-great (but at least it's clean) photos:
Before (door leads to hallway)

Wow... I am fairly terrible at Photoshop...

Weird little alcove (we're hoping to move the toilet here)

More really bad photoshop... but you get the idea.

Wall where toilet and space saver thinggy are. Possibly put a shelf, artwork or some sort of storage here.

With toilet moved, new double-sink vanity and some storage

My very sad little vanity. Hoping to replace this guy with something else.

Okay... if you're drinking coffee or some other beverage, my suggestion to you is to swallow and set it down becuase seriously... my photoshop skills look more like MS Paint and... well, yeah... I can't believe I'm actually posting this to the web....

Yeah yeah.... okay... but you *get* the idea right? Distressed wood, vessel sink? No... well... yeah... okay, maybe it does look like an alien.... whatever.

Anyway, I think it could look really nice (and not at all like my MS Paint-like sketches) especially after I add the towel bars, storage and make a new shower curtain and get some very-much-desired fluffy monogramed towels. Also (not pictured) we would add a bathmat (made out of some natural material like river rock or teak) by the tub and a really fluffy mat for in front of the mirrors. Then again, I'm not sure how that will work out with the catbox being moved to under the sink...

Just to give you an idea of the proposed new layout is. It makes sense right? I love the idea of a double sink vanity - especially since we only have one bathroom right now and we usually have folks at out house.

(And - you know - I'm definitely saving my pennies for one of those automatic flushing cat litter boxes. You know, the ones that hook up to your plumbing that washes and recycles cat litter - meaning absolutely NO scooping. Whoever invented those, if you're reading this... you're my hero)

Friday, July 27, 2012

10 days and counting

In 10 days from now, we will have been living in our house for a full year. It's hard to comprehend because sometimes it feels like we've just moved in and others it feels like we've lived there forever.

And sometimes, it's so bizarre looking back on the photos we took of our house before we put an offer on it. It looks very decidedly different now:

More progress... but still need a few tweaks.

And there's the kitchen:

Progress (sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better
Progress (we've made a few more updates like paint since this photo was taken, but we definitely have a LOT more work to do in here)

And then there was the backyard fence project....
Before (falling-apart brick planters)
Yay! No more planters in the way!

Front yard:

Progress... yeah I need to update that photo...

So, it looks like I have some photo updates to do!

In the meantime, we've been taking a week off from projects this week. Starting this weekend we'll get back into the swing of things with a few small projects and possibly a few updates.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Emergency bathroom remodel

Oh, I wish it was that it was because my bathroom was *that* horrendous and it just needed to be remodeled because I couldn't stand to look at it anymore.

Oh no my friends... not in the least.

Our only shower was pouring buckets into our basement so we called a few plumbers to get estimates. Only one could get to us this week and while I have an office all to myself at work, I still didn't want to be stinky for over a week.

Unfortunately... it was $600 or so to have our poor shower fixed. Mind you, it wasn't just a "leak" it was flooding buckets. No small fix. On top of that, they installed new fixtures and what-have-you since our current fixtures are considerably older than Garry and I (as in, they were discontinued in the 60's).

Womp womp. So no attic renovation (for now).

But, this is an excuse a golden opportunity to remodel our bath (which was certainly on our list of projects for the year).

First off... we had to do some demo work on the bathroom (to save us some money with the plumber) and take out part of the wall where the pipes to the shower are. In order to do that, our vanity had to live in the living room for a while.

Once that was out of the way, Garry was able to get in there and start taking the wall apart.

Once the sink was out of the way, we could take the molding and beadboard off the wall and start the smashy-smashy. Because our house was built in the 50's, tiles weren't installed with backerboard, but with chicken wire and LOTS of mortar. Fun. 

After the fixtures were installed and the leak fixed, we taped some plastic to the wall where the missing tiles were and I took an incredibly long, hot shower because I felt entirely disgusting.

Now to decide what we're going to *do* with the shower surround...

A few ideas are floating out there. Unless I can find the matching 4x4 tile (which I haven't been able to find yet), we will have to go with something different. Now, we can just replace what "needs" to be fixed, or we can make this more interesting (or as Garry puts it, "more difficult than it needs to be") and just retile the entire surround.

Obviously, only retiling what needs to be fixed will be a LOT cheaper than retiling 60ish square feet of bath surround. However, I know Garry, and I know that if in a year or so if I suggest retiling the bath surround because I want to make it cohesive with the kitchen (using similar materials etc) he won't be a happy panda.

Just to give you an idea... here's our kitchen:

But, in order to keep the project cost low, we decided to just replace what needed to be fixed. So, Garry went ahead and demolished the bottom three rows of tiles (since that is where the old hardware was).

We taped over the holes so we could actually take a shower between the installation of the new hardware and doing the tile work since we waited until Saturday to do it.

While Garry finished up demolishing the tile, I went to Home Depot and bought some tile (you can see it on the corner of the tub). Originally, I was planning on getting white 4"x4" travertine because we used travertine in our kitchen. But, they didn't have any that was light enough (it was too taupey and dark for that space) and then I thought I could find white pebbles. While HD has white/grey pebble tile, it's $10 a sq ft - which was way more than I was planning on spending, even though I only needed about 10 sq ft. When I was thisclose to just saying "screw this, I'm going to just get cheap, plain white tile and just be done with it" I found the glass tile. At only $5 a sq ft, it was still a little more than I wanted to spend, but it was still fairly inexpesive. Not to mention that it matched nicely.

I picked up my tile, grout, thinset and a corner shower caddy (with 4 people living in the house, we needed it!) and back home I went.

First things first, I got the tile situated. Because the space was kind of an odd size, I got some plain white pencil molding to go with the tile. I cut one row off the bottom (it was just a little too big) and cut a few of the sheets into parts to place around the faucet.

This was really the biggest pain of the whole project. Tile isn't terribly difficult, but the faucet being in the way (I couldn't get it off) made it a pain. Hence why little tiles like this make it easier since you can cut it up with just a pair of scissors and piece it back together.

See that odd square in the wall? That used to be where a soap holder was. No we didn't put it back. For some reason it just didn't want to stay there so we decided not to force it. Plus, the shower caddy would take care of that...

Cloud was very interested in what I was doing. Well, mostly he wanted me to turn the water on so he could drink out of the tub... weird cat.

I also haven't decided which part of the tiling process is more messy - the thinset or the grout. I used bright white grout around the tile so it would flow better with the tub and existing tile.

So there it is. The grout has been cleaned off, but I need to go back in with a soft cloth and buff it all down, plus cleaning the tub would be a good idea. It's still kind of gross from all the demolition work we did.

Also, we learned that we're probably going to (someday) have to hire someone to come in and re-glaze our tub. The stuff we initially used to re-glaze it with has already started chipping again and this tile adventure really didn't help things either. Boo :-(

I also picked up some white paint for the beadboard and we have some paint for the walls already. If we can ever (maybe) move the plumbing/electric around, we will make a lot more headway in there. But for now, some progress is better than none!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And the money kept pouring out...

I'm actually afraid this is a fairly literal title.

Now that I had the budget put together for our attic renovation, I found out that our bathroom is still leaking into the basement. Awesome. So a plumber is coming to the house today to check it out.

Two of our friends have a landscaping business and Garry hired them to take out the enormous shrub next to our stairs to the walkway. (And now it's a giant mud-hole until we decide what to do with it)

We're hiring someone to cut down the eye-sore of a pine tree in the backyard.

We switched homeowner's insurance companies (the company we were with before was incredibly expensive because we were having major renovations done and they were the only company that would cover us, so we switched to the same company our car insurance is with and it's about $800 a year cheaper, but we still had to pay for the year - even if it was only $360).

Garry's car nearly exploded yesterday. Luckily, not a terribly expensive fix, and he got new brakes and an oil change too, but it was another $300ish

I'm starting to look at our savings and start to whimper again. Depending on what happens with the plumber today we may be waiting a while to renovate the attic so our savings doesn't dwindle down to nothing. However, this does mean that if we have to do emergency surgery on the bathroom this weekend, I need to make a decision on tile. Augh. I hate being rushed into decisions like that... and I know Garry doesn't want to spend this weekend tiling the bath surround.

We'll see... I should know by 5 p.m. what's going on.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Window install and flooring plan

We're into full attic planning mode over here and so far everything looks as though we'll be coming in at a budget around $1,500 for what we're planning in this stage. Yeah, it sounds like a lot, but our attic is 28x19 in other words... it's enormous.

Unfortunately, the enormous attic only has 2 windows - one on either side. Boo. If we really wanted to splurge, we would install some skylights. That won't happen for quite some time, so we're not going to worry about it at this point. (Maybe eventually when we have to re-shingle the roof in like 8 years).

Tomorrow the window folks are coming to give us an estimate on replacement windows since the 2 windows we have are probably original and one is cracked. Yeah, not so attractive. We figured it would be easier to get the windows installed before doing anything else, that way no one has to do any real "demolition" work. Or they can tell us different. Whatever. We'll find out tomorrow. 

We're also working on getting the electric boxes installed. It's a relatively inexpensive project since we already have the electrical lines run up to the attic (they just need to be connected to the boxes and then screwed to the studs - easy peasy). Once the electric boxes are installed, we can start the drywall installation (by we I mean Garry and his friends - I'm more of the mudding and spackle specialist).

After all of that is sanded and happy, then I get to come in with the drywall primer and spend what will feel like a million years a weekend painting the primer onto the walls so when I finally decide on a color, the walls will be primed and ready for me.

Now, I've been thinking of installing bead board (like in our bathroom) on the knee walls of our attic. I think it could look interesting. Not only that, but I wouldn't have to prime the drywall. Sure I'd end up spending more money on the beadboard, but it would look really pretty. That would happen right after priming the gabled walls and ceiling.

Depending on how fast I can find a paint color (because there's so much to paint I'm really going to take my time picking a color, even though it is the "guest room" - you never know, we may decide to move up there!)   We may end up painting the color before installing the flooring. Right now there's a huge sale at one of our favorite hardware stores, so we're putting the cart before the horse a little bit to take advantage of the sale. We're debating on having the flooring color match the main floor and staircase (think orangey-oak color, which isn't *terrible* just not my first choice) or do a dark chestnut color.

We really strive for cohesiveness through the house with our style and materials, so matching the flooring color (as best as we can, since we're getting laminate floors and our main floors are hardwood) would achieve that (and mean we wouldn't have to do anything with the stairs) and make our lives possibly a little easier (maybe?). But, then again we could do something really cool with the staircase that would open up the upstairs flooring to do whatever color we want - and - eventually those floors downstairs will need to be refinished... and guess what color I'll want them done... (not the current color).

That's about as far as we'll get on this phase of the project. Things like light fixtures, decorative paint and other things will come later on and as we get the money saved up. The main goal is to get the room functional, not necessarily decorated yet.

But, that doesn't mean I haven't thought about it...

On the back wall (in the bedroom area) I want to do a built-in bookshelf. Garry will probably hate me forever for it, but I think it will look really nice.

Okay, this isn't the *best* photo (and it's before all the insulation was installed), but just imagine... 

I'm thinking built-in bookshelves on that wall and making them look really weathered (there are tons of tutorials online somewhere right?) and have some books and decorative stuff up there. The gabled walls and ceiling would all be painted the same color (probably somewhere in the very light blue/grey realm as I want to try and keep it neutral and really bring in some texture).

The very flimsy-looking railing at the bottom of the photo? Yep, that's going to be taken out and rebuilt so that it's larger and more reinforced. When we're done it will be a solid half-wall around the staircase (for safety reasons).

I also want a chandelier in the "bedroom" side of the room. Yeah, again... Garry said I could do whatever I want. I think he's going to regret saying that at some point.

Overall, I'm going with a similar "theme" I have with the rest of the house; neutral, but with lots of texture. I want to make space on the shelves for decorative pieces (we find interesting stuff that really reflects us once in a great while, but we have nowhere to put it). I also want a few flokati rugs for either side of the bed (imagine waking up to that every morning!) and a decent-sized cow hide rug to put at the foot of the bed and have a really grungy-looking old chest on top of it (to use for extra blanket and towel storage). If we can find a flat-topped chest I'd *love* to get a silver antique serving tray to put little "guest essentials" on it and a really cozy throw blanket.

Are you picturing this? Because the more I think about it, the more I want to be up there myself!

Because the knee walls are so short, we'd have to have a standing mirror, and I'd love to find an antique one if possible, as well as an old dresser that needs some love. Circular, industrial metal night stands would be ideal, and pair them with some textured glass lamps and natural linen colored drum shades.

Haven't really gotten anywhere with  the bed frame yet, but we'll cross that bridge eventually. I'm torn between wrought iron and upholstered. The linens I think I'll go with (again) something relatively simple. I have a duvet cover that I would love to do some woodblock stamping on - so it would end up looking like a simple henna print (probably just around the border or very sparingly throughout) and pair it with a set of paisley sheets. A simple, plain quilt would go nicely too. The summer months up there can get pretty warm and the winter a little chilly, so having options for folks to be comfortable is key.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Attic planning stage... two?

It has been an odd sort of two weeks.

Last week I was in Florida visiting my family. We had a pretty good time despite it being a billion degrees (then again, it was a billion degrees everywhere on the east coast, so there was no escaping it) and I learned what it's like to live in various degrees of sweaty. I'm not sure how Florida people do it, but good on them.

Anyway, a very unexpected thing happened. My grandparents (who recently sold two of their seasonal properties and bought a year-round house near my parents in Florida) gave both my brother and I checks for $5,000 each.

Completely unexpected, more than completely surprised, and even more grateful.

Apparently, they had extra cash from the sale of their properties and weren't really sure what to do with the extra. After talking with my parents, they decided to give us the cash since we both had bought houses in the last year that... for lack of a better phrase... need some love.

Immediately I was on edge, thinking "what is wrong... is there something that they're not telling me?" but they assured me that everything was fine and that they just wanted to help out. To be honest, there's a part of me that's still apprehensive because this is not normal. Then again, they've never sold two properties and bought one before.

A good chunk of my trip involved watching countless hours of DIY Network and HGTV (since we don't have cable at the house I rarely get to watch it) and just drooling over all the projects I could do. Of course being handed a big ol' wad of cash didn't help my brain from wandering wildly either.

After getting back to NY and settling in, Garry and I discussed different projects to work on. Right now there are three major things that need to be done. 1. Attic, 2. First floor bath, 3. Basement

Now $5,000 won't cover all of that (especially the basement as we need to install subfloor, a half bath and a myriad of other things), but it will certainly cover installing drywall in the attic, new windows and possibly some flooring. Thankfully we have some very handy friends that are knowledgeable drywall-hangers so labor costs won't be more than a slightly-elaborate bbq. Yay!

We still haven't decided whether or not we want to install a bath (it would end up being a 3/4 bath), but if we do, the demo to the drywall we'd install would be minimal considering where everything would be. We just need to figure it out before we do flooring. We will need to get a contractor to come in to help us decide what we need to do (and how much it will cost) to put a 3/4 bath upstairs - basically we need to know if it's going to actually be worth the money we'll be spending and if it will actually look good and not just be a cramped "closet" bath.

So on the project list for now is getting the window folks to come and install new attic windows and purchase the drywall. Since Garry is working crazy hours the rest of the month we won't get started on the project until sometime in August, but buy the end of September we're going to have a finished attic! Sweet!

As for the bathroom, we're going to put that on hold for a little while. The finish we put on the bathtub is chipping (awesome) and we're contemplating replacing the tub altogether. Boo. We also need to redo the tile on the surround - which when you're buying 60 sq ft of tile it gets expensive quickly. Luckily I've found some ceramic options that are rather pretty, but we haven't made any decisions just yet.