Monday, February 28, 2011

February 2011--month in review

The monthly check on our list of house goals.  We felt good about getting back into the swing of things, but the list still isn't looking so hot....
Guest Bedroom
  • hang pictures
  • reupholster antique chair still stuck 90% of the way there, waiting for the misplaced trim to magically appear
  • install closet doors
  • fix hinge-bound door so it will actually close

Office

  • make and hang curtains still 50% done--I've ordered and received the fabric for the side windows, but haven't done anything with it
  • reupholster footstool
  • put laminate on top of craft table
  • paint and hang door

Hall Bath
  • skim coat walls a little more
  • repaint walls
  • really, really scrub grout--and if that doesn't remove yellowing, try one of those grout pens
  • hang at least one picture/piece of art
  • install closet door knob
  • install hooks where I can hang my work clothes 
  • install new light fixture

Hall/Living Room/Kitchen/Dining Room
  • knock down walls to make these all a single space--started in on this job! 
  • install structural beam to replace structural wall
  • move electrical breaker box to exterior wall so we can knock down the interior wall it's currently on We have a new layout plan that will avoid needing to do this job.  P is still considering doing some major electrical work to bring our older house up to modern codes and best practices.
  • patch existing oak flooring where walls were removed
  • make new attic hatch
  • replace textured ceiling in kitchen
  • remove wood panelling and replace with drywall
  • remove vinyl floor in kitchen, and lay new hardwoods there and over exposed subfloor in dining room
  • commit to new kitchen plans
  • build new kitchen cabinets (at least the lower ones)
  • get/make new countertops
  • install backsplash
  • run plumbing for new sink and gas range Our new layout leaves the sink where it was, so that eliminates the need for this job, but adds:
  • install new sink
  • remove windows in dining room, and replace with french doors out to backyard
  • buy fireplace screen and make the occasional fire    
  • replace hearth tile
  • make living room curtains (purely ornamental)
  • figure out window treatment for front windows that will maximize both light and privacy (plantation shutters?)
  • install new baseboard and crown molding
  • install doors on coat closet
  • fix draft under front door
  • install lots of new outlets to bring house up to newer codes for required number of outlets per room
  • install new lighting

Utility room
  • build utility room
  • buy and install new tankless water heater
  • run plumbing and install utility sink
  • run plumbing and vent lines for new washer/dryer location (due to new layout)
Master bedroom
  • lay hardwood flooring over exposed subfloor
Master Bath

  •  give ugly medicine cabinet a cosmetic face lift

  Crawl Space 
  • complete encapsulation 98% of the way there....
  • test house for radon
  • enjoy running lots of plumbing and wiring for new kitchen/utility room/great room in new, dry, clean space

Garage

  •  fix roof leaks most of the way there--we finally got enough rain to test January's repairs--most of the leaks are fixed, and just one slow one remains
  • continue to work to make this a functional wood shop for P (so he can spend lots of time out there building me new kitchen cabinets!)

Exterior
  • paint foundation to complement new stair color
  • figure out how to make exterior brick look good after we cut into it to install afore-mentioned french doors
  • paint front door a more lively color (it should be easy to beat white)
  • work with P's brother A, a professional landscape designer, to come up with an actual design for our landscape
  • remove a few more azaleas
  • add more plants and beds to continue moving toward cottage garden look well, I spent a lot of time drooling on seed catalogs and dreaming the impossible dream...
  • grow a tomato that doesn't rot before it ripens
  • try to agree on privacy plantings for west property line, and plant them so they have some time to grow
  • buy and plant Yaupon hollies on east property line
There's a lot left to do here--and I think we've added more items off the list than we've crossed off! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let there be light!

So what possessed us to rip down an entire wall of drywall last weekend?

Primarily, we're aiming for a more open floor plan.  It suits the way we live, and we think most people these days like them--we're hopeful with it will a real asset someday when we sell the house. 

There was one other big idea behind the project: light.

Both P and I would consider ourselves "solar powered."  We're a lot more productive in the summer than the winter, and we never really feel properly awake on a dark, overcast day.  Natural light was one of the most important factors was considered in the home buying process: e.g., the number, size, and orientation of windows.

Our house scored better than average in the light department, but we're still aiming for better. 

Our dining room in the morning.  It has two west windows--but the wall of the house blocks their southwest side.  So it has decent light in mid- to late-afternoon, and is fairly dark in the morning.

Here it is in the morning:


Just to illustrate a point here, I took this picture with the camera settings on manual, and then walked into the living room, and didn't adjust any settings.  Here's what the living room looks like in the morning (complete with the clutter we cleared out last weekend):



Gotta love three south windows!  And did I mention--the blinds were fully closed when I took that picture.  Those windows pretty much sold us on the house purchase.

Now that the wall is down, all that light floods into the dining room.  I still give a happy sigh every time I see it. 

Just for kicks, I then took the camera into the kitchen--which only has east-facing windows and an east skylight, so it's at its brightest in the morning.  Ready?


We have some major plans on how to fix that problem.  Stay tuned....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back in the saddle

I'm not sure whether it was:
  1. the near completion of the eternal crawl space project that had kept P fully occupied for months;
  2. the longer days and unseasonably warm weather that woke us from our winter hibernation;
  3. weather that reminded us of when we first moved in last year, and we waist-deep in construction projects; or
  4. simply too long since we had last started a new project.
Whatever it was, we snapped out of it this past weekend!

I was just browsing the blog archive, and realized that we've said almost nothing about our living room so far.  Here's what we did with the room in 2010:

April: pulled up old carpet, swept up old carpet pad that had decayed into dust, pulled off old baseboards, removed ugly and stubbornly attached window valence, and refinished the floors.

May: put protective covering down on floors and moved everything from our storage locker into here.  Unpacked some stuff.

June-January 2011: continued to use living room as storage locker for stuff we didn't know what to do with.

What an embarrassment.

Saturday we tackled the mess.  There was some recycling, some uncluttering (Goodwill pile, etc.), and some moving of furniture that actually belongs in the living room to the guest room (plus some stubborn boxes that are continuing to resist unpacking/uncluttering).

Drumroll, please: Ladies and Gentlemen, for the first time on this blog (sans carpet), I present...our living room!




We momentarily admired our handiwork in the floor refinishing, and then Sunday we covered the floors back up.  Fully, this time.  And with duct tape.




So we could get to the fun part:






P wanted to be sure I documented the last paint color of the dining room before the paneling was installed



P had to work on Monday, but I had the day off to clean up and admire our handiwork:




Eventually we will remove the studs too--but for now, they're the structural wall holding up about a third of our roof.  Mr. Resident Engineer has some work to do before they can go anywhere.

Man, it felt good to get back into the swing of construction.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quilt blocks

I've been getting a lot of quilting done this winter since our larger home renovation projects have generally stalled.  (Okay, that's not really true--what's happened is that P has spent three months rehabbing the crawl space.  I refused to help with that job but can't really move forward on any of the upstairs projects without his help, so things are sort of stalled with the interior.)

I showed you the quilted table runner I made to dress our dining room up for Christmas--and then I made four more to gift to family members.  I've completed two queen size quilt tops in the last month.  Hopefully I can get some good progress made on quilting them over the upcoming holiday weekend.  No previews--they're both surprise gifts, so I'd like to receipients to see them before the blog does.

This past weekend was the meeting of our local Modern Quilt Guild.  We take turns doing a block of the month--one person hands out fabric and a pattern, and each guild member brings back the assembled block the following month.

Or the next month they're there, if they have as poor an attendance record as I do.  Case in point, here is the November block I made and returned in February.


February was my month to present the block.  I went with the Rectangle Squared block by Film in the Fridge--though per my usual trend, I made the measurements about 25% larger than the pattern called for.  Larger blocks not only come together faster, but I like the less busy look they give a quilt.  I'm looking forward to getting all of the blocks back and assembling them!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bold and Beautiful

It had been four months since I had painted a room, and I was getting an itchy brush finger.  Time to repaint the hall bath!

I loved the first color I selected for the hall bath, but then I got a job, and started getting ready and doing my makeup in there while P continued to sleep (so I wouldn't disturb him by using the master bath).  And it turned out the paint color in the hall bath did not love me back--light greens are not flattering to my complexion.  So, it had to go.

Here's my new bathroom:

This picture isn't such a flattering angle, but the color is pretty true:


The dark, dramatic color works well, since it covers less than a quarter of the wall space--the rest is tile, doorways, and mirrors.

I also got my act together and added a pair of hooks to the back of the closet door, so I would have a place to hang my work clothes.  (I pick them out the night before and move them to the bathroom--that way, I don't have to turn on the light in the morning and bother P, and I don't have to make wardrobe choices before drinking coffee.)


One last farewell to the old paint color--I do miss the peaceful tones, but I enjoy the drama too!  (Note: all of the white/almond surfaces read much truer to color in this photo.  I did play with all of the white balance settings on the camera when taking the new pictures, but it just wouldn't play along with me.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January 2011--month in review

Here's our (okay, my) list of 2011 house goals, and a reality check of how well we're doing on them.

Guest Bedroom
  • hang pictures done!
  • reupholster antique chair 90% of the way there, with some invaluable help from my father this weekend--it would be done, but I've misplaced the braiding for the trim!
  • install closet doors
  • fix hinge-bound door so it will actually close

Office

  • make and hang curtains 50% done--my mom made the ones for the front windows, and then P hung them--but I didn't have enough fabric for her to do the side windows (are we noticing a theme here?)
  • reupholster footstool
  • put laminate on top of craft table
  • paint and hang door

Hall Bath
  • skim coat walls a little more done!
  • repaint walls done! (pictures forthcoming)
  • really, really scrub grout--and if that doesn't remove yellowing, try one of those grout pens
  • hang at least one picture/piece of art
  • install closet door knob done! (thanks, honey!)
  • install hooks where I can hang my work clothes  done!
  • install new light fixture

Hall/Living Room/Kitchen/Dining Room
  • knock down walls to make these all a single space
  • install structural beam to replace structural wall
  • move electrical breaker box to exterior wall so we can knock down the interior wall it's currently on
  • patch existing oak flooring where walls were removed
  • make new attic hatch
  • replace textured ceiling in kitchen
  • remove wood panelling and replace with drywall
  • remove vinyl floor in kitchen, and lay new hardwoods there and over exposed subfloor in dining room
  • commit to new kitchen plans
  • build new kitchen cabinets (at least the lower ones)
  • get/make new countertops
  • install backsplash
  • run plumbing for new sink and gas range
  • remove windows in dining room, and replace with french doors out to backyard
  • buy fireplace screen and make the occasional fire halfway there... 
  • replace hearth tile
  • make living room curtains (purely ornamental)
  • figure out window treatment for front windows that will maximize both light and privacy (plantation shutters?)
  • install new baseboard and crown molding
  • install doors on coat closet
  • fix draft under front door

Utility room
  • build utility room
  • buy and install new tankless water heater
  • run plumbing and install utility sink
Master bedroom
  • lay hardwood flooring over exposed subfloor
Master Bath

  •  give ugly medicine cabinet a cosmetic face lift

  Crawl Space 
  • complete encapsulation 90% of the way there....
  • test house for radon
  • enjoy running lots of plumbing for new kitchen in new, dry, clean space

Garage

  •  fix roof leaks hopefully done?  P did some work up there this weekend, so the next rain storm will tell
  • continue to work to make this a functional wood shop for P (so he can spend lots of time out there building me new kitchen cabinets!)

Exterior
  • paint foundation to complement new stair color
  • figure out how to make exterior brick look good after we cut into it to install afore-mentioned french doors
  • paint front door a more lively color (it should be easy to beat white)
  • work with P's brother A, a professional landscape designer, to come up with an actual design for our landscape
  • remove a few more azaleas got a few done, but I think a few more will come this year, so I'll wait to cross it off--thanks, Dad!
  • add more plants and beds to continue moving toward cottage garden look started expanding the little bed into something rather larger
  • grow a tomato that doesn't rot before it ripens
  • try to agree on privacy plantings for west property line, and plant them so they have some time to grow well, we agreed on plants for the east line, so...
  • buy and plant Yaupon hollies on east property line
There's a lot left to do here--but at least we've crossed more items off the list than we've added to it!  :-)