Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Room by Room - The Little Pink Pantry

Storage.  Modern life is all about having enough storage to corral all your 'stuff'.  And thank goodness for my Little Pink Pantry.  Nowadays, she keeps everything organized and easy for me to see and reach.  But life wasn't always so rosy for Little Pink Pantry.

This is how Little Pink Pantry looked the last 3 or 4 months.  Sure she's got the pretty pink beadboard and she even has some shelf cleats, but alas, no shelving so everything's in piles on the floor (cue little teardrop).

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Room by Room - Laundry/Mudroom

Ta da! The Laundry/Mudroom is now complete! The bench was finally installed this evening.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Room By Room: Kitchen

We've been in our house now for over 4 months. I love our kitchen - when I'm making the kids' school lunches or feeding them at the island or baking a pie, the kitchen works the way I had imagined, hoped and planned. It's filled with little features that work for our family.

Room by Room - Entry

I've gotten a bit of flack from some of our friends who've been wondering, "So what's up with the house? What's the final product look like????"

Well, I like to think every home is a work in progress, even after you're all moved in, things are unpacked, artwork is up, etc. - not to say that we've even finished doing those things!

With that as a caveat, I'll try to provide a quick tour through most of the house. First stop, the Entry.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Post Move-In: Exterior Painting

I'm back. I'll try to recap the work done after move-in.

About a week after moving in, we had the exterior painting done. I'd kept putting it off mostly because I still wasn't sure which color to do. Here's evidence of my indecisiveness:

In the end, I chose BM Kentucky Haze, which is the bottom left-most swatch, a grayish blue with some green hints that come out depending on the lighting.

We also had our handyman, Mr. Xu, install the cupola and weathervane:

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Obviously, moving back into our newly remodeled house has posed new challenges. I haven't blogged in over a month for a myriad of reasons, some of which include:
  • Still a ton of work to do on the house, including flooring in 2 BRs and the hallway; exterior painting, installing cupola and weathervane, baseboard, doorknobs, firing up gas fireplace, installing dimmers and a couple of additional light fixtures......the punch list goes on and on.
  • Unpacking. We have over 100 boxes and not all of our storage spaces are constructed. No shelving in the pantry or linen closet, etc.
  • End of school and the flurry of related activities.
  • No more free babysitting, grocery shopping and cooking from the parental units.
I think the last one is the worst :-)

But it's been great being back in the neighborhood, having playdates for the kids, having friends over to check out the new house, and WALKING to school!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Can you say C.O.?

As in "Certificate of Occupancy".
We did it! We passed our final inspection this morning. Of course, after the fact it seemed so easy. But obviously I was full of angst leading up to the inspection.
The night before, I had this horrendous nightmare that Rhonda came out to do the "final" final inspection (instead of Charlie) and she started walking around the entire house writing down new items that needed fixing. Then the morning of the inspection, I started getting nervous all over again because no one had shown up by 9:30am. Usually, if Charlie is doing our inspection, we're first on his list and he's at our house by 8:15am. But 8:15 came and went, and then 9am, and then 9:30 and still no inspector. "This is a sign," I thought. "It's a sign that we're not going to get Charlie; we're going to get Bud or Rhonda."
But thankfully, Charlie did show up and everything was fixed to his satisfaction. He initialed and dated the last line on the permit card and that was it.
Move in the furniture!

postscript: The very next day, we moved in the first pieces of furniture.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Our "first" Final Inspection

It really wasn't as bad as it sounds. In fact, I'm OVER THE MOON! with how it all went. The inspector noted six minor corrections, mostly with covering up exposed Romex (wiring). We've already taken care of 3 of the issues and hope to finish the rest tomorrow. Then we can get our "second" and final Final Inspection.

Realize that even after we pass Final and get our C.O. (certificate of occupancy), we still have a lot of finish/cosmetic work to do. Still, I'm not going to think about all the work that entails. Instead, I'm going to allow myself this one small moment to relax and relish our accomplishments.

We've come a long way, baby! Yee haw!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Getting close.....

More fun stuff going into the house........
Lighting fixtures:
RAB Lighting in bed alcove

Laundry Rm sink painted to coordinate with the walls!

Colorful stairs in BM Palladian Blue (risers) and BM Harlequin Blue (treads):

Pink pantry (Pratt & Lambert Angel Wings):

Kitchen appliances - 2 DWs, full-size freezer with ice-maker:

Got the flooring under the bake center and attached the two farmhouse table legs:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More painted rooms

My favorite part! So much less stressful than the flooring.

This is my FAVORITE room and FAVORITE color in the whole house. I just love the Kittery Point Green in the laundry/mudroom. And I love all of the beadboard and trim we put in here.

Here's the Burnt Peanut Red Guest BA:

The Palladian Blue beadboard ceiling above the window seat:

And finally, some hardware on the cabinetry! 1 1/4" glass knobs from D. Lawless:

Floor me

Tristan took the day off on Friday just so we could start installing the flooring.

You might not know this, but I'm usually filled with angst everytime we begin a new DIY project. Mostly around "How the ?#*%! do we do this?" I usually do a lot of research and read lots of sources (Internet, library books, manufacturer's instructions), but I'm still very anxious, worrying about the details.

With the flooring, gads what a worry list:
- How do we get the flooring under the bake center cabinet?
- How do we get the flooring underneath the fireplace stone surround?
- Will it fit underneath all the door casings?
- Where should we start the first board, since that pretty much determines the rest of the floor?
- Should we have gotten a more premium underlayment?
- Did I order enough flooring?
And so on.

So...we actually started Thurs night, prepping the subfloor; filling in holes and craters with self-leveling compound and smoothing out humps of drywall mud with a spackling knife and wonder bar. Then vacuuming and getting the subfloor as clean as we could.

The next morning, we were ready to roll out the underlayment. The Kahrs Combo underlayment is basically two pieces of plastic with tiny little styrofoam beads sandwiched in between. It's supposed to protect the wood flooring from moisture that might come thru the concrete subfloor, plus it provides a bit of padding underfoot. It's only 1/8" thick and looks VERY wimpy.

I considered buying other underlayments that were supposedly better (more cushy, better sound absorption), but some of them did not come with a built in moisture barrier, so we would have to first put down a sheet of 6mil plastic, then the underlayment and then the wood flooring. That extra step laying down plastic was a put off. As it turned out, the Kahrs Combo is fine; it actually works despite its deceiving looks.

Because our appliances are being delivered on Wednesday, we needed to get the kitchen/Great Room floored asap. So that's where we started. Unfortunately, it's also the most complicated room with all of the cabinets, island, fireplace, sliding patio door and various doorways that open onto the space.

The underlayment was fairly easy and straightforward. We rolled out 40" wide lengths, butting the sides, then joined them together using Kahrs built-in taping system. We only rolled out 1/3 of the room, then decided to start laying the actual floor boards.

According to the instructions, you cannot rip any board narrower than 3" in width. Therefore, before laying down the first board, we had to calculate how many courses of planks would be needed to go across the room (subtracting 3/4" to account for expansion gaps on each side), divide by the width of a full board (7 7/8"), then make sure the remainder was more that 3".
But because our Great Room isn't just one big rectangle, we had to account for up to 10 different "obstructions" that would require us to rip boards. Aaack, it made my head hurt.

Here's our first board!! The blue stuff is the underlayment. We started at the doorway between the laundry/mudroom and the Great Room. I'm still not 100% sure we won't have any boards less that 3" in width.

Here's four or five boards installed:

We had to cut around the corners of the wall and cabinet.

And now we've got an entire course running down one side of the room:

At the end of one day, we had installed one box which equals 30 sq ft. We bought 45 boxes. You can do the math, but suffice to say, I was feeling pretty disheartened.

The next day, Saturday, we were back at it. This time we put in 5 boxes worth. We were getting over the learning curve, plus we had moved away from the walls and out towards the middle of the room, which meant a lot fewer cuts, which meant a lot faster installation.

We even managed to install enough flooring under the bake center cabinet so we could remove the temporary brace:

and install the farmhouse leg:

I feel better about our progress, but more importantly, I have a lot more confidence we can handle the curve balls.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Yikes, don't forget the kitchen countertop

Gosh, in all the excitement, I forgot to mention our kitchen soapstone countertop got installed on Tuesday. I love 'em! Right now it's a dusky gray, but after oiling and with time, it will "age" to a charcoal. We got our soapstone from M. Teixeira in SF; that's all they sell. And since there aren't a lot of soapstone vendors, they've gotten customers from as far away as Montana. Soapstone is slightly softer than granite or marble, so M. Teixeira also has their own fabricators.

It took them a good 5 hours to install the countertop plus the fireplace surround. The later was a last minute change. Originally, I was going to use 12 x 12 slate tile. But I remembered seeing in some magazine three rough slabs of stone used around a fireplace and thought I could do something along those lines with whole pieces of soapstone. Those black lines in the photo below are used to fill in the joints. After it dries, they sand it off with an orbital sander and you can hardly even see the line.

Paint, Paint, Paint

Rolling along with the paint:

Here's our color palette downstairs:

and upstairs:

Some painted rooms (all colors Benjamin Moore):.
Soft Pumpkin in the Girls' BR:

Palladian Blue in the boy's BR:

Concord Ivory downstairs in the Office/Arts & Crafts rm:

Palladian Blue again in the hallway:

Elephant Tusk in the Master BR:

And here's my project, painting the kitchen island using two coats of different colored milk paint. I first removed all the drawer fronts and cabinet doors. Then painted the first coat using Barn Red.

The final coat of Soldier Blue was applied over the Barn Red, then sanded down so that some of the red came thru. Then the piece was finished with a mixture of linseed oil and paint thinner to protect it from water and oil stains.

We're done!!! With trim, that is.

Yipee! A milestone. We FINALLY finished the last of the trim, the beadboard wainscotting in the laundry/mudroom, which depended on getting the pocket door cased, which depended on getting the pocket door shortened. Thank goodness for Mr. Xu. He took the pocket door down, shaved off a half inch or so, then reinstalled the door and lined it up nicely with the framed opening.

Oh yeah, and we also had to build and install the niche storage space. I went to Lowe's and had them cut 3/4" veneered plywood into the right sizes. For less than $5, they made all the cuts for two storage niches. Sure beats doing it ourselves. Then with the help of Tristan's Uncle Steve, we installed it piece by piece into the mudroom niche. You can see it on the right side of the photo.

My favorite part was doing the cap rail for the wainscotting. Just plain 1x3s and 1x2s. I liked doing the 45 degree cuts at the ends and rounding them off lightly with the sanding block.

Well now that the trim is done, that means the painter can start downstairs! And once the painter's done, the electrician can finish installing all the light fixtures and switch plates. And once the electrician's done then we can have an inspection! Ooops, forgot about the plumber. He's got a few things to finish up. Maybe we won't be having that inspection quite so soon.

postscript: a couple of days later, the painter noticed the inside of one of the closets had not been cased. Oh well, so much for being done with trim.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I guess this is what you'd call progress......

This morning, they came and took away our Porta Potty :-)

That means we finally have one working toilet in the house, yahoo!
We have 3 bathrooms; 3 chances to get a working toilet; yet only a 33% success rate. I guess that speaks volumes about our plumber. OK, I'm going to stop bashing the plumber.

Progress to date:

Stucco is done:

We finished all of the upstairs baseboard and trim so finally the painters could start painting that:

Electrician installed all the switches and outlets (but not the plates).

Bathrooms have some fittings installed:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Just photos

I'm just going to post a quick update with "pretty" pictures. Someone broke into our garage two weekends ago and since then I've been all business just trying to get the house finished so we can move back in.
Anyways, hope you enjoy the pics!

Kids' BA w/marble countertop installed:

Farmhouse leg for bake center cabinet:

Guest BA w/sink partially installed and Burnt Peanut Red paint sample:

Master BA, same style sink as Guest BA, but with a deck mounted faucet: