Tag Archives For: renovation

04 Apr, 2011

It’s Magic

/ posted in: General

Once upon a time there was a magical little elf who turned this:



Into this while I was on vacation!



Yay!! The most important function of this room is the neighborhood watch command station. Freckles would sit on the back of the leather chair and look out the window to keep an eye on miscreants like the mailman. Look at the top picture and see how the chair is molded into the shape of her body. The new design had to take that into consideration so the couch is under the windows so she has even more watching space.

23 Jan, 2011

Help Needed!

/ posted in: Photos

The kitchen cabinets in this house are god-awful hideous. That’s a major understatement. I’ve hated them since I first saw them. The SO defended them until he saw Mad Men and realized that the Drapers have the exact same kitchen cabinets as us. We have put a lot of money into new stone flooring and backsplashes and new counters. Immediately after doing that we had an appliance installer in who told me that if we ever planned on doing any renovation in the kitchen we should call him. The horrible knotty pine cabinets are all that you see.

We can’t afford to get new cabinets or even to reface them so we’ve decided to paint them and get new hardware. What color should we go with?


You can see the stone walls and floor for color comparison. Any other wood trim like around the doors is painted white. There is one wall that is striped cream wall paper (not my design choice). There is also a purple border on the papered wall that is coming down.

We put up some white, tan, greys, and blues. This is what we haven’t thrown out yet? What do you think? The wood goes all the way to the ceiling and we are getting rid of that fancy trim. The new hardware will be something like brushed nickle to match the faucet.


14 Sep, 2010

Picture Day

/ posted in: Photos

Remember my stairs?


That is mid-way through the destruction phase.

And the upstairs hall?


Look what they’ve turned into so far!



The ugly blue carpet is gone. The 10 bajillion staples were removed and the staple holes filled. The stains were banished with linseed oil and steel wool. When we go away in November the stairs will be polyurethaned and then we will probably put a runner on them for safety and protection from pet nails.


I haven’t bought any coins lately. Ebay doesn’t have that many good deals any more. I found a site today though that is going to cost me money. It is called Beautiful Coins and that sums it up. I like cheap 1 oz silver coins with animals. This site gave me a whole lot of new coins to be looking for that I didn’t even know about. I had to buy one coin though. It doesn’t totally fit the criteria – it is about a 1/2 oz and it was way too much for that size of a coin but it was so pretty. It is from Poland (my ancestors would be proud) celebrating the 450th anniversary of the post office.


It has a 16th century postal courier on a horse and look at the pretty colors. It appealed to my “Oh, Look! Shiny!” side.


The Aliens landed in the Dear Jane Quilt at D-5. The pink block is c-4.


21 May, 2010


/ posted in: General

Renovation isn’t only tough on the humans in the house. My poor old Ozzie bird is having much trauma. Every time there is a possibility of painting he has to evacuate since birds are so sensitive to fumes. The worker guy doesn’t come until after I leave for work so I don’t know if there is going to be painting or not so Ozzie has had to evacuate most days for the past two weeks.

At first he was going to work with me. This was fun for a day or two since he likes hubbub and a vet clinic offers lots of barking dogs and ringing phones and other birdie delights. But at heart Ozzie is a homebody. He doesn’t like having to give up the comforts of home to get into his travel cage and hang out where you can’t get a good nap in the middle of the morning, One time he even had to spend the night in the garage since the fumes were still bad. I told him that he was camping but I felt guilty. What kind of mom exiles her baby to the garage for the night even if it is for his own good? I ended up running out to check on him under the cover of darkness with my bathrobe on. He was sleeping.

He’s getting to be a pro at all this moving. At first he fought getting out of the big cage. Now every morning I open his cage and he hops onto my hand for the move to the travel cage. If birds could sigh he would. He’s in the garage today since the weather is warm enough. He has a view of the weight bench and the Porsche. He’s a boy bird. Maybe that stuff makes him happy.

Freckles is not happy either. Ozzie is not supposed to move. I think she views him as furniture – a part of the dining room like a chair. When he is in the travel cage in another room she freaks out. She runs back and forth between him and I in a panic. “Ozzie’s in the LIVING ROOM. He doesn’t GO in the living room. He belongs in the dining room. DO SOMETHING!!” I had to put him back just to shut up her whole “Timmy’s in the well” routine. And don’t even get her started on strangers coming in her house and stinking up the place with paint and OMG ripping up the floor! It is extra bad since she isn’t allowed to be near the ripping up the floor because of something called “nails” and “you’re going to hurt your paws” so she doesn’t even get to see what everyone is so focused on even though it isn’t food so she isn’t sure why it is so interesting.

19 May, 2010


/ posted in: General

In the fine tradition of old house renovation everywhere our simple little project has grown exponentially. It started with let’s fix the walls and paint. It morphed to “ok, scrape off all the old wallpaper under the paint, fix the walls, and then paint”. Now the front door looks dingy and needs painted. Then there is the floor.

Background- When the SO moved here he was told that the floor in the foyer, stairs, and hall were icky so that’s why they were covered with hideous navy blue carpet when the rest of the floors were hardwood. Last year his brother and I pulled up the foyer carpet in preparation for laying a new floor and found a fine hardwood floor. Then he peeled up a bit of carpet on the stairs, said that the wood was in fact icky, and put the carpet back. We took this as gospel truth. Our plan was to eventually replace this carpet.

For some reason last night the SO and the worker guy decided to challenge conventional wisdom and pull up a section of carpet.


Hardwood stairs.

The carpet is not giving up without a fight. It was the most secure carpet ever. Three of us working for three hours were able to uncover four steps. I did the stair part and they both worked on the edges. There are hundreds of staples and nails per step. This carpet was not going to get up and run away. See all the little tufts on the vertical part of the stairs? Padding being held in by tiny staples every half inch.

It is going to take a long time to get this all up. Then the stairs need scrubbed because there is paint on them from whoever painted the spindles last. But finally the icky carpet will be gone.

12 May, 2010


/ posted in: General

I finally have a dishwasher! It was being held hostage.

One was delivered but it was the wrong one. The right one was schedule to be delivered the next Thursday. That day came and went with no dishwasher. We called and were told that they meant that they were going to deliver the NEXT Thursday. That day also came and went without comment or dishwasher. Another call yielded a promise of delivery on Monday. Call me a cynic but I didn’t believe it. By 8:45 that night (they deliver after 7 PM) I said that I was going to go to the store the next day. I’m nonconfrontational. I wasn’t going to yell. I was just going to tell them that we changed our minds and cancel the order. They must have been reading my thoughts because they showed up 15 minutes later.

Then yesterday the plumber came and installed it. I had rum one last load of dishes. It worked perfectly. Every dish was clean. This hadn’t happened in a year. It was peer pressure with the new fancy dishwasher sitting nearby. It had worked so hard that pieces fell off. It died trying to clean. So sad.

Freckles helped install the dishwasher. She was concerned that the strange man laying on the kitchen floor might be after her food so she kept a close eye.

The plumber was also a contractor. He asked to be considered if we ever decide to remodel the kitchen. Glad that the brand new slate floor and granite counters make such an impression of needing replacement! LOL

04 May, 2010

Pictures of Home

/ posted in: Gardening

I’m so proud of my front flower bed. I bought some creeping phlox last fall on sale and planted it. It is Candytuft, a pink and white striped variety. They were just itty bitty little plants all winter but in the last week they exploded! They have more than doubled in size and put out all kinds of flowers.


However, one of the phlox not in the picture is not the same color. It is a dark pink. It makes me start to sing the Sesame Street song, “One of These Things is Not Like the Others” whenever I see it. The irises are transplants from my mother’s house. I’m proud of them for surviving too.


The view in my hallway now.


Our worker guy needed a day off today. I think scraping layers of wallpaper off plaster is going to be the death of him.

27 Apr, 2010

Appetite for Destruction

/ posted in: PetsPhotos

Work on the hallway started this morning. I was downstairs for sewing day and not paying attention to what was going on upstairs. Riley kept coming over and giving me looks though. He naps upstairs at this time of day and obviously he was being disturbed.

(Poor Riley has a traumatic 24 hours. Riley, scourge of the neighborhood, murderer of birdies, tormentor of squirrels, was the target of a drive-by gang hit yesterday. He came into the house with a large bird dropping right between his shoulder blades. He had obviously been marked on purpose. It was personal.)

The worker guy left for lunch and I wandered up to see what was going on.


Oh. Apparently someone thought it was a good idea to paint over layers of wallpaper at some point in the past. I’m not real observant so I hadn’t noticed this. It is obvious now that I know. What I thought were cracks in the plaster was the wallpaper peeling. I guess that’s better than cracks in the wall as long as I’m not the one stripping all the old paint and wallpaper off.

27 Apr, 2010

Catching Up

/ posted in: FamilyPhotos

I joined the Secret Post Club, which is like a Secret Santa exchange every month, and I just got my first package. (I was going to post a link but they’ve closed it to new members for right now so I must have been lucky to get in.)
Mine came from Betty in the UK.


Perfect, huh?

I recently made a list of things I want. We can cross off numbers 1 and 2. I ordered a new stove and dishwasher. The stove was delivered last week. It has a flat top with all working burners and it has a timer. Mission accomplished. The dishwasher was delivered last week too but it was the wrong one so the (hopefully) right one will be coming this week.

When I told the SO that I made a list of stuff to do or get he said that he wanted to make a list too. The front entryway and hall here haven’t been redone. He wanted that done. He’s been thinking about it for a while. He shows me pictures in This Old House magazine of what he likes. That magazine is like porn for people in elderly houses. It shows the wonderful outcomes who could have if you were willing to spend more than the purchase price of your house in renovations.





(Doesn’t that last picture look like something ominous is lurking behind the door?)

I don’t care what else happens as long as we get rid of that awful border that is put up semi-randomly along the ceiling. The guy is coming today to start patching up cracks and tearing off the border. I heard the SO tell him on the phone last night that the only problem was that I hadn’t picked a color yet. That would be because I hadn’t heard that picking a color was assigned to me before that moment. I’m thinking a light warm yellow because that was in several magazine pictures that he liked. He asked for something calm because most of the rooms here are bold colors. It has to tie it together. This space borders rooms that are brown, blue, green, and pink.

Then a miracle occurred. I have been lobbying for a room redesign in the family room since before I moved in. Right now the only seating is a three person couch. The other space where there could be seating is taken up by a treadmill. I don’t mind that in theory but sometimes the SO, Z, Freckles, Riley, and I all want to watch a movie on a three seat couch. Z is so squirmy that she’s always elbowing you in the ribs. We need more seating.

That declaration got an absolute no. The treadmill wasn’t moving. Less tolerant people might have pointed out that the treadmill doesn’t actually get used that much since he has a gym membership and I run outside. But last night he proposed moving the treadmill downstairs and saving up to get a sectional sofa. Good plan.

16 Jun, 2009

Adding more stuff

/ posted in: GardeningPhotos

We’ve started a new renovation project. We are going to be adding a low stone wall around the porch. Of course since there is a male, non-blogger, non-scrapbooker involved he started the project without doing the most important part of the prep work – the before photo. He said that the before was ugly so he didn’t want a picture. *shaking head*

Here’s as before as it gets:


The garden is going crazy this week.



I have to either go get more stakes or try to cram my runaway tomato plants into cages before they eat the eggplant.

18 Apr, 2009

Yet More Renovation

/ posted in: GardeningPhotos

This is the family room with the previous cheap blue carpeting (and Riley wondering where the furniture went):


Here’s the new wood floor and Powder still pondering the lack of furniture:


Here’s what happens when a guy gets bored with watching his brother work on the floor. “I think I’ll make a raised bed” turns into a monster.


That shows it with several truckloads of compost and lots of bags of topsoil. It is going to take forever to fill!

12 Apr, 2009

Kitchen Done

/ posted in: Photos

Drum roll please! The finished kitchen before all the appliances go back.

kitchen done

07 Apr, 2009

Change of Plans

/ posted in: General

Remember today’s to do list from a few posts back?

Ok, get new water heater – check.
Get washing machine fixed -check
Have water heater connections explode taking several years off the life of the washing machine guy standing in the basement at the time?

Not part of the plan

We cut the water to the house and started cleaning up while waiting for my frantic call to the plumber’s answering machine to be returned. He just showed up not too much later but of course is claiming that he “never touched that part of the pipes.” Well, he would have had to go way out of his way not to touch them since they are RIGHT THERE AT THE TOP OF THE WATER HEATER.

07 Apr, 2009

End of Rebellion

/ posted in: Photos

I think I got all my electronic stuff talking to each other again so I can post pictures.

Here’s the local wildlife.

And in renovation news:

Here’s a reminder of the new sink and counter with the old backsplash.


Here’s the new stone backsplash (before grout)


On the schedule today

  • Finish up the backsplash
  • Get a new water heater
  • Get the washing machine fixed
  • Have sewing day during this
  • Start the kitchen floor

The floor is going to be a slate quilt.  There will be small slate tiles set on point in the middle surrounded by larger tiles set straight as a border.

04 Mar, 2009


/ posted in: Photos


03 Mar, 2009

Kitchen Before

/ posted in: Photos

Here is our kitchen with the 1950s countertops.  They are being fixed as I type.  But to truly appreciate you have to see the before pictures.




A close up of the holes in the counter


The ceiling before we got it fixed a week or so ago.