Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kitchen Counters

All our kitchen counters are in, ready to be used. The granite was installed this morning and looks beautiful. It's a really pretty dark charcoal/green color. Now all we need are our cabinets to be finished (no comment) and our appliances to be put in place and voila!

Along with our granite installation came our sink installation! Oooooh! The farm sink that I really, really wanted was too expensive, but this big ol' Kohler cast iron undermount is a close second in awesomeness. Makes me just want to do dishes.......or not. But it has the potential to inspire dish doing desires!
I can't believe I forgot to post a picture of our beautiful butcher block counter! I found some oak panels at the Builder's Bargain Center in Medford and thought that rather than paying a crazy amount of money for real butcher block (well into the thousand dollar range), I'd buy several of these panels and see if someone could make something pretty out of them. The tricky part was that the panels were slightly warped, none were exactly the same size or thickness, so though it seemed like it'd be a snap to my unversed-in-carpentry-mind, it was no easy task. Our wonderful cabinet makers had pity on us (thanks to our dear Busha's mad sweet-talking skills) and took on the task of putting together the panels for us and finishing them up all pretty-like. They did such a phenomenal job. I really must post the before pictures so that you can get the full effect. Total cost of "butcher block"=less than $50. Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The THREE Hour Door

I will have it be known that this image is saved in my photo library as "Damn Door." And with good reason. I was busy painting the cabinets, one of my favorite past times, while Brett & Chip were hanging this door. A seemingly simple task, right? Wrong! Hour one went by...and many brush strokes. Hour two went by, along with many painted cabinets (begging for more, and more, and more coats, mind you). The third hour came accompanied by verbal frustration from CHIP! (*note that verbal frustration was not in the form of expletives as it would have been had I been the one hanging the door, but rather in the form of simply and calmly stating, "This door is a nightmare.") This means serious business if a form of frustration is evoked from the steadiest-eddy there is. The unevenness of our floors and walls were the real problem, but Brett & Chip's diligence proved to be successful. I think that my shouting from the other room to "Nail that sucker!!!" really aided in the successful hanging of this door.

There's one more door to hang, and we are all really, really hoping that we will not have a re-run. Stay tuned.

Date Night

Brett & I had a date night on Friday! What did we do, you wonder? We enjoyed our first dinner at HOME! We ate on our new butcher block counter! ...and we painted trim and caulked, but that's neither here nor there. The important thing is that we ATE DINNER AT OUR HOME. No, I did not remove a blindfold from Brett's eyes seconds before this photo was snapped. That was his actual expression on his own, with ample time (10 seconds to be exact).


This is well deserving of its very own post. We have a toilet. Inside. I repeat myself:


Painting in Progress

We are saving ourselves a considerable amount of money by painting the cabinets ourselves. I keep reminding myself. It seems only fitting that I would begin this particular post with that statement of fact, because here we are, cabinet-painting-day number three, and I have been wrestling with the thought that it may have been worth it to pay somebody to do this. But, no! We must...push....through! We are saving ourselves a lot of money! We are able bodied. We can do it. Painting is easy! ...Oh, but someone else could be painting....NO! We are saving ourselves a lot of money. Do you see the struggle? Erg...

Anyway, here are the cabinets pre-paint. Oh, the good ol' days.

And here they are mid-paint. They look pretty good from afar. Believe me when I say, however, that there's much work to be done yet. Mistake number one was not priming before painting. I know, I know...Painting 101. Here again, we thought that perhaps the rule of thumb didn't apply to us. We were wrong! Dead wrong! These here cabinets have 3 coats of paint, and are in the process of being sanded...and will be requiring yet another coat. Oh, joy. I will say, amidst heavy complaints, that they are looking good. We are pleased with the product, and will be even more pleased upon completion.

**Note that it is I, Andrea Zundel, who is complaining the loudest. Brett, bless his heart, seems near incapable of complaining about something so base. Jerk. Fine, I'm alone in my complaints. Any use of "we" when associated with a complaint is actually just an "I" or a "me".

We will be getting our granite tomorrow!!! EEEEeeeEEeEeEEee!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cabinet Installation, Part I

Our kitchen is beginning to look like a bonafide kitchen. Unreal. We are gettin' there! The cabinets arrived yesterday, and will be completely installed by the end of the day today. We have more work to do, of course, because they all need to be painted, BUT just having them in the space does wonders to our home. One very big plus that I forgot I'd requested is that the counter height is 3" taller than the average. Chopping veggies and doing dishes will no longer be a back straining task. Finally, a kitchen suited for us!!

This is the hutch we had built in, which we are loving. It is in our dining room (Marshall's Room), next to the hall that leads to our guest room. The right side is for miscellaneous kitcheny things and the left side is our pantry. R-A-D.
Here's the guest bath with the wainscoting and trim. It's looking good. Chip did a really great job putting this up. I spent yesterday evening caulking the baseboard and top trim pieces, and realized a few things by the end of the project: 1) I love the look of beadboard wainscoting, 2) I'm really glad we don't have it throughout our whole house, due to the caulking work necessary, 3) I don't like caulking. Maybe there's some technique I'm missing? If you have any advice, I'm ALL ears!! I better suck it up, because I have a sneaking suspicion that much, much, much more caulking is in my future. Oh, dear...
Chip's current project, among many, is tiling our bathroom floor. It's looking really good! Stay tuned for more.
It's happening. It's becoming our home before our very eyes. Counters will be installed Monday; we're hoping to have a usable bathroom soon, hopefully by the end of the weekend; appliances will be installed by next week. It's getting close to the point where it's move-in-able. So close!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hardwoods, how I love thee...

I got a sneak peak of the floors on Friday morning with their fresh finish, and was wowed. They turned out simply beautiful. Such life has been added to our house. The rich colors of the wood are fantastic. Feast your eyes on these, though you may just have to come and visit in person and see with your own two eyes to appreciate properly.

Today proved to be a busy day. Our on-demand hot water heater was installed. It turned out to be a bit more involved than anticipated (story of this house), but it's done. We now have a sa-weet hot water heater ready to rock!

I realized pretty early on that my involvement with the installation of the hot water heater was not going to be remotely helpful. I decided I'd be of better use beginning to tackle our crazed backyard. WOW. We have our work seriously cut out for us. Chip bought a chipper (I hope you appreciate this sentence as much as I do) this weekend, and we put it to good use today. I felt like such a b.a. chipping up that brush, and discovered pretty quickly that it's harder to feed wood into a machine than I thought. I am currently typing from the lay-down position because I feel whipped after a long day of chipping and wrestling branches.

When Brett was done helping with the hot water heater and electrical work he took over my chipping job, and then became my branch moving companion. We got quite a lot done, but realize that we have many more days to invest. We are fairly certain the yard hasn't been tended to in a very, very...very, very...very long time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Floors In Progress

Here are the floors that came with the house. Granted, we've added the drywall dust effect, but truly, the floors were not in good shape. Frankly, they seem a bit sad. They've been begging for a little attention...or a lot.
We have hired some guys to finish our floors for us. They started Monday morning, and have been going to town. They started by patching in wood in our kitchen, dining room, and bathroom. It looks great just having the floors cover the whole space. But yesterday they started sanding, and WOW, it's looking g-o-o-d. Here you can see old versus new:

I find it pretty amazing how simply sanding can add new life to old floors. We can't wait to see what the top coats do, which they'll begin applying today. They should be done by tomorrow. Eeeeee!!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bathroom Vanity Project

I just wanted to give you a sneak peak of one of my fun projects when not working at the house. This is a dresser that I bought at an antique store and refinished, which will serve as our vanity in our master bathroom. I bought a vessel sink, the faucet and some tile that I love! There's work to be done yet, but this is a fun one.


Today was spent touching up painting, and clearing everything out of the house to prepare for the floor guys tomorrow. The whole interior is painted! It looks SO good! Chip, Busha & Laura were wonderful, as usual. We got a lot done.

Brett & Chip focused on masking the Tyvek on the corner of the house. It's looking GOOD.
And once my job was done inside, I began the task of moving tree remains! It was a gorgeous day, probably in the mid-60s, so I was very willing to work outside. Laura was the paparazzi, and I was the pile mover.
See, doesn't this look F-U-N?!
I didn't get very far. I realized quickly that these long limbs were not intended to move ginormous stumps. Hand me a paintbrush instead, thank you very much.

Paint by Room

Here you go! Photos of some of our rooms. Yesterday was a BIG painting day. Busha, Laura, Brett & I got some serious painting done. Chip was busy doing the window trim, shown below, which looks awesome. We are extremely pleased with how it's all coming together.

This is from the living room looking into our kitchen, and down the hall toward our bedroom and office.
This is the hallway to the guest bedroom and bath, from the kitchen.
This is the guest bathroom.
This is the guest bedroom with one of the windows trimmed out.
This is the office.
There you have it. Not great pictures, I recognize, but pictures nonetheless. Our wood floors are getting refinished starting tomorrow. We are extremely excited to see the finished work, and are confident that it's going to look wonderful.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fallen Trees

3 guys, from J&J Tree Service (totally recommend), showed up on Friday morning, and went to town. Unfortunately along with their arrival was the unwelcome arrival of a pretty hellacious storm, in the form of a major downpour/snow/sleet. This did not stop them from charging hard. They had half our Siberian Elm down within a half an hour! I'm glad they were the ones climbing and not me or Brett, though the visual is pretty funny for me to imagine either one of us jimmying up a tree. Yeah, it would not have been pretty. J&J did a fine job.
Our backyard looks decimated! It looks as though it's been hit by some natural disaster, but we sure do get a lot more natural light! If you look hard you can see Brett amidst the brush! Where's Waldo?

So, as if we don't have enough things on our "to do" list, we've added "clean up massive tree craziness." This means we (Brett...definitely Brett)will have to bust out a chainsaw and start bucking up some wood! Yee-haw! We have someone coming by tomorrow to collect some wood, but we have a feeling it'll be a while before we see a clean yard. BUT it's a great start. The gardening possibilities will soon abound! Perhaps I should say that they will SOMEDAY abound?

After the guys charged the back yard, they decided to call it a day because the storm was so gnarly. They had had enough.

This morning two guys returned and finished up the front yard. They fell our sick maple, and ground the stump, as can be seen below:

We also had this super funky looking Spruce that would've been a great tree if it didn't have to get topped off for powerline purposes. We decided to fall this tree while we were at it.
Here's our new and improved house! What a difference the removal of a couple trees can make. Now we are much more motivated to remedy the pink house situation. I'm not gonna lie, pink is not working for us. Enjoy the view...pink house and all!

Color Me

I was extremely excited to get paint on the walls! I narrowed down the colors I liked and found a palette I was really excited about, only after several trips to the Home Depot paint aisle, and several hours invested. I almost bought all the paint without sampling, which I now realize would have been an enormous mistake. Instead, I bought mini sample jars and painted pieces of poster board and looked at them in the house, only to find out that the colors I thought I was going to love, I actually hated, and the color I thought would be my least favorite actually seemed to work the best. The lighting of our house significantly changed the paint colors. I realize this is like Painting 101, but I thought that perhaps this rule of thumb did not apply to us. Boy, was I wrong!

I began to have paint anxieties, and was dreading yet another trip to the endless paint options of Home Depot. I opted, instead, to go to the local paint store, Miller Paint. That was an extremely good decision. They were so helpful, and I was able to pick colors that were in the same family as the original paint colors I liked, but their palette was much easier on the eye, somehow. My anxieties calmed, and I felt really good about our color choices.

With renewed excitement I raced home rarin' and ready to paint. I decided that my first color should be the boldest, most noticeable color. Why, RED, of course!!! Dun-dun-DUNNNN!!!!!

Oh, my!!! What a difference a little color makes. Sigh.

Busha served as one of my incredible painting companions. She can roll it out like nobody's business. Roll OUT!

All this is to say that the painting process is WELL under way. So far under way, in fact, that about 90% of the house is DONE! It looks so wonderful. More pics to come. I'll leave you in suspense:)