Archive for September 2008

1 step forward, 6 steps back...

Just when it's starting to feel like we're making actual progress on the house, I decide to call in a professional to discuss our options for the horribleness that is our stairs. Remember this issue? I think I mentioned it when we first removed the carpet from the stairs, and I've been doing my best to avoid it since then.... which is difficult to do considering I go up and down these stairs multiple times a day:

Our stairs have pulled away from the wall... and the wall has moved out... resulting in about a 1.5" gap between the stairs and the wall. I'm pretty confident that this movement happened a long time ago and I'm not really worried about it now, but it has left us with the issue of trying to fix the stairs. Since we've been gathering estimates for some of the bigger projects (the floors) so that we have a good idea of how much we need to save up in order to do these projects, I decided that it was time to actually talk to someone about the stairs. He came out this morning... and the end result of the conversation was that he could not fix the stairs without someone else coming in first to level out the landing. He also wants to rip out everything from the landing down and rebuild it all. I was hoping he could just replace the bottom 6 stair treads. His price was very high, esp. since we'd have to have a general contractor come in first and level out the landing. Ugh. Nothing in our house is level (it's 100 years old!) so we're not expecting things to be perfect. Actually, we'd much more prefer to keep the original pieces/parts of the stairs and only have to replace the stair treads... Now I just need to find someone who is willing to work with us on this.

In other news, I'm thinking of getting a couple of schoolhouse light fixtures for the hallways - a semi-flush mount for upstairs and a pendant for the downstairs. The upstairs hall now has a much lower ceiling b/c of how they put the a/c in. I found these at rejuvenation, but they are kind of expensive:

Then, while at Lowes the other day, Mike spotted this:

And it's $60 less than the one I found online, plus I wouldn't need to pay shipping. But it doesn't come in a pendant style... decisions, decisions. Not that we're even close to working on the hallways, I just like to find other things to do besides removing wallpaper from the kitchen :-)

1 Comment

one wall done...

3 more and a ceiling to go... the wallpaper removal in the kitchen is not going well. Yesterday I worked all day on removing wallpaper and only got 1/2 of a wall done. Mike helped today and we were able to finish up that wall. I was hoping to be a lot farther along, hopefully we'll find time to work on the walls this week (and the ceiling, ugh). I did take out the table and the cabinet, that was fun. Mike worked on painting the radiators and got the rest of the radiators on the first floor done! So that makes 5 done, and only 3 more to go.

table and cabinet gone!

one wall done (and a white radiator)

radiators in the dining room and entry

sorry for all the pet pictures, but they were being cute... :-)

Leave a comment

floor plan

I've had the floor plan for the house on my computer (at work) for awhile now, but I keep forgetting to post it on the blog. Since it's a slow day at work, I might as well do that now. Plus we haven't done anything on the house this week, Mike and I have both been sick with this cold that just won't go away. He's just now starting to feel better, and he's been sick about a week longer than me. Ugh. Anyway, here's the first floor plan:

Sorry about the size of the images, I've been struggling with the format of blogger lately, I don't like how it gives you set sizes for images and text. But hopefully you can still kind of figure out what is going on. The furniture that is drawn in represents basically what we have now, with a couple of things that I dashed in that I'd like to get (like a rug for the dining room). The second couch in the dining room is the one that we'll probably sell since it doesn't really fit anywhere. I also took out the weird built-in kitchen table thing since we'll hopefully be removing that soon. Overall I like the layout of the rooms on the first floor, having the dining room and living room open to each other makes it seem bigger. At first I thought that I might want to try to open the kitchen up somehow to the living room, but after seeing that done in some other houses with similar floor plans as ours, I think I actually prefer it the way it is. When we redo the whole kitchen, we will make a new layout since it's not really working now with the covered window and the fridge right by the bathroom door. We've also removed two doors - one between the entry and the hallway, and then the one that was between the hallway and the living room. We left the door frames as is, but not having the actual door there has also helped to open things up. Plus, the door in the living room kept blocking some of the built-in.
This is the second floor with our plan for the furniture layout. Right now our bedroom is the only room with set furniture in it, the rest of the furniture is in the den room, and all of the boxes are in the guest room. I never actually measured this out like I did downstairs, so I could be off a little on the dimensions (the bathroom looks a little funny), but it's pretty close. We'd like to set up the den with some kind of comfy chair or smaller couch, the small tv, and probably our old table. I think that this will be a great room that I can do some work in, I tend to take over spaces when working on projects so it will be nice to have a space where I can set up the sewing machine or whatever it is that I'm doing, and not feel like I'm in the way. I'd like to get a bed for the guest room, it's nice that we have enough space to have a dedicated guest room. And we'd still have one room left over to use as our office, with the computer and some of our books.
This weekend we'd like to get a good start on the kitchen, we have a lot of wallpaper to remove though and so far it has not been going very quickly. We also want to try to paint the other 3 (ambitious!) radiators downstairs. The spray paint dust gets everywhere and we need to paint the kitchen radiator anyway, so we thought we'd try to go ahead and do the other 2 at the same time. Hopefully I'll have a lot to update after the weekend.

1 Comment


No house updates this week, I had a very busy week at work and Mike came down with a cold, so we didn't work on the house in the evenings like we normally do. Yesterday our street had a big yard sale, we spent the morning wandering around yard sales (a good excuse to get a closer look at the houses and see all of the backyards!) and eating good food at the neighborhood church's cookout. I ended up buying a few books and Mike got some Michigan golf balls. I thought about getting a set of 4 chairs for our table, but I didn't love them, just kind of liked them, so I decided to pass.

Yesterday we also went to my company's summer picnic and then to a house warming party for some of our friends. Our friends actually started looking at houses a little while after we did (using the same realtor since we were having such a great experience with him) and they bought/moved in to their house about a month after we did. So they've been there for about a month. Last night was the first time we'd seen their house, and it's so nice! And it was just about move-in ready, so while we're still living out of boxes, they have all of their furniture arranged, boxes unpacked, and pictures on their walls. Funny story though, they somehow bought their house without ever seeing the upstairs bathroom, which is the only full bath. I don't know how that happened, but it turned out that the bathroom was the room that did seem need some work. So they reglazed the tub and put in all new tile in the shower and it looks great! I will say that Mike and I left a little jealous of the fact that their house was so nice and livable. We do really enjoying fixing our house up, but some days I wish I could just walk into the kitchen a fix something good for dinner instead of just throwing something into the microwave :-) It is good motivation to get projects done though!

Another (now) funny story - on our way home from the party we were talking about some of our upcoming projects (which include the kitchen) and we were talking about how we needed to get a new door knob and dead bolt for our back door. Right now you can't lock/unlock the door from the outside and the knob is very hard to lock from the inside... it just makes me nervous that sometime we'll think it's shut and locked and it won't be. Anyway, we get home last night at midnight and quickly realize that we're locked out of our house! I had locked the front screen door earlier because we had the front door open to let air in, and when we left we went out the back door, forgetting to unlock the screen... I won't tell you how we eventually got into the house, but I will say that trying to find a way in did make me feel much better about how secure our house is!

Leave a comment

new favorite room in the house...

My new favorite room in the house is the upstairs bathroom! It was a very busy week with a few late nights, but we finished the bathroom yesterday afternoon. It's a small bathroom, but it took a lot of work! We also ended up doing a little more than what we had originally planned, but we are really happy with how it turned out. It's definitely something that we can live with for awhile. Here's a recap of what we did:

- removed the drywall in front of the window
- replaced the broken glass in the window and rebuilt the window frame around the window
- removed the glass shower doors and put up a curtain rod
- removed the wallpaper, patched the walls, primed and painting the bathroom light gray (twice, the first gray was too light, we ended up repainting it all yesterday morning)
- painted all woodwork and the vanity white
- took out the medicine cabinet, patched the hole, put up a new mirror
- replaced the light fixture
- took the door off the linen closet and painted the interior
- all new hardware including vanity hardware, towel hooks, and toilet paper holder

And because I like before/after pictures, here's the before (with the previous owners stuff):And the after!:

It's difficult to take pictures because the room is so small, but it doesn't even look like the same bathroom. I decided to paint the back of the linen closet the same blue as the tub and shower tiles since we couldn't really change that. I think it does a great job of pulling it all together without having an overly blue bathroom. The white shower curtain instead of the glass doors also helps to hide some of the blue. Having the window and removing the door from the linen closet has made the room seem bigger. I haven't unpacked bathroom stuff yet, but hopefully I can keep it all organized in the baskets.... I'll try to take a few more picture later, but I wanted to get something posted since I know that you all have been wondering how it turned out :-)

We had a great weekend with our friends Jessica and Patrick, we went to the Journey concert last night (don't stop believin!) and had a fun day of shopping and watching football today. I think that we might take a break from working on the house this week. We're starting on the kitchen next and that's going to be a big project. Maybe we'll get started next weekend...


window is finished!

Ha! So we finally finished sanding, painting, and installing the new window last night in the bathroom. It looks great! But, I'm not going to show you a picture yet... why? Well, I might have forgotten to take a picture last night after working all day... and, I think that maybe I'll just wait and post a real "after" photo once we patch/paint/clean the rest of the bathroom. We're still hoping to get that all done by the weekend cause we have visitors coming! Don't worry though, I still have some fun pictures of other projects we've been working on.

two things in the bedroom disappeared this weekend - the blue radiator and the window treatments.

First up, the radiator. Mike worked on painting this while I attempted to sand the new window frame in the bathroom... we won't mention how I sanded for 2 hours and felt like I was getting no where... and then Mike took over and had it almost done in a 1/2 hour. Nope, not going to mention that. Anyway, here's the blue "before" radiator.

And the lovely now white radiator! Apparently 5 cans of spray paint is the magic number on these things. And with the high heat spray paint being around $5 a can, I think we'll just have to continue to do them one at a time. But, now we have 2 done, just 6 more to go!

And, the new curtains!! Yeah!!! I heart them. I actually found them in Columbus the other weekend while shopping with Mom, but they only had 2 of the blue panels in stock. They said they'd ship the other 2 to me, and sure enough, they came on Friday. I know they are a little long, but they might stay that way, at least for a little while. We had the hardest time getting the new curtain rods installed, I wanted them to be as close to the ceiling as possible, and extend the whole width of the window seat.

It's a double curtain rod with nice white shear panels underneath. I'll have to take a better picture of the actual curtain rods/hardware, I really like them.

Here's what they look like open, I think they make the windows look even bigger. And I love how the blue color is just a few shades darker than the wall color. Someday soon hopefully we'll get some of the other accessories and pictures unpacked, right now everything is very blue. Please ignore all of the tools, etc. sitting around the room :-)

I know that I said no more bathroom pictures until it's finished, but I will share this one. We decided to install our new light fixture last night. Things were going really well, until we went to put the glass globes on. They wouldn't go on because the medicine cabinet stuck out too far. Our solution? Just rip the medicine cabinet right out of the wall. We were thinking of getting a new mirror anyway... Hopefully people at work aren't looking too closely at my hair/make-up, the lack of mirror made getting ready this morning a little difficult.

it works!

And now, proof that the cats really do like each other. Trevi looks mad that I saw him being nice to Eze:
That's all for now, look for a more detailed post about the bathroom hopefully later this week!

1 Comment

window progress...

We're slowly making progress on the bathroom window. Last night we cut and put up all of our trim around the window. We also had to put some new studs in the help support the drywall. Since the wall had been built out from the original wall, we had to extend the window frame to be flush with the drywall. We're not going to put any kind of mouldings/trim up for now, but instead just get it ready for when we do the more major bathroom renovation. I think it will still look really nice.
Since of course nothing is level or square or anything in our old house, we had to do some work to get the frame to look right. It's ok, we're going to paint it, so we just started filling in the gap b/t the old and new frame with some rock hard water putty. We only got about 1/3 of the way done though b/c it took a lot more putty than we thought it would!

Then we put up some new drywall to cover up the rest of the hole. Mike was impressed with my super exact measurements and cuts, I told him that's what happens when you spend 6 years in school making tiny little models....
Here's our new window glass! I dropped them off at the glass place this morning on my way to work, and picked them up on my way home. I went ahead and put some white semi-gloss paint on them and will paint the exterior side brown tomorrow. I think they look great and can't wait to see them in the installed!

1 Comment

labor day's labor

After taking Saturday and Sunday off to visit the family, we spent all day working on the bathroom. We've decided that we're going to have a local glass repair place fix the windows. We removed both of the window sashes and will clean them up to take them to the glass place this week. Then, we had to cut back the drywall and remove the 2x4 in front of the window, and up by the ceiling. We also decided to add some extra foam insulation while we had the wall open.

Thanks Grandpa for letting us use the Sawzall!

We found this when we removed the 2x4, it was folded up and used as a shim. I have no idea when people still had wringer washers, but I'm guessing that the window was closed up around that time? If anyone knows about when that would be, let me know! Next we removed the gross glass shower doors. It wasn't that difficult to remove the doors, but it took forever to get all of the caulk and adhesive off the tiles and tub. The bathroom is looking better already!

We spent a lot of time at Lowes today, so hopefully we have most of what we need to finish up the bathroom. We'd like to be mostly finished by the end of next weekend b/c we have friends visiting in 2 weeks.
We also got some new curtains for our bedroom, hopefully we'll get those up soon too!

Leave a comment


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by