Thursday, February 28, 2008

This weekend's tasks

Thom got a snowday yesterday and fixed the pesky fan in the downstairs bathroom (which we lovingly call the "Harry Potter bathroom" as it is not only under the stairs but also unbelievably small). I plan to finish the second coat of paint in our bedroom tomorrow and maybe straighten up the basement a bit. I've been trying to take it a bit more easy as the snow shoveling and ice chipping of the past few days has pretty much taken all of my energy. We'll be glad when spring arrives.

Otherwise, we're excited for our first party - a housewarming party - on Saturday. We're expecting about 30 people, including our realtor - I'm excited for her to see what we've done already!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bathroom finished

I finished the upstairs bathroom yesterday and was glad to be done. I think that the smallest room painted so far was also the toughest and took the longest. I think, however, it is the most dramatic difference we've seen so far. Anyway, the paint color looks great with the existing tile that's in there. We'll still look forward to doing a more dramatic overhaul this summer or next summer but for now it's a marked improvement over the girly '70's wallpaper.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Kitchen After

I realized I never put up a picture of what the kitchen looks like post-new paint. Here you are!

Bathroom: 1/3 done

Well, I spent a good part of today prepping the bathroom for paint. You can see the before shot here. I also spent a good 90 minutes or so prying off the metal frame that once held on tacky shower doors and then scraping off the caulking. So, anyway, priming is done, ceiling is painted (which I strongly disliked doing), and tomorrow I'll put the other two coats on of the beautiful blue we picked out. 
I also spent part of the night putting weather stripping caulk around the windows hoping that would help. Honestly, I don't see that it did but we'll see.
We also get our refrigerator delivered tomorrow - they had originally delivered one with the doors on the wrong side. So I think we'll be close to settling in. We also have our first dinner guests tomorrow night so we'll look forward to having some people over (it's also a good excuse to turn up the heat!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's probably time to rest for a while

I think I may have finally hit the wall. I am pretty tired and I wake up feeling tired in the morning. We got all the moving finally done yesterday and cleaned out the condo so that's all done (on a related note, we went to get Thom's golf clubs out of the shed in the back and found that the local chipmunks had used the box and parts of his bag to build themselves a nice little hangout back there). I think all the packing, the lifting, the climbing of stairs, etc. have just taken their toll on me. I pulled down the rest of the wallpaper in the upstairs bathroom yesterday and will paint it this weekend but that may be it for a while.

On a good note, we got the washing machine finally installed yesterday and that seems to work well. I was unhappy to find out that we have to buy special detergent for front loading washers though. Who knew?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I did it!

I know this may not seem like much to most of you DIYers but I feel I have made my first step into serious home repair: I replaced our showerhead! Woot woot! Yes, it was devastatingly easy but I have never done any sort of plumbing repair before and I feel much more competent and able to do more from this point onward.

The other wonderful news is that our friend Paul (serious DIYer and owner of several flips) came by and fixed our main water shutoff valve issue as well as our washing machine shutoff valve issue. What was the answer? A tool! Hooray for tools! Hooray for evolution! It was called a channel lock and it basically just allowed the valves to be closed all the way (hand tightening would not do it). So hooray! No plumber!

The rest of today was spent moving crap. We have one more load at home and then we'll clean that place and be done (well, not really - we have to put everything away here too of course).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

We're in!

After an exhausting day, we are finally in our new house! We are so excited :)

We are slowly putting things away while also moving miscellaneous stuff over from the condo. I am not terribly pleased about having to go back there but c'est la vie, right?

The moving part yesterday went fine - it seemed very expensive but I'd rather pay someone to move a king mattress and two couches in the ice and snow than do it myself for free. We also got our cable/internet hooked up yesterday (hence this posting) and Sears came to deliver the appliances. Two problems there, however: 1) the fridge has the handle on the wrong side of the door so they have to bring us a new one; and 2) the main water valve for the house doesn't actually shut off nor do the shut off valves for the washer so they couldn't hook it up for us. Yes, it looks like we're going to have to hire a plumber. So sad.

I also took my first shower in the house last night to much despair. The shower head is virtually just a faucet. In other words, there is no shower of water - it just pours out. We need a new shower head. Also, there is basically no hot water pressure. It seems that, to fix this issue, the owners instead turned the hot water to scalding so that a little hot water would go a long way to make more or less just warm water. Sigh.

I guess we should have anticipated some of this stuff - I mean, we couldn't have expected this to be perfect, right?

So, we're learning and figuring it out slowly. The bedrooms are great and we have tons of room. Thom loves having his own room/office/music room. Mancha even has her own room right now for her litter box and bed!

Back to work tomorrow. Our Wii says it's going to be 48 degrees tomorrow so that means we're going to work on pecking away at the ice mound that is our driveway.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Moving Day!

It's moving day! Hooray! Well, as excited as one can be about moving in the middle of winter, anyway. Right now, I'm sitting here waiting for the movers (we hired someone to move the big stuff) who were supposed to be here promptly 30 minutes ago. Thom is sitting at the house as well, waiting for the cable guy. This afternoon we will get to wait for the Sears guy to deliver our appliances. Hooray!

Anyway, it will be nice to spend our first night in our first house tonight. I look forward to being cold with my husband and my cat in our new house!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The home improvement diet

On a related note, I stepped on the scale this morning to see that I have lost 10 pounds in the past two weeks. Wow! It's good to see that all the hard work has benefits beyond just having a nice wall or two to look at :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another day of work

I worked for another 11 hours today on our bedroom (snow day). I washed the walls to get rid of the wallpaper remnants, primed, and then painted. You'll notice the color is the same as the living room - I liked it so much and we had an extra gallon, so what the heck!
Photos in order: before, post-wallpaper, priming, finished coat
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day - probably no work tomorrow -- and Friday is moving day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wallpaper is the devil

I had high hopes for today. Sadly, dashed to the wind. I thought I would not only be able to take down the wallpaper in our bedroom, but also skim coat the walls, and then put on a coat of primer. What did I get done in 13 hours (yes, I said thirteen)? I was able to get the wallpaper off the walls. Yes, that's it. Unbelievable. I think people who put wallpaper on walls should be given a stern lesson.

Thom took some pictures - I'll put them up of the maelstrom tomorrow when I can think straight.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More updates - another long weekend

Another long weekend of very hard work. I am amazed how long I can go, actually, but when I'm done I'm really done. I come home completely exhausted and barely able to move. Thank goodness we invested in a good bed - I really think it makes a huge difference in my recovery each night.
This weekend was spent waiting for the floors to be refinished (see before and after) and getting the kitchen painted. I decided to just go ahead and paint the whole thing and ignore the lead paint issue for a while. I know it's not the right thing to do but it seems the best remedy at this time. We also spent a good chunk of the weekend picking away at the snow-turned-ice in the driveway. It seems no shoveling whatsoever has happened since it started snowing in December. 70+ inches later, we obviously have a problem. We can get one car in the driveway now and we'll see about the second one later.
We also spent most of Sunday cleaning the filthy floors, bathrooms, and Thom putting on some floor reviver in the upstairs bedrooms, which we didn't get refinished. I think they look better but are definitely different from the newly refinished downstairs.
Two concerns now have arisen: one is the nasty fluorescent lighting in the kitchen. We bought yellowish paint to match the ugly vinyl floors that we will have to look at until the remodel this summer - in the light in the kitchen, however, it looks more tan. I hate fluorescent lighting. 
The main issue of real concern, though, is that we went through almost an entire quarter of a tank of heating oil this week. I don't see how we'll make it through the rest of the winter without going poor. There has to be some other sane alternatives to this fossil fuel reliance. We really need to start looking into them here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Kitchen primed

On my way to work this morning I decided to stop by the house to take out the garbage and got sucked into the kitchen vortex. I ended up spending 7 hours priming the kitchen as the weather was rather iffy in regard to teaching tonight. I was really concerned about the kitchen since, as I mentioned before, we found lead paint. I suppose this wouldn't be all that bad except that it was chipping off the wall in several places. We first thought we'd go with temporary wallpaper until the remodel this summer but after an unsuccessful visit to the local wallpaper store last night I decided to give priming the walls a shot. So a couple hours were spent cleaning the walls and getting the remaining wallpaper paste off the walls and then a bit of spackling. The priming went relatively well except for the spots where the paint was chipping - painting it just seemed to pull it off in bigger chunks. All together, I'm not sure how many years off my life I removed today with the lead paint but the kitchen looks better...and, hey, that's all that matters, really.

See what you think: before/afters to the right.

We'll try painting the walls on Friday or Saturday. The flooring guy comes tomorrow morning so we'll only have access to the kitchen for a few days, anyway. I'm excited to see how the floors look when done next to our newly painted walls in the LR an DR.

Last night we went to Target and got some smoke detectors and some new handles for the cabinets and drawers to update things a bit more. Things are coming along!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A couple more - just because he's cute

Here are a couple of Thom hard at work. Three cheers for Thom!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Some before-after shots

See some of the work we did this weekend. Before and after, respectively.

Some before-after shots

I can't move my legs

Back to work - I mean, the kind you get paid for. We spent a fabulous weekend starting the work on the house. Granted, we are both exhausted but I feel wonderfully fulfilled. There is such a sense of completeness to all of it, I can't explain it.

We'll have some pics up hopefully later today but here's what we accomplished since Friday:
1) Ripped down wallpaper in kitchen - found lead paint underneath (insert dread-inducing music here)
2) Primed and painted living room and dining room - found that fireplace surrounds looks fabulous as is with the Tamarind paint we chose to put around it
3) Ripped up carpet in hallway - spent remaining evening pulling up hundreds of staples and ridiculous tack strips

You know, three things doesn't sound like much but we worked our pompises off.

It was hard to come to work today - I want to go back and do some more work on the house!

Friday, February 1, 2008

IT'S the work begins!

We closed yesterday morning at 10am and all went very smoothly. The chimney work was done on Tuesday and we went for an inspection of that and the wiring. We were surprised and pleased to see that they had basically rewired the entire house, even grounded the outlets and installed GFCIs, so we won't need to update this at a later time. The chimney work was also done and all was well.

We have spent the last day and a half starting the hard but rewarding work of updating the house. We got appliances this morning for the kitchen and bought paint. We have now primed the dining room but will prime and finish painting the living room and dining room tomorrow. I was tickled to find out that I could remove all of the wallpaper in the kitchen with one hand, no chemicals or scraping needed! The whole thing took me less time than taping one room to prepare for painting!

We also found out that the floors in the entryway and hallway are hardwood under the old nasty carpet and may be in very good shape. I'm off to find out how to best remove carpet from Mr. Internet.

We're making progress but I am completely exhausted!