Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bathroom Reno: Postponed

I am sad to admit it but the bathroom renovation will be postponed. I'd like to say that it will be postponed until spring break but I'm really thinking that I need as much time as I can get and not feel rushed. If I've learned one thing over the past two years, it's that projects generally take at least two times longer than you expect them to take. If I think the bathroom will take over one week to complete it will probably be more like two weeks. So, I think the best bet is to wait until classes are over in May. Besides, I can then afford to get my new bathroom vanity and maybe those heating pads that go under tile. I know we're going to need an electrician and probably a plumber too to deal with wiring and our hot water problem. So, we'll just have a spare room full of toilets and tile until then. In the meantime, I'm considering using some tax refund cash to get our fireplace fixed. With all the power outages here in the winter it might be nice to have an alternate heat source. I think we need the chimney lined and then the flu fixed. I guess we'll see. Anyway, Happy New Year, housebloggers!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


That's how much I have spent of my $300 True Value gift card. Thom and I went back and forth this weekend about just plunking it all down to buy a small snowblower (we're supposed to get up to 14" today, some say) but instead I invested in one of the snow scoops (a bit like a small sled with a bar to hold), a tool box (we actually don't own one!), a speed square, and some ice melt. Nothing sexy or glamorous, unfortunately. I was really disappointed to see that our local True Value doesn't really have buildling materials so my plan for buying bathroom items is a no-go. My new plan is to buy a nice DeWalt drill/driver (our Ryobi cheapie just doesn't cut it for anything major) and maybe then save the rest for miscellaneous tools we'll be needing for the bathroom renovation. My plan is still to tackle this thing when we return from Washington after Christmas. I wanted to give myself as much time as possible, given the fact that everything seems to take at least double to triple the amount of time I expect it to. See? I am learning.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I cannot believe it! I never win anything. But, believe it! We won the My First DIY contest on It wasn't really skill or anything, just random chance, but I do not look a random chance in the mouth.

I am already dreaming of a million ways to use the $300 gift card.
  • Will it be a new vanity for the bathroom (instead of recycling the current one)?
  • Will it be a new medicine cabinet for the bathroom?
  • Will it be a new toilet for the downstairs Harry Potter bathroom?
  • Will it be shelving for our basement so our DIY paraphenalia isn't all over the floor?
  • Will it be something else?

Hooray for!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ding, dong, the doorbell's dead

Oh, sad. Our doorbell - which is probably as old as this 90-year-old house - has died. It gave one sad little last hum today and then promptly up and died. Serendipitously, TOH Magazine had a little story about fixing doorbells this month. I started with step one, which included seeing if it was the bottom that was broken (according to TOH, this is the common problem). However, the screws were corroded and stripped. I called Paul to see if he had a screw extractor I could borrow but he instead came over with his arsenal of tools and got it unscrewed. Unfortunately, it wasn't the button. We checked the chime - it wasn't the chime. So it appears to be the transformer. I guess the issue will be finding a transformer that is the appropriate voltage - 12 volts, I am guessing. I don't know how lucky I will be in this quest. I think while we're at it, we will also get a new label for the box - it's poorly labeled and we have no idea what breaker is for what.

So, no sexy pictures - sorry. Maybe once I get a new transformer I will take one or two photos. Because, you know, transformer=sexy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My First DIY

It's often pleasant to walk down memory lane. I was inspired to do so by the new contest sponsored by I have absolutely no qualms about shameless self-promotion if it means a chance at a gift card (hey, we need to finance the bathroom remodel somehow!).

It was fun reminiscing about the first days of homeownership and revisiting my blog posts. Now that we're closing in our second year in the house, I love going back to see how far we've come. What was my very first DIY project? It was ripping down the hideous wallpaper in the kitchen, as you can see above. I quote myself saying, "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!" Of course, I did come to find that the paint that was underneath that ugly stuff was lead paint.

It's amazing that we went from that to this:

It's even more amazing that I used to tape off rooms before I painted. I really have come a long way in my DIYness and, yes, I love my DIY kitchen!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What seems the easiest project...

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I picked up a new faucet at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for a steal - $9. Well, here it is successfully installed in what we lovingly refer to as our Harry Potter bathroom, or the tiny bathroom under the stairs. Before we had the ugly cheap model that could be picked up for about $9 brand new. I think this makes quite an improvement over the old one. I decided last night around 5pm to put this in, really thinking it would take me 30 minutes, tops, to take out the old one and install the new.

You'd think I'd know better by now.

Thom and I (admittedly mostly Thom) toiled and strained and swore for several hours at this thing. Taking the old one out: piece of cake; putting the new one back in without a leak: not so much. After many scraped knuckles and enfuriated tempers, we gave it a rest for the night. I think the basic issue was the very tiny space in which we had to maneuver. I did go to HD last night to get a basin wrench but we couldn't even fit that in the tiny hole underneath the tiny sink.

After some rest, some church, and a good bagel, I gave it another whirl. It seems that laying on my back with my foot up in the air and my tongue out made the basin wrench finally fit in there. No leaks! Much improved! We'll put in a new toilet and tile floor perhaps after the New Year and then that bathroom will be more or less complete.

The plan is still to do the full bathroom upstairs during Thanksgiving week (although I am admittedly a little afraid to attempt to do this with our usual savior, Paul, being out of town that week). If nothing else, this little lesson has reminded me to assume the worst and plan for way more time than I generally think I'll need.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Terlet!

It is a sad, sad testament to my life and what it has become when I am excited about buying a new toilet. Really, really sad. As Thom just pointed out, "We're not going to see some cool concert, we're not throwing a party, we're excited because we just bought a pooper." Yeah, that sums it up.

Despite how pathetic it might be, I am excited about my new toilet! After some pretty hard-core research and price comparison I marched down to our local Home Depot and bought this dual-flush sexy thing. 1.1/1.6 gallons per flush. Woosh! Earth friendly and awesome - who could ask for more?

I did read on the online reviews that the seat and wax ring that comes with it (it's an all-in-one model) are on the cheap side so I'll make sure to get new of each. My plan is to start the madness the week of Thanksgiving. No classes and we're not going anywhere so we'll see how much of a mess I can make.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Great Deals from ReStore for Bathroom

So my plan now is to just buy up everything for the upstairs bathroom as I'm able and then do it all in one fell swoop. I made my first foray today into the ReStore in Brewer, ME and was pleasantly surprised. I think I expected a whole bunch of reruns and yucky crap but they had some really nice seconds - and, sheesh, TONS of tile. I got two great deals that I'm pretty happy with - a bathroom faucet to replace our low-rent version in the downstairs bathroom for $9 (on Lowe's website it sells for $68).Also a new granite vanity top with attached undermount sink for the upstairs bathroom for $120 (from Lowe's - originally was $314 but has one little scratch near the faucet area). The picture here isn't exactly the same but it's close.So, we have a few items left to get: toilet (already picked out from HD - dual flush awesomeness), the faucets for the sink and the tub/shower, and then the doors for the vanity. I did decide to reuse the vanity we have in place - it's not exactly what I want but I found this great place that will make MDF doors for dirt cheap. My plan is to reuse the box we have but repaint it white and then attach the new doors. I also think I'm going to reuse our medicine cabinet - it's a bit groovy for the style we're going for but I think it might look cool if I repaint the gold frame silver. If not, oh well, maybe the ReStore will come again to my rescue.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Piecemealing the Bathroom: Tile and More

Recognize this sexy light? Yes, I think it was in my grandmother's kitchen too. Well, in the face of great adversity (or the lack of matching lighting) we have decided to do it up really old school and go with this light for the ceiling in the bathroom. It's certainly retro. It's chrome. And, you know what else? It's cheap! $20, baby. Which means, if we hate it, it's not the end of the world. I think it will go with the other lights pretty well. And, that's right, it's only $20.
After doing the bills this morning I found we had a few extra dollars left so I went ahead and ordered our accent tile for the bathroom and then made a trip to Lowe's for the extra white subway tile. We plan to do something somewhat similar to what we did for the kitchen backsplash but instead of interspersing glass tiles throughout we will do one stripe all the way across, probably about two-thirds of the way up. We had a bunch of the subway tiles left anyway so this will look nice, we think.

While at Lowe's I investigated backerboard for the tub surround area and came across this stuff by Georgia-Pacific called DensShield. It looks lighter and easier to cut and you don't need a vapor barrier. I think this is how we'll go, when we're ready.

I also thought a bit more about the lighting situation. The vanity lights that are currently there are the light/outlet combo type; obviously not to code. I thought, no problem, I'll just slap up a new electrical box under each light and we'll install GFCIs. I'm wondering though if it's actually more complicated than that and if this is a job for an electrician. I read something online that said we'd need a new breaker. Ick. What do y'all think?

Piecemealing the Bathroom: Lights

See them there pretty lights? They're outta here, dude. Since we had to use the last of my summer grant money on plane tickets for the holidays (we love you, family) we will be piece-mealing the upstairs bathroom together. The first thing to go will be these lights. God, I hate them. We instead got these nice ones from HomeDepot that are a little more 1920s-looking.

It says these are "brushed nickel" but they really are more chrome-like. The problem is now finding something relatively along the same lines for the overhead light in there. I'd like something that's more angular, like these, but that doesn't look like a woman's breast (if you've been light shopping lately you know what I'm talking about). I'm not having much luck.

In the meantime, I'm planning and plotting how to piece-meal the rest together. We desperately need to replace the toilet and I'd like to do the floor at the same time. However, as you can see from the photo above, we also have an issue with old cream-with-gold-flecked tile lining the walls as wainscoting. I think I can just take a utility knife and score around the room since the bathroom appears to have been redone in the 1970s or early 1980s with drywall so I can just replace the drywall there for now. I'm fine waiting on the tiling for the walls (if that is indeed what we decide to do). The big problem is the shower since it is tiled all the way around the outside of the bathtub and the entire inside of the shower/tub area, including the ceiling. I am not sure we can afford the new tile yet but I also don't think we can live with blueboard for too long in terms of wrecking it with our only shower in the house. Thoughts?

Saturday, September 26, 2009



You ask, "Is it deja vu?" And I reply, "No, I've just been discontented." Now I am officially contented. After painting the guest bedroom first one time and then again, I have returned yet again to put my discontent to rest. After searching for what appears to be over a year, I believe I have finally found the correct shade of green that I absolutely love. If you hadn't already guessed, it's called Contented (Sherwin Williams).


Thom proclaims that he liked the last iteration but I am clearly the more picky one in the pair. The other green was just too -- something. Too bright, perhaps. It was certainly just "too" for my taste. It just didn't seem to go with the rest of our palette in the house, which is much more muted and earthy. This color is finally the one. I think I am officially done painting the interior of our house! Hip hip hooray!

It's nice to be back at the home improvement game. I still have big hopes for the bathrooms getting done but the last of my summer grant money may need to be used for holiday plane tickets. I think the next semi-big project will be to remove the paint from the front porch decking and stairs and repaint -- perhaps removing the screening while I'm at it. We'll see. At any rate, at least I can finally go into the guest room and not say "ick" any longer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bathroom Reno Dreaming

We have not abandoned household improvement; rather we have taken a hiatus to plot and scheme. As I believe I stated previously, most of my summer teaching money went to visiting the Mouse in Florida so we will be spending sporadically on the bathroom renovation. At this point I'm just trying to figure out the plan of attack. I know we can afford to buy the new toilet this month and we already have the floor tile. So this means removing the old toilet, taking up the old vinyl and subfloor, removing the old baseboards, installing new subfloor and cement backer board, tiling, and then installing the new toilet. However, here are some issues:

1) We will not be able to afford to buy the new vanity until September at least. So taking out the old one will be necessary for tiling the floor. I guess we just put the old one back in until we can replace it?

2) We are uncertain about what to do with the existing tile on the walls and in the shower. There is ceramic tile on two walls of the bathroom, serving as a kind of wainscoting. The shower is completely tiled, including the ceiling. Thom would like to have white subway tile, as would I, but I'm honestly just not motivated to remove all of this tile. I'm toying around with the idea of having Miracle Method resurface the tiles when they do the bathtub. We could always remove one row of them and replace them with some glass tile we have been eyeing. The existing tile and its grout are in very good shape too so it seems a waste to chuck it (and a waste of my sanity trying to remove it). However, we know we have some kind of issue with the hot water to the tub/shower. We don't, of course, have an access panel so removing tile would be helpful in diagnosing and fixing the problem. I would hate to have to mess it all up later.

So, that's where we stand. Any thoughts or opinions are always welcome.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Upstairs Floors AFTER

Who wouldn't like this kind of homecoming after a nice vacation? It was great to come home late last night from Disney World to see our beautiful new floors upstairs. I'm overjoyed! A bit of touching up of paint on the baseboards this morning has made it a whole lot spiffier. We're going to move the furniture back today.
Unfortunately, however, all of our revelry with the Mouse has left us a bit strapped and I'm sad to report that the bathroom reno may have to wait. Since we already have the tile for upstairs, we may splurge on the two toilets and at least get those in. We'll probably have to wait on all the other stuff and cobble together the renovation over a few months. I guess this will be fine but just not what I was hoping for originally. C'est la vie, right?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Upstairs Floors Before

The guys from Don Dickel Floors are here and in the midst of the insanity of trying to finish disassembling and moving our bed and sweeping up the cat's vomit that was hidden beneath it, I forgot to take "before" pictures of all of our floors upstairs. Here are a couple from when we toured the house before we bought it - harder to see but you'll get the general idea. Cannot wait to get back on Monday night and see the "after."

Wish us luck, we're off to see a man about a Mouse.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bangor Foursquare circa 1930

In the spirit of renewing our house with our much-anticipated floor refinishing later this week, here is a photo of the Bangor Foursquare at 10 years old. We received this photo from the Bangor Historical Society, which was part of their 1930's assessors' collection. As you can tell, the house seems to have been originally something other than just white - perhaps blue or gray (I often dream about getting the house repainted so this may offer some inspiration). The hand-railing on the front stairs seems to have been added later but our near-falling-down garage in the back seems to have been there for quite some time. However, other than the trellises on the right side of the house, everything else seems to be as it is now, almost 80 years later (including the asbestos-tiled roof that we still have and is still in excellent shape -- eat your heart out).

I'll take some before pictures of the upstairs floors this week after we move all the furniture out. Don Dickel Floors (the great people who refinished our beautiful floors downstairs) is coming on Thursday morning before we leave for Disneyworld so all of it has to be moved, fun, fun.

Friday, June 26, 2009

3rd time's a charm...mostly

After calming down considerably from yesterday's Peony Tragedy 2009 (thanks for the thoughtful words, Karen Anne), I attempted to remove the last of the gunk from the bottom newel post today. There are still some lingering places that are more black than brown so I'm not sure how to deal with that but for now I need to be done as Thom has been feeling pretty sick from the fumes of the mineral spirits I've had to use to clean up the Peel Away 6. I wonder if there is a way to even out the color with a stain although I suppose this would just make the existing dark spots even darker...?

Nothing else going on this weekend except for maybe a bit more research on bathroom reno. I'm counting the days to getting the floors done!

I also think that my now successful use of Peel Away has prompted me to use it on our front porch floor and steps - there must be at least 10 layers of paint out there and you can tell it. That might be a July or August weekend project.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Are you f*cking kidding me?!?

As I reported last year, someone came and stole my peonies before I could even take a picture of them. They finally bloomed yesterday and I thought I'd go enjoy them (now that the rain stopped for 5 minutes) only to find that someone has AGAIN stolen several of them (see above stem with missing flower). Mother f&cking, son of b%tch, a$$hole losers. I seriously feel like sitting outside with a bat and just waiting for them to come by again. I should at least feel happy that I got a picture of them this year - who knows, they may all be gone by tomorrow. I will quote myself from a year ago and repeat, "Mean people suck."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Okay, I admit it: I was wrong

After being angry and frustrated last night regarding the issues with my Peel Away debacle, I spent some time on the Internet seeing that I seemed to be the only person in the universe with this problem. This led me to believe that the rest of the universe was probably right and I was most likely wrong. I reapplied the goo triple thick this time and used some plastic wrap. It all came off like a dream today when I got home. So, yes, user error. There are a few spots that I need to yet redo (including the bottom newel post that I did yesterday improperly) but I am happy with progress thus far. I was unhappy to see that I got some on the spindles but I know I'll need to repaint these anyway once the floors are done. All in all, then, Peel Away - hooray!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stinking Peel Away

As happy as I was to use the Peel Away yesterday, now I am hating it. While I was able to finish one newel post this morning, I came home from work to finish the rest, only to find that the Peel Away paper had not only dried on but also separated as I tried to pull it off. So, not only is my railing not stripped but it also has paper stuck to it. I'm ticked. I searched the Internet and seem to be the only person who has experienced this problem. I guess I will recoat it again tomorrow (I need more paper and HD is closed now, dammit) and see if it will do the job this time, including taking off the paper.


Stripping Sucks

It will be interesting to see how many hits I get with that title - but, sorry, I'm talking about stripping woodwork. I have spent the past 4.5 hours stripping one - yes, count it, one - newel post. Sheesh. I haven't even started the railing yet, which is going to be an even bigger pain in the ass because at least the newel post has some flat surfaces. It looks like everywhere I didn't really glob on the Peel Away it just has stuck to it. I wonder if I should actually reapply more to the railing, now knowing this. (Un)fortunately, I need to stop for the day so I can eat something, take a shower, and get to work. There was another sign that I needed to stop for the day, however:

Yes, either all the scrubbing or the mineral spirits seems to have eaten through my gloves. I had a blister from last weekend's carpet removal and it even ate through the band-aid. I'm not sure how much was on my skin before I noticed. Yick.
Anyway, it already looks a lot better than before with the black nasty shellac it had on it. I was surprised, however, to see that the wood is not lighter. I wonder if the Peel Away actually only ate through the shellac rather than the stain. Not sure, but I'm actually pretty happy with the color so I'll probably just end up putting some poly on it. There are some spots that are going to need a bit of a do-over but that will have to wait until I can finish the railing. Woe is me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today's blog post brought to you by Peel Away

I realized that to strip the banister and newel posts I would have to remove the carpet, which I did yesterday. So, taking some expert advice from Sarah at Bangor Bungalow, I gave up on the Murphy's and paint thinner and switched over to the real stuff. I decided to splurge and got Peel Away 6, which you see at work now. I don't know yet how it will work but I am already pleased by the lack of caustic odor and drippiness. I will give it 24 hours and we'll see how it turns out. Keep those fingers crossed.

In other renovation news, I am giving up on the dreams of the 1920's-style bathroom. It seems silly to tear out all of our tile on our walls and in our shower, which is in really good shape, and to waste the tile we bought last year. On top of the plumbing issues I shared the other day, I think it's best to just go with a vanity, get our tile done by Miracle Method along with the tub, and maybe just add an accent strip of glass tiles to punch it up a bit. I bought some samples today from (the place from where I bought the accent tiles for the kitchen) so we'll see what we can put together; it just makes more sense/cents this way.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Away, damn carpet!

Five hours, a hobbled back, and a million staples later - no more carpet on the stairs! Woot, woot! Yes, I somehow managed to convince Thom of the necessity to remove the hideous carpet on the stairs and we can now officially say that this Bangor Foursquare has been de-1970s-ized! Hooray for the 21st century! Tomorrow I will work on stripping the banister and newel posts.

What convinced him, you ask? I think it was the promise of a vacation to Disneyworld. You see, to get the floors done we're going to need to vacate the toxic promises (as will Mancha) - so why not use it as an excuse to take a vay-kay? Yes, after 35 years of avoiding all things Disney, I have now succumbed to the Mouse. Sigh. But - yippee! - upon returning, I shall have beautiful new floors upstairs! July 9-11 is the date!

I'm sure I will then have to reckon with Thom again about some kind of runner. However, after spending all this time pulling tack strips and staples out of our once beautiful floors I am not all that willing to see more holes. In fact, I think I consider carpeting hardwood very much akin to wallpapering. Indeed, one of the 10 Commandments of Our Old House:

1) Thou shalt not wallpaper over beautiful plaster walls.
2) Thou shalt not cover hardwood with carpet.
3) Thou shalt not punch holes in walls to accommodate wiring.
4) Thou shalt not hammer something with 50 nails when 3 will suffice.
5) Thou shalt not hire lazy contractors.
6) Thou shalt not build garages without proper foundations.
7) Thou shalt not create half bathrooms in coat closets.
8) Thou shalt not paint woodwork, then paint it brown to look like wood again.
9) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's hot tub.
10) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy wife, who is doing all this stinking work.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I may have made a huge tiny mistake

I spent about two hours today going from hardware store to box store as well as trolling the Internet to find an answer to my problem: dirty newel posts and hand railings. The floor refinishing people suggested we tackle these before we get the floors and stairs done (for obvious reasons) and recommended using a combination of a deglosser and paint thinner to basically clean them so they could then be refinished. After looking at the extremely noxious ingredients in these things I decided to try something recommended by This Old House instead.

Only using one noxious chemical, I mixed equal parts of Murphy's Oil Soap and paint thinner. You can see the results above. Maybe this is what I wanted - I'm not sure. I know that removing almost 90 years of grime is not easy but I also didn't want to have to strip the wood -- maybe I've already done that. Eek.

Plotting and scheming

The details are starting to come together, folks. I got an estimate from a place called Miracle Method in NH to resurface our bathtub for about $500. For a second, I reconsidered this - I thought, hey, we can buy a new tub for less than that. But I realize these tubs would be probably fiberglass (ours is cast iron) and it would be a major bitch to get the old one out, etc. Miracle Method can even resurface tile but I'm not sure we want to stick with the old tile. I actually found this picture and fell in love with this style of bathroom - I'm not sure we can do it but I want it! We had bought all of this tile last year at a HD closing for way cheap but now I'm not sure I want it anymore because I want this awesome hex tile, which, of course, is much more expensive.

The major concern is that when I look at the plumbing under the current sink it's a total mess, as you can see. I'm not sure what it will take it to get it into a shape necessary to be able to use a pedestal sink. I already knew we'd need to install shut-off valves, which is no big deal, but I'm wondering about rerouting, etc. to get in shape for a pedestal. Thoughts?

In other news, Don Dickel came to give us an estimate on the upstairs floors and the stairway. The rooms were very reasonable but I choked a bit at refinishing the 13 stairs: $600! I shortly considered doing this myself but just don't feel up to it. Besides, they do a great job.

I'm going to probably pull out carpet from the stairs and maybe play a bit with cleaning up the newel post and railing today. Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Half out - half still in

Before (with hideousness)

Half of the ugliness is now gone. After two hours and about a million staples and nail strips pulled out, it's looking a lot better. Once we get it refinished it will look heavenly. I did find a couple surprises (as per usual):

First, they seem to have put in about a one-inch subfloor in the bathroom over which they laid the ugly vinyl. This is interesting also because there seems to have also been hardwood under there. I guess we'll see the shape of it when we rip it up later. I think I'm more concerned about what this means for dealing with the toilet - I suppose there is already an extension flange there, but we'll see.

The second surprise is the vehemence with which Thom staunchly is holding onto the carpet on the stairs. As you can imagine, it looks pretty silly with the hallway in hardwood and the stairs still enveloped in ugly yellowness. He was unconvinced by this argument, however (as well as several other seemingly unconvincing diatribes). He is dead-set against a runner, it appears (which was my compromise, since I don't want anything except hardwood) so we'll see what else can be fanagled. Any other ideas from all of you marriage-saving readers?

Anyway, I'm going to call Don Dickel, who did our floors downstairs, tomorrow and see if we can line up getting the upstairs bedrooms and the hallway/stairs done at the end of the month.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bathroom planning

So, have I mentioned what the plans are for Bathroom Remodel 2009? This is what we're planning to do downstairs (world's tiniest half bath) and upstairs with the full bath:

Pull out vinyl and replace with tile floor
Remove old and inefficient toilet and replace with new
Keep sink but replace faucet

Total estimated budget: $250

Upstairs Bathroom

Replace inefficient toilet with new
Remove vinyl and replace with tile
Resurface existing bathtub
Replace vanity, sink, and faucet
Remove and replace medicine cabinet
Replace lighting
Retile bathtub surround
Install new baseboards
Replace linen closet doors

Total estimated budget: $2000

So, now the choices begin - we were close to buying a closeout of a bathroom vanity, marble top, and sink at HD today but it wasn't exactly what we wanted, even if it would have saved us $100. Right now it's trying to agree on things like lights - something 1920's-like, maybe art decoish. Of course, everything I like is ridiculously expensive. But, I will make a call to the tub refinishing dude on Monday and see what the protocol is - does he come before or after we pull down existing tile, etc.? I'm excited to get started!

To ugly yellow carpet or to not ugly yellow carpet

Well, really, there is no question...well, at least not in my mind. It's just plain ugly - it's one of the last few remnants of the 1970sesque house we inherited and I want it gone, gone, gone. It's dirty, it's nasty, it's got to be at least 30 years old. So, what's the problem, you ask? So, why don't you just rip it out, you wonder? Well, the one immoveable barrier in this ugly carpet problem is the common denominator of my husband - who, yes, likes it. Well, I'm not sure he really likes the actual carpet - I think he likes having carpet on the stairs in the upstairs hallway. I, on the other hand, think it's hideous. I keep wondering if I should just rip it out and deal with the consequences. My idea is to just get the hallway floor refinished and the stairs too to match our beautiful floors downstairs. Thom, however, feels the carpet on the stairs is important to quiet the noise coming down them. I feel this is a flawed argument as we do not actually know if the stairs would be noisy. Really, the only thing going for this hateful floor covering is that the cat's vomit matches the color so it cleans up pretty well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Final Kitchen Budget Breakdown

Before 1
Before 2

Before 3

After 1

After 2

After 3

Yes, friends, almost a year later I can finally say that the kitchen is done, done, and done. This monumental (and year-long) triumph can only be celebrated with a recap of the damage it did to our wallet. Actually, when it's all said and done, I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out and the way we fanagled some deals to make it happen.

Drywall for ceiling $60
Wiring from Home Depot $30
Lighting from Lowe's $220
New faucet from Home Depot $80
Countertops from Ikea $237
Paint (for cabinets, walls) from Sherwin-Williams $60
Drawer pulls from Lowe's $60
Cork floor from Home Depot $727
Thresholds from Gray and Sons $40
Tile from Lowe's and $100

Total: $1614

Appliances (purchased separately from Sears):
Vent hood $200
Dishwasher $600
Refrigerator $800
Range $1200

Total with appliances: $4334

They're in!

Hooray! I finally have finished the kitchen! After several weeks of putting it off I finally put in the thresholds! It's funny, the hardest part of putting them in is making sure our cat doesn't walk on the fresh polyurethane. Once they are all dry I will touch up the paint on the bottom of the door frames.

Also, here is a photo or two of our front flower beds as I did some considerable heavy lifting today putting in mulch after planting some annuals last weekend. It's looking pretty spiffy. And, for those of you who recall Peony Tragedy 2008, I am excited to report that I should have at least 8 peonies this year - so even if someone steals a couple I should still get to enjoy a few more. All the rest of the perennials are coming in nicely.

So, that does it for the kitchen - at least as far as I'm concerned. Thom's still jazzed about the idea of putting in some molding on the ceiling but I'm really not feeling it. I'll post again with the final budget breakdown, just FYI. I'm so ready for Bathroom Extravaganza 2009 (coming soon)!