Monday, October 11, 2010
In this shot (taken during the holidays last year), you can see a closer view. Honestly, we don't have that many bugs in the city and it just never made sense to me to have it.
So, (drum roll, please) after several years, I present to you the front of my house sans screen. I am so excited I can hardly stand it:
Obviously, if you look too closely, you will see the desperate need for cleaning the paint on the front of the house but, like I said, I'm just ecstatic. I look forward to more curb appeal next year when I can bust out some new landscaping too.
However, spending all this time on the porch the past few days has made me realize that I really hate that screened in porch. I've pretty much hated it from before I even bought the house - driving by the house several times and thinking that I wasn't interested because of that ugly screen. In my opinion, it makes it appear too close to the street. Here's a shot from the holidays last year so you can see what I'm talking about:
Yes, it has to go. So this is my project today and we'll see how far I get on my own. I'm a bit fearful of what this will entail (e.g., who-knows-how-many-years-old rusted-out screws) but I'm going to see what I can do here. Wish me luck.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
As you can see, they weren't in such great shape paint-wise. What they really need (along with the rest of the house) is a nice long soak in some paint remover but I do not have the time or money to afford such extravagant measures at this time - so, it was good ol' elbow grease to the rescue. After about four hours of scraping (man, I'll be feeling it tomorrow, alright), I put the first coat on these puppies this afternoon.
It's not perfect but it's certainly much improved. Just in time for the snow and salt that will remove the paint from them again, I am sure.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
$217.52 Electrical contractor to run new 220 and new breaker
$125.00 Exterminator to treat and remove huge hornets nest
$154.10 Plumber for two trips - one to fix shut-off valve to house, one to wait for city to arrive
$26.60 Waste materials to dump
Tile and tile materials
$362.18 including white subway tile and trim tile, floor tile, mastic, grout, Schluter Ditra
Miscellaneous building materials
$56.89 for new studs, joint compound, plywood subfloor
Trim and molding
Plumbing materials and supplies
$208.00 Bathtub/shower and sink faucets
$95.54 miscellaneous extenders, supply lines, etc.
$575.00 Tub refinish
Total bathroom renovation costs $2617.25
Overall, I feel pretty good about the costs of the renovation. I was hoping to stick close to $2,000 and I would have been there if it hadn't been for some of the unexpected expenses, which I should honestly expect. Anyway, I think that it was worth it. You can judge for yourself, of course:
Friday, August 20, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
So, my thinking about the downstairs bathroom (or what has come to be lovingly referred to as the Harry Potter Bathroom) is that it's a nice weekend project. The sink will be staying put as it's in good shape, is pleasantly petite, and just had its faucet replaced several months ago. Structurally it's as good as it's going to get. So this project will entail a new floor, a new toilet, and maybe a new light/fan.
I've already picked out the new tile - just some black and white hexagonal tile, which should only take an hour to lay (seriously, people, this bathroom is small: 24"x67" at its WIDEST part). Although I should be more conservative and less optimistic about my timing - who knows what kind of mess awaits me under the ucky existing vinyl. I certainly learned the rotten-floor lesson from the upstairs bathroom.
A new toilet is another issue altogether. Thank goodness the rough-in is the standard 12" (the bathroom looks to have been added in the 1970s or 1980s) but, as I said, this is a seriously width- and depth-challenged room. The current toilet is a round front and a petite 25" deep. It's hard to find anything that is that small, other than the Kohler Rialto at Home Depot, which I found courtesy of a story on the This Old House webpage. I'm honestly not a big fan of the look of the Rialto, however, nor of the price tag. But, small bathroom beggars can't be choosers, I suppose. My recent trip to NYC showed me that small bathrooms have a certain art to them but I wonder if there was a time when these fixtures were more easily found - the days before McMansions, I would guess.
Other than that, I need to find a less ugly light/fan combination that is also relatively petite (i.e., not having much depth to it). Also not having much luck so far. Anyway, if you run across any of these things in your travels I'd love to hear about them.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Here's what I did today: I took back that nasty Home Depot paint (they were nice and gave me a refund) and took that money right over to Sherwin Williams and got my tried and true Harmony. After painting the closet doors and trim, I put the new knobs on them:
I'm very happy with them and thank Sarah again for the bajillionth time for donating them to the cause. Hooray!
I also spent a good hour or so cutting off the legs of the radiator cover to fit the height with the new floor. This was slow work with the hacksaw but it got done and it got subsequently painted:
Then I finished up the last piece of chair rail on the dividing wall between the tub and the vanity area. This wasn't a big deal but I needed to miter the sides and put in the little miter cap on the end where it meets the tile. (I forgot to take a picture, I realize now, and I'm too lazy to do it now - sorry.)
Beyond that, I had to take the bathroom door off before I painted it to plane down the top and bottom a little since it wasn't closing well. It was the first time I used my little hand planer and I'm pretty smitten with it. Anyhoo, the door is now painted and closing relatively well. It still sticks a bit but I don't know how much of that is the heat/humidity and how much is the door but I'd rather not plane it down further until fall or winter.
After that, I put on the last coat of paint on the trim and it was a wrap, peeps.
I am looking forward to taking pictures of the bathtub refinishing process on Friday. It should be pretty cool, well, if you're into that kind of thing anyway (which I know most of you are). I will then report back with the final budget and the before-after pictures. Woot!
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Unfortunately, that task also is not progressing as planned. While at HD yesterday buying said shades-from-hell, I decided to pick up some paint for the trim/closet doors in the bathroom. I have never bought paint from HD before and now I realize why. Here's the thing, though: I wanted to get the non-VOC kind like I usually get at Sherwin Williams (theirs is called Harmony) so I got HD's brand (Fresh Aire). Really the same price. Really not the same quality. Ugh. It's all smeary and watery. Yuck. So, I'm going to go back to SW and get the good stuff. At least I only painted the closet doors one coat but it's still an hour of my life that I won't get back (or $36).
The only thing working so far for me today is that I was able to put up the trim where the tile around the tub meets the ceiling. At least that looks nice (despite my blurry phone picture). Okay, back to the shades. I might be back later. I might throw in the towel and quit while I'm still sane and my blood pressure is still relatively low.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
First, I finally got sick of my towel on the counter and hung up the towel bar. Good deal from Target:
Then I grouted the floor under the heater (sorry for poor quality photography):
And then the corner by the shower:
After lunch, I tackled the closet doors. As I said yesterday, these were a donation from The Amazing Sarah, and are perfect! It took me a bit to scrape off the gold paint with which someone at some point felt the need to embellish the doors. Then I had to run to HD to get some new hinges that would fit since they're pretty narrow. Then it took me a while to hang the doors by myself, but I did it, by golly:
They, along with the trim and wainscoting, will now need to be painted and that's about it. I do have some quarter round I need to put up along with the last little piece of chair rail and then that's it, folks. I will wait to put up the final, final, final pictures (and budget) after the tub gets refinished but it feels nice to get back in the swing of things!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I apologize for the fuzzy picture (my camera died last month so these are from my phone), but I finally tiled that spot under the heater that's been driving me nuts. You can see the not-quite-after shot below:
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
So, now returning from a short trip back to Washington to see my mom graduate from community college at the ripe young age of 77 (see below), I have decided to get on top of my punch list for the house.
Yes, this also means I am taking a respite from the bathroom final details - I'm still not feeling motivated enough to pull out tile and fix my errors...perhaps soon.
I was absolutely certain I had a "before" photo of the stairs before I began priming them but, alas, such is not life. To make matters more complicated, my trusty old digital camera took its last sub-par photo while I was in Washington. So, instead, the below photo comes to you courtesy of my cell phone, uploaded to Snapfish. It's actually not a bad photo, really. Anyway, you see the primed stair risers, ready for painting.
If I finish both coats of the paint today I'll also post those. Off I go...
Sunday, May 23, 2010
So, today, I made a meager attempt to get back into the groove and finish up some loose ends. There really isn't much left to do, thankfully, but what is left is perplexing. As I think I mentioned previously, I literally worked myself into a corner during this renovation. As you see below, I wasn't thinking through some of the details as I went along and didn't plan for how I was going to marry the tile board with the side of the wall separating the room. Now, I have a wonky gap between where I ended the tiles abruptly and the edge of the drywall on the side of the wall:
Unfortunately, however, this solution doesn't look like it will work on the other side. So, I'm stuck. I'm loathe to pull off tile and/or drywall. Yes, I know, lazy craftsmanship (or craftswomanship, in my case), but I just don't have the heart to do it. Maybe this means that I'm not yet ready to really finish this project. Hmm.
In other, happier developments, however, Sarah from Bangor Bungalow came over a few weeks ago bearing gifts:
Monday, April 12, 2010
So I called the nice people over at Dead River Company to come look at it. Have I mentioned before that I am from the Midwest? We Midwesterners know nothing about heating oil - I grew up with natural gas and electric heat. Here in New England, we feel the need to be even less environmentally conscious. Believe me, my investment in heating oil is not without misgivings - I have tried to convert to natural gas several times but, believe it or not, they stopped running gas line about a block from here and will not extend it until 10 people on the block sign up so no go on the natural gas. But I digress.
It appears that the smell (which the repair dude said he could not smell - eek!) came from the nozzle not firing as well as issues related to some soot build up in the chimney. I have no idea what this is going to cost me - hopefully the bill will take a while to arrive.
So, while I waited for all of this to happen today and for my headache to subside, I decided to work a bit more on the bathroom. There hasn't been much to report as of late - a lot of uninteresting things like adding the millionth coat of JC to the tub ceiling or to the corner bead. I did finally get the overhead light installed last week - I needed some longer screws to get it affixed to the ceiling, but here it is in all its old fashioned splendor:
Today I was able to sand the last coats of the JC around the tub surround finally paint (yipee!). You can see the fruits of my labor - it needs another coat but you get the general idea:
Saturday, April 3, 2010
A combination of sexy and very unsexy work today. First task was filling nail holes with some painter's putty. I got frustrated trying to use the big knife to fill in little holes in awkward places so I used my finger instead. I now am missing some skin on those fingers so I guess I wasn't supposed to do that...um, yeah.
I then put on my last coat (woot! woot!) of JC on the tub surround ceiling. I am admittedly getting much better at skim coating and felt pretty happy with my work today. I'm sure that once I prime it and see all the imperfections I will be pissy but for now it's okay. My plan is to use some quarter-round for that gap between the ceiling and the tile.
I then figured out a quasi solution to my tile-meets-wall problem area by the window. I was generally displeased with my attempt last week to resolve the problem, which entailed putting in some edge tile and then grouting the strange gap between the field tile and these new tiles. So, I bought some trim and put it up today. Once the adhesive dries (I couldn't use nails because it's over tile on the top half of the wall) I will prime and paint it and caulk around the tub edges. I think this will be a better solution to my lack of planning - but we'll see.