Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh, and we moved some stuff

We also moved our stuff this weekend. But that's way less exciting than busting holes in the drywall because it just went from my parents' garage to our garage.



My dad is pretty happy to have his work space back again!

Bathroom of a thousand doors

Okay, so the title of this post is a bit of an exaggeration, but our full bath definitely has more doors than it needs to.

Consider this view: looking into the bathroom from the hallway. Behind the door on the left is the bathtub. Out of sight on the far right of the picture is another door leading towards the kitchen. Not to mention the partial wall and doorway separating the toilet from the sink (?!?).
This is what you see from the not-pictured-above doorway (my back is towards the entryway and kitchen). Again, the bathtub is behind the far door and the only thing that partial wall is being used for is to hold a towel rack.

So we took measures into our own hands.

Yep, that partial wall is on it's way OUT! You can see the awesome construction when they glued the sheetrock to the 2x4s, but you can also finally see part of the shower! (It also helps that I took out the stupid sliding glass shower doors. I'm not a fan of those things!) It's a long and narrow bathroom, but it already is starting to feel larger thanks to that huge hole we made. Next up is removing the top part of the wall and taking the boards out! That'll probably be next weekend's project, unless Jared is feeling adventurous earlier in the week.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, I made sure to use proper safety equipment while doing demolition.

How was your weekend? Do any DIY projects? Have you put any holes in any walls in your house lately? (Oh yeah, and we also moved some of our stuff this weekend.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend warriors

So, this marked weekend #4 of working on the house. And no, we still don't live there quite yet. We're getting so much closer, though!

(Pardon the lack of pictures in this post - a lot of the projects we worked on were low-impact but high frustration this weekend.)

We thought some of this weekend's projects would be easy. Ha! Boy, were we proven wrong!

It was a busy week in the Howard house, so we got a leisurely start on Saturday morning. The plan was to work on a few small projects. My brother was going to come over to clean the carpets and the cable installation was supposed to happen in the afternoon.

Our washer and dryer were delivered on Friday afternoon. The laundry area is a really small space, made even smaller by the fact that there are 2 doors in the space: one into the garage and one into the house. We had discussed switching the orientation of the door from the house to the laundry area, which made even more sense after the washer and dryer were delivered.

Who knew it would be so difficult to get the cuts right to install the hinges?! We worked on that project for probably about 4 hours... and still aren't quite done! Maybe there's a certain tool or template or something that we didn't have, but there was a whole lot of routering, sanding, chiselling, sanding, measuring, remeasuring, screwing in the hinge, unscrewing the hinge, sanding, chiselling, screwing in the hinge again, unscrewing the hinge again.... you get the picture. We still have to put the stop back in (after pulling out the staples that were used to install them in the first place...), but at least we're happy with the new orientation of the door!

Jared cut the caulking away from the stove (??) to pull the stove back from the wall to clean the backsplash better. What we found (and probably what they were trying to hide by sealing the stove to the countertop) was that the unit was just hardwired into the wall. No plug, no box, just wires. Awesome.

Cable install took 2+ hours. We had brought over our old TV to make sure the cable would work. The TV wouldn't even turn on. But we now have cable and internet at the house. And they both work. Step in the right direction!

Carpets were cleaned, and my brother was able to get the mysterious dark footprints out of the carpet in the 3rd bedroom!

Our full bath didn't have any electrical outlets in it at all, so Jared read up on electrical plug installation and started to tackle that project. Several hours, and lots of frustration later, we still don't have an electrical plug in the bathroom. But we do have a few holes in the walls.... more on that later!

I'll try to get over there to snap some pictures this week. Saturday is the planned moving day, so I'm sure we'll have some updates about that!

How have you been spending your weekends? Any other weekend warriors out there? Worked on any high-frustration, low-impact projects lately?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We've been busy!

Another weekend has come and gone and we're a little bit closer to moving in!

This weekend's projects included:
  • shovelling snow off the driveway and sidewalks (!!!)
  • painting our bedroom (pictures of the new color coming soon)
  • painting the entryway (it's the same color as before, just cleaner)
  • installing a programmable thermostat (15 minute installation? Yeah right. Jared persevered, though.)
  • installing the pull-out trash and recycling cans in the cabinet
  • installing our new pendant lights in the kitchen (another headache for Jared, but they look so much better than the ugly lights before!)
  • putting some insulation above the garage space and getting a rough estimate of how much more insulation we'll need for the rest of the house
    We over-estimated for the garage, but haven't bought insulation for the rest of the house yet!
  • spray painting the ugly ceiling HVAC grates white (they're still drying, but here's the before)
  • working on getting the last two bedrooms ready to paint
  • cleaning out the entry-way closets (I found a bathing suit and goggles, and a really awesome blue marble, among other items... and lots of spiderwebs.)
We're hopefully getting the carpets in the bedrooms cleaned this week so we can start setting up our bedroom. Our new washer and dryer get delivered on Friday! Slowly, but surely, we'll be able to move in! February 1 is our target date, since that's when our first payment is due (and it just seems rude to have to pay on it and not live there)!

What kinds of projects were you working on this weekend?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Backyard views

So, I mentioned in our list of projects that we have some work we'd like to do in the yard. Then, I realized that we'd never taken any pictures of the backyard!
Out the back sliding door, looking left.
 Our yard encompasses most of what you see in the above picture, but since we're on a cul-de-sac, our yard is wedge shaped, so draw an imaginary line in the center of the fence corner.

Out the back sliding door, looking right.
 Our yard extends to approximately the utility pole in the picture.

Back view of the dilapidated shed.

Front view of the dilapidated shed. That door goes into the garage.
Once the yard isn't a muddy mess and it's a little bit warmer, we plan to take down the shed. One of the front doors is missing and it's not installed very well. If we eventually need more storage, we'll put in a better shed.

(And yes, the previous owners were kind enough to leave us a wheelbarrow, two shovels, a plastic table and 4 plastic chairs, a hose and hose reel, a ladder, and a little grill. We didn't ask them to leave those things, but we've found them outside around the edges of the house!)

Cabinet update

I was finally able to snap a picture of Jared's cabinet destruction. For those of you who guessed that the cabinet may have held a double over at some point, that's probably a pretty good guess. The junction box at the back has some pretty heavy-duty wires.
The plan is to install a pull-out trash can and recycling can on the bottom, then install a shelf for the microwave at about counter-height and a shelf for cookbooks above that!

We have some measuring, sanding, patching, and installation to do before it's done, but I already like it better than the old version of this cabinet!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Painting, painting, painting some more

We spent most of the weekend at the house painting. I'm thankful that my parents offered to help.

Friday night we taped, spackled, sanded, caulked, and drop-clothed.

Saturday morning started out with breakfast at the Skillet (because we needed a hearty breakfast) and then we started the painting party. Jared and I started priming the wall with paneling while my parents started on the ceiling. Luckily only the paneled wall and the two walls we stripped wallpaper from needed primed because that stuff was SMELLY!

(Note: I tried taking "during" pictures, but my phone camera did not cooperate, so they disappeared into nowhere. Oh well.)

Surprisingly, the zero-VOC Olympic paint at Lowe's was the cheapest, so we went with that! If our house doesn't smell like fresh paint for weeks, I'm quite happy with that! (In case you're curious, the color we chose was called Astral.)

Enough talk, on with the pictures!

(Yes, the angle is different and one is at night and the other during the day, but really, the difference is quite remarkable! The room feels a lot lighter now.)

Since the floor plan is so open, we decided to paint all of the walls the same color. We plan to add some sort of accent to the non-window wall in the dining area, but we're not completely sure yet what it will be: stripes, tone-on-tone stencil, chair-rail with a different color above or below...
Pardon the ladder!

We also painted the hallway back to the bedrooms in an off-white, but since they were already off-white, the before and after isn't quite as exciting.

The plan for this weekend is to paint the three bedrooms. It's amazing what a difference some paint can make!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Projects, projects, projects

I'm sure any home owner, if asked, would be able to rattle off a list of projects that need to be done around the house. We haven't even moved in yet and have already amassed a large (and growing) list. Here are some of our upcoming projects (in no particular order):
  • Add insulation to the attic
  • Insulate the area above the garage
  • Install pull-down attic access to garage
  • Add electrical outlets in the garage
  • Add electrical outlets in the bathroom
  • Paint the main living space
  • Paint the bedrooms
  • Clean the carpets in the bedrooms
  • Decide on window treatments for the bedrooms
  • Decide on window treatments for the living areas
  • Install solar tube in the kitchen
  • Install pendant lights in the kitchen
  • Replace thermostat with programmable one
  • Install dryer vent
  • Fix bathroom vents so they vent outside instead of into the attic
  • Paint the kitchen cabinets
  • Replace kitchen cabinet hardware
  • Fix the attic vent on the roof
  • Replace one portion of the roof (because of badly installed attic vent)
  • Build a compost bin
  • Regrade several parts of the yard
  • Replace concrete patio
  • Install fence
  • Upgrade electrical box and service
  • Install ceiling lights in the bedrooms
  • Make seat cushions for the bay windows
  • Replace all of the outlet covers
  • Switch the direction the laundry room door opens
  • Build in bookshelves
  • Create desk/office space
  • Fix master bedroom closet
  • Remove and replace closet doors in all of the bedrooms
  • Create chunky floor mirror from one of the mirrored closet doors in master bedroom
  • Paint the bathrooms
  • Build some garden boxes in the backyard
  • Paint the mailbox post
  • Remove the bush at the end of the driveway
  • Take down the dilapidated metal storage shed on the side of the house
  • Come up with a firewood storage system
  • Caulk around the windows outside
  • Replace one section of soffit
  • Repaint wood around the garage and around windows
  • Replace floors in living area so they are consistent throughout the house
Think that should keep us busy for a while? I certainly do!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kitchen curiosities

Our house was built in 1966, so as my dad said, it may be slow to give up some of its secrets. We've found a few quirks (no dryer vent in the laundry area, a papered-over electrical outlet, no insulation over the name a few), but so far our biggest head scratcher has been in the kitchen.
First of all, those lights (by the red arrow): GONE. Thank goodness that Jared hated them as much as I did because he took them down on the second day we owned the house. Once we get the ceiling painted, we have new pendant lights that will go in that spot.

Okay, so the big head scratcher is the tall cabinet on the right side of the kitchen. When we started talking about what would go where, I mentioned that our microwave might fit in the cabinet where the green arrow is. It's a fairly tall cabinet, so there would also be some space for a cook book shelf above. The shelf that is currently in that cabinet is less-than-high-quality: it's basically just a particle board shelf.

There's not really a geat place to put our trashcan (since the space under our sink is pretty small due to the garbage disposal), so then I wondered if we could maybe put the trashcan in the bottom part of that cabinet. See that blue arrow? Yeah, that's a fake drawer. And the space below it (before the lower cabinet)? An enclosed box.


We took the lower two cabinet doors off and Jared pried/pulled/cut the other pieces out. I haven't been over to the house to see his work, but I'm willing to bet that it makes 100% more sense than it did before! More updates to come soon!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wallpaper is the devil

We only had 2 walls with wallpaper on them, so we figured, "No big deal!" We'd strip the layer and then we'd be able to start painting.


Under that first layer of wallpaper was another layer of wallpaper.

Who wallpapers over wallpaper?!
It took about 8 total hours and the help of my parents to get all of the wallpaper off the walls. The industrial wallpaper removal goop didn't work. Thank goodness for a trick from a Twitter acquaintance: fabric softener and warm water did the trick!

What other secrets will our house reveal this week...

Beginning with a closing

December 27, 2011: The day we became homeowners!

When we first put our offer on the house (a mere hours after seeing it in person for the first time), we were set to close on December 26. Our offer was submitted shortly before Thanksgiving, which meant that we'd be closing right after Christmas. Because of holiday hours, we knew that we didn't have a lot of time to get everything together, and as our closing date got closer, we found out that the title company would not be open on the 26th, thus pushing back our closing by a day.

We weren't scheduled to get the keys until the 29th anyway (the sellers wanted a few extra days to get their stuff moved and clean the house), but when we did our final walk-through on the 27th, everything was out and the house was somewhat clean! Our realtor called the other realtor on the way to the closing. We could get the keys at the closing!!

Merry Christmas to us!

And so begins our adventure in homeownership. We're hoping to chronicle our adventures on this blog, so subscribe and check back regularly!

Let the projects begin...
Home Sweet Howard