Monday, February 28, 2011

Movin' on up!

The day you thought would never come is here.  We are upstairs residents of our house!  I believed that this day would come, but many others (including my husband, at times) were skeptical that it would come - at the very least, skeptical that it would be in 2011!

So, granted, we blew through my initial deadlines of wedding...Christmas...Valentine's Day...BUT we got in just under the wire to meet my "end of February" final deadline.

Check out how happy this makes us:

Yes, folks, we're laying on the upstairs floor.  Remember, the one that looked like this less than 24 hours ago:

And looked like this when we moved in:

The incredible improvements we've seen over the last six months were cause for snow angels (carpet angels??) today:

Soooooooo excited.

We're also pretty excited to corral our clothing collection from our overloaded (and less-than-sturdy) garment rack to our bonafide master bedroom closet!

Justin re-hung the doors to the closet (and we subsequently hauled our belongings upstairs) shortly after I snapped this picture.  We also wrestled our mattress up the narrow stairway, and are excited about spending our first night in our master bedroom!

Goodbye, dusty, dirty upstairs.  Goodbye, late-night crashes from the falling-over garment rack.  Goodbye, bed in the den.  Goodbye, desk in the kitchen.  Goodbye, old house.

Hello, former glory.  Hello, dream upstairs!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A long awaited status report

I hope none of you were holding your breath waiting for the status report I promised last Friday.  Even crossing your fingers for a new post would have resulted in stiff fingers, given how long I kept you waiting!

And so, without further ado, the progress report.  As you remember, I listed 8 goals for last weekend.  Part of the delay in posting a status report was the fact that I was still working on this list today...

1) Find the kitchen table. - CHECK!  See how much better it looks when it is set for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner instead of being piled high with stuff!

2) Do some laundry.  CHECK - sheets, towels, underwear and socks all washed!  Everything else can wait until Tuesday when I can do laundry IN MY OWN HOUSE.  Not that I'm excited or anything.  LAUNDRY!  HERE!  AHH!

3) Paint the stairwell.  CHECK - including the trim & hand rail

4) Hang the crown moulding in the sewing room. CHECK - just needs finishing touches (sanding the wood filler in the nail holes and touching up the paint)

Don't worry, the corners aren't a mistake.  We used corner crown moulding blocks from Lowes - they look sort of like the little sister to this one they have online:

EverTrue 5.6" Inside Corner Crown Moulding Block

Of course, these are decorative, and have nothing to do with our ability to master the geometry of cutting crown moulding inside corners ;) 

5) Paint the trim in both bedrooms.  HALF CHECK - sewing room is done (aside from the crown moulding touch-ups, but the master bedroom hasn't been done yet)

6) Install the vinyl floor tiles in the upstairs bathroom (bonus points for installing them in the downstairs bathroom, too) - CHECK - and one of my favorite projects to date!

7) Install the towel racks in the upstairs bathroom.  I realized this really wasn't an urgent project (aka, something that has to be done pre-plumbing and pre-carpet) and postponed...

8) Re-caulk the tub. CHECK!

Bonus points:  I had forgotten when I made my to-do list that both closets needed to be painted, so we took care of that, too! 

Looking ahead, we will be working on the finishing touches for upstairs.  The big moving day is less than 2 weeks away!  (Moving upstairs, that is!)  Oh, and did I mention that THE WASHER AND DRYER will be installed this week?  Exciting times....!

In terms of the blog, I'm looking forward to some room-by-room "before and after" posts!  Stay tuned!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Life is good

The sun is shining, it's warm enough to have a window open, and the hubby is planning to cook dinner tonight.  What better conditions than to immerse myself, with great sing-along tunes, in finishing the floor in the bathroom?  That was rhetorical, but the answer is - there are not better conditions.  I seriously love this stuff.  Sticky tiles are fun no matter what, and the awesome weather / not having to worry about dinner are just icing on the cake!

Here's a sneak preview of the progress to date:

I know, this project was supposed to be completed last weekend.  I also know that I owe you the big status report I promised last Friday.  Soon.  But for right now, I'm going to bask in the perfect afternoon.  Anybody else find crawling around the bathroom floor even remotely appealing??

Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekend goals

I learned that a week seems to go by really quickly when it's Thursday and you're still feeling the effects of an insanely active/productive weekend.  (For a reminder of last weekend's accomplishments, click here).

Lo and behold, it's Friday again, and time for another fun weekend of renovation!  Some goals for this weekend:

1) Find the kitchen table.  Being that it's the only flat surface in our house (aside from Justin's desk), a lot happens here at the table.  We eat, we play games, I make Valentines, I leave piles of mail there (as part of my big commitment to respecting Justin's work space!!), I write the blog, and the table is generally a big, big mess.  Like really bad.  Don't look, Mom:

Hopefully that can be taken care of before Justin comes home for dinner tonight!

2) Do some laundry.  Since the washer and dryer were delivered, I have been tempted to avoid any future trips to the laundromat.  I scheduled the plumber's work for Tuesday the 22nd (HOORAY!!!) but I don't think our sock/underwear supplies will last us quite that long.  So, I will make one last trip this weekend, and take care of this little issue:

I know, it's bad to have that much laundry.  It gets worse - there's another pile (smaller, I promise!) in the bedroom!  Also, you may wonder why we don't use laundry baskets.  That is because our current living arrangements (in the den) don't really afford the luxury of clothing storage.  So, the laundry baskets house our clean clothes (not that there's many of them, these days!)

OK, so after two un-slob-ify tasks, the rest are real renovation, I promise!

3) Paint the stairwell.
4) Hang the crown moulding in the sewing room.
5) Paint the trim in both bedrooms.
6) Install the vinyl floor tiles in the upstairs bathroom (bonus points for installing them in the downstairs bathroom, too)
7) Install the towel racks in the upstairs bathroom.
8) Re-caulk the tub.

It's a big list, but based on the momentum of last weekend's successes, we may just be able to do it!  I'll keep you posted with progress :)

Anyone else out there have equally fun weekend plans?  And no, I'm not being sarcastic, I consider the list above fun!  (Except maybe that pesky laundromat trip ;) ).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A letter to Craig

Dear Craig,
About that list of yours....I'd been really happy, especially when you hooked us up with awesome deals like Justin's desk and our kitchen table.  But lately, you haven't really been living up to my expectations.  How about an awesome wide dresser for my sewing room?  White would be awesome, but if not, I could always paint it later.  Really, any color or wood will do, as long as it's got the shape I want, and is of decent quality.  I'd just prefer to find a great Ithaca resident selling a real wood dresser (for a great price) than settle for something affordable made of laminate. 

Bonus points if it looks like this (legs are a plus):
Product Image Monterey 6-Drawer Dresser - White
Image from Target.

Thanks for your help, Craig.  I know that you'll come through for me once again.


P.S. For anyone who's totally confused, I'm frustrated that our local Craigslist (online classified ads) has recently been very light in the dresser department.  If you, or anyone else you know, have a dresser similar to the one above, and would like to sell it for me for less than an arm (or leg), please let me know :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We don't live in a museum

Hi, my name is Emily, and I'm a perfectionist.  (I know, shocker, right?)  I generally have adapted pretty well to the constant mess and clutter that comes with ripping apart your house, putting it back together again, and living in half the space you were intended to use.  Pretty well.  But occassionally (like tonight) I get fed up with the dirty dishes in the sink that were left to go paint crown moulding, or annoyed at the pile of laundry that is on the floor because I'm trying to wait until the washer and dryer are hooked up here and avoid one more dreaded trip to the laundromat.

So although I know that a house is intended to be lived in - not to be a museum - sometimes I still forget.  And blogger Centsational Girl's post was so perfectly written (and my finding it so perfectly timed!) that I wanted to pass it along.  I think everyone could use a reminder on just what "home" is.  Enjoy!

Click here to read What Makes a House a Home? by Centsational Girl

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A technicolor dream

This weekend in review:
  • Finish sanding drywall in both bedrooms - CHECK
  • Shop-vac dust and wipe down walls in both rooms - CHECK
  • Prime walls in both bedrooms - CHECK
  • Paint both ceilings - CHECK
  • Install bathroom vanity lights - CHECK
  • Paint master bedroom - CHECK
  • Paint guest room - CHECK
  • Celebrate Saturday's accomplishments by spending Sunday in the beautiful Cornell plantations snow-shoeing with good friends (including frisbee in the snow, a several mile hike, and Justin & Glenn's snowball fight with a team of 9-year olds) - CHECK
  • Drop into bed utterly exhausted at 8:15 pm - headed that direction VERY shortly!
A few pictures to prove all of the above is true:

Painted master bedroom

Painted sewing room / guest room

New bathroom vanity light


Snow shoes!

Beautiful Cornell plantations (from the top of the big hill we climbed!)

Random kids engaging in snowball battle with Justin

Frisbee in the snow

All in all, it was an excellent weekend.  I love the feeling of pure exhaustion that comes from knowing you squeezed every ounce of energy out of your body, and every second out of a weekend ~ especially when the exhaustion is coupled with a feeling of great accomplishment.  Hooray for painted walls and an excellent outdoor adventure!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Biting the bullet

Well, folks, today I bit the bullet.  Not literally, thankfully, since I declined the dental coverage at work.  But in terms of painting, I bit a big bullet.  I bought 3 gallons of paint.  This required a final decision on colors for the master bedroom, the sewing room/guest room, and the stairwell. 

You see, we had a 10%-off-your-total-purchase coupon for Home Depot.  Basically, we bought everything we could imagine needing to finish projects for foreseeable future.  Which will be helpful in the event of a large snow storm, although I have given up hope for real winter weather.  Yesterday's "snow day" didn't pan out, and we got less than 4 inches.  I feel entitled to just one "I moved North" foot of snow, and then I'll be happy to eagerly await spring weather.

But I digress.  We were talking about paint.

It's obviously pretty difficult to show the colors correctly on screen (a lot got lost in the translation between poor photography and the internet), but hopefully this will give you an idea.

The bottom left is "Sand 3" by Laura Ashley home (color matched into Behr paint).  In the picture, it looks a little yellow, but it's more of a tan.  Think of the color of, uh, sand.  That pretty well sums it up!  This color will be for the stairwell.  The practicality of painting a two-story stairwell made me realize that I'd have to give up my commitment to all-white ceilings (there would have been no way to neatly edge the walls and ceiling without risking life and limb on some sort of scaffolding).  The fact that the color would be on both the walls and ceiling made me choose a little lighter tan than I might have otherwise, but I think that Sand 3 will look quite nice.

The top color is "Bombay Pink" by Valspar (again, color matched into Behr paint, since that's what was recommended by the helpful Home Depot paint guy).  This will be the sewing room color.  I wanted something soft and relaxing and pretty.  A lot of the pinks/roses I considered looked too girly-girly, but I'm hoping that this darker rose will create the perfect creative-yet-restful atmosphere (very necessary for a sewing room/guest bedroom)! 

The bottom right color is "Willow Leaf" by Glidden (yep, in Behr!)  It's a dull green that looks like a muddy tan in some light.  It looks fabulous next to the fabrics I'm using in the quilt for our bed (more on that once the painting is done and the sewing room is set up for quilting!!)

I promise our house won't look as much like an Easter basket as the above photo looks.  They came out looking quite pastel, but there's more substance, mood, and maturity to the colors than my computer screen can currently handle!  Hopefully once they're on the wall, I'll have some better photos to show this weekend - fingers crossed, we'll avoid sewage disasters and get some major work done this time around!

Before I sign out, I'll give you a sneak peak of a few other exciting things that were part of the 10%-off-everything Home Depot coupon shopping spree:

 I love the white porcelain handles on this faucet.  I think they'll perfectly tie in with the other white accents in the upstairs bathroom (for more on my vision for that room, see here). 

And although you can't tell in the photo, these towel rods have matching white porcelain accents ~ another exciting find!

What do you think of today's purchases?  Which of the colors is your favorite?  Anybody else agree with Justin that a pink extra bedroom will guarantee (via Murphy's law) that a future firstborn child will be male?  (Note, we're NOT expecting a child; just laughing about the probability of having to repaint when we are!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Raindrops on Roses

I realized yesterday that we may have reached the point where things currently look worse than when we bought the house - but that always happens when there's progress.  Things have to look temporarily worse before they can look permanently better.  I remember that (mostly), but you'll have to excuse the occasional whiny posts when I decide I'm tired of sanding drywall.

Amidst all the projects (and the mess, and the drywall dust, and the strange arrangement of furniture), there are certain things about this house that make me smile every time I see them.  They're the aspects of the house that had me gushing about love at first sight when we walked in with our realtor.  And, most of them are the things that convinced Justin that his crazy fiance' might be right about this potential new abode.  And so, without further ado, here are a few of my favorite things...

1) The hard wood floors
    The house used to have gross, stained, yucky, awful carpet.  On a bit of a wing & a prayer (and lots of crossed fingers), we took this picture and hoped that the wood was the same under the carpet. 

Thankfully, it was, and the day we pulled up the carpet found me jumping up and down and dancing around the living room.  Lots of sanding, staining, and polyurethane later, we have the gleaming wood floors that I love so much.

2) The flat, sunny, & fenced backyard
  We have a long, narrow strip of grass behind the house.  It's fenced on both sides, with some trees at the back.  I have visions of a lounge chair in the shaded area under the trees, a big vegetable garden, and a patio on the concrete pad that appears to be the foundation of a former garage.
Looking straight back from the house.
Standing closer to the house, looking slightly towards the left.

3) The "strong bones"    We have enough work cut out for us to just change the surface coverings of the walls, floors, and ceilings - structural strength is very much appreciated.  'nough said.

4) The biiiiiig bathrooms
   We're pretty sure that the architects designing the house in 1880 weren't thinking about bathrooms, which is why both the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms are the size of a bedroom.  We know for sure that the downstairs bathroom was converted from a bedroom within the last 5 years (to accommodate the decreasing mobility of the aging former owner), which provides plenty of space for the addition of a washer and dryer.  Even with a washer, dryer, toilet, sink, and full-size shower, there's still enough room for dance parties.  And believe me, I will be dancing for joy when these appliances are hooked up and I can do laundry right here at home! 
   Again, I have realized that my collection of "before" pictures is severely lacking.  Future posts will hopefully provide more visual interest.  (C'mon, I've gotta dangle some sort of carrot to keep you reading!)

5) The new windows
   Justin has explicitly stated on several occasions that if it weren't for the new windows, he wouldn't have been sold on this house.  And they are fabulous (provided you can get past the dirty windowsills and the awful red trim in these pictures).

6) The bathtub arch
  Last, but not least, in my round-up of favorite things, is a somewhat quirky selection.  This tiny little feature was love at first sight for me, and on our first visit to the house, it was this view that changed my tune from "this house could work" to "I'm in love, it has to be ours!"  Call me crazy, but it's this arch above the bathtub that had me at hello:

And doesn't it look charming now that it's been painted?

So, there you have it.  Six of my favorite things.  Another favorite thing?  Ithaca is finally going to get some real snow tonight!  I feel entitled to at least one big storm, having moved north!  :)  My apologies to those of you who are already feeling weather-weary from too much!