Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The To Do List, updated

I just love me a good list, so I'm going to make a public version here so you can see what sorts of things are on our "to-do" list for the house, both short and long-term. 

So this is where we stand in the grand scheme of things, for those of you who want to know "how's the house coming?"...

Whole House / General (15% complete)

  • Install new entry door hardware
  • Remove all carpeting to reveal original wood floors
  • Address water issues
  • Paint all exterior doors (50% complete)
  • Paint shutters black (7% complete)
  • Paint garage door black
  • Run all new electrical to 2nd floor (50% complete)
  • Run new zone off boiler and install baseboard heat in 2nd floor
  • Replace all exterior doors with ones better fitting our design aesthetic (50% complete)

Kitchen (10% complete)
  • Run new gas line for stove
  • Run new electrical
  • Insulate exterior walls
  • Install new operable window above kitchen sink
  • Run electrical & switches for ceiling lights
  • Buy new cabinets as needed for new layout
  • Build all new cabinet doors
  • Paint all cabinets & new doors 
  • Hang & install cabinets
  • Install all new hinges & pulls on cabinets
  • Purchase & install apron-front sink 
  • DIY concrete counter tops 
  • Install herringbone carrara marble backsplash
  • Install recessed lights
  • Install pendants above sink & bar
  • Purchase & install dishwasher in black
  • Replace refrigerator with bottom-freezer style in black
  • Replace stove with 5-burner style in black
  • Purchase, paint & install full height cabinets around refrigerator in kitchen (possibly phase 2)

Dining Room (10% complete)
  • Run new electrical
  • Insulate exterior walls
  • Replace door to garage with full-lite door
  • Replace metal screen door with wooden screen door
  • Repair sagging floor joists
  • Remove window to garage and build built-in storage for coats & miscellaneous (framed out until drywall is complete)
  • Run electrical & switches for ceiling lights
  • Run plumbing to 2nd floor for future bathroom
  • Replace 2-panel 9-lite front door with 1-panel 1-lite door
  • Fabricate 5'-0" round pedestal-base dining table from steel (base) and black walnut (top, herringbone pattern)
  • Make bar stools out of flea-market tractor seats
  • Make coat racks out of old door knobs (for hanging inside built-in)
  • Make ball jar chandelier for over dining table
  • Indoor/outdoor area rug or FLOR tiles

Living Room (10% complete)
  • Open up wall between living room & stairs
  • Run new electrical
  • Insulate exterior walls
  • Run electrical & switches for ceiling lights
  • Run electrical & data hookups for TV (run in wall to cabinet below)
  • Install new post at bottom of stairs to support new beam
  • Install new beam between original house & addition to carry the load of the bedroom floor joists 
  • Install ceiling fan w/ light
  • Indoor/outdoor area rug
  • Console for DVD & video game storage below TV
  • Build plumbing pipe shelving unit (similar hereherehereherehere & here)

Office/Laundry (30% complete)
  • Run new gas line for dryer
  • Run new water lines & drain for washer & dryer
  • Install dryer vent to outside
  • Purchase energy efficient front-load washer & dryer
  • Frame out new trap door for basement access
  • Build new wall in laundry room
  • Run new outlet for washer & dryer
  • Run new electrical
  • Insulate exterior walls
  • Install new window on back wall for view of back yard
  • Run electrical & switches for ceiling lights
  • Paint sliding doors
  • Remove sliding door hardware & refinish in oil rubbed bronze
  • Install ceiling fixture for general lighting
  • Fabricate faux cabinet to conceal washer & dryer
  • Indoor/outdoor area rug
  • Buy or build office / sewing desks & shelving

Bathroom (20% complete)
  • Prime & paint until we can eventually gut & redo
  • Remove sliding doors from shower
  • Install curved shower rod
  • Frost window for privacy
  • Prime & paint walls & ceiling
  • Paint cabinets
  • Remove cracked spray-on frosting & install frosted film on window for privacy
  • Remove existing bathroom door & replace with right-hand swing door for better traffic flow
  • Remove wall between bathroom & office/laundry
  • Completely redo the master bath down the line for Phase 2 (Relocate all plumbing, insulate exterior walls, purchase enclosed claw-foot style tub or fabricate new base for a reclaimed tub, new vanity)

Stairs (5% complete)
  • Remove unnecessary bi-fold doors at bottom of stairs
  • Remove "closet" at top of stairs
  • Have glass cut for this frame, which I previously painted red in for a special piece of artwork
  • Install new stair treads
  • Take wall between stairs and large bedroom down to half height
  • Remove sloped ceiling and closet in small bedroom for vaulted ceiling in stairs
  • Order & install carpet runner on stairs (Flor Lanyard)
  • Install chandelier light
  • Hang artwork

Small Bedroom (5% complete)
  • Prime & paint until we can eventually gut & redo
  • Lay carpet from downstairs for temporary use
  • Run electrical & switch for ceiling lights
  • Full gut & remodel of 2nd floor

Large Bedroom (5% complete)
  • Prime & paint until we can eventually gut & redo
  • Lay carpet from downstairs for temporary use
  • Install access ladder to attic
  • Reupholster Craigslist chair
  • Run electrical & switch for ceiling lights
  • Full gut & remodel of 2nd floor
Attic Space (5% complete)
  • Remove old chimney & patch roof
  • Add collar ties in attic
  • Install gable & ridge vents in roof
  • Raise roof to meet peak of original house 
  • Full gut & remodel of 2nd floor
  • Finish space above kitchen & dining room as master bedroom
  • Install "timber" beams in new master bedroom

Basement (7% complete)
  • Run new gas line for boiler
  • Run new outlet for water heater
  • Build workbench for winter projects
  • Foam insulation above foundation
  • Repair sagging floor joists in crawlspace 
  • Repair damaged floor joists in basement
  • Fix electrical box issues (2 new breakers, separate doubled connections) 

Deck (5% complete)
  • Run new gas line for grill
  • Remove awning that is improperly attached to house
  • Strip and re-stain deck
  • Build pergola w/ hop vines to add shade and privacy
  • Add sconces flanking sliding doors (50% complete - wiring has been run to each location)

Garage (0% complete)
  • Replace 2-panel 9-lite doors with 1-panel 1-lite doors
  • Tear down existing garage & build new 3-stall garage w/ new entry/mud room between garage & house

Front Porch (0% complete)
  • Replace metal screen door with wooden screen door
  • Replace existing stairs
  • Replace existing railings with something more suited to the style of the house & to our taste
  • Repair cracks & leaks in foundation to crawlspace
  • Replace lattice work under porch

Yard (50% complete)
  • Remove rhododendron bushes
  • Tear down shed
  • Remove shed foundation
  • Move fire pit farther from tree
  • Build timber pavilion w/ fireplace at back of yard 

Barn (0% complete)
  • Run electrical service to barn

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


This post is going to be just what it sounds like (or at least what I cleverly intended for it to sound like), a dump of all things house-related from Instagram. Bring on the photos!

August 2, 2012: First photo of our new abode! 

August 3, 2012: Not wasting any time, carpet comes out day one!
Unearthing the treasures below, thems #hardwoodfloors under those layers ladies and gents!

August 8, 2012: Our first big purchase, a tractor to mow all that acreage!
Ryan's new toy #tractor #loboy #internationalcub

August 20, 2012: We wasted no time buying deck furniture. Gotta have a place to eat, right?
My lazy Sunday #thegoodlife

August 21, 2012: Finally needed to rent a dumpster for all the demo material!
Possibly the most organized #dumpster ever.#stategicpacking #demolition #homeownerproblems

August 22, 2012: Our first demo surprise.
Who needs studs for walls when you can use solid pieces of wood instead? #overkill #oldhouses#theydontbuildthemlikethisanymore

August 25, 2012: I took advantage of a day to myself  to collect paint chips.
I think that should be plenty...  #paintchips #overkill #toomanychoices #interiordesignproblems #homeownership

August 26, 2012: No more kitchen...
Is there a tractor in my kitchen, or is it just my kitchen in the garage? Same difference I suppose, lol!#remodeling #demolition #homeownerproblems #temporarysolutions

September 23, 2012: Chuckie found a spot to sit in the garage!
Charlie's new perch. #doggy #windowseat #cuteness#sillydogs

September 29, 2012: We ordered "new" hardwood floors!
Can't wait until these are in my house! #wormychestnut #hardwoodfloors #naturalbeauty #reclaimed #somuchcharacter #nofilter

October 3, 2012: The fall foliage is out in full effect! #ilovefall #changeofseasons

#sunset #barn #dusk

#fire #myboyfriendisapyro #whatconstructionwaste?

October 23, 2012:
Making do with a partial kitchen!
Fixin' dinner #renokitchen #makingdo#barenecessities #numnums #homeownership #loveit

October 26, 2012: Shed demolition begins
Ryan's #screwpaintingitstoonicetobeinside project for the day... #demo #stupidshed #usedtobeagazebo #firefodder

October 28, 2012: Visitor kitty #wheredoyoulive? #barncat?

November 20, 2012: Air mattress = instant couch
Make-shift couch when your real couch wouldn't fit up the stairs to your make-shift living room... #airmattress #homemadepillowcases #finallyinuse #goodforlounging #thedogsloveit

Chuckie approves of the new couch
Love this little mother fluffer.

November 21, 2012: Instead of home phone, we bought a Verizon network extender.
We now have service at home, take that home phones!! #networkextender #verizon #beforeandafter #hellyes

November 24, 2012: I have a kitchen!
My boyfriend builded me this today, he's the best!!!#luckygirl #nomoredishesinthetub

November 24, 2012: Our first Christmas in our house!
Tree decorated, check. Bring on Christmas!! #turquoisechristmas #lovechristmasdecorations #sopretty #glittereverywhere

November 25, 2012: Desk is all set up, tv as second monitor #ftw!

December 2, 2012: We bought a real couch!
The new couch gets the dog stamp of approval!

Everybody snoozin' on the new loungers. Guess they pass the comfy test! #ikea #newcouch #cuddleup #lazybones #loveit

December 10, 2012: Look what I can do! #closet #heels #pinspiration #nomoreshoesonthefloor #bestboyfriendever

December 11, 2012: Can't wait to fill this with all my jeweleries! #bestboyfriendever #pegboard #pinspiration #soorganized

December 12, 2012: All filled up! #jewelry #pegboard #pinspiration #soorganized

December 20, 2012: #cuteness at the top of my stairs

December 22, 2012: Our first fatality.
Look what the dogs did while we were out! #deadbat #gooddogs #watchdogs #dontmesswiththem

December 26, 2012: Having a garage is so exciting!
Baby's first night in the garage #scoobylove #wintershere #snowsnowsnow #warmandcozy

January 9, 2013: Sunrise from the bottom of my driveway #lateforworksurprise #sopretty #sunrise

March 23, 2013: Finishing up the kitchen insulation and sheathing. Slow and steady wins the race, right??

Nearing completion of the downstairs insulation!
I can haz fully insulated kitchen!

May 7, 2012: The deck is officially ready for summer!

May 8, 2013: We finally got the Miata up to the house!
All the vehicles back in action (sorta). #summertime

May 10, 2013: We bought a new door! Full glass so the dogs can see out and not jump up on the door. :)
Old door, meet your replacement! It's been real.

May 16, 2013: It was so windy the insulation fell out of the wall!
Hmm, guess it was windy today!

June 8, 2013: Hanging out in our woods. This is where I'll be if anyone needs me...

June 12, 2013: The hardwoods are finally ready! Got wood?

The new floors are home!

Just a little preview of the before & after to come… it's gonna be soooooooo much work! #nofilter #nomorepine #wormychestnut

June 15, 2013: Farmhouse screen door purchased! Soon our farmhouse will be legit!

And we installed a new window!! I can see outside now!!

June 29, 2013: Someone decided he needed more tractor. Headed home with the new #kubota lawn toy!

July 10, 2013: Finally finished a project I started 2 years ago.
2 years layer we finally got our little art project finished and hung. Miss him every day...

July 29, 2013: Sunrise over home ❤

That brings us up to current day. Hope you enjoyed the little snippets of progress! We'll get there eventually, but we're ok with a slow an steady pace. You gotta enjoy life still, right?! :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Plumbing Debacles

So let me start by saying how much I love the blog Young House Love, so when I saw this post by them I was super excited. Why WOUDN'T you install a dual-flush on your toilet when it's so easy and will make your home more water efficient?
Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to Lowe's I go... 

Lowe's had a conversion kit, but it had a traditional level flush rather than the push button. You push down for #2 and pull up for #1. But my thought was unless we put instructions on the toilet, no one is going to know to pull up for #1 and we'll still be using the same amount of water. So I headed to Home Depot to get the identical kit used by YHL. Back home I arrive, ready to roll up my sleeves and accomplish something!

Off comes the toilet flush lever, easy-peasy.

Lever removed, ready for fancy push-button!
Flush valve removed (note the silicone)

OK, so far so good. Now let's see how to put this baby together! At this point I'm looking at the image in the instructions, and noticing that's not what I'm looking at in my toilet: 
Hmm... I call Ryan in to take a look, and we decide we need to replace the flush valve. No biggie, off to Lowe's again to pick up one of these:  

I open the package, start reading instructions, and get to this image: 

Hmm, not sure how I'm going to install that rubber gasket on our one-piece toilet... Oooohhhhh, THAT'S why the silicone was there. SHIT. Now what?

New dual-flush toilet is what.

So I order the new toilet from Lowe's, and we decide to prep for it while we wait for it to arrive at the store. 
Spoiler alert: thankfully we were not living at the house at this point, because we end up being without a crapper for a few days...
Out comes the old toilet
Hmm, that doesn't look good...
We realize we're going to need to replace the toilet flange that's totally rusted out. See those little shims in the upper left that they had been using to level the toilet? Yeah, nicely done. 

As it turns out, the subfloor was totally rotted out as well, and there were old plumbing pipes, so while I laboriously cut away all the rotted subfloors, Ryan worked on running new PVC pipe to the toilet. All this for a more efficient toilet, it better be worth it!
Several hours with the utility knife later...

Of course I neglected to document the patchwork as we filled everything back in, but a day or two later the toilet was ready for pickup and voila!  
New toilet in place, and beginning to lay the new floor tiles...

Isn't she pretty??
So much effort just for a more efficient flush...
Old homes are so unpredictable, I'm learning how naive it is to ever go into any task thinking of it as just a quick job. But it's always an adventure, and educational, gotta love it!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Putting it all back together...

As it turns out, demolition goes a lot faster than construction... who knew??

I knew the rebuilding phase would be slower than demo was, but I hadn't anticipated just how slow. It's been SEVEN MONTHS and it feels like we've gotten almost nothing done. In reality, we have actually gotten quite a bit done, it's just been a lot of smaller, less ground-breaking things that aren't as noticeable as when you are tearing entire walls down. Plus we had Christmas in there, so we've been trying to take a little bit of a break to let the funds replenish a bit, you know how that goes!

So here's a rundown of what we (read: mostly Ryan) have accomplished thus far:
  • Replaced all the first floor door hardware inside and out with new oil rubbed bronze levers (50% off at Lowe's, I love them!!!) 
    Out with the old, in with the new!
  • Demolished basement stairs, re-framed floor, and laid new floor, complete with trap door for indoor basement access & new custom-built access ladder 
    Basement access progress
  • Ran new gas lines for dryer, stove, and grill (with provisions for future tankless water heater in the basement) 
    Running new gas lines in the crawl space
  • Ran new water & drain lines for washing machine
  • Ran new outlets in all exterior walls
  • Caulked, primed & painted ceilings, walls, cabinet & trim in bathroom and both bedrooms
    4 gallons of primer & 10 tubes of caulk consumed so far, more on that later...
  • Framed new wall between the bathroom & office/laundry room 
  • Demolished stair wall in living room and framed new section of full-height wall between the office/laundry/stairs and living room 
    Bye bye wall!
  • Built new headers above the sliding glass door & all existing windows 
    Ryan admiring his handiwork
  • Replaced the toilet, complete with new PVC flange to replace the old rotted one & patched subfloor (I'll go into more detail in a future post on this debacle) 
  • Laid new stick-on vinyl tiles in the bathroom (cheap facelift!) 
  • ORB'd the old bathroom fixtures (spray painted them Oil Rubbed Bronze, our finish of choice for the house) 
    Thank goodness for ORB spray paint!
  • Replaced the single-pane kitchen window with a new, larger vinyl double-hung window
    I can see the front yard from the sink now!
  • Built a temporary counter for the kitchen sink out of plywood & 2x4s
    No more dishes in the tub, hooray!
  • Removed the tub doors and hung a curved shower curtain rod to create more space in our tiny tub
  • Removed the old shower grab-bars, for the reason above (24" wide tub, people)
  • Removed existing tongue-and-groove ceiling in the kitchen, to be re-used at a later date 
    Salvaged wood and ceiling droppings
  • Removed all existing wood sheathing, insulated the exterior walls and installed new OSB sheathing

And the biggest accomplishment of all, on November 11th WE MOVED IN!!!

Since then we have been enjoying life and letting the bank accounts rest, but now spring has finally sprung and we are ready to get back to work. More updates to come (hopefully in a more timely manner!)