Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Yayyyy New Rug!

My living room rug came in! Like... 2 weeks ago or something. I am still excited. I had searched eeeeverywhere for a decent wool rug for the living room, with the right colors and patterns and stuff. And finally I found this rug at Home Depot, but then it was out of stock! NO!
After finding this rug, I kept looking, sometimes scrolling through 500 rugs at a time on rugworld.com or whatever super rug warehouse, but nothing compared to the perfection of this chrysanthemum rug.

And then... I found it again! It was at Home Decorators Collection, which is actually a subsidiary of Home Depot, but it said it wasn't available until March. This was in October or something that I was looking, and March seemed very far away. But I kept checking back, and after Christmas, all of a sudden IT WAS AVAILABLE! So I promptly ordered it and anxiously awaited Chris calling me to tell me it arrived.

Here are the reasons why this rug was perfect:

  • It is 100% wool. I guess I have nothing against synthetic fibers, but I didn't like the Target rug we had purchased at first, just to get something on the floor. 
  • It is a great neutral color scheme without being boring beige
  • It has a floral print, but in a large-scale, modern graphic
  • The pile is pretty low, but is super-soft and cushy
  • The price for the 8x10 was a little higher than I wanted, but still totally reasonable for a quality rug that I expect to last for a long time
So, Chris was nice and waited for me to go up to the house before opening the rug package.

We shoved all the living room furniture out of the way and unrolled it:

I made sure it was soft enough...
 And we ditched my old Ikea laminate coffee table and put in the bamboo table I got from Goodwill for $9.00 and spraypainted with black lacquer, and topped it with the super-thick 42" diameter glass that I got for $25 off of Craigslist.
 I like it, but I think the table might end up spraypainted white instead. The black is awfully heavy-looking. I really wish the black woven base part was not there, but it is a good spot to put a plant or something and coffee table books and stuff.
Also, the couch has to change colors before I can make a decision. That's for another post. Chris had wanted to add a chaise lounge, but I think we can fit the space better with a sectional, using the add-ons in the same line (Karlstad) from Ikea. But right, different post...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pantry makeover!

Hello hello!

This week I finally ordered more shelves for our stock cabinets. Home Depot doesn't sell extra shelves, so you have to call the distributor. I got one more for the dishware cabinet and 2 more for the pantry cabinet next to the fridge.

Even with the added storage in the cabinets, it will be nice to have the pantry shelves finished. This is the small closet in the hallway, across from the door into the kitchen by the fridge.
It backs up to the ductwork, and used to have some wood shelves, held up by crown molding, covered in this awful 80's contact paper. First, we had to cut some thin (.25") masonite to fit over the ducting insulation. We can't nail into it, so we used liquid nails to glue 2 pieces to the back and one to the ceiling.

Next, I figured out how much shelving we would need and got 2 8' lengths of 1x10 pine. I also got some 1x2s to use as supports, again because we can't nail brackets or anything into the back wall of ducting.  Here the boards are being primed and painted in the garage.

 Next, we had to cover up the drywall where the crown molding was removed. I used this awesome spackle recommended by Young House Love. It works like drywall mud, but is much easier to use!

 Before I focused on the walls, I primed the masonite on the back wall and removed the thermostat. The wiring for the thermostat just ran along the door molding inside of the closet, which was unacceptable. We're moving the thermostat down the hall anyway, so it's closer to the bedrooms. Mostly I think that was because it was convenient to rewire while the master bathroom walls are all opened up.

So as the closet currently stands, it's been primed and painted and spackled, baseboard has been added at the bottom, the shelves are painted and dried, and I just need to paint the trim and install the shelves! Chris might have already done that today, I don't know. I need to go to the grocery store to get stuff to make a spinach-artichoke dip for his friend's housewarming party tonight, and then I'll head up there and help out (without getting dirty, so I don't have to use the yucky shower in the cold, and not have a blow dryer, and bring a change of clothes). 

But yay pantry! This is where Jezza's food thingy will be stored, and all my baking stuff and extra spices will be, and probably canned foods and whatnot. The kitchen has tons of storage already, but this is just extra! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Patio Door!

After almost a year of contemplating on the replacement of the patio door, we finally decided to make the investment. I am still look for a good shot of the old patio door. We were in such a time crunch that I did not take any pictures until after it was removed. I will post this off angle shot for now and will include a better one when I go through my external HDD.

This picture won't show the flaws (or hardly any of the door for that matter), but I'll list them just to elaborate on the decision.
  • Difficult to shut and still did not create an adequate seal (we used more rubber sealing trim and it didn't make a large difference)
  • There was a hole in the left door at the top where renters, at some point in the past, drilled for a cable pass through (lazy !@%#@%s) Could have been solved with a plug and wood putty...
  • The door sill was rotting through and the interior threshold plate was going to be interesting to tile up to
  • The biggest reason for replacing the door was to get rid of the hinged design of swinging into the already small breakfast area with a sliding door with the opening side on the left when looking out to the back deck.
  • The old door wasn't the most beautiful door, although we found out the doors themselves were built well (heavy)
Okay, so we started by tearing out the old door. Basically, you remove interior trim and then the brick molding. Remove the pins from the hinged door, remove the doors and tear out the casing without tearing up the framing studs (you'll need those later, and with brick you want to make sure you don't need to remove any of it).

Next, we had to clean out the area under the old door sill. Vinyl doors don't have the traditional casing. They are enclosed by a vinyl frame (another major difference is that this is a sliding door, so it has tracks vs hinges). We were left with the ends of the joists and the band to nail to. There was a slight gap between the band and the brick that would allow for the nailing flange. Here is a shot of me putting some 3/4" decking down on the joists and band. This is what the base of the door will sit on.

You can see the brick and the small gap between that and the edge of the decking. The decking was fastened to the joists and the band with 8d coated sinkers and construction adhesive. Next we measured from the new base up to the 2x4 running across the header to determine how much we needed to shim down to frame the door vertically. We ended up using short sections of 1/4" furring strips, some 1/2 plywood and a 2x4. I sent the table saw back to my dad's house over Christmas, so we couldn't rip a pair of 2x4s to get the perfect thickness. We still game up a bit shorter than we wanted, but still got a good seal to the flange.

We shimmed 1x4s on either side to get the appropriate width. We ended up being bowed in at the centers on the 1x4s and had to do some additional shimming when we got the door in. That was a major pain in the butt...

Here is the door before it went in. I'm guessing somewhere between 250 and 325 pounds.

We got it outside, caulked the framing that the flange would butt up against and then removed the flange protectors on the door. We set the base flange into the gap between the brick and band while keeping the top of door tilted out. We then removed the plastic carrying handles from the side flanges and tilted the door in. This is where we found out our framing was bowed out in the center sections. We were able to get all of the framing shimmed out appropriately, but if we did it again, we would make sure we had a full day rather than 2 hours of daylight and 2 hours of dark to do this door. That way we would have taken more time to get the shimming correct the first time.
I left out some of the smaller steps, but that was the primary flow of how we replaced the patio door. I ended up paying about ~$800 for the door. I'll assume I'll spend another $75 on trim and caulk. Almost $900 for the door with self installation. It definitely improves the look of the kitchen and it will make a breakfast eating area possible. I am not sure if I will recover 100% of that investment when I go to sale a few years from now, but I would even take a 20% hit for the convenience that the door will provide.