Saturday, April 18, 2009

Family Room Underway (Photos!!!)

If you've been keeping up at all with us, you know that shortly after moving into this home, we discovered that the previous owner's dog had an apparent bladder issue. This little bit of information was masked until we decided to shampoo the family room carpet before our furniture arrived. Basically, we successfully cleaned up whatever the PO had used to hide the smell, and after the "cleaning" the entire downstairs reeked of pet damage. Yuck.

Thankfully, our other house sold really quickly, and we didn't have to wait too terribly long to afford new carpet. That is not a blessing to take lightly, my friends. It took a few weeks to find a good price, the right color, etc. But, before long, we had an installation date - April 20th. That's the day after tomorrow :) YAY!!!

Given the extent of the yucky pee smell, Sam and I arranged to have the old carpet removed two full weeks before the new carpet's arrival. During the last two weeks, we've been cleaning the concrete floor beneath with a solution of 75% water, 25% bleach, and a dash of detergent. I'm normally a chemical-shy gal, but it felt sooooo good to disinfect that room. We aren't putting carpeting in the adjacent backroom (SpareOom), but we are going to put in new flooring later in the year. Because the carpet tiles in that room were also damaged, we're taking those up and treating the concrete beneath right after we do the family room concrete. The photo below is taken from the family room, looking into SpareOom.

After cleaning the floors, Sam set to work priming them to ensure that any remaining odor was sealed away from the soon-to-be new carpeting. The children and I spent all day Friday at the zoo while leaving the upstairs windows open to let the house air out after all that nasty primer. We had the windows open all day today, too, and as I type this there's nary a whiff of primer to be whiffed :)

So, this is the state of things right now. You might be wondering why we're putting carpet in before we do the other work in this room. That would be a sensible thing to wonder. But, the carpet we wanted is currently on **sale**, and we wanted to get the best price possible. We aren't planning on any super messy electric or drywall work in that room, so we're hoping this won't be a decision we'll regret. You may also be wondering why we decided to go with wall-to-wall when the trend is definitely hardwood. That's also a good thing to wonder. Mainly, it's just practical for us at this point. That's the Wrestle Room for our children. The Jump-Off-The-Couch-Onto-A-Pile-Of-Pillows Room... and it's concrete beneath. So, we wanted a nice 8 lb. pad, a low pile wall-to-wall, and we plan on an area rug or two to add extra cush and to help define our spaces design wise. Several years down the road, when the children are older and the carpet has served its purpose, we might take the plunge and replace it with hardwood. Never know.

So that's where we are in our progress :) Did you see the kitchen cabinet doors all spread out on tables to be painted in the backroom (two pics up)? I'm encouraged by all we have gotten done so far, but it definitely stretches me out of my comfort zone to have the house so chaotic. I mean, look at the kitchen table. Sherry, if you're reading this, I had to laugh when I saw this pic and thought of your organization posts. You're welcome to use this photo as incentive for readers ;) It's such a wreck. There's a little sneak peek of the kitchen wall color there, though.

I'll be sure to post some pics after the installation on Monday. The room won't be usable, yet, because we'll still have other areas exposed - safety hazards and all that. But, it will be a definite plus to be able to go downstairs without shoes. It's the little things, you know.

Thanks for taking a look at what we're up to, everyone. And remember, we'd love it if you'd leave a comment!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beauty in the Little Things

We had a few friends over for lunch the other day. I was cleaning up after they had left, and noticed how lovely the backlit glass looked on the table. Even with exposed concrete floors in the family room, cabinet doors off their hinges in the kitchen, and cans of primer and paint everywhere - there's still some prettiness to be found. I just need to have eyes to see it in the little things :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Still, It *IS* Progress...

We are slow as all get out with this kitchen cabinet thing. See, we tend to be rather... ahem... driven people (both firstborns and all that), and we're trying very, very hard to be balanced as we approach this remodel. We're trying to go at it a little here and a little there - Consistency is our watchword - not letting it eat up all of our family time or run us needlessly into the ground.

That's all fine and good, but when on earth are we going to finish these cabinets?

Based on the length of time it's taken to (almost) finish the first quarter of the job, I'm estimating we'll be completely done with painting the cabinets around the end of July. What? Why are you laughing? I told you, we're trying to be mature and balanced here.

But, still, we are making progress. Sam is putting the final coat of paint on two of the four doors tonight, and tomorrow evenings' work should finish up the other two. It's a lovely color. Perfect. I came across it serendipitously, really. I had been choosing outdoor colors for the shutters, garage door, trim, and front doors weeks before we actually needed them because Sherwin Williams had sent this fatty promotional offer email, and we stood to save well over a hundred dollars buying during the promo. Thankfully, I had already been putzing around with ideas in my head, so I was ready to jump on a few color choices when the deal came up. I wanted the exterior trim to be white enough to look fresh and clean, but cream enough to not glare at you and seem out of place. Whites can be so hard to choose. Basically, I took these easy way, grabbed a swatch strip that included one of our other exterior colors, and chose the white at the very top of that strip. Seemed like it would work well with that already-chosen color since they were on the same strip, right? Later that night, I tested the paint colors on sheets of posterboard. As soon as I opened the can of the white I stopped and stared at it. "This is the perfect white. This is exactly what I want for the cabinets." And there you have it :) Sherwin Williams "Panda White". Lame name. Great white.

And we're (almost) one quarter of the way finished with the kitchen cabinets now. Any progress is good progress. Yay.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Blew The Doors Off That One

You know, it's strange to see your front doors laying in the grass. But, there they were. Our front doors. In the grass.

Now before you get all concerned, let me put your mind at ease. Ours were in the front yard for a good reason. Those doors had a good 1/4" gap at their feet, making an all too welcoming hole for the awakening wildlife around our property. Sam made plans to remedy that problem while I tried not to freak too much with thoughts of, oh I don't know, SNAKES and things having a clear passageway into my house. So, the doors were in the front yard because (praise God) Sam was replacing the bottom weatherstripping on them. THANK YOU, Babe, THANK YOU!!!

He did a great job - I got on the floor in the entryway and tried to peer through beneath them after they were put back on their hinges. Not a speck of light :) I'm breathing easier tonight, friends.

Footing the Bill with Craigslist

Sold. Nearly my entire living room. Well, maybe I exaggerate a little - but, we did sell a sleeper sofa, 2 loveseats, and a wingback chair from that room. The sleeper sofa and loveseat combo was nearly 10 years old, so we didn't get much for that. But, adding up all of these items and a few odds and ends that we've sold on craigslist, we've saved up enough to cover all of the exterior paint for a project later this spring and about half of the new carpet expense.

This loveseat was hard to part with. We're beginning our remodel in the family room, though, and we needed to decide what to do with all of the furniture during the torn-apart-and-not-being-put-back-together-very-quickly stage. We opted to sell enough to allow us to move the family room furniture to the living room. This loveseat wasn't going to fit in well with any of our future rooms (it had been in our previous master bedroom), so - sold. $300 more toward the new carpet.

Speaking of the carpet, the old peed on carpet is GONE!!! We have nothing but cement and carpeting tack strips in the family room right now. Echoes like crazy, but it's extremely encouraging to see something happening! I'll try to post some photos within the next few days.

Until then, have a great Easter/Resurrection Sunday weekend, everyone :)

"He came to pay a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay." - unknown

Saturday, April 4, 2009

So Long, Honey... suckle

When we first bought this house, I posted the "back view" photo (below) that the realtor had used in the MLA listing. The pic had been taken in the springtime, and the honeysuckle was in full force, to say the least. We knew right away, if we were going to have this woods and not let the woods have us, we were going to have to take care of that honeysuckley pest.

I think we had lived in the house all of six weeks before we started getting estimates for clearing some of the underbrush. Sure, we're DIYers (in theory - it hasn't really been applied, yet), but there are some jobs that are very much worth the money it takes to hire professionals. Like, cutting and hauling extremely thick and tangly honeysuckle off of a 60 degree slope - in the snow. Even if we had cut and cleared it, we had no way to burn or haul it. What would we do with it? Estimates to have it hauled out were around the same price as the amount we paid to have the whole thing taken care of. No brainer. We were able to score a great deal with the tree guys because the weather was so crummy; there just wasn't a lot of work around. Although our little project was less than desirable (we actually had one guy tell us he didn't want the job), we eventually found a willing and capable tree service. Then, we talked them down to the price we were willing to pay. Hiring out exterior work in the winter certainly has its benefits.

The top photo is looking straight back at our property (facing east). You can see our nearest neighbor to the east - their house is through the trees there. The second photo is a shot of the left side of the woods and much of the north bordering neighbor's backyard. The third shot is to the right of our woods, showing some of our property and most of the south bordering neighbor's lot.

We have a little less than an acre total, and much of that is wooded. It feels like far more woods, though, because our property is adjacent to lots of other properties that share the same woods. Sam and I tried to estimate it, and our best guess is that our little woods is part of about 100 continuous wooded acres. The woods are, of course, bordered on one side by our street. On the other side they eventually skirt along a highway that we can hear when the trees are not leafed out, but cannot see at all. The photos above are taken from our back patio, while the ones below are taken from the second story - our master bedroom. It was very cold the day that I took the pictures, and you can see how my warmth made steam on the window as I tried to take the shot. I think they cleared the honeysuckle around January 21st.

When the tree guys were done with all their chainsawing, they tied rope around the bundles of honeysuckle and pulled them up the hill with a pick-up truck. They were very smart about their work - often using pulleys to route the brush into the path they wanted. They also did a great job of being mindful of our neighbors' yards... ours too, but there's only so much they could do to keep our yard looking nicely when they were basically piling large mounds of honeysuckle brush right in the front yard. This pic gives a general idea, but it was taken fairly early on. The piles got much bigger!

It took four to five men a total of two full days to take care of the honeysuckle on the slope. We're no where near rid of the pesky varmint, but the work they did that day gave us a head start. Now, Sam has a place cleared where he will be able to hopefully burn the remaining honeysuckle after cutting it. We're maybe a tenth of the way through it. Besides needing to clear the rest, we have to diligently keep the already cut stumps topheaded. Honeysuckle grows back. We really want to try to take care of it without chemicals if at all possible, so herbicides are out for now. There are highly recommended "Honeysuckle Pullers" on the market that are supposed to get the stump and lots of roots out, but we were getting rid of the honeysuckle on a steep slope very close to our home. In other words, we didn't want to loosen any of the soil and potentially make our slope a huge candidate for erosion issues. We have plans to excavate next summer and replant on a more gradual, (less frightening for a mother of small children) slope.

So, that's our first bit of real progress on the woods! It was money well spent, and having a clear view of the rest of the property nearest the house gives us a chance to visualize what we'd like to do with it down the road. The redbud trees are getting ready to bloom in our part of Ohio... love them. I'm thinking two or three would look right at home down under our larger trees :)