18 Months Worth of Work

Shortly after I put together the last post, documenting the changes we had made to the house in our first year here – we learned two very life changing facts.

  1. While our AC was being repaired in June, we were told the furnace was busted and would need to be replaced or we would all die from carbon monoxide poisoning.
  2. In July, I found out I was pregnant!

So most importantly, over the past 18 months, I made this little guy who is already 9 months old (#math) and amazing and all over the place.

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But thats not really why we’re here.

That first discovery led to a whole world of chaos.

How do I make this story short-ish.

A normal person would have just replaced the furnace and called it a day and enjoyed the rest of the summer – but we are not normal.

To be fair, it was impossible to get the upstairs warm enough in winter or cold enough in summer. We were pumping air from the basement, through the huge main floor and upstairs from one undersized heating system and it was super inefficient. And my HVAC husband had other plans.

The boring part of this story is that we’re putting radiant floor heating on the main floor and are able to do that from within the basement. Technically, even that isn’t done – we did the big main room and dining room and most of the time its plenty to keep things toasty enough. The rest of the main floor has another life ahead of it and we haven’t wanted to attach to areas of the subfloor that might need to get replaced in the future. Other boring details – its powered by a tankless water heater, so we use that for all our hot water and some day it will also power heat to the basement. So its a beast, but amazing.

But, that left us without any heating/cooling for the upstairs where we need it the most. So it was time to start tearing the house apart. Literally.

We decided to install a separate furnace/heat pump system (honestly, I don’t even know what it all is) for just the upstairs. There is a furnace upstairs, all new duct work and of course, all new electrical. Goodbye knob and tube. It does heating and cooling since that is where all the bedrooms are so its always comfy for sleeping. We decided that we don’t typically need AC on the main floor because the house stays pretty cool down there except for exceptionally hot days. We may regret this decision when we do a master suite on the main floor but thats an issue for future Kim and Dylan.

So here’s the recap of what’s going on upstairs:

  • Tear down 90% of the walls to redo ductwork to all rooms, all the electrical, and reconfigure the half bathroom to a full bathroom.

Oh – AND we had just finished redoing the porch steps completely. And I am pregnant and chasing a 2 year old around while Dylan is spending all his free time working on the house.

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Goodbye weirdest half-bath ever.

Oh – and everything is lathe and plaster, which Dylan LOVED tearing down.

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We had to lose some really great built-ins, but I’m almost over it.

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Dylan did all the engineering of the new bathroom layout, electrical, ductwork, re-purposing attic space and the kids rooms. That alone saved us tons of money but probably added years of stress to his life. But I can say now that he did an AMAZING job.

View looking in the opposite direction (towards the bedrooms now)

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Spoiler alert – that big blue thing is a chimney and that goes away throughout all of this too.

So basically, this is the end of summer and all demo upstairs stops to focus on getting heat downstairs before we all freeze to death – because if you were paying attention, there is now no heat anywhere in the house, and Winter Is Coming.

And we have a 2 year old and a pregnant lady here. The two year old has been moved into her temporary bedroom downstairs lovingly referred to as the crazy room. Fortunately, she’s not picky.

Ok – so here’s where things get fun. We had to demo the chimney/fireplace because Dylan also wanted to relocate the stairs both to the basement and upstairs to improve the layout and flow. We had never really used the fireplace because it was unsafe. Someday we’ll figure out something besides the plywood inside the mantle that is preventing it from being a giant hole from the living room to the basement.

Bet you didn't know plywood could be so festive.

Bet you didn’t know plywood could be so festive.

But at the end of October, we had our chimney demo’d – which is an unfortunate time to remove a chimney because it’s fall/winter and now you have a chimney sized hole in your roof.

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It was temporarily tarped over – which brought on a great rain and windstorm and made it so that it was raining inside our house. Like – a lot.

And kind of cold.

I think at this point we had a ton of space heaters, specifically for P’s room of course and the living room. But we have a nice open space around the bedrooms now.

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We thought about turning the hole into a skylight, but that was too much money/trouble and it needed to stop raining in my house.

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Now here’s a LONG period of boring stuff, like running electrical, installing the furnace and ductwork, installing insulation and framing in the bathroom and attic spaces.

Oh, and apparently still installing radiant floor heating which looks like this. And yes – I would help Dylan while 6 months pregnant after P went to bed, or at naptimes because thats the only way things get done in DIY-land.

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And then this guy came along.

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So now we’re at March with an almost 3 year old and a newborn and most of our house still torn apart. AWESOME!

I’m really not trying to dissuade anyone from DIY-ing, but you should know its not all fun and games and shopping at fancy lighting stores…we’re almost to that part.

I also stopped taking pictures of the house and only took pictures of a squishy baby. But this is the boring stuff anyway – electrical, bla bla bla. Its real important to a house, but not good for photography.

This is upstairs in June 2016. All open, you can kind of see some different walls towards the bathroom. Basically the boring stuff is done and it’s about time to put it back together.

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By July we had even moved the baby out of our room and into his own room!

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Definitely hung a curtain from the rafters, set up his pack n play and a rocking chair and called it good – for several months.

And throughout this we had to also run new plumbing upstairs for the bath, and new sink and toilet location. And all those pipes have to go all the way to the basement, which meant we needed to open up a wall in P’s current room (the crazy room). So her room now also included this wall.

Bonus points though – the 3 year old now knows that toilet waste goes through the black pipes…which might be true.

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We were responsible homeowners and permitted all the electrical and HVAC and plumbing work – so it had to be done right, and inspected. But I’m pretty sure our house won’t burn down or explode, and that was worth it.

About this time we also ordered all new windows for the upstairs which took several months to manufacture and install (by professionals). There were a few hiccups along the way, but totally worth it. I love windows that actually open and are safe and quiet!

Here’s the old windows in our room.

Hi Jasons!

Hi Jasons!

New windows from the exterior.

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And our really cool, big privacy glass window that will be in our tub/shower. All the other windows are your basic window.

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So FINALLY, middle of October all of this sheetrock gets delivered and hauled upstairs!!

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Thankfully, not by us but by professionals. This next part goes a lot faster because we hired out the installation of all the drywall and tape/mud finishing. It would have NEVER gotten done and I was very over this project.

One guy hung all the walls in 2 days.

Another crew of several guys had it taped and mudded over a week.

You have to know what you’re good at and what problems to throw money at.

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We did haul all the drywall scraps ourselves and P even helped out.

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Then, we spent a frantic weekend priming everything – I took a few days off work to paint walls and get the rooms ready to move the kids back in. We had H in our room again, and P was still downstairs.

And here’s the part where if you’ve been scrolling because this is so freaking long – STOP – and I will actually show you what things look like now (even though its not totally done)

We’ve closed up a doorway in the dining room so we can move the stairs back eventually. I haven’t touched on this much – soon, they will go straight up instead of turn at the top so you come up and there is more head space, and more hallway.

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Here’s coming up the stairs

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And looking towards the bathroom

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And for fun- a quick before:

Upstairs Floors Before

Here’s P’s room, which I love.

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Complete with drill and stud finder still. Real life folks.

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See that crazy hole in the wall? Each kids room has a nook that used to be weird attic space. We moved some of it into each bedroom so the kids have an extra special play space. P already has hers trashed with toys and we’ve had some cozy family story time.

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And H’s room. Also love.

Ok – i just love having real rooms again.

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And of course there are little things like the curtain rod is too thick for the grommets in the curtains I got and the curtain rings I want are on backorder for 3 more weeks. So we tuck the curtains into the top of the windows and call it good. And we need to do all the baseboard and window and door trim. Turns out not having these things has never bothered anyone under the age of 4.

The only change in our room besides the windows was a new light fixture. We haven’t had an overhead light in our room at all, so this feels real fancy.

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Tons of storage space still – we have one whole nice not-scary attic near the bathroom.

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Holly G – if you see this, don’t be offended about your dino print! It’s going up, I just still have walls to paint!!

Yes – we still have to paint the hallway. We painted the floors in the kids room and put down rugs until we do something more permanent. And then we’ve torn off a bunch of stair railing in preparation for moving the stairs, so its totally dangerous up here still.

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You don’t have a special drop from your second floor to halfway down the stairs at your house?

And the bathroom needs to get finished but will be resumed after the holidays at this point. Tile is picked, fixtures are here. The tub is in…and you could even bathe in it if you were so inclined (which, I nearly am after all of this)

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So there you have it.

This project has nearly broken all of us multiple times over the last 18 months. But I can finally breathe. Dylan I think has some breathing room. Our babies are snug in their beds that are warm at night. And I would still do it over again…I think.

This was BY FAR the biggest thing we’ve tackled and probably the biggest project we will ever do at one time. There were so many interconnected pieces that made one little repair spiral totally out of control. But we knew that was a risk when we bought this place.

I don’t know how people blog about their projects while doing them, working and raising kids and trying to have a life. Obviously – I can’t do it all. But I will try to post major updates like this occasionally.

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1 Year In

Today we celebrate the first anniversary of our crazy house. Its been a wild ride, taken several dumpsters, long weekends and nights and the help of many. But we love it. So cheers to everyone who helped scrub walls, paint inside and out, entertain the small child, landscape, pull down trees, paint more walls (and ceilings), take old light fixtures and everything else in between.

Here’s a fun little trip down memory lane (and peeks at things I still haven’t blogged about) and how far we’ve come in one year. I did no cleaning – this is how you’ll find our house most days, toddler filled – life filled really. But it works.

It’s still very much a work in progress – but then again, most things are.

front beforeFront After 2015Spoiler alert: we’re putting in new stairs at the front of the porch. Hence the big piles of dirt and lack of bark.

yard beforeBackyard After

Living Room Beforeliving room after

Office BeforeOffice After

Dining Room BeforeDining Room AfterThe dining room has been one of my favorite transformations. I’m way behind in writing about it.

Kitchen BeforeKitchen AfterI’m not sure the After here is  better. Well it is. Its a million times cleaner and less smelly. But we are in the middle of Operation: De-uglify on the Cheap. So there’s Dylan in action for you.

lower guest beforelower guest afterAgain – not sure this is worlds better. Lovingly referred to as the Crazy Room. Its on the short list to have good things happen to it this summer.

Hallway BeforeUpper Hallway After

peri room beforePeri's Room After

upper guest beforeUpper Guest Room

master beforeNo skeletons in these closets – we keep them out in the open.

master afterSo there you have it. I’m exhausted just looking at those. I’ll be on the porch opening a bottle of bubbles to celebrate, while I watch my hubby dig new steps. 

The Final Facelift

Once upon a time, we thought we could paint the exterior of this house ourselves. Even with the help of friends and family, we were wrong.

I mean – we could have done it. But it would have come at the cost of missing out on fun family time and being stressed out and a slave to this house. We bought this house knowing it would need work and we like working on it. But some projects are just too big and better handled by a team of professionals for a reasonable cost – and that turned out to be the case for getting the exterior painted.

I spied on the painters from the house across the street.

I spied on the painters from the house across the street.

Dylan did a ton of prep work very thoroughly, which was hugely helpful. Not to mention that some of the house was even painted! But when we finally vocalized and realized that Dylan’s free-time for house projects was much better used on something that provides more value or would be more complicated/expensive to hire out, it became an easy decision to just finish the exterior and hire painters.

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So our house is painted! And it’s beautiful! It was amazing how quickly I can’t even remember what this house looked like with all the crazy colors. It makes such a difference for the charm of the house – I know the neighbors appreciate it. The red doors are having some issues with old stain leaking through despite a coat of oil-based primer, but since we hired that out – its not our problem to deal with!

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Painting complete – no gutters yet.

 

With new house paint also came new gutters. They were in terrible shape when we bought the house, so we had them taken down last summer when we started painting. That resulted in more water than normal seeping into our basement throughout the winter, but since Dylan tore our all the walls and flooring to remedy the water intrusion the right way, more water in the basement wasn’t a terrible problem for us. But now new shiny gutters are up. We do want to put in rain chains in the front (instead of waterfall streams into a bucket), but they still need to be ordered. The chains will be placed in the front because we also have grand plans to move the steps to the house to the front! Its on the short list for our spring/summer projects since we plan on using the porch so much with the nice weather.

Paint and gutters complete!

Paint and gutters complete!

The Last Stand Against Wallpaper

Alright, you’re probably tired of wallpaper by now…trust me – so were we.

One of the big treats to ourselves in this house was getting a master bedroom done. Our bedroom in the last house wasn’t very big compared to the room that lives in the big dormer of this house with all the windows. And 2 walk-in closets! Renovating the Master Bedroom also meant we were going to get a new bed and all the fixings! Its rare that a remodeling project comes complete with new furniture and decor in our world. So this was SUPER exciting for me.

Once Dylan got all the wallpaper down there was some repair work to do. Did we mention there was a hole in the wall?

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Hello Neighbors!

Hello Neighbors!

The previous owners had a portable AC unit that needed to be vented and I assume because there are casement windows in this room, they thought it would be better to just cut a hole in the wall to the outside underneath the roofline of the dormer. When we first looked at the house there was an armoire blocking the hole – because it was December so obviously you didn’t need the AC! That right there is logic.

So Dylan patched the hole in the wall and textured the walls to hide the plaster imperfections. Next up was painting more trim bright white like we did downstairs, a new wall color and finally the floors.

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Wall repair and texture.

The walls went a soft purple, which is still growing on me and a diversion from most of the greys/blues we’ve used before. But we kept the bedding and decor white and grey, so a little bit of color on the walls seemed necessary. A coat of fresh ceiling paint went up. A new ceiling fan went up, but we ended up leaving off the light fixture because the color of the globe is weird. For now we just use the table lights on the nightstand. And all our clothes are in the closets (sort of – story for another post) with dedicated lights, so it works for us.

How you paint with a toddler on the weekends. This sort of worked.

How you paint with a toddler on the weekends. This sort of worked.

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In all the other rooms upstairs we painted the floors a mint-green color…which is fine. I think we’ve decided we don’t love it, but it works. But in the master we decided to go with something a little bolder. I definitely wanted the master to have a retreat feel from the rest of the house. There is nothing better in my mind than a swanky hotel room – and if I could sleep in one in my own house each night, that is what I want.

So the floors got painted an almost black grey. We used Benjamin Moore floor paint in their oil-based product which I think they’ve now discontinued. It took 2 coats but it dries quickly and I did it during the day while P was at daycare because its pretty stinky stuff.

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Then the fun part of shopping came!

We got a new memory-foam King size bed from local company, Parklane Mattresses, along with some new pillows. These are definitely the people to go to if you’re looking for a new bed. And after sleeping on it for several months, we’re still both huge fans.

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I’ve dreamed of the bedding from Restoration Hardware for years. The duvet was a splurge but its SO soft. Sheets came from Macy’s Hotel Collection, also a bit of a splurge, but seriously – sleeping is the best. And they go on sale regularly, so if you’re patient you can get a decent deal on really great sheets.

We had some long discussions about the curtains – we needed SOMETHING to cover the 5 windows that take up almost the entire wall on the front of the house. The ones that face the street, so all our neighbors can see in if the lights are on. After scouring the web, Restoration Hardware came to the rescue again. They were the only place I could find curtains in a 100″ width which meant we only needed 2 curtains! A standard width would have meant at least 4 panels, and it would have been weird opening them in different places. The linen fabric is sheer enough that it lets in some light during the day, or they are easy to pull open on the sides. But the are definitely private enough for nighttime and block the light from streetlights.

Dylan also custom built the curtain rod out of pipe…of some kind. Something industrial and spray painted it a dark bronze. I was a little terrified it was going to come crashing down and murder us in our sleep, but I’m still alive so I don’t think its going anywhere. Because the span was so long, buying a curtain rod wasn’t really an option.

Last piece was a grey rug my mom and I found at Home Goods. Its super soft and anchors the room. While the dark floors are cool, the rug really helped it feel more cozy while still dark and calming. Here’s the final (for now). We want to build some nightstands instead of our cheap Ikea tables – but they work for now.

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Wallpaper Removal aka Happy Fun Times

Wall Paper Removal is often viewed as an insurmountable task.  I’ll admit, it’s not glory work and “fun” is not how I describe wall paper removal.  However, with the right tools and a lot of patience (also good music and cold beer) wall paper removal isn’t something to be scared of.

We had 3 rooms with wall paper; The Dining Room, the Master and the “Crazy Room”.  We got a quote for wallpaper removal when we moved in and it was roughly $3,000.  I could think of a lot of better ways to spend 3 grand so we resorted to doing it ourselves.  We purchased a small steam cleaner for about $70 on Amazon (HomeRight Steam Machine) and used a 6″ taping knife .  Some people use these Wall Paper Scoring Tools but after a bunch of research we concluded that the risk of damaging plaster with the scoring tool wasn’t worth taking on.  So we did without the scoring tool.

The removal is a pretty simple process:

1. Big Steam attachment on wall for 8-10 seconds in one spot:IMG_20140601_200028_912

 

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2. Scrape wall paper

 

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3. Drink

4. Repeat

 

We found that the top layer of wallpaper would separate from the bottom layer on the first pass, and the second pass would get the bottom paper layer and glue.  For the most part, 2 or 3 passes got a single layer of wallpaper down to the plaster.  


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Sometimes plaster comes off.  My attitude was to scrape any plaster that wanted to come off.  If it was loose, cracked or looked like it might come off soon – scrape it now while you’ve got the taping knife and are already making a big mess.  We’ll cover the wall patching in a different post.

Here are a couple shots of what walls looked like with all wall paper removed:

Dining Room:

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Master Bedroom – Blue is the plaster beauty coat, purple is the raw plaster base coat, and yea – that’s lathe in the middle.

 

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From the crazy room:

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The Crazy Room…or The Opiate Den

When we first moved into this house, we crammed as much of our contents as possible into 1 room.  We did this to free up the basement for demo and the main floor for refinishing hardwoods.  This room was affectionately dubbed “The Crazy Room” because the wall paper made your head spin and feel like you are down the trail of being committed against your will.

 

Move in day:

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Wallpaper removal is easy if you have the right tools.  I mean, it’s not hard – it’s a total pain in the bum and labor intensive but the difficulty is low.

 

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There are a few areas where plaster came off with the wall paper.  These areas will require patching prior to painting.  Something has to be done with the floor also.  Oh Joy.

 

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OutSiye!

OUTSIYE, as our 1-1/2 year old housemate calls it, has developed substantially in the past 7 months.  The face lift stopped abruptly due to weather – did you know that it rains during the winter in Oregon?

The view on move in weekend:

 

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The paint was failing miserably and the house was incredibly dirty – we were admittedly tied to the pink, fuchsia and periwinkle color combination.

Proper paint adhesion is all about prep work.  We power washed the house, scraped, sanded and primed all areas with loose/failing paint to create a paint job that we wouldn’t be redoing in 5 years.

 

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Current front and side view:

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The Ugly House on the Block

In case you couldn’t tell, our house is the ugly house on the block. Which is always the house we want to buy. When we first moved in, both homes on either side of ours were vacant and being renovated. Most houses on our street are older but have had more attention and love given to them than ours had over the past 20 years.

It was very apparent that the exterior needed some work. Besides not being in love with the crazy color-scheme (hot pink and purple isn’t our jam), we learned it had been over 20 years since the house was last painted, so the weather has taken a toll on a lot of the siding. Our front porch is also not up to code because its over 4 feet off the ground and doesn’t have any railing. This is not only an issue for our homeowners insurance that we need to deal with within the first 6 months of taking ownership, but the 1 yr old has gotten braver and more intrigued by the edge of the porch. So we’ll add that to the list, although it may get a temporary fix for the winter, and we can revisit a permanent solution when the weather gets nice again.

So, we’ve begun getting ready for paint. After handfuls of paint samples we just pulled the trigger on a full gallon of a grey that we never tested out. For a while, the green/grey on the right was our winner, which was Benjamin Moore’s Desert Twilight. But in the end we decided it was too green.

2014-07-14 16.33.36More samples went up in the back, too dark, too green.

In the end we picked Storm from Benjamin Moore…basically – we copied this picture on their website for exterior color ideas because I was starting to go crazy looking at color combinations for the exterior.

Screenshot 2014-09-24 10.19.39So the body will be Storm and we picked up Barren Plain for most of the trim (where its currently purple).

The Pink is mostly the wood windows, so we picked up a bright white for that – Wedding Veil.

We weren’t feeling the blue but wanted another dark accent for our corbels (those are the things near the roofline on Craftsman-style houses) and parts of the porch columns and went with Wrought Iron.

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The worst part of painting the exterior of a house is the prep work that needs to be done first painting the exterior of a house. Dylan has been busy power washing, sanding, caulking and priming before we are even ready to put real paint back on this house. P really enjoyed watching him power wash the front porch from the safety of the couch.

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Here’s a few live action shots of prepping a house for paint. Its not as fun as it looks.

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The porch column here has been sanded a bit – it wasn’t that bad originally.

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Taking out hooks from the porch. Previous owners  probably had 30+ hanging baskets…or things hanging from the porch. We also ditched the screen door on the front that was in rough shape, and just power-washing the front took off a lot of paint around the front door.

And some more fun of priming the porch column in the back.

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We did buy fairly high-quality paint so I could probably get away without some of the primer, but since we were doing a lighter color trim over that deep purple and pink and there was a lot of bare wood, it seemed like the better idea to just throw some primer on there. If some extra time now buys me years of not having to do this again, I’ll take it.

So here is Storm, live and in person after having dried.

 

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There’s really not much to say – its a nice, medium tone true grey. Maybe a touch on the green side. And there is a little of the light blue left for comparison for you. With how big this house is, we didn’t want to go too dark and have the house become a giant dark…blob.

We’ve got one big push this weekend to see how far we can get. There is a lot of trim detail to handle that is going to take some patience, and hopefully we have enough sunshine left in Portland to get this all done!

 

 

 

 

Sweating the 80’s aka Painting Things: Part 2 of 3267

As you may have been able to tell – there was some pretty groovy wall-paper in this house. Most notably in the dining room and master bedroom upstairs. It had to go.

Here’s a close up of the dining room in all its glory.

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Yeah – it was shiny/metallic with hummingbirds. Not really our taste. And like the living room, all the trim was off-white. I’m pretty sure that it started out off-white but this room was also the room with the most nicotine stains on the walls/trim/ceiling. It was gross. We really got to enjoy this while steaming the wallpaper off.

Let me back up a bit. I DREADED taking off wallpaper. Everyone tells you that it is the worst project to tackle. So I spent a lot of time looking at videos online and reading what worked best for other crazy folks. And even had someone come out to give me a quote on what it would cost them to remove the wallpaper and repair any damage underneath. Long story short – the quote was more than we wanted to spend for 3 rooms (although Spoiler Alert for one of the rooms alone we should have paid for someone else to do it because the walls are REALLY bad underneath.) So, I purchased a steamer which can be used for cleaning all the things as well as having an attachment for wallpaper for about $70 on Amazon. Here are some more before shots of the dining room for you.

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Again – things we love about this room:

  • The built in hutch. Its not actually very practical but its pretty.
  • The big windows. We immediately took off the storm windows (thats whats creating the stained glass look. Its not real. And its ugly. They all went away.
  • French doors into the living room. We only close these to cage our child into the main room, but they’re pretty. But have been a pain to paint. I have been living with green frog tape on them for probably 2 months now.

The great news with the wallpaper was there was only one layer (miracle of miracles!) and it came off really easily with the steamer. Just stick that baby to the wall (the steamer, not our real baby) for 20 seconds at a time and scrape away and it came right off! And the walls underneath were in great shape. No worse than the plaster in the living room. We soon learned not to expect the same result anywhere else.

Fun fact – I have no in progress pictures of removing the wallpaper. But here is what the walls looked like when we were done.

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Not bad. Not pretty, but no major problems to speak of. And then we lived like this for a long time. We even hung art.

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So we decided to throw a house-warming party and I was determined to get this room painted and the furniture put in place as I figured it would be where a lot of people would congregate and munch on food.  So off to the paint store I went.

I’ve had grand ideas about this room that may play out in the future, but for now we just wanted it to feel cozy and warm and a place our friends and family want to sit and eat and drink and chat for hours on end. So I found a bold blue that is similar in shade to the grey of the living room, but definitely more blue on the color scale. Say hello to Benjamin Moore’s Normandy and is one of their 2014 Color Trends!

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Hey, it looks like a dining room now!

Plus all the trim got several coats of bright white paint as well.

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The grey in the foreground is the living room, so you can see the colors in certain light almost look the same, but are actually fairly different in person.

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There are plenty of things that still need to be done in here. The ceiling needs to be primed and painted. That light fixture needs to go. And long-term we’ll probably pick out a new table, but the one we have works great for now. This room is large and could handle some more furniture. I’d love more storage for our china and extra serving-ware that is still in boxes in what we lovingly refer to as the crazy room.  But its a functional, clean space that has had some new life inserted into it. It was time to shake off the bad perm and join 2014.

 

Renovation Realities

Have you seen that show? Renovation Realities…its on HGTV and is so bad its good. The premise is that its just ordinary folks that are doing a project and they send a camera crew to film them. No host, no money, nothing. There are a lot of people who do projects that shouldn’t. We watched someone almost blow up their house! But based on the houses we’ve bought, we already knew that people do things to their houses that they are not qualified to do. I mean – even Dylan makes me stand by the electrical panel with a broom in hand in case he zaps himself.

The broom is to push him away from the electrical current that would be zapping him. But thats never happened. Or even come close. Just saying – be safe out there folks.

Anyway, thats not what this post is about. This post is about the reality that not all things are happy go smoothly, throw money at a problem or a good coat of paint should fix things. This is about the stupid things in houses that are going to be that way for a long time.

And  today, my gripe is the upstairs bathroom.

This is the largest half bath in the history of half baths.

By half bath, I mean that it only has a sink and toilet. And don’t get me wrong, I’m glad these are upstairs. It comes in handy for washing Tiny’s hands. Or late night bathroom trips.  But seriously, look at this space.

Upstairs BathroomThere’s another one of my trusty pano shots for you that get all fish-eye in the middle. Sorry.

Its probably…12 feet long if I had to guess by maybe another 5. But the real problem is the roofline which you can start to see here. The only place where there is a full ceiling height is in the middle, where the windows are, which would be kind of weird for a shower.

So part 1 of this story is that, this bathroom is going to be dumb for a long time. We’ve found some cool ideas on Pinterest on how to work with it, and long-term the whole upstairs is planned to be a kid-zone. So this would be a kid-sized bathroom. And I LOVE the door. Weird thing to love, I know.

Its hard to see, but it has a big glass privacy window on the top half. I envision painting the door a fun color some day. 

Part 2 of this story is that last night it was REALLY windy. And the windows had been open in here and in the master at the other end of the hall. And by this morning all the windows were wide open – which was too much because we’re having one of those October in July sort of days. So, I went to close the bathroom window. We knew the storm window was broken (the glass was visibly cracked). But getting the window closed really did in that storm window.

Broken Storm WindowI’m sure the neighbors loved the sound of shattering glass coming from a second story onto the rocks and concrete below at 6:30 in the morning. 

Fortunately, this is just the storm window, so Dylan can take the whole thing off and in the meantime I’ve just closed the actual window and we are protected from the elements. 

We have given this bathroom a good scrub-down and replaced a bunch of toilet parts since it wasn’t working well. So at least it functions, because having two working toilets in a house is a nice feature. There’s just a lot of ugly and wasted space to deal with in the meantime.