Thursday, February 28, 2008

Note to Self

Someday when our finances are a bit more in order, I want to remember that there are fabulous sheets, duvet covers, and pillows at The Modern Bedding Source.
This post is just to remind me.
They are giving away a duvet cover from here at Apartment Therapy.
I like this one a lot. It would look fabulous with the grey walls, no?

House Updates!

More pictures! We are frantically moving and I believe we will make the deadline. We are going to appropriate the money saved by not paying rent at the cottage on lots of good TAKE OUT (as my Mom has been graciously informing me) food and buying tools to make the repairs go quicker. Here are some updates!

Look at these gorgeous wood floors. Seriously. I am SO happy with them. It was a ton of work, but definitely worth every minute. SO lovely.

Here I am painting the guest room "Carolina Blue." Looks like Carolina Blue, no?

Apparently, a bit brighter than Carolina Blue. OH well. I like it. And it looks great with the dark floors. Here we are starting to pile up boxes. Note the new kitchen cabinets tucked in there!

The pretty pretty gray bedroom. I spent SO long in here, several coats of paint, careful edging. But it looks awesome. Better than this picture shows, I think!

Snacks have been critical during this entire endeavor. I will work for 15 hours straight if there are snacks. Triscuits and cottage cheese are my favorite. Starbucks Iced Coffee helps with the whole 15 hours thing.

The new dining room. Gorgeous, no? Actually it is a huge improvement. Our very own Home Depot. The right side is a plastic "wall" that keeps dust out of the rest of the house.

Plumbing lives on the dishwasher. The grey box in the foreground is our snazzy new tankless water heater. So tiny, yet super powerful. Luckily that is now installed.. however still waiting plumbing. This weekend, hopefully!

Electrical lives on the stove. I am learning SO much in this experience.
The old kitchen cabinets serve as the tool rack. Trent is in heaven, he has a free pass to get whatever tool he needs to make this house happen. Happy camper. Most useful? Cordless drill, Skill saw and Miter saw (Thanks a million Dad!)

All neatly tucked away in the working side of the house! Fabulous, no? We have about 50-60% of our things at the new house, and big plans to take half a day off work tomorrow to finish it up. We've managed to get rid of/sell all the old appliances (except the fabulous fridge we are restoring) so it is starting to look like a real house! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How to Make a Doorway!

Enough feeling sorry for myself. We are rockstars (thanks Haley!). We are doing fabulous things to this house and it is definitely going to pay off in the end. Lemme show you how ridiculously gungho we are.

First, decide where you want the door. Then go nuts on it.

Do be sure to measure and check your level. After my initial contribution, I went back to painting and let Steph and Trent take over.

With a strategically placed garbage can outside a window, they made quick work of clearing out the first side. Note Trent's hand poking through on the bottom left corner.

There was lots of consulting "The Book," a massive how to do everything yourself book my Dad gave us for Christmas that has been incredibly useful.

Soon, they were down to just the studs. Trent built a brace with 2x4's and jacks to ensure the house wouldn't come tumbling town when the studs were cut.

Moment of truth, cutting the first stud. It was fine! Hooray!

One stud cut, one to go!

I emerged from painting and pretty much just made panicked noises as they cut the final stud. Surely helpful, no?

Steph and Trent were much more productive, double checking everything and testing the load bearing of the final stud. Then we all took a deep breath and...

Huzzah, nothing came tumbling down. We quickly put up Trent's big support beam and with elegant coordination, Steph and I put up the new side jackposts. Even after we removed the brace everything looked great. We have to get it inspected, since we are trying to do everything to code. But after that we are going to slap some sheetrock on it, frame it, and paint it. It will be fantastic!

This was me...

This was pretty much me last night. For a variety of reasons. Namely;

1. We move in on Friday. We've yet to complete the kitchen, including the installation of the hot water heater. Swimming will start to be a daily thing.

2. We move in on Friday. Yet only about 30% of our stuff is actually at the new house. And the 70% left at the cottage is not nearly packed as well as it should be. Or at all.

3. We spent a lot of time in the crawlspace under the house, prepping the electrical and plumbing for the kitchen. Crawlspaces are SO scary. I am too much of a Californian to not be nervous crawling around under a house. But I wanted to be brave, and to help poor Trent. I found singing the theme song from Indiana Jones helped.

4. I have three talks in March I need to prepare for. And I need to make a new poster worthy of my first big conference appearance. Luckily my science is going pretty well, but I definitely feel like I have been slacking in that department.

5. I am still training for the Boston Marathon. And need to be training a whole lot more.

6. We move in on Friday.

I finally got to sleep but had crazy crazy dreams. Getting up early to go swimming was almost a relief. We have the option of staying a couple weeks longer in the cottage (our landlord loves us), but I kind of think it might be worth just getting the move done and being in the new house. Moves are never easy, and this one is particularly tricky, but it might be better to just bite the bullet and perhaps take Thursday off to just get it done.

I am falling apart!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Man. We are exhausted. This weekend was nuts. The impending moving date is looming and we really put the pedal to the metal this weekend in a last minute sprint to finish as many projects as possible. I have tons of great pictures, but after getting home at 10:30 last night (after working since 8am), uploading them was last on my list. I hope to get them up tonight. But, to keep you posted, we've:

1. Finished the wood floors. And they are gorgeous. The later coats of varnish dried a lot quicker than the first, which was terribly important. It is a rich, dark, golden brown. I love them!

2. Painted the spare/guest room a cheery, bright, blue. It was supposed to be more "Carolina Blue," but since we are pretty much only buying paint that is in the "reject" bin ($5 per gallon), we have a bit less control. I like it, and with some art, freshly painted white basebards, and curtains, I don't think it will be overwhelming.

3. Painted our bedroom a light gray. We did splurge and actually custom order this paint, and it was well worth it. I managed to paint the baseboards late last night, so this room is pretty much done. I can't wait to decorate, it is going to be awesome. I haven't had a bedroom that got to be just a bedroom in a long time, so I am excited to make this room a peaceful getaway. With NO bikes! Unbelievable.

4. The big project was the new doorway from the dining room area to the kitchen. We weren't going to do this until awesome assistant Steph showed up to help, then we figured why not? It was really interesting to see how easy it was. At least on my end, Trent had to do all the planning and making sure the house didn't tumble down when the beams were cut. I just got to hammer a lot of stuff. I LOVE the new layout, I was a bit uncertain going into it, but this one door definitely changes the whole design of the house. Great idea, Trent!

5. We got a fancy-dancy medicine cabinet, signifying that the bathroom is 99.9% complete. Crazy!

6. Trent made plastic "walls" to separate the parts of the house that still need work from the ones that are nearly done. We moved all the construction stuff out of the kitchen, and organized it into neat piles on plastic in the dining area. Feels like we have our own Home Depot in the house, but it is great to be organized. And now the kitchen is free to be finished up!

7. Speaking of, Trent's permit got accepted. This is a huge deal, all that electrical code stuff is super confusing, and this was his first attempt, so we are very jazzed. We bought tons of wire and pipe supplies, gotta get that heat on demand water heater installed asap!

Major improvements this weekend, which is exciting. We've laid down old sheets in the guest room and started moving some boxes in there. The trick will be to keep things organized and relatively clean during this process. I think it will be great when we are actually living there, not constantly shuttling back and forth. However, I am starting to get really sad about leaving the cottage. It was our first real home, and we had so many wonderful experiences there. And it is terribly adorable. Time to move on though.

Sorry this is long. Too tired to leave my desk and deal with all my unhappy and neglected fruit flies. Expect pictures soon and wish us luck, this week is going to be nuts!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Kitchen Story

So this one isn't quite as nice yet as the beautiful wood floors, but it is a charming tale of the dedication we are putting into really restoring this home, instead of just topical, "quick fixes." We are the real deal. Enjoy...

This is the cute, 1950's kitchen, we bought. Not too bad, right?

Then I get to investigating with "my bar" and the story changes quickly. I am about to discover the house's USSR designed water heater. Not a pretty picture.

And then, crash, bang, boom... a few hours later the kitchen looks like this. We discover the sub-floor needed to be replaced under the sink, but did manage to salvage the cabinets. I thought the destruction was over.

However, while I am locked away in various rooms doing battle with the sanding machine beast, Steph and Trent realize that the electrical outlets are not going to be to code in our new design, so off with the sheet rock.

I stumble out hours later to find my kitchen like this...

So it looks bad, I understand. But really we aren't in that bad of shape. We have the new subfloor in, have bought new cabinets and "new to us" fancy appliances. The electrical is designed and awaiting permit approval and electrician inspection and then we can slap on some new dry wall and start installing away. We've decided to change the layout a bit, and will be moving a doorway, but we figured we might as well make it look great since we have the motivation (I almost said time, but.. that is debatable). We'll get it done. And it will look something like this.

These are Trent's sketches he emailed to me one day I was feeling particularly nervous about the renovations. We scored some great granite counter tops off of Craigslist, as well as fancy-dancy oven and dishwasher. We've decided to renovated the vintage Hotpoint fridge, as it just is SO cool, but I will wait to unveil that beauty when it is all done. Here is my kitchen sink I fell in love with and have been meticulously renovating, isn't it awesome?

Can't wait to show you how it all comes together! It will truly be a labor of love and dedication.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Triumph Of A Hallway

Keeping you updated on the nonstop home renovations, enjoy the heartwarming tale of triumph over the evils of linoleum...

This is our first night at the house. What's that we see under the yuckiest linoleum ever? Hard wood floors?

So I spend a terrible Saturday scraping the floors by hand. Lots and lots of blisters and cursing ensues.

Trent feels sorry for me and buys me an electric planer. Huge improvement!

However, still a huge pain to do. I am feeling pretty sorry for myself here.

But the results are pretty amazing! Good friend Sheila spends a day bondo-ing nail holes and we drive the beast of a floor sander over the hall and it looks pretty much like the rest of the floors.

Our awesome date Friday night, rubbing stain and eating chips and hummus. Looking good!

Stop it, you are too gorgeous. I don't believe it. This is after one coat of varnish, we are planning on doing several more and a final coat of buffed wax. This floor is going to be a showstopper!

Things are coming along, now that the floor is done we can start moving things in actually. Next weekend will be a big painting party with all our awesome friends who have been SO helpful. The kitchen is... no where near being finished, perhaps I will share those pictures, but they are a bit scary. We have decided to move some doors so it probably won't be done for a while. But it will be awesome when it is done! The bathroom is plumbed and totally functional, and a beautiful deep navy paint. That is the perk of owning, you can paint everything! We are getting pretty tired, but the move in date is near, so we have to keep it up for a couple more weeks. Expect lots more pictures to come!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you all have a wonderful day with the ones you love. Enjoy!

Picture is of Glovers. Fantastic Idea.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

OH man.

Buying $200 concert tickets it the LAST thing I should be doing, with the whole house remodeling thing going on, but I am pretty sure I would give my left arm to go to Bonnaroo this summer. It is a perfect blend of Trent's favorites (Pearl Jam/Metallica), my favorites (Jack Johnson/OAR/Ozomatli), and bands that have extra significance for us (Mason Jennings, who we drove to Chico to see open for Jack Johnson about a month into our relationship).

We went to the Sasquash Festival in Washington state when we were in college and loved it. Tennessee is not too far away. Maybe I can start a dog walking business or something.

Me, me, me.

Enough with house stuff for a bit, Emily has tagged me. Let's see.. seven random things about me. Here we go:

1. Since the start of the year, I have gone swimming every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7am, except for one. And I regretted not going that one day. Even if I am all sleepy and blargh, getting up and going swimming makes me so much more productive during the day. I even now have my boss going twice a week too, I am spreading the message.

2. If money, environmental concerns, and mercury levels were no concern, I would eat sushi every single day. Tuna avocado rolls equal heaven.

3. I am irrationally afraid of people in mascot or other character outfits. I am a hugger, definitely, but I don't think just because you are wearing a furry suit, you should be allowed to hug me. I've been known to actually run away.

4. I have two lines at the inside of my elbow joint. My mom has that one one arm, I have it on both. Makes for great conversation at cocktail parties with geneticists.

5. I am a sponsored runner. Trent emailed my results from my Boston qualifying marathon to a bunch of companies and Sugoi decided to sponsor me. Pretty much fantastic, since I get cool clothes!

6. I think green algae is the coolest organism on Earth. Except for Trent, that is.

7. I always turn on music right before people come over to our house, if it isn't already on. And I am very careful about the music I pick. I have no idea where this came from.

Anyways, enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Do It Yourselves!

How to re-finish your floors: Part One

Lots and lots of Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, to motivate waking up at 7am on the most exhausting weekend. Rent sander from Home Depot. Amaze the guy at the desk, "wait, you are doing this yourselves?" Seems to be the motto of this entire experience.

Vacuum carefully wood bondo-ed floors with most fantastic vacuum ever. I love the Dyson!

The floors before. Scuffed and tired.

Prepare to do battle with the beast. Which means getting dragged around the room by a 200 pound machine that will eat through all your wood floors if left in any place for more than a second. Awesome. No good pictures of me doing this, but this is ALL I did on Sunday. 36 grit, 60 grit, 100, grit. Over and over and over.

But the results are amazing! Look at that lovely wood floor!

Enjoy some chips and guacamole with your favorite construction partner about 8 hours later. Try to ignore all the sawdust up your nose.

Done for the day. Coming soon, staining and sealing!

ps: i am digging the overall artistic quality of these pictures.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Bathroom

And now for the first photos from a near completed project, the bathroom.

This actually a couple steps into the before, but you get the idea :)