Friday, October 29, 2010

The Great Coffee Maker Debate.

Ok, so maybe it's not really a debate...only inside my head. We need a coffee maker. We drink coffee every morning. Even with the awesome $1 deal (if you bring your own cup) at the cafe downstairs...that's at least $60 a month...if we don't go back down for more in the afternoon, which, let's be honest, we do. So, coffee maker. Now, because I am my father's daughter I have been periodically perusing the Costco website trying to decide whether I want to become a member. About a month ago I found a coffee maker that I wanted on this website. Grind and brew, great reviews, sold. So I figured, instead of being hasty about opening a membership I would wait until my Dad arrived and we could go to the store. Great plan? Not so much. Upon their arrival we checked the website and the coffee maker was gone. GONE! Ugh. Well, maybe it will be in the store. Nope. Wasn't in the store. It was a sad day. So then I thought, maybe if I wait long enough it will come back on the website. Well, after two weeks of waiting, it hasn't come back to Costco and I have finally come to the realization that waiting is stupid when you can get the same thing on Amazon (for a slighly elevated price). Ok, so the point of rambling about my personal craziness is that now that I am ready to purchase said coffee maker, Amazon has opened up another door. A newer (better looking) model. For a slightly higher price, of course.

Ok, so this is the original one I wanted. Great reviews. Not a bad price for how amazing it makes coffee (supposedly). But here is what now slightly bothers me now that I have seen the new version: the size. They are the same height, but this one is listed as 16"hX12"lX11"d. Doesn't that seem excessively large? The one below is the newer model and is listed as 15"hX9.5"lX9.5"d. Maybe I am being crazy. Maybe that's not a big difference, or maybe it is when you have(one day will have) a kitchen the size of a postage stamp. And don't you just think it's prettier?


Too bad I didn't make this decision a week ago when my parents told me to "ORDER ONE OFF AMAZON ALREADY!", guess we will have to drag our guests for Halloween extravaganza 2010 to the coffee shop in the mornings. Sorry guys! Oh well.

Happy Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Framing begins.

Now that the bulk of the demo is done (and been dragged away in a massive dumpster) we have even more framing to do that we originally thought. We have to start with a few key walls in both bathrooms so our plumber can (finally!) get started.

Porky found a safe spot to lay on one of my many birthday gifts. Cement board for the bathroom!

My dad helped us pry up the newer flooring underlayment so that the new tile will be closer to the level of the hardwood in the hallway. The area under the toilet was part rotted and part missing, so we cut a clean edge to easily replace the two layers.

The first layer of plywood cut to size and put in.

Then the second layer using scrap pieces we had laying around from the kitchen window re-framing.

This is my excuse for why everything takes so long. Dogs. Maybe they think they are helping?

This is about as far as we got before there was a knock, no, a banging on our front door. Of course we already knew who it would be...our friendly neighbor Tommy. Now, when I say friendly, what I actually mean is "he hates our guts". This is only something we had guessed, and was confirmed last night when he informed us that he is "sorry you *expletive people ever moved in". Well, ok then. Point taken, we will no longer be doing any work on the house that makes any kind of noise past 7pm. Awesome. Guess what I will be doing tomorrow morning before work? Yeah.

We're Still Here.

This post might be more appropriately titled "A lot has been done, but I apparently forgot to pick up a camera". Oh well. My parents came in town for what can only be described as a week long birthday extravaganza. I took the week off of work and we worked on the house, went shopping, ate, went shopping, did some sight seeing, ate and then shopped some more. Amazing. I probably should have thrown in "worked on the house" one more time, because we spent the first half of the trip working them to death. Thanks mom and dad!!! I wasn't kidding when I said I forgot to pick up the camera a lot during their visit, but I did manage to snap a few pictures.

Step one was to finish the back bedroom demo.

We only managed to get the plaster down and bagged before their arrival...we could have done more, but we got "distracted" by a work party the night before that we were only supposed to attend for 30 minutes. Whoops. This is also apparently the part where I "misplaced" my camera...because I don't have any pics after this. Just imagine, no lath and a little bit cleaner.

The next project I was really excited to tackle...and then I never got around to it. The front chimney has been ready to take down since our roof adventure and the front bedroom demo were finished. This is as far as I managed to make it.

In my defense, I promise I was working on other the back bedroom demo.

Ok, maybe I made it to this point and after that mom arrived! She took down the whole chimney brick by brick. We dumped the bricks that were turning to dust and stacked the ones worth saving in the back yard (it's a really big stack).

Mom's amazing handiwork. Again, that damn camera just kind of disappeared during the whole "during" phase.

Boom. Chimney gone.

Now, maybe you are wondering what we did with all of that junk? Well, we finally broke down and rented a dumpster. It was a lot cheaper than paying the guys to tote it out. Although, maybe the sore muscles from carrying 7.5 tons of stuff out of that house wasn't worth it? Dad? Was it worth it? That's right, 7.5 TONS! That is just from the upstairs. I think P put it best, "our house just had gastric bypass".

HUGE dumpster, stuffed to the rim.

Dumpster and dust, or are those ghosts? Ooooo spooky.

All covered up and ready for pick-up the next day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Demo...of which I did not participate.

Ok, I participated a little. Only enough to get the paneling down and get these "before" shots. Although, now I am realizing that I don't have any actual before pics. I will try to post some later...actual before pics...taken back in November.
So clearly there are some past and present roof issues. Too bad, because I sure would like to keep this wallpaper hanging in the hallway. Ha.

Front room that used to be my closet...complete with new toilet just hanging out waiting to be installed.

Tape does not make for a good plaster repair job friends.

Neither does brick patterned contact paper.

Now, a "Recycle Kisses!" sticker on the other hand...awesome.

This is the part of the story where the scene ends and we have intermission, because after I took the pictures above I did not touch that room. Instead P's dad and bro tore. it. up. Have I mentioned how grateful I am?

After some back breaking cleanout it now looks like this.

And the bathroom looks like this!

Dumpster leaves in the next couple of days. So we have got to wrap. this. up. Back bedroom pics to come!

Front Bedroom Demo

Is anyone else tired of looking at demo? Just me? Well if you aren't then you are in for a treat, because that's all we (mostly P's dad and bro) have been doing since the exterior wall rebuild extravaganza 2010. I have already shared pictures of the bathroom mess and thanks to our aforementioned family heroes that mess is all cleaned up. Thanks again guys! The bathroom isn't the only thing getting a little pry bar love. We had/have to do all the other rooms too. So, two weeks later and after a lot of help, here we are, almost done with demo...and because this took so long and I don't want to shove it all into one post I will divide it into three.

Trim removed, all prepped and ready for demo.

I never seem to get enough before pictures before starting to hack away at something. Other side of the room with the wallboard removed (it was covering a previous door opening). Now time for the plaster.

Well there you go. Plaser removal doesn't really lend itself to stopping to take pictures along the way. We pretty much strap on one of these, close the door, open the windows and go to town. Thankfully we got an amazing tip from Bob (the demo guy) when he was in giving us a quote for how much he would charge to finish the work (we obviously opted to do it ourselves). So anyway, we had previously been hacking into each wall, hooking our pry bars through the lath and then just pulling chunks down...plaster and lath together. This makes for a super painful clean up that we always dreaded...see bathroom demo. Bob told us to take a shovel (we actually used the long scraper from the linoleum removal), beat the wall up a little (this loosens the plaster that drips down behind the lath holding the two together), then just scrape the plaster away from the lath with the shovel/scraper. Seriously guys, amazing. So much easier. Then you just shovel up the plaster and bag it and no more trying to shovel tangled sticks and plaster chunks. Thank. You. Bob.

Goodbye plaster. Is it just us or does anyone else think the lath looks really cool? I have seen a lot of houses where they did just that...left it in a hallway...or a study. Neat idea. P's bro actually told us about some house in Huntsville where the people removed all the lath, cleaned it, then re-hung it all, then I think grouted it and stained it. Intense.

In case you were wondering what a room full of lath looks like put into contractor bags. Challenge of the year: not putting too much plaster into each bag so that it ends up weighing a ton and can't be carried anywhere.

Loving that lath.

Close up of the chimney hiding out in hopes that I won't tear it down too (I am totally tearing it down, more on that later).

Favorite find from this room came from that very stove hole into the chimney. I had never heard of these (having never owned or operated an old stove myself), but I'm guessing they were pretty common. This is not the one we found, I forgot to take a picture of ours, typical. Anyway, they are these funny little metal hole covers that I am guessing came in a variety of scenes (ours is actually more of a prairie). The metal wires slide into the hole and hold the little decoration in place. Adorable. The cover seen below was found on Ebay and can be yours today.

This is what the room looks like now...just a little more lath removal and allll done.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Re-framing the Kitchen Windows.

P's dad and bro are here for the week...and they are taking care of business. They arrived Saturday night and we spent the remainder of the evening watching Alabama stomp all over the Florida Gators (War Eagle!). :) Sunday morning we pulled ourselves together and set out to start work on the house. After grabbing some brunch we arrived around lunch time and the boys decided to tackle the biggest project of the week, re-framing the back wall so that the windows could be re-positioned to accommodate the kitchen countertops. From what I remember it went something like this: "Let's re-frame the back wall"...proceeded to remove the existing windows..."ok, now what do we need from the HD?". There was much deliberation about how to go about the task (see below) and then we headed off to the HD.

After purchasing most of the necessary goods P's dad and I returned the rental truck to HD and returned to find this. No turning back now.

It was decided (and also recommended by our contractor) that the best way to go about this would actually be to remove the entire wall section, re-frame and then put new sheathing on the outside. So that is what we did. P spent a lot of time in that position and as you can tell I pretty much stayed behind the camera. Thanks Tyler and Dad!

Once the wall was cut through the weight of the ceiling sagged slightly and pressed down on the remaining studs (we thought the newly installed LVLs would pick up the load, but apparently not). After some quick deliberation P and I decided that we did not want to mess up the level ceiling that we had just paid a chunk of change the boys put in a brace. Not the prettiest thing...but it totally worked.

Porkchop made a request that the wall be left open for his benifit. His request was denied so he staged a brief protest in hopes that if he was physically in the way his new favorite view would not go away. Poor didn't work.

Sill beam with notches for previous studs.

After measuring we (and by we I mostly mean the guys) decided to stick frame the opening rather than build the wall and pop it into place. By this point I had deemed myself "light girl" and spent most of my time holding the shop light up and hopping around trying to shine it where it was needed most. Unfortunately right after they installed the header (around 9pm at this point) there was a knock on the door. Great. My least favorite neighbor had come over to inform us that we had woken him up with all the banging. Ooops. I did my best and sweetest "I'mmmm sorrrrrryyyyy"...I don't think it worked...I am pretty sure he has hated us since the moment we bought the place.

Time to patch up the hole. The plywood for the sheathing did the trick to cover most of it. (Sorry for the dust particles floating around in the pics!)

From the outside we just rigged up a plastic sheet from the upstairs windows to keep the rain out. It seemed to do the trick.

On Monday I headed into work and the boys went to the house to finish up. Unfortunately P was called back into work to help wrap up a competition (booo)...but work went on (yay!). When I arrived at the house after work this is what I found! Amazing. All that was left was to roll tar paper over the exterior and call it a day. It looks great and the countertop should squeeze right in (fingers crossed).

All covered up with tar paper. We will cut the tar paper around the windows when we put them back in. Sorry for the dust particles again!

More to come, including some demo work from last Saturday that we haven't quite finished and whatever those boys are up to today while I am at work!