Thursday, March 31, 2011


Ever had one of those weeks where very little seems to go right? Yeah. I'm having one of those. These kinds of weeks...the ones that dish out clogged pipes, plumbers working until 11:30pm which causes angry neighbors to call the cops, temperamental boilers, stress at work, somehow getting ZERO tile work done all week which means we are still showering at the gym annnnnd the dog just vomited next to me in the office...for the second time today...these weeks make it hard to see just how lucky we are.

Lucky to have pipes to unclog...doggies to take care of...a bathroom to tile...a job.

Trying to remind myself. Trying.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day of Doors.

Ok, I lied, not all of this happened in one day. But, they did all get installed the same day, so it felt very instantaneous.
You might remember these from almost one year ago. Yikes. Well, sometime mid-winter our carpenter drug them away to his home shop to work on them during his free time. He patched, sanded, primed and dutched the old mortise hole and installed the new hardware. Then he constructed the frame and brand new mahogany landing (which I am in love with and you can barely see below) and hung the doors then installed weatherstripping. All I could think was "I really like those doors" and "man I'm glad I didn't have to do all that". True diy spirit huh? The glass should go in soon along with the rest of the interior and exterior trim. Then I will share more "finished pics". We will paint the outside of the doors and the surround when it gets warmer out.

Just to be clear the doors are fully operational. With hardware installed. I just don't have current pics. Cause I'm lame.

While all that business was going on in the front, this party was happening in the back. Like a mullet. Get it? Ha. I'm hilarious.
Our old back door was completely shot from this whole renovation and we were having to screw it shut at night to secure the house. Yeah. That's bad. And while it wasn't a terrible door, it was metal and in decent condition, it needed to be re-framed and hung and we knew we wanted something that let more light into the addition in the long run. Enter sliding glass patio door. We found a used Pella sliding door at one of our favorite local resources that was in great condition. So, after about a week of "thinking things over" and going back to the Resource Center to take a second, third, fourth look we decided to do it. While it was already a great price, we noticed that it had actually been in the Resource Center since November of last year, so we decided to make a lower offer. The sales guy told us to come back the next day and talk to the "boss lady". Ooohhhh, that sounded scary. But we did. She was tough, but she accepted our offer "as long as we picked it up the next day". Yes ma'am. She didn't seem like the type you mess with.
So anyway, I really can ramble about a good deal, can't I?
The back opening looked like this for a few days. Nothing more appealing than moving into a house with a tarp covering an opening. Don't worry, the door was installed before move in. I know you were worried.

P reframed the opening all by himself. He also uncovered the super frightening addition foundation that literally made me cringe. Check out that skilled brickwork. Did a child build that?

Sometime mid afternoon I left to go let the puppies out of the rental apartment, and when I came home, this is what I saw! I love when that happens.

Upstairs didn't get left out of the door action either. See, the same day that we picked up the Pella door we also scored some free doors from P's boss. They renovated their amazing house in the South End a few years back and took out all the old solid wood four panel doors to be replaced with new, more contemporary single panel ones. We had discussed either mis-matching all of our doors with nice salvaged ones and restoring and painting them the same to tie them together (only one of the existing doors in our house was worth salvaging, sadly) or trying to hunt down a set of salvaged matching style doors (which seemed unlikely). One day at work, P was talking to his boss about how it was hard to find a set of four panel doors at the salvage place that were the right size for our doors. And then, boom, we were invited to come look through "the door graveyard" in their basement and take as many doors as we needed. Nice huh?
So that's what we did. I love the idea of reusing over buying new...which is why we go to the salvage place almost every weekend...and I suppose why I'm taking an upholstery class too. So we will scrape, sand, patch and paint these and call them new.
S is for "salvage". I like to make myself look intelligent in front of P's bosses and ask questions like "What's up with the red S?". Yep. They pretty much think I'm a genius.

Ugh. I just found more pics of the mahogany landing before it was installed. I'll share later. This is what happens when you get this behind on sharing stuff!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Upholstery Class #7

So this is where I left off at the end of class #6. Stuffed and squishy.

Everything stapled down tight.

After waiting until the complete last minute (of course), I finally picked out a fabric. I'll be honest. I'm not completely sold. Here's how it went down. I wanted velvet. I don't know why, I just did. But I wanted navy velvet. Probably because I adore this couch (third pic down). Yes, I know that is a totally different style than my chair, but I love it. Maybe I will just recover this chair in the perfect navy velvet and we can have a velvet party at the Dog House? Who's in?
Ok. Back to the point. I didn't find a navy velvet in person, that I could touch, to make sure it was the perfect softness and awesomeness. What I did find was one grey velvet of perfect softness and one green velvet that we thought was both fun and classic at the same time. So I did what any normal indecisive person would do. I took a vote. Friends, family and P all voted for what I am now lovingly calling either "the pickle fabric" or "the christmas fabric". Meanwhile, in my head I'm thinking, "but grey, that's super neutral. yeah. neutral is good. grey is safe. yeah. let's do grey. oh, but i do like the pickle green. there is something really fun and nice about the pickle green. ahhhhhhhh. i can't decide.".
Life is good when your main struggle at the moment is a fabric choice.
So, I set off to the fabric store, still going back and forth in my head. I arrived at the fabric store (in the middle of NOWHERE, no, just kidding, it's in Lynn, MA, same thing) with, no joke, like 10 minutes before they closed. Awesome. Did I mention I'm also wearing an amazingly dirty little outfit from working on the house all day? Awesome. Oh, I'm getting off topic again. Ok, fabric. So, I rush back to velvet land, where alllll types of velvet live, except the perfect navy velvet, but I'm not dwelling. Long story short. I close the place down while I stand in the back of Zimman's staring at my two selections...while a very patient salesman stares at me. In the end, it was a gut decision. I went outside of my comfort zone and went with crazy Christmastime. I'm not all that happy with my gut today, but we will see.
So, after all that rambling. Here it is.

Pickles and Christmas. Hmmmm. Is it weird that that kind of makes me hungry?

Class #7 essentially consisted with cutting into the pickle fabric and heading into the sewing area where I proceeded to have a wresting match with an ancient sewing machine. It won.
I switched to a newer machine, and I won. I sewed (most of) this bottom piece. And, as is becoming tradition, didn't get a final picture of it all stuffed and stapled down. But it is, stuffed and stapled down.

Mmmmmm. Christmas.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We've Moved!

Again. Back in the Dog House. With no working shower, but let's not dwell on that. At least that gym membership is going to get some action in the next couple of days...

Unloaded the last few things at two o'clock this morning. It's probably best that we went ahead and confirmed any suspicions our neighbors might have had about whether or not we are totally nuts.

Yep. Pictures as soon as I regain full (who am I kidding, 60%) of my brain function.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Oooooooohh Ahhhhhhhhhh.

No, this picture wasn't taken when it was raining outside. That's condensation on the inside of the window! Because the brand new plaster on our walls is radiating heat and it refuses to warm up outside in Boston. But that's another story. This post is all. about. the. plaster.

Everyone was right. A skim coat of plaster over blue board really does look better than drywall. At first I was all "whatever, silly peeps, a wall's a wall". And when people would scoff and say things like "drywall? that's only for commercial buildings", I would roll my eyes at how silly they were. And while I still think they are silly, I totally see what all the stink is about. It's biuuuuuuutifullllll. (That's beautiful for those of you who can't read my crazy talk).

Smooth and shiny.

Before the board and plaster went in we were thinking we had gone totally overboard on the recessed light action downstairs. But now I think it looks just right.

Future home for three pendant lights hanging over the kitchen island. (And by future, I mean tomorrow! The lights go in tomorrow, not the island, unfortunately).

Curved transition. On Monday the boarders were all like "you want a curve there???" and I was like, "ummm, yeah, yeah I do, biatch". No, I didn't really say that.

Back bedroom.

Future bathroom vanity location. Whenever it finally gets built...

Bay window.

And downstairs. Again. Hmmmmm, are those entry doors I see on those saw horses??? Man, I'm getting really good at this foreshadowing thing.

Blue Dog, Blue Board.

Ok, I am apparently having a massive fit of incompetence...cause I can not get that picture of Porky to rotate in the right direction. And I'm too tired to mess with it anymore. But there you have it. Blue dog. Blue board. Did anyone know his name was Blue when we adopted him? Well it was.

The "boarders" showed up bright and early Monday morning and threw the board up in one day. Literally. Threw. Those guys are craaaazy strong. P and I may or may not have been toppled over by a stack of blue board over the weekend, but these guys carried it around like nothing. Crazy.
Downstairs, living room looking into kitchen.

Blue board meeting stair.

Upstairs, front bedroom. Check out that sweet slanty closet.

Stair Detail. The wood cracked when the structural work was done. I kind of love it. I'm sure P hates it. So picky. :)

Oh, and I so want some of those drywall stilts for my next birthday. Anyone else think those things are super cool?

Pink, Pink, PINK!

It's been a craaaazy week! We managed to slide some fiberglass insulation in Sunday for soundproofing before the guys showed up Monday to hang the blue board.

You know, so I can sing in the shower at the top of my lungs and not wake P up.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Upholstery Class #6

I somehow managed to only get three pictures from last class. So lame. But then I was looking at them, and it appears that maybe I only got three pictures because I barely accomplished anything. Awesome.
What I did manage to do is pad the arms. To do this you cut two pieces of cotton. Put the first on the inner arm as seen below, tuck in and staple to attach. Then you cut a larger piece to go from the outer arm all the way to cover the first piece and tuck in again. Staple staple staple.

Now you have two furry cotton arms.

Then you cut two pieces of 1" foam to cover the arms just like the second sheet of cotton...except it overhangs 1 or 2" on front, back side and bottom. Staple the side first, then tuck in the bottom and staple the front down.

You know what? Now that I think about it...I totally put muslin over the foam too. And sanded the legs a little. So I'm not totally worthless. I'll get a picture of that in class #7. Class #7! It's not looking good for finishing by class #10. Booooo. But, on the bright side, the teacher did say that I NEED to bring fabric for class #7.
So I bought some.
I will give you a hint what it looks like...pickles.

Packing Peanut.

Last time I gloated, our basement flooded. So I'm not going to do that again. I will just say that as of last Thursday, my house reminded me of a packing peanut. And that I like it. And that it feels warmer.

We went with Icynene spray foam insulation (installed by Anderson Insulation who I would highly recommend for anyone in the Boston area) because it not only insulates, but also seals any air leakage. During the process of getting quotes for the job we actually got prices for fiberglass, foam and blown in cellulose. We knew we wanted to go with foam or cellulose based on the sealing quality mentioned above, but we wanted the price of typical fiberglass for comparison. To our surprise the foam was not that much more expensive than the fiberglass, and actually cheaper than the cellulose. And since we were still a little worried about how the cellulose might settle in the walls once it dried (it's blown in wet and takes a pretty significant period of time to completely dry) we decided the foam was the way to go. Did I mention I love it? Not gloating though!

The consistency is really just like a packing peanut.

Please observe the crazy HUGE stacks of blueboard. Is it foreshadowing if this post is almost a week late?

We also had the ceiling between the first and second floor insulated for sound proofing. We thought they would use the normal fiberglass, you know, the pink stuff, but they brought this stuff called Ecobatt that I know nothing about, but looked pretty cool (see below).

Starting to look more like a real house. No?

Possibly my favorite part was walking in to the shock of seeing these things downstairs. Apparently they bag up these huge bags of the foam that they scrape off the walls. It was like a Flaming Lips concert in my living room. They came and picked up the marshmellow bags two days later, so my fun was short lived, I think they somehow reuse the foam...I think. Possibly as packing peanuts. :)


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Picture three signatures on this puppy, cause we passed our rough-in inspections!