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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Breakdowns and Timbers

It has been quite the two weeks.  I apologize for not getting a blog post to you all sooner. 

I had a little bit of a breakdown last week.... 

Let me tell you the reason for my lapse in house pride.

The beginning of last week the electritians came over to start working.  My brother-in-law also came over to look at our bathroom and to give us his expert opionion on tile.  Little did we know they, along with our Uncle Steve who is doing the majority of the work on our house, were all conspiring against us.  Between the electrian, my brother in law, and Steve, they all decided that we were going to need to take down ALL the drywall in the rest of the house.  That meant the exterior walls and ceilings were all going to have to come down and the insallation along with it.  What?! I thought we were done with demolition, just last week we had been talking about picking out paint colors! We were supposed to be moving forward, not backward! That was my issue with it.  I was expecting to see things start coming together, not getting pulled apart.

What calmed me was our reasoning behind why we decided to do it.

We decided to go ahead and tear the rest of the drywall down because:
-We are doing A LOT of electrical work so opening things up would make things a lot easier/faster for the electrian.
-We found various wires chewed through by critters, so opening things up would help us have some peace of mind about the safety of the electricity in our house.
-The insulation that we could see looked like the same little critters were tunneling through the insulation and we were just worried that there were tons of nasties that we might be breathing in.  Gross!
-We had a lot of repair work to do with the drywall because of all the walls we had already taken down.  And the current walls were textured plaster.  So having to match the new drywall with the old stuff would have been very challenging.  And our drywaller told us it would probably be cheaper in the long run for us to hang all new.  Plus it would look sooo much nicer and be sooo much nicer to have all new drywall vs plaster.
I just kept going over and over those reasons in my head as I was getting blown-in-insulation all over me last week.  It WILL be worth it, it WILL be worth it.

And then, I learned something about myself.  When I feel like everything in the house is chaotic, I sweep. 

"Oh, I have to decide where I want all the electrical outlets?"  I sweep. 
"You need to know where and what kind of lights I want in each room?"  I sweep. 
"There is water dripping from the ceiling after the terential downpour?" I sweep.
"We had a bunch of shingles blow off the roof?"  I sweep. 

And that might have been another reason I was feeling so stressed last week.  That blown-in-insulation was everywhere!! And I didn't have time to sweep it up until the end of the week and it was just stressing me out!

But then I swept. 

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..................... Much better.   I've never been such a clean freak in my life but it just helps me feel like I have some control. 

Switching gears now, this happened too in the last couple weeks:

We had 3 of our trees cut down last week.  That was exciting! It was slightly unforturnate, however, because these trees were all a pretty good size and gave our house some nice shade.  However, that was their only redeeming feautre.  They are walnut trees.  
You may recall the waterfall of walnuts I encountered while tearing out the basement ceiling (see above).  Or the tons of walnuts found underneith the bathtub.  Or even the walnuts stashed in our fireplace.  Yeah... these trees are the culpret, or at lease accessories to the crime.  That must have been one ambitious little critter, he stashed them everywhere he could.  In the picture below, you can see he was storing them in the hallow center of this walnut tree. Bob, the Tree Guy, said that when the tree "timbered" there was a rush of walnuts from the bottom of the tree.
So we cut them down.  Many of you probably don't know the unfortunate truth about walnut trees.  I never did! But they are really terrible trees to have in your yard.  They are extremely messy with twigs and walnuts which is enough to drive you crazy.  But then we also found out that walnut trees are actually toxic to most other plants.  So that meant we would have a very difficult time landcaping around those trees.  So they had to go.  And go they did. 

Other things that happened in the last two weeks:

-We chose our front door
-We chose and ordered our bathroom fixtures
-The plummers started working

-Our 2nd dumpster was delivered (that's never a good sign)

-We chose the stain for our hardwood floors
-The electritians started installing can lights and outlets

Next week will be a pretty busy week so I hope to get something posted for you by the end of the week! We'll see!

And also, a quick shout out to our Nephew Max who turned the big 0-1 this week!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Fire seems to be popping up as a common theme in this renovation.

You might remember when my dad got the blow torch out and set our carpet on fire day 2 of demolition

Good times...

Or, while examining our old furnace, our geothermal installer informed us he is surprised our house hadn't burned to the ground yet. Yikes! Good thing our old furnace is gone and we have our new system in place already.

Then on Saturday we started a fire... a big one!

If you haven't noticed there are huge overgrown bushes in front and behind our house.

....Or, rather, there were huge overgrown bushes in front and behind our house 

Unfortunately I missed the day my dad came over with the bobcat and pulled them out so I don't have any pictures of that process but here they are sitting on our burn pile ready to be burned. 

Along with ridding ourselves of just about the only landscaping our home came with, we also finished up tearing out the last remaining interior studs in the house and part of the kitchen and bathroom subfloor.

Then we placed all the wood scrap around the bushes on the burn pile.  Setting up the perfect conditions for one big fire.

It was ready to be burned...And I knew just the Eagle Scout to take care of it.
He was so funny.  As he was about at this point in the process, he turn around and looked at me, eyebrows raised, mischievous look on his face, and said "This is going to be fun."  It was less than 5 seconds later that we heard a fire truck ramp up their siren.  No kidding.  The comedic timing was perfect and we had a good laugh.

With no fire trucks showing up in our driveway, we let the flames rage on!

We had a pretty good time watching it burn but we had to step back pretty far because of the heat. In the video you can even see the trees around the fire smoking. But it's not like we care. Our yard is riddled with walnut trees, so we say, good reddens! 

  After going inside to grab something, I came back out and found Michael like this, enjoying his creation.

  A Man and his fire.  Its a very special thing.  

This week we are getting our new layout all framed up! This reno is going to start taking shape into the home we want it to be! Exciting! Oh and if you were curious which windows we chose, it was Anderson.  They had great ratings on Consumer Reports and it seemed that, based on a lot of online reviews we read, people were a lot happier with Anderson Windows vs. Pella.  I guess time will tell! 

Have a great week everybody!
And don't forget what our 'ol friend Smokey says...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Poppin Tags

Since we finished up demolition this week, I celebrated by shopping.  But before I get to that, I wanted to update you on how things are looking at the end of this week.

We finished tearing down walls on the first floor. Looking from kitchen through the bathroom and into the master bedroom.

And after a long day of demolition, I just couldn't wait for a shower! 

Now onto the shopping from this week.  If you know me at all, you probably know that I like a good shopping trip especially if it includes a good trip to a thrift shop...but we'll get to that.

This week I stopped at Wabash Electric to look at lighting - not purchase, just look.  I had a lot of people recommending Wabash Electric and I found exactly what I was looking for in the kitchen.  I'm thinking Copper. Which can be a difficult finish to find but the staff at Wabash Electric were so helpful in showing me my options! At first I considered something that was oil brushed bronze but I really like the idea of bringing copper in to warm up the white and black scheme that I have in our kitchen.  Also I like that copper has a "farmhouse" flair to it. Here's the ones I really like! Picture the wall light above the sink and two pendants over the island.  
And speaking of sinks... We also purchased this sink this week too:
Whitehaven(R) Under-Mount Cast Iron Single-Bowl Kitchen Sinks

And from sinks we moved to appliances.  Breath in, breath out...that was definitely an area that proved to be extra stressful to me.  Probably because the decision is so technical and less aesthetically based.  I had to leave it up to my Nerdy (consumer-reports-loving) husband to make the final decision.   I hope we made the right one!


I also stopped by Home Depot and Lowes to check out faucets and lighting.  Nothing really stood out except......... on the way to Lowes, I saw the Habitat Restore.  I thought "what the hey, I'll stop and look around."  And boy am I glad I did.

If you have never been to a Habitat Restore, you may be missing out.  I say "may" because it depends on the type of person you are.  If you like Goodwill and you like home improvement stores, you will LOVE the Restore! I like to check out their lighting and their doors, and their fixtures, and their furniture, and their tile. So as I got back to the tile section, there it was: 2.5 boxes full of beautiful new white 3x6 subway tiles! Like the subway tiles I was planning on using in our kitchen and bathroom?  Oh yes.  Those would be the ones.  Something like this and this:

 And once I found out the price?.... I looked like this:

There were 100 tiles in each box and they were priced at 5cents a tile.  So did that mean each box was $5?! It sure did.  My only hesitation was... is there enough here?  Luckily, I called up my brother-in-law (our very own tile guru) and he helped me figure out approximately how much tile I would need.  And we also found the same tile for sale at Home Depot for $22 for a box of 100! Holla! That's a big savings ($5 vs $22)! So although we did not have enough tile to do the kitchen and the bathroom, I know I can get more at Home Depot! Woo hoo!

 I mean, there was really no coming down after a score like that.  I could barely contain myself and hold back from calling Michael and telling him about my big score! But I really wanted to surprise him, so I did.

I was so encouraged when I found the tile at the Restore.  At times, I get a little discouraged by how much things cost and how little I want to compromise on the quality vs the cost of things.  But it is purchases like this that remind me that patience and shopping around can make a world of difference!  

What's next you might ask?... And I would reply: Isn't that enough?! And of course it is not.  There are still sooooooo many things to think about and purchase.  Good thing I'm having the time of my life, huh?  Windows, we are going to make a decision this week on who we are going to go with for windows - It's the common rivalry of Pella vs. Anderson.  So if you have any opinions on the two, I'd love to hear about it!  We also will probably be deciding on siding soon as well.  Fun!

See you in about a week with another update!