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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bathroom Preview

About two months ago, I gave you all a small (very small) glimpse of what our kitchen is going to look like. In that post, I promised I would do a follow up of a bathroom preview.  Well this is me, following through on that promise.

Like the kitchen, I had several photos that I used as inspiration.

Inspiration #1

What first caught my attention in this bathroom was the center upper cabinet between the two sinks.  As soon as I saw that, I knew it was something I wanted to incorporate into our master bathroom.  Another element that kept me coming back to this picture was the black and white color scheme.  Like in the kitchen, a black and white color scheme appeals to me because of its timelessness and versatility.  I love the cup pulls on the drawers and I also love the shaker cabinet doors.  I also love the two framed mirrors vs. one large mirror.  And the two farmhouse-ish lights above the mirrors really got me.  This photo was my design jumping off point, however, as I continued to research bathrooms, I found other images that gave me ideas to incorporate into our bathroom to transform it into something unique, that was truly ours.

Inspiration #2

That's right folk! We got ourselves a clawfoot tub! Back before we even closed on our house we found a clawfoot tub for a deal on craigslist.  And we pounced.  It was ours!

And here she is. Harriet.  I just named her.   Harriet....Tubman. Get it? 
What is it with us and naming the inanimate objects that we own (have you met Orville - our Ford Truck)?  Maybe its a sign we should settle down and have some babies.  Whoaw Whoaw, slow down.  Let's just get back to talking about the bathroom please.

Incorporating Harriet into the layout of the bathroom created some challenges. We still needed space for a shower, we wanted to create an open feel in the space, and we needed storage space. We expanded the bathroom to absorb some unnecessary closets, so the first two challenges were settled, but we still needed to make up for the storage we had lost. When I saw the inspiration photo #2 that showed a little bump out behind the clawfoot tub, I had an idea.  What if we built a bump out behind our tub, but instead of it being dead space, could we have a hinge on the top and allow for storage inside of it?  And of course, Steve, being the saint that he is... said "Sure! We can do that!"  And we did! Steve built it a couple of weeks ago and it is looking great!

Inspiration #3

This photo summed up the color scheme I wanted our bathroom to have.  I love the mixture of the oil rubbed bronze fixtures as well as the chrome fixtures.  I especially love the contrast of the fixtures on top of the sea foamy color next to the crisp white trim.  Speaking of trim, we also are doing beadboard like in this bathroom.  Who's got two thumbs and loves beadboard?  This girl! (Picture me - both thumbs pointed back toward me with a big'ol grin on my face.)

Inspiration #4

The last inspiration was from one of the houses we looked at when we were house hunting.  We loved this character filled home in a great neighborhood.  We didn't end up buying the home but we were so sold on one of the character elements that we decided to add it to the home we did buy.  And that element was the bathroom tile.  I can't say for sure whether the tile was original, but if I were a bettin' women, I would bet that it was.  The tile was a black and white basket weave tile that looks like this:

It is unique, interesting, and has an "old house" feel which is something I'm always looking to add to our 1975 home.

We are really looking forward to seeing it all come together! 

The plumbers were here this week and hooked up our faucets.  And my brother-in-law has been making a lot of progress finishing the tile in the shower.  We are pretty excited about how this bathroom is looking. I even started shopping for rugs and towels! Too much fun!

Have a great week everybody... and stay healthy.  The poor Kercher household had come down with a nasty case of the stomach bug! Luckily I can blog from my couch wrapped in a fuzzy pink bathrobe! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Renovation Refugees

It's true.  We are now displaced renovation refugees.  People with, and without, a home.  Luckily, we have been welcomed with open arms into my parent's basement.  Thanks mom and dad.

For the last two years we have lived in a great townhouse apartment.  It has been a perfect transition place for us while we  saved for a house, house hunted, and house renovated.

Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out like we hoped and our lease is done but our house is not. 

So yesterday morning a bunch of people from our small group showed up and helped us move. Thanks so much to these wonderful people: Kara, Scott, Robin, Donovan, William, Jack, Ben, Tannen, and Michael's mom Bette.  And, of course, we had to treat these people right for sacrificing their saturday morning to help us move in the cold and rain.

Yum Yum!

 Luckily, now that our basement is without the stinky smell it used to have, we moved the bulk of our things into the basement of our house until we are ready to move in for real.

When can we move in for real?  Who knows.  I decided to stop trying to guess when we'll be ready to move in.  Because every time I do, I'm wrong.  And really, now, it doesn't matter.  We just want things to be done and done right.

Speaking of done, how are we doing on getting our to do list done?
  • Install trim on the main floor (1/3 of the way done)
  • Paint all the trim (Yet to be done)
  • Connecting our plumbing fixtures (This week)
  • Install electrical outlets and lights (This week)
  • Lay tile in the bathroom (In Process)
  • Paint (On Hold until trim is done)
  • Clean ducts and boot up our geothermal system (Next week)
  • Get one last coat of sealer on the floor (Yet to be done)
  • Move in!! (We'll see!) 
One thing I did do, that was not necessarily on the list, was decorate the front porch for fall!

I just couldn't help myself!
Happy Fall Ya'll!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Scrappy, Scrappy, Scrappy

Hi everybody! Welcome Michael Blough to the Blog!  The picture below is not a picture of Michael-you may have been confused, you know, beards and all.  Anyway, that's a picture of one of the guys from Duck Dynasty.  If you've watched the show you may know the catch phrase "Happy Happy Happy."  Well I asked Michael to write a guest post about how we became "happy happy happy" by finding a way to get our house to pay us back a little bit during the demolition process.  This post is all about the scrapping process and how it made us very happy! ~Laura

Happy Happy Happy | Scrappy Scrappy Scrappy

Well, it's probably about time for me (Michael) to write a blog post. I have been scrapping our metal and old appliances this summer, and Laura recommended that I blog about it. I tried to get out of it by reminding her that her writing is more entertaining and how much of a better writer she is, but it didn't work. She thanked me for the compliment and asked me when she could expect my submission. :) So, here it goes...

As we started our construction project and got involved with demolition, I knew we were going to have a lot of scrap metal. We replaced our appliances, removed all the copper plumbing, removed a lot of ductwork, replaced copper wires, and all the aluminum siding on the house. My first idea was to turn the scrap into this...

But, I figured the fuel efficiency was poor. So instead, I decided to scrap it.

Before I get started on my process, I must give some credit to a website that I referenced frequently.

It was a great resource throughout my scrapping experience and has a scrapping handbook that I used often.

So, here is the step by step process I used to turn our scrap trash into scrap treasure:


How to Scrap

Step #1: Get Yourself a Magnet

One of the most basic tools for a scraper is a magnet. With a magnet you can determine which metals are ferrous or non-ferrous.

In depth explanation: check out this blog post:

Short explanation:  Ferrous metals contain iron (examples: steel and cast iron) and are magnetic. Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron (examples: aluminum, copper, and brass) and are not magnetic.

Step #2: Strip Your Appliances

The next step involves removing all the "good" stuff from your appliances. If you skip this step you could be losing out on money. The scrapyard give the lowest price for appliances with mixed metals, therefore it is to your advantage to separate the valuable metals out. Start by removing any power cords. These will contain copper. For dishwashers and fridges, remove any stainless steel. Any non-ferrous metal is much more valuable than ferrous, so take them out when you see them.

Step #3: Separate Your Metals

This seems obvious, but it is a very crucial step. Separating your various metals helps save time when you arrive at the scrapyard. Plus, if you separate them before you arrive, you won't have disgruntled people glaring at you as they wait for you to get off the scale. In addition to separating your metals, it is also a good idea to put your non-ferrous metals in an easy-to-reach location on your truck or trailer. You'll see why later.

Separated Scrap

Ready to Roll

Step #4: Head to the Scrapyard

OmniSource is a buyer of scrap metal in town and most of the following info relates to this yard, but my guess is most scrapyards follow a similar protocol. I recommend going as early in the morning as possible to avoid a rush, especially if you go on a Saturday.

Step #5: Start with the Non-ferrous Metals

It doesn't really matter which area you start with, but I liked starting with these metals because these get you the most money! At OmniSource, there is a separate building with a small scale for non-ferrous materials.

After each metal is weighed, you present your ID and get your picture taken. Note, keep your ID handy. You present it at every  station along the way. From what I understand, there is a "black list" of scrap metal thieves and the process of asking for your ID and taking pictures reduces the crime. Once you are photographed, you are presented with a weight receipt with your payout amount.

Non-Ferrous Building

Step #6: Ferrous Metals

Now, you're ready for steel, appliances, cast iron, etc. In general, these ferrous materials are the bulk of your load. Because of the large quantities, this process involves a truck scale. First, pull up onto the truck scale, and enter a small building near the scale to go through the usual ID process. You tell the attendant what you are weighing and they input your "gross" weight (weight of your vehicle and metal scrap) into their system. You drive off the scale to the appropriate pile and unload your metal. Once you unload, it's back into line for the scale. Now the attendant will weigh your vehicle and get your "tare" weight (weight of your empty vehicle). Your "gross" weight minus your "tare" weight is your "net" weight. You are paid for your "net" weight. Now that your net weight is calculated, you take your weight receipt with your payout amount.

Truck Scale

Unloading Scrap (Picture features my scrapping buddy, Tim Blaum)

Crane at Ferrous Scrap Pile

If you have multiple scrap categories to be weighed on the truck scale, you must go through the scale and get weighed for every type material you bring to the scrapyard. This can often take some time if the line to the scale is long - another reason to go early.

Step #7: Get Paid!

This is the best step of all! Now, all your hard work finally gets rewarded. Take your weight receipts to the cashier's office, show your ID, get your picture taken, and get paid cash. Here is the breakdown of my scrapping work this summer to give you some perspective.

And when we saw that grand total, it made us happy, happy, happy!

Money in the bank... and then right back out again.  But, I guess, such is a life lived renovating.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Exterior Upgrades

Last week, the outside of our house got a serious upgrade.
With the upgrading/moving/exclusion of windows, and the existence of some really old aluminum siding, we decided it would be best to re-side our house during this phase of the renovation process.  But the biggest burning question was, what color?

Next to our home, there is a big beautiful farmhouse.  It is white. Our house is white.  So the big white house seemed to dwarf our little white house.  In my mind, choosing a non-white color for our home, was a non-negotiable decision that had to be made.  Luckily, Michael agreed wholeheartedly. 

I love a white house as much as the next gal, but we had to make our house not look like the big farmhouse's dog house. 

At first we were feeling the color grey.  Grey is a very trendy color right now where home design is concerned. Some grey cedar shakes with white trim and a red door.  Yeah.  I liked it!

color scheme: Grey siding, Red door/shutters, white trim
We thought that would look great on our home! And it probably would have! However, the first thing that got nixed were the cedar shakes.  Have you seen them?  They are popping up on all the newly constructed homes.  And boy are they expensive!! When we got our first quote, vinyl cedar shakes were 3X more expensive than the traditional vinyl lap board siding.  So our original dream to side the entire house in shakes was brought to an abrupt halt.  One compromise we considered was just using them as an accent - on the gables or the dormers.  But ultimately, it was an all or nothing scenario for us.  A completely "shaked-out" house could have been really charming for our little cape cod but we felt that using them just as an accent could look dated someday when the vinyl shakes are not the "in" thing to do anymore. 

So next we looked at the available colors for the lap board siding (excuse the picture below for being in shakes... they were the best color pictures I could find).  We considered Flagstone (grey), Blue Ridge (blue-grey), and a wild card - Blue Bayou (dark blue). 

Its funny, the longer we waited to choose the siding color and the more we talked about it, the bluer our siding choice got.  Ultimately we chose the wild card - Blue Bayou 

I still can't believe Michael was on board.  One thing that helped was visiting my family's lake house on lake Wawasee on the 4th of July.  If you have ever driven around Lake Wawasee or any large lake, you may have experienced the same whiplash I always experience driving around the lake looking at all the beautiful homes.  Well this year, we saw blue everywhere! I think there is something about being on the water that makes a blue home just feel so right. 

And ladies and gentlemen, its starting to feel right....

We even got the old wrought iron viney contraption off our porch! Woo Hoo! I can't wait to get it painted!

We also still need to get the planks off the roof. But the back is looking pretty fine, if you ask me...

 We love love love it.  I love the way the blue looks with our front door.  We also chose the wider trim around the windows!

Also, I love the way the siding looks against the red brick on the chimney. 

Now, you may have noticed something a little funny...

Remember how we mentioned that we have other plans for our current garage and plans for a future larger garage?  Well why re-side our current garage if it is going to just get partially knocked down anyway?! Along with that, when we decide to add on the new garage, we will re-roof it so we thought we would wait until that happens to re-side and change out the window on the south gable. 

We also plan to put on a big wrap around porch to the front of the house. So, to plan for that, we have left space on the front of the house unsided where we will build up the deck for the porch.  The picture below is has the same feel for what we are going for.  Coming possibly as soon as next spring!
 Love the wrap around porch
Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Our driveway got an exfoliation treatment! Meaning, we got a supply of recycled asphalt delivered at the end of last week to help smooth out our driveway.  It was extremely pot-hole-y before.  Michael called around to a couple of different places to get quotes and recommendations.  We expected to get limestone but found out that the recycled asphalt would be a great option for us.  It compacts really well and its about $100 cheaper for what we were quoted for limestone.  Score! Plus it's a great option for us since we would love to pour asphalt for our driveway in the future.  So we'll see!

So I think that our curb appeal factor has jumped about a thousand points despite the garage not following suit. I'll keep you guys updated if we ever start tackling our un-landscaped yard.  

We are certainly feeling the pressure of the move-out date coming our way soon! We'll see what happens...

Check out our updated to do list.  And check out the first batch of trim that got put up! Look good eh?

  • Hang the new front door.................................................Done!
  • New Siding on the house  ..............................................Done!
  • Trim on the main floor.....................................................1st Round of Sanding and Priming Done!
  • Paint all the trim .............................................................Yet to be done
  • Install electrical outlets and lights .....................................Yet to be done
  • Finally get rid of the smell from the basement ...................Done!
  • Lay tile in the bathroom ...................................................In Process!
  • Have the gravel for our drive delivered ............................Done!
  • Get the kitchen countertop installed ..................................Done!
  • Paint ............. .................................................................On Hold until trim is done
  • Clean ducts and boot up our geothermal system ...............Yet to be done
  • Get one last coat of sealer on the floor .............................Yet to be done
  • Move in!! AHHHhhhh .....................................................We'll see!
I'd say that is some reasonably good progress.  Except we have to be out of our apartment in a little over two weeks.... so there's that.