Sunday, November 9, 2008

Behind Closed Doors

Our interior doors were finally painted last Monday, and Gregg did a fantastic job. As if that wasn't exciting enough, yesterday when I was having my oil changed, Mike installed our interior doorknobs. It's the first time we have slept with our bedroom door completely closed since we moved back in! Awesome.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bet you never thought you'd see this!

Finally, an update to the remodel blog! Our interior doors are being painted today! And you know what that means... we will actually have doorknobs. Yep, no more books to hold the bathroom door closed. I. Can't. Wait. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


OK, this isn't the real update I promised months ago, but it's an update nonetheless. Our tile (guest shower and kitchen backsplash) is finally being finished this week! I'm just too excited about it not to share. Our painter is still MIA, so we still have unpainted doors with no knobs (very fun when you're sitting on the throne, holding the door shut with your foot), and touch-ups that need to be done throughout the house. Aside from that, the only stragglers left are some transition moldings for the floor, and a little landscaping out front. I think the end is truly in sight!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Moment of Zen

This was my view from the couch on Saturday evening: a big pot of my "famous" pasta sauce on the stove top (that's sort of a tradition of mine - anytime I move into a new house, I make a big batch of sauce), glass of wine on the coffee table, cookbooks nestled neatly on a shelf, and only a quiet nagging from the few boxes left to unpack and odds and ends to finish... *sigh*

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's Official!

We have passed our final inspection, and moved back into our house! Now that the dust has settled (and man, has it settled on everything!) the first thing on my agenda is to clean up and unpack, and then finish up painting here and there and get organized. After we are all settled in, I will post a wrap-up, before and afters, more "things we learned," and a product list (just in case you are curious on how I saved 1000 bucks on our master bathroom vanity!).

We thank all our family and friends for following our progress and helping us on our journey through this remodel. It has been a long five months! According to many of you, if our marriage can survive a remodel, it can survive anything. On that note, I am happy to report that we are indeed still very happily married!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hurdles to Final Inspection

We are *almost* there! I think we are truly at the "one more week" point (even though I've been saying "one more week" for about a month now!). Before we get the go-ahead to occupy our house, the inspector is requiring us to finish plumbing on the water heater (we have to connect the drain and move a valve); set the toilet in the guest bath; put dimmer switches on the lights in the master bedroom, office, master and guest bathrooms (WHAT!?) sorry, but that's an odd request; and, finally, pay a $72 encroachment permit fee for the paving we did in front of the house... don't even get me started on that one!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

1 Bedroom House, Move-In Ready (Almost)

The pieces are coming together, and our house is slowly transforming back into a home. Over the past week or so, a lot has gotten done, so I figured I'd post a quick update. We are paved up, decked out and totally floored!

No More Dirt Pit!

Flooring Finished!

Ready for a Memorial Day BBQ

One of my Favorite Finds... 
A Designer Knock-Off Vanity

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Party Potty Time!

A quick post to report that we now have a functioning toilet in the house! The "Honey Hut" from Harvey's has served us well, but, alas old friend, it's time to go!

Honey Hut, you will be sorely missed!

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Month in Review

I just took a look at my last post, and I cannot believe it's been a month since my last blog! Shame on me! I know you are all waiting for more photos and info with baited breath... LOL!

I'm sure you could guess that a lot has gone on in our little bungalow during the last month, so I'll start with a recap, and follow with photos. The slate tiles went down in the kitchen, guest bath, and hallway leading to the backyard without a hitch, and they look beautiful. The variation in the stone is just amazing, and almost every day, I find a new "favorite" piece. The weekend after the slate went in, Dennis from Archimedes Granite (with the help of his son-in-law, Zach) installed our beautiful granite counter tops. I got there just as they were bringing the slab in for the island. It was incredible to watch the two of them lift the huge slab into it's final position. If I had to give our island a name, I'd say it is Hawaii... as in, the big island!

Next came the range hood and appliances. Mike learned how to install a dishwasher, range, and garbage disposal. Turns out, sliding appliances into their niches on slate tiles isn't an easy feat! It took Mike and Nick over an hour just to get the range into position.

While all these things were going on, Barrett, the latest addition to our cast of characters, was busy building cabinets in our hallway, and the custom booth (or banquette) seating in what will be our dining area. Barrett is trained in the field of graphic design, and he also happens to be a sensational carpenter. His eye for detail is impeccable (which I believe comes from the graphic designer in him), and he took the time to ensure that the pieces he built for us would serve their intended function, and serve it well. He is a true craftsman.

Next, the focus shifted to the exterior of the house, and the dreaded sewer tie in. R&R Rolloff came to pick up the last of our 40 yard bins to make way for Ed Crye & Son Excavating to bring in their heavy equipment and start "the big dig." They were able to locate the sewer line quicker than expected, and they were in and out in about a day and a half.

Moving back to the interior of the house, my dad and I tiled the tub/shower surround in the master bath. It took us a full weekend, and a couple nights after work, but we got it all done, and it looks great. We added a stripe of travertine mosaics to the shower, and realized that we would have enough of it left over to tile the shower seat, and inside a wall niche... major time saver there! Note to self: Subway tiles look cool, but are incredibly tedious to install! The bathroom floor went much quicker. We used 18" square travertine tiles, and had to make very few cuts. A breeze compared to the wall tiles!

Just this past weekend, we switched focus again, and started laying the laminate flooring in the master bedroom. It took a little while to get going and become familiar with the product, but once we got the first few courses laid, the rest was a breeze. After flooring came baseboards in the master bedroom and bathroom, and the laundry area of the guest bath. We learned a valuable lesson in the realm of "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" while installing the stacking washer and dryer. Don't get me wrong, everything ended up working out fine, but figuring out how to get the dryer connected to the vent and plugged in after it was stacked on the washer (in a space that was large enough to fit only the two appliances) was quite a challenge. As you'll see in the photo, we're lucky Mike has such long arms!

The Slate Flooring

The Granite Countertops

The Appliances

The Banquette Seating

The Last of the Bins

The Big Dig

Tile in the Master Bath

Floor and Baseboards in the Master Bedroom
(and Hallway Cabinets)

Connecting the Washer & Dryer

Next up... The Devil's in the details; finish work, plumbing, and moving in!

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Place for Everything

Our kitchen cabinets are in! I don't think I've been this excited about anything we've done so far (well, except maybe when the mud pile was removed from the inside of the house!). I cannot wait to unpack everything we have in storage, and, being the obsessive organizer that I am, I'm already planning where all our kitchen goodies will go! Some of my favorite things in the kitchen are the pull-out mixer shelf and open shelving for cookbooks at the end of the peninsula... oh, and lets not forget the massive island!

Here They Are:

The Stand Mixer Shelf:

Oh! And, before I forget, our back door was actually delivered as promised. Hayward Lumber gets one Brownie Point back for that one, but unfortunately, they are still in the negative in my book.

The Back Door:

The painting of the interior is finished (except for the back door) and everything looks great! The main color throughout the house, GrĂ©ge Avenue, is from the Benjamin Moore Classic Collection, the master bath is Philipsburg Blue, and the guest bath/laundry room is Van Courtland Blue (both from the Benjamin Moore Historical Collection).

This morning, Dennis from Archimedes Granite headed out to our house to make the templates for our granite counter tops. We also picked up the slate and travertine tiles for the kitchen and master bath, and the hardware for all our doors. The tile work is scheduled to start on Tuesday, and the granite is scheduled to go in next Saturday.

We are hoping to be moving in within the next few weeks! *fingers crossed*

Next up... Laying tile, installing appliances, granite, hallway storage cabinets and custom banquette seating!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Photos As Promised!

Here are some recent photos of the house as promised!

Exterior on an Overcast Morning:





Painting and Cabinets:

This morning, Mike and I went over to Morro Doors to pick out all the hardware for our interior and exterior doors. Hopefully, our back door will be delivered today *fingers crossed* as promised. Tomorrow, we will be heading over to Precision Tile and Flooring to finalize our tile order for our showers, and hopefully to pick out some wood flooring for the rest of the house! 

Next up... The cabinet install, appliances, and flooring

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Windows and Doors Revisited

In a previous blog, I talked about some problems we were having with the windows and doors we ordered from Hayward Lumber, or, more specifically, problems we were having with Hayward Lumber. I said that, "Our salesman was not returning phone calls from Nick (or Mike), and when he finally did, he never showed up when he said he would. In the end, Mike took a trip to Hayward Lumber to sort things out, and I must say, everything has since been handled satisfactorily." Well, I have decided to rescind the latter portion of that statement.

One thing that I did not mention in my previous blog was that our back door had not been delivered at all. No big deal, per a conversation with our salesman, we expected that it would take a little longer to arrive. Well, it has still not been delivered. After multiple calls to the salesman regarding the status of the order and delivery, we have been given (at least) three different delivery dates - yesterday was the most recent. Apparently, our door has actually been in for a month, but they "have not had any other deliveries to make in Morro Bay," and for some reason would not make a trip out to deliver our door by itself. (By the way, Hayward Lumber is in San Luis Obispo, and for those of you not familiar with the Central Coast, it is only 12 miles from Morro Bay). If this door cost us $50, I'd probably think that was a valid claim - it would cost them more to pay a driver for an hour of his time, wear and tear on the delivery truck, gas, etc., than the door was actually worth. However, this door, combined with the cost of our front door, was about 25% of our total bill.

At this point, to say that I'm frustrated would be the understatement of the year. The worst part? In any other instance, I'd just call them up, and speak with our salesman's supervisor; unfortunately, our salesman is the supervisor of the window and door department. And, to top it all off, we have to re-schedule our painter to stain and seal the door... again. *sigh* Their slogan is, "So You Can Build." I think they should change it to, "So You Can Build... Someday... Well, Maybe."

On the bright side, a representative from Milgard came out and adjusted all our windows, so they work beautifully now; the crew from Drywall Dynamics completed taping and texturing; our painter is rockin' and rollin' on the interior paint; and our cabinets were delivered today!

Pictures coming soon... I promise!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Quick Update

OK, unlike the last "Quick Update," this one really will be quick! Since the last blog, our walls have all been insulated by the crew from Broken Drum Insulation. Gotta' love their tagline, "Broken Drum Insulation - We're hard to beat." Not only did the crew show up an hour early to get started (big points!!), but they also finished the whole house in less than a day.

After insulation went in, the crew from Drywall Dynamics took over. They finished installing drywall throughout the house and DensShield in areas where water would damage regular drywall if we ever spring a leak (such as bathrooms, laundry area, behind the kitchen sink, dishwasher, and fridge). Installation took about a day and half, and after inspection on Monday, they came back on Tuesday to tape joints and cover nail and screw heads.

Pictures will be posted soon, so check back!

Next up... Texture, paint, and then kitchen cabinets!

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Quick Update

Wow, it's been a while since I've given y'all an update! Well, not too many photo-worthy things (except exterior paint) have been going on in the past couple weeks, but quite a bit of work has gotten done! Our electrical work is complete and will *hopefully* pass inspection today. Plumbing is complete, and our bathtub has been set in the master and shower pan has been set in the guest bath/laundry room.

Oh! I don't think I have mentioned that we picked out the granite for our kitchen countertops. We went down and saw Steffanie at Valley Tile and Stone in Paso Robles, and she walked us through the yard to pick out our slabs. It was so cool! They have some amazing material out there. We decided to go with one called "Juparana Columbo Gold." It has a medium gold tone with black and green flecks, and some really cool movement. We also picked out the slate for our kitchen floor and travertine for our master bath at Valley Tile and Stone. They had an amazing selection and were extremely knowledgeable when it came to helping us pick the right products for our application.

This past weekend, we went to the Ferguson Showroom in San Luis Obispo to pick out plumbing fixtures for the kitchen and bathrooms. We had done our rounds at the big box home improvement stores, and we were not too happy with the selection, or the quality of products we found there. Ferguson, however, was awesome. The showroom was awesome, and we got a ton of personal attention from our sales associate, Carol Jean. They had a huge selection of products on display for any budget, and shelves full of product binders just in case you were looking for something they didn't have on display.

After our trip to Ferguson, we went to Stollmeyers Main Lightingin Morro Bay to pick out our indoor and outdoor light fixtures. Again, tons of personal service, and tons of catalogues to look through. We managed to pick out our pendant lights for the kitchen and chandelier for our dining area, but we'll be back this Saturday to finish up.

Anywho... here are the latest exterior pictures of the house, enjoy!

Next up... Insulation, drywall, and kitchen cabinets!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Where Were We...

Alright! Time for the promised "problems, solutions, and things we've learned so far" blog!

Thankfully, we haven't run into too many problems so far. I'd like to think we've had more "challenges" to deal with than problems. These challenges have been related mostly to aesthetics, and luckily nothing integral to structure of the house... well, except the drain issues! Since the drains have been re-plumbed, we've discovered that we will indeed have to dig up the asphalt in the front of the house to tie in the new sewer line, and possibly the city street. The biggest problem with this: The house is so old, the city really doesn't know where the tie in is. Cha ching!!

We have had really good luck so far with almost all of our subs and vendors, but we did have an issue with Hayward Lumber when it came to windows and doors. After the windows and doors were delivered, we found that three of the doors we had ordered were mounted in their frames incorrectly (or the order was placed incorrectly), and they swung the wrong way. During this same time frame, the windows were installed, and we discovered that the windows we got weren't exactly what we'd expected (this was pretty much our fault - beginner's mistake, we didn't do enough research) and some of them weren't latching properly - unless you slammed them. Consequently, the windows needed to be adjusted (Milgard windows have a lifetime warranty, so we weren't too worried about those), and the doors needed to be fixed/replaced before we could move forward with their installation. No biggie, right? Wrong. Our salesman was not returning phone calls from Nick (or Mike), and when he finally did, he never showed up when he said he would. In the end, Mike took a trip to Hayward Lumber to sort things out, and I must say, everything has since been handled satisfactorily. Needless to say though, we won't be going back to Hayward any time soon.

So, what have we learned from all this?

A) Research, research, research. When it comes to building products, all are not created equally. Sounds like a no brainer, but just because a certain brand has a good reputation doesn't mean all of their products are top of the line.

B) There are a lot of choices out there! Make sure you have a pretty good idea of the style of home you want to end up with and keep things consistent from the exterior to the interior.

C) When choosing the aesthetic style of your home, make sure it is consistent with the structural style of your home. There's a fine line when it comes to blending styles - it can end up looking very deliberate and elegant, or horribly out of synch.

D) Keep padding in your budget for those "What ifs." Had we not done that, we'd be up a creek as far as the issue with the sewer goes.

E) Finally - but certainly most important - choose a general contractor that you are comfortable working with and check references. Since the moment we started talking to Nick about our remodel, we were confident that we would be happy with his work. Best of all, he has managed to exceed our expectations.

Up next... We're coming into the home stretch!

Friday, February 8, 2008

One Month Recap

It's officially been one month since we started our remodel. The house has come a long way, especially in the past week. Not only has framing started on interior walls, but all of our windows have been installed, the interior plumbing is finished, the line for the French drain has been installed on the side of the house (no more flooded hallway during the winter!), a new awning has been built over the front door (this one matches up with the roof line of the main body of the house now!), Nick and his crew have started installing fiber-cement siding, and Greg from Parsons Heating and Air has started our ventilation. We've run into a few snags this past week... but I'll talk about those next time! Here are the latest shots of the house:

Plumbing and Vetilation:

The New Awning:

The Trenches for the French Drain:

Looking Like a House Again:

Up next... Problems, solutions, and what we've learned so far.