Yes, Well….

Apparently, we’re enjoying being back in the house so much, I can’t be bothered to blog about it.

Still planning on taking pictures throughout the house and posting a wrap up.  However, I think I will wait until after next Friday to take pictures — that’s when it gets cleaned again.  We still have lots to put away, pictures to hang, etc.  Seeing as there may not be an NBA season this year, we should have plenty of time this winter to clean out the basement.  And M has been hard at work restoring the yard.  He’s filled two more yard debris dumpsters with dirt, yard waste and, most exciting, the laurel hedge on the back side behind the garage.  It’s gone.

Here are a few bits and bobs.

Party Recap

The party was great.  Lots of people came throughout the afternoon and evening, and it was really nice to finally have a big party where there was room for all.  People spread out upstairs, on the porch, the back patio, the living room, and of course, ended up in the kitchen.  We had help with food, and I enjoyed not having to worry about cooking or refilling food dishes.  We did learn that current t0-code smoke alarms are all connected, so when one goes off, they all go off.  And they’re loud.  We are thinking that putting an exhaust in the kitchen will be the next project.

Here is the one and only picture I have from the party.  The kegerator was a hit.  Much classier than having to pump the keg.

The Copper Thingie

I previously mentioned that we had a copper downspout and arch made to divert the downspout from alongside the house to the outside of the back stairs.  It turned out pretty cool.  We chose fish for the rain chain, which are not the most effective at channeling water, but it’s good enough.  We’ll put a pot with plants underneath to catch the run off.  The copper looks great with the changing leaves.

And I’ll just note that after a couple of months of using the back stairs and lots of traffic on them during the party, they’re still standing!  Good job, M!

Painting Shenanigans

After the push to mostly finish the painting before the party, we have avoided the few remaining things — some touch ups and a second coat on the downstairs bathroom.  I pulled out the paint cans yesterday and really made a mess of it.  There’s something to be said for being in the rhythm when you paint all the time.

When downloading pictures off my camera, I was reminded that I did not share pictures from my most exciting painting memory:  painting the ceiling peak over the stairs. There was a spot we could not reach with either an extender or ladder on a flat surface.  So M rigged up this contraption with his folding ladder.  Since I have the steady hand, I got to go up it.  It’s resting on the 2″ stair railing.  Looks safe, doesn’t it?

That’s it for now.  Back to our regularly scheduled naptime.

Posted in Painting, Wrap Up | 2 Comments

Pop Art

So remember when I told you we were getting an Warhol-esque picture done of Sybil and you helped me choose which picture?  We finally ordered it and got the proof.

Here’s what we submitted:

And here’s what we’re getting:

Can’t wait till it gets here!  Which unfortunately will not be before the party because we waited too long to order it.

Hope to see many of you on Saturday!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

How Did We Do?

Why, hello!  Long time, no chat.  I’ve been busy in sleeping in my bed, in my bedroom, in my house, in my neighborhood.  Totally awesome.

This will be kind of long, so bear with me.  We need to catch up.  I’ll keep posting for a few more weeks with some wrap up posts.

Party, Party, Party

First things first, we are having a House Re-Warming/Open House party next Saturday, Sept. 24th from 3 pm – 11 pm.  Stop by whenever you can and for however long you can.  We’re getting a keg (Ninkasi IPA or Lompoc C-Note — any preferences?) and making pizzas.  Send me a message if you need the address.


At 3 pm today, the last remaining room, which thus far had resisted the enemy paintbrush throughout the Summer 2011 Campaign, fell, on this, the intended last day of painting.  Yes, that’s right.  We repainted the ENTIRE house.  The last room was the downstairs bath, which shed its Pearl White/cruddy walls in favor of Devine Steamer.   The bath is still cruddy, but it looks slightly better.

Painting is done, other than some touch-ups and a second coat in the aforementioned bath.  The kitchen is now blue (Devine Storm), the dining room is a darker red (Metro Paint in Barn Red), and I can’t remember what else has been painted since we last spoke.  But we are very close to packing away the paintbrushes for a long, long time.

From Mellow Yellow to Moody Blues. Ignore the mess -- we're still unpacking.

We’re still settling into our new space.  I didn’t think the rooms themselves had changed that much until we started putting things away.  Lots of old spaces no longer exist, and we have new better ones in their stead.

The best part of the new house?  The Shower to End All Showers.  It’s the best shower I’ve ever showered in.  Including the one at the Mandalay Bar Spa where I have been known to shower 4 times in one day.  Ahhh.

I know what else is new.  We got a custom copper gutter-downspout-thingy, which turned out really cool.  The back stairs interfered with the existing downspout, so we needed a way to divert the rainwater to the far side of the stairs.  We had a fancy downspout extender built, with curved copped pipes to support it over the stairs. It ends in a  fish rain chain.  I don’t have any pictures of it but will post some next time.

Eeek, sensory overload! Must hide!

The cats are very happy to be back home.   Lots of chatter from them.   Arnold gets overstimulated, so he’s had to remove himself from the activity in order to sleep.  One of his hiding places is the baskets in the mudroom bench.  Mikey likes all the windows and attention.  He’s a flopper.  They both like the many circular pathways through the house now — endless running in circles and chasing each other down.

Ooh, scratch my butt

Alrighty, onto the main topic of the post.

How DID We Do?

When you tell people you’re doing a remodel, they delight in telling you horrifying stories about projects than went went over schedule and budget.  Really reassuring.  So common questions we got were, how far behind schedule were you and how far over budget did you go?  I will attempt to answer those here.


This one is easy.  The general contractor came in on time or faster.  In fact, if we needed to move back to the house earlier, I believe we could have.  Some of the last tasks were drawn out because we had to wait for the shower door and M’s back stairs to be completed before final inspection anyway.

When the contractor bid the project, they estimated it would take 20 weeks.  They added 3 weeks padding to the schedule in setting our start date at March 28th to be sure to be complete in time for our firm September 4th move back date.  After hiring the contractor, the project manager put together a detailed schedule, and he estimated 18 weeks total, which ended up being about right.

No regrets on the extra padding in the schedule.  Despite what you hear about projects running over, there was no stress that we would not be homeless when our housesitting gig ran out.  In addition, as you may have surmised, we greatly underestimated the time we needed for tasks we were responsible for following the contractor’s completion: cleaning, paining and moving back in.  So the extra time was actually a very, very good thing.  And both of us hugely appreciate that our contractor understands that staying on schedule is of paramount importance to the homeowner.


This one is harder.  Technically, if you look at the budget we told our financial planner and architect, we were over budget before we started. To be fair, that number was somewhat plucked out of the air, and through the bid process, we learned that 3 out of 3 contractors thought our project would cost significantly more than the budget number.  After that, we scaled back and removed some things from the contractor’s statement of work.  Ultimately, the initial contractor’s bid we signed onto was approximately 8% over our initial “thin air” budget.  This did not include many of the materials that we planned to source ourselves, like the tile, wood floors and carpet, architect fees, and moving and other additional expenses caused by being out of our house, so we knew the true spend would be much higher.

For the most part, we managed those additional expenses (other than the wood floors) in our normal cash flow, after drastically cutting all other categories of spending, other than apparently eating out.  That’s what we expected (or hoped) would happen, so I’m not counting those against our budget.  In some cases, we paid for these expenses before work even started on our house (e.g., most of the architect fees were incurred in 2010), so it was pretty well spread out.

Everyone talks about the dreaded change orders.  Maybe our contractor was better at communicating than others, but I didn’t find these to be all that bad.  These were largely changes we consciously decided to make, like changing from a bathtub to a shower or doing more cabinetry than originally anticipated.  A couple were unexpected things with the house, like repairing the foundation, but we knew our house well enough to be mentally prepared for that  (and, looking back, I thought there would be more in this category than there was).  There does get to be a point where you get tired of a few hundred dollars getting added to seemingly every sub’s final bid, but it really wasn’t that bad considering that the initial estimate (done 8 months ago at the time of the overall bid) has to make a lot of assumptions about endless details that we hadn’t yet decided.

All told, we had 5 change orders, which raised our original not-to-exceed ceiling by about 18%.  However, our contractor came in under budget, so we actually spent 95% of that.

The credit cards and bank accounts are still smoking, but our debt load from the remodel is within a few thousand dollars of what our financial planner accounted for in our master plan (based on the “thin air” budget), so we feel very good about our ability to pay it off.  We may even take a vacation in the winter.  (Back to the Big Island or check our Kaui?  Suggestions?)

There you have it.  On time?  Yes.  On budget?  Since our debt load is more-or-less as expected, I’m going to say yes.

Posted in Boring Stuff, Painting, Wrap Up | 1 Comment

The Final Countdown

Yes, it’s time for The Final Countdown.  No, not Gob’s magician act from Arrested Development.

(Although our new TV room would only be better if we could watch new episodes of Arrested Development in it!)

No, I mean The Final Countdown to moving back in.  M and the cats move back on Friday, IN THREE DAYS!!!  I have a little more than a week after that in the hills with the dog.  by Labor Day, it’s aloo back to normal.  We’re super excited.

In preparation for human and animal creatures living in the house and perhaps wanting to sit on something other than a 5 gallon bucket, we went to Ikea last week.  The upstairs is most ready to be put back together, but since we didn’t really have the right furniture for the new space.  We found a loveseat and TV stand, both super cheap! 

The Kivik loveseat with Ingebo Dark Blue cover

Comfy, squishy back cushions for cat who like to look out windows, wide arms for plates, drinks and cats, and darn near perfect for taking a nap on.  We’re both looking forward to taking a nap.

Hemnes 3-drawer TV unit in Back-Brown

 We moved all the leftover bookcases into The Steamer Room, abd voila!  Now, it’s a reading room.  Or will be, once we find the seat cushion and books.

The Reading Room

Someone made a comment to me that we must be really efficient at painting now.  And I think we are.  It’s time consuming, but we’re in a groove, and it doesn’t take us long to gather up everything we need at the start or clean up at the end of the day.  In particular, we keep a bucket of paint thinner in the utility sink and, after healf heartedly cleaning the brushes, we drop them in the bucket and leave them.  They’re totally fine by the next day.  Also, I never clean roller brushes.  Someone shared the tip with me to wrap them tightly in plastic and keep them in the refrigerator to use them the next day,  Well, since our refrigerator is still unplugged, we just wrapped them in plastic and left them out.  It turns out they’re not just the next day, but even a week or two later!  So, the moral of the this story is: don’t waste time or water cleaning roller brushes.

One roller per color

 All y’all have a good night now, y’hear?  (Forgive me, I’m coming to you from Nashville and must go off to some vendor event that undoubtedly involves country music.)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


I’m a little behind on updates.  We had final inspection a week ago. Pass! Pass!  There is one small thing where the inspector wanted something changed, so that is being completed (sloping the header at the bottom of the stairs to match the angle of the stairs).  We did a walk-through on Monday with our contractor and architect and signed off.  So in theory, our house is done and habitable!  Yay!  I shall celebrate by opening another beer (Lagunitas IPA — yum).

Glassed In

The shower glass arrived, and it looks great.  All our subs have seemed to be super careful and precise, and this one was no exception.  The guy who wrote up the specs wanted to make sure the towel bar lined up with the top of the tile half-wall, which is a nice touch.  These are our only towel bars in the bathroom, so no hogging towels.

All done! Except for the sticker on the glass


The other big news is that the floors and stairs are one day away from being completely cherry-clad.  The floor itself is all laid, the lower stairs are done, the upper stairs just need treads, and the landings need to be installed.  We’re also adding quarter-rounds on the treads to solve a small spacing issue.  That’s it!  Then our house is really done.  Except painting, of course.

(Sorry about the crappy cell phone pictures.  Forgot my camera again.)

We have floors!

Maybe we'll turn the living room into a ballroom, so everyone can admire the floors while dancing

We decided on squared off bottom stairs (these are still treadless)

These stairs DO have treads, but need some touch up on the risers (and a second coat of Beluga)

The cherry looks great and has lots of good character!  They will cure over the next few months to couple of years, darkening into a deeper, redder color.  They’re so solid too.  I didn’t realize how used to the “spring” in the fir floors I’d become.  It was a little funny to walk across certain parts of the floor, without an added bounce in my step.

And Lest We Forget…

Why, yes, we are still painting! It’s gotten more tolerable now that most of what remains is topcoat or touch up.  At this point, the upstairs is very, very close to completion.

Beluga walls -- this corner still needs another coat

That space under the window is 84″ wide, so I am now on the lookout for a not-outrageously-priced couch or loveseat to go there.  It has to have squishy back cushions because the cats have made it quite clear that they prefer squishy couch cushions in front of a window.  We decided to move the TV up from the living room to this room.  Now that we’ve gotten used to the 60″ TV at our housesitting gig, we’ll have the evaluate whether a 37″ TV will do.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I love TV.

The Purple Room is no longer purple.  It shall now be known as the Steamer Room, which is the color it’s painted.  Also fitting because it’s the hottest room in the house in the summer.  Mmm, steamy.

The Steamer Room

And, now, whether we deserve it or not, M and I are taking TWO WHOLE DAYS OFF.  This is so we can drive 3 1/2 hours and back for a family party (Happy Birthday, Mom and Schwestie!).  The drive actually sounds nice and relaxing, and we’re looking forward to the weekend.

And as a random final side note, I checked the blog stats to see what internet searches led people to the blog.  I’m pleased to note that one search was for “ceiling fan ‘not ugly’“!  There are others who share my pain!  Perhaps the most perplexing one, though, was “inside dumpster.”  Hmm.  I hope they found whatever it was they were looking for.  Our dumpster was not inside.

Posted in Floors, Painting | Leave a comment

A Good Weekend

The weekend finally felt like we made a lot of progress.

The carpet went in on Friday.  A little unexpected, but when there’s  a hole in the schedule, you take it.  We stayed up late Thursday to finish the first coat on all the trim and to clean up the upstairs.  I think it looks pretty good, don’t you?

Next up was the mudroom.  We didn’t really plan on blue walls when selecting the blue floor, but I think it will work fine once we get the rest of the stuff in there.  I think I’ll redo the bench cushion in something with white, red and/or blue in it. This is the color our kitchen will get changed to … eventually.

Saturday afternoon, we rented a UHaul to move our remaining stuff (furniture and some kitchen things) back from H&J’s.  With the truck, it was just one load.  Lots of stuff scattered about now, but at least it’s looking more like a house in disarray than a construction zone.

Today, M did more trim work and I continued painting blue.  Another Devine “rule” is to only change corners mid-room at an inside corner.  So that’s how we ended up with these parts of the hallway/living room blue.  The remainder will be a grayish color — you can see a swatch on the wall in the stairwell.

Last but not least, M finished his outside stairs last week.  They look great, and our contractor thinks they will pass inspection!  Once they pass, M will do a little more sanding and finish work and then stain them.

Perhaps the best part of the weekend is that we finally managed to pace ourselves enough to visit a few of our favorite haunts in the neighborhood, see and chat with several neighbors and hang out with a friend this evening.  Back home 5 weeks from today!

Posted in Carpet, Painting | Leave a comment


The carpet is going in tomorrow! So much for my plans to paint the upstairs this weekend BEFORE the carpet goes in.

Posted in Carpet | Leave a comment