Saturday, October 30, 2010


I think, at this point, that I have picked all the major finishes for the kitchen.

We ordered cabinets (Kraftmaid, shaker style door, color: Kaffee in cherry), so that's definitely picked. While I was picking out the cabinets, I picked out a countertop (Silestone, in Blanco City).

Now that I think about it, although I knew the styles of things I wanted, I ended up kind of starting with the backsplash, which I am going to use this awesome tile from L'esperance Tile. It looks like squirrels and oak leaves and acorns! My front yard is covered with all three of these things. The tile are really cute, and the seller also makes field tile, so I should be able to do the backsplash in mostly the 'craftsmen glaze', white, peppered with squirrley oakey acorney tiles here and there. The white, incidentally, is not a pure shocking shiny appliance white. It's kind of natural white, I guess. In any case, it's really pretty and it goes really well with the countertops and cabinets.*

I kind of assumed I would paint the kitchen the same green as the rest of the house, which is a sort of light olive. It's called Bamboo Shoot (Valspar) but when I look at bamboo shoot on Valspar's website, it looks awful beige to me. Maybe they changed the color or something. But that's about the right color. I could also try to paint it turquoise, similar to the current kitchen color but a little deeper. The current kitchen's color is a little too baby blue for me.

Also, we are doing a ceramic or porcelain tile floor. We had one in the last kitchen we remodeled and it was basically indestructible and never looked dirty. That was pretty awesome. My husband thinks we can put one of those radiant mats underneath, so it will be heated. We did look at some natural stone (slate, mostly) in a store for the floor, but neither of us really liked the texture. It's kind of .... chippy? Something.

*Incidentally, the L'esperance tile person on Etsy has been really fantastic, and sent me some sample color and sizes of tile. Etsy is so full of awesome people.

Construction is Happening

My son pretty much never wants to get dressed in the morning. About a year ago, we started telling him "Pants are Happening!" We even sing it sometimes. I am not sure if it helps or not, but I do feel like singing "Construction is Happening!"

Lots of framing has been going up in the past week, which makes it start to look like "a room" and not "a big hole in the yard".

These are pictures of the concrete floor for the new lower level man-cave (the big hole will be a big glass door and a sidelight). Above that, will be the kitchen. KITCHEN. I can't even deal. I have this idea that all the cabinets will be in the week of Thanksgiving, and then 2 weeks until we get a countertop templated and installed and then VIOLA finished kitchen. Maybe we need to do the backsplash over winter break. No problem, right! Right?

I realize my plan for the kitchen is ambitious. I am sticking with my original idea of "baking christmas cookies in new kitchen". It's gonna happen. I totally believe it. KITCHEN.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away

It was rainy today, and super windy. Still, contractor-father-in-law and his colleague both showed up and got a bunch of framing done. I will try to take a picture tomorrow morning.

When we get home, it is getting dark. In the morning, we are rushed. Weekends may be the only good picture times.

I realized that one of the things I was hoping to do with this blog is to drone on about random house stuff that I might or might not do, such that I do not make my husband crazy. (Husband is a really fantastic guy, who detests window shopping, so my over thinking renovations we're not doing for three years kind of makes him crazy.)

Truth be told, I remembered this almost immediately before I said "hey, honey, we should tile the fireplace brick, that we both hate". Wait, stop. This is the kind of thing that is prolly better for a blog and not for making husband nuts.

So anyway, we hate our fireplace. The chimney is centered on the wall, which is covered in skinny fake bricks painted off white. The hole for the fireplace itself is NOT centered on the hearth, which is covered with some incredibly uneven wide orange-ey brick. There is like a 1X8 or something painted brown in place of a real mantel. Not fun!

The rest of the downstairs is painted Valspar Bamboo Shoot, which is kind of green. It looks more beige on the Valspar website, but whatever. We did not paint the fake skinny brick because it was a pain, but that was a mistake and I want to paint it to match the rest of the walls.

Then I started thinking "Hey, DIY network just told me I could thinset tiles directly only brick. That sounds like a solution for my heinous fireplace problem." In the longer term, we'd like to yank the whole wall down, drywall it, and put in a new fireplace and mantel. I would also like some built ins on either side, which are really appropriate to the style of home. I would actually not be surprised if in the 70s someone took down the existing built ins and faced the wall with the brick to cover up where the built ins used to be.

So, paint, tile, build a thicker looking mantel shelf stained the same color as our door. Maybe a piece of reclaimed wood. That seems like a weekend project I could do all by myself! You know, in March of 2013 when I have a free weekend. :)

I am not an interior designer, or even a designer of any kind, but I put together a little board of the kinds of colors and finishes that would be a nice quick fix. I included one of the matching stained glass windows that flank the chimney, which are almost certainly original to the house. (There are 3 other stained glass windows in the house. The dining room one is my absolute favorite.) I think it's kinda cute.

For now, I have exhausted my fantasy-renovating energy by doing that and writing this post, so I guess it's time for bed.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Healthy Progress!

We got sick. One after the other, after the other. Now we are mostly healthy! While we were sick, lots of progress as been made.

  • Concrete guys came and poured the footer.
  • A big truck came and delivered block. Another came and delivered brick layers. (Yes, it's a terrible picture. I am sorry.)
  • After that, I think my husband and father-in-law-contractor put in a layer of insulation.
  • Then another layer of concrete from the big truck to do the floor.
  • Now we have a delivery of lumber! Very exciting.

We also ordered our cabinets (the night I was starting to get sick). They will be delivered the week of Thanksgiving. Hopefully, we will have a room to put them in.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I am sick and my voice is completely gone.

We are still getting estimates for windows and doors. Contractor-father-in-law and husband got the first flat layer of insulation down, but I have not really been awake much, so not so much with the getting up to take pictures.

Instead, I made an etsy treasury of pretty things I might put in my house or on my self or on someone else's baby.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Everything costs more than we think

Today is the day where things cost more than we think they should.
I want this door for the kitchen, opening onto the deck. With a sidelight.

Below the kitchen will be my husband's new man cave. he would also like a door, with two sidelights.

Our estimate for this is more than I paid for my first car. Seriously, door salespeople? Why you gotta mess with me like that?

We may or may not be picking different doors. I am struck with indecision.

In other news, we finalized our cabinet layout. (Yay!)
And a sale on cabinets starts tomorrow (Double Yay!)
We should be ordering cabinets this week!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Current Kitchen: Mini Remodel

A friend asked me to post pictures of the existing kitchen, for comparison purposes. Actually, painting the original kitchen was the first thing I did when we bought the house, prior to moving in. While we were living in our old house (Umple Corner), I spent hours watching TV remodeling shows and photoshop-remodeling pictures of my new house and what it would look like. The reality never works out to be quite the same, but here are some pictures of what we bought, what I dreamed up and what we have now.

My, uh, design sense or whatever you call it took a "red and white accessories are AWESOME" detour after I got the kitchen painted. Also, the reality of "painting something white" is not at all how shiny it looks after photoshopping. I have gotten over it, however.

In new kitchen news, I have an appointment tomorrow night to finalize the layout and cabinetry, and I am going to take a look at some countertops, as well. Now to live with what I've got for another few months.


Monday, October 11, 2010

What is a Foursquare and why woodland foursquare?

According to Wikipedia:
The American Foursquare or American Four Square is an American house style popular from the mid-1890s to the late 1930s. A reaction to the ornate and mass produced elements of the Victorian and other Revival styles popular throughout the last half of the 19th century, the American Foursquare was plain, often incorporating handcrafted "honest" woodwork (unless purchased from a mail-order catalogue). This style incorporates elements of the Prairie School and the Craftsman styles. It is also sometimes called Transitional Pyramid.

So basically it's a big square box with a pyramid top built. If you are from Pittsburgh (which I am), they will seem awfully familiar to you, because we had a heap of houses built in this time period. Our foursquare was built in 1926, in a suburb just outside of Pittsburgh (one of the first "Streetcar Suburbs" in this area).

Our particular street is lined with a bunch of oak trees. It's lovely. It also means that around this time of year, the oak trees are dropping acorn bombs on us like crazy. I actually have been considering making my son wear a hat outside because I am pretty sure they hurt when they land on your head. They certainly scare the heck out of you. This picture is of the trees on our street during the snowmagedden this past winter.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kicking off the Kitchen

The biggest project we are undertaking with the house so far has just started to get underweigh: The Kitchen.

We knew when buying this house that the kitchen would have to go, and we knew that to do that, we'd need to build an addition to house the kitchen and our home office. The current kitchen is going to be turned into a powder room and a mudroom. We have plans for what goes under the kitchen as well. We have BIG plans. Lots of plans.

Unfortunately, we don't have the time for all the big BIG plans we have, so we are starting with the kitchen, the most egregiously poor room in the house.

I'll post pictures of the current kitchen another time. You'll see what I am working with. For now, enjoy these pictures of the huge hole in our yard that will become the addition.

3 year old son LOVES the hole. Every day when we get home from work "Mommy, can I go look at the hole?"

"No, baby, you can't go down by the hole without mommy or daddy."

"But mommy, it's a HOLE."

"Yes, I understand that it's a big hole."

"I like holes."

This is how the conversation goes. Hopefully it will go differently tomorrow. We have a truckload of block, a bricklayer, and my father-in-law-contractor coming tomorrow.

I have to get to bed. They'll be here at 6:30 am.




I am starting this blog so I have some place to talk, incessantly, about the house we bought last year that we have been (not as slowly as my husband might like) fixing up.

Mostly, I am hoping that I can do the bulk of my obsessing and backpedaling on decisions here, as I value my family more than anything, and I think my indecision and constant mind-changing is starting to wear on them.

So here I am. And here is the house the day we bought it.