Monthly Archives: November 2008

floating on air

joe-walking-hall1Today we remembered the saw but forgot the glue. Okay, we didn’t forget it—I made calls last week and everyone told us we didn’t need it to float the floor. But it turns out you do need it for the boards you have to cut. We could work around it though.

I was in charge of racking the boards, which means selecting the lengths and pattern for consecutive rows. You have to do this if you don’t want to end up with a bunch of seams all together. jill-racking1I did almost my entire office.

(Oh yeah, and as you can see, I finally picked paint. On a whim, I checked out the paint at Lowe’s and discovered Valspar sells samples in the store for $3.99. Why didn’t anyone tell me? It looks gray here but it’s called Palisades blue.) Joe’s dad installed the rows and Joe cut the boards. We’re using Mannington’s Caspian collection LocNGo system, and it works pretty nicely. You’ve got to tap it with a hammer and it clicks into place. joe-taps-boardsAnd all that leveling must have paid off because it’s nice and flat. It looks a little too perfect to me for real wood, but what a difference it makes. So not concrete.

And it’s fun to slide around on it in your socks. All day long, I was gliding up and down the hall. When the master bedroom was finished, I grabbed Joe and pulled him out into the center of our floor for a dance.

Change is good.



laying it down

There are two reasons I haven’t posted since the bathroom was finished. One, I finally succumbed to the black plague that’s going around and have been busy producing antibodies; and two, I have been too frustrated with the lack of progress since the bathroom’s been finished to post anything that wasn’t nauseatingly whiny.

I haven’t been going over to the house because Joe and his dad have been prepping the floors for hardwood installation and don’t need me (they say). Anyway, that’s what they tell me they’re doing, but I don’t know how prepping can take multiple weekends. I mean, we started pouring floor leveler in August.

So when Joe called me the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to proudly proclaim that they finished the floors, I was ecstatic. “You started laying down wood?” I asked. “No, we leveled the floors,” he said. I cannot reproduce any more of our conversation as this is a family-friendly blog, but Joe and his dad ended up staying another three hours and when we got there this morning, we were ready to install hardwood.
joe-and-dad-tape-floorThe first rule was that we had to do this barefoot because the floors need to be spotless, so no tracking dirt and crap in. The second rule is that before we could put wood down, we had to tape down the foam underlayment, which is a moisture barrier. This involves measuring, which instantly puts me into a coma.

So while Joe and his dad did calculations and other engineering stuff, I did my first load of wash. It came out perfect. I have high praise for the Samsung and its energy-efficient front loading. When we finally got to laying wood down, the guys realized they forgot the saw, so we didn’t get too far.

the unveiling

There are still finishing touches to add, but here is our first ever before and after.



It helps that the ugly factor before is waaaay up there. As if pink and blue tile wasn’t bad enough, aqua accents and that wallpaper finish the job. We were rockin’ a handicap bar by the john, and if you look closely, you’ll also see a phone jack back there.


Just looking at this wallpaper gives me hives. This is what the entire house looked like–now you know why we took a sledgehammer to it.


And the gory details: Nothing says glamour like three switchplates. The tub was the worst, though: Not only was the soap dish mysteriously chiseled away, the drain was replaced with a commercial shower drain. Baths were not an option.

Now, the after:








Aaaaaahhhhhhh. And check out these details:


Well–what do you think?


decisions, decisions

Even when our progress is at its slowest, mentally I am always raring to go. Here’s what’s been on my mind lately (now you understand the blank stare):

bathroom finishing touches Hardware, wastebasket, and a shelf

also, window treatments What looks right on such a short window?

I still need to pick a paint color for my office

wall vents Can we find any to match the floor vents? If not, can I convince Joe to go with new floor vents? Maybe it’s not too late.

doorknob styles

area rugs

closet systems Where can I find a reasonably priced one that’s solid wood, and how am I ever going to keep the cat out without doors?

and, related: where do we put the cat’s litterbox?



Tonight, we all agreed conclusively that the bathroom door we ordered is never going to open 90 degrees with the washer and dryer installed. Joe’s dad and I both lobbied hard for an outward-swinging door, but I ultimately left the decision up to Joe.

Clearly, I forgot what has happened when I’ve done that in the past—namely that we end up with things we both hate (ahem, shower hardware). In this case, it’s a bit worse than that: Lowe’s policy is that you can’t change an order if it’s been 48 hours or more since you placed it, which leaves us with a $300 mistake. And a four-week delay.

While I am definitely not missing a chance to rub it in, I can’t be too upset with him. One mistake a year isn’t bad. Especially with this project. Now, is anyone in the market for a custom 28-inch, two-panel door?


it’s a wash

I woke up ready to roll. All our parts came in yesterday, so we were planning on installing the washer and dryer, mounting the medicine chest and bathroom light, and starting the floors. Instead, I spent roughly 8 hours stuck in the bathroom behind this:

washer-dryer-in1My new washer and dryer, aka our biggest stumbling block with this phase of the renovation. We tried adding a laundry room, but the expense of running plumbing was just too much, so instead we went with stacking units in the bathroom.

There are many drawbacks to this, not the least of which is that any maintenance whatsoever will require tearing off the bathroom door and trim, but it was our only option. And the space is so tight, it’s actually amazing we pulled it off.

I say we, but the credit really goes to Joe and his dad. They had to wrangle a 270-pound washing machine over marble tile without cracking it, then put a 170-pound dryer on top and slide both units out enough so Joe’s dad could squeeze behind and make all the connections.

I, meanwhile, spent most of my time trapped inside the bathroom while the machines blocked the doorway. I’m sure I would have felt more claustrophobic if I hadn’t been busy admiring the tile and fixtures and granite countertop. And I’m overjoyed that we finally got to install those appliances, which we bought last winter. Here’s hoping they never, ever break, or we are so screwed.

less than perfect

Okay, forget what I said in my last post. Perfection is overrated.

As a type A, I usually appreciate attention to detail, but Joe and his dad take it to extremes. They won’t let me paint a single wall in my house. They obsess over dings and dents that are invisible to the naked eye. They trimmed out a recessed box for the washer and dryer hoses. As in, behind those appliances, where no one will ever see.

I keep telling them that we’ll be living here, not selling museum tickets, but it doesn’t stop them. I am trying to keep their expectations as low as possible because I am a born klutz, Izabelle is worse, and we have a cat who is destruction with a tail. And I do want to move in within the year.

After my third day of literally watching paint dry in the bathroom, I left in disgust today and went over to my brother- and sister-in-law’s place. They redid their master bedroom and I’ve been wanting to see it for a while. They have three cats.

Joe’s dad helped them spackle, and the story goes that after two day at it, Mike said enough was enough, and threatened to throw the spackle knife out the window. And the place still looks great.

I may have to call him about confiscating some paint brushes. Otherwise, I fear a perfect murder happening soon.