Master bedroom progress pics

It’s well documented on this blog that I’m behind in my posts.  So far behind that it doesn’t even make sense to make excuses anymore, so I won’t!  Instead, I’ll just post pictures of the master bedroom put back together after the new carpet earlier this year:





The most obviously unfinished part is the closet:  like all of our bedrooms at this point, our master bedroom doesn’t have closet doors.  The old luan doors were sliders, and that was a pain for two people sharing a closet:  you can only get into one side at once!  We’ll be replacing all the luan doors in the house eventually, so this seemed like a good time to get rid of the luan sliding doors.  Sliding doors require a cutout in the carpet for a small track/guide in the middle of the door frame, so we pulled out the old track when we ripped up the blue carpet, pitched the doors, and put down new carpet without a hole for a track.  Eventually we plan to put in bifold doors, but that day hasn’t come yet.  In the meantime, gold stars for Marcy and Guinness for leaving our shoes alone.

Another project still on the list is the windows.  Eventually we’ll paint the trim around the windows white.  We skipped it in the first round of trim painting because the carpet installers had us on a deadline.  Any trim that didn’t touch carpet was deemed non-essential.  Plus, the previous owners installed the blinds and curtain rods directly to the trim.  Before we paint, we’ll want to take those down and fill the holes, but that means we need to have the new window treatments ready to go.  I’m over the mini-blinds that came with the house, but still undecided on what I’d like to put up.

DSC_0038The new carpet looks so much better than the old jewel tones, but even better is having new carpet padding underfoot instead of almost 30-year old padding.  This post is not so belated that the excitement has worn off!


We have really big news around Guin’s Yard this summer:  we are officially jewel-tone-carpet free!  That’s right!  All this:

 DSC_0089 DSC_0068 DSC_0062 

is GONE.  We’ll have to show you what’s here instead in installments, though, because most of the rooms aren’t very “finished” looking yet.  When you replace the flooring in this many rooms (plus the family room), there’s a lot of moving STUFF from one room to another, and some of the rooms have emerged from their awkward mid-project adolescence more gracefully than others.  So we’ll start with some works in progress and some finished shots of the rooms that are well on their way.

So the process.

First we chose the carpet.  We used the same color in all of:  the family room, stairs, upstairs hall, and all 4 bedrooms.  We chose it using the guiding principal of “what will match my dogs the best?”


The final choice was “Treasure,” 2nd from top, right most column.  Shown here against our living room carpet which we like very much, but was discontinued since we put it in.  Otherwise we’d have just continued the same color.IMG_0780


We had the house measured, and the carpet ordered.  While we waited for the carpet to come in, we got the first two rooms ready for install, including:

  • emptying out the rooms,
  • ripping out the old carpet and padding,
  • removing the sliding closet doors and the doors’ track in the floor, and
  • de-glossing, priming, and painting (3 coats!) the baseboard trim.

We established a pattern over the course of about a month, where we’d prep two rooms on a weekend, and the installers would come during the week.  Week 1:  family room and green guest room.  Week 2:  Master bedroom, stairs, and upstairs hall.  Week 3:  Yellow guest room and office bedroom.  Week 4:  master bedroom closet, because the piece didn’t fit in week 3.  These were some mammoth work weekends, so we tucked the project into my couple of weeks of down time after my first half ironman of the season, and before I ramped back up (too much) training for the second one.

By the end of it, if neither of us ever saw another gallon of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic semi-gloss paint, it would’ve been fine with us.  Unfortunately that will not be the case:  we still have doors (lots of doors) and the trim around the windows to do.  Those will be projects for another day.  In the meantime, here’s a few pictures of the slog:

Green bedroom progression:

(Mostly) empty:


Green carpet removed:


Trim primed:DSC_0077and, sorry for the teaser, but that’s as far as I’ve got pictures of this one!  Since it was the first bedroom done, it was (and is) stuffed to the gills with stuff from all the other rooms while they were underway.

Master bedroom:  Before carpet was fully removed (edges cut away), white trim paint finished.


and down to the subfloor:


Hall and stairs:  carpet edges cut away for painting.  Note, this was a real problem when doing the hall and stairs, because we had to spend a few days like this with the carpet tacks exposed, and couldn’t close it off well from the dogs.  We ended up baby gating them in another part of the house, and at bedtime, we walked them straight up the carpeted middle on tight leashes.  Not fun.  At least it was short lived.


More painting:


And down to the sub floor for install day #2:


DSC_0111Obviously we didn’t take complete pics in every room, but you get the idea:  tedium!  Anyway, I am pleased to show off the first and most-put-together room after this whole adventure.  The family room:

DSC_0153This room admittedly looks the least different, since the old carpet was cream colored.  But it was not, I don’t think, particularly good quality carpet, and it didn’t look very good up close.  It was showing serious wear patterns, and Marcy sealed the deal as a puppy when she chewed 2 or 3 holes in it.  We are hoping this darker, more tan, more flecked color will do better.


DSC_0156Marcy asks you not to believe a word about this alleged chewing of carpet.  See this face?  This face doesn’t chew.

The family room is probably also the room where the newly white trim is least noticeable, because there’s so much furniture along the walls.  The door frames are noticeable, though, especially the glass exterior doors.  White trim blends into the door much better, which I like.  The trim is not substantial enough to warrant attention being called thereto.

Hopefully I’ll have pictures of some of the other rooms soon!



Many months ago, I painted the first of two bookcases white.  I got them from a colleague when he moved, and I planned to paint them and put them in the living room.  I promptly sanded both, primed/painted one, and decided I hated the project.  Not the outcome–I liked that–but the actual doing of the project.  It was annoying to do so many coats, and it was uncomfortable work reaching into the corners.  There wasn’t a great place in the house to do it, either (i.e., well lit, spacious, and not requiring me to drag a bookcase up and down stairs).  And so, once I finished the first one, there we sat like this for more months than I will count for you:

In fact, I disliked the project so much that <confession alert> the shelves in the above pic were actually only primed.  Christmas was coming, I ran out of time, so I slapped them up for the holidays with just primer on them, all “oh, I’ll paint them in January when things die down!”  Yep.  Two or three Januarys later… ahem.

Anyway, this spring I finally got myself in gear to finish things up, and I enjoyed measurable success.  To wit:

DSC_0160Ta-da!  I promise, all the shelves are actually painted now.  I even ordered new hinges and pulls for the doors for the lower portions.  But after I finished the bookcases themselves, I got involved in painting the front door purple, and then painting a bunch of trim in the house white, and I still haven’t primed or painted the doors to the bottoms.  You can see them leaning against the wall and against the piano.  I think I deserve maybe 85% credit here?  Maybe 90%  Roughly a B?

I would tell you I’ll definitely have those doors on by Christmas 2014, but I don’t like lying.  So I’ll just say I hope to have the doors on by Christmas 2014.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying the product of my baby steps!


Tomato garden 2014

Like every year, we planted our 2014 tomato garden along the sunny side of the garage.  Unlike every other year, however, this year the first 6 tomato plants went into the ground Mothers Day weekend – at least 3 weeks earlier than usual.  For most of a month, they stayed protected in a mini-greenhouse tube made of plastic and wire semi-hoops.

The early planting and efforts to keep them warm in May were in response to last year’s tomato harvest, which didn’t start in earnest until September. With frosts coming in early October, the tomato plants were a lot of work all summer for not much yield.

Here they are this year on July 19:


Today is August 1 – and checking in on our plants, here’s what we find:


The left-most plant is finally taller than I am.


The 6 plants nearest the front of the house/the door are obviously the ones planted in May.  The other 5 were planted in June, per usual.  The difference in the size of the plants is obvious – and we picked our first 3 tomatoes today.  They are not ready to eat yet, but they are orange enough to continue ripening in the relative safety of the window.  Planting 3 weeks early seems to have moved the harvest up by at least that 3 week margin.


When last we discussed the front door, it was last October and we were deciding on a shade of purple for the front and side garage doors, and getting the new doors underway. We decided on a door color and hardware style, ordered, painted, and installed the side door, and after debating the relative merits of steel vs. fiberglass, and various styles, we also ordered the front door.

We expected the new front door to come in November, and we were hoping to paint and install it before the freezing winter months came.  I was hoping for that partly because it irritated me to see one purple door and one red door when I came home, and partly because the red front door was really pretty terrible, by which I mean thermally inefficient and also unsightly, what with its yellowed plastic window frame, etc.

Since it was something I was hoping to get done on some kind of schedule, you can guess how that actually went down.  Like a lead balloon.

The door we picked out was a Jeld-Wen steel six-light craftsman style door.  I like the craftsman style, and I thought this was about as far in that direction as we could get away with putting on our 1980s fauxlonial.  We ordered it from Curtis Lumber in Delmar, and at 8+ months out now, I don’t even remember the whole saga, just that it was awful.  First it was delayed, then when it came it was wrong, then the replacement was also delayed, then when it arrived it also wasn’t as-ordered.  You get my drift.  By that time it was late December, the door was a month+ late, it was still wrong, and even if we were inclined to install a new door that wasn’t what we ordered, temperatures had fallen to only sometimes being above 10*F.  We declined delivery and decided to shelve the whole project until spring.  Annoying.

In any event, spring eventually came, even though there were weeks when I thought it might not.  We ordered a new door, this time a fiberglass Therma Tru version of the same style:

from GNH Lumber in Greene County.  They were much more helpful, and as it turned out, they had us order a different size (depth) door frame than Curtis had.  (Now that the door is installed, I can confirm that GNH’s size was the correct one.)

The door spent a few weeks on saw horses in the living room being drilled and painted.


The door came pre-drilled for the door knob and deadbolt, but we needed to drill the third, 3/8″ hole for the bottom end of the handle set we picked out.  Not a big deal on a fiberglass door.  We chose Schlage handle sets and knobs in oil rubbed bronze for the entry doors, to match the exterior light fixtures.

We already knew we were going with SW Dewberry paint to match the side door, so that part was easy.  The painting itself took some time; primer then 3 coats per side, plus a week or so of drying time between sides before flipping it over.  Originally I had planned to paint the outside purple and the inside white like the current door.  But then I thought about how bland our entry space is, with all its neutrals, and how really bland it would be when we finally get rid of the green carpet on the stairs.  So we decided to go wild and paint both sides Dewberry.  I am eventually going to order a print (or a stretched canvas? or something?) for the foyer wall of this photo from our trip to Italy a few years ago:

to match the door.  But I digress.

So, finally!, the door was purple’d and ready to install.  We took the old door and frame out, no problem.

IMG_0772 IMG_0773

But when we went to install the new one, we discovered the hard way that although the measurements of the door frame was the same “size” as the old door frame, the frame was 1/4″ (or less) wider than the old door frame.  When installed, the brick facade on the house was squeezing the door frame so that, with great force, we could get the pre-hung door frame in place, but the door wouldn’t open and close once it was there.  Now what?

So began a tense week or two, since door issues meant we couldn’t readily lock and secure the house.  We got the door in place temporarily, locked it, and just used the garage until we could figure it out.  After some trial & error, we bought a grinder and a masonry blade to grind down the bricks along the sides of the doorway.  About 1/8″ to 1/4″ needed to come off each one on average, some more, some less.  There were several days of brick grinding and dust-generating.  It was awful.  We had red brick dust everywhere.  When we were done I washed walls, I vacuumed it up from the 2nd floor, I washed it from the living room couch slip cover, I brushed it off the dogs, the light fixtures, the bannisters, the dining room table… I mean it was everywhere.  In any event, we eventually got the bricks ground, the door in, and it kind of, sort of, worked.


The bricks were no longer the problem, but the upper vertical edge of the door was still rubbing and sticking badly.  You can see near the top where the purple paint was already being rubbed off (which hurt my heart, after all the weeks of careful painting!)  A level confirmed that the door and frame were perfectly square, and the door was rubbing in exactly the same place the old red door used to rub.  Go figure.

Since we were able to lock the door and secure the house, we gave up on making it work ourselves and called in the big guns.  My parents came to visit for the weekend, and the boys went to work.  I honestly don’t know what magic they worked on the wood framing of the wall, but my door opens and closes with ease now.  All I know is that it involved adjusting the wood framing, and it was done very precisely, just like everything else my dad does.  The same fix would’ve helped the old door, had we done it sooner.

So yay!  Now we have our purple front door, and it opens and closes smoothly.  It was actually finished in about April, but better late than never on the blog post.

The purple is tough to take a good picture of, under the porch roof.  This photo, from a bike-bath day, shows the color a little better in the sun:


I still need to paint the step below the door, probably purple (since white would show everything), but that’s the story on the front door!  It makes it really easy to give directions to our house – golden retriever on the mailbox and a purple door, you can’t miss it!  We also painted the interior trim white and re-affixed it, but we’ll get to the inside of the foyer soon (I promise!).

The basement workout room

The basement is a space we haven’t talked about much on the blog, mostly because we haven’t done much with it.  When we bought the house, it was bisected, front half/back half.  The front half was semi-finished; the back half is unfinished.  The furnace, washer/dryer, and utility sink are in the back half, and we added a fridge and chest freezer.  The front half had a cable hookup, sheetrocked walls, closets, a drop ceiling, and pink flowered linoleum floors.

When we first moved in, this spot was a convenient dumping ground for everything extra from everywhere in the house.  Boxes, old computers, coolers, etc., etc.  We’ve been working on cleaning up the space, adding accessible storage for beer brewing equipment, camping gear, and tools.  Last year we bought and mounted a TV to watch while riding bikes inside in the winter months, and this year we’ve worked a little more on turning it into a space where we actually want to work out.

Tell me you’ve seen a better use of Black’s Law Dictionary?

The carpet remnants keep the bikes from sliding, and are good for doing abs, etc.  They also cover some of the pink flowers 😉

I’d like to add a few more pieces of equipment – maybe a few dumbbells, a stability ball, that sort of thing.  I’d also like to pull up the carpet on the steps, because whatever kind of carpet it is, it’s a dog hair magnet.  I’d also like to paint the walls (they could use a freshening up) and put up a few more race pics.  They help remind you in January what you’re working to do in June.  For the walls, I’ve thought about a few options, and am thinking of a pale aqua, like SW Windowpane maybe?  We could also use a table for the cable box and DVD player, but it will need to be pretty shallow.  In the meantime, I’m glad to have made some progress!

Our second guest room has a real double bed now – no headboard, but box spring and mattress.

I look forward to eventually replacing the carpet – so much green! – but hopefully our guests are here to see us and not our carpet anyway.  This puts us to two guest rooms with double beds, plus the air bed that used to be in here.  Like I said in the last post, looks like time to host a party 🙂