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Archive for the ‘The Indoors’ Category

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:

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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!

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

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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?”

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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:

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Green carpet removed:

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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.

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and down to the subfloor:

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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.

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More painting:

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

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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.

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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!

 

 

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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!

 

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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!

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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 🙂

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For quite a while, we’ve had 3 stainless steel appliances — the fridge, dishwasher, and microwave — and 1 bisque (the range) that came with the house.

All of the first three stainless appliances were bought out of necessity, when what came with the house died.  Initially I had a hard time with the idea of prematurely replacing the bisque range.  I wanted a stainless steel dual fuel range, but the existing range had a gas cooktop and it (mostly) worked, so it was hard to pull the trigger.  Eventually, this Christmas convinced me.

On Christmas Eve we were hosting the annual 7 fish gathering, and were trying to cook on 3+ burners of the stove and in the oven at the same time.  I was trying to get pasta out of pots on the back burners while sautéing on the front burners, and needed to reach the oven controls at the same time.  With how low the microwave is, and with how much depth is eaten up by the rear dash (where the oven controls are) there just wasn’t space.

I came away with a few little oil burns and a new resolve that it was time to hit an appliance sale in the new year.

I’ve known for a while exactly which range I was pretty sure I wanted, and we spent only a little time shopping to confirm before buying.  We needed a freestanding range, since that’s what we’re replacing, but I wanted the look of a slide-in, and the controls on the front.  I also liked not having the big dash in the back, because it leaves more space for pots to not be so close together.  The GE Cafe range was the only one we found that fit all those wants, came in the right size, and was available in a dual fuel model.

In order to switch to dual fuel, we had to have a 220v line installed, because our previous range was all gas, and only needed 110v to run the clock, etc.  We had an electrician do it, partly because electrical work isn’t my bag, and partly because we also wanted a separate circuit run for the microwave so we could stop periodically overloading the circuit that previously had the microwave, range, and the basement lights on it.  Once that was done we ordered the range, and had it delivered.

DIY install was ok in the end, but didn’t go as smoothly as it could have.  We needed a dolly to move it from the garage into the kitchen, but at least it fit through the necessary doorways.  When we finally got it unpackaged, we discovered that it fit between the cabinets, but the opening in the countertops was about 1/16″ too small.

Super.

We ended up removing the small countertop from the cabinet and re-screwing it to the cabinet after fitting the range in.  No big deal, but there was certainly a little panic involved for a brief while.

This is the hole in the cabinets that the range goes into.  Please admire the awesome stock cabinetry in the corner, that never got painted.

Sealing the natural gas line threads went pretty smoothly.  We used this stuff to seal:

and when we tested for leaks

we were good to go.

When it came time to push the range in, we arrived at the first problem that we couldn’t readily solve.  We’re not 100% sure, but we think it’s the gas line that’s in the way:

but we can’t push the range the last 2 inches or so, all the way back to the wall.  It’s a problem we’ll have to figure out how to fix in the future, because we have a gap near the backsplash, and we can’t open the drawer under the drain board without opening the oven door too (the drawer hits the oven door handle).  There has to be a solution, we’ll just have to figure it out.  In the meantime, not bad:

I love how much less cramped it looks above the range.  The white tile backsplash is nothing to write home about, but it’s so nice and clean looking to be able to see it!  The bisque appliances/white tile never did much for me either.

We have not baked anything yet to report on the electric oven, but I do really like the gas cooktop so far.  Now we just need to throw a party to take it for a test run!  Marcy and Guinness insist.

The old range, which does still work, is out in the garage.  I plan to call Habitat for Humanity to donate it.  Hopefully it will be useful to someone.

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It occurred to me that it’s been a while since I’ve posted any pictures of our family room. Although none of the updates are brand new, I figured it’s time to get around to showing them off!

1.  Media cabinet

The biggest change happened in December, when our media cabinet was delivered.  Ta-da!

For all the furniture in our house, it’s the first piece we’ve picked out and bought because it was exactly what we wanted.  Exciting.

We’ve intended to buy a media cabinet to house the receiver, cable set top box, Blu-Ray player, etc. since we bought our current TV and wall-mounted it.  That was, ahem, almost 3 years ago.  We finally decided to start seriously looking when we knew Marcy would be joining the family.  All those accessible wires under the sofa table seemed like a puppy dream – and a puppy parent nightmare.

We shopped pretty extensively, online and in store, across a variety of price points.  We ended up splurging a little on the piece we chose.  It is an Ethan Allen piece, the Jason buffet with glass on 2 doors (it’s also available with 4 wood panel doors) in the caraway finish.  It came about 2 weeks sooner than promised when we ordered.  In an ideal world, we might have found a piece that sat flush with the floor rather than on legs, so tennis balls (and paws) wouldn’t find their way under.  But such a piece was not to be found.  The legs on this piece are removable, but there’s a support piece under the rear middle that prevents it from sitting flat on the floor.  Unless we have as yet unforseen trouble with the legs, we’ll leave it as is.

2.  Pillow covers

I used leftover fabric from re-covering the dining room chairs to cover the throw pillows on the couch, two each in hounds tooth and paisley.

3.  Table runner for the media cabinet

I found enough of the hounds tooth fabric still at Joanne Fabrics (on sale, woot!) to sew a table runner for the top of the media cabinet.

4.  The puppy gate

The gate was a custom made birthday present from my dad.  We’d been keeping a baby gate leaning in that corner for the occasions on which we needed to keep Guin in one room – because we were brewing beer, moving groceries in/out, painting, trick or treaters were at the door, etc.  That gate became a full time thing when Marcy came home, until she gets a little older and a little more reliable with the house training.  I thought a permanent gate would be a useful thing to have, but I didn’t want anything that would restrict the width of the doorway.  Dad made the sliding gate out of cherry, and mounted it to the studs under the cutout.  Permanent puppy (and little kid) boundary!

5.  Recessed lighting and surround sound wiring/speaker installation

These were actually two separate projects, that happened a couple years ago.  I started a post on the project a long time ago, but I never got around to finishing it.  So, white flag.  In brief, since there is attic space above the family room, we were able to go up and relatively easily run the wiring for 5 recessed lighting cans, and rear and overhead speakers.  The 5 lights are on 3 switches – one for the row over the TV/media cabinet, one for the row nearest the exterior glass door, and one for the one spotlighting the fireplace.  The lights are all on dimmers, which makes for great “movie theater lighting.”

Eventually, we’re looking forward to a new sofa (brown leather?) and coffee table.  The ones we have are serviceable, but they were hand-me-downs and are showing their age a bit.

We’re going to hold on new leather furniture, though, until Miss Marcy outgrows some of the fiendish puppy chewing.

I’m also feeling a little undecided about whether the walls need something.  Looking at most of the photos above, I think they do.  But I like keeping the fireplace the center of the room, so we’ll see.

So there you have it, that’s our family room these days!  To wrap up, since today is Sunday,

Happy Sundogs!

 

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