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Posts Tagged ‘Before & After’

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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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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Sweet, sweet completion.  After 4 full months in various stages of being torn apart, it’s put back together again and ready for guests.  Without further ado:

Paint:  SW Interesting Aqua and SW Alabaster | Tile:  Tracce del Tempo in marrone 13x13s | Sink:  Mansfield Barrett | Toilet:  Mansfield Barrett, a discontinued version without concealed trap | Faucet, towel ring, and TP ring:  Moen Eva collection in brushed nickel | Mirror:  Lowe’s

We’ve worked on it most of the last bunch of weekends, and I confess I got so tired of the project toward the end that I wasn’t enjoying working on it, let alone taking pictures or writing about it.  So, I stopped blogging about it – this is supposed to be fun, right?  Besides, nobody wants to see pictures of “and then I did another coat of white paint!” or “and then we ran out to Lowe’s again!”

We did a lot of that – the running out to Lowe’s again.  It seemed like every step that could’ve had a hangup, required another trip to Lowe’s, needed a different part, or had 8 more steps than we thought, did.  Most parts of the project weren’t that difficult, but they were almost all things we don’t do everyday.  “One off” sort of projects always take more time and effort than you expect.

But finally.

After it was all finished, it struck me how similar it was to what was previously there – it was really just a nicer, more polished version of itself.  The layout is the same.  It’s still blue, and still has neutral colored, square-patterned flooring.  The shift from bisque to white fixtures isn’t dramatic.  The mirror and vanity light were things we’d had in there before.  But the overall impression, I think, is much nicer.  It’s the little things.  Looking at the befores:

There’s no more gapping between pieces of laminate flooring, no more vague smell of mold (the old toilet wax seal leaked), no more pinky beige, circa 1985, no more shreds of wallpaper that I couldn’t quite get out from behind the baseboard molding, no more shoddy finish carpentry, more floor space, and a cleaner, brighter look.  It’s warmer, with a forced air heat register that now opens into the room, and radiant heat in the floor.  It feels more like part of the house, not part of the garage.

We still have a few little tasks left to do:  we need to install a threshold between the tile and the family room carpet, just to finish it off.  I’m also thinking about what to hang on the walls.  A floating shelf over the toilet would provide space for extra TP rolls, etc.  I admit I will probably miss the vanity storage space a little.  With the heat vent where it is, I think we made the right decision to use a pedestal sink, but it always pains me to sacrifice storage space.

We’re also going to replace the lauan door – which looks so orange against all that white! – with a solid pine 6 panel door that will be painted white to match, with a brushed nickel knob.  I am ready to give that up for now and call it a separate project.  I need a little break where I’m “done” for a bit.  We’ll eventually be doing all the interior doors in the house, and they’ll all still be there next month.

Just for funsies:

2008:

and 2012:

I’m pretty proud of that!

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One of our big projects this summer and fall was to revamp the landscaping (or start to) on the front side of the house.  Unfortunately I was totally remiss in taking real “before” photos, but this is the area in question earlier this spring:

April:

May:

The things we were seeking to change were:
– remove the bush in front of the front door, which as soon as summer comes, needs to be cut back every couple weeks to keep it from overgrowing the walk.
– remove the white flowering bush on the corner of the house.  By May it was starting to overtake the bay window.  By June, it was out of control.  Again.
– remove at least one of the azaleas.  There are two, right next to each other.  Red blooms in early May, pink blooms in late May, and they look terrible together.
– fix the general grassy messy look that we had going on as soon as the spring flowers (daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths) finish blooming.

In the long term, we plan to replace the lilacs too, but not yet.

…and… here we are in September:

So, no, it’s not super impressive looking right now.  But given some time, I think we’re headed in a good direction.

The bush at the end of the bed (in front of the front door) is gone, root ball and all.  We also dug out as many of the grape hyacinth bulbs as we could find.  They look pretty for a couple weeks in the spring when they flower, but it’s just not worth the mess they look the whole rest of the year.  We also dug up some daffodils and hyacinths.  Those we hung onto; not sure where we will put them.  Those we wouldn’t mind keeping.  Same goes for the daylilies.

Now even if the lilacs pinch the walk a little, at least the other side is clear.  Plus it seems a little more welcoming not to have a bush smack in front of the front door.  The mums looked pretty and festive for the fall.  We’ll have to figure out what to do about that part of the garden bed in the spring.

The big, white flowering bush on the corner of the house has been replaced with a gray gleam juniper, which will eventually get to be 5-7′ wide, and 15′ tall.  It’ll be a foot or two clear of the house at mature size, and will never encroach on the window.

It has a twin mirroring it on the other side of the house, to the right of the driveway.  There used to be an enormous, sprawling honeysuckle plant there.  Gone!  Hopefully the grass seed surrounding the mulch circle germinates soon.

The original red azalea we moved to the middle of the bay window, and two matching red azaleas went in flanking it.  Eventually they’ll grow together, without growing all the way against the house.

For its part, the pink azalea took a field trip to the backyard.  I didn’t hate it, I just hated it next to a red azalea.  Hopefully it survives the transplant to the side fence area.  (I swear, there are lilacs flanking it.  Baby plants are a theme around here.)

Our other recent acquisition was a Blue Prince holly, which we’d been in the market for:

It’s pruned a little roundly, and its leaves aren’t as deep blue-green as the Blue Princess hollies that we have, but it looked pretty healthy for spending the whole summer in a bucket at a nursery.  And on year end clearance at $20 (60% off!), it was a buy.  Next year (hopefully!) our female blue princess hollies will be pollinated by the new male holly so they will grow bright red berries.

And one more backyard activity for the weekend…

I mean, that’s what it’s for, right?

Happy Sundog!

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While we had the electricians in doing the wiring for the new fans, we also had a few little things done in the kitchen.

Previously, we’d had to string the power cord from the phone across the backsplash to where the coffee pot is plugged in.  Thumbs down.  So we had an outlet added on a panel with a dimmer switch, so the phone could be plugged in right near the phone jack.

The dimmer switch goes to the new lantern alongside the slider.  The deck previously had no light at all, so grilling involved a little guess work, and/or a headlamp.  The lantern has a 60w bulb, so the dimmer is probably overkill.  But if we ever want something brighter, we’ll have a way to tone it down for sitting on the deck.

The outdoor outlet below the lantern is also new.  It has no distinct purpose other than, “it seems like a good and potentially useful idea.”  We have an outlet on the back side of the family room, below the light, but it’s pretty out of the way.  (Read:  requires an extension cord for Christmas lights.)

The spotlight fixture is also new.  We just swapped that ourselves for the cheap and ineffective jelly jar light that was there before.

Not super exciting, but it’s a lot brighter.  We leave the switch (in the family room) on, and let it shut on and off with the motion sensor.  I think we need to angle it more toward the deck, but overall it’s been pretty useful at lighting up the yard.

The other electrical project was back upstairs:  we had a whole house fan installed over the stairs.

Fortunately, the house already had ridge vents and vented soffits, so we didn’t need to install more venting.  That might have been the only easy or fortuitous part about getting this done. First, just getting the fan was a hassle.  Very few stores stock them, and most places were charging upwards of $90 in shipping, and/or had multi-week delivery times.  A far cry from the giant box containing 3 ceiling fans that arrived via free super saver shipping from amazon.com!  We finally tracked one down at a more-or-less-area Lowe’s, but what a pain.  We also needed to figure out ourselves what specs we needed:  size, capacity (in CFM), belt vs. direct drive, etc.  (For anyone considering one, we went with 30″, 5700 CFM, belt driven for our 1860 sf house.)  The guys at Lowe’s looked at us like we had three heads when we asked them.

We also had some difficulty finding someone to do the installation, since whole house fans fell off the popularity charts with the rise of central air.  We ended up hiring two guys to do it; the electrician who did the other fans and fixtures wired it, and then we got a carpenter to do the installation.  In the intervening weeks we talked to a lot of people who told us it couldn’t be done because we have 24 inch on center trusses over the stairs that can’t be cut (true, but you can install around them), people who told us it was a ridiculous project because we already have central air, and people who told us they “just don’t do those anymore.”  All of which was super helpful.

In any event, it did finally go in, and there it is:

All that’s left is trying to figure out how to get at the marks on the ceiling and the walls left by the carpenter’s hand prints.  There are some on the ceiling around the fan, on the wall, and on the far wall over the stairs from the carpenter’s ladder.  I was disappointed by those.  Ah well.  In the summer we’ll be able to turn it on at night and replace all the stuffy air in the house with cool outside air in minutes.  That will be nice.

That wraps up our electrical projects.  With the exception of a little tree surgery work outside that will hopefully be done soon, it will be back to our regularly scheduled DIY around here.

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This will be a brief post, because this project is on the short list of those we opted not to take on ourselves.  Last week we hired an electrician to do the wiring for new ceiling fans in all four bedrooms, and wire the wall switches to control the lighted fans, rather than the outlets they previously controlled.

We put three identical fans in the master, spare, and office bedrooms:
We went with Hunter fans for their reputation for being quiet, and picked a low profile model since our ceilings aren’t particularly high.  I’ve never really loved white ceiling fans, but we went that way anyway because we wanted them to disappear into the ceiling as much as possible.

Since they were 52″ fans, we thought that would be a bit much for the fourth and smallest room (the guest room).  The guest room received the 36″ ceiling fan that had previously hung in the hallway over the stairs instead.

It hasn’t been warm enough to use the fans, except to verify that yes, they work, and yes, they’re quiet.  The lights have been nice, though.

Master lighting before: 

Master lighting after:

Guest Room before:

Guest room after:

I’m sure you get the picture.  From dimly lit to bright!

The office and spare rooms got the same treatment:
  
Obviously these two rooms have a little further to come toward anything that looks finished, but at least now they’re well enough lit that we can see what we’re doing, and what we have to work with.

On the floor in the green room, you can see a whole house fan that is soon to be installed – it will go over the landing/stairs, and we think it’ll be a much more cost effective way to cool the house in the summer when it’s not quite hot enough to need the central air.  The whole house fan was the reason we took the ceiling fan out of the hall to move it into the guest room.  In its place, we put this schoolhouse light:

We were looking for something semi-flush mount, that wouldn’t draw too much attention, was reasonably priced, and had a closed globe so it didn’t collect dust, etc. inside.  Sold.  And it actually looks great!  So win for amazon.com on that one.  Hopefully the whole house fan will go up this week.  Then bring on the warm weather!

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Ah, before and after’s.  My favorite posts to write.  Without further ado:

 

 
Taking photobombing lessons from Bo Obama

I’m really pleased with the finished product.  I think it looks more polished, will be more practical to take care of, and like I mentioned in a previous post, I think it helps our very own green monster staircase stand out a little less.

So there you have it!

Eventually we’ll paint the door frame trim white, along with the baseboards and the sides of the stairs, but probably not until we’re ready to replace the flooring.  I’m not holding my breath for that one, though, so we’re calling the project done for now.  This is one I’m very glad we did.

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