Posts Tagged ‘Work in Progress’

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!




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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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One of this weekend’s projects was to pick the purple to use on our front door and garage side door.  We got samples of three to try:


Top: Dewberry SW6552
Lower left: Concord Grape SW6559
Lower right: Blackberry SW7577

Blackberry, the most burgundy, was eliminated right away.  The other two were much harder to decide between.



It was hard to tell them apart (Dewberry is on the top and Concord Grape on the bottom), and even harder to decide if this was really the right direction to go in.  The bright, warm red front door makes it so hard to independently assess other colors.  I even broke out the Sherwin Williams Paint Visualizer to see if it would help.  (I’m not sure it did.)

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 6.17.36 PM InScreen Shot 2013-10-20 at 6.18.03 PM

In any event, the consideration goes on.

DSC_0167The other, related question to ponder is whether to paint the red door or just replace it.  I unscrewed the ugly yellow plastic window frame just to see how it came apart (so I could paint it later), and was pretty appalled by what I found.  The screws going from inside to outside through the plastic are the only things holding the window pane into the door, and the plastic is cracked in multiple places.  Plus, there’s no insulation behind the plastic frame.  For about an inch around the edge of the glass, it’s just plastic frame between the warm indoors and the cold outdoors.  We could try blow-in insulation when we put it back together post-paint job if we want to stretch the door’s life a little longer, but I’m not really sure that’s the best road.  I’ve never liked the potential security issues associated with such a large window in the door, so close to the lock and knob, so this could push us over the edge.

There are three styles at Lowe’s that I like the look of:

Any comments on the purple debate or if you have a favorite door are welcome!


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Progress has been pretty slow in the half bath lately:  for a good chunk of August and early September, we were juggling travel, visits with family, and triathlon race season, as well as remaining gainfully employed (hey, these improvements don’t pay for themselves!).  A certain degree of complacency with just having a working toilet crept in.

We have made a few steps forward, though:  we have a monochromatic toilet now!  We were able to exchange the bone colored tank for a white tank that matches the bowl.

We also finally made it this week to Habitat for Humanity, where we donated the old toilet, vanity, sink top, and faucet.  They were happy to take it off our hands, and we were happy to have the space in our garage back.

This weekend we’re getting rained out of our Adirondack hike, so hopefully there will be more progress to report soon.  The pedestal sink (both bowl and pedestal) are in boxes in the family room, just waiting for us to finish the beadboard.  What a tease!

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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:



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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It has been a busy week+ in half bathroom progress.  I haven’t had time to update, because I’ve had to choose between doing the work and blogging about the work (and, well, catching Olympic swimming), and blogging was a distant third.  But here we are.

Last Saturday, we grouted the tile floor.  Grouting is just kind of tedious, but it’s gratifying to see the floor going from looking obviously in-progress to DONE in an afternoon.

Sunday, when the grout was dry enough to walk on the tile, I primed the ceiling and walls so they could be painted.

We also went to Lowe’s to buy the beadboard and molding.  4’x8′ sheets of beadboard don’t fit as well into a Subaru Forester as one might hope, but we got them home.

Monday I got up early and painted the ceiling white before I went in to work, so I could do the walls that night when I got home.

Tuesday the beadboard started going up:

The hole saw was nobody’s BFF, but we got the job done.  Since this is the only piece with holes, the hardest one was out of the way first.  We adhered it to the wall with Liquid Nails and actual nails into the studs.

The beadboard + chair rail will be about 40″ off the floor.  That will be about 6″ higher than the top of the pedestal sink, and a couple inches below the light switches and outlets.

The pieces of beadboard were not as long as the walls were, so most of the walls (all except the door wall) have joints in the beadboard.  They’re about 1/8″ wide, caulked, so there’s room for the beadboard to expand and contract a little, and the caulk should hide it.  The goal was to make it with the beadboard around the corner where the toilet will sit, so we could put the toilet in and not have to take it back out again to finish the trim work.  We also needed to put in the baseboard molding behind the toilet.

The remaining days of the week were mostly spent painting.  Three coats of semigloss paint took some time.  Yesterday, I finished the third coat of paint in the morning, cleaned out the accumulated tools, washed the floor, and the toilet went in — just as weekend guests were arriving.

The bowl went in pretty uneventfully, but when we sat the tank on the bowl… womp, womp, womp.  The pieces don’t match.

The bowl is white like it’s supposed to be, but the tank is bone colored.  We’d ordered white, and hadn’t checked the boxes to make sure both pieces actually said white.  What a pain.  So that is still to be resolved.  The white sink pedestal is also still on backorder, and will (really) hopefully be here soon.  The only positive that I can say for all this is that it makes me feel good about the decision to replace the old bone colored toilet in favor of a white one, rather than just buying a bone colored pedestal sink and being done with it.  I like the white with the white beadboard.  I think it’ll look great when the trim work is finished and the sink comes in.

In the meantime, we’re finishing the beadboard and baseboards, and will then do the chair rail over the beadboard.  New door casing will be part of that, again with lots of painting.  Eventually we’ll need to pick out and hang a new door, since the Lauan door that’s there has seen some better days (and even those days were not as awesome as they could be).  Solid pine is a possibility for the new doors.  Whatever we pick will probably become the standard for the rest of the house as we slowly replace the stained Lauan doors throughout.

The bathroom is far from done, but at least there’s been some significant progress, and it’s starting to look like a bathroom again!

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Some unmodified gray thinset and water, some time with the tile saw, and…

here we are!

We’re using 3/16″ spacers between each of the 13×13″ tiles.

The thinset is currently drying, so we’ll be able to walk on it to measure and cut the last couple of corner pieces in a day or so.  After that, we’ll just need to grout and then the floor will be finished and ready for toilet installation.  (Yay!)

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