Who Needs Drywall When You Have Americana Wallpaper?

On Monday I showed you the beautiful, spectacular, outside of the house including the most wonderful window that has ever been installed. Today we move to the inside. These photos are some of the last “pre-demo” photos we have, but I use “pre-demo” loosely. Very, very loosely. Truth is, these were post early demo, but long before this last weekend when family came down and shit got real.

First up, the bathroom. These photos are during the initial deconstruction of the big items, so we could tear it all out.

House Renovation June 2015-41House Renovation June 2015-47Here’s the bathroom into the start of demo, as well as the gaping old chimney hole that was behind the medicine cabinet.

House Renovation June 2015-51House Renovation June 2015-38House Renovation June 2015-37House Renovation June 2015-55Moving on from the bathroom is my brother-in-law’s old bedroom, and what will be the new bathroom. This is the room we put a new window in, as shown on Monday’s post.

House Renovation June 2015-58House Renovation June 2015-60The closet is going to be expanded and will house the washer and dryer.

Next up is the first office, and going to be new guest room (I think). We were going to use the downstairs bedroom in the addition as the guest room, but I’d really prefer to work in that bright beautiful room the vast majority of the time. It’s currently set up as our makeshift office/pantry while the kitchen is torn out, but I think I’d like it to stay an office. 

This room however has seen the most transformation of the years. It first was a lavender nursery (before we moved in), and then it stayed that color for a long time as a guest room, before it became my office/soap room. Below are a few before/afters of when it was my office versus what it looks like now. There was an intermediary step of it being a little more torn apart because we had moved the office, and had to put a new window in. This is pretty clear though on the differences over time.

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Here are more shots from similar angles.

DSC_0732-01House Renovation June 2015-63DSC_0745-01House Renovation June 2015-64DSC_0730-01House Renovation June 2015-61Second to last is “the green room” which has been everything from an office, to a makeshift bedroom while we built the addition a few years ago, to a storage / soap room.

House Renovation June 2015-67House Renovation June 2015-69House Renovation June 2015-70This final photo leads us into the main part of the house, which has seen a crazy huge change. Let’s just soak this in, because my upcoming posts will look shockingly different.

House Renovation June 2015-73House Renovation June 2015-71With that I leave you in bewilderment, and knowing that yes, I definitely made sure to keep a piece of that fantastic americana wallpaper. Like I wasn’t going to put a swatch of that up framed in the completed renovation? Yeah. Right.

Heather

Eight Years and Two Doors

As of this blog post, the only way to tell where our kitchen used to be is because the sink and fridge are still hooked up. That’s right – it’s down to the studs. We need to back it up a quick notch though, since I haven’t posted any of the “before”. As of a few weeks ago this is what the outside of the house looked like.

House Renovation June 2015-20

You’ll notice two side-by-side doors, one new window on the far right, Andy in the process of installing a window on the left, and a terrifying heap of what the hell in the middle. Let’s walk through these before we get to the inside. Well, except for the window on the far right. We won’t discuss that one because it’s not gross, it was straight forward, and I can’t find any pictures. I may not have even taken them. Here’s me. Here’s the rails. I’m off them.

A crazy freak malfunction in a pneumatic nailer and one 16 penny nail straight through Andy’s thumb (I will save you the photos, but he missed all bone/nail/nerves), we have a new door to what will become the mudroom. In fact, we have two functioning doors side-by-side. Eventually the old door will become a wall with a fridge in front of it, but for now it’s like a fun house guessing game for the dogs of which door I’m going to let them out of in the morning.

House Renovation June 2015-4 House Renovation June 2015-5

If this didn’t look messy enough, let’s move on.

On the far left is the room that will become the new bathroom. This room, as you can see, also needed a new window pretty badly. It’s not that I hated the oddly long sliding basement windows, but I hated the oddly long sliding basement windows. Not only was the windows coming out, because – gross, it was coming out so we could fit the new layout of the bathroom. House Renovation June 2015-25

House Renovation June 2015-28

House Renovation June 2015-34Tada! That one wasn’t too bad.

The old bathroom window was the kicker. Get your heave bucket situated firmly in front of you. At no point move it.

House Renovation June 2015-8This is the bathroom window from the inside. What a window, right? Well, it wasn’t ever put in properly. Shocking, I know. It was more of a hack in the side of the house. There’s nothing better in this world than a permanent closed window, which was installed improperly, in the room that gets tons of moisture.

House Renovation June 2015-10Oh yeah, that’s mildew and rot. Let’s go closer.

House Renovation June 2015-12Have you lost your dinner yet? No? Let’s try again.

House Renovation June 2015-13Still No? One more.

House Renovation June 2015-15FOUND ALL MY BOBBY PINS! Also, I just found your dinner spewed on the floor. You’d spew more if you could have smelled it.

Take it in, take it in.

House Renovation June 2015-18I think that’s all I’m going to leave you with now. I’ll be back with another set of “before” images of the house on Wednesday morning so I can try to get everyone up to speed pretty quickly.

Be safe, strong, and go empty your heave bucket.

Heather

The Master Bathroom Begins!

Back in April I wrote all about our master bathroom, with plenty of before photos and a “I don’t know when we’ll start, but hopefully this summer” clause at the end. That may not be verbatim despite the quotation marks, but it’s pretty much what I said.  I’m super excited to now announce that the master bathroom, and the final piece of the interior renovation to be completed, is now underway!

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As noted in the previous post, this bathroom is insanely hard to photograph. Also, this is a master bathroom only in the sense that it’s in our master bedroom. Remove all expectations and notions of a large, grand bathroom, and replace with a teensy-tiny, grand bathroom. We knew we’d be limited with space because of the layout we had to work within, and we decided not to eat up a bunch of bedroom space just to make the bathroom a little bit bigger. It might be tiny, but it will be pretty and simple and perfect for us. We’re actually very okay with the size of this bathroom, but it’s different strokes for different folks.

The plan right now is:

  • Finish plumbing shower, toilet and sink in
  • Drywall walls and ceiling
  • Cherry floors
  • Douglas fir ceiling
  • Built in medicine cabinet
  • Custom douglas fir frame to fit over the medicine cabinet, need to get mirror fitted into frame at local frame shop
  • Custom build douglas fir vanity
  • Undermount sink
  • Bull nose moulding to extend around the wall, incorporating into the casement of the window
  • Hooks for towels under the moulding
  • Sliding barn style door on a track
  • Small corner shower, no tile
  • Fan with light built in for above the shower
  • Toilet

As of right now the first bullet point, plumbing, is being done. What was a clean bathroom (seen above) was a crazy work zone this weekend.

DSC_1290-01We did have one incident during this process while the floor was open under the shower and before those pipes went in. Apparently Andy dropped something in that hole, which hit the drywall, which popped a drywall screw in the ceiling of our living room. I apparently didn’t noticed for a few days, but it’s on the roster to be patched once the bathroom is done. C’est la vie.

Overall the progress is going well. The plumbing seen above is completed, and as of yesterday when I got home the base to the shower was put in and all plumbing pieces for the shower were attached as well.

DSC_1373 DSC_1370 DSC_1369Andy has also finished up the wiring (I think?) but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture of the box yet. Hopefully I can get that for you guys soon. HEY. Woah. Calm down, I can feel your tangible excitement from here.

I’ll let you calm down over the excitement of the wiring by moving on and showing you the framing for the built in medicine cabinet and the two electrical boxes for our lighting above it. The bathroom is cleaned up now, but this was a weekend photo when that place was crazy looking and the wiring wasn’t completed. Also, the hangers are now removed. I replaced our plastic hangers with wooden ones and what other place to hold hangers in the mean time than in a construction zone on wire.

DSC_1292-01 Are you calmed down yet? Good. Because I’m about to BLOW YOUR MIND.  This photo made me laugh. This photo could be a timed photo so I could get some width OR it could be a realistic interpretation of how friggen fast Andy moves all the time and gets things done. Both are true. 

DSC_1300-01Well, I’m totally losing it with this post. It started off so well, and now it’s just all gone to hell. So, I’m going to leave you with super human blurry Andy above, and go before this gets any weirder. Keep it weird, the tagline of the other Portland, and also apparently this blog.

xo,

Heather

 

Master Bathroom Ahoy!

I promised you guys a post on Tuesday and Thursday every week for the month of April at a minimum, and I’m bent on keeping that promise. I’m battling my first nasty cold in a while, and my biggest event of the year at work is in two days, so bear with me. I expect my post for Thursday will be up a little later than 10am, so I’d check back in the afternoon.

When we completed the addition, and especially the master bedroom, we left one place pretty much untouched-the master bathroom. We simply didn’t have the money or time to finish it up when there were other things (like siding) that needed to be completed first. So while our bedroom is beautiful ,the master bathroom continues to be roughed in only.

DSC_9025-01This room is one of the few rooms in the house that is extremely difficult to photograph. It’s quite small and will be nothing like the master bathrooms you see all over the place. Double sinks? Not a chance. Soaker tub? Sure, if you want to sit at the bottom of the shower and pretend you’re in a tub.

We really wanted this bathroom for function – i.e. shower, toilet, sink. Though, I’ll admit that I actually fought against having this within our bedroom. We had a bathroom in our bedroom in the house we lived in before we bought this place and I hated it. You read that right. I might be the only woman in all of America who absolutely disliked having a bathroom off of the bedroom. I also don’t like bathrooms directly off kitchens. Your bedroom and your kitchen are two places that should never smell a certain way. I was finally convinced when we realized the layout for a second upstairs bathroom wouldn’t work anywhere else and one stipulation would be adhered to – absolutely, positively, no…uh…number two…unless there’s an absolutely unavoidable world-is-ending emergency.

Now that the bathroom is there I’ve grown accustomed to it. Despite my initial reservations I had to agree that an upstairs bathroom was pretty necessary and space simply wouldn’t allow it anywhere else. Secret between us is that I’m looking forward to see how it turns out. It’s going to be tiny, but it’s going to be beautiful. Right now we’re talking a hardwood cherry floor, douglas fir custom vanity, douglas fir custom mirror/medicine cabinet, douglas fir ceiling perhaps and definitely 100% a sliding barn door since a regular door wouldn’t work in that space. The barn door was another one of my concessions to having a bathroom upstairs. I like them a lot, but it really came down to a big space issue. We couldn’t have the door swing out or it would hit our master bedroom door, and we couldn’t have it swing in because it would take up too much room. Also, we have a locking bedroom door so there’s really no need for a traditional bathroom door anyway.

Without further ado I give you all of the roughed in “before” photos with a little blurb about each photo above the shot.

Facing the shower. We’ll have about a 34″ shower stall here. We’re looking at corner units so we can have more open space. A traditional one would essentially give the feel of a wall and would make the space tinier than it already is. While I would like an acrylic base and tiled walls, I think Andy is going to go the full acrylic route. I admit it would be a lot easier to clean and less likely to leak.

DSC_9016-01The ceiling is currently vaulted and I’d love to keep it that way, but loving something doesn’t mean it loves you back. The vaulted ceiling just isn’t into me. While it would be a great way to add a spacious feeling to the room it just won’t work. We need the space so we can put in a strong ventilation system. Damn.

DSC_9018-01This is the toilet corner. I’m picturing a white toilet with a couple picture frames above and maybe a few plants on the top of the toilet itself. I also don’t love toilets in my bedroom. Might as well try to jazz it up a bit.

DSC_9017-01This is where the vanity will go. It will be tucked right into the corner. Because of the plumbing layout it will be flush to the floor since it’s not meant to go with a pedestal or legged vanity. It will work better anyway since we need the storage. Function wins, though I suspect it will be pretty to look at as well.

DSC_9021-01One more overall shot for good measure.

DSC_9023-01I’m not sure when we’ll start this project, but our hope is this summer. First, we need to finish siding the house and perhaps finished up the porch. If we have enough time this will be tackled too. It’s definitely on the 2014 roster though since we have to have this one done before we tear out the original house (and only current bathroom).

Hopefully I’ll get to update on some details in the next month or so, even if it’s just picking things out for the bathroom. You guys know you can’t wait until I tell all about the toilet we finally pick out. Sounds like another “How To Be Classy Like Me” post. I am nothing if not the classiest broad you’ll ever meet (she says while coughing up a lung).

xo,

Heather

Retro Post: Septic Replacement

Some of the grossest jobs around here happened long before this blog existed. You could call yourself lucky, except for one thing – I had a digital camera. You’ve already been subjected to the high-quality musings of why my husband can’t stand certain fake scented apple products. Get ready for round two: replacing our septic system.

Preface: When I say “we” in reference to any work I very much 100% mean “Andy”. He replaced the entire septic, and built a new septic field, by himself. He took an entire week off of work to do it. Hell of a man? You bet.

When we bought this place we weren’t sure what state the septic was in. We weren’t sure what it looked like, if it was up to code, or the last time it had been pumped. This place was a fixer-upper, and a couple things were a crap shoot. Pun intended.

We knew one fact about our septic system: there was a pipe that came out in the side of the yard next to the garage. Gray water flowed out of this. For those unfamiliar, gray water is the runoff. It was, uhm, maybe a bit more gray than a normal septic system. On certain days it just didn’t smell right. Or rather, it smelled right, in the wrong spot. The neighbors even knew this. A good septic system should NOT smell.

Have you lost your appetite yet? If not, you’re going to.

We had a general idea of where the “septic tank” was. When the time came to fix the septic we first had to dig it up with our good and faithful Mahinda, as well as by hand.

IMG_1055First, we found an old well cover that was sketchy at best. Then we found this.

IMG_1056It turns out our “septic tank” was a cylinder block square, covered in a piece of round granite, covered in a well cover. An open pipe from the house flowed into it. Like all septics, the solids went to the bottom. The pipe by the side yard with the gray water? A pipe flowing out. Solids went to the bottom, liquids came out the second pipe.

Lovely.

For your viewing pleasure, the actual tank.

IMG_1057Now to assuage your shock I should tell this this is post pumping. Guys, I would never show you the tank pre-pumping. Even I have lines that I won’t cross on a blog. I don’t even have a photo of it. Ew. I can tell you this, the guy who pumped it said it was the worst tank he’d ever seen, and second, it probably had never been pumped.

Let me reiterate this:

Never.

Been.

Pumped.

How long was it in service? 15 plus years. I’ll wait here while you go hurl.

I think we need a visual break before we move on. Given that this is a retro post, I’ll give you a retro photo of me in college. I was having a nice, quiet, refined evening out full of intellectual conversation with my friends. We discussed great philosophy all night. We may have imbibed in a few couple drinks.

IMG_0044Have you stopped laughing yet at my college photo, and stopped hurling yet at the photo of the septic?

While I understand you’ve just regained your composition, I’m sorry to explain that I’m now going to go into destruction of the septic. Instead of showing you the video, I took a screen shot. I’ll just explain that we were knocking the blocks back into the hole, and then we back filled the hole in.

Old SepticOnce the old septic had been taken care of, it was time to start the new septic.

Andy ordered the tank, and in the mean time he dug the hole for the new tank which was placed next to the house – where it should have been all along – and dug up the yard to install the proper up to code septic field.

IMG_0085 IMG_0100As he dug up, we found the old pipe coming out of the house (the length of this was eventually removed as he dug up the new septic field as well, which the pipe ran through).

IMG_0088The brand new tank came in and was dropped into the hole, ready to be hooked up.

IMG_1014 IMG_1015 IMG_1017A few pipe fittings and hook ups later…

IMG_1019…and it was onto building the new septic (leech) field. This system brings the gray water (real gray water this time) out of the tank and disperses it properly into this area of the lawn through a series of piping. Yes, we have very nice green grass on this part of the lawn now, but no, it never gets wet (from below, rain yes), it never smells, and you’re never stepping “in” anything at all. It might surprise you to learn it’s the driest part of our entire yard.

To build the field Andy used both the bucket on the Mahindra, and the tiller attached to our 67′ holder.

IMG_1024IMG_1027 IMG_1028These photos really show just how much earth was moved.

IMG_1036 IMG_1037More earth was removed to create a fully level area, and then laser sighted in.

IMG_1045 IMG_1046Winnie & Rosie approved.

IMG_1049Next up came filter fabric, topped with stone for filtration of gray water as it slowly seeps out of the piping system.

IMG_1065Piping was laid, and then more stone.

IMG_1067 IMG_1069 IMG_1071The box in the photo directly above is the d-box (distribution box). This distributes the gray water from the septic tank into the other pipes which will, as the name says, distribute it throughout the leech field. The d-box is then covered in layers of insulation to help keep gray water flowing.

IMG_1073A final cover of stone and filter fabric, and the field and septic tank were ready to be back filled with all of the earth originally removed.

IMG_1074 IMG_1081 IMG_1082Andy then put a layer of soil on, seeded it with grass, watered, and covered it with seasoned hay. With the septic field done, Andy was able to grade out the area where the gray water used to flow, and use some of the left over earth to help grade our lawn in some areas that had been rough previously.

IMG_1091Years later and we’re quite happy with how everything has been performing. By “very happy” I mean “nothing has gone wrong”. We’ve since done a lot more to our yard. We took trees down and now have some fruit trees, and a soon to be (hopefully) second garden area where the leech field used to be. The new leech field? Well, it has lush grass since you can’t actually grow anything on top of it.

I might not look as ecstatic about the new septic as I lseemed to have been having during a very mature night out with my friends in college, but inside, I have the same big smile. Septic is a big deal. Trust me. You don’t want that shit hitting the fan.

Now let’s never discuss this again. Just thinking of the old system is gag worthy.

xo,

Heather