Soffit Squirrels

Early Sunday morning the boys were back at it after spending a long day installing the joists, insulation and subfloor for the new addition. With the new floor in place it was time to focus on pulling the siding off the house for some exploratory work. The probability of uncovering something wrong was pretty high. The probability of finding a mouse nest was pretty much guaranteed.

I have to admit, we were all laughing slash gagging when we took the soffit down because what we found was a lot bigger than a mouse nest. Andy definitely took one for the team. Nothing like a little squirrel nest dust in your face in the AM. Ahh that fresh country air never gets old.

I have to give the squirrel props for it’s hard work. That was one heck-of-a nest.

Once the squirrel nest and other debris those sneaky buggers pulled into the soffit was gone, Andy pulled off the siding  to see what kind of structure he was working with. Let’s take a closer look between the top of the window and the plywood. High quality insulation people. High. Quality.

Once the walls were opened up to the studs it was no surprise our insulation was about an inch thick – uncompressed. It was about on-par with what Andy expected to find, but it made it no less funny and ridiculous.

This photo shows the, honest to God, thickness of most of the insulation. Wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants and slippers and hats while we had the wood stove going with dry oak on a freezing winter day all makes so much sense now.

Andy decided to keep opening up the house even further to check out more structural items, while I kept staring with a gaping mouth laughing at the insulation. From Andy’s perspective it wasn’t unexpected. From my perspective I found it funny because even someone as technically unsound as me is well aware how terrible it was.

Right about where Andy is standing in the above photo is where we are putting in a large opening from the livingroom to the kitchen/dining area. We’ll need to restructure this side of the house for both the opening and to properly tie in the second floor of the addition.

The house is still open on that side to about the same degree while they decide how to restructure it, but first we had to get the second floor of the old addition taken care of. I’ll post more about it tomorrow, but for now here’s a sneak peak.

The wood splittah gets it done. Who says you need a power tool when you have brute force?

xo,

Heather

 

 

Kitchen Reveal

Drum Roll Please.

The painted kitchen.

I could say I was over the moon excited, and I would have expected this emotion – but it’s not there. Not because it isn’t awesome to have a freshly painted kitchen. It surely is. Not because I don’t feel accomplished. I do. I completely feel accomplished. What I’m feeling is relieved & happy. Not only is the kitchen finally not a nasty blue color with waves all through the walls, which the photos don’t show, but it finally flows with the rest of the house. As a reminder, here’s the before from just days after we moved in 4 years ago.

With plenty of sanding, caulking, joint compound, re-caulking certain areas, sanding again, painting, accidentally touching up with one shade darker, retouching up with the correct color, I and my right shoulder are just relieved to be done and have it flow into the rest of the house.

So what color is it? Benjamin Moore (or Sherwin-Williams?) Edgecomb Gray.

It’s more beige in person, with only a slightly gray tint. A little more like this.

I have debated on painting the cabinets too, but it’s honestly a lot of work for not much payback considering we’re not reusing them in our kitchen down the line. It might be easier to sell them too if we keep them oak. I’ll have to think about it. In the mean time, I’m so happy the kitchen is finished.

One of the things I did do was sand down the laminate/plastic backsplash behind the sink and stove with a palm sander before painting it. Scrap that. I only did it behind the stove. I paid for it behind the sink and had to touch it up when it didn’t adhere right. Also – don’t let anyone touch your sink before your paint dries. It gets water on the paint and ruins it. Make them use the bathroom sink for an hour. Ahem, boys. All in all, it looks a lot better than the weird fake stone. It’s not all puppy dogs riding unicorns while eating lollipops, but it’s a lot better.

A few direct job related things I learned along the way:

  • A little caulking goes a long way
  • There is a technique to caulking, but it takes no time to pick up.
  • It’s impossible to paint trim without getting the cabinet when you have less than an inch to work in.
  • Cleaning up paint from laminate counter tops is as easy as 1,2,3.
  • 1.) gently scrape it with a drywall knife
  • 2.) pick up your scrapings
  • 3.) spray and wipe down the counter
  • This is very unlike getting paint of a wood floor which is as easy as…
  • Forget it, it’s not easy. Nail polish remover works wonders to do it though, especially if you pour it on, cover it in plastic, wait 5 minutes and then gently scrape. I cannot recommend that method for all wood floors. I would test a corner first. For my untreated oak floors, it left no mark. Don’t sue me if nail polish ruins your wood floors. I told you it might.

A few non-direct job related things I learned along the way:

  • Doing something yourself and seeing it through is the best self-esteem booster.
  • Joint compound dust everywhere made me go batty. I’m a little concerned with how tiny this was, how I’m going to handle my house being ripped to the studs. I’m hoping sheer excitement and a patient husband gets me through it. He knows what to expect and is used to full on residential job sites since he visits them regularly. I think as long as I get to demo I’ll be happy. I like demolition.
  • My right shoulder flares up when I paint for hours and hours on end and causes insane trigger points which I then pay my God send of an acupuncturist to take care of.
  • The top of my cabinets need a scrub.
  • I absolutely positively do not want a ceiling fan in the kitchen come full renovation. I in fact realized I am simply just not a fan of fans. I’m a fan of other kinds of fans. But not ceiling fans. I like hand held fans. I like  Brandi Carlile fans. Okay, I just like Brandi Carlile’s music. I knew this years ago.
  • I am pretty proud of myself for learning how to do construction related jobs along the way. With a professional husband, sometimes it’s easy to feel left in the dark dust. He’s good at letting me try things, screw them up, and then have him fix it. Unless it’s a big thing, then I just step out of the way and watch. Unless it’s plumbing. Dear God, I enjoy plumbing. I have no idea why. It makes no sense. I just like it. I will get under Andy’s foot every step of the way to watch a plumbing job. You know, sinks – not septics.  I’m not sure power washing a toilet when we first moved in counted as plumbing.

All in all, I’m real happy with how this turned out. Even though I’m excited about what my renovated kitchen will look like someday for now I’m relishing in my newly painted kitchen, and that’s good enough for me.

Happy Painting & Meditative Breathing,

Heather

Livingroom Update

I left you hanging like a Naked Gun movie. You just know there’s going to be a sequel. It has been over a month, almost 2 months *eek* since my last post on painting. Here’s the thing, I like things to be perfect {like is key word here, reality = almost never}. I painted the colors, wrote a post – deleted it. Thought, “I’ll post when it’s 100% complete with all the finishing touches.”

I realized I would never post if I went by that thought. We painted the room simply so we didn’t have to live in a cave another winter before we start renovations. We’re not painting the Sistine Chapel here. I’m not even an interior decorator, or pretending to be. I’m just a chick who didn’t want to spend another Maine winter in a dark room with a party of colonial picnic buddies.

 



You know what the absolute best part is? This feels like a “practice run” to me. Since we’re going to renovate the entire house this is the perfect time to test colors, test out my “style” and realize how terrible I am at making decisions on my own house and decorating. I’m not even disappointed to find this out about myself, I’m actually pretty happy because I’ve been learning all along the way. And I get to tear it all down with no guilt.

I didn’t pick up the room before I took the photos either. There is literally nothing staged about these photos. I’m oddly proud of myself.

We picked up all of our paint from Sherwin-Williams {who in no way sponsored this post. They don’t even know this exists and would likely decline to admit their paint is on our walls}. The boards are Copen Blue, the drywall part is Reflection and the floor & stairs are Anonymous. Yes, I know I missed painting part of the stairs. I’ll get to it.

To bring it back even further, this has been the transformation of our living room over the last four years.

Take a look at the first photo again, and then look at this. Is it perfect? No. Is it a serious improvement I’m delighted with? Absolutely. Yes. Positively. Whheewwwwwww.

Of course there are still a few things to do.

  • Take the burlap curtain down, it’s not working for me.  It’s such a high weird window it doesn’t even need a curtain really.
  • Figure out covers for the other three windows. I like curtains at night, but it also helps retain heat in the winter. These aren’t the new high-end windows that they so clearly look to be.
  • Finish floating art above our new (to us, and free) solid cherry entertainment center. Someone we knew didn’t have room for it and gave it to us unexpectedly. The style fits nowhere in our house yet – but what does? It’s gorgeous. It’s solid and it’s the heaviest piece of furniture I’ve ever felt in my life. I love it.
  • Get (or make) a rug.
  • Paint the side of the stairs on the bottom.
  • Get that couch a cover.
  • Paint the ceiling, sort of (this is years away). We’re not sure where a closet will be, what we’ll have to cut, etc. A ceiling is a lot of work. Correction, this ceiling is a lot of work – so I’m doing it once and once only. It will eventually be totally white though.

Overall though, this room is pretty much finished. I’m painted out. We’re debating on painting a few other rooms in the house as well but for now – fuhgettaboutit.

Happy Perfectionism (Hardly),

Heather


Fan-tastic

This weekend I was mercilessly staring at paint swatches (this post) because I’m still trying to decide what shade of white to go with (yes, even as it’s almost Friday I have no idea what I’m doing). After that got boring, I realized our fan needed to be cleaned, badly. The fan happens to be in the main room to the house, off of the room I’m painting. It’s also where the woodstove is. This means the fan is running quite a bit to circulate either cool air from outside, or warm air from the woodstove. Due to it running so much it collects a lot of dust. Seems backwards, but it’s the truth. You know what’s also awesome? The popcorn ceiling.

There I was standing on a chair with a wet cloth staring at this mass of brown and gold with flowered light shades. That’s when I found a screw driver and decided to go rogue on those fan blades.

I realized with one blade down I should at least attempt to take a photo of the fan before. I snapped this in about two seconds flat, threw gently placed the camera down and went nuts with my screw driver – stopping short of removing the entire assembly. First, I’m well aware this might be the best photo you’ve ever seen in your life. Second, don’t be jealous of the crack above the door in the background. If you really want one of your own, jack your house up so it’s level. You might get one or two in a ceiling as well*brushes shoulders off*, we are ballin’ around here.

About 45 minutes later, the gorgeous flower light shades were in the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning, and the fan blades had a nice coat of white spray paint on them. First I cleaned them with a super diluted soap/water mix on a damp cloth. Since these are wood I didn’t want to soak them. I made sure to dry them thoroughly, and left them in the sun for about 10 minutes to finish up. My first coat of spray was some left over white primer spray paint I had. After, I did 2 coats of white semi-gloss spray paint. Once they were dried to the touch I brought them back inside to put up.

Once I realized my original screwdriver was not only too short to put them back up, but I needed a magnetic screwdriver to hold the screw in place, I was slightly derailed. The next morning the tool saints had me walk into our back room, i.e. guest room, i.e. wedding storage room, i.e. craft storage room, i.e. shoe storage closet and lo and behold there was my longer, magnetic screwdriver *dance of success*. In about 15 minutes, at 7am, I had the fan blades back up and the floral glass in place.We don’t plan on keeping this particular fan, so I decided to just clean up the glass and not waste money purchasing new shades for it.

So instead of a gold fan with dark brown blades covered in dust, I now have a gold fan with white blades that are clean and a clean popcorn ceiling due to some serious vacuuming. You see those blue walls? That’s your sneak peak into the main room. Man, the suspense is just killing you. I can give you a spoiler – directly below that fan is a hump in our wood flooring so big my best friend thought she stepped on my sleeping dog when she stepped backwards and onto it. My dog was nowhere near her.

I genuinely find these things charming about my house, and I’m sure I’ll think fondly of all these things when their gone. It’s all the journey.

And that my friends, is six hundred and forty-one words on painting fan blades.

*takes a bow*

Thank you very much,

Heather