Friday, September 28, 2007

    DIY warrior

    This story from The New York Times (registration sometimes required) gave me a rare opportunity — to thank my lucky stars that I no longer live in Manhattan. We couldn't do this process in that city.

    Make sure you take the audio tour for its photos and explanations.

    Thursday, September 27, 2007


    If you might be trying to remove wallpaper with a hot-water and vinegar solution, it might work best to check first that your hot water heater works/has gas turned on/pilot light is lit before starting the project...

    Stymied myself again, I'm afraid.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Keep the car running

    I present Arcade Fire, also known as tonight's work:

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Preview, part II

    This is what we have to deal with this week:

    This the wall of the kitchen that used to have the fridge (Happy Birthday, sister-in-law!), the sink and the dishwasher. We're fairly confident that the damage is mostly water-ish in nature, and we're hoping that it will be easy to replace, possibly with some hardi-panel, a water-proof subfloor.

    This, on the hand. THIS. We have no idea what this is. It's the back of the closet in the second bedroom. Water? Cat? Leak? Mold? Any guesses?

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    Preview, part I

    The work this week is low on the visual potential and even lower on the excitement scale. We're patching and sanding things of this nature:

    (I don't know why my fingers look so stubby in that picture, but now I'm wishing that I had kept my hand to myself!)

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Demolition — Days 3 and 4

    As promised:

    Kitchen in the living room:

    Fun times with the bathroom floor tile:

    Topless stove — HOTT!

    Am I done with the tile yet?

    The sink smelled like sewage.

    The fireplace adventure (note the fireplace installed ON TOP of the carpet...):

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    Day 2

    It's been really strange for me to help Tai with this demolition and see how easily things come apart. I guess my brain knew that stuff like kitchen cabinets, carpet and doors were at some point installed and therefore not part of a house's bones, but my mind always just considered them fixtures. As in, fixed. As in, shouldn't they be a bit more difficult to remove?

    Demolition has been fun, and it's reinforced my newly recognized preference for good craftmanship.

    Pictures coming soon.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Day tw...


    It's not that we needed a break, per se, it's just

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Day 1

    How many different ways can you say "ew"?

    Behold, the reason that Tai and I will never use carpet in our home:

    That's just a few of the many, many piles of dirt that we found under the carpet and carpet pad. If the Internet had scratch-'n'-sniff, this post would smell like cat urine.

    Monday, September 17, 2007


    We stopped by the condo Sunday afternoon to formally take possession and take some "before" pictures. I left a little depressed — there is more work there to do than I could ever imagine. Well, here it is:

    Living room



    Master bedroom

    Second bedroom/office

    What's also missing from this collection is a picture of the entryway. Don't worry, though — it also has nasty green carpet and a crappy light fixture. I didn't include pictures of the rest of the light fixtures (beyond what ended up in these photos), because I imagine that we'll show you before and after as we replace them. But that step is so very, very far away right now...

    Thursday, September 13, 2007


    Tai walked into work today to find a fax sitting on his desk announcing that the former owners of our future house are vacating by midnight Saturday. That gives us possession more than a week earlier than we expected, and we are suddenly feeling that this whole remodeling thing just got quite a bit more real.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007


    We closed yesterday on the Center Street condo loans. We get possession of this cat paradise Sept. 24. First thing out? The carpet. Maybe even that very night...

    Friday, September 7, 2007


    So, the kitchen for the place we are buying needs a little work. And by a little work, I mean that it needs to be ripped out.

    The layout is not that great and it is, well, ugly. It feels so cramped and chopped up as it currently is. Here are a couple of photos of the kitchen now.

    So, what we want to do is open up the kitchen a little bit. This is a hard task because it is a small space, but we want to take out the island and wrap the kitchen in an L around the wall. We will lose a little bit of the dining area to do so, but I would rather have a more comfortable place to cook and in a 950 square foot condo, you probably don't need a gigantic dining room.

    Here are some renderings of what we would like to do using the Ikea cabinets that Kersten mentioned earlier in the blog.

    The tile back splash in the rendering isn't exactly what we want to do, but it was the only texture option I had in my rendering program. We would likely do something like this:

    Wednesday, September 5, 2007

    Hitting a wall

    We're getting excited to close on the Center Street condo on Monday (fingers crossed that all goes as planned), and we can't wait to get in there. Among the other things we'd like to do to that place is paint/refinish every wall surface, including a currently papered wall in the larger of the two bedrooms. Neither of us has ever dealt with wallpaper before, so this is a brave new world for us.

    If we were fabulously wealthy and had multiple thousands of dollars to spend on ONE wall, this is the Brooklyn-based company and paper we (ok, I) would use:

    Not only do I LOVE the bright colors, the hand-screen printed process, and the design, but this pattern would be a fantastic homage to the wallpaper in my mother's childhood room — a psychedelic color palette of fuchsia, lime green, and yellow tulips running floor to ceiling.

    Sadly, however, we do not have thousands of dollars to spend on one wall. We probably need to make a decision and order the paper and supplies within a few weeks, though, so the search continues...