Thursday, June 24, 2010

The latest renovation - AKA "Next time, leave the wallpaper"

Some of you have been following my latest renovation saga via Facebook. Here are the pictures to go with the ranting. The following are the nice peaceful pictures of a bathroom with old lady wallpaper. Totally functional, just not my style.

Yesterday, I began stripping. Wallpaper that is. It is a stinky process involving water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Peeling wallpaper can be a little thereputic, or maybe I just enjoyed the destruction. Beneath or "old lady floral" wallpaper, I found this funky stripey patterned stuff. I'm usually good at dating things, but I have no idea when this type of pattern would have been the vogue. Any ideas? When reading an article on how to remove wallpaper, someone stated, "If wallpaper rips off in one piece, not leaving any backing behind, stop ripping down wallpaper and go by a lottery ticket; today is your lucky day." Well, in some areas I was that lucky. My luck ran out after I saw what was behind the wallpaper that had so easily torn away. Bleh!
What you are seeing here is actually a rare thing. No, not huge (and possibly lead) paint chunks, but the pattern actually imprinted into my ancient and original plaster walls. You have to look closely, but they are there. I thought that this was so weird, so I did a little research. Turns out that a lot of homes built between 1890-1930 once had this feature. They exist in very few houses nowadays. While this is cool and I like to keep with the character of the house, only briefly did I consider these tiles into my design scheme for the bathroom. They can't be painted over without some serious mudding and sanding to make the smooth. They are in too bad of shape to repair them or leave them as they are.

I had already carefully chosen and had mixed the perfect color in a gallon of paint. This was no easy paint job. We needed a plan B. One that would comver up my newly uncovered wall's imperfections. So, onward to Lowe's.

We settled on trying Venetian plaster. I have apply the first of what will surely be two or three coats. It is an interesting and easy application. I kind of like working with it. It's just is yet to cover the "tiles" on the wall, which is all I'm really hoping for. Plus, it costs twice as much as a gallon of paint ($36) and I've already used most of the first gallon. Stay tuned as this project continues...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bathroom renovation

We live in an old downtown Wooster house. By old, I mean that it was built in 1918, has original (drafty) windows and faulty ele, has walls inhabited by some lovely woodsy critters, and has modern updates that are as new as 1983.

When we bought the house, we knew that the first things to be renovated would be the kitchen and bathroom, which had a very 1980's vibe to them, which is not at all in keeping with our traditional older home. These two pictures are of the house at the Open House, before we bought it.

This year, after postponing our Italy trip for one more summer, we decided to use some of the money we put away to renovate the bathroom. We really didn't have much of a choice, the drain in the shower/tub combo had pretty much closed completely. We had snaked it, and were going through an entire bottle of Draino about every other week to no avail. Still, it would take about two hours for dirty, grungy water to go down after someone had showered. The first picture shows the shower, with dirty water still in it, and the following show the bathroom as it was before the renovation.

As the renovation got underway, we learned a lot about home renovations. First off, projects always take longer than you will think. You will spend almost as much time driving to and shopping at Lowe's as you will doing the project. Tony actually thought that the bulk of the project would be finished THAT WEEKEND. As I sit here typing, the project is still not done. Secondly, things have to get a whole lot worse before they get better. The bathroom was stripped completely down. Everything had to come out, including the sink, tub, toilet, floors, subfloor, plumbing, and electric. The only thing we left were the original built-in cabinets above the toilet. When the plumbing was removed from the tub area where we had the problems, it actually just disintegrated in the guys' hands as they were taking it apart. If we hadn't started the renovation, we would have had a MUCH bigger problem on our hands. The guys threw pretty much everything they tore out of the bathroom out the 2nd story window. The only thing that didn't fit out the window was the shower surround which Tony took out the front door, breaking the glass in one of the panes on the door in the process. Dirt and general nastiness was tracked down the hallway carpet and up and down the carpet on the stairs. This is my face during this process.

The last thing we learned that I want to mention is that it is good to have a budget, but there will always be unexpected expenses. The most expensive part of our renovation was the shower door. We did some serious shopping around and ended up finding exactly what we wanted as a special order from Menard's. We were really disappointed because it was going to take 3-4 weeks to receive it through special order. The funny part is that after we DID receive it 4 weeks later, and then it sat in our garage for 2 more weeks because we weren't ready for it.

The concept behind our new bathroom is a 1920's style, black and white subway-tiled bathroom. I wanted it to be more in keeping with the style of our home. One benefit of this plan is that subway tile is cheap. One downfall is that they are very small and it take A LOT of them to fill a bathroom. Contrary to what the pictures show, the subway tiled walk-in shower was my baby in this project. I spent DAYS in that small enclosure, cutting and measuring, grouting and cleaning. It was really an awful process. We did not have a working shower in our bathroom for almost a month. The guys rigged up a system of showering in the wide open scary, cob-webby basement with the sprayer from the basement sink. I utilized this every time I wanted to shower for over 3 weeks.

This story is "To Be Continued". If my bathroom isn't finished yet, my blog about it doesn't have to be either.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Michael in the Hall of Fame...

It's here... and it's about time.

Friday, September 11th the greatest NBA player of all time will finally be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame.

Although some dislike Jordan, and although some in the back row question the... *ahem* legitimacy of his '93 "retirement", there is no question he's changed the face of the NBA, basketball in general, and sports attire.

I don't don't mind being called a "front runner", Jordon lover, or bandwagon chaser because there is no denying my man crush on Michael Jordan. Like a lot of pre-teen and adolescent kids in the early and mid-90's I'm a HUGE basketball fan because of Michael Jordan. To me there is no greater sport to play, watch, or enjoy.

There are some other undeniable greats being inducted in the class of 2009 with Jordan. Namely David Robinson, and another who Jordan stole the Championship from twice, John Stockton. To me though, only one name stands tall on the NBA Hall of Fame class of 2009 ... and that's Michael Jordan.

The best there ever was, the best there ever is, the best there ever will be.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bathroom remodel

Our bathroom remodel is fully underway. Demo started July 31st when the bathroom was stripped completely down. Even the floor and the plumbing were removed! Weeks later, it is still a work in progress! We do have a half-bath on the first leve, but have not had an actual shower since July. There is an old kitchen sink in the basement with a sprayer. To shower, we go into the basement and hose off with the sprayer. Not exactly pleasant, but better than going without. I just try not to get dirty.

Happily, we just finished the tiling of the walk-in shower tonight. My fingers feel like sore little nubs and I'm not sure that I have fingerprints anymore! Tony believes that the rest of the work will go quickly and that it will be done soon. I'll believe it when I see it!

Remodel pictures complete with before and afters will be added soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer fun

So we've had a very busy summer. I've hardly been home for an entire week this whole summer, so there hasn't been much time to update the old blog here.

I kicked off summer by taking an amazing trip to Naples to vacation with my college roomies from junior year at Milligan. It's been two years since I've seen these girls, and as usual, once I was with them it seemed like no time had passed. It's nice to have that sort of low-maintenance relationship that can thrive without effort. I think it's great that we can be fine until one day it hits us all that it has been too long and we make an effort to do something about it! If we needed to do some catching up, a great place to do it is in the paradise we found in Naples. We had a beautiful place to stay thanks to Mr. Bobrow, Susan's father-in-law, a fun rental car that fit all our luggage, almost perfect weather, and a fun town to explore. I back fresh, with a bit of a sunburn, and with a renewed love for my friends.

A few days later I took a quick trip with my mom to Cincinnati, with a Saturday-long pit stop along the way at the big Columbus Quilt Show. I've learned that I actually enjoy going to these shows in small quantities. I love art, and as long as the world of quilting keeps heading in it's current direction, these shows feel a lot like art shows. The work that some of these people do is pretty incredible. I also like to watch my mom at these shows. They make her so happy and inspired. She actually pours over the program/booklet and pictures after the fact. We stayed at the show through the afternoon and then resumed the trip to Cinci where we stayed with and shopped with Sara. We headed back home on Sunday.

Tony and I took a very long weekend leading up to July 4th in Cincinatti. We spent time with some of Sara and Josh's friends for a July 3rd cookout, battled through the rain on the 4th, went to Ikea(see the picture of Sara and the boys playing in a kitchen there) and basically just relaxed that weekend. We didn't need to do too much because we planned to return to Cincinnati for Tony's vacation time in mid-July.

Every year Tony takes off a week in mid-July so that we can go to camp. This year's camp schedule was different, so we couldn't go, but he still had that week off. Well, what do we do when we have any time off work? Go to Cincinnati, of course. So, for the third time this summer we went to Cinci. This time We were staying for an entire week, but we knew that Josh and Sara would have to work. So after all our visits to Cincinnati, we decided to spend this visit being tourists. A quick Google search revealed many options for us. Wednesday we visited the Loveland Castle, which was a fun place to spend the morning. After a quick lunch downtown at Skyline, we made our way to the Newport Aquarium. It is probably the nicest aquarium, and the highlight of the visit was the shark-petting exhibit. I was surprised that some of the little sharks were really friendly and even wanted to be petted. There was one little tiger shark that just kept swimming back and forth along the side of the tank as if saying, "Pet me! Pet me!" I just didn't realize that sharks could have personality and it was a very fun discovery! We walked around Newport for the rest of the afternoon, walked from KY to OH via the "Purple People Bridge," then met up with Sara and Josh for dinner. This time we went to Walt's Barbeque where Josh got his
favorite nachos ever. Tony and I met up with our friend Ed and his son, James, to visit the Creation Museum. Ed and James are members, so we got to go as their guests, which meant that our visit was free! The museum was so interesting. There was a lot to read and process. It really gives scientific evidence to back up the truths in the Bible and presents them in a very real and understandable way. The pictures to the left show Ed and James on a bridge in front of the museum and one of me in the Garden of Eden with some llamas. Thursday night we had cheap seats (free actually) at the Red's game. We were in the very top row of the stadium.
We spent a busy weekend with Sara and Josh. Friday night we saw Harry Potter 6. Saturday we went downtown for lunch and walked around Cincinnati. Josh shook hands with Trevor Hoffman (future Hall-of-Fame pitcher for the Brewers) when we ran into him outside his hotel. Sunday we went to church, had lunch, took Josh to a clinic for a Strep test (he was positive) and then went to the Cincinnati zoo. We returned to Wooster early Monday morning.

This doesn't even tell about everything we've done this summer. There have also been shopping trips, a baby shower, a weekend in Winesburg, dinners with friends, and a yard sale. In the coming week we're starting a remodel of our bathroom, and I've got both my birthday and my "10 year Class Reunion". We'll have the Campout at the Lot, and then get ready for back to school. Summer will keep on flying!