10.01.2014

Heartbreak

I'm feeling really crappy this morning. If you know anything about me you know that 1) I am awesome ;) and 2) I'm a huge A's fan and have been my entire life. This year I even built up the courage to speak in front of the Oakland City Council about keeping the A's in Oakland


Hey, that's me on the news! :) (you can read the story, see the video here - I'm only in it for literally like 4 seconds around the 1:30 mark)

If you follow baseball you'd know that the A's were AMAZING earlier this season. They were the best team in baseball and they felt unstoppable. It was incredible watching them and it was fantastic being at work. It felt magical. And then Cespedes got traded and the team went to shit. On paper, it was a great trade, but something happened with the mojo and everything that went wrong could. Since August 10th they had the second worst record in baseball. They went from the best, to the worst. Well, not quite the worst. But the second worst.

It was just awful to watch. It was so depressing. I trudged on - always a fan - and tried to yell at them, be positive, sit in the same place, wear lucky shirts...ANYTHING. They stumbled to the post season winning a spot on the absolute very last day they could.

And last night I was excitingly nervous. I watched, totally terrified. I was A MESS. I was freaking out the whole game, on pins and needles. Chris had to tell me to calm down several times and even when they were up by FOUR I was not satisfied. I was a little comfortable, but I still knew that with everything that had gone wrong with them these past couple months - anything was possible. And not in a good way.

Last night was one of the most epic baseball games I've seen in a long time (let us not forget game 20 so easily - for which I was in attendance). But they blew the lead 3 times last night, and the last time they did was the bottom of the 12th. To lose the game

image found here

I just dropped my head. Chris tried to rub my back and console me but I just told him to stop. I was devastated. I know people who aren't sports fans think it's ridiculous to take a game so seriously. It is ridiculous. There is nothing you can do to make anything better. And yet, for a sports fan there is just so much invested in "your" team. It's exhilarating and heartbreaking.

I don't really know why I wrote this post, or what the actual point of it is. This certainly has nothing to do with the house, or our family, or anything else I normally talk about on here. But I was just having a sad moment and I wanted to share. Sigh.

In the grand scheme of life, being this upset about a baseball team losing is really pretty pathetic. But I can't help but still be so sad. I'm so disappointed in my A's. So mad at the terrible display they put on towards the end of this season. But I'll still be there again on Opening Day, with Zoe and my dad supporting the team I love so very much and still hoping to bring home another World Series title


Sigh. Until next season green and gold.

9.29.2014

Week 2: Not Much Work, but Lots of Paint Samples

Week 2 (last week) wasn't very exciting in terms of work being done on my dad and Wendy's place. Because my parents are paying us to do a large portion of the work, it will be done in chunks, and because Chris spent the entire first week working on the demo, last week he didn't spend much time on the job site because he had to play catch up with our other clients. He did make daily visits while the sewer lateral was being replaced, and now that that's done, it's nice to have something checked fully off the list. And of course I took no pictures of that work.

My dad meanwhile has been staying there several days during the week trying to get lighting projects done and cleaning up. Naturally Zoe had to help load the THIRD dumpster this morning


Wendy and I have been hard at work trying to figure out the paint colors and fine tuning tile picks. We spent a lot of time last week sifting through many paint samples 


And those are just the samples for the family room/kitchen, dining room and living room. But the good news is that after painting a ton of samples all over the house last week, when I was there this morning with Zoe we made picks!

Here are all the samples for the family room/kitchen (and please excuse all my crappy cell phone pics)


I promise these actually look like colors :) We ended up picking IV, which is a nice gray/green called Camouflage by Ben Moore.

Moving into the dining room


I was happy to convince my dad to be open to a dark color in the dining room. There isn't very much wall space because 3 of the walls have double french doors (into the family room/kitchen, into the living room and out to the deck/patio) and the last wall has a giant window. Also, the french doors leading to the deck/patio let in a ton of light that faces West, and at night you see the amazing Oakland and San Francisco glowing city view, so I thought a dark dining room would really pop with the gorgeous night view. Wendy ended up picking I, Waynesboro Gray by Ben Moore.

Now the living room


These are the same colors that are in the family room/kitchen and originally Wendy was thinking about using the same color in both rooms, but she really liked the more neutral VI in this room (bottom right) which is Wool Skein by Sherwin Williams.

The last color that we've picked out is for the laundry room


My dad and Wendy were thinking about going with a bright, fun color in this room and really liked III, but they thought it might be a bit too much and would have to repaint down the line when they sell because it is a much brighter color. We all thought IV was a nice, more subdued version. It's Mellowed Ivory by Ben Moore, which I actually find hilarious because it's so green. 

We also made some slightly different picks for the tile for the bathrooms. Originally we were thinking about this as accent tile


But when we went to another tile showroom in Berkeley (Import Tile for locals), we found some pretty awesome tile and decided to change things up a little


Ignore the sample on the far right, we ended up picking the top, oval tile for the accent in the bathrooms to be paired with the 4x12 bone subway tile as the shower and tub surround. We'll still go with that great chevron for the floors and we also found another pebble tile that looks almost identical to the one at Dal-Tile, but it's $3 cheaper per square foot. Win! The tile sample to the far left that's blue and beige will be the tile for this fireplace in the Master...


We also picked the tile for the downstairs fireplace as well



It'll be the tile sample on the left, that's in a similar pattern.

My dad and Wendy also picked out the bathroom sink and shower faucets. They're American Standard Portsmouth


American Standard T420.501


The sink faucet wasn't Wendy and my's favorite, but my dad liked them, and he found them on sale - and my dad loves a sale. 

We also settled on a lighting plan


Chris loves electrical work and my dad is pretty good at it too, so they'll work on that together mostly this month a couple days here and a couple days there. The lighting is really terrible throughout the house, so every existing recessed light will be getting replaced to LED and be brighter as well. My dad is INSANE about lighting and he would go even crazier if he had all the time in the world, but this is still pretty extensive. 

So there you have week 2 progress! After Zoe wakes up from her nap we'll head back over there in the afternoon to go over cabinet paint samples with Wendy and then pick out samples for the hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Hopefully next week we'll have most of the paint colors nailed down and I can share all the colors with good pictures so you can see a better representation of the color palette of the house. 

Also, on Saturday we've got visits with the tilers to go over our selections, the plumber, the flooring guy and a ventilation company (the basement floor smells really musty even with the carpet and pad ripped up). I love progress!

9.25.2014

House Porn

I don't spend a ton of time on Instagram in general, but several jobs - especially the one for my parent's house - have me there more often lately than I normally am. Usually Pinterest is reserved for: Oh! I want to remember "x," let me Pin something. I try not to spend a lot of time there because I actually find it a bit defeating. It's the same reason I don't read a ton of design magazines.

Chris and I are both incredibly hard on ourselves. I'm not sure what makes Chris like that, but I know for me, my family is a huge motivation. My parents were married young, worked really hard, built their own house, divorced, remained amicable, went back to school, became a lawyer, worked their way super hard up the corporate ladder, married wonderful and hard working step parents...I feel a strong pressure to succeed. It's nothing that my parents have put on me, I have just seen them be successful and so amazingly hard working and adventurous that it made me want to do that too. Part of that drive though is also an unfortunate sense of never feeling like you're accomplishing enough. I don't mean monetarily, I just mean not feeling like I'm good enough, strong enough, smart enough, "you name it" enough.

I competed with my brother A LOT when I was little. He probably has no idea because he was 3 1/2 years older and I was just a pipsqueak.



But Adam was always great at just about everything he tried. He was incredibly smart, handsome, super athletic - and he didn't really have to try to be those things. So when he did try, it felt like - to me - he was unstoppable. I was a classic over-achiever - I was smart, but I had to work really hard to get good grades. My mom spent hours staying up late into the night with me helping me re-write English papers and try to get me to understand what passive voice was - which I still do not understand.

I am thankful for my family's determination and for my brother (not necessarily knowingly) pushing me to try really hard. I feel like Chris and I respect that trait in one another and also get frustrated with each other because of it. It's so easy for each of us to see how great the other person is - but also so easy to understand why we are so hard on ourselves. We never think that something is enough and there is always a more efficient, better, stronger or more beautiful way to accomplish something. That's why it's always hard for us to take days off, to just hang around the house or even take a vacation (we have only taken one long weekend "vacation" in the last almost 2 years).


I feel like with the internet now, that challenge is even more of a struggle because so easily at your fingertips is a world that makes you compare yourself to everything. I'm not saying Pinterest or other blogs are bad because I LOVE them, but there is an aspect to them that is a little rough - a world is created that makes you wish you could do that too.

I love reading other people's blogs and I love reading about their projects. I probably spend far too much time doing it and I'd get more done on days that I feel like a slug if I pulled myself away from the computer more. Pinterest is an amazing source of ideas and inspiration and footnotes of future sources. And one can quickly find themselves down a rabbit whole when they initially searched for "large showers" and then somehow find themselves looking into A's t-shirts they need to have

I NEEDED this shirt

And while the wonderful world of the internet (and shelter mags) is a place for so much inspiration, I also find it incredibly self-defeating at times. These are worlds that are created. I find that I am most drawn to blogs that admit failure. That show that things don't always go according to plan. There is food porn, but there is also house porn. There is this completely unrealistic expectation that every project, every post, every photo needs to have a point, or something that is worthy and beautiful.

I cannot imagine the pressure that John and Sherry feel at Young House Love. I know that in my two self-imposed breaks there was a part of me that felt as if I was disappointing readers. And I honestly probably have about 1/500,000th of the readers that they do. Probably even less. We all look to certain places to inspire us, to create life so that we can have something to compare to. I do it. We all do it. How are we doing if we do not have something to show us our progress? It's a horrible pressure to put on ourselves and others. Sure, there is the wonderful aspect that it makes us work hard, but I also feel like it is so damaging because it makes us feel like we are never good enough.


There is always a perfectly staged photo, there is always a perfectly smiling family, there is always a perfectly cleaned chrome faucet staring back at you (those are never that fucking clean damnit). It's hard to ever feel like you're accomplishing enough - as a mom, dad, boss, employee, partner, sibling, child, WHATEVER - if there is a world that is telling you that you're not good enough. I'm not saying AT ALL that these places mean to do that, because I think the opposite is actually true. Most of the time at least. If there are not beautiful things to aspire to, how will we work hard?

But I think what's damaging is only showing that "beauty." There is also beauty in defeat, remember. Chris and I fight. We fail. We get tired. We feel bad. Sometimes I feel like I don't share enough of that. I don't want people to think that we are over here in our own slice of internet plugging along smiling every day at everything that happens. There are days that are hard, projects that suck, clients that are frustrating, dinners that don't go according to plan - we all have that.

So my continued goal is to share in our accomplishments and in our defeats. There are some projects and pictures and experiences that go magically according to plan. And there are others that you just want to beat with a stick. For instance, I'm begging Chris to write a post about why he would never build a bed again (that year long project now...) I want my little place on the internet to share how life really happens - sometimes you jump up and down screaming because a project goes wonderfully, amazingly according to plan (and you're downright AMAZED at how something could happen that easily). And other times you curse yourself because those flowers you planted only 4 months ago and swore you'd tend to...

 

...have already died


RIP flower bed. And, do you think we'll ever actually get rid of that toilet?

9.22.2014

Week 1: LOTS of Demo

Last week was the first week of work at my dad and Wendy's new house and the name of the game was DEMO. And for this being a not so super giant renovation we've already filled up 2 10 yard dumpsters and another is being delivered on Thursday. Well, enough talk, let's get to pictures. Everyone loves ripped out rooms.

The family room before


Now


The hulking entertainment unit is out, the floors have all be ripped up (no more back breaking 2 inches of mortar tiled floors!), the fireplace and ginormous hearth are out. It makes a really big difference in feeling open.

The kitchen before


Now


Again, tile floor out, backsplash out. Yay! The counters haven't come out yet though. The stove is out just to make the project easier, but it's going back when it's done. 

The living room before


Now


Not too much, just dusty and the fireplace tile out. And if you click the picture to make it bigger you can see the samples of fireplace tile better. The one on the left is for this fireplace, and the one on the right will be for the fireplace in the master bedroom. 

The laundry room really has nothing changed, but the pantry has been ripped out. Before


Now


Hooray for not having 2 work desks and instead have some nice tall pantry cabinets!

The foyer just has the tile ripped up


It'll be soooooo nice to have hardwood floors throughout. That carpet runner will get ripped out too, but we don't want people slipping on the stairs, so they'll stay there until the floors get refinished. 

The bedrooms throughout aren't super exciting, but the disgusting carpet has been removed



But the master has the carpet out, and the tile cubby out as well


Now


Ohhh, just some toilets hanging out :)

Possibly the most exciting are the bathrooms. They looked like this before



And now


BAM! You can see through the main bathroom and into the master. Very exciting :) And in the master it's makes a really nice difference having taken down the giant linen closet that used to be next to the sinks...


Now it's nice and open and it makes the space feel so much more spacious


We'll do a waterfall edge on the end of the counter, then it'll be table height for a makeup vanity. We were hoping to take out that wall that separates the rest of the bathroom from the shower area and have it be all glass, but unfortunately there is venting from the kitchen that goes up through the wall, so we can't remove it, boooo. We will take it back about 6", which I think will make a difference even though it seems like a small amount. 

It's also wonderful to have the glass block from the shower area removed as well. Remember this?


We're trying to figure out the best solution to let more light into the shower area because we fear it will look very cavernous once it's all tiled. We're tossing the idea of having a "window" that's partially frosted and partially clear like this

Partially frosted window
found here
The weird thing is the shower alcove shares a wall with a little nook in the master bedroom


So we don't want to just leave it as open, clear glass because that's just kind weird. It's also just weird in general to have this share shower/bedroom wall, but you gotta do what you gotta do. 

There's the first week! We went and shopped for more tile options this past Friday and made a couple changes of course :) There's a local tile place in Berkeley that I love and is a lot cheaper than Dal-Tile so we found some super nice options that we actually liked better, and they were several dollars cheaper per sq ft which always makes a big difference. My step mom and I also tested a ton of paint for some of the walls in the family room, kitchen, living room and dining room when I was over there this morning...


I think we made selections in the dining room, and we're narrowing down in a couple of others. Hopefully I can put together another post this week of our new tile choices and paint, paint, paint :)

Hooray for progress somewhere! :)

9.17.2014

Picks for my Parent's House

Last Friday with Zoe in tow my dad, step mom and I visited Dal-Tile and a local kitchen and bath showroom. I had visited the same kitchen and bath showroom when we were planning out our kitchen remodel many moons ago and I remember it was a goodie. I also remembered things were a bit overpriced, but it's always good to get ideas and then shop for cheaper options.

So Friday morning they swung by our house and we all hopped in the same car and went to Dal-Tile. On our list of things to get (not purchase yet, just spec out) was bathroom floor tile, bathroom wall tile, bathroom accent tile, bathroom counters, kitchen backsplash and kitchen counters. My step mom was interested in using something besides granite (most likely Quartz) so we figured Dal might have some options.

The house definitely has a Mediterranean feel from the outside


The inside sort of references that, but besides the front living room, there really isn't too much that really ties it to that architecture. Of course, you don't want to go off on a completely different style (or maybe you do, but I don't) when a house already commits itself to a distinct one. The problem is, none of us are really incredibly gung-ho on really going Mediterranean, and so because the interior isn't so distinct itself, we figured we could sort of reference it here and there, and really as long as we didn't go CRAZY with something completely different, it would be okay. The idea is to pick more neutral colors because it's inevitable my dad and Wendy will move. Since I was born my dad has never stayed in a house longer than 7 years. He already talks about "When we sell this house..." They're being smart about keeping things a bit more neutral for resale. If they were going to stay there for longer they'd pick more bold choices, but they know they're going to want to appeal to people in 2-7 years.

That being said, they also want to pick stuff that's fun. So last Friday on our pickerama my dad and I zeroed in on a really cool Chevron tile pattern that was black and white the second we walked in. It was a bit much for Wendy who was going for a softer look, so it was fate when we ended up finding a more neutral version. And my dad became obsessed with pebble tiles for a shower, and we found a sample that went pretty magnificently with the Chevron. Behold the bathroom floor tile (Chevron) and bathroom shower tile (pebble) for both the master and second floor bathroom (they're right next to each other)

please excuse all the phone pics, I didn't have a "real" camera while we were at showrooms

I want to lick them. It's like tile candy.

We also liked these tiles for accent on the bathroom walls (the one on the very bottom, or maybe three from the bottom? It's hard to tell with bad cell phone lighting)


We'll likely be doing an oversized subway tile on the shower surround and tub surround (in an off white color, but they have yet to be found) and so those above accent tiles will be tiled in a stripe on the bottom of the shower stall. I don't like stripes at head height (I feel they're a little over done) but in a large space the same tile all over can get boring, so this stripe will be at the bottom of the stall to give a nice detail foundation.

We will likely reuse the sink faucets in the bathroom and we haven't picked shower faucets, tub faucets or sinks, but we did pick counters. We really liked some Vetrazzo counters at the bathroom showroom but they were a FORTUNE so I hunted around and found another company (Curava) that is about half the price. And the upside is their binder is resin instead of concrete so it's actually less susceptible to staining. Winner winner chicken dinner. Here are the counters


The Vetrazzo we liked is on the right, and the one on the left is what they'll likely go with. It's really cool - it's got glass and shells in it with a mix of smaller and larger pieces.

Moving on...

Kitchen! We'll be repainting the cabinets throughout in a creamy color (not WHITE, but a soft cream), and so we were thinking the backsplash could really be a point of fun because Wendy wanted a more neutral quartz counter. Well, of course things never go according to plan - we picked recycled glass counters :)


 They're not quite so pure white - more dirty, so they'll go nicely with the creamier cabinets. And, we ended up picking the same tile on that above sample for the backsplash because they paired so nicely :) The tile is actually incredibly awesome - it's a glass and natural stone mixe and it's concave. It's really, really cool.

We will likely plumb in a pot filler because those are exceptionally exciting. This hardware is a bit contemporary...


...but it goes really nicely with the Delta touch faucet they'll likely be getting


AND I'm so excited I convinced my dad to go with a stainless farmhouse sink like this one


...though the one they get won't be quite as deep.

So there are the picks so far! As you can see it's a little traditional/modern. It's pretty fun to get all this stuff selected and sort through everything. There is still A LOT more to go (paint, fireplace tile, flooring, etc.), but here it is so far. What do you think?