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


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


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


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


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


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! :)


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?


Construction has Begun!

This morning Chris headed over to my parents new house to start construction with my dad! Zoe and I followed a little later to check things out

Zoe's not sure how she feels about all the VERY loud noises - like busting up all that tile. But she was very interested in handing Chris tools. A little renovator already.

Chris and my dad took care when taking down the cabinets my dad and Wendy didn't want anymore and are posting them on craigs

They're all in great shape so hopefully they can find a good new home. All the other ones that are staying in place will be getting refinished.

Zoe and I headed back home for nap time, Chris and my dad are still at it and Wendy is also over there as well meeting more flooring people, making decisions on sinks, etc. Zoe and I will be back in the afternoon to check on things, make sure the right stuff is being demo'd, maybe pick out some paint colors to try out...you know, all that fun :)

We had a marathon tile, kitchen and bath showroom adventure last week, so hopefully later this week I can pull all those choices together to share because we've already made most of the tile and counter decisions for the house.

I'm also thinking about HOPEFULLY doing a post a week about the progress. This week will feel like a lot because demo goes so fast, but hopefully we keep the progress up and I keep the posts up. We all know nothing's going on around here, so it'll be nice to post about someone's renovation :)

Hope everyone is having a good Monday!


Zoe: 15 months

I used to do these posts each month, but now I think I may switch to every 3 months. And here the little 15 month old lady is

13 month photo

14 month photo

15 month photo

Like all parents, I think my kid is totally awesome :) And better than yours ;) It's just amazing to see how much she has developed in these last 3 months. She really feels like a KID now. It's so much fun. She cracks us up SO MUCH every day :)

She definitely takes after me in that she does not like people to really tell her what to do

My great grandma famously said I was "a willful child" and Zoe definitely takes after that. But who can resist that face?

She started walking mid-way through month 13. She had taken steps here and there, but really just only 1-4 at a time and she only did it every 3-4 days. Then, one afternoon my mom, brother and sister-in-law were over and she got this look on her face (we could always tell when she was going to try to walk because she got a distinct look on her face) and she just popped up and walked right over to Chris. We all cheered wildly and she thought it was FABULOUS. She crawled back over to the same spot and popped up and did it again. We all cheered again and she did it over and over and over again seriously about 15 times. It was positively adorable and awesome. It was also hilarious because she would only do it from that one spot and every time when she dove into Chris' arms she just had the BIGGEST smile on her face. It made me so, so, so, so happy. It was really special that so many people got to see it and my mom got some on video too. From that moment on she just popped up and was walking everywhere. We had that feeling about her - that once she would really walk for the first time it would be no more crawling, and sure enough that's how it was. She's now our walking machine

She's still our little vacuum, though a bit pickier now. Although she'll still try just about anything. Around month 13 she got really interested in the fork so now she gets one at each meal because she likes feeling like a big kid. She loves to try and stab her food with it. Not a great completion percentage, but she sure has fun trying :)

She is definitely a big trickster. She is HILARIOUS about playing little baby jokes. She gets a goofy little look on her face when she's going to offer you something, you go for it and she PULLS it away. She laughs and laughs and laughs. She does the same thing when she's toddling around outside and you go to pick her up: she'll walk towards you like you can get her, then she turns away and "runs" off giggling and shimmying from side to side. That kid cracks herself up :)

She still just loves people more than anything. The other day when we were out to breakfast for my dad's birthday she decided a man sitting at another table was her best friend, so while we waited outside for our food to go she proceeded to pick every leaf and flower she could find and give it to him. Luckily he didn't mind, so she had quite the time making a new friend. She really has almost no sense of being shy. Sometimes she'll be quiet and observe a situation in a new place and see how things are going, but there isn't a sense of shyness, more of studying to see how things are working. Then, once she's decided she's ready, she's the life of the party. If we could take her to a party every afternoon of her life she would probably be the happiest kid there ever was.

She's gotten good at signing "please" and saying thank you, which is really good. She picked up on please in about 5 minutes because she recognized that she got something for it - little stinker :) One time - I felt so awful - there was a little boy at a park with a walker toy walking around with it and she was just enamored by it and she ran around after him feverishly signing "please please please please please" while he ran away from her periodically turning around to say "no" to her. Needless to say she was very sad. I felt so bad :( But hey, you gotta learn, life's rough kid ;)

And she has frequently hummed words before she says them so we make sure she says "thank you" for things which she hums. Cutie

She definitely loves to help - as many little tykes do. A favorite is going in the garage with Chris and taking things off the shelves and putting them in a nice organized pile. If you ask her to put them back, she's pretty good about it. That's nice. She also LOVES to try to help wipe herself while you change her diaper - which is very sweet, but not entirely helpful ;)

She is a gabbing MACHINE. Which, if you know me at all, that should really come as no surprise. She's got about 15-18 words now and just jabbers away. Ball is still a favorite, but BY FAR the most favorite word Zoe has - and may ever have - is "CAR!" I don't know how it started and how she got fascinated, but her love of saying "CAR!" is pretty insane. One time a couple weeks ago I counted every time she said it - just to see, and it was 227 in a day. On walks "CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!" When we drive in the car and she sees them "CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!" When Chris pulls up his truck and comes home "CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!" When we read any book that has a picture of one "CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!" When she hears a horn "CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!" Sometimes just completely randomly "CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!CAR!" It's pretty adorable, but sometimes she'll get on a kick and literally say it 15 times in a row and it begins to sound like nails on a chalkboard. I never want to discourage the things she likes so I mostly just try to laugh

Don't worry Zoe, just think about a car
 She's finally 100% down to one nap a day. She's tried it a couple times without success and especially after she started walking she really needed to stick with 2, but we're down now to 1 pretty successfully. Sometimes certain days she's a little bit of a basket case in the later afternoon because she's tired, so we stick her in her room for about 30 minuets for some quiet time of playing by herself. She loves her room and crawling around so that usually helps and when we go back and get her she's calmed down and had some time to quietly rest so she's ready to get back at it. Naps are still sometimes a challenge with her, but for the most part she's SO MUCH better. She still doesn't sleep a ton during the day (sometimes only 45 minutes, but usually around 1:15), but the trade off is she sleeps A LOT at night. She goes down at 7 each night and usually wakes up at about 7:30. Some days though she sleeps A LONG TIME. For instance, Wednesday she only napped for a bit less than an hour and she didn't wake up till 8:30 yesterday morning. Yes, we are very lucky she sleeps so long - virtually uninterrupted - at night. It's definitely hard not having a long day napper because by about 5:30 I'm EXHAUSTED because she just goes goes goes goes goes goes goes. She's certainly is a little bundle of energy

We've had 2 firsts - a haircut (just a little trim to "organize" it because she had a little mop head) and her first earthquake. Not sure if you heard about the large earthquake centered in Napa a couple of weeks ago, but that was a "first" for her. I'm sure there have been many others before that, but none strong enough to feel. Of course, every Californian needs their first earthquake :) We woke up in the middle of the night and at first I didn't know what was going on (because I was very sleepy obviously). It honestly didn't feel very huge, so we just put our heads right back down on the pillow and went to bed. We heard not a peep from Zoe. It ended up being a 6.0 and actually did some serious damage, so we were very surprised by how serious it was when we woke up in the morning. Zoe apparently had no issue with it at all

She has finally taken to a fuzzy object. During the previous 14 months she had no desire for anything soft and fuzzy. Didn't like any stuffed animal anyone got her. But my step brother's half sister (how's that for ya?) got her this really soft rabbit for her when she was born and one afternoon while playing in her room with Chris she saw it on the top of the bookcase and asked "please" for it and now it's her buddy. She doesn't take it everywhere, but she will periodically walk around the house holding it and if you ask her "Where's bunny" she'll go get it and she likes to snuggle it while she goes to bed. It's pretty cute I must admit

She still LOVES books. LOVE LOVE LOVES them. We have a lot and many times after she wakes up from a nap or in the morning we spend a lot of time reading them. She goes and picks one, skoots herself into your lap and holds your hand while you read them to her. Sometimes I won't hear that she's woken up from a nap because she'll be quietly leafing through all of them and quietly cooing to herself as she "reads" them herself. She goes through phases of certain ones she really likes (a couple are lasting favs) but currently "Trucks" and "Machines at Work" are two that we LITERALLY hide from sight because the second she sees them she will ask "please" for them over and over and over again and make you read them over and over and over again. One time we literally read "Machines at Work" for 14 minutes straight. And you read a 10 page board book pretty fast so you can imagine how many times in a row I read that in 14 minutes. I literally THREW IT the second she was looking the other direction because I thought I might stab myself in the eye with a fork if I had to read it one more time in a row. Let's get some others out of the DOZENS in the rotation please :)

And lastly, she's still our big girl. At our 15 month check up last week she measured in at:
Weight: 24lbs 11oz - 89%
Height: 33.5" - 100%
Head: 18.9" - 96%
She's almost exclusively in 2T clothes. I have no idea why I feel such pride in how tall she is because I'm only 5'4" so clearly I have NOTHING to do with it. I guess I'm excited that she'll (most likely) be tall. I was always TINY in school and was one of the shortest or the shortest in class until I became "average" in high school. She'll probably be on the other end of the spectrum. Which means she'll probably wish she was short, ha!

So there's Zoe for you :) Our happy, goofy, and outgoing little lady. She just gets more and more fun to hang out with every day :)


Thank you Internet!

Thank you guys for all of your suggestions about how to get my ass motivated! The truth is I know I just need to start DOING it. But also just biting off a tiny bit at a time will make it actually feel possible, so thank you for your help. And you know, stupidly I never actually thought about working in 5, 10, 15, 20 minute increments while little Zoe runs around like Rosedel suggested. Zoe has fun + mom gets housework done a little at a time = magnificent :)

We also had a fabulous family day yesterday. Yes, a scheduled family day :) But it was really, really nice to devote the entire day to having fun together and not worrying about anything else. We started the morning off with a bike ride

Zoe HATES things on her head (the only time she's worn a hat without ripping it off 6 seconds after it went on her head was Opening Day at the A's, but it was cold, so I don't think she minded too much), so she wasn't super pleased about the helmet at first, but after she got used to it she had fun singing along as we rode along the beach in Alameda.

After her nap we went and visited another house (I'm saving up writing about 2 other houses we checked out till the one we saw yesterday sells so I can give you the full details), and then we drove out to SF to visit the Exporatorium. If you live in or anywhere near the Bay Area and are between the ages of 1-99 I HIGHLY suggest visiting if you've never been. I LOVE the Exploratorium. It's an exploratory science museum that I must have visited at least a couple times a year when I was little either with school or my family. It is just the coolest place and there is so much to discover and learn

For people of all ages obviously :)

Zoe had a blast

And we finished the day off with an early dinner at a favorite of Chris and my's at the Ferry Building, and a milkshake of course

That girl would literally rip the cup out of my hand for more blueberry milkshake. She is her father's daughter :)

All of your comments not only made me feel better, but they also did get my butt into gear. One of my favorite parts of renovating is planning. I really love it, I don't know why :) But I hadn't even started planning the laundry cabinets, and for me, that's just flat out ridiculous. Originally we wanted to build all the cabinets on this wall...

But it's taken us a year+ to build our bed, so I don't know if it's really the greatest idea to give ourselves another building project if we want to MAYBE get this project done in the next year. So I decided to look elsewhere. And people have raved about Ikea cabinets for kitchens lately, so I decided to give them a try here. In the past I haven't liked Ikea for lasting pieces of furniture because I've found they haven't been built super great, but people really seem to think their cabinets are built great nowadays so I thought trying them out here would be okay. With Chris' approval (he is the building master afterall), I used their planning system to figure out what our plan should be. After trying a couple scenarios we settled on this

There will be 2 tall cabinets on the left and center. The hamper from our laundry "chute" in our bathroom will be at the bottom of the left cabinet with storage shelves above it. The middle cabinet will house all of our taller cleaning items. The far right cabinet is short because there is a light switch on the right wall for the exterior light. Like the detail drawing? :)

 Very professional, right? I promise I give much better drawings to clients :)

Want to see them all open?

Obviously we'll need to modify the left cabinet to accommodate the hamper from the laundry "chute," but I don't think that will be terribly difficult. We of course won't have as many shelves in the middle cabinet because it needs to fit the vacuum, mop, etc. I originally just wanted drawers for the far right cabinet, but for some reason if you chose drawers the top portion was a faux drawer and you only got 2 functioning ones, but with wire baskets you got 2 pull out baskets and 1 drawer, so it was more practical. 

So that's the plan! We haven't purchased them yet, and of course we haven't installed the floor yet, but this makes me EXCITED to get to work in there. Maybe we'll have Zoe babysat on a weekend day in the next couple of weeks to get to that floor and put these suckers in too!

Thanks for motivating me internet!