Happy Belated Thanksgiving

Well, yesterday was turkey day, and Chris and I are VERY thankful for our house, so we decided to work on it during the fine holiday.

I finally finished up the compost shelf I started building a few weekends ago. Luke keeps fogeting to bring the paint sprayer by, so I figured what the hell and just painted it the old fashioned way

After I was done painting it I worked on screwing the leftover ballusters in place (leftover from our decks. We have 30 more, so we'll have to figure out something to do with them).

And pretty soon, I was done!

Chris put on another layer on the ceiling in the art room and I worked on the fixing up the corner

It's almost ready for paint! VERY exciting!
We called it an early day and went over to Chris' aunt's house for Thanksgiving dinner. It was very tasty and a nice break from work on the house. Thanks Nora!
This morning we participated in some early shopping on Black Friday! We got some great deals and had fun hanging out together. Later today our friends from LA John and Emily will stop by with their cute little tyke Jane and we'll hang out and have some lunch together, then it's off to Whidbey Island to visit my mom and Clarke for the weekend. Chris will stay home and work on the house, we'll see how productive he is while I'm gone ;)
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving day and has a great weekend! See you next week!


The Art Room Ceiling is Almost Done

This blog has a lof of "...Almost Done" posts.

When I got home from work today I had the lovely surprise of Chris showing me the work he had done today. He got about 1 1/2 coats of compound on the ceiling, which means it probably only needs about one more coat and some sanding and it will be DONE and ready for paint

That means I have to hurry up and catch up with repairing the walls.

He also worked on patching the (future) pantry in the kitchen. Our kitchen lacks a bit in cabinet space, but there is a small pantry that we'll keep all the food in, but it's in need of some repair before the food ever gets moved in

For now, the food still lives in the built in cabinet in the (future) breakfast nook.

Lots of "futures" as well.......so renovating goes.....


Back on Track

After dealing with the big gaping hole debacle we found ourselves back on track with the art room yesterday. Each day we work on it I am more and more thankful that Chris is letting us put this project ahead of (more important) things like the bathroom, FINISHING the kitchen, laundry room, and foyer, and the multitute of other projects we have going. He is SO great to let me have my creative space so that I can have my own room of peace, comfort and creativity in our chaotic house. Thank you Chris :)

Yesterday we worked on repairing the ceiling and walls. A lot of the plaster on the ceiling is damaged and a few weeks ago Chris worked on repairing the cracks and sagging parts, and yesterday he worked on getting the first skim coat up

I worked on repairing the interior walls that were already damaged and then further damaged by the work on the exterior

I got to use more Great Stuff (yeay!) and when I retrieved it from the garage it looked like this

Whoever thought home improvement could (sometimes) be so beautiful? I thought it looked SO cool.


The House Makes My Nose Run

And not because I'm allergic to anything, but because it's so damn cold. As with many old houses, our house has NO insulation, and many of the windows are original or were replaced about 30 years ago, so there is nothing energy efficient about the house.

When we redid the kitchen we made sure to insulate the crap out of it, and we plan to do so with each room we get to, but still 90% of the house isn't insulated and there is a LARGE empty attic that fills with very very very cool air and keeps the house cold. Conversly, on hot days the attic gets extremely warm and the house stays really cool during the day, so it's very pleasant to be in instead of outside. But by the time night rolls around the air in the attic starts to filter down and it gets HOT.

ANYWAY, Chris bought a thermometer so we can see the temp. inside and outside and we set it up the other day. This is the INSIDE temperature

51 degrees! I can see my breath! The house doesn't have a heating system (again, stupid previous owners) and space heaters are really unsafe, dangerous, and use A LOT of energy making a really high PG&E bill, so we'll have to deal with it for now. I know anyone reading this that lives in New England, Canada or Siberia is probably laughing, but hey, I'm born and bred in the central Bay Area I can't handle it above 80 or below 60. I know I know, SPOILED :)

Yesterday was a half day, and by half I don't mean half the time spent I mean half ass. Chris set up his tile saw he got and cleaned the garage. I finally finished refinishing the hutch (and all of our crap has returned to the top of it)

We cleaned up and organized the house a bit (especially the art room to get it ready for work today). I insulated the exposed corner of the art room with great stuff (one of my FAVORITE things, I LOVE great stuff) and regular fiberglass insulation
And a ring at the door at 10am brought Rafael back to the house to finish the stucco. It looks GREAT! He matched the texture extremely well and did a great job cleaning up. The back of the art room looks AMAZING now (if you live in the Bay Area and need stucco work, I would really recommend him, but you need someone who speaks Spanish because he speaks very little English)

It's hard to believe that only three weeks ago it looked like this


The Tarp Is Back

We finally got Rafael to come out to the house to work on the stucco on the art room wall. With our roof replacement becoming more and more of a priority with the coming rain, it was getting more and more important that Rafael come out ASAP.

He used a scratch coat mix that dries is two hours called Rapid Set so he could get to the brown coat quickly. After Day 1 it looked like this

He came back out on Thursday to hopefully get it finished, but it didn't quite happen, so at the end of Day 2 it looked like this

Friday was looking like he was definitely going to finish, but it started POURING, so he had to call it an early day. He did get one side finished, so that is GREAT news
But the tarp is back up on the other side

Not sure when he's going to come back out, but hopefully it's in the next few days so we can get the roof started by the 1st of December. They'll need about a week, so hopefully there will be CLEAR skies for them.


Please Be Kind Visitors

I have been getting more and more annoyed having people over to look at the progress on our house. Some visitors are VERY nice and we would LOVE to have them over many many many times, but some just REALLY get on my nerves. Many people tell us things we should have done differently, how dirty things are, or how they "couldn't live like this."

Remodeling a house is really hard work and I know we chose to do it, but it gets REALLY frustrating for people to put it down and say negative things. Don't you think we want to live in a nice, clean, organized, completely redone house? Do you think we enjoy living with dust all around, laundry ALWAYS needing to be done, boxes of lights, rugs, hardware or appliances that need to be installed, stacks of bills and papers that need to be put away and organized? But we feel good about what we're doing - bringing this house back to life just as quickly as we can, but that takes time, and along the way the house is going to look like a construction zone because THAT'S WHAT IT IS.

Working 3 part time jobs while trying to work on the house is REALLY hard, and as a result we don't have time to pick up every tool that is strewn throughout the house, vacuum, dust, swiffer, or windex every single day. Sorry visitors. So, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Oh, and don't come over.


Art Room Electrical

Now that the big gaping hole is complete, we can move on to finishing up the electrical in the art room. So yesterday Chris and I got it ALMOST all done, just one more outlet to go! Here are some of the ones we worked on

Once the electrical is done, we'll move on to finishing repairing the ceiling and walls. Because of all of the work to the outside, some of the walls have suffered some damage that we'll have to fix

Chris also got our bedroom light installed!

Why is this so exciting you ask? Well, we haven't had a light switch to turn on in the bedroom since we moved in! We had been using that cheap Ikea lamp you see in the background. So last night it was VERY exciting to have a ceiling light to turn on for the first time in nearly 11 months.

I didn't get to work on refinishing the hutch yesterday because Chris needed help, so I'll hopefully get that done this week between work.

This weekend we also saw Where the Wild Things Are and 2012. The former was pretty disappointing, but 2012 was pretty awesome. The special effects were GREAT and the story was pretty interesting. It was a bit long (over 2 1/2 hours), but Chris and I definitely enjoyed ourselves.


No More Big Gaping Hole, Phew!

Just in time for the rain to start later next week we finished the work on the outside of the art room yesterday, yay! Now, it needs to be covered in stucco, which may or may not be a difficult task. Chris has attempted to get the guys who did the rest of the stucco to come out again, but there is a real language barrier and I try to tell Chris what Spanish to use and it seems like Rafael and him are able to at least come to an agreement to come out to the house, but a few of those "agreed upon days" have passed, and Rafael has not arrived. So we shall see.

Chris' sister Sarah came over to help yesterday, which was really nice. Our goal was to get the other side of the wall sheathed, the window put in, and some general clean-up done. This is what we had to contend with in the morning

As, you can see, the area to the immediate left of the window is full of rot as well, and thus Chris and I were left with a dilema. Because of the animal room door jam we really didn't have full access to the rot, so we needed to rip it all down in order to really see what we were up against.

That would entail A LOT of work, and fixing the animal room isn't really a priority now. So, we decided we would leave the rot by the window for now, and later down the line in a year or two when we tackle the animal room and fix the structural problems with it, we can go back and chip away the stucco that will be there and replace that part of the wall. It seemed to be the best, and most efficient use of time. And since the part of the art room wall that is still rotten isn't really structural, it just has to hold up for another year or so, which really shouldn't be a problem.

We worked hard, and were glad to have Sarah's help. By the end of the day we got all the sheathing in, and the window replaced!

Chris even got the access door to the crawl space framed in

While Chris worked on that, Sarah and I helped when he needed it, but mostly worked on gardening and sanding another piece of furniture that needs to be refinished.

We took out the tomato plant from our garden. It wasn't really bearing tomatos anymore, and you can leave them in for the winter and keep up on pruning, or you can pull it out and just plant another one in the spring, so that's what we opted to do

That GINORMOUS plant to the right is an artichoke. It's amazing to think that when we planted that about seven months ago it was a SEED. Now it's about 4 ft. tall. Next year we should get some artichokes.

We also worked on sanding this hutch to be refinished

It sits by the front door and is where we put our wallet, purse, etc. I love the paneling detail on it, but it definitely needs some TLC. But we got it at Urban Ore for a steal, so all is well. We didn't get too far along, but it needed a lot of sanding and some minor repairs

The top is vinyl with paint on top, and contact paper on top of that

Because that would have taken FOREVER to sand off in order for the paint to really stick to it, I had Chris cut a top for it out of MDF, and we just glued it on top (he rounded the corners to make it look more finished and fit with the piece better)

(it was nice that Sarah took a few pictures with Chris and I in them because I realized we have barely any pictures together working on the house)

Today we'll hopefully finish the electrical in the art room and get the hutch refinished. Here's to another successful day! Hopefully :)