2012: A Year in Photos

Here is our obligatory 2012 in photos summary. I'm glad I'm writing this post before I write the post about how many of our 2012 goals we actually completed because that list looks pathetic and this post will make me feel like we at least accomplished something this year. Without further ado...

January - we mostly worked for other people

For my dad and Wendy we built and installed a second built in cabinet. And for Chris' mom and grandma we traveled down to LA...

Where we installed a new cabinet and toilet and fixed the tile in his grandma's bathroom. And...

Worked on refinishing his mom's front door.

February - we spent the majority of the month refinishing the hardwood floors in the front room

It was quite the adventure. There were lots of existing stains on the floors, so the first round did not go well, and we tried several things in an attempt to fix them and, hooray, it worked, and in the end, they looked positively wonderful.

March - we moved on to start working on the TV room even though the front room wasn't close to being done (a recurring theme of ours). But my oh my was that plaster ceiling detail a beautiful discovery

April - we had soooo much fun refinishing the front room, we spent much of April refinishing the TV room floors. This time it went much more according to plan, and they looked beautiful

May - we spent most of our time building our built in entertainment unit/hutch thingy. It took a lot of work, like this, and this, and this, and this

But by the end of the month we were getting close to completing it!

June - we FINISHED the cabinet! And it looked beautiful! (and we snagged a free wall-mount TV from my step dad)

And we started work on completely redoing our front yard

That dead grass is not appealing?

July - we were crazy busy working on the front yard: like digging a bunch of trenches and installing proper drainage, prepping everything to get planted, and then conning my dad, step mom, and two of our friends into helping plant everything. But in the end, it was so beautiful

August - we revealed that we'd be going on the renovation roadtrip! And we also did the big ol' front yard before and after once we completed a couple last minute touches

September - In a mad dash to complete a ton of projects before we left for the trip, we refinished the side of our neighbor's garage (while I was in a cast, very responsible), we decided to have our floors refinished professionally while we would be away on the roadtrip which gave us a to do list 40 items long to complete in 6 weeks, oh, and we built a fence

October - we went on the renovation roadtrip!!!

(read about our adventures with 86'n It here)

(our adventures with Turtle House here)

(our adventures with DIY Diva here)

(our adventures with Russet St. Reno here)

(and our adventures with Just a Girl with a Hammer here)

November - our "professional" flooring refinishers did a super shitty job (which you can read all the fun here and here because we made them do it twice). And in the end we didn't pay them a dime because they continued to ruin things every time they stepped foot in our house. Then we revealed that Chris knocked me up and Cashew is (scheduled) to make her arrival at the end of May!

And we FINALLY started work in the back bathroom. Only 2 years after it had all been demo'd...

December - we've been motoring on the back bathroom the last month and I've been super excited about all of our progress. Walls can be very exciting you know

Whew! 2012 was a busy, busy year. It's crazy though because when Chris and I went over our 2012 goal list on Christmas we were flabbergasted that we only got about half of it accomplished. Boo. This post makes me feel better about ourselves though.

Oh, and tomorrow I'll show you guys the bathroom painted! We made good progress this weekend! The lights are even in too :) Hooray!


Mud, Tape, Texture: It's Easy in 40 Sq. Ft.

This part of bathroom remodels always goes fast. It's a little tease because then tiling takes FOREVER. Especially when you decide to tile 5 ft. up the wall with beveled subway tile. I know I'll be kicking myself about that selection when it comes to the hours and hours and hours that Chris and I will spend tiling, but for the moment I will enjoy our wonderful progress.

Last week we finished the last of the drywall

(clearly I'm a total creeper)

Once all the drywall was done it was my turn: mud and tape. I've gotten pretty good at the task over the course of, ohhh, 7 rooms. And on Saturday I started the 8th

The first go round throughout the room is always light. A light layer over all the screw holes, tape over drywall joints and corner pieces where the wall meets the ceiling (you can also use tape here, but we like corner pieces for a smoother transition)

In the above pic the joint between the two pieces of drywall in the ceiling isn't great, but again, because this is only the first go round, nothing has to actually look very good. It's important to just get that light layer into all the cracks and with each successive layer you'll feather things out to make them look better and smoother.

While I was working on the mud and tape Chris was installing a heater vent in the room

I used quick set joint compound, so instead of it needing about 3 days to dry in the thicker corners, it was ready the next day for my second coat. Normally I wouldn't feather out this much on the second go round, but the first one was really pretty smooth and there weren't many trouble spots so it made the job of making sure all the walls were smooth and even a lot easier

The ceiling was really the only part that needed a third coat, everything else was ready for Chris and his expert texture

Chris usually puts it on in 3 light coats, making sure to get an even amount of coverage over the entire space. Between each layer he comes through with the drywall knife and knocks down the really thick parts a bit, but other than that he's mastered it so much it's a fairly quick and easy process for him now.

Wednesday he finished the last layer of texture and I've got 3 paint samples ready to go, so hopefully this weekend we'll get it painted! It's always so much easier making progress in a room that's only 40 sq. ft.


A Sea of Pink Fluff

We called a little bit of an audible when we decided to insulate our attic yesterday. It wasn't completely random, but we did do it a lot sooner than I think either of us had anticipated. Living in an older house our attic has no insulation and it is a huge, cavernous space, so we loose a lot of heat up there. We had always intended to insulate at some point when all the room's ceilings we needed to drywall would be done and the electrical was done as well. That point came when we finished the drywall in the bathroom. Though the electrical in the house isn't completely done (Chris has rewired about 90% of it himself, a small part was done before we moved in) we are about 98% there (one more outlet in the hallway). So Chris asked last week what I thought about insulating the day after Christmas, and I thought, sure, why not? It was definitely something we wanted to do before Cashew arrives, so better now than when I'm big and Cashew's arrival is imminent.

There was a little debate about what kind of insulation we should go with. I wanted to go with the pink rolls and Chris wanted to go with the AttiCat rental at HD that was free if you bought 10 bags of their loosefill insulation. I knew the rolls would be 1) more expensive and 2) take a while to lay out and cut around everything, but for some reason in my head I just figured that machine would cause a huge headache, not work, and cause me to throw it out the window in a pregnancy rage. Chris won.

So yesterday morning we resolved to get started a little earlier than normal and head off to HD. Of course, what we get for starting early is car trouble: a flat tire and a fucked up rim on the way. Grrrr. Luckily it happened 3 blocks away from a tire place and it was miraculously not raining so we were able to change to a spare and cruise it down to the tire place and wait patiently while the guys there changed the tire and temporarily fixed the rim (we bought a "new" used one later in the afternoon). We finally made it to HD ready to rent the machine but were thwarted again not realizing that to rent their truck we needed proof of insurance. Duh! (the machine and 15 bags of insulation would not fit in Chris' truck). For some idiotic reason I didn't have my wallet with me (so no driver's license and credit card, but my proof of insurance was in my car and we had switched to taking my car after Chris' car trouble) and Chris had his wallet, but his proof of insurance wasn't in it. God damnit. So we had everything ready to go, but had to drive back home and get insurance. Sigh.

When we finally arrived at HD with no car trouble and the correct documents to rent the machine and truck, we were able to rent what we needed. I got to drive the truck which felt very strange because the car I drive about 95% of the time is about 1/4 of the size

Once we got everything home I unloaded the insulation while Chris got the machine hooked up

Once everything was off the truck and ready to go I drove it back to HD while Chris stayed home to get started. We had left my car in the parking lot there so when I returned the truck Chris could stay at home in an effort to save some of the time we had wasted with our earlier adventures.

When I got home Chris had figured out how everything worked but hadn't made much progress because you can only load 1/2 a bag of insulation at a time (and really not even that), turn the machine on and then run upstairs to blow out insulation and then have to stop when the insulation ran out and go back down and repeat. A process not fun with one person. 

To get started he showed me 1) cut the bag in half

2) break it in half

and 3) shove it in the machine

Those were the tasks I would be doing downstairs while Chris operated the machine up in the attic (and of course we both wore masks, this stuff is not good to be breathing in). The one kicker was that the machine had to be turned on and off at the physical machine (where I was) but sometimes Chris would not want it on so that he could move around and get to the next spot in the attic without spraying the insulation EVERYWHERE and the machine was so loud there was no way we could hear each other yell to turn it on and off. We devised a pretty good plan: we turned on the TV and put it on really loud. Chris took the TiVo remote upstairs (it can be used without pointing at the receiver) and had it on pause when he wanted the machine to be on. As soon as he wanted the machine to be off he would press play and I would hear the TV come on and turn the machine off. Then he'd shift around to the next spot and press pause and I'd put the machine on again (while prepping the next bats and shoving the insulation in the machine making sure there was always adequate insulation mixing around as Chris was blowing it around upstairs). We had it going the opposite at first (TV on when machine on, TV off when machine off), but still with the volume turned all the way up I had trouble distinguishing between a lull in conversation and the TV actually silent so it always took me a little too long to figure out that I needed to turn the machine off. This method actually worked really well and we were able to motor through a lot faster than I thought.

It was messy

But it got the job done

We had calculated that we would probably need 12 bags, but bought 15 just to be safe. We probably should have communicated a little better about progress towards the end because I tried to slow down prepping the bags (cutting them in 2) as I felt we were near the end so that we could return the unused ones, but Chris came down when I had 3 more 1/2 bags ready to go and said we were done. Doh! It wasn't terrible though, we just used the remaining 3 1/2 bags that I had already split and just blew it in thicker in spots. In the end, we used 12, but we could have done with 11. Not too bad. And we returned the other 3 we didn't use that I hadn't cut through already. It was a lot more efficient than I thought. And once I figured out how the machine worked and about how much insulation I should put in at a time it was really very easy. I admitted to Chris that the rental of this machine was the right way to go instead of the rolls. I hate being wrong. Damnit! 

Once the job was done we had lots of pink fluff that had traveled around the house that needed to be cleaned up

But it ended up being a lot less messy than I thought. We swept up the big pieces and then vacuumed the rest. And of course, we scratched our floors again because the shitty ass poly the stupid floor refinishers used is terrible. We have dragged a stove across the floors we refinished ourselves and have yet to mar their surface. The rest of the floors on the other hand, I swear your toenail could scratch through the poly. Sigh. 

In the end, the whole project (purchase of 12 bags of insulation, free rental of machine and 1 hour rental of truck) cost us just over $400. We're hoping that it makes a difference in the efficiency of our house. I can't imagine it won't make at least a tiny one considering how huge the attic is. But only time will tell. Until then, our attic looks like a pink fluff wonderland