After: bathroom

Kersten - January 31, 2008

Next to the kitchen, the bathroom got the most in the way of a facelift. It doesn’t look like much, but this one is about twice the size of our last bathroom, which was comically small.

Before:

After:

The toilet, sink and cabinet are all new. Again, that’s the slate tile with sealer/enhancer on the floor. The color is what I would call ice blue, but Benjamin Moore calls it “Whispering Spring.” The mirror is from Lowe’s or Home Depot, the light fixture from Galaxy Lighting in South Salt Lake and was about the only one that we found for not a lot of money but with adjustable wiring for our nutty off-center junction box. It’s still a pretty tight space, so we didn’t have a lot of leeway in terms of the layout (I was standing in the tub to take the picture above).

There’s still a gap to the left of the sink cabinet because the wall wasn’t square (imagine!). That gap may be permanent, because I’m out of ideas for filling it in.

After: living room

Kersten - January 30, 2008

The living room got the usual treatment: floor, paint, trim, etc. As with the rest of the house, the “before” smell was “cat.”

Before:

After:

The paint is Benjamin Moore Aura “Orange Parrot” and took three coats for full coverage. The window covering is the same system we have in the kitchen (where I would recommend it for the narrower width), but I’m not too pleased with it in the living room — the window’s width is too large for the sliding tracks. The hanging panels already look worn and stretched out, which especially bums me out because I an entire night fiddling with those things.

It is so, so apparent that we have way too much furniture for this place. Otherwise, the flooring runs the direction it does because of a bowing, rolling, rollicking subfloor that we didn’t have the heart or the need to correct in the non-tiled rooms.

That is the book case (the other side of the large kitchen cabinet and former walk-through), and this is why it’s not finished yet:

The bookcase isn’t attached to anything as of yet, and we’re hoping to add some finishing pieces that hide the gaps between the case and the wall. I have to work pretty much every Saturday in February, so I’m hoping the remodeling elf known as Tai gets around to this tedious task one of those days.

The other major task left in the living room is the question of the fireplace facade.

One of our friends said she didn’t mention it during a recent visit because she wasn’t sure if it was a new type of art installation. Yes, we call it “Stumped/Stalled/Lazy.” We currently are using our TV cart to hide the artwork.

After: kitchen

Kersten - January 29, 2008

The kitchen changed the most, and required the most work. (Demolition pictures here, subfloor here and here, tile here, and cabinets here.)

Before:

The kitchen was divided in half by the peninsula in the photo above. The oak cabinets were nothing exciting, and the appliances were serviceable but ugly.

The parquet flooring was a mess. It bowed, waved, rolled and curled because it was rotten underneath.

After:

You’ve heard quite a bit about our grief with the floor. We used the same slate tile for the kitchen that we used in the entryway (and bathroom), and finished it with the enhancer that considerably darkened the color.

Cabinets are Ikea, naturally. Cabinet handles, backsplash system and shelves also are Ikea.

We replaced both lights, adding a track in the work area and a basic Ikea fixture closer to our dining table.

We closed off the walk-through from the living room to the kitchen in the name of claiming a bit of useable space. We added a massive cabinet to the kitchen side of the new wall (with a bookcase on the living room side).

Still to come: this mess. This is the washer-dryer cubby hole that needs a plumber’s soft touch before we can finish up. Right now it’s holding our leftover paint cans, the tile for the cubby floor, some drywall and Miscellaneous Crap We Have Not Cleaned Up.

(We have an appointment with a plumber Thursday.)

After: entryway

Kersten - January 28, 2008

We’re going to spread this out over a couple of days. So, here’s the “after” picture of the entryway:

I don’t have a good “before” picture for the entryway. We didn’t take one, evidently. Try to imagine this little alcove with nasty, forest-green carpet (so…take the color off the wall and put it on the floor), dingy paint, a nondescript light fixture, brown doors and the smell of cat.

The color on the walls is Benjamin Moore Aura “Peppermint Leaf” green from the BM store in Salt Lake. The tile is a basic gray slate from Contempo Tile in South Salt Lake, and we darkened the color to the near-black you see with a sealer/enhancer, which you can find at any tile place or home improvement store. The console table is from West Elm and is officially the last piece of furniture that we can purchase while we live here — we’re packed to the gills in this smaller place. The mirror is one that Tai bought several years ago for his condo that predates the original SLC202 (and thus also predates me).

The skis are…temporary. We have a ways to go before shoveling out that entryway closet, which is where we eventually hope to store the skis and ski boots. For the meantime, this makes us seem much more hard-core than we truly are. We wanted to make a splash with the first room that people see. That’s why we chose the bright green paint and the wall mirror. Now, if only it would stop snowing so that we stop tracking footprints all over the floor!

Happy (belated) New Year

Kersten - January 7, 2008

I hope you’ve all gotten used to writing “2008″ on your correspondence by now! As you might have been able to tell from the dearth of posts recently, we had a crazy December. The first half of the month was spent rushing around trying to make the condo livable to make a December 15 move-in date.

We made it. We made it in time to cobble together a Christmas tree complete with trimmings and that fresh pine scent (a welcome change from the Pine-Sol we used this fall to get rid of the cat smell!). We thoroughly enjoyed seeing family and friends over the past two weeks, and we even scraped together enough chairs to host a few minor gatherings for out-of-towners who might not be around for a late-January/early-February house-warming shindig.

It feels good. Really, really good, in fact.

We still have a few things on our list, though, before we’re ready for an official unveil:

1. Finish the built-in bookcase in the living room
2. Face and finish the fireplace (it’s a gaping hole right now)
3. Get a long-awaited plumber to pull a drain up to our condo for a washer, install drywall and tile in the washer-dryer nook, paint, finish etc., and put in the washer and dryer.
4. Figure out some solution for a couple of spots where kitchen and bathroom cabinets do not quite meet the wall — we’re not crazy about the weird glimpses into the unpainted baseboard and support beams you get from these three gaps

Otherwise, there are the usual tidying-up tasks, including unearthing our office desk from the avalanche of books, old mail, old magazines, Christmas receipts, etc., that have taken over our second bedroom. We also probably need a little straightening up in the bedroom and kitchen, too. But again — it feels good to have a home again.

We’re already looking ahead for 2008, though. We worked hard to make this place nice, but we always intended it to be a temporary spot. We’re eying places to build, kicking around ideas, weighing the relative merits and demerits in the historic landmark districts around here (ARGH), and thinking about how to approach the year. In the next few weeks, we’ll fill you in on the bookcase process (we had to remove our front door to get the case into our living room…), the fireplace designs and the never-ending search for a plumber.

Happy New Year to all of you, and we’ll be sure to let RV readers see all the after pictures…as soon as I can persuade myself to clean.

It’s not quite an “after” picture…

Kersten - January 3, 2008

…but I hope it tides you over for a while.

iphone slide lasagna.jpg

Tai took this Christmas Eve on his iPhone while cooking us a delicious lasagna for the holiday. The kitchen is fully functional but still not fully pretty.

We are about 98 percent unpacked and done with the renovation, but the remaining tasks sort of stick out (as in, gaps in the wall, unfinished book shelf, no fireplace cover, etc.). So we’re waiting to do a full spate of “after” photos until we are more done.

Concrete

Kersten - December 18, 2007

As Kersten said in an earlier post, I chickened out on the concrete countertops. Time was running short, and trying to learn a new technique on such a tight schedule was giving me panic attacks. Instead we opted for the Numerar countertops from Ikea (pronounced “eee-kay-ah” in our house because it’s more fun that way).

Because the walls are as far away from being square as you can imagine, I had to scribe the ends and cut them at strange angles so there wouldn’t be any gigantic gaps between the countertop and the wall.

Once the cuts had been made I dry-fit the countertops in place to make sure that everything fit right before moving on.

Now it was time to cut a gaping hole in the countertop for our sink. We had originally intended on doing an undermount sink, but with the change in countertop and the nearly impossible task of finding an undermount that would fit our 30″ sink base cabinet, we ended up with a top mount also from Ikea.

Making that many cuts to the countertop made a big mess.

Final step was to fasten the countertop to the cabinets and call it a day (except I probably kept working until really late)

Concrete confession

Kersten - December 14, 2007

We’re not doing a concrete countertop.

OK.

Now that I’ve got that out there, this is what happened — we ran out of time. Making our own concrete countertop would have taken the better part of two weeks. We were ready for a countertop about a week ago, concrete would have taken longer, and I wasn’t about to delay our move-in date of TOMORROW — GASP! — because we really need our own space during the holidays. I hope you all still love us.

Some day — some day soon, we hope — when we are running on more than a few hours of sleep and when Tai hasn’t been up the night before until 4 a.m. installing a tile backsplash, and when I’m out from under a bit of stress from quitting one job and starting another and selling a car and packing up our life in the middle of it all, we will show you pictures of this place. If I don’t say so myself, it’s looking mighty fine. Even without a concrete countertop.

Suck it, electricity

Kersten - December 12, 2007

I put up the bedroom ceiling fan ALL BY MYSELF the other night, and I didn’t shock myself once.

It went from this….

To this (if you can even tell what it looks like from this picture)

Remodeling elves

Kersten - December 11, 2007

We couldn’t have done this process without all the help from our families. We’ve mentioned Tai’s rock-star dad on this blog many times before (see subfloor 1, subfloor 2, tile) with even a picture of the fine gent here. We interrupted his Saturday night with a desperate call for help wiring our dishwasher and garbage disposal. He graciously responded by crawling around on our floor for several hours:

My mother bravely trekked downtown in the middle of the season’s first blizzard to help us paint some closet interiors. The hall linen closet and the living room coat closet both now have paint thanks to her.

The brothers-in-law helped put down the bamboo, and my grandfather spent two back-breaking days under our kitchen sink trying to figure out our antiquated plumbing. Bless his heart — he is SO tired of doing our plumbing. He’s also been housing us since mid-August, so I’m pretty sure he’s sick of that, too!

My dad and little sister even got in the action by priming on our kitchen walls and front door. My dad made an encore appearance to prime the bathroom baseboard (ah, our lives are so glamorous!). My mother and grandfather made a much-needed dump run for us, which is why you haven’t been treated to a final photo of the old toilet in an odd setting — they got the honor of throwing it into the dump pit. I got word this morning from my mother that she ironed and hemmed our bedroom and office curtains for us (”It’s curtains for you…” was her exact phrase). And Daniel and Lacy gave us a jump start on our kitchen cabinets one very cold night just before Thanksgiving.

So, this is great. When I grumble about living in Utah (see: the last three years), it’s usually because I’ve forgotten what a benefit it is to live near family. Help with our remodeling project is just a small reason why I’m constantly reminding myself that we are indeed lucky to have all trillion of them nearby!

Next Page »