bathrooms - day 4

so many pictures. so not in the mood for commentary. hall bath has pretty stuff now. toilet works, sink works, tub works. haven't tested shower, have no door. it's amazing what this guy can accomplish in a day though. check out the shots of the master bath. that hole is the one under the pedestal sink that goes staight into the ground. it feels a lot bigger when its 10 degrees outside. trashpile went bye-bye (thursday is the day the dalco truck goes around town and picks up trash apparently). stuff pile is almost non-existant. it's pretty much just the vanity and the shower doors now. the final shot is of the only bit of either bathroom that's staying: the master bath's toilet. of course, looking at the new one, we probably could have swung the extra couple of hundred for that, too.


bathrooms - day 3

we got home to find our new sink/vanity blocking the entrance to the bathroom. why is that? because we can't go in the bathroom. why is that? because there's floor! just the tile, no grout yet. i guess that happens tomorrow. anyway, we can't go in there right now. muka managed to sneak past the sink at one point to check it out, but as fat as she is, i don't think that'll make much of a difference. also, the marble is up on the tub, as well as all the shower related fixtures: i'm a bit worried about how the brushed silver stuff is going to look with the beige-y neutral tile/marble, but it's kinda too late to worry about that now. we'll make it work. :) i totally won a conversation ryan and i had last night about whether they would install the vanity and cut around it for the tile, or install the tile and then just set the vanity on top of it. he got all gloaty and smug about it last night and i told him i didn't care. today i did a little dance. just, you know, cuz i could. tomorrow he's going to trash the master bath, this will become our bathroom within the next 24 hours. kinda scary considering that there's no toilet in here and we can't walk on the floor and you know, there's stuff in the tub. parting shots: trashpile got full of boxes from the stuffpile.


bathrooms - day 2

quick! before the grapefruity flavored wine goes to my head! WALLS! i came home and the bathroom had walls again! greenboard (and some whiteboard on the ceiling, very far wall) was every where. this man is a machine!!!!!! what's this? it's where the sink's gonna go, plus a shiny new switch on the wall. the switch is actually 3 switches in one. 1 for the overhead light, one for the overhead fan and one for the vanity light. it's gonna be so bright in there, you're gonna have to wear shades! seriously, though, they had to put a fan up there, so why not put a light up there, too? speaking of up there... this is up there. the base of the light/fan is dangling from the ceiling and is the new source of light in the room. the ceiling is the only place where the original wall was not removed. covering it with new drywall instead of taking down the old stuff eliminated any issues with old insulation, which would have been a messy pain in the behind. and lastly, the trash pile. not much bigger. just a bit of greenboard scrap. doah! i almost forgot this one! muka never ever sits right there. i think she's making sure nobody goes in and messes with it.

bathrooms - day 1

originally i had thought to break this up by bathroom, but bathrooms are hard to photograph and since it's getting gutted to the studs, reference pictures really don't help much, so i'm just gonna go day by day so you can see the whole process. ryan came home midday and took a few shots. the guy works so fast that we would have missed some of the "good stuff" other wise. let's start here, shall we? i was as surprised as you are to discover there used to be a window in this room. it makes sense, sure. this used to be the back wall of the house, but it was still a shock. this picture still makes very little sense because it's so not a bathroom. it was taken from the doorway, looking at where the tub used to be. you can see on the side the tub plumbing and some of the tile as a frame of reference on the bottom of the picture. speaking of the tile. it turns out that 55 year old floor isn't always in the best condition, especially in bathrooms where it's exposed to leaking plumbing. the original plan was for dalco to strip the floor down to the subfloor and build up from there. well, that subfloor is rotten crap and flat-out missing in places. it went bye bye for a nominal extra fee. i never got to see it. by the time i came home, it was while k/lyle was tearing through the walls, he discovered a few other fun things. the wall that looks ripped up in this picture is the kitchen wall, not the bathroom wall. the fridge (above) was a gaping hole in our kitchen that we knew about. we got the fridge with the house, so we didn't find it until we pulled the fridge out to re-tile the kitche floor, but at least it wasn't a complete surprise. the hole in the back of the cabinet under the kitchen sink? that was new. it's actually kind of useful, as you can see. you need some way to get into the plumbing for both the bathroom and the kitchen that doesn't involve remodeling one or the other, and hiding the holes in the dark where nobody can detect them isn't a bad way to go. still, it's a little surreal to be standing where the bathroom goes and see the kitchen. sure did freak the cats out. and here's what everything looked like by the time i got home. new tub, new subfloor. all good. this was all done by one guy. in about 7.5 hours. he's a machine. to cap the day off i offer you a study in contrast. one is the pile of bathroom debris that's going to collect on our driveway before being hauled off on the last day. the other is the pile of fixtures/tile/supplies that will slowly whittle away in our back room while he works on both bathrooms. can't wait to get home and see what it looks like today!

master bath - day 0

we decided when we started pricing that if we could only afford to do one of the bathrooms, that it would be this one. fortunately everyone we talked to was eager to cut us a deal to knock them both out at the same time, passing a 2k+ savings onto us. this bathroom is where the real "fun" is. pictures can't do it justice really, but i took them anyway. the layout is pretty much the same as the other one, just mirrored (sink/tub on opposite wall), so these shots are basically highlights of what's so much fun. let's move right past the choice of pedestal sink that doesn't hide the pipes. what no picture can show you is that at the base of that pedestal sink is a hole roughly the size of the base that goes DIRECTLY OUT SIDE. not to the basement, but to a crawl space. it's big enough that it took us a couple of raggedy t-shirts to plug it properly. perhaps at one point the hole had been properly plugged, but it wasn't by the time we moved in (more on that in a bit). we didn't discover the hole until winter when the room was so cold water froze in the tub (which, as it turns out, the base is also directly exposed to the elements that make it into the crawlspace). another thing you cannot really tell in this picture is the craptastic patch job that runs from about the towel rack down the side wall, and wraps around behind the exposed pipes at the sink. you see, when the bathroom was originally built, they used some textured paint to cover up the bad dry-wall job they did. when our inspector checked out the plumbing he discovered about $4000 worth of no-nos that they had to repair before we'd take the house. it was ... extensive and chewed up that drywall. when they went to patch the holes, they made a feeble attempt to blend the patchwork into the existing wall. it's painfully obvious in person. speaking of bad dry wall, the seams in this room are a-TRO-cious. here's a good example, but keep in mind that it all looks like this: you see how it almost looks like piping? it's also shinier than the rest of the wall. i guess the paint didn't stick to it as well or something. next on our tour is a shot of the shower nook itself. you can see that here they did edge the insert before putting tile around it. they did not seal around the tub however. remember how i said that wasn't a huge deal in the other room cuz there was tile behind it? yeah. well. there's not even green board behind this (greenboard==water-resistant drywall that you put around things like tubs/showers). it's just drywall. know how we know? because it's rotting out from under the unsealed shower insert. see how it looks lumpy and there's some black stuff along the edge? yeah. that's the wall coming out in bits and rotted pieces. it was perfectly flat when we moved in because they never used the shower in this room. know how we know? cuz along with the plumbing we discovered that the spigot for the tub wasn't attached to the plumbing. if you tried to use the shower, the pressure would pop the spigot right off. so, by now you have to be wondering why we bought this money pit? much of this stuff was new enough when we looked at the house that the problems hadn't manifested well enough to be an issue (but god bless the inspector that caught both the plumbing and electrical problems). we also knew there was a lot of cosmetic work that needed to be done because the people who lived here before us (who did all of the shoddy repair work) also had no taste. mostly, though, we saw the issues, knew we'd get around to polishing them up when we got around to it. this is a "first home" house. nobody moving into it next will expect a better homes and gardens house, either. your final picture on this tour is for reference. this should look pretty darn different by the time it's all over. muka says "please don't take away the drippy water. i love it so."

hall bath - day 0

so i had a lovely tour of the hall bathroom pre-demo all written out for you, but safari ate it before i could get blogger to save it for you. i blame myself for composing in a browser, but with the abundance of pictures, it was just easier that way. i could have recreated it then, but i was tired, and it would not have been witty in the least. it probably won't be witty now, but at least it gets a fighting chance. so, without further ado...

Hall Bathroom - Day 0

i can explain about the green paint. not well, but i can explain. when we moved in, we did a considerable amount of painting in the front of the house. the boy's bedroom we toned down from a freakishly bright blue (think "toy story" sheets) to a nice subdued color. the girls room (which had been "disney princess pink) we put this pretty nifty textured job with a few different shades of green. this bathroom was next on our list, but it got ignored. later (like maybe a year?) i did some touch-up work in the pink-now-green room (they turned a window into a bookshelf but never finished/painted the wood they used) and when i was cleaning out the brushes i thought "i bet this bathroom would look good with that green color." so i put some of the left-over paint on the walls to see. i was pretty right, but we decided to pick out a really-real floor (and you can see why in the next shot) first, incase we couldn't find a floor that went well with the green. then there was the issue with what to do about the tile border that had been liquid-nailed to the plaster...so the plan stagnated until right about now. oh. and the light is like that because about 3 days ago the bulb burnt out and we didn't feel like putting the glass back up. cuz really, why bother when the whole thing's coming down in a couple of days? lovely floor, ain't it? the picture doesn't really do the cheapness of it justice. granted, we've got peel and stick tile in the kitchen now (because poor choices/execution abound in this house and we fixed that one) but the stuff in this bathroom looked bad. plus it was ripped in one corner. by now you're probably wondering why the border separates two white walls? well, the top is the original plaster, and the bottom is dry erase board stuck (let's assume liquid nails. they owned stock in that company or something) to the plaster. it's thin enough that in places you can still see the texture. high quality. if you look closely at the tile right by the shower insert, you can see that they didn't truly cap it off like they should have. they just glued tile on it and the wall. it's not flush, they move. in the corner they just didn't bother cutting a piece. or maybe it fell off because the insert and the wall were so far away they couldn't get it to stick. regardless, it's classy with a capital K. since moving in we've replaced the handles on the shower faucet at least once (the actual face of it is stripped so bad nothing will stay attached) and that little "make it a shower" pull as well. there's a trick to turning on/off the shower and getting it in that sweet spot where you have most of the water coming out the head. it's a great thing. did i mention that there's no seal between the tub and the shower insert? no? well, there's not. it's not such a big deal in this bathroom since there's tile behind the insert that is sealed to the tub. that's...less true in the other bath, but that's a different tour.


project 2 - the bathrooms

no, we did not suddenly win the lottery. we just finally got our butts in gear over things we'd been planning/wanting to take care of for a couple of years now. we are officially in the pre-conception "get shit done we won't be able to afford to do later" phase of baby-making. so, onto project 2: the bathrooms. we got a couple of quotes for the bathroom work, but dalco finally won out. please, no comments with dalco horror stories or "why did you pay so much when you could have ya ya ya'd" things. it's too late, and posting them will only make you feel better. no, we're not unhappy with dalco, we just got a bit of that from people (you know who you are) when we shelled out hella cash to replace the 50 year old windows in our house. anyway, why the bathrooms? well, as you'll see in the pre-demo pictures, they needed it, hella bad. the hall bath is 54ish years old, and had been "upgraded" by the previous owners. these same owners put an addition on the house that included a back room, master bedroom and master bath. the front bath isn't in too bad a shape, but the patchwork solutions they put in, including super crappy tile and "dry-erase board as wall" will not make it another 5ish years when we want to sell. the back bath? oh man, we'll get to that when we get there. so anyway, mr. dalco man (i think his name is kyle..maybe lyle) will be here for the next week plus to do the bathrooms. there will be some minor over-lap between the two (when work on the hall bath gets slow enough that he can take some time in the front) but we will never be without a potty and a bathing place (may just be a bathtub one night), and that's a pretty good deal, if you ask me. enjoy the pictures of the transformation. they'll be on the side menu as well.


Landscaping Complete

I cannot say enough good things about Bluff View Nursery. You've seen the day by day shots, so you already know how fast and clean the crew worked. I can say that they don't have a website for me to point you to, sadly. If you live near enough to Defiance, MO for him to consider you part of his area (and suburbs on the otherside of the Mississippi apparently count), you should seriously consider giving Mark Wiemann (636.798.2565) a call. He's extremely amiable and clearly, clearly knows what he's doing. One of the things he focused on was making sure we had color/interest in all four seasons. As you can see with the cool yellowish leaves and the bright red berries, he's certainly got autumn down. When we went to visit his nursery he took us around and showed us each plant/tree remarking on what it looked like in all four seasons. So yeah, go there. Give him money. Let him make your house look like the coolest one on the block. Worth. It. Here's a shot along the west side. The tall tree in the middle is an "upright arborviatae," flanked on either side by spirea (I think they have little purple flowers in the spring, and the leaves are yeller in spring/fall), and then two blue hollies. They'll look leafier when they're not so full of berries. At the far end (at the front) is a dwarf lilac. Here you can see the same dwarf lilac (he looks a little sickly, but I bet he perks up next spring), another blue holly and a japanese maple to replace the one we had to take down. This one has niftly leaves and should hopefully grow up more tree-like than the last one. Around it are some liriope, which also flower in the spring. No need to plant anything ever again! On either side of the front steps are albert spruce(s). On to the east side! Alberta spruce, followed by a blue holly. The bush with the one pink flower is a knockout rose. I hear they're all the rage nowadays: lots of flowers, low maintenance. We told Mark we didn't want any "painful" plants (you know those evergreens made of needles, or those spikey red leaved things?) but he told us this one would be worth the minor pain so we let it go. You can just make out the crab tree against the neighbor's yard, and around it are 3 boxwoods. The cluster of dwarf grass was the thing we were most worried about, since that entire area used to be made of overgrown weeds, but Mark was again right. It really softens the place up, and from the front, disguises a utility box. The shot below this one gives you the same stuff from a different angle. Our final stop on this "tour of the pretties" is the east side of the house. Starting again from the center (gotta love the symmetry) is a foster holly. It's about the same size/shape as the arborviatae on the opposite side, and yet, not the same tree. It's flanked by spirea, but instead of blue holly, he used boxwoods. and now onto the less pretty, but no less impressive work they did. Remember that side shot i kept taking? It's now turned into a love stepping-stone path (instead of overgrown junk that lead to a pit of run-off dirt/mud, complete with it's own blue holly (that didn't make the picture). everwhere you see exposed ground, it used to be overgrown weeds and stuff. Yes, we obviously need to clean off the siding, but before we couldn't even get to it. They also cleared away the "intentional" stuff along the edge that covered up the fact that the foundation of the garage is crap, so you can actually walk through there, past the pretty stepping stone without getting attacked by weeds and/or poison ivy. Yet another place where they cut back some crap landscaping from the original owners. We could have put something there, but we decided against it. Grass is good. this is the final cleanup spot. The landscaping used to go up the length of the house, but we decided to cut it back to around the only tree we saved from the original landscaping. The mimosa provides some quality shade for that back room, and it wasn't threatening the foundation like the others were. They even left a few hostas which they liberated from the overgrowth. And incase you're wondering where all those crap-tastic rocks that *used to* line the landscaping went, wonder no longer :) So there you have it! My house is soooooo pretty now :)


reorganization time!

i added the renovation pictures as perma-links on the side menu, that way you don't have to go hunting for them later when they roll off the recent posts. you'll notice the "coming soon" place holder links for the bathrooms. those start monday (hooray monday!) there is a charge, however. if you make a comment, you'll notice that i've turned on the "word verification." you now have to read the warped image if you want to say something. why is this? because when i posted the original sets of pictures, i had 7 spam comments on two posts before i finished posting them all. that's just dumb. plus it gets my "people like me!" hopes up to see all of them. that's about it for now :)


makeover - far side



(monday's shot isn't in the same spot, but nothing interesting happened back there on monday, so it's okay...to me)


what none of the pictures from tuesday tell you is that all the miscellaneous brush and crap in the backyard is gone, and ready to be seeded as of today. that's boring, so i didn't take pictures. i promise you, though. interesting things will happen in this corner later.


i don't want to get your hopes up that this corner is going to be more spectacular than anything else (unless stepping stones == spectacular to you), i just want you to know that there's a really-real reason why i'm taking pictures of it :)


see?! i told you stuff would happen here!