Category Archives: laundry room

All Washed Up in the Laundry Room

We split a useless old mother-in law kitchen on the second floor of our house and into our master bathroom and an upstairs laundry room. It’s great not having to lug basket after basket of laundry down two long flights of stairs to the basement and then back up.

I show off the highlights of the new space in the video.

 

I’m glad we were able to re-use the old kitchen cabinets. DH brought them upstairs and I had kinda shoved them into the space with the original white laminated top, which fit the cabinets, but was too small for the nook in the laundry room. This was too sloppy looking for my GC, so at his urging, I bought a new budget friendly top and he framed it all out, calling it his Chanukah gift to me. I still need to paint or stain the cabinets, to complete the look, but believe me, it’s so much nicer than my makeshift attempt to fill the space.

As noted in the video, I think our Whirlpool Cabrio is too large. It does a fine job of cleaning the clothes, I just wish wish we’d one with a slightly smaller model. If there’s interest, I’ll provide a more in depth review of the machine.

Speaking of laundry, I heard the siren song of beeps (rather annoying tones, actually) calling me upstairs to finish off a load. Until there’s a machine that sorts, folds and puts away the clothes, I think laundry will always be a drag. DO you have any tips to make it fun?

The Reluctant Renovator is now on Angie’s List!

shower ceiliing with Kohler water tilesNo, I’m not providing any home services, I’m writing! In the months since we purchased our house I’ve learned quite a few things about making home improvements and repairs, and now I get to share my best gems with Angie’s List members each month. Check out my first post: Tips for hiring a Chicagoland contractor.

So far, we’ve been more about HIY (hire it yourself) than DIY and, frankly, I’m liking it this way. I do hope to make better use of my tool belt and start digging in the dirt in the coming months, but I have to admit that things wouldn’t be looking quite so nice if we had completed major renovation tasks on our own.

Speaking of which, the guy in the photo on Angie’s List is David from Tigele Tile. Though Tigele owner Johann Janoschka, did note that our job was less grand than some of his projects, he and David did a great job. Our master bathroom looks fabulous. So good, in fact, that other tradesmen commented on the expert installation. Typically, tradesmen look at another guy’s work and tell you five ways they could have done it better.

Tigele also tiled our laundry room and kitchen floors. Johann scheduled his work around our other renovations and completed his portions on time.

We did encounter two issues: one was that we did not like the coiled heating element he first installed in the bathroom floor. Luckily, we noticed this in time and talked to Johann about installing a higher end heat mat. It cost us a little bit more money to get the mat, but we were happy to pay as the overall job price was reasonable.

The other issue was that when our plumber came to install the fixtures, we realized the fixture slots were tiled in too closely. Despite the fact that he was in Europe when this happened, I was able to contact Johann and one of his workers made it to our house in time for the plumber to complete his work that same day. (It would have been nice if the plumber mentioned at the time that he wouldn’t drill the tile to install the mounting for the hand spray, but frustratingly, he waited another week to share the news. Ugh. Don’t get me started on our plumber.)

Hmmm. I need to get that on Angie’s List, too, only in the review section.

By the way, you can also catch a bit of home improvement with a side of snark in my monthly post on Aiming Low’s Teach Channel.

Yes, yes, yes, more pics of the fab-o master bath to come. Between the lighting and the mirrors it’s hard to get good shots.

So This is What the House Looks Like

boxes everywhere

This is the tween's room. To be fair, the dresser for the empty drawers up front is still at my parent's and the large boxes in the background are part of a fort system, but much of what I classify as crap really does belong to him.

The house is amazing. Setting up and settling into the house? Not so much fun, but a joy nonetheless. Our move-in is a process rather than an event because we are doing most of it ourselves, bringing box after box after box from my parents’ house into ours.

I’ve been referring to much of the stuff we are moving as crap, but I’m trying to put the kabosh on that. If it’s crap, why bother bringing it over?

So I’m trying to appreciate our many possessions. At the same time, because we’ve been living with my parents for so long (over 3 years!), we’ve accumulated quite a bit since we pared down our stuff for that transition in 2008.

We must have 30 board games, 5-6 of which actually get played more than twice a year. So it’s either time to eliminate or start holding more family and friend game nights.

And our wedding crystal and fine china? As much of a virgin as I was on our wedding night. Wait, no, that’s not the right analogy. Let’s just say we’re both gently used, okay?

We have several small kitchen appliances: rice cooker, ice cream maker, bread maker, crock pot, coffee maker, but in the week or so we’ve been in the house, all have been used multiple times, so it’s just a matter of figuring out how to store these away for easy use.

That’s the issue right now, simply finding right place to keep things at least on a temporary basis. I can assure you the right place is not in boxes scattered throughout the house.

Which is why I’ve yet to share the big reveal- boxes are scattered throughout the house.

I’m not putting too many photos of our messy house online, but if you’re up for it, I am entertaining visitors and offering tours. I promise I’m working on getting the place clean and organized. I can’t wait to show it off.

 

Here's a similar view from back in June. We squared off the roof and bumped out the wall with the window. Larger room= larger mess. *sigh*

 

A Quick Update

tween room painted gray with Benjamin Moore

Me: You sure you want to paint your room blue? Tween: Yes. Me: Sure? Tween: Yes. Me: Okay, I'm going to get the paint. Tween: No, make it gray.

Sorry, I don’t have time for deeply reflective end-of-year navel gazing at the moment. I’m working my way through a client project and my boys are on school break. I decided to use this first week of break to practice with my Science Olympiad team. I’m coaching food science and scheduled my group for three, three-hour sessions. We’re capping off our marathon sessions with a Cookie Cafe tonight at the new house.

Only it’s still a construction zone.

That was not the plan.

You know that scene in Poltergeist where the mom is running down a hallway to get her daughter only the hallway starts stretching out before her getting longer and longer?

I feel like that mom.

The end is in sight, and each day there’s a little more progress, yet the end goal seems to be moving further and further away.

At any rate, our appliances arrived last week. I was certain that we were to be called within 30 minutes of delivery, so rather than wait around the house, I ran errands close to home, waiting for The Call. It never came and it turns out my painter signed for the washing machine, dryer, disposer, microwave, dishwasher, range and refrigerator.

Yeah, he’s helpful like that. I wasn’t so thrilled with our appliance provider, though.

Our counter tops were installed earlier this week. It was touch and go for a while there. We hit a major road block a few hours into the day, but managed to get things resolved without any f-bombs, threats or extra money spent, unless, you count the “beer money” we gave the installers when they finished up.

We decided to hire a painting crew–yes the same one from the thing on the living room ceiling (which they were very agreeable about resolving). As power painters, I thought they’d be in and out in a few days. They are not.

Which is good.

The paint crew of 2-3 guys is doing an astonishing amount of patching, especially on our old walls. I would have only spackled over a few of the larger nail holes. So far, the pros seems well worth the money. I’ll chime in when the work is done.

Only the painters’ work is not done because all of the trim isn’t in yet.

All of the trim isn’t in yet because we were waiting on some of the new doors.

Oh, and install on our luxury shower? Delayed due to a tile issue. The issue was noticed and resolved in the same day, but not in enough time for the plumber to finish his job. Which means he’s coming back…when? Good question.

And how could I forget? The fancypants new bed sleep system arrived. It showed up the afternoon of the nearly-botched counter top install. I was nervous about getting the heavy mechanical base up our flight of stairs and maneuvered into the room, so it’s just as well I wasn’t there to fret about it. Apparently workmen do not appreciate it when you anxiously stand over their shoulders watching their every move (nevermind recording it for. your. blog). While the delivery men were making their way up the stairs (with the help of our painters!), I was stranded in a parking lot, waiting for a knight in shining armor to show up from AAA and jump my car.

Speaking of the sleep system, remeber this?

Actually, I feel like I’ve cleared my head a little now that I’ve written this post. And watching that video I shot the day we closed on the house, I realize how far we’ve really come.

Spam commenters and internet stalkers aside, I’d love to have you over in the new year! Just gimme a few more days weeks months to get ready.

What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago we were on the hunt for a house in our current school district. We searched for months. I was a modern day Goldilocks looking for a place to settle down, only nothing felt just right. Every house we visited seemed too old (and overpriced), or in the wrong neighborhood (and overpriced), or lovely and updated, but overpriced. We saw a few low priced short sales and foreclosure houses, but those were in such a state of neglect that we didn’t give them a second look.

A trip to to the store to check out new appliances for a house we had not yet found, let alone bought, seemed like a flight of fancy, so I indulged myself further with a visit to the store’s Santa.

 

It turned out Santa was wrong. We didn’t find a house by the end of 2010. It took until the spring of 2011 before we found The One. It was old and musty, but it was priced right. It had potential. And we could afford to bring out that potential*.

Santa’s elves, disguised as Abt delivery men, are paying a visit to our house this week. Turns out a houseful of appliances weighs too much for Santa’s reindeer.

Do you think they’ll bring cookies? I’ll be happy as long as they don’t mess up our fabulous newly sanded, shiny wood floor.

 

living room new floor

Here’s a similar view from earlier this year. The worn green carpeting was actually a gift from the owners. It protected the hardwood floors for the last 30-40 years.

Green carpet dining room

 * Mostly. I think. Ask me once we finish paying for all this work. And some furniture.

Home Renovation Week 10: Video Update

Here’s the latest behind-the-scenes look at casa de renovation!