Category Archives: living room

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.

The Thing That Does Not Belong on the Living Room Ceiling

peeling crack in ceiling

This literally appeared overnight. Each of the peeling sides is about 3 inches long.

The thing that does not belong on the lovely, white,  freshly painted for the first time in 10 15 20 years, living room ceiling is a crack. I had just finished admiring the sheen of my clean new kitchen cabinets in the morning light when this caught my eye as I was floating dreamily out of the house.

{sound of a needle scratching a record}

Perhaps it’s a stress crack. Hello! I’m the one who’s at the cracking point, why does my ceiling get to break down first?

Or it could be one of a handful of things.

I called our painter and told him he’d need to stop over and see this. But before I went ballistic on him, I stopped over to visit my buds at the local Benjamin Moore store learn about the potential causes. You may recall that Benjamin Moore is the paint sponsor for Casa de Renovation, and I’ve been spending a lot of time at my local Epco/JC Licht Ben Moore store.

I wasn’t concerned about the Benjamin Moore paint or primer, indeed, our painter told us that we were using “the best.”  I was concerned that this crack looked like something more.

Something bad.

And expensive.

Not that I’m one for drama.

At any rate, I had a friendly informative chat with Benjamin Moore store manager. This in turn, will help me have an informed discussion with our painter and our general contractor. One of the things I really appreciate about our GC is that whenever I approach him with sort of a panicky tone, he always responds with a matter-of-fact, “Okay, let’s check this out” or “”Here’s how I will fix it the way you want.” So let’s hope that’s how this will go.

And the painter has told me he will patch it up at for free.

But I’m concerned that there is a bigger issue with the ceiling. I *might* have heard the walls whisper angrily, “Get out! Get out now!” It’s not like blood spontaneously began dripping down the walls, but as I took a closer look at the areas near the cracked portion, I got a feeling that there is a large issue at play.

Then again, what do I know about any of this? Do you have any ideas?

At least the kitchen looks nice.

Success in the Kitchen but a Failure in the Living Room?

kitchen without cabinets

One week ago.

Tuesday’s kitchen install went well (at least as far as I can tell). The crew finished up later in the day and I didn’t have enough light to snap good pics because there are only two functioning lights in the house. I stopped by this morning to take some shots and bask in the glow of my new kitchen.

Oh, did I bask.

Take a peek at my smooth ginger cabinets.

updated kitchen view

As seen from the dining room:


kitchen walls down to the studs

One month ago.

Check out that same view now.

rehab kitchen with cabinets installed


I was calmed by the thought of how smoothly the install went, delighted at our good fortune as we move ahead, and eager for the counter top installers to come out and measure taking us to the next phase.

And then.

And then on my way out of the house, passing through the living room, I noticed something, something bad, that did not belong on our freshly painted ceiling. More about that tomorrow.

The giveaway for two passes to Sky High Sports is still running. Have you entered?


I Got the Renovator Blues- Now with Video!

I am exhausted. I had no idea that given the number of workmen in and out of our house, I would be so tired and achy. This might be due in part to the fact that I stopped taking one of my arthritis meds prior to my surgery and it’s finally catching up with me. Or maybe it was the midnight shopping spree after Thanksgiving dinner (a supposedly fun thing I will never do again).  Or perhaps it was the days of nonstop fun with my kids, nieces and nephew over the holiday break. At any rate, I made a video last week but never managed to post it here. See below for even more updates!

We expected a few slow days around the house after Thanksgiving, but it’s been anything but. The tile guy that was supposed to show up this week decided to start the job early. (OMG, tile guys; I could write an entire blog about the many guys we had out to quote us–another thing that was keeping me busy in recent weeks.) And the floor guy showed up to lay down new hardwood in the bare spots.

Today the trim guy replaced our old kitchen door and trimmed several windows. The tile guy (his helper, really) laid out the kitchen floor, the drywall guy came to patch a few spots and…

(drumroll, please)

Our kitchen cabinets arrived!

There was a bit of drama when it appeared the corner unit would not fit through our front (and largest) door, but the issue turned out to be the large box, not the cabinet itself. That said, I’m not thrilled to have that piece unprotected while there’s a lot going on and a lot of workers coming and going around it.

I’ll be back soon with tales of paint colors! And tile (installed) that might not actually match our cabinets (uninstalled, but not returnable)! Stay tuned for this and more!

How about it? I’m trendy! Updated 11/7/11

small foyer wiht original tileAs someone who generally avoids the local mall, I’m surprised when I see myself all over a trend story. Case in point, the Wall Street Journal‘s piece earlier this week, “Blueprint for a new American home.”  The story notes that today’s homes are more practical and less aspirational. Meaning, there is more of a focus on how family members live in and utilize the space in their home.

Gone are the days of the fancy white-carpeted living room that no one is allowed to lounge in.

And those grand foyers? Generally seen as a waste of space. (Not to say I wouldn’t mind a few more square feet in our place where you walk in the front door and are practically forced up the stairs.)

Also, those outrageously large bathtubs? A thing of the past. High-end showers and steam rooms are where it’s at now.

DH and I generally consider ourselves “function over form” types and it seems like such an outlook is finally cool.


new tumbled edge foyer tileWe will bump out the foyer area just a bit with this new tile.

 Updated to add: It turns out the old tile was placed directly onto the existing wood floor. As much as I like the tile we selected (but have not yet purcahsed) and I know that the wood won’t hold up to wet, dirty shoes in the long run, we are going to try to salvage the original floor in the foyer. It will save us money now and we can always tile later on.

Irony Noted

Funny how I’m not doing any of the work, yet I’m exhausted by the end of the week. Our two-man crew continues to rock! The demo is almost done, just a bit more carpet and linoleum to scrape off the old floorboards. The bump-out is built and wrapped, the laundry room, master bath and several closets have been framed.

Best of all, the guys clean up at the end of each day. Nobody’s going to eat off of our floor, but I’m impressed by how neat and orderly they leave the house each day.

Learn from them, Kim! I imagine DH shouting over my shoulder.

Have a great weekend. I’ll be back next week with pictures and video.