Archive for the ‘downstairs’ Category

get your feet on the floor

Friday, April 27th, 2012

… everybody rock and roll! Think you can name that tune?

So with the ceiling now finished downstairs, the floor is in motion. No wasting time here, nuh-uh. David and Joe are gettin’ down to bidness, if ya know what I mean…

readiness starts at the knees












The floating cork planks are huge — 12″x36″ and 1/2″ thick, so theoretically the floor should go down even faster than the ceiling…

Duro cork plank




















There’s some trimming involved to get things to fit…

David trimming cork planks to fit




















But these things snap together easy-peasy…

fitting pieces together










Work began yesterday and already the boys are more than halfway done!

floor in progress





















ceiling done!

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Yep, the ceiling is dunzo! Finito! Completo! David has the lurid details…


Joe and I finished installing the ceiling tiles and tackled the final step earlier this week: sealing them. As I just reminded Brook, cork is wood, right? So it benefits from having a finish on it to resist marks and scuffs, and to keep the stain from discoloring over time.

Because the cork on the ceiling won’t get wear and tear from countless feet, we applied two coats instead of the four recommended for floors. The ceiling in the bathroom got four coats because of the increased humidity and the probability of water splashing up onto it in the shower.

The water-based finish was supplied by Duro, the flooring maker, as well as filters to ensure that no grit or anything else was in the finish, and applicator pads…

duro cork finish for the ceiling




















They even sent us the mixing stick! The finish is a catalyzed, water-based polyurethane. According to the instructions, you add 6 ounces of resin (the Catalyst bottle) to the gallon of finish and stir well. Easy. As long as you remember that the gallon needs to be used within four days or it will harden in the can.

We whipped up two poles to attach the pads to and then applied elbow grease liberally. To be honest, it was a little tricky keeping a wet edge on such a large expanse…

finishing underway, quick quick quick!




















The second coat dried very quickly and required moving fast to stay ahead of it. Invigorating exercise.

The finish dried within hours to a dull, not quite matte but far from lacquered, sheen…

ceiling is finished, yay!




















Looking good. Next up: the floor.


Monday, April 9th, 2012
Before we get started, I apologize for some text and spacing issues the blog seems to be experiencing. Hmmmm. Can’t figure that one out.
So here’s what you missed since I got slammed with work:

The ceiling is now completely tiled in cork (click to biggify the grandness)…

ceiling is corked, yay!
Something about it says eco-chic luxury spa, doesn’t it? The planks will get a protective finish tomorrow and the floor will be prepped for cork installation after that.

I mentioned the other day that Rob has been busy giving us light. The ceiling fixtures are in now…

first lights going in
Best of all — they actually work! Illumination. I dig it.

Also ongoing: tiling the bathroom. Our friend and fellow remodeling pro Mark Cummins has been prepping the walls, furring them out (building them up with wood shims) such that the diminutive wall tiles we’ve chosen will space out perfectly and require no cutting. That required a good amount of mocking-up and measuring. (And patience.) Followed by much re-measuring and marking, just to be safe…

marking the tiles




















Once Mark was confident we had it right, the 1/2″ cement board went up. In the shower, it’s gone from this…

shower wall before




















To this…

walls cement boarded in shower




















That’s the hand-held shower pipe poking through on the right. There will likely be an inset section in that wall for setting soap and sundries… a complication but hopefully not an impossibility. After that, water-based waterproofing and then tiling.

At this rate we may actually have a functional downstairs by summer. Doh! I just cursed us, didn’t I? Fudge.

it’s the little things

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

A big box of electrical devices for downstairs arrived the other day…

electrical devices




















I’ll admit that doesn’t sound very exciting and perhaps not even post-worthy. But what looks like a boring box of switchplates and outlets to you looks like finally having lighting downstairs to me. No more flashlights!

Rob, our electrician extraordinaire, is downstairs wiring in the devices as I type this…

rob wiring the devices




















We chose these because the cover plate snaps on — no screws showing…

one of our lutron outlet cover plates




















Clean. Squared off profile doesn’t hurt… there’s no beveled edge on these. Ridiculous that I even care about such a thing but there you go.

the planking edition

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Ruefully late to the meme, our remodel is finally the site of a planking…

david planking




















No, not that planking. This planking…

box of cork planks












Destined for the floor and ceiling, boxes and boxes of cork planks (Edipo from DuroDesign) have been waiting patiently since last summer…

boxes of cork












David and Joe started under the stairs — an out of the way place to practice installing these for the first time. First there was adhesive…

joe applies adhesive




















Then the planks went on, staggered…

corks goes on staggered




















Almost done…

cork almost done under the stairs




















Sorry, it’s a little dim under there and the shots aren’t so great. It looks nice, take my word for it.

The reason we chose the Edipo was for its linear strips…

edipo cork plank from duro design




















We want those strips to run the length of the house rather than the width, because upstairs the angled ceiling that runs front to back is a feature we want to accentuate. Downstairs, the ceiling is flat rather than angled, of course, but it makes sense to be consistent with what we’re planning for upstairs. To that end, the tiling began with a long reference line to keep the planks straight…

reference line




















The first plank went up and then the boys worked their way down the hall…

first cork plank goes up in the big room




















You really have to like the guy you’re working with to do this job…

david and joe




















And so the planking continues…

planking continues




















Moving pretty quickly now. This could be done some time tomorrow… well, hopefully.

view down the hallway




















Very happy with the cork thus far, I must say. How happy? Dancing on the ceiling happy!


when maffmaticians remodel

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

David and Joe are downstairs planning the layout for the cork ceiling…

joe with a cork tile




















There was math…

figuring out the math




















What does it all mean?

math on wood scrap




















I have no idea.

sneak peek

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Downstairs painting is coming along nicely! Yesterday the tinted primer went on…

primer coat goes on




















And today the first coat went on…

first coat goes on




















Actually, it’s still going on right now. It’s so strange to have someone painting for me. This is usually my job. But look how much quicker its going!

this just in!

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Not only are David and Joe outside putting up siding, but there are two other crews working inside. That makes this the biggest remodel population our house has seen yet!

The plumber is here working in the dark…





















His partner in crime is on the right, happily breathing the dust being made by the guy on the left…

partner in crime




















Yep, the paint crew is here to prep the walls for painting…

wall prep




















more wall prep




















I can’t believe they’re not stumbling over each other down there. Go, team, fight!

color, redux

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

So I showed you colors for downstairs yesterday. What I didn’t mention is that I’ve been obsessing over this Mustard Olive shade for a few years. Something about it resonates with me right now….

benjamin moore mustard olive




















Most of the time it looks olive, as above. In the sun, it tends more toward mustard…

mustard olive by benjamin moore against my couch fabric




















Either way. I dig it. The downstairs won’t get much, if any, direct light, so the paint should read as olive.

I’ve been stockpiling images I as color inspiration for a few years and I noticed I’ve bookmarked this color A LOT — like this image that’s been sitting on my desktop since last summer. There’s the color, fourth color chip down…

hue patina |

hue patina |


And this:

seville cushion by michelle mason |

seville cushion by michelle mason |


And this:

hand-tufted lovebirds rug by thomas paul |

hand-tufted lovebirds rug by thomas paul |


See how great it looks with bluish grey and white and dark brown on the far right there

midbec striped wallpaper |

midbec striped wallpaper |


Love these linen pillows — these are from a few years ago, so don’t bother to hunt for them…

dwell studio paloma pillow in saffron |

dwell studio paloma pillow in saffron |


This color has been popping up more recently in House Beautiful’s Green Issue, March ’12. How about this bedroom?

chicago townhouse bedroom by alessandra-branca |

chicago townhouse bedroom by alessandra-branca |


Not my style, but I lurve the color!

color for downstairs

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

It’s taken a few days to switch over, but I have now made the full switch from Mountain Time…

back from colorado












… to Remodel Time:

walls finally plastered




















Yep, we got plastered. Completely plastered. And now it’s time for the cherry on top: paint!

First, the bathroom. We carried the tiles over to Benjamin Moore and matched up a white to coordinate…

paint to match the tile




















As you can see, the white tile isn’t a crisp white, it has a lot of grey in it. So we opted for a white with soft grey undertones: Classic Grey in Natura Zero VOC, Eggshell Finish. On top is Ann Sacks Texere in Dove, 12″ x 24″ plank tiles — for the floor. On bottom is Ann Sacks Savoy Stacked Brick Mosaic in Chalk, 5/8″ x 1-7/8″ — for the walls.

Had to choose grout for the tile too…

choosing grout for the tile




















The only other real “color” in the bathroom will be the walnut built-ins. Spa-like but modern and spare.

Unlike the upstairs which is really all about the view, the downstairs is darker, with fewer windows. Because this will be the cushy, flop-on-the-couch entertainment area, I want it to accentuate the coziness, so white didn’t make sense.

I also want to bring some of the outside in so that it’s not so starkly different from the upstairs. Therefore, natural, neutral colors. This is what will go on the walls…

benjamin moore mustard olive




















I know, I know, Mustard Olive looks like an “off” color, doesn’t it? But because it’s a shade of green with a lot of gold in it, it’s warm without being too dark. There’s not a whole lot of natural light down there, so it won’t read as bright most of the day.

It will look good next to our dark walnut built-ins and the cork that will be on the floors and ceiling (we kept that pale to bounce more light around)…

paint and cork and walnut




















You’re still not convinced? I could tell. Here it is against more stuff. I like how it looks with grey…

paint against more stuff




















That’s Cavern Blackbird wallpaper in Kraft (yes, same paper I put up before), the charcoal wool of our Libre sectional, and one of the pillows we like to plump up while watching AdventureTime.

Don’t worry, when it’s all said and done it will look great. Or else.