Archive for the ‘entryway’ Category

floored yet again: rubber cork

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

More than once, we’ve discussed flooring for our entryway. That’s this area here with the lovely particle board floor…

remod wants | entryway




















We’ve been round and round possibilities to go with the cork we’re using as our primary flooring. We’ve looked at terrazzo tile. We’ve looked at concrete tile. I thought we’d settled on this, but now David and I are revisiting the subject.

This is why we’re noncommittal: Initially we hoped the cork would work everywhere, including the entryway. It’s durable. It doesn’t mind when water’s tracked in. But when it comes to stairs…

remod wants | entry stairs




















… the nosing on the risers would have to be wood or metal. Not the worst thing, I suppose, but that’s when we decided to consider tile. A tile riser with a tile nose is a more cohesive look. Of course, it would be noisier than cork. And colder. Which is why now we’re also considering this: rubber cork.

capri re-tire




















After much web surfing and multiple calls to flooring dealers, a Capri Rubber Cork rep called and pointed me toward Rustigian Rugs in Providence. David and I dropped in to see samples.

We like that Capri’s Re-Tire Medley collection combines recycled tire waste, post-industrial rubber waste, virgin rubber and post-industrial cork waste. Slip-resistant, sound absorbing and it contributes to LEED points. Nice!

The Peppercorn sample plays well with our cork sample…

capri re-tire peppercorn




















Kinda looks like terrazzo, doesn’t it?

Still undecided. Like cork, rubber requires separate nosing — although steel or aluminum would look pretty sweet with the steel cable railing we’re planning. It runs about $11 a sq ft and a minimum order is 200 sq ft. (Or we could just use the cork everywhere after all?)

It also requires an acrylic or urethane finish coat available from Capri. I optimistically assume the sealer would encase that heady scent of eau du tire factory. One can only hope.

course correction

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Lest you think our recent fanciness outside the house is any reflection on the state of the inside, please let me remind you of what it’s like to walk through chez remod. The mess is still brewing. Well… more like festering.

There are the stacks of boxes by David’s desk…

mess mess




















And the construction debris and whatnot in the hallways…

mess of construction




















And the flooring samples piling up…

mess of samples




















And the art and furniture bits leaning up against the walls…

mess in the bedroom




















And it’s impossible to get around the bed for the drawers and storage boxes that got pulled out of the attic for Christmas…

mess of boxes




















So there. The end of 2011 and it’s still a disaster in here. Oh well.

friday update

Friday, November 18th, 2011
So what’s the word on this chilly, windy day, David?
Yesterday Joe and I pulled off the vertical beveled tongue and groove siding. Then we pulled off the ledger board that held up the deck…
friday update 1
Behind was evidence of the old deck system that was replaced in the early ’80s. The house wasn’t very well sealed, which explains the dark spots on the wood there — that’s the beginnings of rot. Plus, the tar paper was not continuous and the detail around the big window was odd….
friday bad window detail
We pulled the window out…
friday update 2
… and then installed the new window opening on the outside of the old sheathing.
friday update 3
friday update 4
Next up? Insulating. Then the same procedure on the BIG windows and the slider in the living room. Oy vey.

walkway this way?

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

As we near an almost-but-not-quite foreseeable end to backyard projects, it’s time to turn some attention to the front of the house. It’s been an eyesore since we moved in.

First, we had to move that massive pile of stone left by the previous owner…

rocky menace


Then we had enough logs to build a second home…

logs out front




















And always, weeds up to our armpits…

front, avec weeds




















Basically, it’s looked like a disaster for three years now. The neighbors have been very polite about it. I finally weeded in preparation for this hillside’s big change and topped it off with a little soil. I’ll likely add more…

hillside finally weeded




















We just started talking to our hardscape guy about possibly adding a few steps up the slope from the street before winter. It sucks having to shimmy alongside the cars in the driveway to get to the entry. Especially if you’re the postman.

Irving Haynes, the architect of chez ici, originally envisioned the house as having a walkway. You can see it in this rendering from 1971 (click to biggify)…

architectural rendering of our house, circa ’70 | Haynes and Associates









See? Steps coming down the hill in a straight shot to the steps at the front door. There must have been budget issues and that idea got nixed. Bummer. We won’t be pouring any more concrete, so that design is out. Will keep you up to date as we discuss ideas.

In any case, these are the steps leading up to our front door…

front steps 1




















About that black mat…

front steps 2




















It was left in that very spot by the last owner. We kept it there to cover the crack, which ruins the otherwise intact concrete. I don’t want to rip out the original concrete if we can avoid it. So I was just thinking…

front steps 3




















What if there was a way to remove only the bit of concrete from the chalkline to just in front of the lower step?

We couldn’t match the vintage concrete, obviously. But we could replace it with something else. Like a permanent sort of welcome mat. Just thinking out loud here but it could be made of:

Mexican beach stone, like the border around our house. Could lay flat

island stone, perfect pebble in medan charcoal |











Or could be placed on end  (stacked)..

ann sacks pebble tile, bali in black and gray |






Reminds me of that gorgeous, handcrafted pebble walkway at Denver Botanic…

pebble walkway in the asian garden | shot at denver botanic garden












We could do it ourselves or buy pre-made tiles. Would carry a material we’re already using around to the front for a small detail area. I like that.

But I’m open to other possibilities…

  • A rectangle of colored concrete (small enough that we could mix it ourselves).
  • Tile or paint a “welcome” message on the concrete… like, um, HOME or YOU ARE HERE or BE NICE or some such message. Could also possibly inlay with off-ends from the granite we’re using on the patios and steps.
  • Tile, paint or inlay our house number in the concrete patch.
  • Press cast aluminum numbers (or even letters) in a modern font into the concrete patch.
  • Re-create one of Irving B. Haynes’ blocky or triangular artworks in tile. A little tribute to the architect right at our doorstep.


What would you do?

landing stripped

Friday, November 12th, 2010

On my brain today: the landing strip. That pesky area where you come into your house and want to divest yourself of the sundry things weighing you down. Coat. Muck boots. Scarf and hat. Mail. Keys. You know the drill.

As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t have much room in our entryway…

the landing

No room for a closet. Possibly room for a small bench (we have one in the works). The galvanized boot tray from now defunct Smith & Hawken we’ll likely keep for underneath the yet-to-happen bench. I vote for carting our coats upstairs, but I do see a need for a place our guests can unload before they make the journey up.

In just the past week, I’ve come across two possibilities that don’t look as though they’d intrude too much into our small space…

small teak Cutter wardrobe by Skagerak |

small teak Cutter wardrobe by Skagerak |

Funny, the photo of it in situ reminds me of our landing strip setup…

Skagerak Cutter wardrobe |

Skagerak Cutter wardrobe |

Looks like it needs a boot tray. They also have a matching stool for underneath…

small teak Cutter bench by Skagerak |

small teak Cutter bench by Skagerak |

Plus a longer version with a matching bench…

large Cutter bench and wardrobe by Skagerak |

large Cutter bench and wardrobe by Skagerak |

Made of plantation grown teak — a nice sustainable touch. Thinking those would do well in a bathroom as well as an entryway. Thanks to Remodelista for pointing me in their direction.

I came across another coatrack with landing strip potential while poking around the Amenity site. This one has an even slimmer profile…

douglas fir Muir wall coatrack |

douglas fir Muir wall coatrack |

douglas fir Muir wall coatrack |

douglas fir Muir wall coatrack |

Made of reclaimed fir.  Comes in a low-VOC, non-toxic walnut finish in addition to natural. I like that. The mail slot in the back makes it extra functional. Sweet.

Add those to my list of “gee I wish I had that.”

a plus-sized remod tour

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Our wants are large for this first round of the remodel. Yes, there will be other rounds. There’s not a room in this house that will go untouched. First round: the entryway to the living area. Interested in a tour?

remod wants | entryway

The entryway

It feels like you’ve stepped into a well when you come into the house. There are a few things that can help with that. First off, we’ll probably change out that solid door with something in glass. Seeing out will make it feel less vertical. It will also step up the first impression.

remod wants | entryway floor

Under foot, we can’t leave that plywood exposed. I already covered some of our tile options. This entry well gets cold in the winter, so we need to update the heat, too — we’re looking into removing the 40-year-old Singer heater and replacing it with in-floor heat.

Looking up from the doorway…

remod wants | railing on entry stairs

The solid railings don’t help with that I-fell-in-a-well feeling. Those need to be steel and glass or steel and cable, period. If you can see through the railing to the far windows (yes, that far back door will be replaced with glass for a view out to the yard), this space will feel less claustrophobic.

remod wants | railing on stairs again

Whether you’re headed up the stairs or down, even if the space isn’t actually bigger, it will feel bigger.


remod wants | fan removal

We have two of these ceiling fans that the previous owners put in just a few years ago. Those have to go. Anybody interested in like-new ceiling fans? We’ll remove the cobwebs.

Heading up the stairs

remod wants | stairs

Steps will need finishing in the cork flooring we’re going to use upstairs for a consistent flow.

remod wants | flooring

If you’ve been following, you’ve already seen what the floor looks like at the top of the stairs: particle board and prehistoric carpet. This will all be cork. One cohesive surface throughout the top floor to unify our fairly small space.

Stepping into the living area

remod wants | window wall

The window wall is the star of the house. We’d like to build in seating under the windows cuz everybody likes to sit by the window, and add a shallow shelf for the succulents I have to winterize. Would also be a handy place to set a glass of wine.

remod wants | leaky windows

Did I mention there’s water trapped inside the glass? Damn. This is something we’ve seen in a few of the larger windows, including the one by the front door. They have to be replaced. Since that’s the case, we’re looking at sexier, commercial aluminum windows and sliders with a thinner profile frame. It’ll look hot when we’re done.

remod wants | storage wall

Storage is an issue. On either side of the window wall, we want built-ins floor to ceiling, with room for books, music and art, as well as the stuff nobody wants to see.

remod wants | wall removal

There is a storage closet already. But it really interrupts the space.

remod wants | closet removal

Here it is from the other side. We want to knock that whole thing out and replace it with window/slider wall…

remod wants | view to patio

… so we can step right out onto our soon-to-be fabulous new patio. We’re envisioning the area that’s currently the storage closet as a sitting area that looks out to the yard, with a cozy built-in, high-efficiency woodstove.

Just across from the storage closet…

… is another wall that’s coming out. See ya, ’70s-style kitchen pass-thru.

remod wants | kitchen wall removal

Once that wall comes out, it’s open concept. The kitchen becomes part of the living space and dining area. We’re picturing an island with a cooktop and a few stools pulled up to it — more entertaining-centric. And we’d like to knock out a section of the far kitchen wall to create a window onto the entry well. Once again, longer views always make a small space feel bigger.

remod wants | kitchen expansion

Remember, the current kitchen is insanely small — it made sense in a home built for a single person, but not for us. The floor measures 3’10” across at the widest point. Only 3′ where the fridge would have been directly across from the stove. It’s only 6′ from the doorway to the sink.

By knocking down the walls, we gain a little breathing room and hopefully a smidge more space. There are no appliances in this kitchen, so we need those. We already invested in an open-concept-worthy fridge — meaning we have to look at it from the living area so it has to be fab, as far as I’m concerned. It was the smallest footprint fridge I could find that still has enough space. Currently stashed downstairs next to our kitchenette. More on that another time.

remod wants | cabinet removal

We’ll need new cabinets as the space is being reconfigured. These we’ll save for either the garage or a future shed. We need to maximize storage in here so we’ll have to go vertical.

remod wants | kitchen ceiling heaters

We want to put in a big skylight, again to make this feel more spacious. But more than that, natural light and food just make for a sunnier mood. Those panels in the ceiling are heaters, which means we have to think about how to heat the kitchen as there’s no other source of heat in here.

remod wants | kitchen tile removal

Kitchen flooring will be a continuation of the cork. Looking forward to losing those cold, dark tiles.

Looking down the canyon between the kitchen and the storage closet…

remod wants | view to back

You can see how this space would be opened up by knocking down the walls. As much as I wish it weren’t the case, those are load-bearing, which means we’ll still need support. See how the stair railing completely interrupts the view to the back? I can’t wait for that to change.

This is a good time to address the ceiling… We want to cover it in the same material we’re using for the floor. One is aesthetic: to highlight the slope of the ceiling and the long view from the front to the back of the house. The other is yuck: popcorn ceilings installed prior to ’79 may have stuff in it that you don’t want in your house. We want to encase it and forget about it, just in case.

Let’s finish that spin around the living area…

remod wants | stove removal

A woodstove sits in what we want to be our dining area. A high-efficiency Jotul we brought with us from the loft as a temporary heating solution, but it obviously doesn’t suit the style of the house. We’ll be selling that. The wall behind it will be floor-to-ceiling built-ins just like the opposite side of the room. And speaking of walls, behind them we’ll be adding insulation.

remod wants | take that chandelier

Over the dining area, the last owners put in a chandelier that’s coming out. Anybody want a chandy?

remod wants | deck updating

Wait, we’re almost done! That deck we look out onto? We use it as an extension of the living space when the weather’s good — lovely dining spot with a view of downtown. Unfortunately, it needs replacing…

remod wants | deck rot

Here’s the view from below. You can see that soon, we may fall through.

remod wants | deck phone service!

While we’re out here, let me point out this space-age creature comfort on the deck: phone lines! Man, the architect thought of everything. Here it is 2010 and we literally have not had a land line in years — I gave up mine a decade ago. My how times have changed.

So what didn’t I cover?

remod wants | heaters

Heaters in the living area. We have to figure out how to not have them be hideous, how to do built-ins around them, etc. We’ll cover heating and our scads of research in another post.

remod wants | heat control

Obviously the heat control will change. I’m sure this was advanced in its day.

remod wants | light switches

Lighting controls will change, too. Basically, everything’s changing.

So that’s it. End of tour. You can go home now. You’re probably looking forward to a cozy, inviting place after seeing this mess. So are we.