Posts Tagged ‘mess’

so outta here

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Not too much time for posts today. We’re busy dragging things to antique shops and listing whatnot on Craigslist as we clear out in preparation for the downstairs destruction. This place is quickly becoming even more of a mess. Whoda thought it was possible?

Our hallway is littered with cardboard skeletons…

cardboard everywhere

Watch where you step.


Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

You want a washout? Yeah, we got that…

slope washout

That slope used to be slopier. Days of constant rain have made it slumpier. What a mess. Good thing the cavalry is coming later this week. To the rescue: some supercool, environmentally friendly erosion control.

curlex closeup

American Excelsior Company makes this awesome biodegradable erosion control blanket called Curlex, available in 150′ rolls. It offers some benefits over straw or coconut fiber, a few other green options out there. We definitely did not want to go with polypropylene. We’ll be using the Curlex CL. Here’s what makes it better for us…

curlex in action

They’re made of barbed, interlocking aspen fibers, of all things. It allows rainwater to slowly percolate into the soil, clings to the ground to stop erosion and creates a warm, damp place for new plants to take hold. Which is exactly what we need. There’s really nothing else like it out there. I’ll let you know how it works out.

e-staple |

To secure them, we’ll be using 6″, water-resistant biodegradable stakes made from plant sugars and oils, also by Excelsior. Not petroleum based. And rather than leaving hundreds and hundreds of metal stakes in the ground forever, these E-Staples will naturally degrade slowly  — by the time they’re gone, our plants will be established.

Shiva, who’s going to be tackling that bear of a slope (with some help) bless her heart, will be able to cut right through the blanket once it’s been rolled out and dig planting holes for the new plants. The plants are ordered and on their way. Woo hoo!! Thanks for making it all happen, girlfrennn.

Before Shiva can do her magic, it now looks like we’re going to have to add soil to that rain-ravaged slope. It never recovered from the retaining wall guys turning it into a ramp…

a ramp in my slope

Once they loosened the dirt, it was bound to erode even quicker. The concrete guys still owe us 40 yards of top soil — this looks like a good place for some of it.

We have a crew we love coming as soon as the mud dries up to make it all happen. Not just on the street slope but around the entire yard where we need final grading. More heavy equipment, yay! Our neighbors are gonna love us.

rain rain... you know the rest

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.

go ahead, gaze upon it and gloat…

Monday, February 1st, 2010

This is the home of a lapsed neatnik and her family. This is how it’s traversed…

By dodging boxes in the stairwell, boxes in the closet, boxes pressed to the ceiling in the garage. Stumbling over piles of things deemed worthy for sale.

By mashing your fingers between stacks of drawers that have no dresser to hold them, every time you need a t-shirt. Opening the file cabinet to hunt for the cheese grater.

painting in waiting

By trying to ignore the art languishing in the hallways and corners, waiting for a wall to be hung on. And a good dusting.

Sinatra's tired of waiting

By wondering how much longer ‘til Sinatra, New Order, Stereolab and his hundreds of other vinyl sidekicks get to come out of hiding.

How we got here is simple: we moved. From a place with nearly 3,600 sq ft to a place with 1,700 square feet.

master bedroom, more drawers

That’s about  2,000 sq ft of crap to eliminate, which we’ve been doing steadily. for. two. years. There were yard sales. A 20-yard dumpster filled with David’s woodshop scrap. So, so many trips to the dump.

more stuuuuf

Forcing things on friends… “no, really, TAKE it.” Storing larger items with family. Countless things sold on eBay and Craigslist or bagged up for Sal’s Army.

more in the livingroom

Until we can add shelving, cabinets and the like to a house with a dearth of storage, we have no convenient place to put what we’d actually like to keep.

headboard in kitchen with no appliances

A fully functioning kitchen would be nice, but I won’t get ahead of myself. For the moment I’ll stick to the steeplechase my daily path has become.

more stairway stuff

Virgos are supposed to be perfectionists. Honestly, I was never the white-glove type. I just want a home where I can put my hands on a clean pair of underwear or a thumbtack when I need one.

yes, more stairwell

With that as my goal, I share with you the remodel of a modern house by a modern family.  It’s a modern hot mess. Enter if you dare.

the entryway... come on in

Try not to trip over the headboard in the entryway, ’kay?