Thursday, September 29, 2005

They're coming for you, Barbara ...

As I keep reminding Jason, Halloween is on its way ... and we thought we'd get into the mood with a little wanna-be cemetery in the front yard.

And we thought we might as well go Ellivytima on the house (that's amityville in reverse) and install a sacred burial ground in our basement, to make up for the lack of haunted history 'bout the joint. Check it out!

Okay, okay, you got me. Fright Night freak though I may be, I wouldn't go *THAT* far. At least not until I have a bigger yard or corporate sponsorship. What you actually spy with your blogger eye are the holes dug by our trusty plumbing contractors to upgrade our water service. While this one-day job has now stretched into THREE days (plus a personal day for me, I can't figure out what to do about tomorrow yet) I have been assured it will all be over by 5pm tomorrow.

Thank god for deodorant.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Law of Diminishing Returns

After 9 months of doing things by ourselves (of course with help from friends and families), we're getting to the point where we need to start bringing in experts. Surely, we are not alone in this affliction. We have it on good word that Jay's stepbrother John Jr (building a house from the ground up by himself) also suffers from this malady.

It goes something like this: The further along in a project you get, the more tasks and sub-tasks arise demanding your attention and resources, thus breaking any focus or concentration to the point where you develop an intimate understanding of the old analogy, "Like a chicken with his head cut off." As focus is broken, productivity drops and you begin to question how you got here.

That's when you say screw it - it's time to call for help! Sometimes, this is a neccesity. For example, Jay's stepdad John, in assessing our bathroom addition plans, was visibly disturbed when noticing that our main water service line is 1/2" galvanized pipe. This pipe (commonly used in 90 year old buildings) has a tendency to develop calcium deposits along the insides which in turn restrict water flow. Since normal size pipe in new construction single family homes averages 1" supply, we are short to begin with, and excess buildup over 90 years is not encouraging. What this basically means is that we'd be lucky to have water pressure above a slow drip if we expand as planned without upgrading service.

Cue calls to plumbing contractors to investigate and estimate the cost of this further! We've settled on a local outfit who has experience dealing with the village's building permits dept, and thus ensure timely permits, inspections and most importantly... completed work! They'll be coming by Wednesday to tear up our basement and give us brand new and improved water service.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Splashes of color abound!

We've made it to the point of paint, at least in the basement. We may have thrown caution somewhat into the wind by assuming rooms won't need any additional work, but we needed to feel a sense of progress.

Jen started off by painting the far corner room of the basement which will be used as her office. This room is one of the few rooms to have a drywall ceiling, as well as a framed and drywalled soffit for the HVAC. Since she will use this as a room to get away (from the remaining chaos now running rampant throughout our house), she chose a nice calming shade of purple, with white ceiling paint (so the headroom isn't intimidating). Looks pretty sharp with that daybed in there, doesn't it!

It was very fulfilling to finally get a sense of accomplishment and progress as we've finally got one room done (Almost. Still needs trim and carpeting). There's even a functional phone and cable jack (if we subscribed to cable that is)!

For this little event Kenny purchased a power paint roller as a gift. Jen rocked and rolled all over the walls with that little guy, and the tool is now her exclusive domain.

Jay got a little more ambitious on the other hand, with the commercial paint sprayer Frankie had lent us and decided to use it on the remaining ceilings (big room and hallway), as well as the music studio. We had trouble deciding on a comforting yet creative color for the music studio, and we finally settled on the same color - Purple! Only a much deeper shade. We plan to use a deep burgundy as an accent color to this.

Painting with a sprayer turned out to be quite an adventure. As Jay was ensuring there was adequate coverage (that is a really dark shade, after all), there was a lot of paint applied. After the room was covered and the mists began to settle, mountain peaks started to form on the walls.. Whoops! Way too much paint had caused massive running. Ah!

Without knowing what else to do, Jay grabbed a roller and went over the runs in an attempt to smooth them out. This quickly developed into a disaster as the roller lifted the paint almost completely off the wall, leaving a pinkish stain where it had once been purple. After deciding to let it dry for a few hours and try it again, there were similar results with only mild improvement.

The runs were gone, but now the room looked like a mural of pink mountain majesties in a purple twilight. Sounds pretty, but trust me. It wasn't.

On the next day the only option was to go over the walls again (with the roller this time) and apply a new coat (or two. or three) to spots as needed and hope they blended in. It may be hard to tell from these photographs, but it actually turned out halfway decent. The room seems much smaller now (and so dark!) but at least the coverage is mostly even.

We had already discussed covering the bottom of the walls with wainscotting (not yet installed) so instruments and cases didn't ruin the walls, so it may just turn out to be okay. The wainscotting may also brighten up the room a bit too. But we're not quite sure exactly how to make it. Do we run the wainscotting 1/3 up the wall (as shown) or do we go higher with it (4 feet off the ground.. about another foot from what is shown)? Any ideas, opinions, or options are welcome!

New Cabinets Already?

We haven't even begun on the kitchen, but we now have some new cabinets!

I know, you're asking if we're crazy. Well, they're not exactly new, but they are new to us. We've infected our good friend Mark with some remodeling bug, and he is revamping his condo's kitchen. Rather than see his old cabinets in a landfill, we gladly accepted his offer. Plus, we know we are desperately in need of help organizing things, as anyone who has seen our 2.5 car garage wonders how we manage to fit one small car in it.

Scott and Mark brought them over and helped move things around so we could install them strategically throughout the garage. After Jay helped Mark install the new cabinets, Mark also gave us two base units as well! One is now in the laundry room and the other in the garage. With all this new space, we might even be able to pull in Jay's new truck if needed!

1988 s10