Thursday, October 28, 2010

Walls, and Paint, and Carpet, Oh My!

The post you've all been waiting for!  Yes, its true, we have paint on the walls and carpet on the floor.  And as my friend Jill would say, it feels glooooooooooooooorious.  Let's review how the whirlwind of the past five days has gone.  Friday night our wonderful friend Christyne (see the StyneTineSteamDreamTeam post), came over to help us paint the primer coat.  There are no pictures of that event since it wasn't anyone's finest half hour.  We wrapped up at 1am, and at 7am I left to go pick up paint!

We chose Martha Stewart Enamelware for the bedroom (a light robin's egg blue), Behr Cumulus for the hall (an almost-white-but-really-faintly-blue) and Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue for the living room.  (A mysterious color that looks dusty blue in some light, but minty in others.)

Before we could slap any of that on the walls, well, we had to have walls first.  The drywall was up and primed in the bedroom, but some other spots of the house weren't so lucky.

The hallway is done in a lovely often-painted-over wallpaper effect.  We chose not to rip it out for expediency's sake, but there were also some old and very terrible patches on the walls.  The above photo is Fred patching the patches.  Slow work but so worth it!

While Fred slaved in the stairwell, the team got started in the hall and in the bedroom.  Here we go!

Our dear friend Paula is super stoked to be taping trim in the hall!  (Her delightful boyfriend Dennis is behind her, gamely painting the ceiling.  A guaranteed crick in the neck!)

Our awesome work buddies Joe and Pam.  This is Joe's ninth shift working on the house, he's an animal.  Pam just moved here and intrepidly navigated the foreign bus system to come help.  Joe's sister Emily is cutting in trim on the left side of the pic, she's in town visiting and totally gave up a morning of her vacation to paint a stranger's house.  (I'm getting all verklempt just thinking about how great these people are.)

Saturday our crack crew of painters helped us put on the first coat.  Sunday morning a second crew came and we got on the second coat.  We absolutely could NOT have done this without a lot of help.  Thanks a million to Christyne, Jake, Joe, Emily, Pam, Amy, Todd, Paula, Dennis, Giancarlo, Kate, Bret, Krystal, Molly, Ian, Susie and Charlie.  We can't thank you enough!

Wanna see the finished product?

Ta-da!  OK, just kidding, that's just the paint.  Before I show you the finished-finished product, let's review how horrible the carpet was, shall we?  Well, we certainly didn't help things by painting on it, by the end of Saturday the carpet mostly looked like this:

And in some spots the carpet definitely told a story.  Like in this spot below.  I'm pretty sure it's saying "Fred's roomate was ironing her clothes on the carpet, and in the middle she had to go make toast."  Nice.

So the finished product?? 


Beautiful, creamy carpet in our bedroom and look how gorgeous the walls turned out!  So light and airy!

Dark grey in the living room looks awesome with the walls and the white trim totally pops with the darker wall color.

The guest room is rocking an oatmeal-colored carpet, which goes quite well with its blue walls (lovingly painted by a previous inhabitant, luckily.)

Even the stairs look awesome!  (And who doesn't love a two-tone blue stairwell?  It's so gorgeous!)

I'm in love with our new rooms!  Everything looks so much better now its amazing.  Once the windows are in, we'll be done with the enormous tasks and on to the little ones.  Shall we step back and review?  Oh yes, lets.

We started here:

And now we're here:

It makes me so happy I just had to flop down and make a carpet angel!  (Just like a snow angel but with carpet!)


Thanks again to everyone who helped.  We are so lucky to have such awesome friends.  We owe you big time so if you ever need a Bundt cake, help lifting something heavy, or someone to cut in the trim, you know who to call.  (And BTW lemme know if you wanna come over and make a carpet angel.  Any time.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Gifts From the Past

Soon the 110-year-old newspaper in our wall will have to be covered up in another sheet of pesky drywall, so I want to share some gems from it while I still can!  My personal favorite is the page entitled "Fashion Reigns".  Check out the red hot fashions of August 12, 1900.

Another personal favorite is the recipes (which also appear on the fashion page).

Pink Tea:
Put half a pound of white rock candy in an earthen vessel, with juice and yellow peel of four lemons, one orange, a wine glass of rum and a wine glass of whisky.  Pour upon them, boiling hot, a quart of green tea that has stood upon the leaves barely two minutes.  Use only two teaspoons of dry tea and take care not to let the liquid get dark.  Stir the mixture well, then set on ice for twelve hours.  Just before serving add a pint of the best claret and a pint of apollinaris.  Fill the glasses quickly and drop into each a ripe strawberry and one candied or brandied cherry.

Whoa.  Let's get our drink on!  (Four kinds of booze?  Yes please!)  The recipe for Cherry Drink also sounds delicious, if I can figure out what loaf sugar is, and how to get a whole pound of it, I'll make it and report back.

We cleaned inside the eaves last week while preparing for the drywallers and found a couple more gifts from the past.  First, a baking soda tin.  Royal Baking Powder "Absolutely Pure!"
Next, a California State Series Revised English Grammar book.  OK, not the whole book, just the front and back covers.  The squirrels had used the pages to build themselves a nest but the covers were clearly less tasty.

And finally, my personal favorite, the cover to a Peter Rabbit book of indeterminate age.

This book belonged to Sharon Meagher. I wonder what the house looked like when she lived here.  I guess we'll never know.  Sharon, wherever you are, I hope you liked this house as much as we do!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Harvest Fest

So, after an intense and stressful time leading up to the drywaller's arrival, we totally played hooky this weekend and took a whole day off from the house!  I know, I know, we're supposed to be grounded for the whole month of October.  But we go to the Harvest Fest in my hometown every year and we reeeeeally needed a little break.  So Saturday night after the drywaller was done, we set off for exotic Hood River, Oregon. 

Harvest Fest is great.  There's a tent with craft vendors selling everything you'd never need, a food court so you can get an elephant ear and eat it overlooking the Columbia River, and of course, tons of fruit and cider grown locally.

We made our annual pilgrimage to Rasmussen's Farm, which is more harvest fun than you can shake a stick at.  Every year they present "Pumpkin Funland", which is a sort of large diorama populated with decorated pumpkins that is always completely hilarious.  This year's theme was "Mysteries".

 Fred hanging out with Snoopy's Great Pumpkin.

 The Lochness Monstergourd. 

Not even quite sure what these ones are supposed to be doing, but love the expression on the pig's face.

After appreciating the myriad ways one can use a gourd as sculpture, we did a little pumpkin picking of our own.
 (He's so wholesome!)

The weather was gorgeous and it felt so good to get out of the cloud of drywall dust and run around in the sunshine for a little bit. 

We stayed Sunday night and drove home Monday morning.  We unpacked our loot into the house and we brought home quite the bounty!

 Pears are my favorite, we got Comice, Bartlett and some pink-fleshed apples.

A visit with my surrogate family yielded homemade pickles and jam, we stopped at our favorite used book store and stocked up on some awesome used books, the senior center was making pies again (and how can you say no to huckleberry), the little containers are from a salt-by-the-pound bar that they installed in the local grocery store, the white bag is fudge and the orange things are the most delicious shortbread cookies on earth, courtesy of Rosauers.  What a haul!
The pumpkins made it safely home and are snuggled up on the front porch with their friend, Monsieur Brussel Sprouts. 

So there's the fun (albeit less productive) half of our weekend.  A million thanks to my new father-in-law who made this possible by hanging out with the mudder-and-taper guy on Sunday.  It felt awesome to get away and now we're back, ready to attack the next project.  Onward to painting and windows!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends...

OK, so its been a quiet week on the blog because we were busy doing so much and not blogging about it.  However...

Drumroll please...

Our bedroom has WALLS!!  Yes, its true!  SO exciting.  So this is how the whole thing went down.

On Wednesday we got the heads up that the drywall guy would be coming on Saturday.  Panic mode ensued as we didn't have any wiring done.  Or insulation.  Or any of those helpful things which need to happen before drywall can happen.  For two days we ran around in tight little circles by ourselves.  On Friday we realized we weren't going to make it without some significant help, so we waved the white flag and called in the big guns.  Four sets of big guns, actually, and two sets of slightly smaller ones, belonging to helpful people named Bret, Jon, Joe, Kate, and the in-laws, Charlie and Susie. 

Our friends are HARDCORE.  Seriously.  We commenced work at 8pm on Friday night and at 3:30 in the morning, the helpers trooped out of here.  3:30!  (No, our friends are not available for rent.)  We are still pondering how best to thank these people, roses and champagne fountains just don't seem sufficient for a labor of love such as the one that happened here Friday night.  It was amazing.  Drywall was hefted from the truck up to the house, from the house into the backyard, into a rope harness and up through an outer window.  Six outlets went up, insulation went up around dormers and on slanted and angled surfaces.  Shimming and furring and all sorts of other awesomeness happened.  A midnight warm brownie break fueled the final push to the finish. As the last piece of plywood went camera died.  So the only good pic I have of the night's activities is the below:

That's Joe and Jon hefting in a sheet of drywall.  Looks easy, but Joe is about 10 feet up in the air on a ladder and a sheet of drywall weighs 75 lbs.  HARDCORE.

The next morning (me running on four hours sleep, Fred on zero) I snapped the following pics before the drywall guy came:
 Yay insulation and plywood!  The plywood is so that the windows can sit in openings of the right depth.  And see that outlet box there?  Wired it myself!

 Hello lovely insulation!  The shiny stuff had to be laboriously cut by hand to exactly fit the mismatched sizes and angles of the studs.  Lucky for us we have anal-retentive friends named Jon and Bret who come armed with their own knives!  Can't thank those guys enough.

 Oh insulation, I look forward to you keeping me warm in the winter.  Check out the red duct tape.  We didn't have quiiiite enough insulation and we had to get creative.

Shortly thereafter the drywall guys came and hung all the sheetrock!  Yay!  The next morning, (while we were playing hooky, more on that later) Tracy the Taper came and did the first round of taping and mudding and now the room looks like this!

 This is the view from the hall, see how awesome our windows are going to look?

 The left hand dormer.

 The right hand dormer.

The awesome window bank.

The right dormer and you can see the door to my closet in this pic on the right side.

What will be the door to our bedroom in the center, closets on either sides.

Beautiful high ceilings!

Remember how it used to look?

 Now it looks like this:

Yay!  If you are one of the amazing helpers from this weekend, thankyouthankyothankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou.  This post wouldn't have happened without you and having walls is SO exciting!  The mudding should be done on Friday, painting and windows maybe this weekend, carpet early next week and then we're good to GO!  Wheeeeee!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Le Weekend du Demo

This weekend was unreal on the front of home progress!  We tore every scrap of siding off the back of the house, finished framing in our four windows, got all the sheathing perfected, AND tore out some cabinetry and finished making the hole between the two sides of our ex-duplex.  We had some very intrepid helpers, who we can't thank enough.  Like the below:

(That's our friend Jon, who is STOKED to be working 20 feet off the ground in a climbing harness in the rain.)  We seriously could not have done it without you guys, thank you to everyone.

So what did we do?  Well, this is our friend Stacy, getting angry on some tile.  (Kate and I had already removed the dishwasher.)

And this is Kate and Stacy, having successfully wrenched that recalcitrant cabinet from its old home.

We tore a hole in the drywall, and then had to resort to some kung fu to get the studs out.

Eventually, after lots of work and help from different people, we had this!:

From the other side:

OK, I know it doesn't look like much right now, but can I just tell you how exciting it is to be able to walk from one side of the house to the other without having to go outside?  It's totally awesome.  It's like we are like normal people (o.k., normal people don't normally have that much lathe showing in their hallways but whatever!)

What else did we do this weekend?  We turned this:

Into this:

Wheee!  OK, probably tearing the siding off your house in Seattle in October (a.k.a. the start of the rainy season) is not something most people would do.  However, we are adventurous.  We love life on the edge.  And the shingles need to go.  We managed to get some tar paper up this afternoon, but mostly we're counting on it not raining for the next 24 hours so we can finish the job.  Cross your fingers!

Do you notice another change in the photo above?  That's right, the window frames are done!  From:


(We even now have sheathing in in-between the window frames.  V. exciting.)  

This is going to be great.  So much light!  So much windowness!  The windows are tall and skinny, which mimics the original period windows downstairs in Fred's bedroom and the living room.  They are custom all-wood, double-hung, double-paned, double-awesome windows from Cherry Creek windows in Seattle and if we're really lucky they'll be here this week.  YAY! 

Before the windows go in, we must have drywall.  We had a little visit from Hans the Drywall Man and he says he's going to talk with his guys and see if he can get someone out at the end of the week.  Maybe next week.  A visit with the drywall man feels like I imagine a visit with the obstetrician does.  Oh the anticipation!  The suspense!  The boring technical details and measurements!  Well anyway, we may have drywall soon.  Progress!