Posts Tagged ‘remodeling’

Seven weeks does not a new habit make, but I will say it is getting more natural to plan ahead and make sure I have everything I think I will need to tide us over from Saturday to Monday. (Did I really just use “tide” in a sentence? After Saturday night’s epic fail to ‘bama?  Abject apologies to all my Vol-fan friends and family.)

Anyway, we ate up a variety of leftovers for lunch and it was as varied as a restaurant menu, with choices including 3-cheese pasta with chicken and alfredo sauce and toasty warm French dip sandwiches. Hot, fast, delicious and it used up food that would probably wind up tossed out otherwise.

After lunch was out of the way, Mr. Official and I each headed to the old house – he to mow, I to install closet cubbies and rods. I coulda/shoulda spent part of Saturday on this task but I chose to play with the grandpuppy and bake instead.  I knew before I went that I’d stall out midway – there were some items I’d need to buy in order to finish up (which is why I had planned to work on it Saturday.  Procrastinators Anonymous meets tomorrow, right?) 

Background, in case you didn’t follow our house adventure.  It began almost a year when I got a wild hair to look at our old Oklahoma house, which turned into a wish list of features I’d like to have in a house.  In turn, that became a casual, then serious house hunt and eventual purchase and move.

My, how time flies. We moved out of our old house back in May, then somehow the summer flew by and we never quite got around to putting it on the market (an unusual situation, to be sure.)  The good news is, we have a family moving into it in a matter of days.  The bad news is, all the postponed to-do’s must turn into checked-off “dones” in the next few evenings.

It’s a manageable list, especially since I no longer need to cool my jets outside the swimming pool for a couple hours each evening. Yes, another vehicle has joined our caravan, so swimmer girl now has her own wheels to get her to and fro.




Dinner last night was a new recipe featuring sweet potatoes and black beans in some spicy chili.  (Recipe will be posted on Wednesday.  I know I’m featuring pumpkin recipes for the next several weeks, but sweet potatoes and pumpkins are nearly indistinguishable once they’re cooked right?)

And because I planned ahead, I am enjoying my coffee with cream this morning as I type this.  (I was running dangerously low on both by Saturday, so swimmer girl and her oldest brother took my credit card and headed to fill up “her” Highlander and snag a few foodstuffs from Publix.)

So are you tempted to join me in this little social experiment?  C’mon…it’s easier than it sounds. And honestly, doesn’t it sound pretty simple to just steer clear of the mall and restaurants for one day a week?  Give it a try – you might find, like I am, that it is fairly easy and certainly more economical to give your family (and yourself) a day of rest, with a combination of leftovers and freshly prepared food that hit the table faster than most sit-down places can deliver. 

Happy Monday,

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It’s the little things.

Our shower saga continues. Every day we pass by our gorgeous new shower, which has yet to be used.  Because it has no door.  The door is ordered, and is promised (pinky promised) for delivery next Tuesday.  (I’m holding you to that, Mr. Shower Door Guy!)

So in the meantime, we have used the upstairs shower (nothing like feeling like a houseguest in your own home, shlepping towel and toiletries in and out of someone else’s bathroom…) On workout mornings, we have availed ourselves of the YMCA’s showers.

The Y’s showers are like most public showers:  hit or miss. Some have broken knobs or drippy showerheads, some have skimpy shower curtains, some don’t get much water pressure or much hot water, or both.  I think I’ve personally identified all the sub-par showers on the women’s side.  But a few mornings ago, as I turned off my shower, I heard another one going. Full blast.  And lots of steam rolling out, like it was a nice HOT shower.  I made a mental note of the location and checked myself into that shower stall yesterday morning after a 5K run.  I counted it pure joy.  It blasted me with hot water, and lots of it. And a shower curtain that didn’t gap and flap in the breeze.

When we were driving home I mentioned my happy discovery to Mr. Official.  His response? 

“I bet our new shower will have great pressure and lots of hot water too…if we ever get to use it.”

Here’s to showers of blessings, and lessons of patience.  And to nice hot showers.

Happy day!

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Masters of destruction

Apparently we can’t leave well enough alone, not even for a few minutes.

Yesterday we closed on our new home.  (Happy, happy, joy, joy….)  We celebrated by mowing the grass and pulling weeds all afternoon.

Big dog oversaw our work from her hangout on the porch.

So can you guess what our first action  this morning will be?  (This was planned well in advance, I might add.)  It is not to move in anything, or start cleaning stuff.  Those are way too predictable.

Noooooo, our first to-do is to tear out the shower in the master bathroom.  Mind you, it is a perfectly good shower – it’s not leaking, no nasty-funk-I-can’t-get-clean, not even some hideous old gold sparkly tile (which we’ve actually lived with before.)  It is a simple, plain fiberglass shower stall.  Its only defect is it was too short and the backspray from the shower head had peeled away the paint around the top of the stall.  Instead of merely replacing the shower head and fixing the peeling paint, we opted to tear it out.  Because we are really good at tearing stuff up and we had a lot of practice on our last home – there’s not much we can’t take out.  Putting stuff back…not so much.  But prybars, hammers, chisels – we own ’em and we’re not afraid to use ’em.

To our credit, we do have a plan:  we’ve lined up a contractor and selected the tile we’d like to use.  Hopefully the new shower design will fix the peeling paint problem once and for all…and give us a slightly larger and totally nicer shower in an otherwise gorgeous (and HUGE) bathroom.

When the tear-out is done, all that’s left to do today is to have the carpets stretched, take down the old curtain rods and spackle over a few nail holes before Mr. Official heads off to the Friday night race.  We have a wedding to attend on Saturday in LA (Lower Alabama to the uninitiated), and Easter festivities on Sunday.

Starting Monday, work on the new shower stall will begin, while middle child and I are busy wielding paint rollers and brushes.  Five rooms in five days – easy peasy.

THEN we can begin the normal activities one does when one buys a house.  Like moving our possessions in and getting settled.

Happy remodeling!

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Time to Strip!

My kind of stripping is exciting and a little dangerous:  it involves slowly peeling off layer after layer, until you get down to bare…wood.  Using chemical solvents and a palm sander.  (What were YOU thinking I meant?)

What am I stripping?  Dressers and bureaus and chester drawers, oh my.  (Hey, who knew they all mean the exact same thing?)  For whatever reason, throughout our marriage we have always crammed ourselves into one shared dresser, (plus closet space for hanging clothes, of course.)  I’m not sure why we’ve always scrimped on dresser storage. At various times, our bedroom has been too small for much furniture, but even when we have had plenty of room, we’ve always been constrained to 4 to 6 drawers. Which means the closet is often crammed full of things that would be better relegated to a drawer.  Things like t-shirts and sweaters. And socks.  Yeah, even socks.

When we finished our bathroom addition two springs ago, an added bonus was trading the wall closets for a walk-in, and gaining a blessed additional 28 inches of floor space along one wall – and it is usable wall space at that, no longer taken up by mirrored closet doors (shudder). Finally, this master bedroom was master-bedroom-sized.

I frugally shopped for a new platform bed (actually it’s a faux platform – our box springs are nestled within its frame) with a seriously comfy leather headboard. It was worth every penny I paid for it at S&E Consignment…and it wasn’t all that many pennies. The next bargain I scored was two night stands from World Market. (Another store that is near and dear); they were marked down and a coupon arrived just in time to knock another nice chunk off the tab, too. With those pieces, the room began to take shape – an eclectic mix of modern and East Indies, dark woods and green and fawn shades. Relaxing and streamlined. A heavily discounted Tommy Bahama duvet cover and shams (Overstock.com, you are da bomb); a man-sized brown slipper chair, new lamps and drapes completed the transformation from this:

to this:

Then it was time to consider storage. I searched high and low for a set of dark wood low and tall dressers.  I found a few I loved, but gasped at the sticker price. I found a few that were within my self-imposed budget, but they were flimsy. (Dear Target, You do many things well, but please understand that real furniture does not contain laminated plastic “wood grain” finishes or glorified cardboard anywhere in its composition. Hugs, Terry)

The 4-drawer tall bureau in the photos above has been our one-and-only for several years.  By my best guess it’s a circa ’30s or ’40s vintage piece, which we snagged from my grandparents estate sale. Nothing flashy, nothing trendy…just a very well-made, solid wood, mahogany-toned, clean-styled piece…and then the epiphany struck. What I was looking for was here all along!

AND we had the matching low 6-drawer dresser in our storage shed. That piece is a little more scuffed up than the 4-drawer tall bureau, but it is repair-able.  A few bucks for stripper and sandpaper, a quart of stain and a bit of wood finish, and voila.

And…that’s as far as the idea.  For the past year, the low dresser has sat in our garage, patiently waiting for me to start working on it. But last weekend, I decided the time had come.  So I suited up with ratty clothes and protective gloves, and slathered on the stripping gel.

As I finish each piece, I’ll post some before, during, after shots.  Maybe somebody can help me figure out the correct name for the style and period of these two pieces.

Happy (and safe) stripping!

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Why change JUST the bulb?

If you’ve ever decided to trade cars because your tags were up for renewal, you’ll probably relate to this story…

The light over the kitchen sink went out a couple nights ago but the recessed lights take a special long-neck halogen bulb, and I didn’t have any spares on hand.  I looked for some at my favorite-discount-store-to-dread (WalMart) yesterday, but they have stopped carrying them, so I figured I’d wait until I was headed to Home Depot or Lowe’s to pick up a few.

Lo and behold, this morning I was browsing Thrifty Decor Chick’s blog and found this post for a DIY pendant light, using a conversion kit from Lowe’s.

My heart skipped a beat:  I had long been toying with the idea of a pendant light above the sink, just to add a little panache to a really ho-hum fixture.  Go ahead, you can agree with me – it was a snoozer.  But I put off even seriously contemplating a pendant until I was ready to tackle all the steps in the process, namely taking out the housing for the recessed light in order to replace it with a new light fixture – which never fits exactly and then drywall repair and painting ensue.  (The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.)

This $20 kit was designed for slackers like me.  No killing the breaker (well, the kit says you should–but honestly, who does that if all you’re doing is changing a bulb?), no climbing up in the attic, figuring out WHICH light fixture to remove, as you communicate with someone below as they tap, tap, tap their location.  No coming back down covered in fiberglass fibers.  I tend to work solo, and changing light fixtures typically requires some teamwork, and several hours of trial-and-error frustration.

But this…this was no more difficult than changing the bulb.  It took me longer to pick out the pendant light than it did to put this whole thing together, even including the time to adjust the length of the pendant.

One thing I did realize after I got it up is that our recessed “can” is seated a little low…so I guess I will have to go up in the attic one of these days and cinch it up.  For now, the flush-mounted cover is…well…not quite flush.  But I’m in no hurry to scurry up there – it may be the first day of fall but the thermostat is reading 96 F.  Whew.

Instead, I’ll whip up some lemon bars and ice down some waters for a summer Bible Vacation debriefing tonight, then get some rice started for dinner.  (Note to self: watch the rice this time…scorched brown rice is not just unpalatable, it’s inedible and stinky.)

Hmmm.  You know, my car tags ARE due at the end of this month…

Happy DIY-ing!

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