Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sheetrock Update

So not much to report right now...sheetrock is still in progress. Most of it has been done, but the final stage has been delayed due to the wet and humid weather, which has not allowed the sheetrock to dry completely. Let's hope for a better day tomorrow, which seems like a pretty big hope with how gross it has been around Houston lately. Anyway, here are the pictures of the house as of last night...the new walls are a big improvement!

Friday, July 23, 2010


Today starts a major MAJOR step in finishing our remodel...SHEETROCK!

I met with the workers yesterday to go over everything that needed to be done (which is a lot), and one of the tasks that we were not aware of that was still left to do was to remove the wallpaper glue from the laundry room. So, last night brought a quick trip to Lowe's to purchase glue remover, and then a scrub fest.

It started off not so bad, but, like everything else, got to be much more like work than fun as the night went on.

Let's just say that at one point I seriously considered whether it would just be easier for us to wallpaper over it. :)

Anyway, we completed that task last night which allowed the sheetrockers to start this morning. I went and checked on them during lunch and was a little frustrated to find that they had been a slightly overzealous in their assessment of what needed to be done. Even though we had specifically told them that we only wanted certain rooms to be repaired because we had no plans, or budget money for that matter, to have every room repainted, I arrived to find that every room in the house had huge circles drawn over even the smallest of dings and dents which are totally normal in a house that is 60 years old. You can't really be that mad though when you ask the supervisor about it and his explanation is "My boss told me to make it perfect for Mr. Walton's daughter". Oh well, make lemonade, right? On to the paint store to pick out new paint colors!

Joky Poplights

Okay, so your guess is as good as mine for that first word...but the last two words should be "hocky puck lights". My favorite part is that "joky" completely makes sense in spanish... j = h :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

There is a Reason We Aren't Painters

So I think I mentioned in one of the first posts that we were going to do what we could to help cut some of the costs of our remodel. One of our bright ideas was painting one of the back bedrooms of the house ourself...everyone paints themselves, right? No big deal.

The back story of this attempt is that a few years ago we decided to paint about half of the interior space in our old house. We spent one weekend moving furniture around and painting all day and all night, sleeping in paint fumes, and by the end hating every minute of it, vowing to never paint again.

We had some repairs made to the old house before we sold it which involved having one room painted...and after seeing how easy it was for the painters to paint that room I was even more convinced that painting would never occur again in my future. If you have never witnessed a realy painter paint a room (no tape, straight lines, no mistakes!) then don't, because you will never want to paint again.

So, back to the new house, somehow we forgot all of this and decided to try again. Clint actually began this experiment on his own one night but didn't get very far because the previous owners had left some shelves on the walls that had apparently been hung while the paint was still wet. So when Clint went to take them down, he took a good chunk of the wall down with them. So one night was spent patching those spots and letting them dry.

We went over to the house one evening thinking that we would get the room painted that night and move on to future tasks. Three hours later, this was our progress:

ONE WALL! I know it's hard to see since we are going from a really bright yellow to a more subtle yellow, but here is a little more proof to show we actually did something, although not much.

Apparently the paint that was on the wall before is a satin finish which doesn't really absorb paint very well, so we kept watching every stroke seem to disappear. We finally were so frustrated, thinking that we were going to end up painting the whole thing and then have to pay someone anyway to make it look decent because it looked so bad while we were painting, that after three hours we just gave up. Coming back the next day it looked tons better (maybe impatience is really our issue), but I haven't seen either one of us volunteer to pick up those paintbrushes and try again. And now with all of the holes in the walls we are going to have to pay a painter anyway to patch everything, right? And they are so fast and it's so easy for them, right? And really, in these tough economic times, don't we owe it to them to let them use their talents?! :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stage 4: Plumbing and Electrical

So I guess I only thought the demolition portion of this project was over...

I spent the day Friday hanging out with the plumbing and electrical crews...breathed in a lot of dust and insulation, heard a lot of festive music :), and got a little nervous as more and more holes were cut into essentially every wall of the house...BUT, the good news is that we now have new plugs and new wiring and all of the bedrooms have separate switches for the lights and fans. And those holes are nothing that a little bit of sheetrock can't fix (I hope)!

And now, Clint would like for me to share a little laugh with you guys. Since we are essentially tearing out 99% of the walls in the kitchen, when the electrician came for the walkthrough of what we wanted, he just wrote his notes to himself straight onto the walls. Here is a picture showing the notes for one of the switches, and I tried to zoom in to highlight one particular note...$5 to anyone who can guess what this is really supposed to say!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Unexpected Surprises

So everyone warns you when you remodel that you should plan for unexpected surprises...stuff that will come up that you didn't plan on that will have to be fixed or changed or just dealt with. So far, (knock on wood), our unexpected surprises have been good ones.

First, we found out that we can put in a pocket door between the breakfast room and the laundry room. I feel like everytime I see somewhere that I want a pocket door or suggest that to someone it is usually in a wall that can't handle one. But the framer guy (that's his technical title) said that this wall was the perfect spot! So now when we are doing laundry we can shut that room off and not have to deal with the noise of the washer and dryer!


Installed! (Sorry for the bad quality, iPhone and looking through the window is a bad combination)

The second good surprise so far was even better. As you can see in this picture, originally above the refrigerator and surrounding cabinets there was a furdown...by the way, it makes me laugh as we go through this process to hear Clint and I using terms that we have no idea what they mean but we heard someone else use them first so we just follow along. I especially love when he says one and I look at him like "What does that mean?" and he shrugs his shoulders, shakes his head and just laughs. But back down to furdown...I keep wanting to say furlough, but all I know is that it is the space that was all sheetrocked in.

This space contained an air register that sent air to three vents - the one you see above, one in the dining room (to the right) and one in the living room (behind the refrigerator). Every time my dad would come into the kitchen he would comment about how this vent in the kitchen was closed and he couldn't imagine why you would close that. Same comment, time after time. Well one day he actually opened it up and stuck his hand up there and said "Well there's not any air coming out of here!" We checked the other vents that were connected, same story.

So, that leads to the good news. Heidi (my friend who just happens to be an architect and designed everything for us...love her) was with us going over the plans and we started talking about how nice it would be if the furdown was gone. So Clint goes up into the attic and realizes that the sole purpose of that entire area was to close in the air register...and since it didn't even work properly we decided to take it out! This led to new plans which involve cabinets all the way up to the ceiling and let this area be more of what Heidi said she originally wanted anyway...we aim to please :)

The only bad news that resulted from this...holes being punched into the wall on the other side, which we hadn't planned to paint. Oh well, now we just get to pick out new paint colors!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stage 3: And the Wall Comes Down

So probably the most important step of this whole process is taking out about half of the wall between the kitchen and the den...the goal is to open up the kitchen more and when it is finished there will be an island between the two rooms. This step is a big one because once we get into the wall we can really tell how much work we have to do as far as electrical and plumbing. Once this is all finalized, we get to have the cabinet guy come out and measure and start making our cabinets! While the cabinets are being made the electrician and plumber will come out, repair anything that needs it, and add anything we want.

The first picture shown here is the wall that is being worked on, shown from the den facing into the kitchen.

And here are the Afters!

Taken from the same place, facing into the kitchen.
Standing in the kitchen, facing into the den.
Standing in the breakfast room.

Stage 2: DEMOLITION!!!

This stage was by far what Clint was the most excited about...the chance to swing a hammer and use a crowbar to destroy something...every guys dream :) I will just post the series of pictures, starting with taking out the old stove, Clint turning off the gas from the stove (with a little more difficulty than he first thought), and then the true destruction. I think the pile at the end speaks for itself!

Admiring his work :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stage 1: Remove the Water Heater

So the first step that had to be taken care of was removing the water heater that was right in the middle of the kitchen to free up the cabinet space. The left cabinet in the picture on the left is where the old water heater was...the refrigerator went in the center.

The first plan was to get a new water heater that was shorter and fatter and putting it in the attic instead to free up the cabinet space. But then the plumber broke the bad news that our attic was way too small for that, leaving our best
option being an "eternal" water heater. I don't know much about this thing except that it is tankless, it has something crazy like a 25 year warranty, we get a tax credit for buying it, and it looks pretty cool :)

The plumber installed this new fancy water heater in the attic, which meant it was time for Stage 2: The Kitchen Demolition!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And So It Begins

We finally have our new house!

It seems like forever since we moved out of the little yellow house on Aurora, so we are very excited to have actually closed on our new home and to start the kitchen remodel project.

For those of you that don't know, the house we bought was built in the 1950's and has had a lot of work already done to it...all of the "boring" remodeling items like new roof, all of the windows replaced (which are awesome by the way), and new siding. The former owners also remodeled the bathrooms, which is so great and usually very necessary for houses from this time period. The one big project left is the kitchen, so our plan is have this fully redone before we move in.

We are doing what we can on this project, and hiring out other parts, but I thought it would be fun to document it all from beginning to end so that those of you that care can follow along and so that we have a record of what everything used to look like...and hopefully how great it looks in the end!

So, the BEFORE pictures...