Monday, September 12, 2011

Going Backwards

When we bought the house it was considered three bedroom, one bathroom, with loft space. We've always thought of that "loft space" as a bedroom since that is how it was always used. Joe's grandparents had five children and three bedrooms was obviously not going to be enough. At some point in the 1950's, Grandad Lyon built stairs in the hallway and a bedroom in the attic space. It is a pretty odd layout but made the most sense for what they needed (a room for two boys). You walk up the stairs and then there are bedrooms on the left and right. It is all open. He also added a lot of built-ins. Built-in desks on either side. Built in closets, cubby holes, and night stands. He added quite a bit of storage with all the built ins. He didn't even use half of the attic space, just enough for what he needed to do.

Here are some pictures. This was right in the middle of clean up/pack up so it is a little messy.

It was good enough for what they needed at the time but it wasn't what we needed. We need a second bathroom. We need a closet that a person can fit inside. We need a place for us. So, we decided that this space would become our Master Suite complete with bedroom, sitting room, walk-in closet, and bathroom. We will be using almost the entire attic space meaning our suite will be the size of the current house!

We are DIYer's at heart but we know when we have no idea how to do something...when a project is just too big for us. This project is huge and we needed a contractor. In the end we decided it would just be easier to just demo the entire space and start over. The walls weren't drywall, they were a type of paneling. The insulation in the walls was typical of the 50's and just not good enough by today's standards. The ceilings were low and featured fluorescent lighting. We all agreed it just needed to go.

So far they have reinforced the current beams and framed out the new walls in the bedroom. We also took down the walls separating the two "bedrooms" to allow for more light and cross-ventilation. We're raising the ceilings to  eight feet in the center.

The next step is to work on the attic space that will become the new bathroom and closet. I didn't take a picture of it for some reason but it pretty much looks just like the above pics just no floor. They have to add cross beams to support the bathroom so that section is taking a little longer.

Things are finally starting to happen!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

If You Gotta Go...You Gotta Go in the Backyard

So, now that things are wrapping up in the kitchen, Joe decided to demo the only current bathroom in the house. We're not living in the house currently since we're having trouble selling our other house so I wasn't worried about not having any running water for a few weeks. (We even have to go outside and run the water hose when we want to wash hands.)

Heres an original picture of the bathroom...

I know, I know, why even change. That bathroom is just so glorious in all it's goldenrod glory. It's just so perfect! Well one thing led to another and now it looks like this...

You think maybe Joe got a little carried away with the sledgehammer?

Truthfully, what happened was when we took down all that lovely wallpaper (as with the rest of the house) we found some major problems with the walls.  Unlike the other rooms, however, these walls were beyond repair. There was black mold everywhere. Plaster was falling off where they had nailed things in.

The bathroom had never been waterproofed. There wasn't a shower, only a tub. Someone had decided long ago to just attach a showerhead to the tub faucet and hang in on the wall on a hook. This lasted 40-50 years so it was no suprise when I took off the "cover-all flaws" wallpaper that the walls were so water damaged they were literally falling apart. Some plaster even came down with the wallpaper leaving exposed lathe. As into saving all the plaster walls as I am these walls were just too bad.

You can't see it in the pictures but there are also holes in the subfloor.  When Joe and Kyle took out the tub they said the floor was even a little "squishy". And did I mention there was absolutely NO insulation on that outside wall? None! Guess I know why my electric bill was higher for that house than my current one (and no one even lives there!).

So the plan for this bathroom is...
-new subfloor
-new clawfoot tub
-new toilet
-board and batten
-new medicine cabinet

The only thing we're keeping from this mess is the sink. I like the vintage vibe it gives the room. We're just going to clean it up and put it back in. So much for staying on budget.

BTW...gotta give mad props to Joe and Kyle for getting that old cast iron tub out all by themselves. They got it through the narrow doorway, hallway, through a bedroom, and into the living room/appliance graveyard. Its currently hanging out there along with the bathroom sink, old toilet, old kitchen sink, refrigerator, and stove. It's almost donation time. I hear the ReStore calling our name.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Granite Shmanite

So, as we've been renovating we've been trying to buy from local business owners as much as possible. I know it probably doesn't seem that way with all the Lowes trips we make but when it comes to big purchases we try to stay in town. When it came time to pick out countertops, we went with who the cabinet guys recommended...a local granite place.

Problem, I don't really like granite. Joe thought it was the bee's knees but I wasn't really on board. I tried to bite the bullet, I really did, but after seeing all that (IMO) ugly granite I just couldn't think of looking at that stuff for the next 20+ years. I know, I know...."but everyone wants granite" Well I don't.

So after moping through the granite slabs and taking home samples to throw around. I finally worked up the courage to admit to Joe that I just didn't care for the stuff. So, we started doing our research. We ended up deciding on quartz. I liked that there were more color options available and I wasn't stuck with brown or black. I also liked that they were more heat-resistant and I never have to seal them again...ever!

When we finally decided on quartz, we marched our happy selves to our local granite place and asked to see their quartz samples. They had only sold quartz a few times before so their samples were a bit lacking. In fact, I think they thought I was a little nutso for turning my nose up at their granite. I think I was reminded again at this point that "everyone wants granite" and "are you sure you don't want to look at the granite slabs one more time?" ugh.

They ended up ordering new samples just for little old us. We, of course, picked out the most expensive quartz they had...more expensive than granite. (At this point, I had a nervous smile plastered on my face because I could hear Joe's teeth grinding. One of my "selling points" on quartz was that is was the same price as granite so really what's the difference, right?) In the end, we agreed that the sell our child into slavery $$ quartz was the only way to go.

We left happy. The countertop people think we're a little crazy but that's ok.

The Slab
I drove by it every day on my way to work and waved to it.


Close Up...It really sparkles in the sun...not Edward Cullen sparkles, but sparkles nontheless

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Where Were We?

Previously, on Little House on the Hillcrest...

Joe was sanding floors using the awesome drum sander.
I was dancing around singing, "I can see the wood! No more adhesive!"
Nate was playing in sawdust with his trucks (because that's how he rolls).
The walls were patched, painted, and ready for the cabinet guys.
The cabinet guys were waiting on a big check.
We were waiting on a ssssllllloooowww bank to process our loan request.

And now....

The cabinet guys have our cabinets ready. Because we're cost cutters (mainly out of necessity) we opted to purchase custom built cabinet fronts to put on our existing "bones" (that's cabinet guy lingo). We had to go with custom built because our cabinets didn't have a consistent line anywhere. Every door was a different size and wasn't always the same width from top to bottom. Good thing we have friends in high places...friends that are related to cabinet guys.

We did opt to have them also build a pantry for us to go around the refrigerator. We figured after all that door building, we would let them have a little fun. Did I mention that our walls aren't straight? We sure presented them with a challenge.

Here are some before/after pics just so you can see progress...





Things are finally starting to happen. It looks a little funky with no countertops or hardware but I finally feel like something is being accomplished.

Oh yeah, don't worry about that ugly hanging light in front of the pantry. It's coming down...soon.