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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

11 DIY Master Makeover Reveal

I finally put the finishing touches on my Master Bedroom, because frankly I need somewhere in my house that feels finished.

As I type this post, this is what my kitchen looks like:

So I wanted a place in the house that is clean, finished, and not under a centimeter of dust.  So I finished my master bedroom. Yay!

When we bought the house, this was the room. It had a nice rust paint job and pet-stained carpet.

This room as been a bit of a projectpalooza in the last few months, including a hand-built bed, painted duvet cover, and dresser-turned-TV stand, and it's all finally come together!

My last project was these fabulous mid-century nightstands. 

I found them at a used furniture store and bought them, and forgot about them in my garage.

I was thinking I needed new nightstands and was searching Craigslist when I heard Mandi from Vintage Revivals yell in my ear, "Rock what ya got Jen!" OK, maybe she didn't yell in my ear actually but maybe I just had read her blog and it was stuck in my head. Or maybe she yelled in my ear, who knows. You saw my kitchen, right? Hallucinations are part of the package when remodeling. There's a little crazy in that dust.

So I remembered the nightstands in my garage, and dug them out under the insulation, behind the bikes, and on top of another forgotten piece of furniture. Does anyone else's garage look like this? Yikes!

A little sanding, staining and some paint to the drawer fronts, and they're perfect!

My husband's side of the bed has a few of his favorite things..including a vintage map of Burgos, Spain (where he lived for six months) and a Vinyl Joshua Tree album. Best album ever!

My side of the bed includes some of my favorite things, like a signed copy of an Angels & Airwaves CD (favorite band), a box for my many home decor magazines, my scrapbook paper wall art and a poster I made... remind me to chill the heck out sometimes. Love that saying!

A couple more shots. . .

I just want to sit in my room and never leave it, but I guess I gotta keep going on that kitchen. You can only cook so much out of a dust-covered microwave! And Mandi, if you read totally yelled in my ear, right?  Oh well, I'll have to check to see if the domain name is available.

Linking up to 2014 Creating With the Stars.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

3 A Crazy Day in the Life of a DIY General Contractor

I woke up yesterday morning with a whole plan of how my day was going to go, and what I was going to get done. I was planning to finish this half-bathroom, where I am working on baseboards, planking, and finishing touches on the vanity:
Let's just say it didn't go the way I had planned. But when you are a DIY GC, you gotta learn to roll with it...and quickly!
Since I have been doing a lot of work like building 2 bathroom vanities and cutting molding outside, I closely monitor the weather every night to see if I have to break down everything I'm doing and bring it inside the crazy crowded garage. Although the forecast was clear skies, I quickly realized the wet morning fog was not going to help my day. I got my husband out of bed so I could drag my half-finished wet bathroom vanity into the house to dry it out. It ended up in my boys' bedroom. And yes, that is kitchen junk on shelves in their bedroom right now. We are living in a crazy construction zone!

Soon after I got a call from the tile guy who was supposed to come in a few days but got a break in his schedule. I told him to come, but had to hurry and fix a pony wall situation in the full bathroom we are adding. Yes, I just said "pony wall situation".

Last week I had two pony walls for the shower, one on the left (10 inches) and one on the right (24 inches) and then the glass door would go between. Well, the plumbers were here and I had them seat the toilet, and DOH! the toilet went past the pony wall. Which meant the glass door would open into the toilet. So, I had to take out the small pony wall on the left and build the pony wall on the right bigger 10 inches. You can see the extra piece I built in the picture. Super fast, of course, because the tiler was on his way!
As I was finishing the pony wall and the tiler was unloading his equipment, a dump truck showed up with gravel for the concrete for the new addition. It was a really big dump truck and I had no idea he was coming. My husband's car was sitting at the end of the long driveway, and was locked with a key in it, and I couldn't find the other key, and he wasn't home. So this is what a ginormous dump truck looks like when it comes within 4 inches of a car you can't move:
Yikes! Luckily I eventually found the key and moved it, because he dumped four more loads and it was super scary.
After the tiler showed up and got started I got a call from the counter company that my pieces of cultured marble were ready for the bathroom. I am putting 5 1/2" strips of cultured marble (solid white) on the edges of the pony wall, shower threshold, and walls to the ceiling for the glass to sit on. Also there is a seat in the shower so the seat will be out of cultured marble too. I got in my car and drove a half hour to the place to find out they were all wrong, wrong, wrong. 
Here is an education if you don't know how cultured marble is made (because I didn't!!). I thought they made it into slabs and cut crisp pieces out of it for back splashes and other straight pieces, like the strips I wanted. But, noooooooooo. They pour every single piece of it into a mold. So the edges come out bumpy and curved and crappy, unless you specifically ask them to polish them up, and you have to order extra length so you can cut the curvy crappy edges off to form a straight edge. So I went to pick up a bunch of pieces, and only ended up with one:
The shower seat, which now also lives in my boys bedroom.
On the way home from the unfortunate cultured marble education session, I got a call that the kitchen cabinets were being delivered. 3 hours earlier than they told me and about 2 weeks earlier than I originally expected. So I came home and scrambled to clean out my living room for them. And then the delivery guy showed up. 
And normally, I love deliveries, but this was crazy. Because on his tail was another load from the dump truck, and another truck/trailer with a Bobcat delivery. All at the same time.

The cabinet guy put all of the boxes on the driveway, because lets be honest, there was no where else to put them.

This is what my garage looks like right now, crazy town. And I haven't had a spare 2 hours to get it organized. Again.
When my husband came home, we started to tackle getting the kitchen cabinets out of the driveway and into the house. First the boxes came into the house, we opened them and took out the cabinets, and then the boxes came back out.

And started to pile cabinets into the living room, checking each one for damage.

Until it looked like this:

Yeah, no one will be going into that room anytime soon. 
I have decided being a General Contractor is a very hard job, and my hat goes off to those that do it and do it well. If you decide to do it yourself, get ready to roll with the punches...or you will get knocked out! I'm luckily still standing after yesterday. I'm going to go work on that bathroom now, unless my phone starts ringing again or someone unexpected shows up. Ahhh, the joys of remodeling!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

2 Day 30 of the Big Remodel!

Well it is one month into the big remodel, and I am in full-on remodel and project mode around here. Things are getting crazy. And really dusty. And my kids are doing things like eating chocolate cake for breakfast.

The weather here in San Antonio has been crazy and unpredictable, which only adds to my remodeling issues. It will be 70 one day, freezing the next. I posted this picture on Instragram that showed the tiny little white ice balls that showed up one morning... 

When it is freezing outside, I don't want to work on my projects in the garage, and I have several. Like the two vanities I am building that I can't finish because I do most of my building in the garage and outside.

Inside, we are making a lot of progress on the two downstairs bathrooms. The plumber has been here (a lot), and so has the framer, electrician, and HVAC guys. 

This is the ceiling on the half bath, above where the sink will go. There is a round light box for a pendant, a new fan on the left, and a new A/C duct on the right. Boy, bathrooms have lots of parts!

The full bath has a shower pan installed and a new tile floor!

Juan, my worker bee friend who does all of my framing, drywalling, and trim couldn't come on Thursday or Friday, so I hung the drywall in the half bath myself.  Here is the toilet area...

And here is the sink area...I even hung that piece on the ceiling myself!

I know it's not the prettiest job, but it doesn't really matter in most of the bathroom (except the sink wall), because I am starting to plank it.

Those two pieces took me about 1/2 hour to do because of the crazy angle. I had to make sure it was perfect. I have lots more to do, but I've got it started. Bad news is that it's supposed to rain the next two days and I cut my planks outside, so not sure when I'm going to get back to it.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, so Juan and his crew came over to remove an eyesore from the back of the house. It's hard to see in this pic, but there is a huge, poorly built double-decker wood patio on the back left of the house.

After a few hours, it looked like this:

And this...

And this...

Now it looks like this...

So don't open this door...

And look down...

Or to the right.

Good news is there is lots of new wood for outdoor projects!

Don't open this door downstairs either.

Because there are lots of nails and scary boards down there too.

And for sure don't tell my kids that if they pull the trampoline just a little closer to the house, they might be able to use this door after all.

 I'm trying to keep emergency rooms out of the picture, thank you very much. Even though he's been told "no getting in the dumpster" repeatedly, my 7-year son was still found playing barefoot in the dumpster, so who knows. Apparently Juan tried to scare him from getting into the dumpster by telling him there was a snake in it. Doesn't Juan know that is exactly what will make a 7-year old boy get in?

If the weather cooperates, big changes are coming this week, like a new concrete foundation for the kitchen addition. I'll be sure and keep you posted!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

63 The Counter Top Question: Granite, Quartz, or (Say What?!) Porcelain?

Well, it's day 13 of the big remodel, and my house is covered in a layer of concrete dust.

Because the bathrooms-to-be look like this (keep in mind these photos are taken in the dark, the bathrooms have no electricity in them right now):

Yes, there has be a whole-lotta jackhammerin' going on at my house. This is what happens when you want to make one toilet into two. Well first your plumber grunts and groans and tries to talk you out of it but eventually succumbs to your reasoning, and then this happens.

While the plumbers have been destroying the air quailty in my house, I have been running around town trying to find just the right everything. Right now I'm trying to decide what to do about kitchen counter tops.
I have had granite before; this is a picture of the kitchen in my last house:

And the house before that was quartz, and the house before that was laminate. And this house right now is (yuck!) tile. So I've lived with them all.

From the get-go, I've been thinking that I would use two different types of counter materials: Quartz on the outer counters, and Granite on the island. 

So I headed out on the town and pretty quickly found Quartz that would work on the three counters (a medium to dark brownish gray). A color I really like is Hanstone's Tiffany Gray. It can be seen in this picture from Houzz:

So, then I started looking for Granite. In my head the granite I want is very white. It would be marble if marble wasn't so difficult. While browsing on Houzz, I discovered the perfect granite which really isn't granite, it's apparently Quartzite. It has lots of names, one is "White Fantasy" or "Super White", and it looks just like marble but isn't high maintenance and stain-able like marble. Here is another picture from Houzz with this quartzite counter:

Gorgeous, right? But super elusive. I've been all over town looking for this, and it's like the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot. People are claiming to have seen it but no one has proof. I think there may be a counter top conspiracy out there to frustrate me: "Look, she's coming! Hide all of the White Fantasy!".

The only Brazilian Quartzite I've seen looks like this:

It's hard to tell, but it has a lot of brown and cream tones. And of course, it's all the most expensive class of granite, "Exotic".

So as I was getting ready to leave the granite supply place, she asked me what style I was looking for. I explained to her my dilemma and she pulled out some samples of something "brand new" that "no one else in San Antonio has yet". Well, of course, my ears perked, what could this be? What did you say again, Porcelain counter tops? Like what the toilets are made out of? She pulled out some samples, and they were gorgeous! They actually had a slab of it on the floor:

This was in one of the colors I'm looking at, called "cement". The most beautiful thing is, it all has a honed look, it's not glossy like Quartz or Granite usually is. It has a matte finish. And from what the brochures say, it is more durable then Quartz or Granite. This is what it looks like in a kitchen:

And best part is, it is supposed to be cheaper than Quartz, and some Granite. I am going to get it priced out, and I'll let you know. The mesh backing said that is manufactured in Spain (eeeek!). I love Spain! Maybe this was meant to be!

The product is called Neolith, and apparently it's super popular in Europe. It is just making its way to the United States, and is starting to get used. It comes in a whole range of colors, some solid some patterned. I am super excited about the possibilities! I am thinking of doing the whole kitchen in Porcelain, or maybe a Porcelain/Quartz combo. White Fantasy can stay just that, a fantasy--I want Porcelain! Or as the Spaniards say, "Quiero Porcelana!"