Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekend Purchases

Saturdays are officially our Home Depot shopping days. Duke has been such a trooper, we go armed with necceseties to keep him entertained in the stroller, an iPad and goldfish. 

We ordered doors, floors and so many electrical outlets and switches.
I love the look of these Jen Weld doors. We had originally thought to get a six panel door, but I decided I liked this simpler look more. We were going to get the model with a full sized mirror on the back but it made the door hollow, which is what we didn't want. So we skipped it in favor of a solid core door. We have no idea yet what kind of handle we want. Knob or handle? 

We chose Prefinished Maple Hardwood Flooring. The color is called "Maple Amber". We could have absolutely choose to put in the engineered flooring, but we have that in our current apartment and we really don't like it. Its cracked in several places and some areas feel as if they will soon be splintery. So we opted for real 3/4 inch hardwood floors.

When we were at Home Depot about a month ago, we spotted these Legrand Adorne light switches and outlets. They are so fantastic. We are totally saying adieu to boring and dull! We bought these for every light switch and outlet. Even though we chose white switches and white gang plates. I was drooling over the white trimmed plates, but they would have killed my entire budget. 

I love getting to pick out our finishes. Its more fun than buying drywall screws, let me tell you. We could have put standard wall sockets and switches in but we absolutely love the look and feel of these. It will be hard to leave them one day. 

Everything Out and Everything In

Sorry for the delay we spent all weekend shopping for finishes and freezing our tushies off in this weather. 

Just when I thought we were making progress and was looking really good. Everything open and empty, like this picture below. 

 But then our wall repair guys started on Saturday and our place filled up FAST with materials. But look what a wonderful job they have done in just one day. I cannot wait to go back and see what they did today. 

Not so scary fireplace anymore! I cannot wait to build this out! I am sorry to say that the brick in there has to get covered up. It has so many cracks and is very uneven. But like I have said before it is no longer a functional fireplace, so there is little love lost.

The enterance to the nursery was closed off and sealed. So long to our thoughts of a secret bookcase door! (maybe for the next renovation...) 

The awkward walls in Nursery Wall were cleaned up. You can still see that the mud is drying still. I fought tooth and nail to keep the archway from being closed up. I am the only one who appreciates it I suppose. 

While the Master and the Nursery were drying, all the materials were in the living room. Boy was there alot. We ended up taking off the baseboards in the two bedrooms just to make ourlives easier. They were in terrible shape and were not worth saving. 


I honestly think there are at least six ladders in the apartment right now. 

Layers of plaster, and drywall. The apartment definitely went through a "Blue Period" I have found blue paint in every single room. 

I counted at least 4 layers of wall paper by the "old door" 

Vintage wall paper, under blue paint. I wonder what this once looked like. 

Super faded wall paper. I have been trying to chip off some of the blue paint to see what the design was. 

The apartment was wired at one point! We were pretty surprised, this is all old cloth covered wire! We have uncovered several receptacles throughout the apartment. I bet if we took off the layer of drywall around the place we would find most all of them. But someone decided that all the electrical was no longer worth it and just covered it up. 

Bags and Bags of Joint Compound. And it still wont be enough.... 

More to come on our weekend purchases!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Herringbone Brick for the Fireplace

I love herringbone and I love the way it looks in architectural elements like brick. I love the way it adds depth to a fireplace to make it a focal point instead of an overlooked point. 

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Masonry fireplace with Rumford firebox using buff firebrick laid on the flat in a herringbone pattern.

I love the look of brick, but I have had a nagging a feeling like it needs to be more "special"... I think it needs to sparkle or have a metallic feel. But maybe not, I need some suggestions on these: 

I fell in love with these tile samples I came home with from Artistic Tile. I feel like if we put candles in the fireplace it will sparkle and shine. I may need to DIY this because these pieces are listed as $$$. I haven't yet got a quote for them, but $$$ is never a good sign.  Read this PDF to see it in action 

This is tough decision because there are so many choices. Thoughts?

*the current brick is in rough shape and half concealed behind a metal piece in the back which we don't want to try to remove. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Getting Started in the Bathroom

Bathroom Demo Selfie. Again, I was working at night so pictures are a little off. But its my alone time and I cherish it. I also love my work gloves. 

I only had about 45 minutes so I decided to start taking down the tile in the bathroom. It may look like we are wrecking something perfectly fine, but we decided that the bathroom had some serious flaws that we were really going to have to take care of. Like the unlevel bathtub and the very sloped floor as well as nothing being square. 

The previous cheap towel bar and tp holder just popped right off. The mirror was too high for me to reach the screws. So Brandon will help me get that down later this week. 

So behind the tile was drywall, and behind that, more thin set (probably from the last reno) and more drywall. Beyond that, we'll have to wait and see. I did discover that at one point the bathroom was a rust/burnt orange color. I started to pull of the cement backer board from around the tub but it went up too high for me to be able to get leverage. (Perils of being short) But even with the work I did in 45 minutes, I am so sore in my arms and back. This is not work for those who are timid or are afraid of noise, sweat and dirt.

More to come this week on the bathroom!

Removing the Old Floors

We had to remove three types of flooring to make way for our new hardwood. 
Parquet in the Kitchen
Laminate in the Living Room
Carpet in the bedrooms

We found some lovely water damaged sub floors and discovered the parquet was glued down to last for eternity. Even though most of the wood was damaged by water or scratches. (Pardon our horribly lit pictures. We work late into the night) 

We love our handy crow bar and hardened rubber mallet. The rubber is much quieter than metal on metal, which gives you a serious migraine after about two minutes. 

As you can see each of the square practically explodes into multiple pieces. Leaving lots of little scraps all over the place and a lot still stuck to the floor. 

My number one handy man. He can do it all! He has been working so hard to make this apartment our home.

I married a good one! 

Junk Junk Junk. The laminate floors were easy to pull out after we got the first few planks pulled up. The carpets were so gross. I am doing everyone a favor by not ever showing them. I am now a firm believer that rentals should never ever (ever) have carpet. 

We are now ready to make way for hardwood! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

We Bought a Kitchen

Usually when people start the "We bought a......." phrase it's generally filled with terms like House, Car, Dog, Etc. followed by as many exclamation points deemed necessary by the purchaser. So today:

We Bought A Kitchen!!!!!!!

We trekked out to Ikea Brooklyn and bought everything for our kitchen. Cabinets, doors, hardware, hinges, panels and counter tops. My countless hours configuring the layout paid off big time. We got the entire kitchen ordered in under 2 hours. We had prepared for 4 hours, which about how long it takes most people. I came prepared with every single piece needed to be ordered, itemized with codes on a speadsheet. Our Ikea team member Malcolm P. made the process simple and enjoyable. He appreciated that I had a plan and didn't need to sit a computer for 3 hours to come up with a design.

Duke was asleep in the stroller for about the first hour of my ordering process which took care of most everything. The second hour consisted of some serious discussions on door knobs and handles. There was some compromising and some marriage building going on at Ikea today. Everyone came home happy today. 

Which may be because we didn't haul anything home. Everything is being delivered and installed. 11 sets of cabinets, 48 square feet of counter tops and oodles of extras. 

Duke approved. We can't wait to show you the kitchen!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nursery Inspiration

 Let's be honest. I was ready for Duke to have his own room months ago. He has a sneaky habit of getting up early to wake up the sun. But its happening now and I feel unprepared for what I should do with his room. It will be his bedroom and play room, and when the stork decides to comes again, a shared room. 

Wall of maps
You are my world print lenziw
a DIY wallpaper ceiling using paint and contact paper Photography by,  Design by #Nursery #SMPLiving

Sublet map wall. (Elina Dahl)

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I have collected several world globes over the years and would love to do something with them for his room. I would also like to make my life difficult by painting the ceiling. The room is just begging me for some ceiling love. It told me so. I love mint blues and greens with red and silver pops. I want to incorporate the arch way into my design so it doesn't get overlooked or forgotten. Be prepared for a good Michon sized dose of navy blue in there too.  This is my home after all.

Electrical Progress

From the beginning the electrical was terrifying. We knew that new (safe) electrical work was our number one priority. I don't know if becoming a parent or just being a logical person that opened my eyes to suspicious junction boxes and some exposed wires being "hazards". I'm going to pat myself on the back and call it being a logical parent. 

The previous tenant, left an enormous electrical bill behind, so we practically sent every verification possible to Con Ed to get them to turn it back on. Just to prove it wasn't us who left the bill, which is completely understandable. I must say even though they required a lot from us they were absolute peaches about getting it back on, and quickly too. (Thanks ConEd!)

Mike, our electrician has installed some temporary outlets and lights so he can work much faster. To be honest getting the stuff put in behind the walls is not my idea of  a fun and exciting renovation.

But for the first time ever, I saw the apartment with lights on. The whole place felt big and open and maybe for the first time a little happiness started to shine through. 

These lights are only temporary, they will become recessed as it goes along. I really pushed for recessed lighting in the kitchen and living room. It made the project a little bit more expensive but it will be worth it. 

Who knew a little light bulb could make me so happy! Even though I am shuddering at the thought of having to close up all these seams in the ceilings and walls. We are hoping to have all the electrical work sewn up by next week. Unfortunately its only one minor check off my list. We still need the plumbing done, the bathroom updated, the floors installed, cabinets ordered and installed and so much more.... 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fireplace Mantle Inspiration

I need to make a decision about the design of my mantle. My wonderful dad is going to build me exactly what I want. I love the idea of adding in middle height and dentil molding without a deep mantle. Also should the trims and moldings be extended to the ceiling or stop at the mantle piece? 

Here are a handful of my favorites I have collected


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#emmaloohouse » Emma Loo Photography Mantle Decor Ideas

mantle decorating
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earthy mantel decorating #diy

this reminded me of your house- clean and fresh like how we did the bathroom

great mantle with perfect asymmetrical symmetry Bergere Chair: The ABC's of arranging shelves- Part 2

If you had a mantle in your bedroom what style would you have built?

Kitchen Design Evolution

There are lots of parts to this kitchen. Its far from typical. Not an L, U or any normal kitchen layout

The biggest headache is the beautiful but low window, which prevents me from putting a counter underneath it with out it looking out of place. Standard counters come up 34.5 inches from the floor. The window only comes up 29/30 inches, depending on the area of floor in the kitchen. Did I mention yet that the kitchen floors are not level? Years and years of settling. No concrete foundation here. Although I would love to see the foundation of this place./ 

I would love to make it a window seat though. not a big one. But something little that Duke can stand on and watch for Brandon to come home from work. 

So I need to fit all my appliances in the space. It is real life tetris. But its never that simple, being mindful of plumbing, gas and electrical lines can make some restrictions on your best laid plans. Plus, being limited to pre-finished cabinet sizes and to top if off. Also, the house is not square. It was built on a corner lot which has an angle. It's most prominent in the nursery, where there is a 9 inch discrepancy from front to back. 

All of that a side. This kitchen is going to be beautiful.

Yes, I doodle. Nothing is ever to scale but that doesn't really matter. I can see what this place is going to become.This first plan has a 30 inch apron front sink. I fell in love with the Kohler sink at Water Works.  This is one thing that has to be given up. Not in the cards for this renovation, factors included cost, lack of Ikea 30" cabinet for the sink etc. But I will carry on. A 24 inch sink will make me just as happy. It also improves the line of sight from the front door.  

So this side will be my main work area. I couldn't be happier with a double depth counter/ bar connecting to the living room. Since the original kitchen had 2 different depths, I can fill the space with more counter. I have plans on hanging these enamel barn lights over top. Once I commit to a color. 

We are installing Ikea cabinets in this renovation. If this was our forever home it would be custom cabinets. (I would have also made room for the 30 inch sink) I love the idea of white/ off white cabinets with butcher block counters. Several people have warned me of the evils of butcher block, but I think they are gorgeous and are not that hard to take care of. I have never been one to plop raw chicken on my counter anyways so I am not worried about contamination. 

Isn't it beautiful?

Butcher block counters just look so warm and inviting. It's sometimes hard to find warmth in such a modern city. This city is mostly iron and marble, both pretty cold. And this is my house, not the lobby of The Plaza. 

I am still working on the details of the other side of the kitchen. But the fridge will have an accompaning cabinet and counter. While in the pantry is going to be a washer dryer combo. Details are still a little vague on this. I am deciding how to make that space as efficient (aka maximizing storage) as I can. That wall is going to have 5 feet worth of cabinets, Which will be a great deal more storage than we have had in any other kitchen. Maybe I can sneak an ironing board in between the studs. Since its too small to close off, I can't just put up open shelving. It wouldn't suit. So maybe I'll invest in the extra high cabinets. Since the ceilings are 10 feet I can get away with a bit in there. A few people suggested I stack the washer and dryer. I would like to remind them that I am only 5'1" (2" if I am feeling spritely). Things get hard to reach sometimes. 

Still working out some kinks and nothing will be finalized until its installed. 

Truth: The lay out has been the biggest headache. But after meeting with our plumber I fell much better about my plans. I seriously lost sleep over the layout of the kitchen. But now I can rest easy because now I think it will function for the needs of our family.  Since this is really "my room" it really has to work for me first.