Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Goldilocks Bathroom

Wow, we are feeling so blessed. We have recieved so many texts, emails and comments of support and encouragement after our times article (read it here). It was so exciting for us and we could not have been happier with it. We grabbed several copies on Sunday and were shocked to see our faces on the front page of the real estate section! We of course took cheesy pictures of ourselves holding the newspaper. It was a wonderful moment to be in. We feel like real New Yorkers now. Watch Out World!

I am working on responding to all the emails and comments, bear with me! We are busy packing and moving this week so that has been pretty time consuming. But have no fear, I will respond.

But here is the bathroom, with it's 3rd sink. Yes, third. First (pictured on my bathroom board) was too big, which was a error on our part. We thought it was 18 inches side to side, not front to back. Lesson learned. Second sink was a wall mount with a towel bar underneath. Super cute, but way too tiny for our main bathroom. It would have been awesome for a half bath. We did not really want a cabinet but we were running out of options and time and it fit the bill. So, we brought it home with us. Not to mention that you can never have too much storage in NYC. 

We are having mirror problems, we (I) can't decide if a full width mirror would be best or a smaller and scaled down mirror would be better. I found an awesome dresser mirror but its 1 inch too big and its wood, so it would get ruined in a bathroom. Maybe I'll find something stellar on Craigslist. fingers crossed!

I just bought a shower rod but have not committed to a curtain yet. We are moving in this weekend so I am going to need to make some decisions soon. I am going to show you all my spiffy shelves soon once I finish working with my great friend Carly who is the most organized person of all time. Since I am not that person she is going to help me with creating an awesome plan for that space. Lets be honest "stuff" is ugly. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

95% Done

Today was the first time Duke was ever allowed out of the stroller to run around. (I was meticulous last night about making sure every nail and screw were completely picked up.) He was in heaven. There is still some lingering dust on the floors it started to turn into a slip and slide, but he loved running in and out of each room and opening and closing all the doors. He even got in on our cleaning action this morning. 

Kitchen is all done, with the exception of 6 drawers. But done enough for me! I am going to take a fine grit sand paper and go over the top of the counter before treating it with mineral oil. 

More kitchen. I am so grateful for all of that counter space. I think our first order of business will be to bake some cookies as a family. 

We haven't decided if we want to repaint the interior of the window well Ivory or keep them blue. To be debated. 

Still my favorite bedroom. This is the room that makes me tear up when I think about the whole process. I can't wait to start bringing in our own things and putting in curtains and blinds. 

I completely forgot to take a picture of the bathroom today. But that can wait. It's not as cute as this:

My little helper. 

All Night Cleaning Session

We were cleaning this place until 4 AM. When we left there were people delivering the day's food and trash was being picked up. I don't know if we have ever seen the city at that hour. We had to take out mounds of trash, mostly cardboard and packaging boxes. Then we had to tear off all the red rosin paper to get to the hardwood floors and finally be able to see them. I was doing most of the vacuuming and removing the floor paper while Brandon installed the doors to the cabinets.  Here is a sort of time line for how the apartment went this weekend.

Saturday Night:
 Sunday Night 7:00 PM
 Sunday Night 9:00 PM
 Monday Morning 1:00 AM
 Monday Morning 3:30 AM

Taking up all the paper was tedious because we had to rip it up in sections to try to contain the dust that had settled on top of it. But we are in love with our hardwood floors. And even though we were up all night it was worth it. However we are paying for it dearly today. 

Kitchen Installation Part 2

Appliance Delivery: I wish I got more pictures of this process, but I had Duke in the stroller and there was some extreme jack hammering going on 15 feet to the left of where these guys were all standing. I would have also been in the way and it was raining. So Duke and I watched from Dunkin Donuts across the street. (Have I mentioned that a Dunkin Donuts is across the street? They know us already...

The trouble with the delivery was that once they showed up, the delivery crew said they couldn't take the appliances upstairs, because they would have to be lifted over the banister. A very not happy Brandon even offered them more than they make in a day to do it, but still nothing. So Brandon, my brother Brian who was here for the weekend and Carlos hoisted it all in their selves. I was impressed as I watched them do it and figure it out. They told me the worst piece was the washer because it was so heavy and the fridge because of the height was tricky, but made it in unscathed. 

A big THANK YOU to our friends in the downtown area we texted (way too early) on Saturday morning to come help us, but it ended up being much quicker than anticipated, and everyone was able to go back to bed. We are so glad we are staying so close to all these peeps even though some of them are leaving us very soon. 

A quick note about Brandon: He has worked so hard on this place, not only does he have a full time job, but he is always over at the new place working on anything he can. He spent this entire weekend working through the pain of a kidney stone. He said he wasn't in much pain Saturday until Saturday night when he was installing the ceiling fan and all of a sudden he went white with pain. It took almost 30 minutes for the pain to subside and when it did, he went back to work before heading home. 

If you have ever had a kidney stone you can sympathize, I have experienced both a kidney stone and giving birth and people always ask which is worse, and there is no real answer. Kidney stone pain feels like a 20-30 minute contraction (labor pain) straight. But it goes away right after for hours, days or weeks. You never know if and when the pain will come back. Unlike labor pain which comes and goes for hours (and hours). 

Needless to say, Brandon is a rock star and this place would not be as amazing with out all of his efforts and attention!

Cabinet, Counter and Appliance Installation: 

Counter top for the washer and dryer.

I joked with a few friends that these are my new toys. I am so excited to do laundry! (I love doing laundry, HATE folding it)

I love all of this. Its so fun to peel all the protective layers off the appliances.

I am so grateful my brother Brian was here this weekend. He and Duke played all day Saturday so I could go on multiple Home Depot trips and help with some major installation decisions. We wouldn't have been able to it with out him. 

We got a really late start the next day. Brandon needed more sleep and our construction guys had something come up so they would be running late. Which is fine, but we were on a deadline for Monday morning so we  really needed to push it the rest of the day to get the work done. 

Also really grateful for the Goforths who volunteered to take Duke for the afternoon (they are saints). I don't think we would have made our deadline with out them because I had so much stuff to do, that I couldn't do with Duke in tow.

Paneling pieces being cut.

Upper cabinets going in! 

Last base cabinet Hooray! 

Fixing something with the dishwasher

Time to put doors on and start cleaning the apartment. 

Kitchen Installation Part 1

Brandon's dad, John, came to help assemble the kitchen last weekend. They knocked out all of the assembly and installed almost all of the base cabinets and counter tops. It was a little tricky because the floors are still a smidgen unlevel (yes, even after the floors got leveled...) so there was some adjusting that needed to happen.  Brandon and his dad really did a great job it was amazing to come through out the day to see the progress! 

A kitchen in boxes

The assembly line

Lets be honest this weekend was really about bonding. 

My living room... So much stuff needs to get out of here.  

Then I came back the next day and BOOM! My kitchen is coming together! They have knocked this thing out of the park so far! Looks great doesn't it!?

I am so glad I chose the apron front sink, even though I had originally wanted the 30" I am going to be just fine with the 24". So many plans got changed throughout this remodel, some decisions were made based on cost, others on fit and size, I have learned a great deal about prioritizing my needs for the apartment. (see post about window trim, ha)  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Updates on Painting and Progess

Clean, fresh and new paint. We are so excited to see the beginnings of our design elements come to life. It's very hard to focus on things like paint colors when you are busy deciding where the outlets should be placed and what the best way to configure the kitchen is. But with some help from my very talented friends who helped give me inspiration. We were able to go forward with paint and decor decisions. I am so grateful to have so many friends whom I used as sounding boards. Y'all are the best. 

Stripes for Duke! I went with these thick, preppy and very boy stripes. We love them. They came out exactly as I had envisioned. I can't wait to get furniture in here and some art on the walls. We got a very cool  vintage NYC map from Brandon's sister Brittany for Christmas and we think it would look great hung in here. 

As you saw from my last post we went for this Aqua color in our bedroom. We are really happy with it. Its not "Little Boy Blue" or anything, its a very calming Robins Egg shade. My dad and brother are hopefully coming up next weekend to build our fireplace mantle. At this time of year almost everything is "weather permitting" so hopefully the weather is good for them to come up. 

This room is victim to poor nighttime lighting, but it was really to show the newly installed shelves in the bathroom and our finished floor and shower! But the walls are more purple than these pictures show. I will re photograph them sometime this week. But it looks stupendous. 

While we were in Virginia for a few days after Christmas the floors and doors were installed. They are completely covered to avoid having something happen to them during the next 2 weeks. So when they come off I'll make sure to post a picture. 

Whats left to do?

Install all the plumbing fixtures (Toilet, shower head etc.)
Install baseboards and door trim
Install light fixtures
Install all electrical outlets and switches
Finish assembling kitchen cabinets
Appliances get delivered this Saturday
Pack up our current apartment
Find a bathroom mirror

A much shorter list than we had weeks ago! And in addition to all of this we have to pack! I forget sometimes we will be physically moving. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Mister's Master

In the almost 5 years we have been married we have never really cared about the design of our bedroom. White walls, what ever furniture we had and the occasional curtain or picture on the wall. Our bedspread has always been a white and brown monogrammed duvet cover. We could never seem to agree on a head board, or the one we both loved was outrageously expensive ( typical). So we just never bought a head board or a rug, or anything really. 

Now, the thought of having our own bedroom, and not a bedroom/living room/dining room combo has really made us excited about our new room. But designing a space for two people was harder than I thought. I am not a girly girl but I do love a good floral now and then. But I would feel guilty subjecting my husband to a room he secretly (or not so secretly) hated for the next couple years. So I am trying to give us both a room we could really love. No pink or floral but some some feminine curve details throughout, mixed with some hard masculine lines. All in colors we both love. 

(But I am going to try to sneak a little floral in there somewhere)

Friday, January 3, 2014

What happens when you are stubborn

One thing that really made me fall in love with our little place was the window trim and old pocket shutters, although no longer operational I still saw them as character and something very special about the apartment. I was told by our wall guys (several times) that it would look better covered up. I was pretty set on the fact that we were going to keep them and we were just going to strip the paint off. And all would be right in the world.


Stripping the window trim was the biggest nightmare of all and my biggest mistake for being too sentimental and attached to them. We tried Methalyne Chloride, which is harsh but only took off one layer of paint at a time and would have taken us months to strip into all the groves. We bought the pricey and highly rated Peel Away product. Which left us with a gigantic mess. There was just too much latex, oil and most likely lead paint. We decided it was not worth the health risk or our time to continue any longer, so Christmas Afternoon the trim came off. Of course we had already started painting, so we had to get everything patched up and mudded before we could proceed.  This definitely put us behind schedule. I am supremely annoyed with myself for getting too attached to something silly like wood. But the good news is that the pocket shutters are still there, just behind a wall now. 

I did manage to knock off a lot of paint off the old gas valve, only to discover more of it still hidden behind the wall after Brandon took off the trim. But its very pretty, it has a tiny star detail on both sides and a beautiful scroll work turnkey.

A mottled mess. They were never going to look quite right. And all of this was a very frustrating process.

As it was Christmas Day, I was with Duke while Brandon took off the trim and was not there to photograph that happy event. 

I spent so much time working on the windows and it took Brandon less than 2 hours to take it all off. 

New Sub Flooring // Very Old Floors

There is nothing, seriously nothing exciting about sub flooring. But if you have been to the apartment and seen how uneven the floors were when we started you know how much I have dying to get them leveled.

Here is how the Kitchen Floors were layered (top to bottom)

Parquet Floors
Plywood Sub floor
Plywood Sub floor
Old Hardwood Floors, in some areas with shims
Really old Hardwood Floors

6 layers.

The bottom layer of hardwood was amazing. Over 1" thick pieces. But time and lack of care have not been kind to them, they are still in great shape, but had been cut and all but destroyed. We found the old (dead) gas lines in between the floor boards. Which is why they probablly covered them up. So when ever this place was fitted for gas was when most of the renovations we see today took place.
Linoleum does not last.

Even though we are in fact paying someone to do this work, Brandon still likes to do what he can to speed the process up. 


Amazing hardwood under there. 

So thick, and we had no idea what was underneath the floor. We decided not to poke around. 

So so so many uneven layers. WHYYYY? 

New Sub floor in the living room.

Brandon, not letting me take a picture of him.

Also, this is of no importance or relevance but this is what we have to do when there is no way we can fit long strips of base trim through the front door. Brandon wouldn't lean back out of the window to let me take a picture of him. (husbands....)