Monday, December 16, 2013

Shower Tile

 What better for a New York bathroom than Subway tile!?

They finished all the tile for the shower. I am so happy with how it turned out. The grey strip is actually smaller strips of marble. I'll get a close up once it is grouted. We think it breaks up the white tile and still coordinates very nicely with my marble floors. 

We can't decide if we should put in a curved or a straight shower rod. At our current apartment we have a glass panel which is very pretty but so impracticable for bathing children. So it has been awhile since we needed a shower rod. 

This is Juan, he is my absolute favorite contractor. He is such a hard worker and always cleans up at the end of the day. Plus everything he has worked on is now beautiful.

Sorry for the blurry iphone picture. But this is me being super paronoid about someone scratching my bathtub. I made Brandon buy a 20lb roll of "construction paper" to cover the tub, the bathroom and the hardwood floors (once they go in) I am not taking any chances. 

I think the bathroom may be the first room to be completely finished. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Stairs

I have been asked numerous times lately "How will you manage a baby and all those stairs?" (in a somewhat horrified tone). 

It is 17 steps. And I can totally do this. We are not the first people to ever live in a walk up with kids. 

Whole Foods, Amazon and J Crew all deliver. 

My stroller fits and is manageable, providing I don't weigh it down unnecessarily. Duke will soon be climbing these himself like a pro! 

Plus this completely eliminates my need for a gym! (bonus)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Weekend? What Weekend?

Title inspired by Kristen Jasper. 

This weekend was a long one. Brandon was running all over between Manhattan and Brooklyn. We ran into an issue with our Ikea Kitchen order. They couldn't give us a price quote on installation because they didn't have our "digital rendition" on file, when we had been expressly told by 2 different people that our drawings and plans would be fine. Nothing is as easy at it seems at first. But we got it straightened out and should get our quote this week. We could do the installation of the cabinets to save some money, but at this point we want it done right the first time. 

Our weekend was also complicated by Duke having super high fevers all weekend. Which was such a bummer. Poor little guy had no other symptoms except for a high fever. We were at the doctors Saturday afternoon, and had to stay home from church on Sunday. Being home bound while there was so much going on at the apartment was a bit tough, but I loved how extra snugly Duke was. So we made the most of it by watching Charlie Browns Christmas (multiple times) and taking naps together.

It isn't mudded yet in this picture but we dropped the ceiling (just a couple inches) in the kitchen to match the living room. So now it's one straight flush line. Brandon has been doing so much for this project.

Side note: we both have really broken in (ruined) a pair of jeans, my favorite Paige's are now my "work pants" (but don't judge me if you see me out in public with them) Brandon has (had) a really great pair of dark jeans that have been over there one too many times and have suffered the consequences. 

Bathroom is coming along, its been completely covered in green board and cement board. It's ready to be tiled and then painted. 

We raised the shower head well over a foot from its old location. Why do people insist on having such short shower heads? I'm short and it even drives me nuts. 

Another Living Room shot. Yes, we are still waiting on the doors. Home Depot says a delivery date of 12/25..... Is Santa Clause bringing them?

Our plumbers were here this weekend going over the pipes to make sure everything was OK. Once the tile is in and grouted they will come back to put on our new shower fixtures (which are pretty and shiny). 

After getting home I realized I didn't take a single picture of the kitchen besides this:

All I can say is "LAYERS" I guess that is the best way to describe this place. Brick behind the insulation, then it's lathe, plaster and drywall. I never want to open up any of these walls ever again. If (when) we ever do this again, I want to take a week and remove all the plaster. Its awful stuff, especially this horse hair plaster. It's very very heavy. 

But our electrician is finished, it too way to long but he is done. He'll be back to finish installing all the light fixtures and everything, but the general wiring is done. We are so excited about it. One less contractor and one more thing off our to do list

More work ahead this week but its starting to really look like a home! Our construction guy Carlos keeps saying "Getting closer!" and "Looks Good"

Monday, December 9, 2013

Time Capsule

So I am in the middle of doing an update post and I realized that we are pulling up some of the subfloor this week, this is my opportunity to put something under the floors for someone in 20, 30 or 50 years to find. 

What better than some type of time capsule? I need to act kind of fast on this because I only have until the end of the week to put it in. 

So I need some suggestions or ideas of what to include! I want to put in a letter about us and what we are doing for the renovation, a bit about our daily lives and maybe a photo. What else should go into a time capsule? 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Boxes Everywhere

There was a moment today where I felt suffocated by boxes. I don't even know how many boxes we received in the mail during the last 2 days. Our doormen probably hate us, (just kidding they are wonderful). But the biggest set was our pedestal sink. Which came in two 3.5 feet high boxes, we proudly marched them over to our new place  took them out of all the carefully packaged boxes only to find out that the sink was too big. We totally failed on this. So we grudgingly packaged them back up the way they came and slumped back home with them, wondering how do we were going to send back these gigantic boxes? Thank goodness we ordered it through Amazon. The return was pretty painless. 

Our ceiling fan, shower body, diverter valve, Duke's Christmas gift (a mini kick scooter.), the accent tile for the shower, and a package from Gigi (Duke's great grandmother) came today. I have marble floor tile sitting in my hallway. And of course the sink boxes didn't go out until almost six PM today. Not to mention that our high tech AC unit in it's gigantic box is still next to my table.  Yeah, Suffocated. 

We have several more things in transit that we are tracking like the pendant lights and our hardwood floors. Thank goodness we live so close to the apartment so we can bring stuff over easily! 

Like I said our pretty pedestal sink is being returned. So the hunt began for a new sink. I found a replacement pretty quickly and now it's on it's way. We have to be flexible sometimes when things don't work out. Here is our new wall mount sink with towel bar! Don't worry that is not the faucet we are using. But I'm excited about the towel bar! We are not 100% convinced this is the best one for the space but we are going to give it a go. 

We have such a busy weekend ahead of us! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Tiny Bathroom

In honor of our plumbing being officially started, I want to share our design plan for our super tiny bathroom!

4. Rain Drop 

I wish I could tell you that I was putting in a custom carrara marble vanity with double sinks, #inmydreams. In reality we are putting in a 18 inch pedestol sink. We could have cluttered the space with a 18-20 inch vanity cabinet, but they were all ugly. I really wanted to put a square ceramic sink in with a chrome leg base but that was so out of our budget it was silly. 

I picked out polished carrara marble floors. This 2 inch hexagon tile just does something for me. White subway tile will line the shower, we are going to accent it with some more marble. Chrome fixtures and Rain Drop colored walls. Brandon wanted blue and I wanted purple, so we compromised. After all isn't that what marriage is all about?

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Neutral Kitchen

I am in love with everything we have picked out for the kitchen. I choose not to pick anything large be bright colored so that I would be stuck with it. I prefer to rotate my pops of color. So in the spring you'll see pink peonies and maybe some light green dish towels and the summers will be filled with fire engine red bowls.

And of course, I got my navy blue pendant lights. Since navy was considered a custom color they were a bit more expensive than I had planned on. But they will be totally worth it. Navy is totally my color. I am looking for some tartan inspired tea towels. 

The Ceiling

The ceiling in the living room was pretty uneven, years of settling and remodels over the years will do that. 

So we made the decision to drop it just enough to hide the blemishes. It will be worth it to have an ever straight ceiling.

Here is is all drywalled in and partially mudded

What the grid looked like up and ready to have the last of the lights installed. 

With all our new lights on! The one in the center is going to be our ceiling fan. We are loving this whole room, and cannot wait to see it filled with our favorite things. There is absolutely nothing we can think to do with the pole, its not really condusive to the space to make it even bigger or add a second. At least when we have parties I can run streamers from it. 

Its amazing how fast our construction crew moves. they have knocked out both bedrooms and living room in a week or so, plus taken care of all the bathroom work!

Rebuilding- The Master

Sorry for the delay. We had a very busy Thanksgiving week. When we are not renovating we are living our lives with our little one, like this:
And this

but our home is starting to look like this:
this is where the opening to the nursery was.

Fireplace is all framed out and cleaned up. 

No more purple/blue walls! Although I was getting somewhat attached to color. We'll chalk that up to Stockholm syndrome. Its starting to look and feel real.  

We still need to strip all the window frames. I have been struggling with this because the Methlyomine Chloride is not cutting through some of the layers. Not even color change. MC is pretty strong stuff too. So I may need to invest in some Peel Away 1 or 7 just to make my life easier. 

Soon we can start talking about paint colors! 

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. 

Unknown Source
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!