Sep 5, 2010

What we've been up to

It's been 5 weeks since we've got the house, and the "rejuvenation project" - as my contractor calls it - is starting to take shape.

Rather than rambling on - nobody reads this blog anyway - why don't I just show the progress via pictures.  Here we go!

Living Room: We had the built-in bookcase removed, as we want to have an entertainment center or a library there.
before - with built-in bookcase
during - built-in gone + a literal hole in the wall
during - hole in the wall gone (pardon the increasing clutter)
On the other side of the former built-in, in the bonus room, we had a built-in cabinetry.  I hated it - it was finished in a half-assed manner and made the room felt like a garage.
cabinetry - ugh!  The backside of the built-in was hidden in this
About the only good thing about it was that it was very well built.  T and E had quite a workout demo-ing it.   I'm surprised the neighbors hadn't complained about the noise, because their method of "demo" is mostly hammering the hell out of everything until something falls down.

the other side of the hole in the wall, is the same hole in the wall.

Once the cabinets were gone and drywall up, the room feels much more open and airy, and less like a workshop.  I forgot to take a picture of the drywalled wall, but you're not missing much, seriously.

Ceiling:  The house throughout, except the main bathroom, has this type of wood slats and cross beams for the rather-low ceiling.
yup, a skylight.  It helps brightening up the living room.  Although it probably wouldn't be good for TV-watching.
We're going to repaint it with Benjamin Moore Simply White, so yours truly spent a good part of the past two weekends sanding all the slats and beams (twice for the gloss-painted kitchen ceiling) while T pretended to be busy with everything else to avoid participating in this activity.  I don't blame him, it's about as enjoyable as standing under hot steam while removing wallpaper.

Bathroom: We didn't plan on doing anything on the bathroom, since everything was in working order.  Ugly, yes, but functional.  Let's just wait on remodeling it later, after we move in. 
Of course, that was the original intention.  Lo and behold, one thing led to another:
sky-blue walls, brown tiles, vinyl floor.  Oh my.
original 50's tiles were removed.
The saying "they didn't make 'em like they used to" rang true in this case.  T and E were drenched in sweat after removing the tiles.  (It was also a 90-degree day, too).

empty slate.
I wanted to get a claw-foot tub, but they're apparently expensive and the underneath of the tub is unfinished cement and dirt.  So there went that idea... the tub stays :(

Next, I'll post an update on the other rooms.

Aug 22, 2010

Wall panels extravaganza

Remember the bedroom with the panels?
Yup, that's an emergency exit door.  In a bedroom.
Accordion-style closet door on the right.  Gag.
No, the color difference of the paneling is not from the lighting.  They are actually two entirely different style panels, in different colors.  Doesn't matter, they're out of here!

So T & E spent a few hours taking those panels out, and here's what they saw:
A failed black paint effort, covered up with mozaic-style tissue paper!
And this, on the opposite side:
I cannot look at pink and green the same way again.
I cried.  But I cried harder when I saw this wallpaper nightmare behind the fridge:

Ewww... I had to scrape all that?
Removing this particular wallpaper was just as bad as removing the twice-as-much painted wallpaper in the living room, especially since it's just gross.  I used my fabric steamer (Well, formerly fabric steamer.  It's pretty much ruined now.) to loosen up the glue, and scraped the wallpaper away.  The heat from the steamer and the general stinky-ness of the kitchen were not pleasant.

As long as we're still in the kitchen, here's a shot of another wall:
Somebody sure loves wall panels.
So we paid some painter to get the panels mudded, thinking we would just paint over it, rather than dealing with the suspected wallpaper underneath:

Apparently it was money not well spent, because our contractor suggested to get rid of the wall paneling altogether, because our fix attempt wouldn't last for more than a couple of years. So fine, let's take down the wall panels.

No wallpaper!!
The house is finally free of wall panels and visible wallpaper.  I can now sleep at night.

Aug 12, 2010

The 60-year old tiles!

My husband "T" made sure that I disclose on the blog, that most of the demolition work is by him and his BFF "E".   So there!

It's true that they both put a lot of time, thoughts, and effort, without which we could not have done this much in a relatively short time, so THANKS guys!

Underneath the carpet that we removed laid the original tiles from 1950, sitting firmly (stuck) to the cement subfloor.  Here, you can see reddish-brown tiles under the mangled carpet (we were quite inexperienced in carpet rolling).

With an impulsive decision, we started scraping them away with a couple of floor scraper, one of which broke, so I had to run to a hardware store to get another one.  During my break errand run, the guys found difficulty with many, many stubborn sections.  Thankfully, being creative problem-solvers that they are, we did not give up and call the pros.  (One thing we won't do is to pay somebody to destroy our things.  We'll do it ourselves, thankyouverymuch.) 

Hammers to the rescue!

That's right, T and E ended up hammering the sh*t out of those tiles, throughout the whole house, while I scraped away what I could.  Was I concerned about the foundation being cracked?  Hell yes!  But what could I do... they needed the exercise. 

Here's one pile-o-tile from one room... and we had 4 roomfuls of similar waste. 

And the cement underneath.

Everybody slept very well that night and woke up with sore arms and chest.

Aug 7, 2010

Demolition DIY

The thing with DIY fixing is, once you get rid of a certain thing, be it wallpaper, flooring, etc, you invariably find other things that need to be fixed.  Soon, you end up getting rid of everything and starting from scratch!

That's exactly what we're doing (not intentionally).

The house was covered with industrial carpet.  Industrial in the truest sense of the word.... rough, heavy, ugly (gray-ish dark blue, ladies and gentlemen - the most potent color to enhance the dreariness of a house.).  It's in a pretty good condition, actually, but it has got to go!  See it for yourselves:


Somebody sure loved their turquoise.  And fluorescent lighting.

The turquoise wall on the other side of the room is actually painted wallpaper.  Apparently somebody didn't know care that you're not supposed to paint over wallpaper, because your buyer will absolutely hate you.  (True, I do hate whoever painted over this wallpaper).

One of the bedrooms was covered with wooden paneling on three of the walls.  Why just three, no idea.  I stopped asking questions a while back.
 (horror! How do you like the mismatched paneling?)

So we ripped off the carpet, padding, tacking throughout the house and those wall panels.  Here's the pile of rubbish to be hauled away. 
(There's more carpet in each bedroom.  The bright light is not heaven shining down... it's the skylight.)

Good riddance - we're done with demolition!  Or are we?   More to come!

Aug 6, 2010

New old house

Apparently I can't get away from blogging after all.  I think it's that desire to be heard, regardless of whether anybody is actually paying attention.

This blog is created to document my home improvement and DIY efforts (my sewing blog is here).

Long story short, husband and I got the key to our new house - old "new" house - last week.

Here it is, perched on a slab concrete in its full glory:

*scramble around for pictures*


Well, apparently among the many pictures I've taken of this house, there's none that shows a full shot of the front of the house.  We'll have to make do with this:
(up to front entrance)

Some Sears salesman must have scored big time... the whole house is covered with vinyl siding.

Once the former occupants moved out, we realized there's a LOT of work needs to be done to bring this house up to our expectations.  A "lot" as in more than we expected.  The day after we've got the key, we went to work right away.  More to come!