I am still doing this

Well for those who I have met through this concept of renovations, I have one thing to ask/say; How do you possibly do all the work and still have time to blog about it.  Wow… I am so impress with you all!

So here’s my current deal: I am working on the  kitchen while we also prepare the floors for refinishing.  We are basically camping at the house due to the fact that we are not moving in until the floors are completed.  That means an air mattress, and a hot plate and limited clothing and all the other useful things you have in your own home….like drawers and hangers, and something other than lawn chairs to cozy up on after a huge day of work.

To make a long story short about the kitchen: this is our semi redo, with major work to be done later down the road.  We plan to move all the appliances and the outside door at some point in time.  But for now I am changing it enough to satisfy our need to make it our own.

I stripped the floors down to the wood.  Maple covered with a black tar-like substance that I think has asbestos in it.  Anyway I will be covering that this time around, and next time they will be restored to the maple. I had to remove two layer of floor coverings, some people have found much worse.  One woman I know found tile and linoleum, three layers of it on top of carpet…..that is just too gross for me to think about.

For now we are going to tile with Armstrong peel and stick black and white vinyl tiles.  Apartment Therapy followers will recognize the strip pattern, I think this will work well in the space and I also think it’s cute and fresh.  One thing you all should know – you can only get this tile from Menards on-line.  I used to be able to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and get it any day of the week.

click to enlarge

We are replacing the tiny counter with a wood, and keeping the original cupboards be leaving the top doors off. Our appliances are black, and rather large.  Everything will just fit, but I have to solve the problem of no work area, prep area.  We are thinking of making/buying a piece that would extend out from the wall between the outside door and the doorway to the small room off the kitchen where the frig will be.  I will let you see what we come up with once we are finished.

I have been working for the last year and a half to become somewhat of a minimalist.  The open cabinets will help to keep me in check, because I cant hide clutter this way, everything will be in the open. We will have a pantry, (the old coat closet) and I plan to have that super organized.  I can dream, can’t I?

click to enlarge

Forgot to mention, the back splash was a crooked nightmare without any grout. This is a small area and I am planning on subway tiles.  Simple and somewhat predicable, but I like the era of the tiles and I believe they will be perfect for  this 1923  house.

There’s one wall I don’t have a photo of (atm) and it has a two double hung windows next to each other.  The wood work will remain white, and currently I am thinking of a red-orange accent wall to make the window pop.  This may change at any moment – as with a black and white kitchen your options are endless. My inspiration, a lily, had wilted in the process of matching….but it’s close.

I have a few photo additions to my garden as well check it out if you like….. Cheers!


Front garden in process

I have to give what is there a chance to grow to see exactly what I have.  I hope to sculpt the bed soon and add plants and flowers, and reshape the old fashioned shurb roses after I see how the grow.  They were way overgrown and very weak.  Now is the time to bring them back to life.

So this is really the “before”, that provides me the canvas fro the real “after.”

Veggie Garden – before

This are is fenced off area behind the garage.  It is separate from the rest of the back yard, the dog yard, so it make perfect sense to make is a vegetable garden.

It measures 14 x 18 feet.  Bigger than I imagined.  I may start with a smaller initial planting areas until I get more experience.  Last thing I want is an unruly garden with poor design…..I am saving that for the front yard, not the mini farmers market.  I am pondering doing three 8 foot by 4 foot raised beds.  That will get me started without having to plow the entire space.  I imagine I will learn a lot this first year, so I consider this a phase 1 renovation, not a final destination.

Here is the space:  Thinking of some sort of screen to block the view of my neighbors lawn furniture.  Any Suggestion are welcomed.  I have seen a lot of reclaimed wood projects and may do that for now.  It might actually hold up design-wise since this is an old school veggie garden. And we will be repainting the back of the garage.  We may also decide to add a door that would lean in to a garden work place.

behind the garage fenced veggie garden

I started some of my crops by seed.  I have radishes, tomatoes, two types of lettuce , spinach, basil, cilantro, oregano, and swiss chard.  I am following an article I saw in a magazine.  These are early crops.

Here the article I am trying to somewhat follow:

Bathroom – before

We have still not closed on our house but, the listing has moved to pending which means it’s 100% accepted and in process.

When I left my last house I thought the only room I was going to miss was the third floor bathroom.  (shown below) I am sure I blogged about it somewhere.  I was in loved with the claw foot tub.  Actually these tubs are hard to find still in homes, as many people ripped them out to install a more modern tub shower combination.

our old house's 3rd floor bathroom

Fast forward to the bathroom in our new house, and I still get a vintage tube, only it’s on a pedestal.  More of an Art Deco look.  I will adjust.  The floor is small white (really filthy white) octagon tiles.  Original to the date of the house.  A few are missing I am hoping to be able to replace them and keep the original floor

Here’s another view of the before bathroom below : showing the tiles, the pedestal, and the part of an rather ugly sink.

There is paint on the glass part of the window, actually paint is everywhere which I hope to be removing and replacing with something more appealing.  Remember we are doing all this work on a shoe-string budget.  So I may be limited in my choices.  We want to fix everything, make it appealing to live in, and then eventually either sell or keep as a rental.

At least that’s the plan at the moment.  I really like the house, and yard, and may not want to leave once we are finished.  Only time will tell.

Dining Room – before

This is the dining room. As you can see the floors need a total overhaul.  But the leaded cabinets are in great shape.  These windows look out onto the back yard.

We have chandelier that we bought at a estate auction while we were living in the Dallas area.  It’s circa 1930’s and it has been in every home we owned since then, so as soon as it is in, the house will feel more like it’s ours.

Even if I wanted I new chandelier I don’t think I could bare to change something that has been a constant in our lives.

At least not yet.

I actually like the chandelier that is in the photo. I may be able to paint it and re-purpose it.  That would be a huge win.

Closing time

We are waiting for the final papers to sign today.

The listing has moved to contingent status and we are due to close soon.   We are both very excited even though we know that all renovations have to be completed on a shoe string budget.

This house gives me the opportunity to really get rid of things I don’t need or want any longer.  I am not going to blow this chance.  I have been downsizing for the better part of the last two years.  And I am planning yet another sale for the second half of next month.

We can’t wait.  It’s a wonderful way to embrace spring, a new beginning on so many fronts. Cheers.