Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hall Storage Closet

We have this awesome storage closet upstairs. I wish it were on the main level, because I can easily store all of my cleaning supplies, brooms, swiffers, and vacuum in it; however, it's better having it upstairs than not having one at all. I feel like it's more than a closet, because of it's size. It could easily be compared to Harry Potter's bedroom located under the stairs on Privet Drive, but I digress. . .

The closet was not in the best condition. We noticed that it has hardwood floors like those throughout the house; however, they are a really dark color. We think the closet contains the original floor stain; thus, we assume the floors have been redone at some point in their life. The closet also appears to have been wallpapered and then painted over. However, there were some stains on the shelves and walls that gave the closet an eerie feel (Although, this could be associated with my fear of closets thanks to my grandma. She always told us Gremlins lived in her closets upstairs, and we were not allowed to go in them. Thanks grandma for those nightmares).

I decided to paint the closet a light grey color. My decision was based on the fact that we had gotten the paint to repaint the kitchen. However, after painting the dining room & living room, I decided I liked the neutral color already in the kitchen & repainting the kitchen is pointless at this point. I only used about 1/3 of the can, so the rest of this color will probably be used in other closets.

The pictures don't really grasp the depth of this closet. From door entry to back wall, there is easily 8 ft. (I'm horrible at estimations, but one could lay in the closet). Again, I'm not a fan that most of my cleaning supplies are upstairs (I do keep a couple things under the kitchen sink). However, I have sort of solved this issue by using a "cleaning caddy" (located on the 2nd shelf from the top). It has a few of my main cleaning supplies that are used in multiple rooms (paper towels, swiffer duster, windex, multi-purpose spray, sponge, magic erasers, etc). That way, when I'm in cleaning mode, I just carry the caddy around with me.

I tried to convince my nieces that they were going to be sleeping in this room. One (the oldest) was excited (she was the one that suggested it be like Harry Potters), but the other two nearly broke down in tears at the thought. I guess they also have nightmares eerie closets, they were just never told about the Gremlins by grandma. I was going to tell them about grandma's house when I got jabbed in the side by my mom. I guess some things will just not be passed to the next generation (who are we kidding, I'll tell them the stories when they're older).

Bathroom Transformation

Our 2nd full bathroom was in dire need of some help when we moved in. It was pretty outdated, run down, and kind of dangerous. It was dangerous for 2 reasons: #1. There was a nice thick layer of black mold in the old drain plug & #2. The track and wheels of the doors for the shower/tub were bent. With a simple wrong move of the door, one could easily send the door crashing into the tub. Due to the different marks in the tub, this apparently happened a few times (once to us personally). Because there was a big mirror in one of the doors, we were just waiting for a big accident to occur.

When we first bought the house and were assessing things that need to be done, a total bathroom make over was projected for the distant future. Steve jokingly gave me a $200 budget to "revamp" the bathroom so we could get by for a few years. I succeeded in revamping the bathroom with a mere $35 and advice from my sister :).

While my sister and her family were visiting a few weeks ago, my sister helped me take down the old wooden shutters from the window and put in new blinds.

[Here is a shot of the bathroom before we moved in. You can see some of the wood shutters on the window.]

[Wooden shutters have found a new home in the basement (and by new home, I mean the scrap pile)]

[New blinds]

Once we got the window taken care of, she randomly got the idea to take down the old shower/tub doors. This involved taking off the top bar, unscrewing the side bars, tearing off the bottom bar, and digging out all the old caulk. While she was here, we successfully got all the bars off, but the caulk was proving difficult. I ended up finishing the project on my own.

[Shower/tub previously had sliding doors. Here, you can see one of the gold bars we had to unscrew from the sides of the shower. The top bar easily came off without any screws.]

It took me another day of taking off the caulk (it came off pretty easy with the help of Fantastic, a simple household cleaner) and another day to re-caulk. I went ahead and stripped all of the caulk off of the entire shower. I decided if I had to redo some, might as well update it all. Some of the previous caulk was done wrong. In fact, a couple areas were done with a glue or cement that I could not remove. I had to just re-caulk over it. I must say that taking caulk off is way easier than putting it back on. Even with tools, making the caulk all look nice and properly sealed is a pain.

[No more death doors or gold trim bars. All of the edges have been re-caulked.]

We had to purchase a simple shower curtain rod; however, I already had hooks, new mildew-resistant inner curtain, and a polka-dotted shower curtain from my college days that just happened to match the paint perfectly! We also bought a new suspension rod shelf unit for the shower. There previously was a metal one that had rusted. Luckily, the new rod just happened to cover the bad cement/glue caulk job the previous owner had tried.

[New rod suspension shelf unit & "new" shower curtain]

With just $35, a couple days, and a lot of elbow grease, we now have an almost brand new bathroom (oh and we also got a new drain plug, so no worries on the mold!).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An Unexpected Experience

Yesterday, while painting some of the trim in the living room, I heard a loud thud, followed by the sound of something falling. I thought it had occurred upstairs in the house, but knew there wasn't anything important that would have fallen, so I didn't give it another thought.

I had forgotten about the noise when I saw the UPS truck pull up to the driveway. Knowing we had several boxes coming, I went to the door to meet him. I noticed that it was getting especially windy and that there were some tree limbs in the driveway. He made some comment about it getting nasty out really quick, that's when I remember the noise I had previously heard. I brought the boxes inside and went out to the driveway to see all the limbs, that's when I discovered this:

I went back inside and tried to contact Steve; however, his new job makes contacting him very hard. He has very spotty cellphone reception in the plant, so he just shuts his phone off. He hasn't been able to set-up his desk phone, so I have no number to reach him. He's also working shift hours, which involves being on the floor with the technicians and equipment. When he's not on the floor, he can generally be reached via email. Luckily, Steve's sister Ashley happened to be at the plant and was in an area with cell-phone reception. I told her the situation and she said she'd let him know when she saw him. I decided to go outside, take some pictures, and then email Steve.

(Our roof is made up of slate tiles, which is very expensive. However, if properly maintained (and no serious damage), they can last a very long time. Unfortunately for us, the tree limb incident falls in the catagory of "serious damage". There were about 5 or 6 tiles that broke.)

(Amongst the broken branches and limbs, are the shattered tiles.)

(Fixing those broken tiles is much harder than repairing regular shingled roofs. Because of the tiles, you can not walk or place ladders on the roof to make repairs. Before buying the house, we had a roofing company look at the house, and they explained that to work on our roof they'd have to rent a bucket to be able to reach the top. Luckily, Steve is tall enough that by standing on a ladder, he could reach the missing tile holes.)

After taking a few pictures, I went to go back inside the house, only to discover I had inadvertently locked myself out. Ooops. I had to contact Ashley again, asking for her to go find Steve. In the meantime, I walked over to our neighbors and visited with them until Steve was able to call me. He got to call it an early day (Well, not really early -- he is working 12 hour shifts right now, but he got to leave around the 9 hour mark). We reconvened back at the house, where clean up began.

Steve did most of the work (I was still chatting with the neighbor). He got all the limbs moved and swept the debris into random piles. I then put the piles in a trash bag while he worked on repairing the roof.

Most of the slate was obliterated. We were able to save a couple larger tiles (with some damage), but had to scrap all the rest.

Because it was cold out, still windy, and we don't have immediate access to new tiles, we had to improvise. Most of the tiles that were damaged were a top layer, leaving some older tiles exposed. However, there was one spot (probably point of impact) that the tiles had been busted clear to the wood on the roof. We improvised sliding aluminum foil under the intact tiles, duct taping the foil together, and nailing it into the wood. Hopefully, this will protect the wood short-term through the rest of the winter. In the spring, Steve thinks he will be able to put new tiles down himself. (Although, we're still debating on making a claim to insurance and having the roofing company do it. We are open to any suggestions and advice on this issue, since neither of us have dealt with anything like this before).

We are thankful that it was only a few broken tiles and on the garage (which is more easily accessible). Had it been the roof on the actual house, or even a larger portion of tree that had fallen, our tale would be much different. Hopefully, our trees, roof, and outside land will hold off on any more unexpected issues through the winter so that we can take care of them in the Spring. We already had a long list of outside work that needs to be accomplished. "Trim back trees" & "Fix slate" were just added to that lengthy list.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Living Room

When we first moved into the house, we were astonished at the dark navy paint in the living room. By evening time, the room was really dark and gave an ominous feel. Due to the dark paint, this room became priority #1 in being repainted.

You can piece together the rooms layout via the furniture. In all the pictures, the couches and tv remain in the same locations.

Because the paint was so dark, I had to use primer first. The walls are made from plaster and do not soak in paint like drywall. Thus, I was able to paint the entire room with 1 gal of primer and 1.5 gallons of the new color.

The paint color is called "Citrus Spice" (it was a Walmart Glidden paint chip, but I got it done from Lowe's and they created a custom color from the paint chip). In person, it is actually more of an orange neutral; however, in pictures it looks more yellow. Throughout out the whole painting process, I discovered the previous paint layers. I can tell you this room was once a pale blue, blood red, and navy. I know this because the previous paint jobs were not done well and previous paint still remains on trim and face plates.

These two curtains are the same ones from our living room in Jackson. This picture probably is the closest to what the paint color actually is in person.

Again, the paint color is not really yellow. The camera just makes it look like that.

The cutrtains on this window are new. I could no longer find curtains like the ones on the other two windows (reused from Jackson). I had to use a different brand that was close in color (however it is a different texture than the other curtains). Because of the rooms layout, you would never have known without me pointing it out).

It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint and curtains do to a room. The house (or at least main level) is really starting to feel like home. Before putting up the curtains, I'd walk into a room and notice all the things that needed done and how empty it felt. Now, I walk into a room and just think "man, I love this room!".

This room especially still has lots to be done, like -- new rug, repaint trim, hang pictures, and figure out whether or not to mount the tv. However, all those things aren't as noticeable anymore (or maybe it's just me ignoring the issues). We love the furniture layout right now, but don't like the corner the tv is on. The tv is blocking the built-in and big window, but we're not sure how we feel about mounting it over the fireplace. We're not rushing to a decision yet and will take any advice on the matter.

More Dining Room

I just discovered that I had some more pictures from the dining room transformation.

The previous owner had lots of pictures on the walls, leaving lots of holes to be patched up.

Here's another angle of the dining room before being repainted.

New lighter green paint covering up the old dark paint.

Painting is all done, curtains put up, and furniture put in place. Check out the little cutie at the table. She was here for a total of 4 days. Coming with my mom for three, and leaving with my sister on the fourth day. Notice in the picture, she's pretending to read one of my books. She has quite the imagination and loves to make up her own stories.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dining Room

The dining room as probably been the easiest room to remodel. I painted it in one afternoon; although, I still need to freshen the trim paint and lower walls. The color will remain the same, it just needs to be redone. Here are some before and after pictures of the dining room.


The previous paint color would fall into the category of "Kermit-The-Frog-Green". She used black and white accents to the bold color. There was also rug and cabinet hiding a stain on the floor.

The colors throughout the house were pretty dark. I liked the fact the dining room was green but it was too bold for our taste. I decided to repaint the room a lighter green.


Due to the lighting in the house, pictures always come out a little darker than what it appears in person. You'll just have to take my word that the room is much lighter than what it used to be. (Disregard paint/tools in corner)

I originally was looking for a orange/green plaid curtain. However, the one I found was too dark for the paint on the wall. My mom found this lighter, orange metallic curtain. I knew it was the right one when it had the exact green color in the striping!

On a whim, my sister suggested moving the piano into the dining room (it conveniently covers the stain on the floor). So far it's working and the piano has not been returned to the living room. (You'll have to disregard the stains on the ceiling, the camera makes it look worse than it is, and the "marks" on the wall are the reflection form the glass table).

I guess you'll just have to come check the room out for yourself. . .

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year!

After a nearly 3 week blog hiatus, I'm finally able to be writing, posting, and sharing again. We survived the holidays and things are finally turning back to normal.

We spent the first part of Christmas break (Dec 22-25) with my family in Indiana. We celebrated my immediate family Christmas on the 23rd. It was a time filled with family, food, presents, and computer games for Steve. It was an all day event starting with cinnamon rolls in the morning (a tradition dad began when we were little), a big meal at lunch, and our annual sibling exchange and family Christmas in the evening. Steve got an air compressor and air compressor tools while I got a serger. Steve is excited to use his compressor while working on car stuff (hopefully he'll find time between house projects this spring/summer/fall) while I can't wait to use a serger instead of a sewing machine to continue my sewing projects.

We left Indianapolis early Christmas morning and landed in "New Jersey" by early afternoon. Steve's immediate family all met up at the airport in Philly and we headed to his grandparents' house in Jersey. While in Jersey, we got to see some of Steve's aunts, uncles, and cousins and enjoyed lots of catching up time. The first full day we were there was marked by a big Christmas with Poppy's extended family hosted by Nanny. We got to have Steve's family Christmas the next morning, complete with Mom-Mom's waffles (thanks John!). The rest of our time in Jersey was spent indulging in Jersey favorites like the Boardwalk pizza (formerly Mack & Manco's), Shriver's taffy, and rolling chairs (subs). We even got to squeeze in a family movie outing with Doug to see Sherlock 2 (2 thumbs up in my book).

We returned to Indy on the 29th and stayed with my family for a few more days. Steve got to meet up with a friend in Indy while I helped my mom prepare a traditional Romanian meal -- galushta. My grandma (who passed away almost 2 years ago) was born into a 2nd generation Romanian immigrant family. Every year for Christmas they would make a meal of cabbage rolls stuffed with ground beef and rice cooked in sour kraut and sausage. We made it this year in preparation for my Grandpa's Christmas. He decided to have a Christmas at his house (the first time since Grandma's been gone) in which my cousins and my family got together.

We came back to Lima on New Year's Day. We spent the day pretty low-key just trying to re-cooperate from all the travel. Tuesday, Steve went back to work and I got busy painting the dining room and a big hallway storage closet. Wednesday-Friday, my mom, sister, and 2-year-old niece came to visit (my dad is on business in Poland and missed out on this round). While my mom was here, she brought us up some furniture, gave decorating advice, and helped hang some curtains. (And of course I got some bonus items from her during the visit!)

My mom and sister left Friday, leaving the 2-year old with me. Later that evening, my other sister, her husband, and 2 oldest girls arrived, joining the little one in my care. They stayed through Saturday helping us with various projects. Steve and Chris spent most of Saturday exploring the house and consulting over projects. While exploring the house, they discovered the original door bell chime set (which Steve is anxiously hoping to get working again) and a hidden access to the original attic. Upon opening the attic access, they found a rodent skeleton. At first it was believed to be a rat; however, after research and deductive reasoning, we decided it was a squirrel. If you'd like to put your input on the skeletal remains, we will gladly show you upon your visit, as we left the skeleton in place.

While the guys were exploring and the little girls were playing Wii, my sister and I hung some more curtains, blinds, cleaned under the stove, swept up a broken light (a fluorescent bulb in the basement randomly decided to fall form the ceiling and shatter on the floor), and tore apart the shower doors in the spare bathroom. Okay, really she did most of the work and I did the supervising. However, I returned to work today tearing out all the caulking from the shower/tub in that bathroom.

I finally feel like the house is becoming more "us". Now that I have a few rooms almost completely done, I'll start posting more pictures of the house again. Keep bearing with me and the blog as I try to catch up and post more consistently again. Our holiday travels and family visits have worn us out be we enjoyed ever moment of these past few weeks, but we're glad to be back in our own house.