Saturday, May 22, 2010


Hooking up the supply lines from an Ikea faucet can be sort of weird as they aren't usually standard sizes (they are on the metric the rest of the world). They are also extremely short and wouldn't reach the valves under the sink. After reading many-a-web site I realized that this particular faucet (can't remember the name...sounded like when you gargle) is a standard 1/2" so all I needed was a quick trip to the hardware store to buy these handy couplings that cost way too much and connect the two lines together in the middle. Will it leak? I'd guess yes, at some point in the future when I'd rather it not.

Did Ikea fold to the American market and start making standardized supply lines for their faucets? I'd say yes, they did. U.S.A.! U.S.A!

Heres Wally helping me put in the garbage disposal and drains under the kitchen sink (still not completed).


FINALLY there is carpet. Here are two boring pics of the carpet in the studio and the rest of the house. Thanks Charlie! We made sure to get dirt colored carpet as it will be that color soon anyway with the kids running in and out. After having lived in the travertine cave for so many years I can't wait to lay around on carpet.

Bathtub Enclosure

With Marie's dads help we finally put the finishing kit on in the tub enclosure and caulked all the corners etc...put in a toilet and faucet (from Ikea...more on that later) and it feels like a functional bathroom. Now if it only had a door for some privacy we'd be happier.

Friday, May 7, 2010


It was great to see the counters go in on Thursday. I'm really happy with them. There are so many options in this area and it was really hard to pick this out. We went with an acrylic solid surface called Staron in sanded white pepper. The best part is that we didn't have to install it. It took them more than half the day to do the kitchen and a little one in the bathroom. After tiling the bathroom niether one of us wanted to tile anything in the kitchen.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kitchen progress

I can't believe it's in. that's all I have to say.

Tile update

Rick has been working on this all month. We've considered hiring someone to come in and finish but I think Rick would like to do it himself. We want to have this one finished up this week. It looks great, I can't wait to see it all done.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Subway tile

When I pulled the tile out of the bathtub enclosure termites were crawling all over the studs and the drain pipes were all broken and destroyed. I thought replacing a tub would be cake, its just a drain after all. How wrong I was and I had to call in a pro. Note to people renovating bathrooms, have a plumber install your tub, its painful. But anyway had a framer sister up some new wood to the old termite infested balsa wood they left behind and had the plumber hang waterproof paper stuff and cement board...I felt lazy but didn't have any bloody knuckles afterward...

Then my friend Buck and I started tiling the bathtub enclosure last week. Thanks to youtube videos and reading many a webpage we didn't have any trouble other than me not being able to do math (Buck can add, its amazing to see in person as it seems to be a skill both MArie and I do not have...sigh). Anyway Buck and I didn't get much done because we were either laughing or playing pool on the beat up old pool table the previous owners left in the garage (I will restore it sometime in the future)but here is a pic anyway. Note to self: Buck and I don't get anything done when we're together, we mostly act like 14 year olds. At this point I think we'll hire a tile guy to finish it up as I have a pretty busy next couple of weeks working. I'd like to do it all myself but it doesn't seem likely...sigh again.

Dear Soffits, Its not us, its you...

Here are two pics of the house after we removed the soffits from the kitchen and entry. The entry was really low and felt like you were entering a hobbit hole. The dropped ceiling wrapped all the way around to the kitchen and was strange to say the least. I thought we'd open it to find wires, ducts, and maybe a body or two but it was just empty space framed with huge 2"x 8" and 2" x 10" beams...none of which were load bearing...weird. I suppose trees didn't matter much back in the 60s. Anyway these pics are after the ceiling has been reframed and drywalled. Also widened a doorway into the kitchen ans learned that the 2" x 4" on the floor were not even attached to the foundation. Nice job original builders.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kitchen progress

My sister Carolyn took down the first cabinet weeks ago. Now it's all cleared out.

I thought it would be hard to see something you spend so much money on torn apart, but it feels good. I'm so excited to make it better.
This is a rough sketch from Ikea of what it will look like. It's a similar layout to the old kitchen but the cooktop moved to the left and became a range. We didn't have to move plumbing or gas lines.

We think it will be another week before we can install the cabinets. First is drywall and paint.

This is a kitchen that we have always liked. Unfortunately it's a little bit cost prohibitive. We will be getting white cabinets but we hope to warm up the space with flooring and paint.

Hall cabinets

The house has these cabinets in the hall, main bath, and laundry room. They are all stinky and I'm concerned about the hallway ones especially because there will be linens in there. I have to clean it, prime it, then paint it. And hope that it smells good. Any thoughts on how to keep a linen closet smelling fresh?

I think the walls in the hall will be kept white and the cabinet I'd like to pop. I'm thinking orange or a celery color, light blue maybe?

Main bath coming along

The gray tub had to go. We bought a new cast iron tub Friday night and Rick met the plumber Saturday morning to install it. We also had to decide what type of shower system we were going to use. The old tub had the hot and cold knobs with a third knob in the middle to turn on the shower. These days it seems most common for people to use the single knob that turns the water on full pressure and then you can adjust the temperature. This is a lot easier for kids to use.

I thought it was odd that you have no control over volume. The house we are in now is like this, and it feels like pin pricks. Out of 20-30 showers at home depot there was only one that had a secondary dial for volume, but it was in that oil rubbed bronze stuff. We had to special order one in chrome.

It's odd to me that in California where we are constantly asked to conserve water...why are there no choices to do so in your shower? Am I missing an option here? Can you have one handle in the middle and then buy a shower head that controls volume? If you know, please leave me a comment.


I forgot that Rick and I elected to moderate comments. I just noticed that I had 18 to moderate, I kept wondering why Rick was the only one leaving a comment. Ha. Rookie move on my part. Fellow bloggers, is it common to moderate? What do you recommend?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 11

This was demo weekend. The whole kitchen came out and half the bath. This is the main bathroom. The tile is really stubborn because it's got a wire mesh thing behind it holding it all together. The tub is a light gray and we're hoping to salvage it and then put in white tiles around it up to the ceiling. I'll try to post on the kitchen in the next day or so.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Many have asked where is this house? It's in Westminster, the city with the street signs in Old English. We bought this house as a for-sale-by-owner. We bought it for several reasons:
It was the right price
In mostly original condition
had a 4th bedroom to make into a studio
across the street from a really nice elementary school
near the beach
near Rick's work

The downsides are:
on a busy street
previous owner smoked

We've owned this house for 7 days. We wanted to be in there April 1st. I thought I'd do a count down to the day, but that would kill me. Too much stress. However I would like to know how many days it takes to make it move-in ready. Hopefully not too many.

Naughty knotty pine

This is the existing kitchen. It has some problem spots, but all in all it's in pretty good condition. I've been having some anxiety about getting all this renovating done so we can move in April 1st. The main thing that has to happen is pulling out this kitchen so we can get the area prepped for the new one. So on Monday morning I listed this knotty pine kitchen on craigslist as FREE, thinking maybe some kind person would want it so badly that they'd come take it out for me. 2 minutes after I posted a guy called and wanted the cooktop. Then the calls wouldn't stop until after the 6th one in 20 minutes I changed the posting to email only and after 35 emails, I deleted the post. I thought I had the man, he wanted it but then of course (in craigslist fashion) decided he didn't. Several people wanted it for their cabin in big bear.

The first reason it's going is because this house was occupied by a smoker the second is it's
organized badly. It's all got to go. It's leaving this friday and saturday. If anyone wants it I can hold off on the new posting on craigslist that will go up as soon as we have it down. Just let me know.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chocolate treasure

Rick and Jorge pulled out all the carpet on Saturday and look what was underneath. It is riddled with staples and of course the tack strips but, we're going to try a salvage something. Maybe just the entry or pull them up and put them in the 4th bedroom (the studio office). In doing some research we've come across a lot of great blogs and websites devoted to renovating your postwar tract home. This one takes the cake so far. Her kitchen is really amazing. But I'm getting way ahead of myself. The kitchen will come later.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's officially ours

We got the keys to our new home yesterday. It's a 1600 square foot, 4 bed 2 bath home. We'll be spending any spare moment cleaning and prepping for all the fixing that needs to be done before we move in. Here's a rough list:

1. acoustic ceilings removed (even the stuff in the closets, why is it there?)
2. painting
3. new moldings
4. new carpeting and flooring
5. main bath re-do
6. kitchen re-do

We are attempting most of it ourselves, and when it gets tricky we'll call in the professionals. But we are in need of advice too, so I'll be posting questions here and there. keep watch for a "which kitchen" posting soon.

First question which doesn't even need to be asked...Do we keep the keychain?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Isn't she lovely...

one day she will be. We are closing soon.