Friday, April 15, 2011

Back Entry.

One of the other things I didn't like about our house when we bought it was the kitchen floor. It was actually the reason I didn't even want to look at the house. It's this light wood colored laminate flooring... It just looks weird with the rest of the house having real 1950's hard wood floors.

Anyways, this laminate flooring was also in the back entry way. It's really just a small about 3 ft by 3 ft spot right when you walk in the door. Since we've moved in, the floor has started to warp. Probably from the large amounts of water that end up coming in during the winter off of the shoes and boots. After the fairly easy bathroom floor and the left over tiles, I figure it would be easy enough to do the same there.

I ripped out the laminate...

Only to find more laminate...
It was really ugly laminate might I add - yellowy and bumpy. The top layer of laminate was easy to pull out, because it was in multiple pieces. The second layer of laminate was in one big piece and wedged in very tightly. We had to pry it up with a crow bar and then cut it in half in order to pull it out.

After that came out, we had to lay down new plywood and cement board.

After that, we had to cut down the tiles a little to fit in, making use of our tile cutter again. I laid the tiles...

Unfortunately, laying tiles made it very clear that that little square landing was in fact, not square. There was a lot of moving around of the tiles to make them fit in straight. We also added tiles to the rise part of the landing that goes into the kitchen to help against getting drywall wet.

We grouted. Cut some new trim. Replaced that fabulous shiny brass stair edge with a chrome/nickel one, as well as added one to the edge by the door to help with the gap and to cover up that weird strip of unfinished wood that's part of the door.

I don't have finished pictures *yet* because I still have a couple things to do... fix the wall paint, finish with the caulking and installing the piece we bought for the stair edge going down into the basement.

Next items on the list.... paint those ugly stairs and hopefully a new door! I would love one with a full window and cellular blinds inside the window panes, along with a screen door with the full window...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Bathroom.

The bathroom was one of the things that I was not wild about when we bought our house. I would have been completely fine (probably even excited) over an original 1950's bathroom in any of the crazy colors, but this was a 90's blue color. Ick. Really ick.

We decided that we would make this an over time project, one thing at a time. The first thing to go was the tiles all around the bathroom. We thought that it would be easy enough to pull out all the tiles, except the tub surround, and put in new dry wall.

We then bought new towel bars, toilet paper holder, a new toilet and vanity/sink/faucet. Those we installed right away and slowly worked on the drywall seams. Bill's dad noticed our lack of progress and offered to help us do the floor one weekend.

The floor was probably actually the worst thing. At one point, the toilet had leaked, so all of the tiles around the front of the toilet had started popping up. The grout always looked dirty because of the color that was used.

Tiling was difficult because we only have on bathroom. The tear out was ok. The tiles had been laid down right on top of the plywood, so we were able to just pull out the plywood with the tiles still attached. Luckily the water damage from the previously leaking toilet only damaged the plywood and the not the subfloor.

We also had purchased a cheap tile cutter from Home Depot when we bought the tiles. This little thing ended up working a lot better than I expected. It was a semi-slow process, but it got the job done. We were able to do the tear out and laying of almost all of the tiles in one day (Saturday). We ended up saving a few tiles until the next morning. I wish we had just finished it that night so that the last couple would have been able to fit a little better. Sunday night I was able to start the grouting.

I think the floor turned out fantastic. The bathroom looks like a completely different room already, even though there is a lot left to do. I still need to paint and address the edge of the tub tiles, which will just be temporary until we can retile the entire tub surround. 

We're also still on a hunt for a light fixture that we actually like...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Outside Project.

During this winter, I've had my mind set on fixing up this little patch of yuck next to the back steps. I'm not entirely sure what the previous owners were thinking when they decided to update the other similar areas on the front and side of the house but failed to "update" this area.

The problem area is weird spot. It is partially under this weird overhang part of the house and is along side of the cement walk way. It was this patch of white rocks... which may have been awesome at some point but seems outdated to me now. And that this was the only area that has white rocks and not wood chips around this house.  This area was also prone to weeds and the wonderful white rocks were always spilling out into the yard and didn't even cover up the dirt and weed paper stuff thoroughly anymore.

I wish I would have taken a better before shot, but didn't think until I had already started the destruction... I maybe able to scrounge up some one from right after we bought the house.

Oh, and did I mention it had a partial edge of that plastic edging. Not a big fan of that. Another one of the problems we have is that when the previous owner built the deck, she decided to leave most of the cement stairs there too... and the wonderfully large hunks that she gauged out of the stairs. So, those have always been popping up too. 

My plan was to use bricks to create edging, lay down new weed paper (the real name of this eludes me at the moment), put down some woods chips and then eventually plant some shade plants. We've also had a plan of adding lattice around the deck to hide the ugly of underneath and to keep the dog from going under there and getting wonderfully muddy.

First step was removal. Showed above there. We put all the rocks in bags for now, not really sure what we'll do with those... pulled up the old weed fabric stuff. Ripped out that last chunk of plastic edging and started digging. 

Here is Bill doing some digging and fitting in the bricks. It was actually a lot easier than we thought it would be. Note the snow boots...

More of a bird's eye view to see what's going on...

We fit in the bricks all the way around and then put down the weed fabric. 

We staked down the fabric, pulled the bricks out and tucked the fabric under the bricks to hold it down and to help prevent dirt from getting in and aiding in the growth of pesky weeds.

The final two steps of the day were to cut the brick that would fit up against the house and fill it with the wood chips. I had only purchased one back of wood chips because I didn't think we would need that much, so of course we didn't. We also didn't have a chisel to help cut the brick, so we had to make a second trip to Menards. After some magical first time brick cutting and 1.5 more bags of wood chips, we now have this...

It was a lot easier than we thought it would be. This happened to be one of the most enjoyable house projects so far... It didn't have to get done NOW, it was easy to fix mistakes, and we got to enjoy the wonderful spring weather that we've been anxiously awaiting. 

Now the plan is to do something similar with the other side of the steps because grass has a hard time growing there and then eventually switch out the ugly, mismatched edging on the other sides of the house. Also thrown in will be the lattice, some planting, and something with the not so awesomeness of the stairs and those weird brick things under them and maybe even pavers instead of that cement some day!

As you can see, planning on the other side of the steps has already begun...


I totally fail at this blog thing.

The wedding is almost here. Less than a month to go and I still have tons of things to do. My calendar is full of dates for dinners, showers, parties and Easter. I'm hoping that once this is all done I can go back over the details, because at this point it would be an insane amount of stuff to try and catch up on.

On a side note, I just thought I needed a little blurp on all of that because I'm now also going to attempt to add in some of the around the house projects...

Coming up... an attempt to make my yard a little better one thing at a time.