Friday, July 30, 2010

Guess what we finally have....

After 473 days of living in our home we finally have a back yard with grass!!! The hardy, drought-resistant sod was delivered and installed yesterday. In my opinion, this is the most glorious moment in our home improvement adventure so far. There is something about not having a back yard to escape to that leaves me feeling unsettled. I can't wait to spend a few hours sprawling out in the grass and relaxing in the sun this weekend.

The new sod doesn't come without responsibility--twice daily watering will be required for the next three weeks. David took on the first morning watering session today.
The dirt patch you see on the right will become our veggie garden!
The West side "yard"
The East side yard

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Phase Two of Interior Painting Begins

After our four-month long stint of painting the upstairs last Summer, we took some time off to enjoy life without a paint brush or roller in our hands. Now we are back at it and taking aim at the main level of the house. I'm beyond excited to paint over the mauve stairway and entryway, the yellow/beige/tan in the living room, the red walls and metallic gold ceilings in the dining room and the bright wasabi green color in the kitchen.

First up is the entryway and the staircase leading to the second story. The walls, ceilings, staircase risers and front door are all getting a fresh coat. Here's a few before pics and some updates on progress we've made so far.

Before pics of the entryway and landing:

Here's a before shot of the staircase leading upstairs next to a photo of the staircase primed. What a huge difference already!

 Here's a preview of the progress we've made in the main entry area. The first photo shows the space primed and the second shows it after the first coat of paint was applied. It's amazing how much larger and brighter the space feels!

The goal is to finish painting the space this week and move on to the living room next week.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Project Backyard: Flat-Out Fantastic

We made major progress in the backyard this past week. There is, for the first time ever, level ground on the side of the house, level ground in the back yard and an evenly graded slope of dirt from the level yard areas down to the retaining wall.

It took some doing to achieve all this. A massive weed forest had sprouted in the bare dirt left behind after the cement work was completed. Waist high grasses, dandelions on steroids, thistle thickets and vines were well on their way to taking over the yard in just three short weeks! It took David, his trusty weed whacker and a little aid from (nasty) chemicals to reclaim the yard. Next, our handyman Enrique and a 15-yard dirt delivery entered the picture. Enrique tilled, flattened and graded the dirt, and added a layer of landscaping fabric under the dirt on the slopes. The base for a back yard had been created!

Next up, the flat areas will be topped off with sod, the slopes will be mulched and a row of English Laurel will be planted where the mulched slope meets the retaining wall to create a hedge. Eventually, there will also be a veggie/flower garden added to the mix.

Here's how it looks as of now:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Master Bathroom: Smashy! Smashy!

David showed our master bathroom who was boss over the past week! He ripped out the shower tile, removed the shower doors, removed the bathtub, removed the toilet, removed the floating shelf that cut through the room and (apparently) used to be in style, removed the vanity and mirror, chipped away the tile flooring and opened up the wall where plumbing and electrical work will be done. It was quite the task but David accomplished it in record time! He's pretty much a pro at destroying rooms in our house by now. :)

It wasn't a surprise to find the original douglas fir flooring underneath the tile as we've found it in every other room of the house--although a portion of the flooring near the (non-existent) door was removed and patched with plywood at some point. It was a surprise to discover a fairly level base flooring surface on which to put cement board and new tile! Our guest bathroom floor situation did not prove to be so user-friendly.

The room is now ready for electrical and plumbing work which will begin next week!!

Click here to see the bathroom pre-destruction.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The word Vain cannot actually be found within the word Vanity

(A friendly fact for our friend Paul who couldn't resist making a joke about how 'vain' we were anytime this project came up in conversation.)

Despite the fact that we just started the remodeling phase of the master bath, many pieces of the puzzle have been in the works for quite a while now. Back in February I spoke to our favorite local furniture shop, Tropical Salvage, about making a custom double vanity. They make stunningly beautiful furniture out of salvaged wood from Indonesia. We have purchased a few furniture pieces from them over the last few years and were thrilled when they agreed to do a vanity for us at an incredibly reasonable price.

Here is the mock-up of how we wanted the finished product to look:
Vanity by Tropical Salvage, French Petite White Vessel Sinks from, AquaSource single-handle bathroom faucets from

I gave Tropical Salvage this design spec...

...and four months later, we picked up our vanity! I can't wait to see how it looks when it's installed in the finished bathroom.

Master Bathroom Renovation Begins!

It's been a while since the last update but we've been hard at work moving forward on many projects. 

I'm excited to report that we've started work on the master bathroom renovationthe project I've anxiously awaited since the day we bought the house! The master bath was, by far, the ugliest room in the house that had to be used on a daily basis. For the past year we've been living with a bathroom that has no door, plywood flooring, a closet with no door, hideous tile throughout, not enough storage, etc, etc.

Here's a look at what we are starting with: