Saturday, April 16, 2016

Disaster strikes... Bathroom woes!!!

I don't feel 'vibes' when I enter a building - don't feel the previous owners looking down on me. But I do know when a place feels friendly.-Penelope Keith

What a disaster! I feel like those poor people on Love It Or List It! You know they think they're getting that fabulous open kitchen so that they can see their toddler play in the living room while they cook? What they're really getting is all new wiring, or plumbing, or floor joists, because unbeknownst to them their toddler has been living in a death trap all this time. Before you know it, all their money is gone, the house is finally safe, but they have to list it because they still can't see their toddler from the kitchen. That's what my life has turned in to.

Yesterday I was worried because my fireplace hearth had crumbled into oblivion leaving me with a huge hole, a great chasm really, into the underbelly of my home! After today it's not so much on my mind. Not because my husband covered the hole with new subfloor, but because of what I found in my laundry room/bathroom.

We knew when we bought the duplex that at some point in it's recent history there was a leak in the shower plumbing in this bathroom and at another time there was also a toilet leak there. Well, someone at some point "fixed" it. I use the term fixed very loosely here. New studs went in around the shower and new flooring too. By new flooring I mean they put in 1/4" ply wood and newer vinyl right over top the soaked 1978 orange vinyl and sound board.

The new studs, the inside of the dry wall and the paper backing of the insulation had become it's own eco system teaming with mold. I removed the studs, the dry wall, the insulation and proceeded on ripping up the floor by the toilet. The sound board was so wet it resembled the coconut dirt I used to fill our hermit crabs tank with. It was completely shredded. As I sat there scraping up the loose floor I saw the moisture had seeped into the tongue and groove floor boards underneath all of this, so I began removing it as well. I now have a new hole open to my crawl space.

If you ever feel tempted to just cover over flooded bathroom flooring, I hope these pictures will convince you to just start over. Never trap moisture under new floors or new dry wall. The mold, the wood rot, the agony... Just simply not worth the headache. My one day tear out is going to become a week long project I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

50 Shades of...

"Gray skies are just clouds passing over."- Frank Gifford
If I had to pick a favorite color I'd have to say it depends on the application, the surrounding lighting, the space, the texture... I suppose there isn't just one color. I thought I knew exactly what color I wanted for the overall house color. I was wrong.

The color I had just painted my house in Washington was a warm gray, Requisite Gray by +Sherwin-Williams. The ceilings were on the taller side, the rooms were spacious, the lighting was great. The color looked warm and inviting and the white for inch trim popped. Our 1905 historic home looked regal, I thought so anyway.

Our newly acquired duplex is a completely different matter. It was built in 1978, has low ceilings, small windows and giant trees all around. No natural light and low ceilings equals dark cave. My trustworthy light warm gray was immediately discarded.

The quest for a new gray took me to Pinterest and Sherwin Williams Color Snap App of course. I went from Alpaca to Repose to Mindful to Passive, Heron Plume and everything in-between. Sample after sample painted on the walls. If it looked great in the living room it looked awful in the dining room and visa versa.

After a week of my sister in law and I staring at color swatches and samples we trecked to our local Sherwin Williams store and got a printout of the tint formulas of every color we had considered. What a revelation! The color I needed for my space was Crushed Ice. I never considered it even once. It looked too light and too cold on its little paint chip and not likeable in the app. However, it was all in the numbers. I didn't even buy a sample of it. I knew it was just right and went straight for the 5 gallon bucket! Here's to finding the perfect gray!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Finally a Break!

"Because there's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away."-Sarah Kay
After working on the duplex for three weeks straight we finally decided to take a break at the coast. It's the only thing I miss about living in Western Washington, living in earshot of the seals! Now it's an hour and a half drive to the closest beach, but we'll worth the drive.

Fireplace Redo

"To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world.” Charles Dudley Warner
I can clearly remember my grandfather chopping wood in the backyard of their home in Germany! My breath would fog up the window as I watched as he heaved his axe and split each piece with such precision and yet seemingly so little effort. Since then having a fireplace in my home has always been part of my wish list. No home is complete without its cozy, crackling fire...Well, this time I got two!

Each fireplace was ten feet wide and covered in faux rock from floor to ceiling. In a much bigger living room I may have liked them the way they came, however in the small space it currently occupies it sucked out every bit of available light and turned it into a prehistoric cave. Hence the demolition of epic proportions ensued! The amount of dust, rock pieces, cinderblock...I'm not sure how we survived it. Tear down took two days using a hammer drill with a chisel bit. It took another day to clean the cinderblock of the remaining mortar left behind!

During reconstruction of this first fireplace, I had to level the hearth with self leveling cement, cover the top with dry wall and hardibacker for the tile. The tile was on clearance at Lowe's. It was my first time tiling and in retrospect I'd do a couple of things differently. I guess I get my chance in the other unit!!! Right now I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and not sure I even want to open the doors of our other unit. This remodel is definitely much more work than I ever anticipated it would be. Unfortunately all seven of us can't fit in just the one side, so starting the other side will come soon enough!!!

In case you're wondering, the color on the top half of the fireplace is Sherwin Williams Passive Blue, the bottom half is Valspar Dove White and the living room wall color is Sherwin Williams Crushed Ice.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Demo Mode!

"Living in a home renovation is like living in the do whatever it takes to survive."-Unknown Author
As soon as we got keys to the units and the first set of tenants vacated we went into demo mode! The carpets came out first. Probably the most disgusting smell ever, and to think how many times I've lived on rental carpet. That smell stayed in my nose for days! The ugly and very original 1978 vinyl also came up. In a matter of three days we had the floors down to subfloors and the rocks of our enormous fake rock fireplace removed! We were too busy ripping things out to remember to take too many before pictures, but here are some "during" pics that relate the scope of our project so far.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

In the beginning...

“Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.” ― L. Frank Baum
We did it! We bought a duplex. I don't think I ever imagined myself living in Oregon, but here we are. The best part about this move was when my brother and his family decided to join us in our new adventure. So we came in September and they joined us late November, right after my brother and I got back from a whirl wind visit home to Germany. It took us till end of December to sell our house in Washington and until February to close on our duplex here in the wonderful city of Corvallis. In the mean time we've all been sardined into a there bedroom trailer in Lebanon. By we've, I mean all seven of us and our cat Jenny. So begins our beautifully frightful adventure of our two homes under one roof... Stay tuned for the demo, the remastering and the unveiling of newness to come.