Thursday, July 31, 2008

Apartment finished!

We put the final touches in last night on the one-bedroom apartment under our house, and our first tenants move in today! (This is part of the whole scheme we have to cover our ridiculously expensive Ithaca taxes. Seriously, property tax is cheaper in NYC.)

Paul put A LOT of time into this place - painting all of the kitchen cabinets and laying new floor in the kitchen and bathroom. There's also new light fixtures throughout, and paint on the walls. With the carpets cleaned, it looks like a completely different place. Check it out.

Shiny new kitchen

Spiffy bathroom

Happy Paul

Friday, July 25, 2008

First load

It's a red letter day on Meadowlark Drive. We can actually do laundry!

One of our splurges in the house renovation were these beauties. They're tiny compared to other front-loaders, but still with 3.7 cu. feet of capacity.

They were installed today in our hallway closet, which formerly served as a coat closet. While I would LOVE the extra closet space - really I would - the inconvenience of no easily accessible washer and dryer with a newborn was not something I wanted to deal with. (There is a coin-operated washer and dryer in the basement for the tenants, but that involves a flight of stairs and a trek through the garage.) Paul was sold because he really wanted a front-loader. Our antiquated top-loaders don't even exist in England anymore. The first load is rattling away as I type - music to my ears.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We're in!

...just, but we made it. We've come a long way, but it feels like we still have a pretty long way to go. Since today is the first day that the computer is up-and-running, I'll post a few pix and then get back to unpacking.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Great color!

I want our kitchen walls and breakfast bar to look like this!:

Kudos to Beach Bungalow 8 for the inspiration!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Moving week...

I haven't posted this week because I've been busy packing boxes to prepare for the big move this weekend! - and there's not much interesting about that. The house is coming along, though. I had my doubts as to whether it'd be liveable by Saturday, but I think we'll make it.

Wood floors are now down everywhere and the kitchen appliances are in place (minus the microwave, which has been on backorder.) By the end of the day, we'll have at least one functional bathroom - VERY important for the pregnant chick this weekend!

Paul has had a few unexpected business trips, including one this week, so we have much less painting done that we originally planned. But now I'm thinking it will be better to live in the space for a while before we finally settle on colors. (I made some spur-of-the-moment, very bright choices for the bathrooms, and now I'm wondering if I should have thought about it a little more.)

A few more days, and then we'll actually be living in the house, which will make it much easier to clue y'all in on what it looks like.

Until then, this picture was the inspiration for our guest bathroom. I was thinking bright, cheerful, fun...but in real life the paint on the wall looks a little day-glo.
Colors are Laura Ashley Haystack and Summer Pudding.

Stay tuned for a pic of the real deal.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sitting high?

The vacation at the beach house has been just the thing we needed to give us a break after a month of working pretty hard on the house. While we're here, Shaun from Top Notch construction is finishing up the details in our kitchen and bathrooms and laying bamboo floors in the rest of the house. While I'm grateful for the break, I'm really curious to learn how things are going!

In the meantime, there's only one piece of the house I'm stressing about - the breakfast bar. Paul and Shaun debated for quite a while about how high to make the bar that sits between the kitchen and dining room. They settled on 47 inches. Why? Because when we tile the kitchen backsplash, that will leave room for two full 4-inch tiles between the kitchen counter and the raised bar. Fast forward two weeks. I start looking for bar stools and realize that standard bar height is actually 42 inches. Why didn't I think of looking this up before? I'll blame my pregnant brain. In any case, now I'm stuck with having to find extra tall bar stools. And of course they're significantly more expensive than normal bar stools.

My current top choice are these industrial-looking chairs from All Barstools. I'm thinking the look could be cool with our bamboo floors, especially if I can make/find some cool cushions for them.

I've also heard Pottery Barn has some cool-looking tall stools. I'm hoping I can find some on sale!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Painting brick?

As you may have seen, we have some 1970s multicolored brick that dominates our living room. It's not my favorite part of the house, and we've contemplated painting it. But if we do, I know there's no going back.
This is a photo from before we bought the house, with the other owner's furniture.

This week, we've staying at a beach house in Manistee, Michigan (which is absolutely a wonderful spot and beautifully decorated). And what have they done? Painted their fireplace - which makes us rethink our decision.
Fireplace at our wonderful beach house.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Painting and pregnant

Ever since I can remember, I knew that pregnant ladies weren't supposed to be around newly painted rooms. Since we're painting nearly the entire house over a period of several weeks, that would have meant I was pretty much banned from the new place during construction. So I hunted far and wide for one of the new, non-VOC paints. (VOC stands for volatile organic compound - basically the stuff that's bad for you.)

I checked out Sherwin Williams, Home Depot and Benjamin Moore, which all carry non-VOC lines. But we finally settled on Olympic Premium from Lowe's. It's less than $25 a gallon, has very little odor, and has covered our white walls in two coats (with no primer).

The only place we'll probably use a stinky paint is in the bathrooms and kitchen, where we're looking for guaranteed durability and mildew resistance. In those places, we'll probably go with Valspar Kitchen & Bath paint. We used it for the apartment kitchen, and it covered amazingly in one coat. Plus, Consumer Reports gives it a high rating.

** Kudos to our friends Norah and Megan, who helped me paint up a storm last night. They rock!

***One more note about non-VOC paints: While some are marketed as environmentally-friendly, the Olympic line really isn't. But on the back of any paint can, you can find the VOC content in grams per liter.