Tag Archives: Frame house

The Break

18 Aug

Two weeks ago Matt and I headed to Utah for his college friend’s wedding. When we realized that the wedding was going to be the weekend after we moved I complained a lot about the poor timing of everything. In retrospect, the timing really couldn’t have been any better.

We were able to put the house behind us for an entire 5 days and by the time we got back our electrical was back up and running and we were able to do painting and unpacking that had previously been very difficult without full service electricity.

While buying a house together and having to make pretty big decisions on financing, decorating concepts, contractors etc. has been a good experience to go through together it is also not easy.  Relationships are stressful enough without the amount of work we’ve taken on and being able to get away to the mountains and spend some free time with friends was exactly what we needed to re-energize ourselves to get this house done!

Over the next few days I’ll be adding several posts to update our friends on family on where we are and where we still need to go before our house is a real home.

Stay Tuned!


Movers and Shakers

27 Jul

Phew!  Talk about picking the wrong weekend to move.  First we got the unfortunate news that members of our moving crew were on the DL and had to find replacements, then it stormed so hard we were afraid our house was going to float away, but by the time we actually started moving it was 90 degrees out again.

I apologize for the lengthy amount of time between posts, but I’ve been busy.  Very, very busy.  Last week, with help of my friends, I packed 90% of my apartment – including 10 boxes of books, 15 boxes of kitchenware, and God knows how many bags and boxes of clothes and shoes.  It was Matt’s job to get the house ready to have things moved in.  Moving on Saturday came and went without a hitch, until we were told that we wouldn’t have full electrical service installed for several more days….

…Several days later we are still sleeping in our dining room which is the only room with A/C.  Also running on that same extension cord is:

1 TV

1 Refrigerator

1 lamp

2 cell phones being charged

Not having power upstairs has also made it hard for us to unpack and get ready in the morning.  Also, did you know that hot water heaters have to be turned on?  Yeah, neither did we.  Thanks, People’s Gas for clearing that up after 2 mornings of cold showers.

Sweat Equity, Literally.

12 Jul

The good news is that wall right there is finished. We love the color. We started the project that  morning and finished that afternoon. This is great news. The bad news is that we have a lot more walls to go!

Monday afternoon we finished the tile in the kitchen and hallway and finished and started the tile in the back mudroom.   While Matt was busy doing that, I took to painting with 2 good friends (thanks, Molly and Annie!).  Luckily for me they both have more experience painting than I do – Molly could be considered an expert in painting old paneling. We were able to complete the ‘accent’ wall in the living room (Clary Sage by Sherwin Williams) and also to get the first coat on the cabinets (Softened Green by Sherwin Williams).

I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything turned out but still a little undecided about how everything will fit together.  Spending some more time this week figuring out decorating schemes for the bathroom, dining room and kitchen. Even more importantly, we will hopefully be making a decision on our electrician!

Don’t They Pay People to Do That?

5 Jul

Since the long weekend began, we have spent approximately 5 hours at Home Depot (this is over the course of 3 trips), and 30 hours at the house doing work.  We have accomplished some things for all of this work.  For starters, we are the proud owners of a Home Depot credit card – Woo!  We have also successfully covered up or taken down most of the previous ownner’s “design elements.”

Thursday Night:  Picked out kitchen cabinets (20% off) and tiles for the kitchen, mudroom and entry way.  Got nickel and dimed on adhesive, screws and hardie backer.  Went to rent the truck only to find out that it was too late because the store was closing in 30 minutes.  Left frustrated.

Friday afternoon:  Resumed at Home Depot.  Found our dolly (that held our entire kitchen) still in tact. Found out more good news that with a Home Depot account not only do you get no financing for 12 months, but they give you an hour of free truck rental too!  Rented said truck, unloaded everything into the house (well, Matt did, I’m apparently not strong to lift either boxes of tiles or cabinetry.)  Friend Reed came over and assisted Matt with beer drinking, laying hardie backer and removing the range.  I pounded down staples in the old tile with a hammer (me woman, hear me roar) and left before it got too late.  The following morning, Matt got up early and met his brothers at the house for a very full day of bad jokes, cut-off shirts and a tile saw.  By the time I got there they had made great progress on the floor and Dad Ekwinski had removed the giant evergreen bush and sprayed weeds (essentially the entire yard).  I showed up, made the sure the boys stayed full and hydrated and protected from UV rays.  I also sanded the cabinets and got them prepared for a prime and paint job.

Sunday:  This was supposed to be our day off but not surprisingly this did not happen.  Matt finished up tiling – with the exception of the last piece that does not want to be even.  We also (finally) installed 2 A/C window units which was essential for the 90 plus weather.  I worked on priming the cabinets and listening to fantastic old mixed CDs from college.

I sit here now, typing this, rushing through because we have to get back out to the house in the next hour to clean up and prepare for friend who are coming to help us paint.  I can’t say that it was the best way to spend a long, holiday weekend but hopefully this time next year we will have friends over to BBQ in our back yard!

All Good (and bad) Things Must Come to an End

29 Jun

This weekend many things ended – the White Sox winning streak, my carefree life as a renter (although I didn’t realize it at the time), and the lifespan of 2 layers of wallpaper, one layer of tile, and cabinets that date back to World War I.

Most of the work done this weekend was done by the man of the house, his dad and his brothers.  They were able to remove cabinetry, a layer of tile and tiger off a lot of flower patterned wall paper.  We were basically left with a lot of weird colored dry wall, kitchen dimensions that aren’t ideal to unfinished cabinets, and super funky smelling adhesive on the floors.  Also we discovered that the bench we were hoping to remove in the breakfast nook is most definitely staying…since it’s part of the structure of the of the house….

My brother made a brief appearance with 2 full boxes of cleaning supplies, there were several more contractors out to give us quotes on jobs, a door removed, the first injury (nothing like making your dad get a tetanus shot during repairs) and a lot of water drank.

On Saturday night I was scared, by Sunday I was feeling better about the demo of the kitchen and the fact that we were one layer of tile and 3 coats of paint away from having a much nicer home.

We have decided to purchase unfinished cabinets from Home Depot and sand, prime and paint in Sherwin Williams ‘Softened Green’.  We’ll be laying our own tile – Home Depot’s ‘Biltmore Grey’ which are large 18 x 18 tiles in a diagonal pattern.  The walls will be in ‘Accessible Beige’ and the trim ‘Marshmallow.’  Our plan for the counters is to actually granite tiles to go for an upgrade at a super affordable price.

There’s many more rooms to paint and and organize layouts for but for now I’ve decided to take a step back and focus on the kitchen to have it done before the big move in date.

As a side note, the neighbors in our new ‘hood are amazing.  We’ve already been given an air conditioning unit, conduit wire, been offered tools and been invited to the neighborhood ice cream social.  All of these things helped confirm our decision to go a little further west to be in an established community.  We may be compromising a bit on distance to where we like to eat (and drink), but based on our initial impression the tightness of the block and neighborhood in general will be worth that compromise.

Check out the flickr photos to the left to see what has become of our kitchen!  Hopefully there will be more ‘after’ photos to view after the holiday weekend.

Spiders and Snakes and Roofs, Oh My!

23 Jun

Day Two of work is complete.  Let me start of by saying that central air, or air conditioning period is an underrated amenity and that I am currently living the glamorous life in my apartment.

Got to the house around 10 or so with a car full of cleaning supplies and tools only to find out that Dad Ek was already there with an entire SUV full of supplies including a lawn mower – one of those things I’ve never considered having to own.  The boys got to work in the back weed wacking and mowing and I started scrubbing down the fridge so that we would have proper refrigeration for the cases of water, beer and pop that we will inevitably go through this summer.  Check out the before and after pics of the back of the yard – we do have a wall back there!  Oh, I was also informed that we have our first pet – a lovely black snake.

We got sweatier and sweatier as the day progressed but were able to accomplish a lot scrubbing, killing daddy long legs, and removal of curtains, doors, carpet and fixtures.  We walked a few electricians few – estimates forthcoming.  Overall the day was great until we found out that our roof estimate is most likely going to be a lot more than expected.

Which, of course, is cutting into the kitchen budget.  Goodbye shiny, new kitchen cabinets, Hello new paint, hardware and sanding.  Let’s find out if those kitchen rehabs with very small budgets on HGTV are applicable to the real world.

We’ll be checking out tile tonight for our counters and floors and will be back to work on Saturday working on removing cabinets, old tile and wallpaper.

The Beginning of the Beginning

21 Jun

And so it begins…..  We closed on our cute, frame fixer upper today.  Excitement went to fear in a hurry as we walked through the house this time knowing that everything was ours from the beautiful pine floors, to the too small kitchen and the asbestos tiles lurking beneath it.   We have decided to keep a blog for home project as much so that we can hopefully impart some wisdom on other brave souls like ourselves, but also so that we have a record of everything and can look back at our work someday and be proud of our accomplishments.

Day One we took some basic measurements of the downstairs, picked up the color wheel from Sherwin Williams and started to unearth 2 layers of old, vinyl tiles from the kitchen to find out if maybe, just maybe we have pine floors under that mess.  The jury is still out.  What do you think?Prayer for wood