Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Master

Master Bedroom Sneak Peek:

Fuzzy under feet.

I apologize for the delay in the next few posts... these things have happenned in the past 2 weeks, and I've just been too busy to blog about it!
The rug for the living room arrived! We needed a big one - 9x13 at least - and one that was under 1,000 dollars - so that limited our options! Luckily Lowes.com had 3 rugs that were big enough, and all priced around 500 bucks. So I picked the least offensive - and this is what we got:

It's not too bad! It actually has the blue color in it, so I think it will match well with our paintings that we'll eventually get around to putting up on the walls.

The old rug that was in our living room at Belmonte will probably be making an appearance in the "man room" until Dave can find a nice leopard skin rug to complete the "man theme."

Throw it on the wall, and see if it sticks.

The rooms we have left to paint are slowly dwindling... I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!! As of 2 weeks ago all we had left was the hallway, 1 closet, and both bathrooms.
Our friends from Boston, Kevin and Victoria were coming into town - so in a fit of energy I decided to paint the guest bathroom. I didn't want them running out of the shower, screaming from the wallpaper, "It hurts my eyes!!"

This was a very ambitious goal considering A. I would have to do it after work, and B. The walls looked like crap. But I was determined! I am ready for the painting process to be over!!

So I attacked it with oil based Killz - 2 heavy coats. It didn't turn out too bad. Killz fills in most of the cracks and imperfections. The only thing that was so frustrating was that this bathroom has so many corners and angles!! Half the time I was balancing precariously on the toilet/or tub/or sink with one foot, one foot on a chair, arm outstretched with a paint brush full of paint. I think I have successfully killed my back, and it will never be the same again.

I did get it finished by the skin of my teeth, Kevin and Victoria appreciated it, and everything turned out great!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Four Month Update

I can't believe it's only been 4 months!! (We bought the house on August 9th) Feels like we've been working forever on it. Well I guess it's time for an overall update. Here's what we've done in the past 2 months:
Finished stripping the wallpaper in the master bedroom. Painted walls, trim, new blinds.
Finished stripping wallpaper in the master closet. Primed it.
Used Killz to paint all the insides of the closets so they are nice and fresh!
Primed and painted over the wallpaper in the hall bath.
Finished repair work on the walls in the dining room. Primed and painted that.
Got the floors refinished... Gorgeous!!
Started building wooded thresholds to match the floor.
And Dave came up with a fantastic blueprint for the garage - he is in the process of setting it all up. All the heavy stuff is already moved over - it's looking very cool! It will be the ultimate man room when he's done.

We are now LIVING in the renovation, even though we haven't sold Belmonte. We decided to do this for 3 reasons:
A. Most all the heavy construction is finished, almost all rooms are painted (Just a bathroom and the hall left!) and the floors are done.
2. All the responses from people looking at Belmonte say, "It seems small/the oversized furniture makes it feel small/It smells like cat." So I said ENOUGH! We are packing up the cat and our apparently "oversized" loveseat (Is that like a Jumbo Shrimp?) and leaving.
And C. Kevin and Victoria are coming from Boston this weekend and we are the hosts!!! So that really helped us get our butts in gear.
I think it's looking really cute! But one thing we are realizing is that some of the furniture we've got doesn't really work in the new house. We were SO particular about it because we only had so much space to work with at Belmonte. But now the rooms are bigger and our things look so small!! Not a bad problem to have I have to admit. But that's a low priority list right now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tough Love

We are finally living at Ardsley! It only took us about 4 months to get it ready - but hey so what! I have been packing and unpacking like a mad woman - Dave has been tying up loose ends and moving the heavy furniture - and I have to say, Arnold is.... not doing much of anything. I mean I love the little guy and all... but really I feel like he should be pulling his weight more. He just sleeps all day - and when he's not sleeping - he's hiding in empty boxes.

I think it might be time for some tough love.

Friday, November 30, 2007

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

If there's one thing about the new house that really fires me up - it's that damn pee stain.
The entire wood floor is gorgeous EXCEPT for that damn pee stain.

I cleaned that thing about a hundred times to get the smell out.
Then I researched how to get that damn pee stain out.
Then I scrubbed for weeks with Hydrogen Peroxide to try and lighten that damn pee stain.
Called in the big guns and even tried bleach on it.
It became the epic battle known as "Woman v. Pee Stain"

Well my friends, I am proud to say I won. (Did you have any doubt in your mind?)
My solution? The floor people painted over it before they polyurethaned it. Brilliant!
Let's take a look at the before and after! Here it is, in all it's glory:

After weeks of elbow grease it finally lightened to this lovely shade:

And then finally the support troops came in and helped me win the war against the floor!

It doesn't actually look as light as it does in this picture - I think the flash made it brighter.
And it didn't cost anything extra because they are trying to get people to use this new "stain masking" service they are offering - so it was free! We figured, Hey the wood is ruined anyway so let's give it a whirl.
You put the rug up next to it, and in the daylight, you can't even tell!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Sneak Peek...

... at the new dining room. What do you think? The wall color is called Martini Olive.
I am going to make a book when we're all done of before and after photos. It's amazing the facelift this old house is getting!!!

Maybe I am coming down with a fever...

For those of you who know me - this is going to sound strange.
I finally finished painting the Master Bedroom... and I chose... BEIGE.
I don't know what I was thinking but it is such a departure from the norm for me! I love colors and usually go crazy with the wall color.

But after I was all done with the bedroom, I looked around and just thought - God this looks so sad!! I have a great image in my head though, inspired by a page in a Pottery Barn catalog - so I've got to stay true to the design!! I'm sure it will look great when it's all done. I've got a orange quilt and a orange sunset picture that's going on the wall - so I'm getting my color fix through accessories!!

Anyone need some firewood?

The tree is gone - no fall out yet from that 30 ton crane. I think we maybe have avoided disaster! Anyway - it created alot of firewood - too bad we don't have a fireplace!...... and it was 81 degrees on Monday!

Anyway I thought this photo was funny - we had half the street blocked off with tree limbs! They did eventually come and haul it away...

Floors - done!

The wood floors look GREAT!!! Thank you Mr. Sandless! We decided to go with them and I am SO glad we did. Cost half as much, and it was done in 1 day.
Of course they are not perfect - they never will be. They are old wood floors. The only way you can get all the scratches and little imperfections out would be to strip and sand them down very far and then get them refinished the old fashioned way.
We didn't have that kind of time - or money - and I kind of like the old look in a house! Why be cookie cutter? Do your own thing!!
So here is the before:

And the after:
And Dave is making nice wooden thresholds for all the doorways!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Goodbye Dead Tree!

God sent us a huge wake up call in the form of a dead water oak.
It's been getting quite chilly here in Florida... and a week or 2 ago we had a nor'easter blow through with high winds. I think it was the weekend of Florida/Georgia.... we were so preoccupied with the game and the all day tailgating that we had started to neglect Ardsley Manor. I think we went about 4 days in a row of not even checking up on her! Well the day after the game I was feeling restless (and sad :( Damn you Georgia!) and said to Dave, we've got to get back to work!
So we dragged out defeated butts out of bed and made it over there by early afternoon. What we found shook us to the core. A huge tree limb had cracked and fallen off the dead water oak that is hanging over our house. It missed our roof by 2 FEET! It's not a branch - it's a limb. We can't move it is so heavy.

Dave and I were racked with guilt - What if it had fallen through our roof, leaving us a big hole - while we're off drinking beer in a parking lot? So we decided that was a big sign from the man upstairs - "You two need to prioritize! Protect your family first - paint chips are non essentials!!"

The tree company is coming Tuesday to take it down. There is no way to get to the backyard, so they have to get a crane to reach over the house. I am getting a nervous stomach just thinking about it. They'll be carrying these huge branches over the house!!!! EEk! And they will have to take out some bushes on the side to get the stump grinder back there.

It's going to cost alot - and probably mess up the yard - but you know what? We'll be alive at the end of the day! And there will be no chance that sucker could fall through the roof in the middle of the night!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Paint me a river.

We are finally ready for color in the dining room and master bedroom! It's been a long slow process, but we really wanted to get those 2 rooms done right, since we spend a lot of time there.
The master bedroom had some lovely wallpaper on it, you might recall. Pale blue, pink and yellow stripes - all you needed was a crib and voila! Instant nursery!
Dave and I decided that we've still got a few years before we can tackle another very expensive time consuming endeavor (children) so the nursery paper had to go! We contemplated the Trading-Spaces-quick-fix-paint-over-it philosophy... but in the end we had to strip it. The previous owner had papered over nails and tacks and picture hangers!!! So there were these big bumps in the wall - it was a mess. So I spent about a week stripping the paper and washing the walls. Then my dad came over to help mud the imperfections and Dave puttied holes. Then Dave sanded, vacuumed, and wiped down the walls. Then I went in and primed with Killz. So it's FINALLY ready for some color! It was ALOT of prep, but the walls are sooooo smooth you would not believe it. You can't even tell they're plaster. They look like drywall.
After seeing the amazing results, we are kicking ourselves that we did not do that much prep at the Belmonte house!! If you've been to our other house, you've seen the bumpy plaster walls. (Why didn't we think to do some prep there instead of slapping paint over it?)
Anyway I guess that's water over a bridge - or a bridge over troubled water - whatever. Needless to say we had to do the same thing to the dining room - couldn't bear to do a half assed job there. So we stripped the wallpaper - found the nicotine stains - washed walls - mudded - sanded - vacuumed - wiped - and last night primed. But this time used oiled based Killz because of the smell. Which if you've never used oil based Killz smells like gasoline and gets you high like a crackhead!!! Good lord that was an interesting evening! We tried to get as much ventilation as possible in there - but we ended up talking about some weird stuff and Dave was laughing... I got very cranky... my eyes started watering, so much so - I'd say it was more than when I watched The Notebook.
But it was worth it - both rooms look fantastic and are ready for some color!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Smoking stinks.

It's like we unearthed a dead corpse.

Once we finally peeled the last of the wallpaper off the dining room... it started to smell like an old ash tray. Upon closer inspection... I noticed the walls had a faint black tint to them. I think the previous owner was a smoker at one point and they just wallpapered over the smell when they quit - or more likely, one of them died of lung cancer.
So Dave and I had to get scrubby brushes and buckets of water and literally scrub the tobacco off the walls. That was by far the most disgusting thing I have done in that house. I had to get one of those dish sponges that keeps soap in the handle. The trick is lots of soap to loosen the grease. You scrub a portion of the wall until the brown suds start dripping down the wall. YUCK! Then you wipe with a clean sponge and you're left with a white streak where you cleaned it. If it does that to your walls - IMAGINE WHAT IT DOES TO YOUR VITAL ORGANS!!!!! Vomit..

Another interesting thing we found under the wallpaper - some areas where there was a doorway and they boarded it up. And it's not even drywall or plaster - it's some weird sort of white board that they nailed in.

On this next picture you can really see how bad it is. The left side is cleaned, right side is not.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Out, damn spot! OUT, I SAY!

My epic saga with the pee stain continues. It's been a full two weeks and countless applications of hydrogen peroxide - and the damn thing will not go away!! I have been taking pictures trying to track the progress. But alas I see NO improvement. I am really dreading having to replace these boards. It's only this one corner of the room, too. So we thought we could get away with cleaning it, and then we wouldn't have to stain the entire floor to cover this one spot. But it looks like I am down to 3 options.

A. Bleach it and see how light it gets - hopefully not too light.
B. Rip out those boards and find ones to match.
C. Stain the entire floor a dark color.

Here are the photos - tell me what you think. Does anyone else have a solution for stained wood? I am up for trying anything.
DAY 14

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Open says-a-me.

The new open pantry in the kitchen looks awesome! You can't even tell that there used to be a huge ugly indoor grill there. It took Dave and Charlie about 3 days to rip it out and build it. We were originally going to make it a deep pantry all the way to the top, with doors on it. But when they pulled the grill out, they found the air conditioner vent came through there - that's how it gets from the garage to the house. So that sort of altered the plans!! So as it stands we have deep shelving on the bottom, and a shallow shelf up top, and we're going to leave it open. I might put my canisters there... or maybe a clock.

I'm going to get you a mug, "Best Husband in the World."

I just want to take a minute to recognize Dave and all the amazing work he is doing on the house!! I started feeling this way when I was looking at some photos today. The house is really coming along - and Dave has done ALOT of the physical labor. Not only does he keep the grass mowed to a respectable height, he does all the heavy lifting and removes anything really smelly out to the curb - that is in between doing projects like replacing all the electrical outlets in the house, replacing toilets, building a workbench, spackling and sanding plaster walls, ripping out shower doors, pulling tacks out of the wood floor, installing a garbage disposal, and he is still running over to me whenever I yell "DAAAAVE, Can you move the ladder for me???? It's heavy and I'm done painting this wall." WHAT AN AWESOME HUSBAND!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Water-downed tailgating...

The Jags game was blacked out on Sunday - but we wouldn't let that deter our spirits! It was a beautiful day, hardly any humidity, and a 1:00 kick off - so naturally we decided "Let's have people over to listen to the game!" We invited the Chowskes... threw some burgers and dogs on the grill... It was a fantastic time. First cook out at the house with people who are not related to us!!

Everything was going great (even the Jags were winning) until I heard Dave yell "Hey - I think I found where the washing machine empties out!!" I came running outside to see Niagra Falls on the side of my house
That's right... that's the washing machine water pouring out onto the ground. Nice eh?
I guess that's something we need to address. Either that - or we need to buy 365 pairs of underwear and socks.


Pee stain aside - we discovered some beautiful hardwood floors under that carpet! Take a look for yourself what a difference it makes in the room:
Notice Dave on his hands and knees pulling carpet tacks out of the floor!
So now the next step is - what do we do with the floor? It's got virtually no damage - there are some paint drips, and of course that lovely urine spot. But other that that it's in really good condition. The poly on top has a slight impression of the carpet pad. So it probably needs to be refinished. I've looked it up and it looks like it will need what they call a "light sanding." It's just what it sounds like - sand it only once or twice. Clean it. And put a new coat of clear poly down. I don't think it needs to be stained - I like the kind of orangy color it is right now. So all we need to do is muster up enough energy to rent the sander and get our butts in gear.
OR we've been throwing around the idea of calling in "Mr. Sandless." It's a company that will come refinish your floors without sanding - no mess - and they are done in 4 hours (versus the 6 days it takes for the old fashioned way.) That would probably run us about 500 dollars... compared to the 50 bucks it costs to rent a sander.
One other interesting thing I should mention...when we pulled up the berber we discovered this: What is it, you ask? It's where a fireplace used to be!!!!!!! Why in the world did they board that up?? So I guess behind that wall there are a few more bricks and a big hole. Can't really tell from that wall can you?
I guess that's where the couch will go!

Friday, October 12, 2007


I guess the paint fumes have finally gotten to us. We have just been soo... SILLY lately. It's got to be from days of painting and not opening the windows.
Anyway I am pretty pleased with the results. Here are the colors so far:

Xtra Bedroom 1: Lion
Xtra Bedroom 2: Sandstone
Kitchen: River Rock
Living room: Light French Gray

And I'm thinking of Martini Olive for the Dining Room.
Can you tell I'm a sucker for a good color name?
(It's the one in the lower right corner)

2 Month Update

I just realized it's been 2 months since we bought Ardsley! I can't believe how it's flying by. It doesn't seem like we are moving as fast as we did in the first month. I guess that's because we are now onto alot of cosmetic things and they take more time.
Anyway here's an update on what we did in September...

Finished both of the extra bedrooms - from paint, to new blinds, to even setting up furniture.
Painted the living room. 1 coat only - I need to do a 2nd coat..
Painted over the hideous wallpaper in the kitchen.
Pulled up 2 layers of old linoleum in the kitchen - put down new peel and stick vinyl tile.
New drawer and cabinet pulls in the kitchen.
Re caulked the tubs and showers.
Stripped 2 of the 4 walls in the bedroom.
Pullled up the carpet in the dining room.
And Dave started cleaning out the garage so he can build his work bench. We ripped down that wierd makeshift cabinet in the back of the garage - and found a ton of wierd stuff. Including a huge sign that read "Dr. Carl Hackel"

Wood, Jerry....... wood!

We had every intention of keeping that berber carpet. We even spent the money to have it steam cleaned. But after 2 months it was back to looking like a dirt road. So one day while I was at work I got the phone call:
"Honey, I ripped up the carpet in the dining room."
"What does it look like underneath?" I tentatively asked Dave.
"Actually - beautiful hardwood floors!" Dave said proudly.
"Good! because I was afraid -"
"- Except for one thing." He said.

Please see Exibit A:

A giant pee stain in the corner. Apparently someone couldn't make it 5 feet down the hall to the bathroom.

And yes it has got to be urine because it STINKS.
Well it's only that one spot. So I figured there's got to be a way to clean it. I researched online and found that you can wipe Hydrogen Peroxide on it and it will bleach it slowly. So I tried that for 2 days, and it barely lightened. So then I decided, let's just dump it on there and see what happens. I mean it's already ruined right? So I poured a big puddle over the spot.
It worked a little too well. Now I have a huge white puddle over a big black spot. I guess you have to help it soak in evenly.
Kara had a good suggestion. Why don't we just leave the stain - and that will be the naughty corner. "That's it - URINE trouble mister! Go over to the smelly corner and think about what you've done!!" "PLEASE NO Mom no!!!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rain rain go away...

It's like we're in some kind of wallpaper purgatory. We've got half the house stripped off... the other still on the wall... some painted over... some not... and for the past 2 days we've been trying to get to the house to finish stripping it, and we can't even get there - it's been raining so hard in Jacksonville our streets are flooded!! Some schools even cancelled classes because parking lots were underwater. Crazy!
Anyway, so this is the stage we are in. And it stinks.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COME HELP STRIP WALLPAPER THIS SUNDAY (insert laugh here) I WILL PAY YOU WITH BEER AND PIZZA. Or our first born child. Whichever you prefer.

Before and after photos...Enjoy!

The back bedroom...

The front bedroom...

The kitchen...