Sunday, October 28, 2012

Autograph Please ...

In October we celebrated the release of Brian's new book, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Taxes." This was a huge undertaking ... meeting deadlines, revisions and editing etc. and took nearly a year from start to publication.
It's amazing to see his name and book on Amazon : )  If you order a copy, I'm sure he'd be happy to autograph it for you! We are so proud of you, Brian!  Any sequels in the near future?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Insufficient Energy?

Many have asked when the bathroom will be completed. Unlike this picture below the bathroom is enclosed and looks more like a tool storage shed. The jacuzzi tub sits alone until we put up walls  and tile around it, add tile flooring, install a new vanity, paint and decorate.

We joke about having insufficient funds but in all actuality ... it's insufficient energy! We need a break and with the holidays coming, life will get busy. Our plan is to tackle this project during the winter months and have it completed before Memorial Day weekend ... bringing us full-circle from when we started : ) Fortunately, we have three bathrooms so we can do this.
Right now, I'm going to get ideas on Pinterest and the blogs I follow. I'm sure we have been missed at Home Depot and Lowes and they are looking forward to our return.
"More Saving ... More Doing."

An Inviting Entrance

The last area of the kitchen remodel included painting our entryway. The walls are too tall for me to reach so this was a project both of us needed to be involved in. Once you start painting this area of the house there is no stopping. It includes the lower level entry as well.
We took down the lace curtains in the sidelight windows and since then I have not had time to sew replacements. We are kind of getting used to it ... it seems much larger and much brighter. We may leave it that way for awhile. However, I do not care to have solicitors at my door with the ability to have such a great view inside. Perhaps in November when I have more time off I will come up with something I like for that area. For now ... it's just not happenin'.
I am a bargain hunter by nature ... I love to seek out bargains on craigslist, Goodwill, thrift stores. The best buy of this entire project came with finding our entryway lighting fixture at ReStore in Beaverton. Well, it was actually "good news; bad news" ... we found the fixture we were planning to buy at Globe Lighting for almost $200 and there it was at ReStore for $35. The bad news ... next to it was our dining light fixture that we had installed a month earlier for the same price. Yikes! Kind of made me ill. But I was rejoicing all the way home with this new found beauty! I love this store and will continue to drop in now and then. It's one of those places you need to visit often.
Since the deck is now visible from the entryway ... it led to another project -staining the deck and handrails. We had to do this before the weather changed and we picked the last nice weekend in October. As I always say ... if you give a mouse a cookie ... : )

Better After

East side of kitchen

North side of kitchen
West side of dining area

South side of dining area

My favorite blogs are ones featuring a project with before and afters. The side-by-side photos above show how our kitchen/dining area was transformed by taking the wall down between the rooms and updating the space. It is now open and bright; large and enjoyable. It doesn't even look like the same house!

Reflecting Back ... Finishing Touches

August brought a month of finishing touches and a glimpse of a finished home remodeling project.
If the house wasn't torn up enough, I decided to paint and change-up the grandkids' playroom (see previous post). If you give a mouse a cookie ...
Between weddings, BBQs, parties etc. August was dedicated to getting the flooring finished. This project was not only physically draining but mentally as well. Selecting the right sized board, the right color ... it was like a giant jigsaw puzzle. We were so thankful for Flooring 101 instructions from Pierre.
We decided to go with cream colored subway tile for the backsplash. I wanted something timeless and simple. We both made many trips to various Home Depots in order to have enough inventory for the job. It must be very popular right now!
While Walt worked on tiling I spent an entire day with crowbar and hammer in hand pulling up the sub-floor in our long hallway. What a workout that was ... who needs a gym membership! Meanwhile, Walt cut tile on the upper deck to save steps to the kitchen. With the tile saw using water he was soaked after several cuts. No problem ... he just changed into his swim trunks and kept going.  Our electrician stopped by to work on the electrical while we were working away. When he saw the truck filled with particle board and the hallway torn up, he said we were now officially crazy! He's probably right : )
When we realized I would be heading back to work earlier than expected we asked our plumber to install all of the appliances. What would have taken us an entire weekend ... he had it finished in a matter of hours. We picked out a Bosch dishwasher -it's so quiet that the only way you know it's on is by a red light displayed on the floor when it's running. The garbage disposal is the quietest one available. The faucet is a Delta Touch 2O and we are LOVING the convenience in using it. It always seems to fascinate our guests. We also selected a deep black granite undermount sink and this has been one of the most surprising kitchen favorites.
We officially moved in to our new kitchen Labor Day weekend making our project timeline three months in the making. I'm so thankful we tackled this long overdue dream during my summer break. It would have taken double the time if I had been working.
We are L O V I N G this new living space. The first few weeks I felt like I was in someone else's home or a vacation rental. I didn't have my bearings at first ... I kept opening drawers when the silverware used to be etc ... and still do on occasion : )
This was definitely a taxing experience. Perhaps it should come with a warning: consult physician before attempting a remodel in your "fall season of life." We are so thankful for family and friends who walked through this with us ... giving a hand, providing a meal, keeping us in your prayers! I'm sure the restaurants in Tualatin have missed seeing us at dinner time : )

Reflecting Back ...Taking Shape

July was filled with dramatic changes in our kitchen project. Sub-contractors were in to do the plumbing, electrical, mechanical, sheetrocking. Inspectors stopped by with approvals. Ladders and paintbrushes became a part of my daily life. Cabinetry was hung/installed, measurements taken and granite countertops installed. Flooring was ordered, and in between all of that we took a week off camping at Wallowa Lake.
For Father's Day the boys gave Dad a gift of time and manpower. They took up the sub-floor in the dining room, hung sheetrock, and demo'd the main bathroom. What an amazing gift! The two of us could never have moved this project so far ahead without their help.

Here's a photo recap of the progress made during the month of July:

Reflecting Back ... Let's Get Started

Our fall SunRiver vacation is always a great time to "get away from it all" and allows for time to get to things that easily get bumped off the to-do list at home. We have been running at such a busy pace since spring so it has been nice to sit back and reflect on where life has taken us.
Memorial day weekend we demo'd our kitchen with the help of family. There was an abundance of flying sheetrock, particle board piles, appliances, cupboards and countertops, etc. making its way to the dumpster. Everyone got a turn to destroy the wall between the kitchen and dining room. It was very therapeutic! You only see these events on HGTV but to actually swing a hammer ... you just have to experience it. We even added some drawings to give the kids a better aim.
It was a long, exhausting day. The next morning I tiptoed into the "kitchen" to peek at the new look. You're either shocked and ask yourself, "What have we done?" or you are delighted with the outcome. I was thrilled with what I saw ... with the wall down there was natural light filling the entire room and it was nice to dream of what it would look like when completed.
While demoing the kitchen I noticed our main bathroom plumbing from the kitchen side. An idea slipped through my tongue and before I realized it Walt took the wall and studs down between the kitchen and bathroom. It was our only opportunity to remove the aging tub surround and move a jacuzzi tub in from the kitchen side. Cha-ching ... our first change order of the project. One thing always seems to lead to another!
And, this my friends, was only the beginning ...