Archive for August, 2009


Gah – I just want to rip the office carpet off, fast, so it doesn’t sting so badly.

Office carpet 001

Office carpet 003

But first I promised to finish the new basement stairwell – and it’s creeping along.  I don’t have very much time per day to spend on it, and it shows.  Ugh.

Basement and laundry room 011

The garbage/recycling closet is almost totally enclosed now, so that feels like something.

Basement and laundry room 012

Also, I framed up the new landing and short wall.  I’m going to use sheetrock down here, rather than 3″ strips of plywood, so finishing it will be cheaper and faster.  Knock on wood.

Basement and laundry room 014

But just for Jane, here’s what we started with –

Basement stairwell wall 002


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Craigslist: beautiful mess?

Long article, from Wired:

Newmark’s claim of almost total disinterest in wealth dovetails with the way craigslist does business. Besides offering nearly all of its features for free, it scorns advertising, refuses investment, ignores design, and does not innovate. Ordinarily, a company that showed such complete disdain for the normal rules of business would be vulnerable to competition, but craigslist has no serious rivals. The glory of the site is its size and its price. But seen from another angle, craigslist is one of the strangest monopolies in history, where customers are locked in by fees set at zero and where the ambiance of neglect is not a way to extract more profit but the expression of a worldview.

I think I like Craigslist more now.  You?

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Chain of events

We had a moderately-successful garage sale last weekend.  I don’t even remember what we sold, which is a pretty good indication that we had boxes full of things we didn’t really need.  Wait, someone bought a blue rocking chair, for sure, but I don’t know what else.  In any case, Missy and I prodded ourselves to do all the tedious garage sale prep-work by planning to spend the money on something fun for the house.

We decided to get a rug.  We’d let fate decide for what room.

And fate brought us an 8×10 yellow-and-white polka-dotted rug from Pottery Barn for the family room (fate also saw fit to make it 75% off, which was the only way we could afford an 8×10 Pottery Barn rug with the proceeds from a moderately-successful garage sale).

New rug

But, oh heavens! The family room is already rugged – with a pretty great rug from Morocco (via ReStore)!   Here’s where the chain of events really gets rolling:

  • We’re going to put the new rug in the family room, which necessitates
  • Moving the Moroccan rug to the office, which necessitates
  • Pulling up the beige carpet in the office, which necessitates
  • Finishing the basement stairwell walls (because: One Project At A Time), which necessitates
  • Uh, really, just finding the time to do that.  But now I have an awesome polka-dotted incentive staring at me.

If there’s one rule about stairwells to century-old basements, it’s this: Aesthetics Over Function.  Everyone knows that rule, right?  It’s like an American maxim.  Well, maybe I was just raised differently than you.

So instead of plain-ol’ drywall, I’m covering the stairwell wall with 1/2″ plywood strips ripped to random widths (in the 2.5-4″ range), spaced with #8 nails, and painted white.  It’s slow-going, but it’ll be like a seaside cottage in there by the end of the week.

Basement and laundry room 001

Also, DIY cat-door!

Basement and laundry room 010

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In the shade

New mudroom light cover 001

New mudroom light cover 002

Four American dollars later.   Thanks, ReStore!

New mudroom light cover 003

New mudroom light cover 004

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Rain Delay V

I’m too tired to be witty so here are some pictures to look at.

This is finished, except for curtains –

Painting dining room and kitchen 031

Painting dining room and kitchen 032

Painting dining room and kitchen 037

And this is just getting started, or maybe somewhere in the middle, if you’re generous –

Basement stairwell wall 001

Basement stairwell wall 002

Basement stairwell wall 003

Basement stairwell wall 009

Basement stairwell wall 015

4" fir tongue-and-groove floor, which no one will know about but you and me.  So shhh.

4" fir tongue-and-groove floor, which no one will know about but you and me. So shhh.

Basement stairwell wall 020

Basement stairwell wall 023

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Rain Delay IV

What did we do yesterday afternoon?  Oh, not much – just fundamentally changed the entire atmosphere of our dining room and kitchen. A coat of Yellow Coneflower (Olympic – which turned out to be the best paint we’ve ever used) turned a stuffy maroon dining room and nondescript white kitchen into a fun, happy, vibrant place.

I’m going to go stand in the doorway and smile at it for a while.

Painting dining room and kitchen 004

Painting dining room and kitchen 007

Painting dining room and kitchen 009

Painting dining room and kitchen 012

Painting dining room and kitchen 019

Painting dining room and kitchen 020

I also want to send some well-deserved praise toward Hyundai.  On Tuesday morning, our 2007 Elantra refused to start, and let me tell you, there’s nothing that makes my stomach hurt more than automobile trouble.  I’d rather deal with rotten porch floors every day of the week than ask a mechanic to look at our car.  But Hyundai and the local Hyundai dealer?  Were awesome.  Towing was done within half an hour after we called, and completely covered by our warranty.  The dealer called us the next morning to say they’d taken care of the problem, plus fixed a recall issue that letters hadn’t even gone out about yet.  They just needed to wash our car, start and drive it a couple more times, and then it was ready for us to pick it up.  We kept waiting for the catch – “Yup, your warranty covers parts, but we’ll need $845 to cover labor, plus the $79 diagnostic fee” or something – but it never came.  The last line of the invoice read Total Due: $0.00.  This is the first new car we’ve ever owned, and maybe every car company is like this, but Hyundai may have just turned us into long-term Hyundai buyers.

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Rain Delay III

It’s not the kind of progress that involves slapping dark gray paint on the side of the house, but progress is being made nevertheless.  With three days left, Jason & Missy’s Big Week O’ House Projects (featuring Kyle the Brother and Denise the Mom) has already been a big success.  I’m amazed at what we can get done when we’re not trying to work around (1) work and (2) that baby who always asks us for juice.  If you have the ability to take a Work On Your House vacation (with childcare included), I recommend it.

Here’s what we worked on in the morning – I’ll post our afternoon project shortly.  It’s impressive – prepare yourselves.

Kyle and I jacked up the corner of the porch, only to find that the damage was a lot more severe than I thought.  We’re going to have to lift up from the top so that we can clear out this entire corner, from the column pedestal down to the concrete blocks.  A 4×4 may look too piddly to hold up the entire corner, but yesterday morning, the column was only being held up by rotten wood and misplaced optimism.

Porch rot 001

Porch rot 003

Right-click and Save – it’s a rare photo of us working together!  The porch skirt I built is primed, painted (dark gray, to match the main house color), screwed on, and staked down.  The colony of spiders under the porch have made me their king.

Porch skirt 003

Porch skirt 006

I’m going to put one more coat of dark gray on the stairs and the door right after I hit Publish, and then the mudroom will be done.  Well, not done done – like the downstairs bathroom, this is a cheap, temporary makeover until we can afford to do what we really want.

Mudroom floor 005

Mudroom floor 002

For comparison, here’s what the mudroom looked like when we walked through the house the first time –

Division Street House 090

Division Street House 214

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