Wednesday, May 27, 2009

rumpus room

It is hard to know when to post things to show progress because hardly anything is ever DONE done. But for now I will show you the progress of the rumpus room floor, which is DONE done, even if the rest of the room is not and still has no furniture in it.

At first we had an odd room with ugly ugly carpet.

At the inspection it was noted that the floor was uneven, probably poured concrete patio slab. We were anxious to get down to take a look at what was underneath the carpet. What we didn't really expect to find was more carpet. RED industrial carpet. We then started calling it "The Red Room". Here we is what it looked like as painting got started.

Even with the ugly red carpet, it was useful for storing all of our stuff as we got the rest of the house ready.

And our stuff waited and waited . . .

Finally we were ready to work on the floors. We pulled back the red carpet to find that the pad had been glued down to the concrete and was still very stuck.

So we debated at that point whether to do a quick fix it job or a thorough job. We ended up going with a nice thorough job because we don't like to do anything half-assed! This next step required Mr. House and his dad to scrape alllll the black pad off.

After some scrapping, we discovered that the unevenness we felt was from the wood forms that we left in, long after the concrete dried. So the good news was that there were no huge cracks in the floor. the bad news was that now we had to do more work to remove the old, rotten wood and fill it in with concrete.

When it came time for removing the wood we were in for an additional surprise. We pulled out the wood to find TERMITES!!!

This was a surprise to us because the previous owner had the house sprayed for us before we bought it. I called the termite guy who they had used and he agreed to come out at the end of the week. Well the end of the week was raining pretty hard, so the end of the week turned in to the beginning of the next week. Meanwhile we are living with an ugly concrete floor with huge gaps that extend down to the dirt. I was full of irrational (?) fears of bugs, spiders and/or snakes crawling up in to the house so much so that those fears entered my dreams. It was an unpleasant week.

Finally the very nice termite man came and sprayed - assuring me all the while that he was "using the good stuff this time". The whole spraying thing freaked me the hell out and I was quick to vacate the house while they were here (even though they didn't really mention anything). Finally we were ready to fill in the old frame with concrete.

In an effort to not do anything half-assed, once the concrete was dry Mr. House rented a concrete grinder and went to town smoothing out all the different levels. What a beast that grinder was!

Then, furthering out efforts to do as much work as possible, we washed the floor to get it ready to be sealed.

To seal we went with Dry-lock. It was supposed to seal from water, etc. We bought it in blue because it was a few bucks cheaper than white - yay cheapskates! Now we have used some awful nasty smelling chemicals in this house remodel, but this was by far the WORST. It smelled horrible. I quickly put on my respirator to help block the odor and toxins. Bleh, really really glad this part is over.

Here is what the floor looked like when we had it all prepped and ready for carpet. Initially I wanted to paint the whole floor, but I hated that stuff so much we only ended up covering up the new concrete and feathering out from there.

I went and picked out a nice carpet from wood brothers and we planned to use our same installer because we had pretty good luck. Well to make a long story short (too late) the carpet guy flaked on us not once but twice which put our finished floor even farther back. Something about losing his phone at a bachelor party, a story which he told to myself and my mother and my grandmother. You can see I am trying to forget the details. So now after reading this whole long story you can see why this is what I did when I saw the carpet for the first time.


Monday, May 25, 2009

killer cacti

So one of the things that we disliked very much about out front yard is the giant cactus in the center. It is an odd sight. We decided early on to dig up that old cacti and replace it with redwood trees. Because really who doesn't like redwood trees? Even Mr. House who insists ever tree bear fruit or nuts wanted the redwood.

The other benefit to planting redwoods is that we have a seemingly endless (and free) supply from my family who lives in the Santa Cruz mountains. This past weekend we decided would be a good time to obtain our first redwood tree. I don't have any pictures of the process because we were running late for a wedding, but needless to say we had our pick of the trees.

We shopped around their property for the right height tree, with the right number of branches and the right thickness of trunk. We found it a little ways out in the back or front of their house (depending on who you ask). We dug it out and put it with some more dirt and water in a garbage bag then loaded it in the back of the empty van. It fit perfectly! Then we got ready and drove to the wedding where our new tree waited patiently for us to return.

After some delicious cake and a little dancing we returned to the car and drove home. We arrived home just before 8:00 and began digging our hole right away. The ground seemed really hard and we soon realized that there was a layer of gravel on the top. Once we got under that layer we thought we were home free, only to find another layer of gravel, this time about a foot deep. Poor Mr. House kept on digging and eventually he dug through all the gravel and quite a few random roots. We plopped our new tree and some new dirt in the ground next to the cactus for now because we didn't have the time to transplant the cactus it into a pot, nor a pot to transplant it in to. Soon we hope to dig up the cactus and get two more redwood friends.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Our (sizable) tax rebate came in the mail today, so we immediately started dreaming about what we could do to upgrade the house with the money.  leading contenders are windows and solar hot water heater, since those will payoff as rebates next  year as well. 

Well, one of us was dreaming about upgrades.  The other one started planning a trip to Vegas. 

What would you spend money on to upgrade your house?