Let’s just start right out with this since it makes me laugh out loud. Let’s just say that my first afternoon attempt at using a paint sprayer didn’t go as planned. It was actually kind of another one of those “what I learned about my husband while trying to learn how to use a paint sprayer” days. Like the whole closet door making experience. Just getting started in trying to get this thing figured out was just kind of intimidating to us. It has been looming over our head in our shed for months and we were finally to the stage where we’d picked out a color we wanted to try and it was time to give it a go. So Joel took a nap. :) Yeah, he wanted no part of what was sure to be a paint sprayer fiasco. Smart, smart man. And lesson learned, this guy really does hate painting as much as he claims. But, want to see something cool? I figured it out! Well, that is not entirely true, but more details on that in a minute. I actually instagrammed this picture as it was happening and many thought this was white paint. It’s actually Dewey House Grey, it is a custom color that matches a hotel in town. We liked it and knew we would have to get our color approved by the historic approval committee so we thought an easy way to go would be to pick a color that had already been approved. We figured there was no sense getting our hearts set on a color just to have it denied. And see how it’s so much lighter on the right, in the sun, than on the left, in the dark. We’re realizing the “50 shades of gray always a different shade … continue reading
Alternate titles in consideration for this post were “that day I was thankful the neighbors weren’t around”, “I guess painting isn’t like riding a bike” and “dude, ladders are hard”. All I can say is that I really was happy no one saw me fall off my ladder on our front porch the other day. Yep, that totally happened. And my paint tray went flying onto the sidewalk and this happened. Not my finest moment, but one of those four little ladder legs got unruly and slipped off the porch while I was painting the ceiling joists on the underside of the porch ceiling and although I saved myself, there was really nothing I could do about the sidewalk. Let’s take a look at a little illustration, please don’t be distracted by the man powerwashing in the photo, that really has nothing to do with anything. There is about a 5 inch gap between the edge of the patio and the front wall where there used to be weeds flowers. I’m not exactly sure how the ladder leg got in there, but at some point while I was painting over my head I lost track of what was happening below my feet and things got hairy. But just for a second. I wasn’t hurt, well, maybe my ego, but after a quick perusal of the street there was a sigh of relief for no witnesses. Heck, the tourist train could have been going by with some unsuspecting tourist getting me on their vacation video. Aaaanyway, it’s never dull around here. :) The front porch progress so far has included Joel using the scariest tool he ever used to grind off nails poking through the bottom of our porch roof and then we finished up the trim around our new exterior siding. … continue reading
Hey hey! Hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day whether you spent it with your love or yourself or your cat, whom you refer to as your love. :-) I’ve actually skipped away for a few days with my BFF to warm and sunny … Chicago. Yeah, not sure how that happened, Chicago in February that is, but we’re hoping to spend some time walking around with our cameras since she just got a new one so you may end up seeing more of our trip than you hope to. But, I have a HUGE tip for you today. One that I feel like I should have known. Or at least I should have deduced. (Just because I wanted to use that word in a sentence.) Because it actually makes total sense, I just didn’t realize it. And it’s about how to caulk exterior siding and why not to caulk newly installed pressure treated wood. So, pressure treated wood is lumber than has been chemically treated to resist against rot, fungus, insects and other random grossness that happens when things live outside. When we built-out our exterior wall over the old faux brick that was all done in pressure treated plywood. And then when my dad and I tackled the exterior trim we used all pressure treated lumber as well. After we had all of the trim installed and had a solid start of the hardiboard siding installation I got busy with some caulk. (Please resist the urge to giggle.) Any guesses how many tubes I’ve used so far? 12 tubes so far. And I’ve declared 3 tubes at a time to be my limit. And I haven’t even started on the soffit or any of the areas above the porch roof. But I will. Soon. But I need to thank … continue reading
Joel made an unfortunate realization around here the other day. Actually, unwittingly, I kind of surrendered my hand, and gave up a bit of my DIY strategy. We were hanging out with friends and talking about the house and they asked “how do you decide who does what when it comes to house projects?”. Totally joking I said “I just ask Joel to do everything I don’t want to do”. (Clearly someone has been dismantling pallets around here.) This, my friends, turned out to be a classic case of foot in mouth disease. See, Joel decided to put some serious thought into this strategy and proclaimed “HEY, that’s exactly what happens”. Doh! Dangnabit! Goshdarnit! I’ve been figured out. Luckily my partner in DIY crime kind of likes me and indulges my frequent requests to do all kinds of random tasks from manning the insulation blower from the attic to doing the dishes. (I did much more than this picture implies on insulation day.) So it came as no surprise to him when I declared grinding off the nails on the underside of our patio porch was his job. We exposed the ceiling joists on our porch roof back in September, when we removed the luaun that was on the ceiling to uncover that the porch wasn’t even attached to the house. With that porch roof now securely attached and the hardiboard siding installation finally complete we keep plugging away on the front of the house, making some exterior progress, a few small projects at a time. We are working towards a pretty traditional southern porch ceiling look with exposed joists and the ceiling painted blue. The end result will look something like this. (I can’t find the original source for this photo anywhere so if you know please let me know … continue reading
I feel like celebrating this hardiboard siding installation accomplishment, but before I go giving myself a pat on the back I feel like a little background information is in order to explain how we got to our new look. Maybe it’s because this project actually started over Labor Day 2013, that would be almost 5 months ago for any other score keepers out there. Granted, she is a far cry from finished, but remember the peach paint, faux brick facade, stubby windows and unfortunate brown color shutters that made us say “we need to own this house” back in April 2013? That photo hurts my head. We knew if we were going to make any significant impact on the overall curb appeal of our diamond in the rough the whole front look of her needed a facelift. So we hired a small crew who worked over Labor Day weekend and got rid of that awkward 3-roof-line look and raised the roof on the front part of the house to line up with the gable we had over the rest of the house. Here’s another shot of the roof raising in process. Here they are leveling the new ridge board, the length of that shows the length of the roof we raised, it’s just over 6 feet of new vaulted ceiling. That we still adore. You can also see on the section on the right where they heightened the wall, they framed it in with 2 x 6s so it would stick out farther than the previous exterior wall so we could hang the siding over the old faux brick. Oh faux brick, how we don’t miss you one iota. Once we had the new exterior framed out to a flat surface, all the deets on that here, and all of the … continue reading
You guys! We bought all new appliances!! I own a dishwasher again. By “own” I mean “paid for but Home Depot is holding it because we really don’t have a kitchen renovation on any immediate plans and our current kitchen doesn’t have the space for a dishwasher”. Which kind of takes all of the fun out of actually owning a dishwasher. But it means I can see the light at the end of the 4-years-without-a-dishwasher tunnel. If I had to pick my least favorite task it would be doing dishes, hands down. I’ll clean a toilet any day of week. Seriously people, that takes like 3 seconds. And do it right before you get in the shower to wash off any skeeve factor. Doing dishes takes an eternity! I have lost years off of my life I can never get back standing in front of the sink doing dishes. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. I must mean that I have no real problems in life if my biggest one is doing dishes. So, I’ll concede to that fact. But in December Home Depot was having an appliance sale we just couldn’t turn down. And even though it doesn’t really seem to make sense, timing-wise, we went for it. You know, ’cause we don’t live in a perfect home improvement world. And, because Joel and I don’t really exchange gifts I may have sent him an email with our order confirmation that said “Merry Christmas to us”. Making this a big Christmas year since I already got the floor plan program. I’m also the girl who asked for an Oreck for Christmas one year and may have stalked a silent auction table at a charity event to actually get said vacuum for about half off regular price. … continue reading
So, here’s the deal. Last August I posted about my DIY dilemma and got so many great responses. Basically, I asked you guys a few questions and you responded with some answers and more questions of your own. One thing many of you mentioned is that you’d like to see more photos in and around Key West and I plan to focus on that in 2014. I totally failed on that idea around Christmas, there were so many decorated houses with fun lights, like a fishing Santa complete with moving fishing pole and swimming dolphins, and I just never got around to heading out on the town at night with my camera. This year, I swear. And then there was this great comment that Kim left on the post: “I love your blog. I always wonder: What do you do for meals and how you manage the pets and kids when you are knee-deep in renovations? How do you do your day job with all this work? Where do you sleep and eat and get some clean space? What does it all cost? How do you decide what you will do yourself and what you will contract out? How did you learn how to do this in the first place? What is safe for me to do and what will I mess up? How would I be able to finish/apply this project at home?” And I responded: “I think I’ll actually write up a post to address all of these questions … because they’re all really good ones and deserve a thorough answer!!!” So, 5 months later, here it is, wicked sorry for the delay! What do you do for meals? I’m no chef but we do seem to manage to eat well in spite of the renovation madness. … continue reading
Holy 2014! Where did you come from exactly? Hopefully you had a festive new year celebration. It is odd for Joel to not have to work on NYE so we enjoyed our own little night of merriment and saw our first Key West new year’s eve party live. Funny enough we actually saw the coverage of Key West’s new year’s eve party last year from Curacao on CNN. Yes, we were home, just us and the dogs, watching the world celebrate. We are rock stars like that. Remember the wall-to-wall closet we made for our guest bedroom way back in 2013? She has definitely come in handy to house all of our stuff that doesn’t have a real home yet. Right now that consists of all of my project supplies, lamps and lamp shades, vacuums, unhung artwork (which is basically all of anything we have ever hung on a wall except these guys) and all of my clothes and shoes can be found in there. Oh, not-yet-built-master-closet how I yearn for you. I have high hopes for more organization in time as we get to creating what I hope to become a craft corner in the guest room and an office nook on a wall between the living and dining room. But, until then, this closet is probably my most used accessory. And, what once looked like the picture above, after a few short months started to look more like this. One thing that I’ve learned from our house guests that doesn’t translate well on the blog is just how tall these guys are. They are a full 8 feet tall, which is the height of the ceilings in many houses. Our ceilings are 9 1/2 feet tall throughout the house and I guess I don’t do a good job … continue reading
A huge thank you to Simpson Strong-Tie for sponsoring this post and making such great products to help everyone accomplish some DIY Done Right! Exactly 8 months ago to this day I shared 14 curb appeal ideas that were all inspired by the abysmal state of the front of our house. We actually didn’t close on the house until March 29th, two days later, so I’m not sure what it says that I already had down on paper my ideas for whipping her into shape from the outside in. But, slowly we have been making progress on a few key items on that list and our latest project has both Joel and I feeling like we are seriously transforming this old house into something we think is awesome.
Ok, I don’t know about you, but when someone says they’re going to write about installing drywall … not that I know anyone who does that but me … I get all “oh yay”, “that’s super”, “I don’t know a more exciting topic”. Ummm, asphalt maybe? ;) Hopefully you note the sarcasm in there. I don’t know, it just seems so blah. But for some reason it has kind of become my thing around here. People that come in ask who did our drywall (ok, so it’s only family and they’re obligated to over-admire, it’s a requirement of visiting) and walk up and touch the walls (for an awkwardly long period of time) and squint and look for seams and cracks and imperfections. While I pray they don’t notice the little areas that I’m pretty sure only I know about. It’s true, I don’t think any wall can ever truly be perfect, but what I’ve come to figure out over the years is that it’s just one big mask for any other imperfect surface.
And photographing a little window opening proved to be equally challenging. Hahaha! Something about bright light in front of my face and no really great spot to take a picture from 10 feet below. :) I did manage a few better ones, but the window being 10 feet off the ground didn’t really help my cause. The plan was for me to install this little guy while Joel was at work so we could finally get the rest of the drywall up when he got home.
One of the reasons that we weren’t able to work on our living room progress in a normal working order is because we wanted to insulate the attic before we drywalled it in. Turns out we are leaving a small access opening in the front of the house so it didn’t really matter. #BestLaidPlans Buuuuut, I choose to believe it is all for the best because if we had the drywall up already it would have made it nearly impossible for me to hear Joel while he was maneuvering his way around our cramped little attic with the long hose attached to the loud insulation blower. It was a bit of a Marco Polo situation as it was, so all’s well that ends well, right?!?!
Tip #1 Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke is an excellent song to stain to. I guess that’s a matter of personal preference, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk in the guest bedroom again without singing “Everybody get up”. And I stained that floor long before all of this Miley twerking business and I refuse to let her ruin it for me. :) The Billboard Top 100 list was my closest companion during this hardwood floor restoration process so I’m going to give you the billboard chart of hardwood floor sanding and staining tips and tricks!
I’m going to start right out and say that I was more than skeptical when Kilz sent along some of their Kilz Klear for me to try on my newly drywalled walls.* *Side note – spell checker does not like the use of the word drywall as a verb. But since I often find myself in the act of drywalling I will insist on continuing to use it in such a manner. It’s like funner and bestest and those other non-words that really are words. I apologize to all of the grammar fanatics out there. :) I gave you a sneak peek when my cousin was here. And it really wasn’t my strategy, but I ended up tasking her with the priming and am now realizing that if it hadn’t worked out I would’ve been totally justified in blaming her for her poor application skillz. :)
In a perfect home improvement world roofs would get finished before walls and walls would get finished before floors and floors would get finished without any dog hair involved. In a perfect home improvement world new doors would get installed and not require any wood slat patching …
To date we have had to get 10 different permits for the work we’ve completed, and that is ongoing, up in here. 1 Mechanical for the new HVAC. 2 Building Dept – one for the general interior upgrades we’ve been making (like removing drop ceilings, stripping wood slat walls and installing a new board and batten accent wall) and one specific to the best weekend ever and the subsequent build-out and new windows and trim and siding. 3 Electrical – one for the original electric system upgrade, one for the HVAC electrical and one for the new electrical in the vaulted ceiling. 4 HARC Permits – That’s the historical review commission here in Key West. And they like to make decisions on things. :)
So, the one project I kept telling my dad that I wanted to accomplish while he was here was to trim out the windows and doorway on the exterior of the house so I could move ahead with the siding. Just a refresher as to where we are today. Because I’m drawn to this picture like a bad accident.