Friday, January 22, 2016

2016-01-22 Portland, Oregon

22 January 2016 - Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Portland, Oregon (spring)
12" x 18", digital art

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cosmetic overhaul of main level bathroom

We originally had more ambitious (and expensive) plans for the main level bathroom, but have since settled for "cosmetic", mostly DIY-type upgrades.  My husband has bravely stepped up to the plate (and earned massive husband points), undertaking the lion's share of it.  It's been more ambitious, actually, going the DIY route, since neither of us really knows what we're doing.
18 December 2015.  Nigel wonders what's going on in the bathroom.  A very good question.
First on the agenda was somehow dealing with the truly ugly bathtub tile.  The whole bathroom was this dirty pinkish-beige color, which someone once thought wouldn't show grime, apparently, instead needing no grime to look grimy and drab.

Removing and replacing the tile seemed cost-prohibitive, so, after poking around the Internet, I discovered that it is possible (though, as we later were to find out, not particularly sane) to paint over tile.

My main source of information, other than the instructions on the tub and tile refinishing kit, itself (we used Rust-Oleum), was from Ashley, on her blog, Domestic Imperfection.  Seemed pretty easy and straightforward based on her experience.

Little did her blog prepare us for how truly nasty and tricky it would be.  My husband persevered but thinks he destroyed some brain cells in the process due to the paint's toxic fumes, and, given his experience with it, will never, ever do it again.  He said it was akin to painting with superglue (chokingly noxious superglue), and there was a very short window of time when it was just the right consistency to paint with.
18 December 2015.  My husband removes caulking in preparation for painting.
19 December 2015. More preparation for painting.
30 December 2015.  Three coats later...
20 December 2015.  My husband discovered that this gas mask, which filters out organic solvents, was a very worthwhile investment, making the painting experience at least somewhat tolerable.
We also wanted to replace the pinkish-beige marmoleum flooring.  This task seemed quite a daunting one, so we enlisted our contractor for this part of it, including removal of the toilet and sink.  He also removed a medicine cabinet and built-in TP dispenser, both placed in odd, useless parts of the wall, and prepped the walls so we would be able to paint them.
13 January 2016.  Floor being prepared for new floor covering.
14 January 2015.  We decided to go with a sheet vinyl floor covering, Tarkett's "Rich Onyx" in "Hushed Conversations" color.  I'm not making these names up, I swear.  After looking around at what was out there, we ended up completely stealing this particular floor covering choice from Jessica at DecorAdventures.
After the floor was done, next on the agenda is painting, which we're in the process of completing.  Then it's putting in a new toilet and pedestal sink.  Stay tuned...

For reference, here are some photos of the bathroom in its original glory, taken from one of the realty websites.  The first picture is stretched out, but it gives you an idea of why we wanted to do something with it.

Cleaning up the construction zone

We're in progress / still waiting on a number of aspects of the home renovation, so, in addition to making the best of the mostly finished kitchen, I decided to do the same for the living and dining area, cleaning up construction garbage and debris, and sequestering construction-related items as much as possible.
9 January 2016.  Whew.  Sure is exhausting to watch all that cleaning and rearranging.
8 January 2016.  Living furniture is revealed!
13 January 2016.  Since the above picture, our contractor painted the back of the steps and added a regulation rail.  He'd stained and finished the treads a few weeks prior.
10 January 2016.  My husband has been super-handy this past month as we do our best to finish up the home renovation.  Both Nigel and I are impressed.  Here he is installing the blinds in the living room windows.

Kitchen in black and white

The kitchen remodel is almost done, still needing some details attended to.  I ended up scrubbing the construction-trafficked floor, cleaning and claiming what remaining cabinets I could, and making it as bright and shiny and as finished-looking as possible while we wait on some things.
20 January 2016.  This picture isn't so much about the kitchen other than the fact that the kitchen is in the background.  It's about Nigel getting some love, as he so richly deserves :)
16 January 2016.  Nigel poses in the kitchen for me.
17 January 2016.  Another view of the kitchen.
From 21 December 2015.  My husband installed rolling baskets on some of the shelves in the pantry for me.  Thanks, Sweetie!
I found pictures of the house from one of the realty websites, displaying the be-yoo-tiful kitchen as it used to look, so you can see a bit of the "before and after".  To recap the changes we made, in addition to the massive cosmetic overhaul, you'll notice we moved the location of the sink and range and got rid of a window and some of the wall near the side entrance.  And we got a gas range.

Monday, January 11, 2016

2016-01-11 Portland, Oregon

11 January 2016 - Westmoreland Park (late spring), Portland, Oregon
12" x 18", digital art

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Quite unexpectedly, we awoke to snow this morning!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Got me the home renovation blues...

1 December 2015. A mere three months after it was demolished, earlier this month there was some more progress on the fireplace area in the living room.  Small windows were added on either side, and the wall was dry-walled over.
1 December 2015
2 December 2015.  Drywall covered up the huge tubes feeding air up to the second floor.  The plan is to disguise them as cabinets.
16 December 2015 (and pretty much how it still looks as of 30 December 2015).  Our contractor is waiting on enough dry days to put in the cabinets.  And that's only part of what needs to be done :(
From 10 November 2015.  In related news, yes, we finally got a closet door upstairs, three months after the upstairs remodel was (mostly) done.  Light switch ended up on the wrong side of the opening.  Oh well.
Now that 2015 is coming to a close, our remodel, begun August/September 2014, almost one and a half years ago, isn't.  Ours is a cautionary tale.  We suggest - strongly - that if you're considering buying a house that needs more than, say, a bathroom or a kitchen that needs "cosmetic" remodeling, don't do it.  I repeat, don't do it.  Even if you have a super cool contractor.

Why, you naively ask?

1. Well, the first, obvious reason is, at least in our case, it's taking waaaay longer than it was supposed to.  Originally,our contractor projected six to eight months of remodelling madness.  Six to eight months is a pleasant walk in the park now.  As it is, we've been sort-of living in our new home amidst construction dust and debris, construction garbage, half opened and still unopened boxes from the move from our previous home, covered furniture, and the noise and disruptions from the ongoing process, for about twice that amount of time.

Why is it taking so long?  A fine question.  In our case it's because our contractor is a one to two man operation, and mostly only one person is doing all the work, or sometimes none at all because he's doing another job somewhere else.  If it's not that, it's waiting for ordered supplies to arrive, for paint/grout/etc to dry, for the weather to clear, for permits to clear or else-wise confusion be cleared, for inspectors, electricians, heating/cooling technicians, plumbers to show.  Somehow it's all added up to sixteen months and counting.

2. It's ended up costing waaaay more than we imagined, even after we've brutally chopped down our list of things we'd hoped to have done.  And what we've ended up getting has not been without its shortcomings and disappointments.  There were also a number of unexpected costs, unforeseen problems inherent to the house and also things not included in the quotes that we either had to forego or fork out more money for.


So, yeah, don't do it.  Choose a house that's already been remodeled and live off of someone else's pain :)

You have been warned.

As for our remodel, to be continued...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2015/12/13 - Portland, Oregon

13 December 2015 - Westmoreland Park, Portland, Oregon (spring)
12" x 18", digital art

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mystery: Arrival At Our Destination

11 November 2015.
There should be over twenty pictures along with some text included in this adventure when all's said and done.  It's titled, "An Autumn Adventure with Nigel".  Stay tuned!

Substantial progress in kitchen remodel...

8 November 2015.  Spelunking or cooking dinner??  I've been cooking (loosely defined) on an induction stove plate in the solarium during the kitchen remodel.  Since there was no light for the longest time, I borrowed my husband's headlamp, which he uses when he goes camping.  In case you're wondering what those rather frightening white rectangles are in the pan, they're pieces of tofu.
10 November 2015
18 November 2015.  Tile going in on the walls.
23 November 2015.  Lots and lots of tile.

30 November 2015.
30 November 2015.  Appliances (minus range hood).
4 December 2015.  Range hood now in place.
This past month, the kitchen has really been taking shape.  At the time of this posting, I can now cook in it.  I've even stocked the refrigerator and run the dishwasher.  Who would have thought these acts - not to mention washing dishes in the sink - would have given me so much joy?

The cabinets still need tending to in one form or the other, so I'm still storing everything except what goes in the refrigerator elsewhere, mostly in what is supposed to be my office / art studio.