Renovation Month #3 Begins


The work-zone.

We officially have had people working in our house for a full two months.  As you know, we are not yet living there.  It’s an ideal situation, in some regards.  We don’t have to be without the ability to cook.  We don’t have to move our stuff out of the way.  And when we want to get away from the action, we can head back to the apartment.  There are definite advantages to not living in a remodel zone.  But!  There is a major disadvantage to living off-site:  The house becomes merely a work-zone.  Void of all possessions and other signs of people living there, it is treated with a sort of disrespect that isn’t intentional, but apparent.  In recent days, I have been frustrated by the mess upon more mess.  I was okay with it before the brand new things started to get installed.  But, now we have a new wood floor, fresh painted walls, cabinetry, and new carpeting upstairs.  I feel like no one has noticed, and the dust continues to fly!   Last night I was at the house shop-vacing like a maniac, a bit horrified to find vast amounts of wood scraps, sawdust, and an occasional screw under the paper and cardboard, which was originally laid to protect the floor.  All it did was serve to say “No need to clean up!  There’s cardboard to make it all disappear!”  I was freaking out about not having control over this issue…..And I have brought my concerns up… Me: “Maybe we should reschedule the carpeting, considering there is still concrete to be poured in the laundry upstairs, and closets to be trimmed?”  Them: “Ah, it will be fine!” but it hasn’t really made a difference.  Oh well.  It’s hard, because the guys working on our place are so nice, and, you know, it’s hard to keep complaining!  I was at the house “working” most of today, but the real reason I was there was to make darn sure no one was wearing their dirty work boots upstairs!  Yes, the carpet survived, but there sure are a lot of dirty finger prints on my fresh-painted doors!  It’s a battle I won’t win, and anyway, once my four kids arrive, the house will be anything but pristine!   Hand-wipe anyone??

Some of the highlights of the past week:

My father-in law Dale transformed our upstairs bath vanities with a bit of wood filler and paint.  I will most definitely post “before and after” photos, but I haven’t gotten to the wall paint yet….Look for these in next week’s post!

LOVE my new carpet upstairs!


The Berg brothers after laying the green carpet pad.


Here’s my carpet! It’s all wool, low-pile. Love it!

Meanwhile in the basement…..


Ceiling tile goes up!

Despite feeling a little “left in the dust”, I still think very highly of our builder/project manager.  He’s a hard-worker, and more importantly, he has remained calm, cool, and collected throughout this process. My hero!

Late in the day, this was going on:


Flooring guy to the rescue! Tom has cleaned the floor (hasta la vista, filthy cardboard!), and prepares for the final coat he will apply tomorrow.

It’s official!  The movers are scheduled for 9am, March 16.  Hope I have time to touch base with you all before then!


Interior Painting: The Amateurs vs. The Pros

Where did the week go?  I guess I have been so busy with house stuff, the days seem to sneak past me!  To be honest, it had been 4 days since I last washed my hair (clean tonight)….But, ya know, with all of the sanding dust that flies around lately, it didn’t even get greasy.  Drywall dust just happens to be a fantastic oil-absorbing hair product!  So, what’s been happening this week, you ask?  What has been taking up each and every moment of my free time?  Painting!  It started with a crew of 3 (plus me) last weekend.


The Amateurs: From left, my hubby (roller man), my aunt (prep and priming expert), and my mom (cutting perfectionist).  This will be our teenage daughter’s room.  She likes this dusty violet we are using to cover the old white and lipstick pink walls.

Mom and Aunt B. put in a 10-hour first day, and a long second day. Hubby likes to roll like a bat outta hell (so there were some touch-ups necessary), but he was also on kid-duty most of the weekend, so I could be free to paint.  Soooo nice!  Before we started, there was a wallpaper border to come down in the boys’ room, some sanding and cleaning.  Mom got very well-acquainted with the shop-vac those 2 days…(Sorry for your sore back, Mom!)  We got first-coats on the 3 upstairs bedrooms.  YAY!  We did a light gray-blue in the boys’ room, light gray-violet in daughter’s, and I chose a warm gray for the master (also fairly light).


Master bedroom, end of Day #2.

Most days this week, I toiled (happily) away at the second coats in the three bedrooms.  Time flies when your hand has a paintbrush in it!  Of course, there were other people in the house, and periodic distractions concerning the project (all good!), but mostly, my days were quiet and enjoyable.  My love of this house grows with every little improvement!

Yesterday, the last of the really messy stuff (more dust) was happening.


Jeremy and Joe were my compadres at the house yesterday.


This is Big Joe, completing some carpentry work.  I heard he worked a 12-hour day, to get all the little things (baseboards, door trims, etc.) done before the pro painters arrive.


Poor Jeremy got the short straw. He spent all morning removing staples from the back of the stair treads.


Not easy! These stairs better be worth it!

The professional painters started today.  I painted upstairs while they prepped everything.  We’re talking hours and hours of putting up plastic and taping.  The “Amateurs” did no such thing.  We were just careful….(And we didn’t use a sprayer.)


Greg covering the stairs (those stairs again!). All of the wood-work of the stairwell is getting painted white, but the treads, those frustrating treads, are getting sanded and stained dark, like a natural walnut color.


Danny starts priming some new closet doors. That’s when I left for the day.


Couldn’t resist sharing a pic of my kitchen so far.  Still missing a few things…okay, a lot of things, but hopefully this will all come together in the next two weeks!

More painting to come by another crew, this weekend.  My father-in-law just retired, selling his decorating company, last year.  So you know what that means!  He has time and talent, and he will be coming to spruce up the upstairs bathrooms with fresh coats on the vanities and walls.  I will be his assistant, and maybe work on other upstairs hall trim too.  Carpeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, so it would be super great to be done with all things needing paint before then!

Minnesota Nice

Today was a good day.  I was so happy to stop by the house while the tapers were there.  I had caught them working yesterday, taking over where the sheetrockers had left off, but was without my camera.  I was thrilled to see the ceiling up and it made the whole space feel light and spacious.  And, how fun to watch them move around on those stilts!  So, I was really glad I was prepared to take a few shots today.  And there’s no better way to break the ice than getting out a camera.


Tapers Floyd and Daniel laying the foundation for a brand new ceiling.


As soon as I told Daniel I was going to take a few “action shots” and he didn’t have to smile, he couldn’t help it.


Floyd demanded any royalties earned using his picture. I told him he had better keep his day job!

Seriously, these guys were hams, and so super friendly.  I swear, the people I have met so far working on my house project are incredibly personable and appear to be very happy!


Here’s looking the other direction…

A little off subject (of home renovation), but in keeping with my “Minnesota Nice” post, here’s a pic I took yesterday evening:


My middle son with his buddy on the backyard ice rink.

If we can’t enjoy the inside of the house yet, at least the kids can take advantage of our new yard!