Friday, January 31, 2014

Small Big Changes!

So the house renovation continues.  We're about 2 months into it now, and you can really see the house starting to come together.  Almost all the drywall is now complete.  Most of the structural changes we've made are done.  The only BIG thing that yet remains is the expansion of the family room.  Other than that, they're down to sanding the walls, getting bids to replace the trim work that got ruined during the demolition/reconstruction and getting ready to put that trim up.

So, here are the recent changes that are (though small) exciting to me:

1) Our master bedroom doorway.  So to add to the ridiculous grandness of the 16' ceilings that are just SO not our style, the doorway was a double door.  I think if I were living in the Sound Of Music mansion and I wanted to throw open double doors dramatically every time I entered, they might be nice.  But in reality, I want my bedroom to be a peaceful, quiet retreat from the house.  So one, very solid, very thick door was all I wanted.  (Plus, making it smaller gave more room for the transition area between the upstairs stairs and the basement stairs, just outside our bedroom.)  Voila...

2) The old shelves have been entirely removed from the once-pantry and the electricity and water hookups have been added to make it a small main-floor laundry. 

3) The once minuscule laundry area has been moved, the walls patched up, and it is now ready to become our awesome mudroom.  I think aside from the master closet, I'm more excited about this room than any other.  None of my homes have had a mud room, and I am so thrilled of the prospect of having an organized place to keep all my kids' coats, hats, gloves, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes, papers, and other miscellaneous buttloads of crap.

I know the picture on the right doesn't look like much. but picture 3 gorgeous white lockers and a wooden bench.  It'll be stunning once they're in!

4) This strange curved basement wall, a remnant of the former Falcon Crest stairway, had to stay because it was load bearing.  Well, now it's beautifully drywalled and sanded and is begging for some awesome wall treatment to make it a focal point in this otherwise long, rectangular basement.

5) The kid nook.  They made this under-stair waste of space a spot I think my kids will love to nest in.  Now I just need some genius ideas for what kind of mural to put in it.

6) The master shower is now 1 1/2 feet bigger and has a bench in it.  You know, for shaving.  Legs.  (And I'm not talking about me!)

7) The loft!  It's finally there, lights installed, switches above and below put in, drywalled.  I love it!

8) The new family room is completely walled in, drywalled, and the old trim removed.  You almost can't tell it used to be open to the living room.

9) We have a tub!  There was a really nice (broken) jetted garden tub in the corner of the master bath.  But in order to take the one-sink-in-the-closet and revert to a double vanity IN the master bath, we had to get rid of the corner tub.  Instead we got an extra deep soaker tub.  I'm a little worried about it being anti-climactic. No jets, nothing fancy.  Might not even fit both of us in it at once.  But the only way we would have been able to make that tub bigger was to rob space from the master closet.  And Big Daddy and I both agreed we'd much rather have a bigger closet than a bigger bathroom.

10) And finally, the corners.  "The corners?" you say, "What on earth do corners have to do with anything?" Well, as it turns out, they do a lot for the overall look of a house.  And this house was a mish-mash of rounded and squared corners.  When my drywaller called and asked me if he wanted me to put in rounded corners or squared corners, I said, "Just match it to whatever is there."  'You better come over here," he said.  So I went over.  And darned if every single room wasn't made up of both rounded and squared corners, with no rhyme or reason.  I bet you've never even noticed the corners in your house.  And neither had I.  (When I went home, the house we're in now turned out to have neither!  They were angled, like a square with the corner cut off.  Faceted, like a diamond, or part of a stop sign.  Go figure!)  Anyway, we made the call to remove all the rounded, 1990's corners and replace them all with squared and put in all squared new ones to match.  So now we have all matching corners, and much more modern too.  Oh the little things you never even imagined you'd have to make decisions about!

Next up...busting out the wall to the family room and expanding it.  Then....paint?  Tile?  Who knows?!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Getting To Know You, Part 5 - The Master Bedroom

The Little Pink Houses III remodel is coming along nicely.  There is a bit more framing and drywalling to do, but that phase is nearly complete.  So I thought I'd take a moment and acquaint you with the master bedroom (master closet and bath to follow).

Of course one of the most important rooms in the house to the lady of the house is the master suite. If I'm honest, it pales in comparison to my interest in the kitchen remodel.  But I am kind of excited about my closet.  And now I have a reason to be kind of excited about the master bedroom itself -- Big Daddy has decided to give the go ahead on putting in a loft!

The master bedroom is a strange room in this house.  It's two stories tall.  It is the same height as the vaulted living room.  WHY??? Who knows!  Why anyone would need that much height in their bedroom is beyond me.  And because it's not an overly large bedroom, the height makes it feel kind of like you'd be putting a bed in an elevator shaft.  I think they thought it would be like (use a British accent for this), "Observe my elegant master bedroom which closely resembles the knave of a cathedral and gives the impression of the chambers of a grand Parisian palace."   But instead, like I said, elevator shaft. 

Fortunately, my creative and visionary husband noticed a gap between the lower and upper sets of windows in this tall room.  And he suggested we put in a loft.  Chop the room right in half between those windows and put in a 8' deep loft.  We could put a love seat and our TV up there and have our own private lounge in the master bedroom.  I thought it a brilliant plan, but, um, let's just say I also thought it was a pie-in-the-sky plan.  Like, "Ya, right.  That's never going to happen.  With all the money we have to spend on the house who can justify putting in a loft???"   Never say never.   That pie-in-the-sky idea has turned into a loft-in-the-bedroom idea!

Behold....the loft!!!

I'm fairly sure that this might end up being my favorite spot in the whole house.  It will certainly be the biggest "wow" element of this house if it turns out anything like what we have envisioned.  Our vision is somewhere around this (although not in the kitchen, obviously):

So, ya.  That'll be sweet.

As for the rest of the room, it'll still have the height, which will keep it from feeling closed in. There are plenty of windows to keep it bright.   It's got these 3 doors to the backyard at the other end of the room...

Someday we hope to put a hot tub back there.  Our last house, Little Pink House II (the rental) had a hot tub off the master and we super dug it.  We didn't think we would, but we ended up using it a lot.  So with a secluded spot right off the bedroom, it's the perfect spot for our future Jacuzzi!   But that's a pie-in-the-sky idea.  (And by "pie-in-the-sky," what I really hope I mean is "hot-tub-in-my-backyard.")   I think I better put Big Daddy in charge of more decisions!

As for colors, d├ęcor, and such....I have ZERO idea.  We plan on converting from a queen bed back to a king (we downsized at Little Pink House I so we could both have bedside tables in that small room), and that means new bedding.  And, really, bedding is the basis of all design decisions in a bedroom.  And, of course, Big Daddy does NOT want to talk about bedding while there is a loft to frame and drywall, a kitchen to put in, a spiral stairway to design, possibly a family room to expand, and a thousand other "major" decisions.  Let alone the fact that there are paint colors that need to be decided in the next two weeks, and flooring that needs to be chosen, and wood stain to be decided.  Somehow bedding seems so unimportant and faraway.  But, really, it's all tied together.  The wall paint, the bedding, the loft, I say let's go bedding shopping!  Who's in??

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getting To Know You Part 4 - Upstairs

Since the house renovation is unlikely to look much different for the next two weeks (as the cabinets are still under construction and we have temporarily run out of money), I thought I'd take a minute to introduce you to the 2nd floor.

It was my wish when we built our dream house to have all 3 kids and us on the 2nd floor.  My main reasoning for that is that in every house we've lived in, the master bedroom has been on the main and the kids have been on another floor (upstairs here and our 1st house, basement at our last house).  That means I'm always trekking up or down stairs in the middle of the night when my kids are sick, scared, thirsty, or in need of a good spanking.  Just kidding.  But seriously, I've never liked not being near my kids.  But worse, I've always HATED having my bedroom be in the middle of Grand Central Station.  Kids running through it playing tag, the TV noise/kitchen noise/playing tag noise/beating each other noise always permeating the walls and taking over my room.  And the kids' stuff always migrating to my bedroom.  I just wanted a peaceful retreat, away from the hustle and bustle. 

So when we found Little Pink House III, and the master was on the main with 4 bedrooms upstairs, and a big lofted space above the living room, I saw my chance:  I wanted to cover over the lofted area to make a 5th bedroom, convert the largest bedroom into the master (with its huge bay windows looking out on the valley), turn the smallest bedroom on the other side of the Jack-and-Jill bathroom into our master closet, and then all of us would finally be upstairs!

But it was not to be.  The cost of such a renovation was prohibitive considering everything else we had to do.  Plus, what to do with the main floor master suite?  What would we make that into??  And EVERYONE from our builder to our architect to my husband and most of my friends assured me that someday I REALLY will be glad to have my room far away from my kids' rooms. 

Instead, we decided to take the smallest of the 4 upstairs bedrooms and convert it to an upstairs laundry...

So this is the current plan.  Beck and Daphne will get the two bedrooms on the south that have a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.

Beck's room...

Jack-and-Jill bath...

Daphne's room...

 Pippa will get the huge bay window bedroom by virtue of the fact that it is the quietest room and she still naps...

Her Jack-and-Jill bath will become just a Jill bath, and the Jack half, which adjoins to the new laundry room, will be closed off with a big laundry sink. 

Someday we may need to reconfigure.  I'm sure at some point the two girls will probably want to be together.  Or maybe Daphne will want a room off to herself.  In which case we'll do a little switcheroo-ing.  But for now, that's how the layout seems to work best.

Added to those rooms, there's also a little loft area at the top of the stairs.  I think I'll make it a reading nook--two nice comfy arm chairs, a book case, a side table and lamp...I think it'll be a great place to read stories before bed.  (As long as the kids don't decide to climb up the bookcase and swan dive off the balcony into the living room below.  Oh the nightmares I have thinking about that!!!)

Well, that's the upstairs.  It's the area of the house that's probably getting the least change.  Mostly cosmetic, except for the change from 4th bedroom to laundry room.  As soon as we have money, we can probably already start to re-carpet and paint it.  We do want to renovate both upstairs bathrooms at some point as they are VERY 80's and the sinks/toilets/tubs are decrepit.  But the vanities, sinks, and tubs at least are functional, so they'll probably be last on the list to be changed.

Here is the floor plan, both before and after the minor change to the laundry room (and with the new stairs skillfully added on with some mad Picassa skills by yours truly)...

Next time:  The master suite

Saturday, January 4, 2014


So the drywall is almost all up.  Here are how things are shaping up...




Family Room



Powder Room and Pantry
During the demolition process of what was a very large, strangely shaped full bath on the main floor (because who doesn't want to bathe right off the dining room?), we realized that we really would rather have a half bath.  So that left 2/3 of the former space free to do whatever.  And since my only pantry was through the mud room, we decided to wall off  that room and make the back part of it a hidden, walk-in pantry! 







I'm not sure if these pictures improve your opinion of this house or make it worse!  I promise you, it's less disgusting now.  But it also looks more thrashed in the current state.  Just use your's going to be awesome!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

House Renovation UPDATE!

So the renovations continue!  We are now in our 6th week of renovations.  The entire demolition is done-- carpet, gone!  Doors, gone!  Walls are torn down, the old stairs are ripped out, I sold the entire kitchen on craigslist.  The revolting bathrooms are all thrown out other than one revolting toilet we left in for the workers to use (sorry, Hombres).  It felt so good to get rid of all that!  There is still a Jacuzzi tub in the middle of the living room (anyone want it?  It's going cheap!) but otherwise it's pretty much cleaned out!  A good portion of the grossness, ickyness, and general disgustingness of the house is gone.  You can still see it around the door frames and light switches if you look. And in the kids' bedrooms it's a lot more obvious, what with the holes smashed in the walls, yearbook signing on the skateboard wallpaper, and spaghetti/blood/booger splatters on the ceilings.  But mostly we don't nearly throw up walking through the house anymore.  So yay for that!

And since Christmas, most of the framing and sheet rock are done.  There are new walls, new stairs, a new powder room, a surprise pantry (more on that later), new lighting, new wiring, a new laundry room (-ish), a bigger shower, a brand new HVAC system (which cost about half the amount of the US national debt), and the pond out back has frozen over, providing endless opportunities for my kids to chuck stuff at it and see if they can break the ice.  (They can't.  It's now littered with balls, rocks, sticks, bricks, and shards of broken toilet tank.  Sorry for the piece they threw on your head, Aunt Jennie).  So, ya, it's lots of fun over there!

The cabinets have all been ordered and are in the process of being made.  This includes: a whole new kitchen; a mud room complete with lockers for each person and a bench, a storage center in the hallway opposite the family room for books, blankets, games, etc.; a storage center for the master bath which will be our medicine closet, linen closet, off-season storage, with a built-in ironing board station; and a master bathroom vanity. 

Next step: pick out pain colors.  Make that PAINT colors.  That must have been a Freudian slip.  Because picking the right paint color is stressing me out more than a road trip through the desert with 6 children in a station wagon.  Choosing the wood floor stain comes next.  Or maybe first.  I can't remember.  But that won't be nearly as hard.  We know we want to go darker.  And the floor guy is going to put down a few large swatches so we can see how they look.  Then I think the trim guy needs to come in and redo the missing trim.  And then I think they'll install all the cabinets.  And somewhere in there we'll pick out carpet and tile, but I don't know what order those go in and when they're needed.  And I have no idea what I want.  Sigh....lots of fun/stressful stuff coming up!

In the meantime, here are some pictures of what happened at the house between Thanksgiving and mid-December:

Wall between former formal living room (would-be music room/library) and former formal dining room (soon to be family room) going up...

Here it is from the other angle...

New stairs getting framed in.  (You will remember the old Falcon Crest version. You can still see the shape of it in the opening below. )

They cut a new doorway into this closet.  It was only accessible from inside this fourth bedroom, but since that bedroom is becoming our laundry room, we wanted access from the hallway.  

View from the top of the stairway.  You can see where the former strangely-placed picture window has been covered up and will soon be completely sheet-rocked over.  New windows will be put in at the top of the entry.  (And I have BIG PLANS for that chandelier!)

All that's left of the basement is the awesome ceiling.  Well, and the toilet and half a sink.

So long, Star Trek bathroom!  We will miss you. Well, my mom will miss you.  hahaha!

 They had to leave the curved wall from the old staircase there.  It was a support wall.  Oh well,  I guess it'll lend some character to the basement.
New master bedroom entry.  It was 2 doors, will be one large door to make space for the new basement stairs entry.

New shower enclosure.  It is 18" deeper and has a bench framed in across the back.  It will be a Euro shower with glass around the front and corner (oops, someone built in the frame in wood!)

Anyone have a Zamboni I can borrow??