Category Archives: flooring

A little bit of all you got, can never bring you down…*

*Lyrics from You’re The Best (Around!) from THE Karate Kid (1984). I probably should have used ‘INSPIRING GUITAR SOLO‘ as my lyrics, but these words were slightly more accurate. I urge you to watch the video, at work, and loudly, preferably, and then do the crane kick at everyone you see for a whole day. Do it. I dare you.

Yep, karate training (slash cleaning) sucks. I feel you, Ralph.

So, yesterday I saw a dude who walks like Ralph Macchio. Jeff claims to not know what that means, but I ask you this: if you’ve seen The Karate Kid as many times as we (of my generation, you young’ns) have, don’t you instinctively know what I mean? I dare say he could pick Daniel-sun out of a walking line-up. Maybe it was a girl thing to notice. But, I digress. Ralph Macchio was likely on my mind because of the one-day Miyagi-style boot camp I held for myself yesterday.

read on…

No need to hide, come on inside…*

*Lyrics from I Am An Ape from the collaboration album Love This Giant by David Byrne and St. Vincent. I think this album is challenging, but interesting, and quirky, and catchy, and absolutely worth a serious listen. I don’t always need music to be easy, and when I respect the artists involved, well, it’s kind of like music, to my ears at least. Hope you give it a try, and let me know how you like it.

House Tour: Living Quarters

The foyer, or entryway, is both grand and homey. It connects virtually every space in the house, especially when you take into account that the two-story entrance snakes continues on through the hall that connects all the bedrooms upstairs.

Despite our choice to now live a bi-polar dual-homed existence, our home is still actually for sale. And, though my focus is on making the new spot as homey as possible, I thought you might like to see a re-cap of our living space – or, living quarters as I’m calling them. The architecture of this home, built in 1920, provides for a connected-ness that most modern families crave, while at the same time allowing for some privacy, and some division of activities. For example, many people love the look/feel of a so-called ‘open plan’ space, where the kitchen, dining and living rooms are one Great Room. Not me, and apparently not builders in the 1920s. I prefer the kitchen to be its own space – after all, sharp, hot, and time-sensitive duties (i.e., people rushing around with sharp and hot things) are performed there, which can make a mess, which can be unsightly to guests and other family members alike. But, even though I treat the kitchen as a work-zone (which, if you’re like me, it most certainly is), the living room and dining room feel like fluid extensions of one another. The builders in 1920 agreed with me there, too.

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You and me could go on and on and on…*

*Lyrics from Eleanor Friedberger‘s I Won’t Fall Apart On You Tonight from her album Last Summer. I haven’t decided as yet if I’ll purchase this one – it’s one of those albums I enjoy, but not sure if it’s because it’s in the background of the other things I’m doing. Anywho, check her/it out as you see fit. Carry on.

Major BEFORE: Back when we bought the house (and our sweet pup was just getting to know the place that would be her forever home) this was what the porch looked like. We've since had it rebuilt, re-supported, re-re-staired (yep, twice), and now re-stained. Phew.

So, just when you thought we were done improving our current house, well, we took a hard look at the calendar, the side porch, and realized (much to our collective chagrin) that it needed a fresh coat of stain before the winter season. Ugh. First, ugh for having to think about winter already! Second, ugh for having to do another labor-intensive project during a time when our house is meant to stay show-ready. Last, ugh for the onslaught of back-breaking projects that we had to undertake in the span of days. Ugh, then blerg.

read on…

And then, we can, do anything, we want…*

*Lyrics from something Anything We Want by Fiona Apple off her latest album. Only her fourth album in 16 years, I think it’s worth a listen. She’s an actual musical artist (unlike so many in the business of making and selling music), and you might like her work. Or you might not. I do. 

BEFORE: Recently, we took some exterior photos while the peonies were still in bloom. The side fence was then just raw, untreated wood left in its natural, weathered state.

Months ago, when we had our side porch and rear porch stairs redone it was too cold outside to finish coating the decking and new railings with exterior paint and stain. So we waited for the weather to warm up. Which it did. But then it rained. Like, a lot. For weeks and weeks, every time it would just about get dry enough to do something outside it would rain again. For enough days to warrant a dry-out period. So we waited. And waited some more.

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To the basement, people, to the basement, many surprises await you…*

*Lyrics from Two Door Cinema Club‘s song Undercover Martyn from their album Tourist History. I like to run to this album – it’s short (good for brief workouts) and peppy. Ok, I like to have private dance parties to this album, too. Don’t judge me.

Ok, ok, I know I owe you a big post. (Absence makes the heart grow fonder?) Well, feast your eyes on this before and after:

Basement BEFORE: knotty pine, shabby (not chic) carpet, dingy paint, peeling wallpaper.

Basement AFTER: new paint, new carpet, new baseboards make for a bright, fresh, inviting any-purpose space.

See? What did I tell you? When we first started our ‘let’s quickly do over the basement’ journey we had a wallpapered, stained-carpeted, knotty pine accented, dreary space. Not to mention (ok, I’ll mention it again, in case you missed it the first time) that after Brad rewired the whole house he had to make all these holes in the wallpapered walls (that turned out NOT to be so easy to patch). Anywho, long story short(er), we decided to paint, paint, recarpet, and paint some more. We aren’t 100% finished – there’s still the matter of switching out the outlets (from brown to white tamper-resistant), replacing the ceiling light covers, and moving the mechanical controls for the sprinkler system to the mechanicals room (which we never even thought of before now, that’s how little time we spent down there) – but for the photos, well, you’ll get the gist. Besides, eventually, once we get things a bit more styled up, I’ll update you. (You know I will, whether or not you like it.)

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If I were a season I’d surely be spring…*

*Lyrics from “If I Were a Bell” as sung by Beverly Kenney which can be found on her album Come Swing With Me. I know this song from Guys and Dolls (the movie), but this version is decidedly sweeter, and somehow fresher than the version I know so well. Maybe it’s because I have Mad Men on the brain, or maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to the Ella Fitzgerald station on Pandora. Either way, this song, combined with the crazy-beautiful weather we’ve been having, has been lingering in my mind.

Ok, so, remember how at the end of last summer I teamed up with Dave, Jonas and Pappy to help some clients renovate their kitchen and powder room? Of course you do. But, in case you may have forgotten, allow me to refresh your memory.

Remember this?

BEFORE: As if I had to tell you that. (Note the framed poster - it's likely one of the few design elements that re-emerged in the kitchen after it was finished.)

Well, now it looks like this:

AFTER: Talk about dramatic changes.

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Ooo, it feels good to be free…*

*Lyrics from Rilo Kiley‘s song Breakin’ Up from their album Under the Blacklight. Jenny Lewis has a beautiful voice. Listen to her, either solo or with her former band. Reminds me of Texas, and makes me think of Erin from Design-Crisis every time.

Goodbye carpet! Jeff was unable to help with brute force since he accidentally chopped a bit of his finger off (he's fine, just bandaged), so I heaved and he hoed. Well, I tore out the carpet and he hauled it to the garage.

Basement! Here it is, the long promised, long awaited update on the state of affairs in the dreaded basement. When we started our journey, the basement was a sad place to be. Wallpaper from the late 80s that had seen better days (the actual paper wasn’t the issue – it just hadn’t held up well), carpet that was stained, and just generally gross, and gobs of knotty pine woodwork just screaming ‘hey, I’m old and grungy, look at me!’ all over the place. Something had to be done.

read on…

Time and light, I guess you are afraid of what everyone is made of…*

*Lyrics from St. Vincent‘s The Apocalypse Song from their album, Marry Me. I just love them, and since we’ve just lost an hour of darkness (or gained one in the morning) the refrain of this song was particularly poignant. And the Pandora station for her/them is amazing. If you’re into that sort of thing. Which obviously I am.

When we last met, this was how my kitchen entryway was looking.

Since I last updated you on the state of affairs at the ol’ (so happy) homestead soooo much has happened. And yet nothing has really changed. Sort of. Ok, so we changed our entryway decking and stairs, but the overall effect is the same. They’re still just stairs to get inside. I suppose it’s like wearing a grungy pair of pants to paint/stain/joint compound/generally be disgusting in and then changing into a nice pair of slacks. Still pants, but soooo much nicer to look at.

Ta-dah! Look at that! Red cedar decking, stained Burnt Hickory in Cabot exterior oil-based semi-solid stain.

read on…

Changes, I’ve never been good with change, hate it when it all stays the same…*

*Lyrics from Stars’ Changes from their album The Five Ghosts & The Seance. I enjoyed this album and recommend you check it out. Do it. 

Remember way back when, in late August, when we closed on a condo for my mom to live in? I mean, really, if you read this blog at all how could you forget. But, what you may have forgotten is what it looked like before we got our grubby mitts on it. Oh, and I have some semi-after pictures for you, too. So there.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, and mom’s things have arrived, her old place has been relinquished back into the hands of her landlady, I can start to appreciate the entire journey that was renovating the condo. It was rough, for sure, but it was my lifelong dream to be able to give my mother a home. Of course, when I first imagined that I was probably 12, and thought she might like a cottage in Canada. She might still, but she’ll have to settle for a condo minutes from her only grandchild. (Something tells me she’s pretty ok with the current situation, and has no desire to move to Canada, Joni Mitchell or not.) I could not have done any of this without my dear husband, Jeff, for whom I am eternally grateful for being in my life. (He barely reads my blog, but when he does I hope he feel sufficiently embarrassed for being singled out.) I love you forever. Thank you for giving my mom a home.

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I sat here staring at the same old wall, came back to life just when I got your call…*

*Lyrics from, well, if you don’t know, I don’t even know if I can talk to you anymore… who ARE you anyway?! Ok, it’s from Peaches & Herb’s hit from 1980, Reunited. I could have gone with this lyric as my title, too: “And you’re exactly what I’m dreaming of all through the day…” Pretty much, save for the love making references, all the lyrics are applicable to this post.

Wow, so let me just first say that I’m tired. I mean, completely tired. Knackered, pooped, walloped, crashed, buried, done, cooked. Like, worrying about falling asleep while driving home tired. Not remembering conversations, not knowing what day it is, let alone what time it is, forgetting to eat, going through the motions of life tired. Getting this condo up and running for my mom has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Like, ever. But so worth it, in the end (she did give birth to me and raise me, after all). And it wouldn’t have been possible without a little help from my friends. And by friends I mean trusty contractors Dave and Jonas of Innovative Construction Solutions (whom I consider actual friends, too, in case you are wondering).

read on…

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