Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Construction update

After weeks of rain, our contractors were able to take down the old roof and replace it with new shingles. We also added two sky lights to the north side of the roof during that process. As you'll remember, the room needed much more light.

We've also extended the dormer window to add one more window to the room...and at some point, the contractors will frame out another window for our bathroom.

Take a look:
Here you can see the dormer extension- soon we'll have 3 windows instead of 2.Here are the two new skylights. They make a HUGE difference. The room actually feels much larger now. And we'll be able to get cross ventilation for the few hot nights we get in Maine!Here's the frame of the closet (on the left) which will be accessed by a door from the bedroom. And the shower (on the right). We wanted a large shower, but faced space constraints because of the eave. And...a custom base shower is at least $1000.00...which is way out of budget! Solution: standard 3 x4 foot shower base + a custom seat! The seat (is a little hard to see in this photo) will provide us with tons of arm room and will make the shower much larger, without increasing its footprint! In this photo you can also notice the fact that the room isn't level (typical for an old house). We're still working on how to disguise that (if we can)!
Here is a picture of the gable end of the house, where our bathroom window will go. To the left of the photograph is the entrance to the shower- on the other side will be our double sink.Here's the inside of the bedroom- those beams will be replaced with thicker beams. Notice the funny door...clearly this part of the house was added after the fact!Here's what it looks like from the outside!

The New Bathroom Takes Shape

So this blogging stuff is more difficult to keep up with than I thought it would be, but it is enjoyable to look back and see the progress we've already made. When we started talking with our contractors about the bathroom and our vision for what we wanted, we quickly learned that we would need to be a bit more creative with low-cost alternatives to the luxury bathroom I dreamed of originally.

We asked our contractors about their $750.00 budget for the vanity. Their response: "Well, whatever base you want from Home Depot and then we'll put a formica top on it." Hmm....NOPE.

So Jon and I started looking around the good old internerd as my brother likes to call it. First I looked at those really fancy vanities from Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, like this Newport Double Sink Console from PB. I love the storage underneath and the fact that it is open in the bottom, which creates an illusion of more space in the room. The closet that we're turning into a bathroom doesn't have a ton of space, so I thought something like this would be good. And double sinks are key! Our current one-sink bathroom is fine, but it's much more enjoyable for two people to brush their teeth at the same time at DIFFERENT sinks. So, after falling in love with the Newport, I looked at the price. Ouch x 10. The sink console with the gooseneck faucets is $2,897.00. Not including $100 for shipping or the baskets. So that definitely wasn't going to fit in our $750.00 budget. We went back to the internerd. Low and behold, we stumbled into the marvelous world of eBay.

And within the marvelous world, we found edart222, a power seller of plumbing, photography items, and sink consoles. Take a look at this near exact copy of the PB console. Total price, including faucets, marble backsplash, and even the basket was $499.00 (when we bought ours, it's gone up $100 since then). The shipping from California was an additional $250. So...the total cost was $750.00- we met our budget! In addition, edart222 features that gorgeous "Newport" console with a carerra marble top, in addition to the black marble top.

Because our bathroom isn't too big, I want to keep it light filled and bright- carerra marble is the perfect material to create that feeling. So our new vanity with carerra marble, gooseneck faucets, AND baskets arrived within 5 days of purchasing it for our budgeted $750.00.

Our bathroom is still in early stages of construction, but at some point the vanity will look perfect tucked under the eave in the space. Here it is (temporarily hanging out in our to-be TV room):

And here's where it will go - you can see the hot/cold water pipes!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Major Progress

It has been WAY too long since I last posted. While I wasn't keeping up with my blog, Jon and I WERE making serious progress on our house. Well, let's be honest...mostly Jon was making progress. I've been reading a lot of old issues of House Beautiful and Traditional Home that our amazing neighbor, Eddy, donated to the cause.

I have to say that we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves on the wallpaper removal. We started with the kitchen. And it was slow-going hell. It takes us about 3 hours per strip for complete removal. We've been using a commercial grade stripper and a mixture of 1/2 liquid fabric softener/ 1/2 water to take the stuff off. You have to be careful with horse hair plaster...

Here's what we do:
1. Use a Paper Tiger to score the paper.
2. Spray or sponge on both solutions or just one. Or one after the other. Whatever way seems to work best at that time.
3. Wait 15 minutes.
4. Peel off the top layer of the wall paper relatively easily.
5. Spray or sponge on more solution to the backing of the wallpaper.
6. Wait for a few minutes.
7. Attack the backing with a scraper.
8. Watch as the paper comes off in little strips.
9. Get frustrated...but keep going. It won't last forever.

So the kitchen was really taking forever. After we finished a whole days work in there...we got anxious about the dining room. We saw a seam that had pulled away a bit. We started picking at the seam. It started coming off really easily. We got excited. We pulled a whole sheet off without any solution, scoring, or waiting. We got carried away.

Now the kitchen is 1/2 wall paper free and the dining room is completely wall paper free except for one corner. The original plan had been to work on one room at a time so we didn't get completely overwhelmed. Yah...the excitement over the dining room paper ruined that plan.

So currently, we have 3 rooms in the works. The Red Rum is currently getting a new roof/dormer extension. The kitchen just got a new breakfast bar yesterday thanks to the amazingly crafty work of my husband. And the dining room looks like a slum of cracking plaster.

Pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Jon removing paper from the kitchen.
Slow going.
One wall in the dining room post-removal.
Corner of the dining room closest to the entrance to the kitchen, post removal. Notice the lovely tape-covered cracks. We either have plaster repair or wall paper installation in our futures.
Here's the wall between the dining room and kitchen. We *think* that this wall was added after the original house was built. It is not load bearing. This is where we wanted to open the space a bit, without messing with the gorgeous tin ceilings. Solution: breakfast bar.
Here is the new breakfast bar that Jon created! Marble and granite or anything else was just too expensive. Even remnants. So we went with subway tile in carrera marble (my latest obsession).
The breakfast bar opens the kitchen to the dining room allowing more natural light from the dining room windows into the kitchen. It will also be a nice feature when we entertain!