Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Neener Neener! Take that to-do list

I was just checking my "to-do" list on my blog and I realized I had quite a few things I could check off!! How exciting. Granted they're small tasks, but still. I had "build window boxes", but instead I found some copper ones at Target on clearance, the best part is that we actually hung them and filled them with plants. They're hung outside our bedroom and I love opening the curtains at night so I can wake up to them in the morning. I no longer have to build planters for the wisteria because I changed my mind about where I wanted them, but again I actually put them in the ground!! :D I don't know if I can get credit for checking off "build a new aviary", one of our birds died so we were down to 2 and I decided to move them back into a flight cage. That pretty much took no work at all LOL!

I did however add "pond" to my list. I've already started work on it but there's still more to do. When we finished our patio a couple years ago we built a raised wooden planter next to it. I had a lot of fun filling it with plants but they really needed more room so I decided it would make a better pond. I found this great site that sells old billboard signs to be used as tarps, the back sides are either black or white. We'll be using it for the pond liner. We received ours yesterday, I was so excited when we unfolded it and saw what it was....

Heeeellllllooooooo!!!! How cool is that?? I just don't know what kind of person I am if I don't use the pancake and bacon side facing up :D LOL! Actually I think I read somewhere that we are "prohibited" from using this side up, but the fish would be so happy in their pancake pond. For a second we had our neighbor believing that we had sold advertising space on the side of our house, so they're great for practical jokes too. Now we just have to wait for some mild weather so we can dig out the planter that took us 2 days to fill.

I'm so lucky to have such a patient family!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Kind of Vacation

What's better than a vacation away from home??? One where you're rockin' your DIY skills and busting your booty!! My parents have always wanted to buy an older home and renovate it so about 2 years ago they bought a little summer home close to where they grew up, and have been renovating it a little bit at a time. Ever since I first saw it I've been jonesing to lay a new floor, so over spring break my mom and I packed the kids up and took off for a week of sweat equity.

Here are a couple of before pictures....

Before I go too far, I should explain that the previous owner was most definitely off his rocker. The house had not been maintained properly, or with much common sense. Take for instance the "windows" they installed made of sheets of glass using only caulk to hold them in place or an exterior door that had been sealed shut, also with gobs of caulk. The old vinyl floor in the kitchen was in bad shape and probably the most asinine repair job I've ever seen. Using duct tape over the tears would have been a quality repair compared to what these owners did. I've never seen anything like it.... anyplace where the vinyl had ripped or lifted they nailed it down spacing the nails no more than 1/4 inch apart, up one side of the rip and down the other side, I'm not exaggerating. What floor vents were left had been nailed in place with 8 nails each. Most of the wood trim (and doors) had been destroyed by whatever pets they had, I'm thinking panda bear or maybe elephant, and had been nailed back together. To say these homeowners had poor handyman skills is an understatement, and don't even get me started on their cleaning skills.

When my parents first got the house, the carpet had already been ripped up and the sub floor was gross and creepy, as a temporary fix they painted it. A++ on that move because it really helped to seal a lot of the stank and took the grossness factor way down. They also ripped out the old kitchen which was bad..... really bad. They're almost done with the kitchen remodel and have used off the shelf cabinetry, counter-tops, and tile and they've done all the work themselves!!

It's looking mighty fine if I do say so myself. Most everything going into the house is being done on a tight budget, because, well, there's not much that doesn't need to be fixed or replaced!

We had 6 days of glorious vacation planned. Since most of the floor was bare sub floor all we had to do was pull up the old vinyl, I figured a couple hours would do it. I planned 2 days to lay floor, leaving lots of time for other DIY projects and maybe even some fun out and about! HA!! Not so, it took an entire day to pull all the nails from the old vinyl. When I finally felt like I was getting close to the end and it was safe to count how many nails I had left to pull, I counted over 50 and then stopped. In the meantime we decided that the paneled walls were in bad shape, discolored, and also harbored lingering stank, so my mom got to work painting them. We also discovered another one of the previous homeowners awesome fixes.... after pulling up one of the only floor vents we found that there was no duct work attached to it, it appears the duct work had been rerouted to a sunroom adjacent to the kitchen and the floor never repaired. Luckily my awesome cousin was there to save the day. He cut a piece of wood and installed it in the hole so we could lay the new flooring right over the top.

Everyone pitched in!

Finally the floor was cleared and we were ready to install the flooring. We used Trafficmaster Allure from Home Depot in Country Pine. It's awesome stuff, it looks great, feels great, and fun to work with. It was so easy to install, although much more time consuming than I planned for.

Most of it was cut easily using a utility knife, but I found it was faster to use the table saw when I had a long cut to make, talk about fun! The most time consuming part was cutting around the stone fireplace, the floor vents, and the doorways. It took about a day and a half to lay the living room and the kitchen and two and a half days to lay 2 small bedrooms and a hallway.

They had no where to sleep...

I ran into problems as I was laying the last bedroom because I was trying to lay it backwards, in hindsight I should have cut off the flooring straight at the doorway and changed the direction that the floor ran in the bedroom. We worked hard and were sore, but we were really happy with how it turned out.

We ended up leaving for home at 3pm rather than the crack of dawn, but it all worked out. The floor looks great and the new paint really freshens things up. It was so worth it. That's the kind of vacation I can be proud of!


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