Monday, November 23, 2009


The pods were delivered on Friday and then they disappeared this morning. Genius. Did you ever think this day would come? I have nothing but rave reviews for this whole storage pod business. It's awesome. As much as I love U-Haul, I love not going there even more.

Unpacking is going to be a breeze thanks to my superior labeling technique.

Queen M explores the contents of the pods.

Amazingly enough, Queen M appears to have forgiven me for the torment that we've put her through. She quickly settled in for a cuddle with us.

Both kitties also had a lovely afternoon nap in the sun. Those two have become better buds than either of them will ever admit. This is also a sneak peak at another Craiglist special -- check out those pokey chairs, my sweets. Yes, they are Twister meets Romper Room and I love them!

Uninvited Guest

The kitchen smelled a little last night, but I though it was just the two dirty dishes in the sink. This morning, I took the Cupcake out to get one of her many shots. When I returned with my traumatized child, I nearly threw up at the door. The smell was nothing short of extraordinary. It was really and truly the most rancid thing I have ever smelled in my life. It's the kind of smell that is so powerful that even while you are refraining from breathing, it still gets to you. It almost knocks you over. It goes down your throat and makes you want to vomit more than you can possibly imagine. I threw my bag down and took Cupcake upstairs.

I realized that Mikey had died the night before. Mikey was a mouse that we had trapped under the stove. He would visit me almost every night. He would stop in like clockwork to peruse the garbage can for dinner. He found his way in through the garage and then through one of the holes for the water lines into the cabinet. We haven't been able to sheet rock up that back side of the studio yet, so there are ways for a little fellow to find his way in. After we finally saw the little fellow make a run for it from the dish washer to the stove, we stuffed towels under the stove to block him in so that we could figure out how to lure him out in the light of day. Mikey didn't like that. We did have every intention of helping him find his way back out to the delightful streets of the Mission District in which we live. We thought we had time. Mikey was a plump little fellow, but he didn't have the stamina.

So, the ridiculous thing was that I found myself with my newborn baby upstairs not knowing quite what to do with myself. You see, the problem is that we're waiting until this coming weekend to actually start sleeping up there so that the polyurethane odor can completely disappear. It's almost all gone, but there's no reason to be exposing the Cupcake to these things if we don't have to. I don't mind her spending short periods of time up there, but sleeping up there is a different story. I found myself having to choose between the rancid studio downstairs with the non toxic mousey smells or the certainly toxic but not that disagreeable of a scent of the lingering polyurethane. Keep in mind that the Cupcake was also feeling a little cranky from her shot. Poor girl. So, we attempted to run errands, jogged back for naps upstairs and finally retired to the studio in the evening with the air filters going full blast and the door wide open. I think that the smell has improved, but I honestly don't really know. I've been back for several hours now, so who knows. I probably smell like a dead mouse. All that I could think each time that I would attempt to venture back into the studio to get various things during the day was, why did they go to the trouble of water-boarding people when they could just pipe in the smell of a pile of dead mice?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Final Dump Run

Here are J & L last weekend after one of their final dump runs. The number of times that we've been to the dump is rather impressive. Luckily, this is a task that I did not have to participate in anymore once I got pregnant. Can't say that I missed it very much, but it is kind of a cool place. They even featured the SF dump on an episode of Dirty Jobs once. If you've never been, you should go some time to see where all of your garbage disappears to every week. The best time to go is right after Christmas when you can see the giant --and I mean GIANT-- mound of discarded Christmas trees. I digress. L has been with us a long time working on the house. All the way back to when we were endlessly digging in the studio to get rid of more and more dirt. He's helped us every step of the way and has never complained about any of the crazy things that we've asked him to do -- probably because J was right there working with him most of the time. But we are incredibly grateful to him for all of his help.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Queen

The Queen contemplates the hell that we've put her thru since last May and can't quite believe that the Door-to-Door storage pods are coming back TOMORROW. Soon, The Queen will have her torn up chair by the front window again so that she can curl up and soak in the sun all day. She will snack when she needs to and drink water at her leisure. And she will also be the recipient of hourly pats and cuddles. We're coming home, girls. We're comin' home!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Poly Poly

Here are the floors with one more coat of polyurethane on them. I'm glad we waited so that they could buff out any scratches. It's pretty incredible, however, that when we pulled up the paper that covered the floors that there wasn't any serious damage. It's so hard protecting the work that you've done while trying to do more!

We did one more coat on Saturday to finish it off. Here is our first piece of real furniture in the house in Cupcake's room!

This is the crib that I insisted on buying about 6 months ago when this nice baby store in Marin was going out of business. It weighed about two tons and sat in the backyard in its cardboard box all these many months through many a rain storm. Amazingly enough, it and the range are in great condition. Hoorah!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Direct Mail Convert

Never in my life have I actually bought something from a random piece of direct mail. Well, last week the Reggio Registers catalog appeared in our mailbox just as I was about to start looking for some. All that they sell is registers and exactly the ones that we wanted! If only every purchase had been so easy in this process. I ordered of 5 of these cast iron grilles and think that they'll look great with those dark floors. It just cracks me up that somewhere in someone's database, I've been labeled as a good target for heating grilles. I'm so far gone now that I'm finding that amusing, aren't I?

Running Water & Toilets!!

The appliances are in place. The stove is on the furniture dolly right now so that we can continue to clean it up. This Craigslist special had to live in the backyard for a while, so the burners are a bit rusted. The gas is hooked up though and the pot filler ready for action! J will finish installing the hood this weekend too. The fridge (my other Craigslist special) is ready to hooked up for ice cube action. So fancy! There is running water in the kitchen and both baths!

These chandeliers came from P's garage. The floors are revealed! Haven't seen them for awhile.
We're putting two more coats of poly on the floors at the end of this week, so we covered the baseboards so that it wouldn't slop over.
Hello, glorious tub!!
Mistress of the house.
Things left to do before we can move back in:
install master toilet, shower heads, cabinet hardware, door knobs, light fixtures, range hood, hook up waste on 2nd tub, install second water heater, 2 coats of poly on the floors

Not bad! About 1.5 weeks to go!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Sink and a Car Jack

Leave it to J to use a car jack to put in a sink. It was dang heavy, so I'm glad he did it to try and preserve his back. Here are J and JJ bending down to position it just right and here's the glorious sink. I think she looks great. They popped in the faucet for effect. It's not hooked up yet, but I think she looks dandy!

Don't Watch

We were finally able to have some guys pick up our fridge (the one I bought off of Craigslist last January) from JJ's house where he kindly stored it in his garage for us all this time. I shouldn't have watched them do it, but I couldn't help it. It wasn't as bad as watching them bring the tub inside, but it was pretty crazy. They had one of those automated stair dollies, but it was really sounding as if it was on its' last legs. The motor really didn't sound like it would make it to the top of the stairs. Isn't that the kind of thing that you double-check before heading out for delivery?

Tiling Is Complete!

They finished the tile work on Wednesday. I love it!

The poor counter guy spent about 1.5 hours trying to improve the look of that seam on the counters. I'm still not thrilled with it, but I think it's an improvement. It looks better in the pic than it does in person.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stained Glass

This is the stained glass window that my uncle MADE for us. Yes, you read that correctly. He made it! It's the ultimate frosting on the cake. It's incredibly bright and vibrant from the inside of the house as it lights up the hallway and yet perfectly subdued from the exterior. It looks like an original part of the house. Thank you, Uncle!

The Fearless Magician

The fearless magician has struck again. I had picked out a 3 hole faucet for the kitchen sink which is gorgeous and kinda perfect for our house. But then we also need an air gap and a sprayer. The trouble is that none of the porcelain cast iron sinks out there seem to be the right size that also have 5 faucet holes. It's plain stupid silly they don't make it standard to have more holes for an undermount sink, but they don't. I really wanted to do a porcelain sink because I think it's so much nicer with the carrera marble. Little did I know that that would cause some extra challenges. Mr. J said, "Have no fear. I can drill two holes thru the cast iron porcelain sink." And he did! The magician used two different bits on his drill press that he rotated in two times each thru the different layers. Here are some shots of the miracle man at work!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The countertops went in on Monday in the kitchen and bathrooms. They're all carrera marble. They did a beautiful job installing them. These guys are real perfectionists. I'm obsessing though over the seam on the kitchen sink. It was a decision that was made without me. The kitchen measures 96.5" on the side with the sink and the prefab slabs that I bought were 96". Instead of slicing off 1/2" from another slab and tacking it on to the end where I think it would be less noticeable, the boys decided to do it down the center of the sink. Everyone tells me that this is the most professional place to do the seam, but why?! I don't get it. I could live with it except that I feel like the seam is really dark. It's all I can stare at right now. I think that the sink can be one of the most elegant features in a kitchen, so I don't understand why you'd put the seam there to begin with. After spending an hour contemplating ripping out all the counters and finding new marble delaying everything by weeks, I have come to my senses. I've called the counter guys to see what they can do about lightening the seam. I suppose that there's always at least one thing that haunts you in a remodel. This is at the top of my list. I haven't heard back yet. Maybe I'm being a Jeff lewis drama queen on this, but I just want that kitchen to be perfect after all this!

Painted Lady

Standing in the living room looking through the dining room and kitchen to the back of the house.
Standing at the front door looking down the hallway.
Master bath.
Master bedroom.
Family room.

The backyard!
The office.
Obviously, I need a class on architectural photography. I try to work on it for the final shots!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


While our canine companion has done a fantastic job as supervisor/social coordinator of the overall remodel, it's our feline residents who were kind enough to offer to stay in residence upstairs to manage all of the demolition and construction. They are amazing little troopers. Completely displaced into the backyard most of the time, they have managed to survive it all. Not only do they spend their days sunning themselves in the dirt under the rose bushes out back, but we quickly filled up the entire backyard with various items from the remodel leaving them even less room to roam. For example, our range and Cupcake's crib have been living in the backyard for 5 or so months now along with a delightful assortment of tools and random reno crap. They have a lot to say every morning when we venture upstairs to feed them. In fact, they have a lot to say every time I enter the upstairs. Their tone is never particularly pleasant which I more than understand. I am quite confident that the two of them talk to anyone willing to listen who may be working upstairs in their house. At least my girls may have learned a little Spanish over the last 6 months. They are clearly counting the minutes more than anyone until we have their chairs at the front windows again ready for hours of snoozing. These photos capture them at the front door in a classic morning greeting. Here I think they look like little prisoners contemplating their tragic existence. Hang in there, girls! We're almost there.