Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bathroom Tile

Here's the tile for the downstairs bathroom. I love the little hexagonal tile -- always have. We're using the small version on the main floor and then a larger hex on the floor of the shower. The square tiles are Italian and delicious. I found the beige about a year ago in the bargain area at Import Tile. I fell in love with them and consequently, they have been sitting downstairs ever since. We needed just a smidge more, so we ordered the wine country aqua on the right. They all have that crackle glaze to them. The aqua is much more crackly than the beige. It will just go in the two niches and around the front edge and curb. The 1/4" rounds come in these small little boxes sweetly sealed with a colorful sticker and something in Italian. It makes me love them even more! Oh, how I love tile.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We Passed!

Miracle of miracles, we passed yesterday's electrical inspection. Now we schedule the general inspection for early next week and barring any issues, we move forward with the sheetrocking. Hoorah! Technical difficulties abound this week and are preventing me from uploading my new artsy pics. I bet you can't wait.

Our amazing plumber worked yesterday afternoon to finish up the gas line downstairs. I wish all contractors were like him. I told him just that. He stayed until 8:30pm to finish the gas lines.

Our electrician started talking about how it would make it a lot easier for him if we were to move out for a week when he wires the upstairs. This makes no sense because we'll be living downstairs completely separate from the upstairs wiring. I got the name of another electrician from our amazing plumber.

I'm off to retrieve the rest of the tile today from Import Tile. Oh, golly, I cannot wait to for the tiling to begin!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Light Boxes

This is probably the least interesting photograph that I've posted to date. It's one of the many light boxes that Josh had to sheetrock in and then tape and sand. Then the cans get screwed in to all four sides. Our new electrical inspection is scheduled for Tuesday. Knocking on wood a thousand times, if that goes well, then we get our general inspection. They never ever talk about the inspections on all those home reno shows. Maybe that's because they never get them. After the general inspection we start sheetrocking and tiling. It seems like the probs with our electrician ended up stalling us for about a month. I wish everyone were as efficient as our plumber. He was in and out in a week, inspected and done. No problems. I don't know anyone that seems particularly thrilled with any electrician they've ever worked with though.

I've decided to up the anty on my photographs. I'll start that next week. Let's see what I can cook up.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Here's Josh in the back corner of the studio next to the concrete walls that he built. The original walls/foundation were hollow cinder blocks. He pulled all of that out, built the forms out of rebar and wood and then got the walls poured.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Coffee & The Planning Department

Yesterday, Josh and Tommy continued to work on the boxes for the lights. It's a really tedious job. He disconnected a little more power too while he was down there. The only plug that's working right now in the kitchen is the fridge. I set up the coffee pot in the middle of the living room floor this morning and plugged it into the 50 ft extension cord that is currently connected to our T.V.

We spent the good part of Friday at the planning department getting the revised plan for the downstairs approved. It's all just a formality, but you have to meet with every department all over again for approval. We made it thru until the very end except for the cashier. Somehow seems extra painful to have to go back to pay them. Alas, I am glad to have that taken care of. We also swung by the electrical department to speak to the inspector. She gave a more specific lowdown on what needed to be fixed. A few details had not been shared with us by our electrician. The biggest one is that you can never have more than three wires going through a hole in the framing. In some places, he has ten. Major fire hazard, apparently. Something he needs to fix before this get signed off.

Slow and steady...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kitchen Layout

Here is the layout for our little studio kitchen. That's not a farmhouse sink. It's just transparent for some reason. All the numbers on there are the dimensions of the cabinets. Oh, I can't wait to install these!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Small Appliances

These are the little baby GE appliances that just arrived from Home Depot for our studio. The range is only 24" and the dishwasher is only 18". So many tiny appliances only seem to come in white. I don't understand why it's so difficult to find these smaller ones in the US, but I'm happy we finally did. I'll report back on how they work after we get those puppies installed.

In other news, I think we found a tiler for almost 1/2 the price of last estimate. And he comes recommended by our general contractor friend that we trust completely. That is a big relief. I think he'll be able to start on the shower pan on Monday so that we can finally get that inspected.

Monday, February 9, 2009

5 Bits of Advice on Remodeling

1. Be leary of contractors that have not worked in your county in a while. They they may not be familiar enough with the building code.
2. Be leary of contractors that want you to accompany them (ie hold their hands) to the Building Office to get their permits.
3. Resist the urge to strangle said contractors when they annoy you. Punish them by not bringing them their morning coffee and silently swearing to never call them again after their work is done.
4. Don't go too crazy when you choose an edge for a counter top. Standard edges will do just fine. Here's a useful link.
5. Don't let your contractors frustrate you too much. Distract yourself with cute pictures of puppies, kittens and deer instead.

Rock the House

This weekend Josh and Tommy started to sheet rock in the cans. Apparently, this is required for fireproofing in two-unit buildings(something that Josh asked our electrician about when he started and he assured us that we didn't need). It's a challenging project because you have to measure out these tiny pieces of sheet rock and wood blocks to hold them in place and then putty and tape them in perfectly.

We're going to have to rip out more of one of the walls and flooring upstairs than we had hoped in order to install the upstairs sub panel. The wall that we need to rip out is plaster covered in sheet rock, so it will make quite a mess. Nothing compared to the mess of the demolition to come, however!

Our two furnaces are finally finished. I still think that everything about it looks like an alien spaceship. The intake for it is just a gaping whole in one of our rooms. That will be finished off after we finish the upstairs. In the meantime, I have glorious heat all day long! The way that those furnace guys would schedule everything made me a little nutty. They would never work for more than one day in a row. And then they wouldn't come back for about 10 days. This happened about 4 different times. In the end, they did a decent job, albeit not the most expedient one.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What a Wonderful World

I thought I would counter the grumpiness of my last two posts with the overwhelming cuteness of this YouTube video. You must watch it!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Trust No One

I haven't written in a while because I was still feeling rather grumpy about our electrician incident last week. I think I was finally getting over it until the electrician hit me (not literally, although I am starting to feel like smacking him silly) again last night. Josh worked out with him a simple way to avoid moving us into the litter box. Great. He just needed to come back and do a few things. We needed to do a few things and then we could get the inspection and move on with our lives. Fantastic.

We've been waiting for him to deliver his formal estimate for the upstairs. When he gave us his estimate for the downstairs, he told us that the upstairs would be about the same. He, in fact, told us this repeatedly. Last night, he finally sent us a more formal description of the cost for the upstairs and it is TWICE what the downstairs cost us. As I try to prevent the steam from coming out of the top of my head, the words that keep running through my head are that line from Pretty Woman when Richard Gere is explaining to Julia Roberts about his bad relationship with his father, "I am very angry with him. I am very angry with him." Yes, I know that you're supposed to expect costs to be significantly higher than what you estimate, but I find it infuriating that his costs are now twice what he projected only 4 days ago. So, now we have to either bargain him down or find another electrician mid-stream. Our electrician is a decent electrician, but I now distrust any words that come out of his mouth. Just to show him how angry I am, I did not make him a cup of coffee this morning which I always do. Take that!