Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Project House Update: Repainting and Recessing

Yes, I am still alive. I've just been busy. In the irony that is blogging, the more busy and exciting life is, the less of it gets recorded. It's going to get worse before it gets better, so let me try to spend the next few days catching up.

For the Fourth of July, Dan and I took a week of vacation time. Since I'm stressing over money because of Dan's shop construction, we knew we wouldn't be doing any traveling this year. So, with our time off, we decided to stay in town and get some things done on our to-do list.

Now, you may know that I post a yearly to-do/status list of our entire house. If you were to look at that last version of the list, you'd find none of the projects we actually did.

Several years ago, when we moved into our house and started fixing it up, we got the bold idea to paint the front three rooms of our house vibrant yellow. Fortunately, we talked ourselves out of painting the front living room yellow once we'd painted both the entry way and the dining room. We accidentally used semi-gloss instead of matte and hadn't swatched the yellow before painting so we quickly grew to dislike it. However, in true stubborn fashion, we also refused to repaint because it would be admitting we were wrong.

I finally broke on our first day of vacation. We had some house guests for that first day and when one of them asked what we'd be doing with our time off, I spewed, "Repainting the entry way and dining room," much to Dan's surprise.

Projects like painting two rooms should be easy, but if you've ever done house projects before, you know how these things spiral. The first day was simply moving all the furniture from the rooms, removing switch plates and light fixtures, and popping off all the baseboards.

The last time we painted, we left the baseboards, but since then, we've removed them in the corresponding rooms, so these ones needed to go. One day we'll get around to installing baseboards in the whole house. (As Dan says, "Once I have the shop, it will be easy.")

Day Two was patching holes from the baseboard nails, sanding and smoothing the paint line between the walls and the edge where the baseboards used to be, and working on the recessed lighting.

Yes, that's right, recessed lighting. Dan remembered late on the second day why we hadn't decided to repaint earlier. He made the argument that our dining room needed more lighting and since it would tear up the ceiling to run the wires, he wanted to do it all in one go. He quickly talked me into the idea and I had to quickly talk him out of six light fixtures since four would be plenty {Sidenote: to whatever website Dan found that said you should have recessed lights every four feet, screw you. My dining room would look like a grocery store if you were correct.}

He sketched up the lights locations, mapped out the studs, and started carving into our ceiling to pass wires through studs. I'm so grateful how handy he is with all of this electrical stuff. The initial plan only had him cutting two holes to drill and run all the wires, but he needed three in the end. All of this also meant a fun new tool for Dan so he could perfectly cut out the circles for the light kits.

Also, Dan decided to fix anything in these rooms that had been poorly thought-out by the previous owners. For one, our dining room has this giant empty wall where I've always wanted to put a big piece of statement art, but there was a security system speaker mounted right in the center of it. So, he punched a hole in the wall and ran the speaker into the room on the opposite side.

Secondly, our doorbell. The unit was large and it wasn't very loud. It had always gotten under Dan's skin that our house has an intercom system, but the doorbell wasn't part of it. After some online research, he found a $50 part that would let us hook the two systems together. He wasn't 100% sold on it, but we decided to gamble and rush ordered it. I'm so glad we did. You can now here the bell in every room of the house. For now, we just used a blank outlet plate that matches the wall to cover the hole from the old doorbell chime.

At this point, all of the days started to blur together, but it was many trips to Home Depot and Lowe's for supplies, for paint, for light fixtures, for painter's tape and liners, etc. It was time-consuming with a lot of edges to cut in, but it was a pretty stress-free project. We both agreed on painting the entry way the same white as the hallway and the dining room the same green/gray as the front room. We just put on some podcasts and spent our days painting, then our evenings swimming, and our nights relaxing.

It was a pretty great little vacation and at the end of it, we had this to show for it.

As a summary, here's all the big and little things that changed in those nine days:
  • Repainted the entryway white
  • Repainted the dining room the same color as the front room
  • Installing and wiring four recessed lights with a dimmer
  • Relocating the security system speaker for a smooth dining room wall
  • Upgrading the doorbell to ingrate with intercom system so the bell can be hear all over the house and the chime unit is no longer necessary in the entryway. 
  • Removed and patched all the baseboards
We're still on the look-out for some nicer light fixtures for both rooms, but for now, it's enough of an improvement to keep us happy for a very long time.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Project House Update: The List - Version 3.0

So, there wasn't a lot to show this year in terms of house updates. We did do a whoooole lot. Many projects, like the fireplace, have eaten up numerous weekends. Other projects, like the shop, have required so much planning that we haven't really seen any pay-off yet. And other projects, like getting the bricks resealed, took time and money, but the results are invisible to the naked eye.

Slowly, but surely, our house is coming along. We've finally have a significant amount of prep done and a bunch of our ducks in a row so that Version 4.0 of this list should be amazing.

If you'd like to go back and see what we've accomplished in previous years, click one of the older versions of this list below, otherwise, let's see what's changed!

June 2013: Version 1.0
June 2014: Version 2.0

* means something Dan wants to do and I am trying to talk him out of.
# means something I want and Dan is ignoring and hoping I'll forget/change my mind.
bold means something new or completed since the last version of the list.


Done: Painted, installed new light fixture, set up corner table, hung some art, modified closet 
To Do: New flooring, new baseboards, maybe repaint a more neutral and subtle color#, new light*, coat rack or console table.

Dining Room:

Done: Painted, hung curtains
To Do: Hang some art, new flooring, new baseboards, new light fixture, new chairs, redo dresser into china cabinet, maybe repaint a more subtle color.

Formal Living Room:

Done: Hung curtain rod and curtains, hung ceiling fan, painted, upgraded light fixtures, tiled fireplace, bought lamp
To Do: Make mantle for fireplace, new floors, new molding, build built-in bookcases, get fireplace working, arrange furniture, hang art.

Kitchen/Breakfast Nook:

Done: Painted, new ceiling fan in breakfast nook, removed awkward ceiling fan in kitchen, installed new microwave, purchased refrigerator
To Do: New floors, new cabinets, new range instead of built-in oven and cook top, new counter tops, additional lighting under cabinets, pendant lighting over the sink, new bar stools, finish painting chairs for breakfast nook, new windowsills in nook*, new sink.

Great Room:

Done: Painted, purchased entertainment center, hung art, hung TV, routed cables through the wall, new coffee table, added more seating, new ceiling fan*, hung star mirror.
To Do: New floors, new molding, maybe repaint a more subtle color#, widen doorway to entryway, add sofa table.

Master Bedroom:

Done: Painted, installed new ceiling fan, purchased dressers, new blinds blades, hung curtains, purchased bed frame
To Do: New floors, redo fireplace, install crown molding, new door (instead of stupid sliding pocket door)#, find side table for Dan, more lighting.

Master Bathroom/Closet:

Done: Replaced sliding glass door, removed and patched toilet paper holder, upgraded toilet room
To Do: Paint, new floors, new vanities, remove overhead dry wall pocket*, new mirrors, add wall sconces, french doors into closet, new shower*, new shelving and organization in closet, chandelier, twinkly lights around top, furniture (including a standing mirror and an island/ottoman)

Guest Room/Guest Bath/Guest Closet:

Done: Painted bookcase and end table, bought bedding, painted room, installed new ceiling fan, window treatments, magazine shelves
To Do: New floors, modify bed frame, new cabinets and counter top, new toilet, new shower doors, paint bathroom and closet.


Done: Paint, new lighting, hung art (1 and 2)
To do: New floors, add baseboards

Hall Bathroom:

Done: Hung some art
To do: Penny floors!, paint, remove wall to create one space, new toilet, update tub, new lighting, new cabinets and countertop*


Done: Hung art, new dresser
To Do: Stain shelving, remove desk and install cabinets, built-in cat box, new window treatment, paint, new floors, new lighting, new window, new ceiling fan, new desk(s).

Workout Room:

Done: New windows and window sills, wiring for ceiling fan, paint, ceiling fan, new lighting
To Do: new floors, new window treatment, base boards

Laundry Room:

Done: Purchased washer and dryer, electrical work on lighting.
To Do: Paint, new floors, move sink into garage, build platform for washer/dryer, purchase deep freezer, straighten out crooked pantry, install some shelving, find bench and storage for shoes, new lighting.


Done: Built Turtle's habitat, removed pokey bush
To Do: Remove gravel, plant some trees, fire pit, build housing to hide pool pipes, convert exterior shower into a shed, replace outdoor lights


Done: Removed fountain, planted some trees, removed a ton of dead cactus, new porch lights
To Do: redo driveway, paint garage door, new driveway lights, paint pergola

Other things we've done: new roof, updated pool solar heating, adobe bricks sealed.

Other things in progress: build Dan's external shop

Friday, June 12, 2015

Jurassic World Preparations

For being a self-proclaimed Jurassic Park super fan, this space has been remarkably quiet leading up to the premiere of Jurassic World today. And it's not that I'm not excited (because I AM), I've just been trying to avoid all the promotional stuff before seeing the movie so it wouldn't spoil it for me.

Have you noticed how rare it is anymore to not know exactly what's going to happen in a movie before seeing it from all the freakin' trailers and teasers and posters and interviews and toys and etcetera?

Anyway, I have been prepping for this movie. {Sidenote: by the time this goes up, I will have already seen the movie and I'll write a post about it next week.} To get myself psyched up this week, it had been the week of dinosaur outfits!


Classing up a Jurassic Park t-shirt with a blazer, some simple yet pretty earrings, and a pair of boots. My dinosaur-ness went unnoticed at work.

T-Rex Shirt Business


Day 2 was a weird day. I had just gotten this skirt from Express and I wanted an excuse to wear it. Since I was going to be in meetings all day Tuesday and not in the lab, I paired the skirt with some pantyhose and a pair of heels. Since the rest of the outfit was so professional, I was able to balance out my cheap, juvenile Forever 21 dinosaur print tee.

Because the rest of my outfit was a bit over the top, one of my coworkers commented and I made the mistake of telling him that the fanciness was to balance out the t-shirt. It spread through that small meeting of four people of my intentions to wear dinosaur shirts all week.

Forever21 Dinosaur Shirt Business


It makes sense when you wear a dinosaur t-shirt and a T-rex skeleton necklace to wear your pretend admiral jacket, right? I should also probably note here that all of these looks involve layering or blazers to class up the dinosaur shirts. In Tucson. In June. In a freak humid month. I'm now a liquid from melting.

One of my chatty coworkers brought up my outfit plan in a much larger meeting. My entire department is now aware of my plan. The pressure is on.

Hello Dinosaur shirt Business


By Thursday, I was down to dinosaur sweaters and kid shirts. To keep it a little more mature, I went with a sweatshirt over a long sleeve shirt, rather than my Christmas sweater. I'm so warm I've gone past the liquid stage and am now a gas. I also added in my insect trapped in amber necklace.

Since almost everyone I work with now knows of my obsession, people keep trying to find me to see what I'm wearing today. One of my coworkers even brought in his son's Lost World toys to show me. We've officially reached critical mass.

Dinosaur Sweatshirt Business

Thursday Night (for the premiere):

Since I'm not entirely crazy, I thought it was best to change into my dinosaur costume right before the movie, not at work. I wore it over the most breathable clothing I have in case I needed to remove it for some reason. Although, at this point, my tolerance for warmth has greatly increased. I think Dan was probably embarrassed by me wearing this outfit while walking from the car to the movie theater through a busy mall, but if it doesn't phase me, why should it phase him?

Dinosaur Costume

I love this onesie so much. Here's a little teaser of what it looks like on before my full post next week.

So freakin' excited!!!! Eeeeeieeee! Any bets on how many times I end up seeing it by the end of the weekend?