Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ahh! Yay!

Counters are in!

Exciting, huh!?

There's still quite a bit to do. The plumber is coming on Monday to hook up the dishwasher and the sink.
[The not-yet-hooked-up (dusty) dishwasher.]

[Our big, pretty sink. With the faucet inside of it, patiently waiting for the plumber.]

I climbed up on a stool to get a pic of the sink and faucet. While I was up there I spotted this:
Eeeeek! That's a crap load of dust! We've got a lot of cleaning to do...
Which is maybe an understatement...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Today the drywall was put up, and it looks much nicer than it did yesterday. Here are some photos of the work.

Notice the flooring that we've laid from the post the other day. I think we need to clean it.

The tile is gone! Tomorrow the island will be marble will be installed.

The big hole in the wall behind the fridge is now gone.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


And just in case anyone is worried about the dogs while our house is an obvious disaster, don't be! They're all happy as clams camped out in the bedroom. Or more accurately, on the bed.

Me: "Good morning, Sunshine!"
Airlie: "omg. srsly mom. dont you know what time it is?"

Zorro-lazy-bones takes his time getting up, too.

Rat, of course, is ready to take on the world.

I'm certainly jealous...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

10 Days 'til Christmas

We’ve been slow to post details recently so I figured I’d give everyone a brief update.  Does anyone remember those photos we took right after closing? Well the place doesn’t look nearly as nice currently. We’re in the middle of our holiday rush because my parents and my brother and his wife will be coming for Christmas. To say we have a little work to do before then is the understatement of the year. Here are a few quick current photos I just took with my phone. (Sorry for the quality.) Needless to say I didn't pick up before I took them.
The foyer floor is laid, but not yet polyurethaned... and is really dusty.

The living room / floor-staining room.

We put up the Christmas tree in the dining room, but it has since been surrounded by future kitchen stools, tools, supplies, and other clutter.

Jessica's busy laying the cork floor in the kitchen.

Where the sink used to be. It's been moved to the island. And the giant (unnecessary) hole in the wall thanks to the plumbers.

Jess warned you all earlier that the kitchen was bad! She wasn't kidding! Just over a week to go and this all should be back to semi-normal.

New Light

Arrived today...

Not sure if we should put it in the kitchen or the dining room yet... I'm afraid it may be a little too small for the dining room.

Right now our kitchen is a freaking DISASTER! The old floor is out, the counters are out, the walls are out! It's a big, ugly shell of a room... with pretty cabinets. The electrician will finish up in a day or two. Then we'll be clear to hang new drywall, lay the flooring, get the countertops installed, and get the plumber back out to hook up the new sink and dishwasher. UGH. I'm exhausted already!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Holy Sh*t!

Thursday night Jessica walked into the house and the first words out of her mouth were "Holy Sh*t!" This is because I began removing the drywall in the kitchen. While there was kind of a cool look to the 50s plastic tile in the kitchen, it doesn't work at all with what we are doing aesthetically. We wish we could have only removed the tile, but the old glue for the tile has left removing the drywall as our only option. Furthermore, we need to remove the linoleum tiles in the kitchen to lay the new cork floor. As a result, our kitchen (and due to the dust, the rest of the house) is more disastrous than it was before.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Airlie graduated from her puppy class! (On Halloween. Thus, tutu. I'm a little slow on the blog updating...) She was one of, if not the best student in the class. Very attentive, a quick learner, and extremely eager to please! She's pretty much a rock star.

We're in Agility training now, and we'll hopefully start beginner obedience in January!

In non-dog news, Brad and I are working our butts off on the house! The flooring is all laid in the living and dining rooms and we're getting ready to start some demo in the kitchen. We have a lot of yellow plastic tile and gross flooring to remove in the next week or so. Then we'll be adding an island (with a dishwasher! Woo Hoo!), continuing the cork flooring, painting the cabinets, replacing the hardware, and installing new electrical. Our hope is to have the first floor (minus the bathroom) done by Christmas. It's gonna be tough... wish us luck!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh, Rain. What am I going to do with you?

Our plan has always been to install rain barrels to catch all of our roof runoff. Of course, we didn't plan on moving ahead with the rain barrel systems until we had replaced the roof and gutters. No use trying to catch water at the end of a downspout when most of the gutter is rusted through...
But, of course, this happened. Now we're preparing for a new roof, and we're suddenly in need of barrels.
I wanted these:

But I just got the quote and they're CRAZY expensive for some big hollow chunks of plastic! So we're on the hunt for new barrels. The problem is, we need a grouping in the back of the house to catch the water from the back porch roof and the south side of the main roof, and we need a grouping in the front of the house to catch water from the front porch and the north side of the main roof. We can line up the barrels along the side of the house in back, but the space between our house and our neighbor's is only 2'-5". (Yay, city living!)

It gets more complicated up front...
The north side of our house is right on the lot line. So, no room to put barrels on the side of the house up front. We're left with a space about 13" wide to the north of our front porch, or the area under our front porch steps. This is where the big money barrels I REALLY wanted would have worked wonderfully. They are only 7 1/2" deep! We could have stacked a few next to the porch and a few more under the steps and called it a day.

So, here are some others we're looking at:

This is pretty. Maybe a couple of these would be okay visible in the front yard, with some larger, uglier ones under the stairs... Like this:
This is a beast. It may not fit under the stairs...

But these are kind of cool:

They're big bags-o-rain! Rain bags. They hold just over 100 gallons and lay flat, perfect for under a porch. Not sure how multiples work, though...

Then we could just line a bunch of these up along the side of the house in back.

They aren't 7 1/2" deep. :(
But they are 14". Which is still good.

Anyone out there have any rain barrel experience? Suggestions? Comments on the wonderfulness of rain?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not a dog post.

So Brad has commented that I'm posting a lot about our dogs... Hehe... oops. I forgot this was supposed to be our home renovation blog. :)

So here's some super awesome stuff about our ongoing renovation!!
Right now, I'm working on finishing our drawings. We initially planned on doing a lot of the work over time, but now we're considering bidding the whole project out to knock it out in one fell swoop. We'll see just how much doing it all at once will cost us before we make that final decision... For all who are curious just what our plans are:

Plans in AutoCAD.

Interior Elevations in AutoCAD.

Ha. Okay. So you can't quite tell just what's going on from the screenshots. Basically, right now we have one 'finished' bedroom in the attic and the rest is raw space. We plan to add a bathroom and master bedroom, as well as fully updating the rest of the house. This may be better... Click the images to see 'em larger.

So, what do you think?


So we still haven't taken a good "finished" pic of the living room floor... BUT, I have good pics of my helper dogs ON the new floor!

Fat Rat.

Airlie Bear.

The Bear is getting BIG!

Sneezer and Fatty. My guard dogs.

Zorro, aka Sneezer, aka Sneeze Beez, aka Beezer, aka Zeez, aka Z, aka Smiles.

We've been dog-sitting for Brad's brother while he's on his honeymoon! This is Bella. 

And this is Cowboy. Cowboy likes to try to eat the cork floor. He's not such a good helper...
Sorry, Cows. I outed you.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The floor in the living room is now laid. However, we have not put the urethane on yet because I nearly cut my thumb off (okay that's a bit of an exaggeration) when I was cutting the last piece. Luckily Jessica's first aid experience from when she was a life guard came in handy. 

We haven't taken a "finished" shot yet, but here is Jessica slaving away.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Go Cats!

Zorro and Rat are pumped for the K-State game on thursday!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Living Room Art

Last weekend, while taking a break from work and renovations I started to design artwork to be placed on our main living room wall. The sketches started as some sort of graphic representation of where Jessica and I are from, how we met, and how we’ve ended up in Chicago. However, I soon realized I was making this thing way too complicated and it was becoming very ugly. I pretty much started over with the aspects I liked and then showed Jess. Her eye and new vantage point was exactly what the design and my brain needed. The design then became this:

It is the state of Nebraska (where Jessica is from) overlaid on the state of Kansas (where I’m from) to create a conceptual version of the Chicago flag. Since I know nothing about sewing, Jessica is going to create the design as an actual flag. We’re then going to frame the flag so it doesn’t look straight out of a dorm room.

Friday, September 10, 2010

So... our roof fell off...

Well, part of our roof.

The wind gusts here in Chicago were major a few days ago... Our poor old house couldn't handle the pressure.

Looks like the new roof may be coming sooner than we anticipated.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Noguchi Coffee Table

Jessica’s mastery of Craigslist has paid off again. We just scored a Noguchi Coffee table (retail $1349) for $245.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Intro to Landscaping

My first year of college I debated entering Landscape Architecture rather than straight Architecture. As most of you are aware I ended up selecting architecture. As a result, I never had to deal with learning the names of thousands plants. Fast forward eight years, and I'm now undertaking this task.
Last week I researched perennials that are excellent in the Chicago's climate (most of which are native) and developed a list for the landscaping of the backyard. That list is as follows:

Common Shooting Star - Dodecatheon meadia
Ozark Sundrops - Oenothera macrocarpa
Carpathian Harebell - Campanula carpatica
Yellow Corydalis - Corydalis lutea
Bloody Cranesbill - Geranium sanguineum
Blue Phlox - Phlox divaricata
Maiden Pinks - Dianthus deltoides

Medium Height
Canada Colombine - Aquilegia canadensis
Wild Geranium - Geranium maculatum
Coral Bells - Heuchera sanguinea
Columbine - Anquilegia 'hensol harebell'
Lanceleaf Coreopsis - Coreopsis lanceolata
Dwarf False Goldenrod - Solidago spacelata
Sedum - Hylotelephium
Virginia Bluebells - Mertensia virginica

Blue Star - Amsonia tabernaemontana
Wild Sweet William - Phlox maculata
Obedient Plan - Physostegia virginiana
Black-Eyed Susan - Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii
Butterfly Weed - Asclepias tuperosa
Rose Mallow - Hibiscus moscheutos
Golden Columbine - Aquilegia chrysantha
Purple Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea

This back yard project originally wasn't going to happen for a little while. However, yesterday I was at Home Depot getting supplies for laying our cork floor and noticed that perennials were on sale... Two hours later I had a cart that looked like this:

If you're knowledgable about flowers, you'll notice I wasn't exactly disciplined in my purchases. I just couldn't pass up the mums and that orange Asiatic Lily. Plus, Home Depot only had the following flowers:

A type of Corydalis
A type of Phlox, but not the Blue Phlox
Coral Bells
Black-Eyed Susans

By today our backyard looked like this:

Additionally, a few bulbs found there way into the flower garden. I'm thinking seeds from the remaining plants might just get scattered around in certain areas, but this is yet to be determined.

You also might notice our new "tree" (steel pipe) sticking out of the ground. This will be the location of our future birch.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Airlie bear

Meet Airlie! The new pooch in our pack. Our red merle mutt.

The shelter said she's an Australian Shepherd mix... but I'm not so sure about that. She's really leggy and has a short smooth coat. So I'm kinda thinking maybe Catahoula? Whatever she is she's super cute and sweet as pie!

She and Fat Rat are buddies. Zorro isn't really friends with her yet. He mostly just ignores her.

Yay! Puppy dogs!