The digs

Monday, April 25, 2011

But I want a real kitchen Geppetto

The kitchen is coming along beautifully!!!

The fridge was delivered today…albeit with a dent—so I’m calling Lowe’s in the AM to see what we can do about that:


The new fridge looks fabulous indeed, even with its nerdy protective covering still on.



Adam shows off his new beer cooler


We slid the dishwasher into place, but it’s not installed yet.


And the stove, who also practices safe sex.

I’ve spent a crapload of money:

-angle grinder, bullnose tile, water bottles, ceramic tile file, tile cutting blade…$141.85 (-$49.54 because we returned that tile)

-more bullnose tile (the first kind wasn’t tall enough), 2 more cases of Pergo flooring…$90.65 (-18.61 for the case we returned because we didn’t need it after all)

-more underlay for the flooring, cabinet pulls, transition strips, wall plates, mounting bracket, door stop, drawer pull template…$135.23

-pencils, saw for cutting door trim…$29.07

-refrigerator, ice maker kit, ice maker supply hose…$498.88


$8447.16 spent on improving the house and making it liveable

I recently heard the term “house poor,” and I totally get it. Now I’m horse poor and house poor.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Fridge Fiasco, and Finishing Floors

That’s a lot of Fs! But certainly not the only F words that were uttered this weekend!

The goal of the weekend was to get a refrigerator. I had pretty much written off finding something used when I found out about a 3 year old Kenmore stainless steel side by side for sale for $125 in the next town over. We went and bought it, drove it home in my tiny Nissan pickup, bribed my friend Mark into helping us get it inside the house, and then… discovered that it was too big. Despite the fact that it fit into our space (we learned from the bathroom vanity debacle to always double-check measurements), the left-hand door couldn’t open all the way:

refrigerator, fridge, stainless, appliance

Which really sucked because it looked fabulous in my kitchen:

refrigerator, appliance, stainless steel

fridge too big

A testament to the power of craigslist: We realized the fridge was too big at 8 PM, and someone had come and bought it from me for $75 more than I paid by 10 AM the next day. So, it sucked that we couldn’t keep this nice fridge that we got a fabulous deal on…but at least I made some money off the deal.

It was pouring rain all day Saturday, which meant Adam couldn’t make cuts on the Pergo flooring I was planning on installing (the electricity’s still messed up, so we could only use the saw outside), so we went refrigerator shopping. We went to two Home Depot stores, two Lowes stores, Best Buy, and two Sears stores. We finally got one at the last place we went to, the second Lowes. We had decided on a single door fridge at this point—I love the French door fridges but was worried we’d still have trouble opening the left hand door, even on a smaller fridge. So, we got this fridge:


It’s normally $599, but we’d seen it at Best Buy for $559, and Lowe’s said they’d beat the price (and they didn’t even bother to check if we were telling the truth!). But they were also having a 15% off Energy Star sale, which this fridge qualified for, and with my dad’s military discount, we scored the fridge, an ice maker for it, and the hose it needed, for $498, including taxes. I love being a smart shopper (even though $500 is still a LOT of freaking money…ahh!) It’s a great fridge for the price, though, and the price includes free delivery, which Home Depot and Sears don’t offer.

Once we were done fridge shopping, we attempted to put together our new Ikea bed frame…and Adam accidentally broke a critical piece of the frame on the third step because the opposite side was defective. It was a $300 bed frame so we’re pretty upset—going to see if they’ll take it back or if we can repair it somehow…

Today we completed the installation of the floor in the living room and hallway, and let me just say that it looks FABULOUS.

hallway, pergo, laminate

flooring, laminate, pergo

flooring, laminate, pergo

living room floor

We just need to put the trim back on the walls and touch up some paint and the room will be ready to move stuff into. I need to replace the doors at some point too.

Oh, and I painted the bathroom after work this week. The color is Sherwin Williams Rock Candy:


I’ll do expenses and other miscellany in a separate post, because this one is getting to be longer than Stairway to Heaven.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bathroom priming and electricity griping

I actually did something on the house on a weeknight! Went over after work (and after riding) and primed the new sheetrock in the bathroom. Tomorrow the goal is to get the bathroom painted so I can get the sink that’s in the middle of the living room into the bathroom where it belongs.

Expenses and stuff:

pushbroom, 4 outlet covers, spacers, “15” breaker…$28.22 (we used $7.92 in store credit for something we returned)

bag of versabond mortar for the kitchen tiles…$16.97

grout bag (waste of time…we ended up returning it), grout brush, grout saw…$14.60 (used Lowe’s store credit)

junction box, joint tape for the wall…$8.82

tonnage for second dumpster…$209.20


Also forgot to mention the trouble I’ve been having with my electricity. The first bill I got was for 11 days, and Middleboro Gas and Electric charged me $100. This month was my first full month, and I was charged $150. Most people who are living in the their houses with appliances plugged in, heat running, etc, don’t even get $150 electric bills. My dad combed through all the wiring in the house and found several wiring problems, so I’m really hoping that lowers my bill some, because where we’re not currently living in the house, the bill should only be $20-30/month for what we use. It sucks that it took $250 to figure out there was something wrong with the wiring…and potentially more, since when I called the electric company to make a billing inquiry, they said I’d already used like a million kilamajigs this month…

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tiling the kitchen!

Big news in Little Lakeville!

Well, not really.

Basically we tiled the kitchen and then I spent the entire weekend scrubbing grout. Ugh.



kitchen tile

Pretty awesome, amirite?

Also, taped/mudded/patched the bathroom wall.


Once the mud dries, it has to be sanded, then I can finally paint and get the bathroom looking like a bathroom.

I’ll tally up some expenses tomorrow—I’ve got to get to bed. One thing I hate, hate, hate about home renos is that by the time I’m done working on the house all weekend, it’s time to go to bed so I can go to work in the morning. I feel more tired after the weekend than I did before it.

Oh by the way, I took a “spring” photo of the house today. We had to cut out the shrubs that were in the front of the house, so that sucks, but we get to put new ones in eventually.

exterior, house, spring, lawn

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Grout sealing / more tiling

Didn’t have much time to do anything this weekend. Sad smile We are house/dog-sitting this week, plus I got a phone call on Saturday that my grandfather was in the hospital, so we went to visit him at South Shore hospital.

Here’s what I did do:

-spent $30 at Home Depot on trash bags and grout sealer

-spent another $66 at Lowe’s (used store credit, though) on: a drop cloth, a drywall trowel, a drywall hawk, a spiral mud mixer, and primer


$7356.42 is the new total.

On Saturday I had time to start laying down hardiebacker in the kitchen for the tile that will go in there, and I also sealed the grout in the bathroom with spray-on grout sealer.


Now the grout is (hopefully) sealed against moisture and stains.

Today, I screwed down Hardie Backer in the kitchen so that I can start tiling this week. Despite how many times Adam has showed me how to use the drill, I managed to break 3 Phillips head high-compression driver bits, which is, apparently, quite a feat. 

concrete board

emily drilling

Then I did some raking (our lawn has a pine needle infestation), and then went to Ikea because they were having a sale today. I bought a bed frame with built-in drawers for bonus storage, and I also got two large curtains for the front window for $8 in the “As-Is” section. It’s my first time owning a bed with a frame, so, that’s cool I guess. Ikea was packed with screaming children and slow-moving aisle-blocking-people though. Remind me not to go there on a weekend ever again.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

How to tile when you’re a helpless female

Major accomplishment this week: I tiled!

With Adam’s patient hand-holding (he’s still out of commission with a work-related injury), I tiled and grouted the bathroom. It is completely amazing if I do say so, but honestly all the credit goes to Adam’s experience! He learned how to do all kinds of impressive stuff as a young lad in Minnesota, including how to survive in the woods for a week with only a knife and a metal match, how to raise ducks, how to drive a four-horse-drawn wagon, how to legpress slabs of silestone, and, of course, tiling (which is obviously the least impressive of his skills).

So, this is how you tile (and if I can do it, anyone can do it!):

1. First, I ripped out the ugly linoleum floor.

2. Then I screwed down Hardie Backer to the subfloor. Hardie Backer is a cement board that helps stabilize the tiles so they don’t crack. We were lucky that the floors were nice and level. If the floor wasn’t level, we would have had to use self-leveling concrete as a base instead of Hardie Backer. Hardie Backer is also good because it resists moisture (important in a bathroom!).

3. Then I laid out all the tiles, and Adam cut the ones that needed to be resized with a wet saw. Also, I made sure the floor was swept clean so the mortar would stick.

4. Then I applied mortar with a notched trowel (we used a 1/4” one because the tiles were 12 x 12) and laid the tiles down as I went. I used little plastic jack-shaped things to make the spaces even (1/4”).

5. After all the tiles were down, the mortar had to cure for a couple days.

6. After that, I ground down any uneven spots in between the tiles with a blade. I mixed up some grout, and spread it all over the tiles.


7. After waiting ten minutes or so, I scrubbed the grout off the surface of the tiles with a sponge and water. I had to do this three or four times, and the last couple of times, I mixed in some stuff that’s supposed to help remove grout haze.


8. Then I let the grout dry overnight, washed it down twice more, and voila, a tiled floor!


Inspector Mully checks things out

Come on, how cool is that? And what a huge improvement to the aesthetics of the house.

The rest of today was occupied with the following:

-lugging the dirt out of the basement that was a result of deepening the sump pump hole

-finishing painting the bathroom doors

-raking the yard

-replacing the sheetrock we had to cut out of the bathroom walls:


-my dad did lots of plumbing (more on that in a second)

-and, lots of playing with Mulligan:

black dog

As far as the plumbing: my dad is kind enough to redo all of our plumbing since a lot of the pipes were very corroded. Unfortunately, after an entire day of plumbing work, he discovered that several of the copper Shark Bite clinchers were defective, and whenever the water is turned on, it rains in the basement. Not good at all.

leaky pipe

Big bummer. It all has to be redone.


-a tank bolt kit for fixing our toilet, another 4 sheets of Hardie Backer, a doormat (!!!) = $49.73

-returned tank bolt kit= –$4.45

-wax gasket for bottom of toilet $2.09

-(not adding these items since I paid with store credit for the dehumidifier I returned, but I’ll list them) 26 oz grout admix, grout haze remover, a ShopVac, and 25# of Smoke Grey grout= $71.98 (got $10 off with a coupon I had, score!)

Total $$$ spent so far on renovating: $7326.42

Could have gotten a nice truck and horse trailer with living quarters instead!