Wednesday, March 18, 2015

the great rug debate.

so far and away, the singular thing that has caused the most tension in our house over the past three months that we have spent living through this renovation, with half of the house in a construction zone and the other half functioning as a storage unit, essentially camping in our basement and cooking on a hot plate, with no consistent routine in place and a multitude of decisions to be made on a nearly-daily basis, has been rugs.


yep, apparently the downfall of our marriage is going to be attempting to have a civil discussion about a home decorating accessory whose primary function is to be walked on.

here's how it breaks down: i like rugs. i tend to be barefoot around the house, and i like the softness under my feet. i think a good rug can take a room full of furniture and make it feel complete and loved and lived in. especially a room with hardwood floors - the texture and softness are what make people want to get comfortable, take off their shoes, and stay awhile.

my husband, Mark, does not like rugs.  he thinks they cost way too much money. he doesn't like that they cover up the floors, especially since we have just invested time and money into our floors. he is very concerned that over time, rugs will cause large discolored areas on our floors because of the sunshine streaming through the windows and fading the floors around the rugs.  he REALLY doesn't like that rugs in a dining room make it more difficult to slide the chairs in and out, and that our old dining room rug meant that the chairs were always half-on and half-off the rug. he absolutely detested the one corner of the old dining room rug that he always tripped over because it refused to lie flat.

in our old house (pre-renovation) we had three rugs:  1) a too-small, low-quality 5x7 in the fireplace room that i picked up from Home Depot on a whim for maybe $40. 

2) a too-small flatweave 5x7 in the dining room i had to beg and plead talk my husband into letting me spend $30 for from IKEA.

and 3) an Orioles tailgating rug that is designed to be used in a parking lot but instead lives in our basement that i bought for $15 at a yardsale just because i thought Mark would like it.

grand total, that is less than $100 i have ever spent on rugs. ever. Mark still thinks that is too much.

i am of the opinion that we should be hunting for two larger rugs: one for the living room, and one for the dining room. probably an 8x10 minimum, good quality, but at a reasonable price point. additionally, we could probably use a runner in the entryway and a small rug in front of the sink. Mark thinks we should not be covering up our nice new floors since they are just so pretty.

we're both pretty stubborn, and so far have been adamantly holding our own positions with no real sign of a compromise in sight. in the meantime, the old living room rug is acting as a placeholder in the living room, and the dining room is definitively rug-less.

if i had to guess, i would predict that a day will come when we will eventually compromise on a new larger rug in the living room, and no rug in the dining room. but it is not this day.

and thus concludes my 550+ word diatribe on one of the first-worldiest of first-world problems we could ever dream of having. anyone have any good resources for shopping for large rugs on a budget?

Monday, March 16, 2015

kitchen diary, week 11: floors and whatnot.

Mar. 9-10 - Larry the hardwood finisher and his team sand, stain, and seal the hardwoods in the living room, dining room, hallway, and even the two closets we forgot about.  Since we forgot the hardwood ran into the closets, we didn't have them cleaned out.  The guys move everything from the closets into our bedroom.  Amanda silently wonders what sorts of embarrasing things she thought were safely hidden behind those closed doors.

Mark and Amanda spend two nights at Mark's parents house while our house is all fumey and the floors cannot yet be walked on. thank goodness for living close to the in-laws.

Mar. 11 - Mark and Amanda move back home after work. 

somewhere along the way, one of Amanda's shirts, a sweater, and a box of feminine products disappears. either they got left behind in Victoria's closet, or something more mysterious is going down. i'm really hoping for the former.

everything is still a bit fumey at home, so we relocate our small group to the local ice cream place for the evening, but leave the windows open to continue to air out. we decide its probably safe to sleep there.

 i wish you could all see these floors in person, because pictures don't do them justice. the difference from the original orange-hued finish to the new light-brown is subtle, but astounding. bonus: the basement door now swings the whole way open instead of getting stuck on the floorboards.

Mar. 12 - Amanda organizes two closets after work; the coat closet in the living room, and the linen closet in the hallway.  somehow, this takes all evening.

Mar. 13 - Amanda wipes down every surface in the kitchen; cabinets, shelves, drawers, countertops, both vertical and horizontal surfaces. Mark helps reach the parts Amanda is too short to reach, and sets up the tv and media dresser.

Mar. 14 - Mark moves furniture and rugs into the living and dining rooms.

 Amanda removes the last bits of packing material from all of the appliances. this is more frustrating than it should be, and takes longer than i could have ever imagined. we quit while we're ahead, run some errands, and spend the evening eating pie and watching youtube videos with friends.

Mar. 15 - we FINALLY move things into our kitchen cabinets! we have way more stuff than i realized. i seriously have no idea where we had all of this stuff stashed before.

the post-its are my organizational system, and our cheat sheet for where everything is right now. not all of the cabinets are full, and some are still completely empty, but we haven't moved any foodstuffs in yet. most of it should fit in our big pantry cabinet, but there is potential for some stuff to expand into other cabinets as appropriate.

also, curtains get hung, and we install a dimmer switch in the dining room. there is a big pile of empty boxes in the middle of the living room, we are working on a master list of the tiny things that will need to be done to truly be done-done,the furniture arrangement is subject to change, and there is the ongoing argument about rugs, but we are so happy with the way this has all turned out.

Monday, March 9, 2015

kitchen diary: week 10, paint.

ed. note: this might be the longest, most stretched-out paint job in the history of ever. we've been working on it when we can, which has already stretched over the past 4+ weeks. the goal is to get it done before the hardwood floors get refinished, so we wont have to be painting over our lovely new floors. so far we've done three coats on the ceiling, and have two coats on the kitchen walls. this is where our adventure picks up.

 Mar. 1 - Mark cuts in the gray paint along the ceiling, baseboards, and around all doorways, light switches, and outlets in the kitchen and hallway.  he also starts cutting in the teal paint around the ceiling of the living and dining rooms. 

Amanda paints a fresh coat or two of trim paint on all baseboards and door casings as necessary. also the window trim on the kitchen window. she manages to only smash her head into an upper cabinet once.

Mar. 2 - Mark works on a second coat of cutting in around everything everywhere. Amanda paints nothing because she does not have a steady hand and therefore cannot be trusted.  she buys groceries for the first time in probably a month, works out, makes dinner, and does some laundry instead.

Mar. 3 - Amanda rolls a coat of gray paint in the hallway after work. Mark finishes all the cutting in along the baseboards in the living and dining rooms.

Mar. 5 - snow day! instead of braving the treacherous roads and the 10" of snow and ice, we hunkered down for a full day of painting.

 a second coat of gray in the hallway, and two coats of the teal in the living and dining rooms. by the end of the day we are exhausted but all of the walls are the right color!

Mar. 6-8 - touchups everywhere. Mark takes the lead on this effort in between other fun weekend activities of duckpin bowling and a chocolate festival.  also, the china cabinet gets relocated to Mark's parents house. since the driveway is still a little icy from the snow and melt and refreeze, getting it loaded into the truck is part sledding, part skating, and a little bit of an adventure.

we wrap up the weekend with a glass (or two) of wine and dinner out to celebrate the end of this marathon paint job.

Larry the hardwood refinisher is coming on Monday and everything is going to be dusty and fumey for a few days, so we pack our bags to relocated for a couple days of living at Mark's parents house. the end is in sight!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

kitchen diary: week 9, countertops and other finishing touches.

Feb. 23 - Mark fills the nail holes in the baseboards and casings.  Amanda paints a coat of trim paint over the caulk at the top of the baseboards to seal out dirt and dust.  this paint job seems like it is taking forever - there is a lot of prep work to be done, and not a lot of time to do it when we're only able to work on nights and weekends.  just one more reminder of how fortunate we are to not be doing all of this work ourselves.

Feb. 24 - we have countertops! well, at least a couple of them... some of them arrived a little damaged, and were sent back by our fantastic contractor/uncle.  should just be a couple day delay at most.

at some point this week, Mark puts a second round of patch in all the nail holes, but i dont remember the exact day that happened.    
Feb. 26-28 -  while Mark and Amanda are out of town, everything really comes together.

coutertops arrive (in great shape!) and are installed.  the plumber hooks up the sink and a water line to the fridge.  appliances are all installed, except the microwave is not yet vented - too much snow on the roof to be cutting holes up there right now.

the electricians install light fixtures, and wrap up a couple other (literal) loose ends. 

all of the mats and floor protection boards are removed, and the kitchen is officially fully functional!