Thursday, March 26, 2009

Island Lights

We finally got to hang our lights over the island.  The electrician put the wires in the ceiling, but did not cut any holes.  He wanted to wait until we had the island installed so that he could make sure they are equally spaced apart.  The middle one is centered right in the middle, the far left [from this perspective] is right over the sink.  And despite being small, they light the place up pretty well.
I found these guys at Lowe's (did you even wonder?) and fell in love with them!  They have a great crackle finish and blobs of blackish spots that actually have glitter in them.  Sounds strange, but looks really nice. (Except the glitter kind of scratches your hand when you try to screw in the bulb!) And they were only $12 each.When we finally went to pick these up, wouldn't you know it, I could only find one.  So I clutched it to me, searching in vain for two more.  No luck.  So we get to the check out, where one of the guys we know starts teasing us.  I mention how I couldn't find any more of these globes.  Within a few minutes, someone else appears with 4 more! I was super excited.  I ran right into the house and put them up.  Brad might have had to pull me away so we could unload the heavy thing from the truck.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Showers of praise

So, the shower has been a small source of problem since pretty much day 1.  I knew exactly what I wanted, and the boys thought that was too difficult and stubbornly refused to do what the shower needed.  Which was 1. Construct a custom shower pan (you know, layers of concrete, rubber membrane, more concrete, all sloped in to drain properly) 2. Build a bench so I can shave my legs (and give me a place to use the 4 foot x 1 foot x 1 inch thick piece of travertine I have been dragging around for a few years now) 3. Tile everything.  The walls, the floor, the bench.
They said no.  So I priced a custom cultured marble floor 5 foot x 5 foot, was about $750.  Not bad, but then I thought it wouldn't match, SO the boys built a shower pan for me!  We ripped down the green board the dry wallers put up, replaced it with concrete backer board, and then sealed the seams and screw holes.  And then the fun began!

Here is my brother-in-law, beginning the wall where the faucets will be. 
He began by screwing a board into the wall, and starting with whole tiles set on a diagonal.  This was in case the floor was not perfectly level.  If it wasn't and we started at the bottom, it could have made the whole shower crooked.  So you pick a point towards the bottom, (where a whole tile or most of a whole tile should fit) and work up.  After it dried, we removed the board and placed the lower ones.  Those had to be propped up by spacers.

After a few rows of diagonal tiles, I used three rows of brick pattern, honed marble.  I bought them on Ebay and they rock!  After that, we switched to the offset brick tiles up top.  After that, we used what was left of the marble to wrap around the sides and top of the walls.  This gives it a more finished look (plus, I had extra!)

Here is the [mostly] finished shower:  

We still need to cut out two tiles that will have the shower heads sticking out (one shower head is regular and the second one is a hand-held).  We also need to wrap the bench in something.  We couldn't decide between small [wall] tile – set on a diagonal or set square, large floor tile (20x20 rather than 13x13), or (what we picked) running the shower floor tile up the bench.

Here is the floor:
It is tumbled marble, and luckily, matches the travertine bench and travertine-look tile perfectly!  

Note: Some of these pictures don't do the tile justice.  Some photos have an orangish tint.  The last photo and the close-up of the tile are accurate representations of color.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Starting to look like home

I haven't posted an exterior photo in a while, because not much has happened, until recently.  We have a garage door!  You can't see from here, but it's the Carriage House style-without any windows.  And, we got the yard leveled, ready for our driveway.  Unfortunately, the lot isn't exactly ready for a driveway.  We need to have our grinder pump installed before they pour the sidewalk (since they will be bringing in heavy machinery through that area, it could get cracked -like the last one).  BUT they can't find where our sewer line is.  That cute little post that marks where it is?  Yeah, it's in that pile of garbage at the bottom of the photo. Oops!  So as soon as they find the line, they will install the grinder pump, followed by the driveway, followed by sod.

Inside, things are coming along too.  This is the hallway that leads from the garage to the master bedroom.  1. We have working lights!  2. All the trim is done.  3. All the doors are painted. 4. The floor is down (we will just go back right before we move in and grout it.)

It's so great to have everything coming together.  Our deadline to move in is April 11.  We will make it.  Even if I have to sleep on the carpet!  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


We bought our tile at National Home Center, special order for $1.99/sq. ft.  This is the Mirador (style) Mohawk (brand) Brown Pearl (color).  The floors have 20 inch x 20 inch tiles and the shower (not shown because it's not done!) will have matching 13 inch x 13 inch tiles.

This is the hallway from the master to the garage.  We (by we, I mean my husband and his brother) laid the tile on a diagonal.  I think it gives it a really grand look (but, it also created more waste than if we had just laid it straight).  
I was on a business trip when this floor went down, so I was a bit nervous... But they did a great job.  And the next day, I got my hands dirty and laid the tile in the laundry room.  I might have had to crawl out the window. (I know you are supposed to start in the back corner and work your way out, but the hallway leads straight into laundry room, so I had to pick up the pattern there.  And I would have posted a pic, but we ran out of tile.  And had to order more.  I picked that up today (along with a 50 gallon Marathon water heater), so we will finish sometime this week.

The same tiles are in the master bathroom, but to change it up a bit, we (again husband and brother) laid it on a brick pattern. The shower will be on a diagonal, so we thought it would be overwhelming and maybe odd looking to have everything diagonal in the room.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green and gorgeous

We picked up our bamboo flooring last week.  We bought it at Lumber Liquidators, and they don't deliver.  So, we borrowed a truck.  How hard could it be, right?  
It was an interesting challenge to say the least.  We waited while another couple got theirs loaded into their truck. How much did they order? we asked each other.  Ours should be a little more than that, right?

Just to give a proper reference, This is an F-250 (not a small truck) and Brad is 6'4" (not a short guy).  We only had to drive a few miles.  It was rush hour, so the interstate would have probably been a good option (we could have sat in traffic inching along).  Instead, we went the back roads, avoiding major streets.  Brad drove while I stared out the window behind me, making tiny gasping noises every time the pile swayed.  It was an odd experience, having 20 smiling versions of Ty Pennington's face staring back at me.  
We made it to the house without incident, except, at that point, we had to unload it.  All fifty boxes.  And they each weighed about 20 lbs.  My arms were tired and I had a bruise on my hip by the time we finished.  And, we haven't even installed it yet.

The bamboo will cover the entire great room (about 1,100 sq. ft.) and run into the pantry.  But, the thing with wood/bamboo floors, you have to have them in the house to acclimate them to the temperature for a couple of days.  As of this writing, we don't have heat/air turned on.  (We should have gotten it today, but at the pace our electrician works, I'm not holding my breath).

Here is a close-up of the wood.  It's so dark, that the characteristics you normally have in bamboo are almost unseen, making it look more like wood than bamboo.  But the bamboo is a renewable resource (hence the 'green' reference in the title) and cheaper.  We paid $3.39/ sq. ft.  The color is called Sambuca. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

The kitchen continues

Brad pointed out that I had not posted a photo of the kitchen lately.  So, here it is.

The island is stained, the granite is installed, the large piece over the stove is in, and the sink is waiting for its faucet.  The only thing missing? That cabinet on the back wall to the left of the large piece.  Um, yeah, about that.  I might have not paid full attention when ordering the cabinets.  We wanted the piece to be perfectly centered so we bought two 20 inch cabinets to flank it.  BUT the cabinets on the bottom, well they did not.  So in order to have the black piece centered over the stove cabinet, we had to special order another cabinet there - an 18 inch.  And the other side really needed a new one too, a 24 inch, but we couldn't bear buying two more special order cabinets, so we opted to use a piece of filler.  We got the replacement cabinet a few days ago, but haven't been able to install it yet.

This is the glaze that we will put on all the white cabinets.  It kind of looks gross and dirty this up close, but we did it to our last kitchen and it turned out fab.  
Just wipe the glaze (cabinet stain -you can order it from Lowe's or Home Depot) on and wipe off as much as you want.  We leave a small amount all over the surface, and more in the cracks.  Let dry (may take a few days) and cover with poly.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Just a quick update, we had a productive weekend.  Photos now, updated explanation later!

This is the ceiling fan in the living room, we have the same one in the master bedroom as well.  I love this one because it's the only one that I could find with the dark wood blades (to match the bamboo floors) and the blades are encased in this cool metal thing that spins. That makes no sense.  I will post a close up pic later.

This is the chandelier for the dining room.  Can you believe we found it on sale at National Home Center for only $100?
This little guy is hanging over the space where our pool table will eventually sit.  Until now, it's just a hazard for Brad to walk into.
This is the slate floor in the spare bathroom.  I laid it myself and Brad made all the cuts!
Brad was a tiny bit perturbed when I had loads of this stuff delivered.  Rosettes, base caps and tons of fluted molding!  Until we started hanging it.  Talk about cheating! No mitered cuts!