First time homeowners attempt a home renovation. And other projects. On a budget.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
A wonderful weekend
As part of our crazy November/December, we made our way back to LA for the first time since we moved, to celebrate our dear friend Stacy's 40th birthday. She and her husband Brett have been our ultimate DIY inspiration, having renovated something like 5 houses in the Los Angeles area in the past 6 years. They recently completed work on their magazine worthy, spanish hacienda in Altadena, and their beautiful home was an important backdrop to our wonderful long weekend. This was the first time I have had to just RELAX in a very long time. And while lazing around their pool, I felt refreshed and reminded of what we are trying to accomplish in the grand scheme of things with our home renovation. Sure, we want a nice house. Who doesn't? But beyond that, at the risk of sounding overly sentimental, we want to create a place for people to gather and connect. A place that everyone feels comfortable in. A place that brings our friends and family together. Being at Stacy & Brett's house, with all of our old friends, felt so fantastic, and I was blissed out the whole weekend. That is the atmosphere (unfortunately minus the pool) that we want to create in our home.
I don't have any of their before pictures, but I have lots of afters! (Forgive the crappy quality, because as usual, I forgot our camera. So I took all the pics on my phone.)
The beautiful custom kitchen:
I am totally coveting the farmhouse sink:
Kitchen view #2, with a little breakfast nook:
Chuck's favorite part of the house:
A built-in wine cooler will be a necessity in the Sennebryant house when we finally get around to the kitchen:
With a built in wine rack just above it:
How bad do I want a garbage drawer? It's the little things...
The shower in the master bathroom was a big inspiration, b/c we're planning on doing something similar in our master bathroom-in-progress:
I love the floor in the guest bath, which is original to the house:
And the big, wide staircase with the tall, narrow windows:
One of my favorite things about LA houses are all the details. This is a little phone nook at the bottom of the stairs:
The back door out to their yard, which is a fantastic spanish style courtyard surrounded by adobe walls (that they built!)
The patio that our room opened onto:
The pool was an afterthought. I can't imagine the yard without it!
This is a fantastic outdoor living room right beside the pool, where we spent most of our time. The outdoor living element in LA is one of the biggest things I miss.
It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.
Monday, October 22, 2007
What a great weekend! We set out to build some steps to connect our side deck to our backyard, and we actually did! Our most satisfying project so far. Immediate gratification goes a long way with both of us.
We had a rare night out in which we imbibed in some drink, so we got a late start. A dog walk, breakfast, and a 2 hour run to Home Depot later, and we didn't get out into the yard until 3. We've never attempted any carpentry like this, so it's going to be somewhat of an adventure. I read an article and called up some crusty algebra skillz to figure out the dimensions.
Here's me outlining the first stringer.
Chuck cut them out with a circular saw and used a band saw to get the corners out. Of course I forgot to take pictures of Chuck in action cutting the pattern out, so here are the little triangles as proof that he did. They sell them pre-cut at Home Depot, but not long enough for what we needed.
Here's the first stringer attached to the deck. My measurements weren't perfect - the top 2 stairs have 1 inch less between them than the rest, and the length of the stringer fell short of where I thought it was going to hit, but we decided we could live with both shortcomings, rather than starting over with another trip to Home Depot. We had installed the posts the night before so they would have plenty time to set.
While I was drawing the stringer pattern, Chuck did the final mow of the year on our new lawn:
We put up the other stringer, and by this point it was starting to get dark, so we called it a day.
What a great day!!! We spent the entire day in the yard today. We both have discovered that we prefer yard work over working inside. While I worked on the stairs, Chuck put the rest of the fence up.
I learned to use the saw, so I measured and cut all of the wood for the stairs
And then hammered them onto the stringers
Part 2 of this project, which at this point will probably be done in the spring, is to build stairs into the ground where the dirt is at the bottom of these stairs. Then we'll have stairs all the way down into the patio area.
The most exciting part of the day was when the dogs got to go into their new yard for the first time. You can only know how important this is if you have 2 big dogs that haven't had a yard for a year and a half. I think we were more excited than they were!!
Here's the maiden voyage:
And this is how they looked for about 20 minutes as they ran around like maniacs:
Check out the top left of this picture.
I didn't even notice it the first time I looked through the pics. Skeptics say it's just dust particles, but I believe that we had an unearthly visitor via orb helping us celebrate our success!
This was our last big project until December because we had something going on every weekend in November. I was hoping this would give me time to get caught up on posts, but it's March 6th, and I'm just finishing up October, so you see how that went. We have actually gotten quite a bit done since then, so sometime soon I'm going to do one big catch up post.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I have no idea what Chuck did this weekend, because I was finishing the closet!
With a little help of course.
This is how it looked by the end of day Sunday:
OK, so it's not completely finished. But at least enough that we can start moving our clothes back in out of the dining room and office. I love progress!
Monday, October 08, 2007
So we started our day by picked up Chuck's mom's truck for a big Home Depot Run. We went to 2 Home Depots out by her house, and got home at 3:30. The fact that we spend half of our already limited weekend time at Home Depot is probably Chuck's #1 biggest peeve about our renovation. He had to do a lot of deep breathing. I like to shop, so it's not quite so bad for me.
Then we went to Ikea to get the inner closet pieces (picture Chuck now poking his eyes out). Here is a rough diagram of what our closet will look like when it's done:
By the time we got home, it was dinner time. We ate and I assembled the drawers that will go in the closet.
It was my plan to finish the closet installation by the end of day tomorrow, and I have a lot left to do and not much to show for today. I hate that.
We started with yet another Home D run in the morning to get the last load of pickets & the wood for the closet dividers. Ikea has wardrobe frames that cost about $120 a piece and aren't the right size, so we decided to make our own out of sheets of 4x8 oak. I figure we saved about $300 making them ourselves. Got home and Chuck mowed the grass, which was a little wet, so it looks like parted hair.
Chuck then sawed the top of the posts off and attached the decorative caps.
Meanwhile, I made trip 2 to Ikea to switch some stuff out, and get the stain for the dividers that will match the wood of the closet pieces parts. Came home and Chuck had cut and sanded, so I stained. It was getting late and I forgot to take a picture.
Way before they were dry, I insisted we take the dividers up and start to stage them. After 40 minutes of trying to attach the divider and install a &%^$& clothes bar, we called it a night to avoid a homicide situation. We are tired and over it and our room reeks of wood stain.
The closet will not be done this weekend. blurk.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Chuck built a side of the fence...
...while I sanded and painted the closet.
This is the final step before purchasing and installing the innards, at which point we will be able to move our closet contents out of the dining room. Progress is afoot!
The yard is coming along nicely, with the exception of a land-mass shaped section smack dab in the middle, that Chuck (obsessively) refers to as "South and Central Americas." It is the bane of his existence, and must be conquered.
Floor and Decor is having a 12 month/ 0% financing promotion so we decided to take advantage and buy all of our tile for the bathroom. Then Chuck went to his Falcons game, and I caught up on blog entries and house stuff. As this project drags on, it is getting harder and harder to make time to work all weekend. Things we have been putting off, because we thought we would be done by now (hahahahahahahahaha) are starting to catch up with us.
I anticipate that from here on out, progress is going to be coming a little more s l o w l y...