Sunday, June 9, 2013

No-Car Garage: The Reveal

D relaxing in one of the chairs from the hotel liquidator.

View from the driveway. Oval coffee table courtesy of family friends. The wavy rug was a personal item originally in L's Meredith office.

A mini-Giants shrine, next to two of L's photos. (The photos were also previously hanging in L's work office.)

L was actually the one advocating for more sports memorabilia in the room. D's brother is the GM of the pro baseball team.

View from the house when the garage door's closed. Laura Ashley throws (HomeGoods) match the wavy carpet. We bought the vintage Stiffel lamp for $1 last year at a second-hand store. It was formerly in our family room. The cane-backed chair is from Salvation Army Laconia.

Here's how the finances worked out (we came in under our $500 budget, because we already had a number of pieces....):
  • $315 for modular tile
  • $40 for paint and painting supplies (tape and plastic pan)
  • $60 for two plaid chairs and ottoman (all second-hand)
  • $1 for red trays on shelf
  • $12 for two beige toss pillows
  • $40 for two throws
  • $12 for cane-backed chair
  • $1 for D's stuffed bear

2014 Update

This room looks nothing like this anymore. We had to disassemble it for the winter and much of the furniture was relocated to other rooms, where they now "live.". the striped chairs and ottoman are in the "man cave." The Stiffel lamp and oval table are in the family room. The cane-backed chair I sin L's office. The pillows and throws are scattered throughout the house. The striped area rug and woven basket in the dining room. This year, we migrated in two outdoor armchairs and added an octagonal coffee table. (All the better for D to put his feet on...) We decided we didn't need a lamp this year because we'll only be using the "room" during the day.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

More Work on the No-Car Garage

The room "transformation" of the "Dynne Den" (the garage room) is going more slowly than I thought, as least as it pertains to being able to post photos of the progress. We were away on Memorial Day weekend,then had to get caught up on yardwork the weekend after that.Weather permitting, this coming weekend will be the time to finish up a lot of the work.

I did manage to complete the first coat of paint (Behr's "Corn Husk Green"), but another coat is still needed. D and I have been butting heads over painting the concrete floor, but I hope to prevail and paint it dark brown.

We opted against a real renovation (drywall, floors, insulation, heating,plumbing, windows, etc.) primarily because we don't want to do anything that can't be easily "undone" come winter, when we will need to store a snowblower in there.


More work:

Basement/concrete paint in Behr's Corn Husk Green

D installing rubber-backed 95%-recycled "garage carpet" from the Big Orange home improvement store. You can actually drive a car over it, so it'll be perfect for snowblower storage. It was our most expensive purchase at around $6 per 18" square.

We tried to keep the modular carpeting a bit away from the walls, just in case the "waterproof" paint isn't quite as resilient as we hope.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Garage Transformation: The "Before" Pix

Here are the before pix:

Here's the inspiration photo from

which reminds me a heck of a lot of one of my own photos:

and here's where I am after the first afternoon (door scrubbed, door trim painted, peg boards painted, wall color selected, and first coat of paint sample applied):

Yup, the concrete is fair game for a new color. Don't count on our painting the garage door green (or any other color), though.....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Too-Short Garage

Darren and I are going to have to rethink use of our garage after learning our smallest car (my ***compact*** Mazda) is 9 inches too long to fit in it. Who the heck builds a garage that's only 14 feet deep?????

In retrospect, this is one of those "should have seen it coming" things. State building code and local zoning ordinances at the time the property was built apparently do not set any minimum dimensions for a one-car garage and we noticed the garage looked a bit "cozy" when we viewed the place. Also, as the space was being used as a workshop at the time of our offer, the large workbench there made it impossible to try it out for ourselves first.

The city's appraisal database is accurate about the dimensions of the space. I also reviewed the home inspector's report, which states only that the space was "designed as" a one-car garage and makes no representations whatsoever about the space's suitability for a particular purpose (like storing a car!)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

More Finishing Touches (Master Bath)

TJ Maxx was selling these planters that look like oversized beach pebbles:

It looks amazing with the Islandstone border in the bath reno:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bath Reno - The Before Video

Some of you who have been following our seemingly-interminable bath reno have asked us if we took any "before" pix of the space.   I was frankly too traumatized to do that,  but Darren took some videos of the house during our walkthrough.

I especially draw your attention to the ***built-in*** wooden bookcase with flammable contents right over the room's baseboard heater, the Masonite that someone decided would make great wall tile around the bathtub, and the makeshift mini- shower curtain covering the cracked porcelain tile around the window.

Yes, we still did close after seeing this....(Fortunately, Darren  sees the potential in places more than I do....)

The raw footage won't win us any award at Sundance, but it may have helped us earn our recent tax abatement.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Counters and Light Fixture In....

The Silestone countertop came in just last Saturday and the light over the vanity is finally in place:

D and I purchased the crema marfil vessel sink on Black Friday, a few weeks before we closed.) L has been collecting marble bath accessories on sale ever since then.

Eagle-eyed viewers will note that we don't have a faucet hookup yet. Reno plans were further delayed when D"s mom got sick last week. We hope to get a plumber back in within the next few weeks.

Another Before and After

I repurpose my own photography, too.

The image at left (taken several years ago) was perfect for the bathroom, but the colors weren't the best match for the seaglass green wall tile. The image at right is after I re-Photoshopped it:

Here's how it looks in place (yes, I know the photo below make the artwork look more like the image at above left, but in person, it definitely looks like the image at above right):

The beauty of this is that if it ever gets damaged by moisture, I can always just pull another print. 16x20" frame purchased at HomeGoods included the mat and is a dead-on match for the tile floor.

Inching Forward

Here's what's happened over the past week or two:

Above: 36" Vanity placed in room.(It's a behemoth in person, given the small size of the room.)

Above: another view of the vanity.

Above: Bath hardware installed; shower curtain up.

Above: Toilet in place.

Above: Detail of bath hardware.

Still need a working sink, more plumbing and electrical, and more bath hardware installed.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The $19.85 Dresser Challenge - The Reveal

Everyone thinks their "baby" is pretty:


But this one ***had*** to be, as we're not putting the bifold doors back on:

Click here to see more of the guest bedroom.


Here's a comparison of the before and after:

4/2/13 UPDATE: I just learned that Apartment Therapy will be featuring this dresser on their web site as as a "Before and After". D and I are very thrilled that a leading interior design online resource thought enough of our humble project to feature it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The $19.85 Dresser Challenge - Work in Progress

Here's how the transformation of the $4.99 Goodwill dresser is coming along:

Above: Hardware removed; drawers sanded lightly.

Above: Unintentionally shabby chic. I think I'll keep the paint on the drawer sides as a "history" of what the bureau used to be....

Above: The carcass is sanded lightly, too. I hope the missing piece of wood is in the back of my car....

Above: The carcass is white again, after being peach, beige, and white at three different times. I should have primed the drawers: it took 5 coats of apple green paint to totally cover the "hot pink."

Above: Preview of the color scheme. Don't the drawer pulls look like seagulls now that they're painted white?

Above: Given our street name, I couldn't resist gluing a few wooden ladybugs to the side of the dresser.

Stay tuned to see the big reveal!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The $19.85 Dresser Challenge - The Before Pic

I've been hunting around over the past few weeks for a small bureau to place inside the guest bedroom closet.

For health reasons, I've been actively avoiding melamine and other formaldehyde-releasing substances, but really didn't want to shell out for solid wood when it would only get used infrequently. I also didn't want anything too "precious" since the 1930s-40s bureau and nightstand already in the room are just "old stuff", certainly not future antiques.

Nothing was quite right.. until now (if you ignore the existing "princess" paint job.)

This $4.99 Goodwill find is structurally sound, but I really bought it for the retro drawer pulls and knobs. This promises to be my first opportunity to use the "mouse" sander Darren bought me last year. (Nothing like a woman who wants power tools for her b-day!)

I'll be repainting the "carcass" white ($8.48 for a quart of Rustoleum "Painter's Touch" high-gloss latex paint at the Big Orange national home improvement chain). The drawers will alternate light aqua and apple green acrylic ($3.19 each bottle at national crafts chain), to match the guest room's color scheme.

I hope to complete the project over the coming weekend. Stay tuned to see how it turns out.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tiling Work Done!

We still need to wash it down a few times before it's clean enough to use, but here's how the tiling came out:

Above: No,it's not some weird wide-angle camera trick. The Kohler tub and shower rod really DO bow out.

Above: Detail of back of shower. Sea-glass tile and river rock inset.

Above: Detail of floor tilework.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Neither Rain, Nor Snow....

Actually, that pertains to the post office, not our tile installer.  After a few snowstorms, Brian was back on the job today.  Here's his progress over this past week: we're nearly at a standstill waiting for a few more sheets of the beach pebble tile to come in.

Above: the Hampton Blonde FloridaTile looks great next to the IslandStone beach pebble border.

Above: incredible work on the edges so far...

Above: First view of the seaglass-colored glass tile.

Above: Brian used leftover floor tile to make "spacers" for where a single row of beach pebbles will go.

Above: "X" marks the spot for the final row of beach pebbles.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tiling, Day 2 -- the Results Show

Following my dad's example of meticulously documenting each and every home improvement project, I bring you Day 2 of the tiling project:</p><p>

Above: No,Barney didn't sleep here. The purple is the waterproofing.

Above: Brian meticulously followed the curve of the new bathtub. D really has a knack for finding and hiring amazing craftsmen.

Above: The FloridaTile is a great match with the pebble stone. Thanks to Amy at NH Tile for suggesting it!  I can't wait to get home from work tonight to see how it looks installed...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Worker Bees Were Up Late Last Night

Tile guy did a nice job hanging Durrock(R) in the master bath. Unfortunately, D -- despite knowing I had an after-work event to attend -- committed us to having the ceiling painted by the time he returned this AM, so that work could continue uninterrupted. This meant my schedule was as follows (violin accompanyment, please):
  • Early AM tryst at local Benjamin Moore(R) dealer
  • Work; work though lunch preparing for board meeting
  • Board meeting
  • Opera event at nearby historic theatre until 8ish
  • Work out and hose down at Planet Fitness
  • Pick up wall art which UPS delivered to D's mom's house
  • Paint bathroom ceiling
  • Take progress pix of bathroom
Here's what the bathroom looks like at this point:

Above: D sanded off the shiny finish on the ceiling, which made the room look like an upside-down ice rink. Here's what it looks like after we (OK, mostly "he") applied a coat of Benjamin Moore Aura Bath and Spa(R) matte-finish paint in "Simply White" (off-white with an almost imperceptible green cast).

Above:D did a great job scrubbing the existing window, which we originally wanted to replace with a round one.

Above: Today, the tile guy's going to waterproof the cement board, in preparation for tile installation....

Above: Testing out a proposed wall color. The chip is highly unusual that it picks up the color of whatever's near it. So far, I've made it look ivory, lilac, and mint green.  (And yes, we'll have more sanding to do before the wall paint is applied)....