Softer, safer stairs

November 6, 2011

Our most recent house project has been to add stair treads to the front stairwell. Our nearly ten-year-old pup has been getting a little arthritic and occasionally slips on the stairs, so we needed to think about a safer way for her to get up and down.

We knew we didn’t want to go the traditional carpeted stair route, but after searching online and all the home supply stores in the area, we couldn’t find anything that we thought looked simple, modern and in line with our style.  Ayesha had a great idea to check out Flor, and we learned that we could get their standard tiles custom cut to use as treads.

We found a great subtle gray-on-gray stripe in a low pile, and Ayesh did some research to find a good adhesive double-sided carpet tape from Global Industrial that is non-toxic and fume-free and supposedly won’t damage the finish on the stairs, should we ever wish to remove the treads in the future.

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Not-so-secret garden

August 11, 2010

I posted a couple more photos of the house Sunday night – just the living and dining rooms for now. The upstairs is way messy – so no photos to share yet. We still don’t have a functional closet in the master bedroom, so we’re borrowing the little closets in the guest room and office for all of our hanging clothes – which means we can’t actually store anything in these closets yet – which means that all the stuff I would like to put into these closets is piled up outside the closets in the guest room and office, hallway or still packed and tucked away in the basement. Blargh.

So, as you can see, we’ve been focusing mainly on the first floor common living areas and, when I have the energy and it’s not a thousand degrees outside, the back yard. Since we only have one to two more months of summer left, I want to be able to enjoy our little deck and my attempt at a garden while I can.

I’ve been deforesting the overgrown foliage over the past several weeks, and think I’m making pretty good progress – despite all of the killer mosquitoes! The veggies that I’ve been trying to keep alive are flourishing. And, no, I still don’t know what the mystery squash is! It’s bigger, and appears to have faded a bit in color (photos below). I’ve gotten a few emails from people saying that it looks like a giant cucumber (not a squash), or a roundish zucchini. The mystery continues…

Ayesh had a cute little table and chair set from her old condo that we’ve set up on the deck, along with our new outdoor bench that we got at World Market for a STEAL! Hooray for close-out sales! Flanked by the lovely tropical trees that were gifts from John and David (thanks guys!) the deck is becoming a cozy little retreat from the craziness inside.

And Dottie LOVES lounging outside with us, sunbathing, rolling around in my garden and keeping an eye on her jungle of weeds that I haven’t tackled yet.

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Wow factor

March 4, 2010

Dottie doesn’t realize that I’m home today because I’m sick and need to rest.  All she knows is that it’s sunny, and she wants to go out and play.  After 20 minutes of trying to ignore her kissing and pawing at me this morning, I finally gave in and took her for a short walk – by the house of course.

And there it was.  There was the wow factor I’ve been waiting for.  The bright sun was shining on the fully-sided front of the house. Yay!

I didn’t have the energy to head around to the back of the house, but I did hear hammers pounding and I can only hope that our siding crew is busy transforming our plywood mish-mosh into the closer-to-finished version we have going on in the front.  We’ll eventually paint the corner trim gray to blend with the siding color. Still determining whether to go gray or white for the window trim.  I’m looking forward to getting the new gutters up too – such a small thing, but it’ll be one more accent helping give the house a more complete feel.

I haven’t been inside for a couple of days, but I hear that the mudding is wrapping up, and sanding has begun. I am anticipating a dust storm when I venture in – maybe later today. We’ll see how I’m feeling.

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Both sides sided – front started

February 25, 2010

Ayesh and I have both been sick this week, and I haven’t had much energy to go for very long walks with Dot in the morning, so I haven’t been stopping by the house.  From a few check-in calls with our contractor, Mike, we’ve known that our construction guys got all the drywall up and early this week got the heater up and running so that they could start taping and mudding.  Apparently the mud won’t dry if it’s too cold.

Ayesh stayed home from work today and shortly before sunset, decided she had just enough strength to go check on the progress of the work.  So she suited herself and Dot up (you’ll see her below in her yellow winter coat) and took plenty of photos for me.

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Sunday photos

October 28, 2009

Since I haven’t had the chance to do this for the past several days, I’m going to try to share my Sunday photos via Mobile upload. I hope this works!

You should see:

1 & 2 – A front view of the house and Dottie waiting patiently while I poke around inside.

3 & 4 – The basement gutted.

5 & 6 – The beginning framing for the bathroom which will be at the back of the house where the back porch/exterior stairwell used to be.

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The new old house

October 4, 2009

I rented out my lovely little condo earlier this year and moved in with my partner. She and I cohabitated peacefully through the spring and summer until we were enticed back into the real estate game – sooner we than expected.  

A cute little bungalow in our neighborhood came onto the market, and although the place needed way more work than we were willing (or could afford) to put into it, we were curious to look around at other homes in the area also for sale.  With the current economic climate as it is, we realized that in the neighborhood we thought we’d never be able to buy in, we could actually find a fixer-upper in a reasonable price range.  

It didn’t take us long to find a diamond in the rough: a great little dump in a wonderful neighborhood. On a quiet residential street, near a big park, the 1908 home was split into a bi-level apartment building some 30 years ago or so. It doesn’t look like much from outside; the dilapidated siding is chipping, the windows are old, small and caked with dirt and the front and back yards are overgrown.  The house is narrow and short (20’ x 40’) with only a few feet on each side separating it from the neighboring properties.  

Front View

Front View

 

When you walk in, however, tall ceilings, bright rooms and a beautiful grand craftsman staircase greet you. Despite having been split into two apartments with a bunch of small rooms on each floor, the place has charm and significant potential.  

Try to see past the mismatched old wood, linoleum, odd layout, nasty old bathrooms, minimal kitchens, and dumpy back staircase.  Our hope is that we can open up the space, replace the windows, put up new siding, re-do the floors and turn this early twentieth century A-frame into a twenty-first century modern masterpiece.  

We have been working with a general contractor and an architect to come up with a new layout and plan for renovating the house.  I think we’re getting close to having some concrete plans, which I’ll share in future posts.  

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“Before” photos by A. J. Hassan  

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