This is what DIY looks like (Masciola-style)

May 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Low point

Fortunately, Lawrence-Galloway style DIY looks a hell of a lot better.

High point

Well, those gorgeous Modwalls glass mosaic tiles were a bitch to put down. And I don’t use that word lightly. They came from California in 15×15 squares of tiles stuck to plastic sheets. The first hiccup was the fact that the bathroom floor was not prepared for tiling. It wasn’t even and had some small holes. So it needed a layer of plywood. Then Katy took a look at the instructions that came with the tiles and learned that they have to cure in the mortar for 24 hours. Stone or ceramic tiles can set for maybe 6 hours in mortar before being grouted. This new reality meant that tiling the bathroom floor would take 3-4 days, a project we had planned on taking 2 days. The first night of tiling we were at the house until near midnight and Katy and Mark were practically broken in half. All that would have been fine after a good dinner and a bottle of wine. But the next morning, we returned to find the floor had bucked up. It looked like there were wavy foothills all over the bathroom. Soul crushing.

Ever resourceful, Mark decided to selectively remove single tiles and screw the plywood down through the mortar. Okay, good solution. But when Mark and Katy started to remove the plastic squares that the tiles had come on, tiles started to come up by the dozens, hundreds even (see first photo above). The only solution at that point was to stick the tiny tiles down one by one. Katy and Mark did most of the re-tiling, “buttering” each tile by hand and placing it on the floor in even rows. Soul crushing.

Then we left it all to cure again for 24 plus hours. The second picture above is the result on Friday after Mark grouted and cleaned the floor. There were a few loose tiles, but all in all they worked a miracle. And then Mark installed the toilet!! Sing it with me people: Hallelujah! A week of either holding it until we got to the general store or peeing behind the house (ours and our neighbors’) was closer to camping than I had expected ever to get again.

We didn’t get to the shower or the bathroom faucet plumbing, but Mark installed the Ikea vanity, sink, and cabinet. And note the beautiful color on the wall. It’s called Filmy Green by Sherwin Williams. A Katy Lawrence-Galloway choice, of course. Oh, and the tile blend is an original Katy design called Luna-sea.

New bathroom vanity, sink, and cabinet

I was able to do a lot of the relatively idiot-proof work in the kitchen, putting together the cabinet drawers and doors.

Kitchen cabinet doors and drawers in place

That is a temporary plywood counter top, thanks to Bob the Builder. We are still considering counter top materials, but we needed a work surface.

We got almost the whole downstairs painted. Robert was master of the priming. Then we came behind him and put up the gorgeous colors that Katy chose. The great room is painted a lovely blue green called Quietude. The pictures don’t really do it justice.

View from the kitchen to great room

The guest room is Exciting Orange. Again, the picture doesn’t do it justice. But it is really stunning in my opinion.

Guest room all made up

Our room is a soothing color called Hinting Blue.

Master bedroom

Okay, next on the to-do list is flooring. We’ve decided to go with local pine and hope it will be installed by early June when we return. Then we are going to take a crack at putting the polyurethane on it. (or maybe not.)

The before pictures

September 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

Well, it’s still not a sure thing. Although we’re under contract, the sale is contingent on the home inspection and our financing. That’s enough to keep me up at night. We head up to Maine on Tuesday morning for the inspection and meetings with a couple of contractors.

I thought I’d post a few of the “before” pictures to give you a sense of the layout and condition of the place. Note that these pictures actually look better than the reality. Somehow those pretty yellow cabinets in the kitchen just look good on film. In person, they are ghastly. And let’s not even talk about the faux brick vinyl flooring throughout the downstairs.

View of kitchen from side door

There’s only subflooring upstairs, which I assume means the sellers had to rip up damaged carpet. There is also evidence of an animal having lived upstairs, i.e., poop and an empty trap. You can’t blame the critter. I hear it gets pretty cold in Maine during the winter time.

Upstairs bedroom

There is a hideous wood stove in the corner of the living room. It seems as though someone just bricked up the corner in order to plug in the stove. Again, those cold winters.

View into living room from front door

The good news is that the floor in the living room looks pretty good and it’s a big room, stretching from the front to the back of the house (24’x13′). I think we will build a wall in the middle to make another bedroom and an office. Then the dining room and kitchen will become the “great room”.

Other end of the living room

There is a full bath downstairs that needs a major overhaul. There is a toilet upstairs; that’s right, a toilet. No sink, just a toilet.

Upstairs toilet

Well, you get the picture. It’s a “fixer upper”. Stay tuned for the inspection report back. Hopefully it’s not actually an “about to fall downer”.

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