Smoke and Mirrors

Those of you who have followed our misadventures faithfully will recall my naive embarking on resurfacing the walls in our living room, dining room, and one wall in the bedroom (formerly the wall of 70s gold-veined mirror tiles). Remember?

That was in October. I thought I could pretty much knock it out while Bren was safely out of my hair playing a two-week gig in Canada. Riiight. Today, I finished sanding that last wall.

Like I said in the previous post, primer covers a multitude of sins. But kids, don't smoke.

Because that's just gross.

I finished priming the walls, but it was so cold that painter's tape wouldn't stick to the windows in order for me to cut them in (it was snowing). Perhaps tomorrow.


Doin' Things is What we Like to Do...YES!

Last weekend, I painted in the bathroom.

Let me just say that primers are a girl's best friend, contrary to popular belief. I am the first to admit that my joint taping/compounding in the bathroom was less than stellar. Similarly, Bren is not ashamed of the occasional discrepancy in cement board flushness or screw depth. However, I am happy to report that primer and flat paint cover a multitude of sins.

For anyone considering a paint project, I highly recommend BEHR paint (Home Depot). It runs only about $20 a gallon, and a gallon goes a surprisingly long way. The finished product is remarkably similar to the paint chip you get at the store, and you can test colors out for free with their ColorSmart dealy-bob (spelling approved by Arwen), either with stock photos or your own. However, unless you are working with pristine white walls, disregard their assertion that BEHR paint is both primer and paint. Cement board in particular is thirsty stuff, and even after two thick coats of primer I could discern the brand.

Before jet setting off to Minneapolis for work, Bren applied a layer of cement to the shower floor, graded down towards the drain.

After some drying time, we checked on the project, only to find we weren't the only parties interested in it...

Later, "The Inspector" reappeared to weigh in on the drain itself...

Since then, Bren has laid the moisture barrier liner.

By the look of things, he had to consult the masterminds at Wendy's in order to discover how to proceed with this step. After poking his brain with a Q-Tip failed to help. A final layer of sand mix will make this floor tile ready. Miles came over today to help finish cement boarding the rest of the shower:

He's got skillz. And sideburns.


2008 Update

Happy New Year, everyone! To sum up our holiday season:

-- Chevy is half the man he used to be. But he got a sweet bed for Christmas. No, those aren't our hardwood floors refinished. Aunt and Uncle recently gutted and renovated their kitchen into something from the pages of Gourmet.

-- The Nutcracker and Christmas retail. Enough said.

-- I traveled to Tulsa just before Christmas for Gina and Jamin's wedding, and proceeded to get stuck in a whiteout in Kansas on my way back.

-- The holiday was great, and I was lucky enough to have a week off to get the music out of my head. I channeled the inevitable post-Tulsa homesickness into energy for working on the house.

The living and dining rooms have gotten their respective coats of "Scotch Lassie."

I promise it doesn't look like Astro-Turf (or splotchy for that matter) in real life. The "cove," or the curve at the ceilings, will stay white, and there will be moulding on that fuzzy green line below the curve and the blue tape line above it. That inner moulding will frame these:

The ceiling tiles we started to install, only to be again confronted with the crushing discovery that holding heavy and unwieldy items over one's head for extended periods of time altogether sucks. Our excuse to postpone the torture a little longer? A very welcome onslaught of Christmas gift cards to Lowe's and Home Depot made it possible for me to...start tiling the bathroom! (Angelic choirs)

Look at it! I am a tiling machine. About two minutes into this project I realized that since I wanted the tiles offset, I couldn't use the spacers we bought. Now, I understand that "eyeballing it" isn't a recognized method among true craftsmen, but I have to confess that I have long considered it a talent of mine. Let's take another look at that tub, shall we?

A thing of beauty, no? A soak in this thing will be most welcome, especially since it was at about this point that I literally felt like my somewhat temperamental spine was going to pop out of my back.

Capacity: two humans, or approximately 236 cats.

The opposite wall, where the pedestal sink and toilet will go:

Bren is responsible for the tiles that require the use of the tile saw. He did the corners, and has these cut and ready to apply with thinset. He is also responsible for...

The shower, which is anxiously awaiting it's bottom. The floor needs to be graded with cement towards the drain, and the various moisture barriers installed, before we can tile in here. Then we'll grout and seal everything, install all the knobs, the faucet and shower head, and hopefully be able to take baths before Arwen visits!

The paint is going to be a light sagey green, called "Rejuvenate." How apropos.

We're putting black and white hexagonal subway tiles on the floor, which will require special ordering, and a bit of penny-pinching. Sinks, toilets, and even towel bars are more expensive than you think they are, too. Did you know that you can spend over $300 on a toilet paper holder if you want? The ceiling needs to be drywalled, the vent and light fixtures replaced...It's a long way from done, but it's still better than THIS!

You've come a long way, baby.