April 30, 2010

A little catch up!

Hello All!

Thought it would time for a little reintroduction and catch up about the current state of the houses here over at the fourth door.

My name is Eva, I’m a mid twenties Jersey girl. Right now I’m currently employed at a 9 to 5 that provides me with a paycheck, free coffee, witty running commentary about coworkers and a fantastic view of the Ben Franklin Bridge, if I stick my head out of my cubicle.

For the last nine years Pete has been this frat guy I met, a boyfriend, a best friend, fiancĂ© and now my husband of two years. I love him, even when he talks louder and louder until eventually he is practically yelling with excitement. He’s one of the most driven people I know and I love that he changes my oil.

We have a puppy, a seven year old fluff of a bichon poodle named Nala. She can’t stand to be more than a few feet from us, snuggles in bed nicely and is an all around awesome dog. Then there is the cat, Princess Mindy Anna Fluffington. She always looks pissed off, but never actually is. Her favorite pastimes are sleeping and destroying the house.

Currently we’re in the process of selling the first house we’ve lived in together. A 1800’s colonial that was in desperate need of some attention and renovation love. It was a long and challenging few years as we navigated renovations combined with being college students, part time jobs, unemployment and getting married. All while floors and roofs were missing.

Once our current house sells we’re going to switch our focus to the Wee house, a Victorian home in a neighboring town that offers even more renovation potential, but is going to be a lot of work. From the work we’ve been doing on the house, I’m now developing a deep love of DIY, construction and power tools.

In the mean time we also have a condo down the beach that we love to escape to and work on during the winter. There is also a college rental at our Alma Matter that we both lived in at one point, but never officially together. Sometimes managing these houses causes us to run around without our heads attached, but we make it work somehow.

And that is the quick wrap up. Which I’m not exactly known for because I’m a talker! I hope everyone sticks around, as this summer is shaping up to be a really busy one full of lots of changes for us and a whole hell of a lot of work!

April 28, 2010

Burning overnight oil.

Events earlier in the month...

Its a Thursday. After a week of the most glorious early spring weather you could imagine, the clouds and weather stations all warn of a late night thunderstorm and a rainy morning to follow. The looming thunderstorm means we have to make an emergency stop at the hardware store to pick up three rolls of industrial plastic, because tonight was the night we planned on driving down the beach condo with the new couch, the bedroom dresser and all the tile that the bedroom needs.

Unfortunately there is no way we're going to beat the storm, because months ago we made after work vet appointment for both of the animals well being check up. It is past 8 pm before we get home and managed to stuff some food into our faces. At this point we're looking at dismantling the couch, bringing the empty dresser downstairs and then loading the trailer up with all the weekend supplies. Since our house is also on the market, we have to leave it showing clean as it is often the case where we get last minute weekend showing requests. Both of us estimate that we're facing about 3.5 hours of work.

By some miracle we finish the work in less than 3 hours. I guess it was the thunder that was urging us on? Or the sudden downpour that was dumping sheets of rain down? Whatever it is, both of us were jazzed to realize that we'd be leaving for the beach condo right before midnight, instead of way after 12 like we originally thought.

We make a candy and red bull stop at Wawa, in order for me to even attempt to stay away and talking for the next 2+ hours I need a sugar buzz. The drive is rainy and pretty gross, but it means the roads are empty. Which is what we wanted because of driving with the loaded trailer. Braking, especially sudden braking, when the trailer is on and loaded down is quite a chore and really tasks the engine, brakes and (already diminished) gas mileage.

The puppy is snuggled up in my lap the whole way, and we just talk as the darkness slips by outside. I could complain about how tired I was, cause I was! But instead I think back on that night and the countless other trips that we've done like that one and smile. Our time together in these late night drives is fun and a little adventurous. Plus it always gives us a chance to just talk and relax. Finding more time in the day to get stuff done is how we manage doing all the work that we do on the houses. Right now it is just simply what we have to do in order to balance everything.

and it makes me smile.

I'm pretty sure most people have stories like this one, late night " we must be nuts" escapades.

Anyone else a lover of road trips with their significant other? Even if the destination means more work than you left behind? Or are you only happy with being in the car if it means you are headed to vacation?

April 26, 2010

Barf (seriously)

Good news, I got a new camera!

I'm wicked amounts of excited about the new snapshot camera, a slim and sleek little Canon SD780IS that is perfect for toting about in my purse. As much as I love our other camera, the Canon G9 because of the plethora of options and creative control it offers over shots, it is one beefy sonofagun. I don't mind carrying the G9 around when I know we're going to use it, but for everyday it really starts to weight my purse and shoulder down. I'm looking forward to lightening the load in my giant purse with the new camera.

Bad news, I haven't taken any pictures with said new camera it yet. Boo.

Not that there was a big exciting weekend at Wtown house, unless you count getting woken up pre dawn Saturday morning by our dog tossing her cookies all over the bed. You wouldn't guess that 10lb dog could even throw up much, but they apparently have quite the capability to yack up a large amount. Off came the covers and sheets and they to went directly into the washer. The down quilt followed. Thank goodness we did get a duvet cover, our pets have done quite a number to (and on) it but the duvet always washes up fine. Same goes for our wonderful down comforter. I love that it can take a tour of the washer and dryer and come out fluffy and clean every time. Washablilty, a must in our house!

April 22, 2010

Tiling the bathroom wall

In light of the recent lost (misplaced) camera event, I'm not able to show you all the pictures from when we brought 200 sq ft worth of marble tile up to our third floor condo using a canvas tote bag and a large length of rope combined with lots of arm muscle fatigue. Please believe me when I say that the LL Bean Boat and Tote bags are amazing marvels and completely worth investing in for a variety of reasons. And that everyone should have a wonderful dear friend who is 6'5", super strong and a hard worker. We got so much work done on the beach condo and it is all due to Eric helping us out with the heavy lifting and hoisting up of items. Thank you Eric!!

I do however, have some more photos of our the beach condo bathroom remodel!

One of the ongoing issues with the condo that we've had to face while renovating and remodeling it has been how to add character to an otherwise basic condo. Think 1984 basic construction grade standards, complete with brass door knobs. One way we accomplished adding a little character and something extra to the condo was to install bead board around the bathroom. Not only does the bead board have a great beachy feel to it, but it also helps to protect our lower walls from further damage!

Adding an accent tile wall above the sink was something that Pete and I discussed early on in the design plan for the bathroom. Especially since the sink and vanity are in a wall niche of their own. That would have provided us with clear space for defining and the boundaries that we could follow. However, while doing our initial shop for the bathroom we decided to scrap the idea for the moment, filing it away as a potential later day project because of the price of the tiles we wanted to use. While not totally insane in price, they were still a non critical extra cost when our budget was already edging on its max number.

During the demolition we took down the old medicine chest and light, and discovered the hole(s) in the drywall that were being hidden by them. Knowing the heights at which we planned on putting the mirror and new light fixture, the largest hole was going to show smack dab between the two. The easiest solution to this problem was to add the tiled wall back into our plan!

A quick run out to Lowe's provided us with all new materials that were passed on during the first trip. While standing in the aisles we decided on not tiling the wall all the way up or behind the mirror. Mainly because it was going to cost us even more monies to take the tile up to the ceiling and second because I didn't want the light sticking out of the tile. Which is just a personal design decision for this bathroom.

Notice that with the backer board up and installed you can no longer see the drywall holes! And our sweet $35 light is almost ready for its close up. We carefully taped off the walls and sink before putting the tile up and grouting. This way the counter was protected from falling bits, so glad we did put the protection down because grouting the tiles caused a giant mess! It was like a grout massacre happened on our wall and there were no survivors.

We both love the tiled wall now. Sometimes I love it when you are forced to make a decision that ends up being what you really wanted anyway.

April 16, 2010

Bathroom Teaser Pics!

Beach condo: Bathroom is ONE step away from being finished. The only thing left is sealing the grout, and then it will be done! At that point I'll take pictures and post a big reveal! Almost immediately after getting the bathroom to 90%, we cleared out the bedroom in order to rip up the carpet and replace the flooring with tile. Which means that instead of enjoying our hard work and the new bathroom that we started piling bedroom junk in the room to get it out of our way. When the space you are working on is about 600 square feet and in the midst of full blown renovations you just have find and fill all available space for storage.

Speaking of the small space of the condo, major props to people who do live through massive renovations in a smaller home. I tried so hard to organize everything, but eventually the tools and construction equipment got the better of the condo and took over. The tornado of a mess really took over when we had to clear out the bedroom, which is the largest space of the condo. By the end of our weekends working at the beach condo I am so ready to get back to my non under construction house and leave the chaos behind a closed door. All the memories of the years we lived in the house while it was under renovation come flooding back while we're in the chaos filled condo. Those were tough times with both of us young 20-somethings, in college, dating and living through a major renovation... and I can't believe we are about to do it again to some degree with the Wee house.

Check out our table stack in the living room, a table with a table on top of it with a third table balanced on the very top!

A few little teaser pictures from the bathroom..

Our adorable little shower curtain holder thingies! I love little touches of whimsy in rooms.

Oh, and bad news on the picture front. I *may* have lost our camera. It is not so much lost as misplaced. And by misplace I mean I left it at the beach condo and we're not getting down there again for another three weeks. What a bummer.

April 6, 2010

First offer, some sort of Update

Things that I am sure of:
The sky is blue
I love Coffee
That the first offer on the Wtown house is not going to pan out

How do I know this? It's been almost two weeks since they put the offer in and we countered back. Since that point we've heard from them twice, both times it was regarding the amount of our monthly utility bills. No counter counter offer or accepting of our counter. Which is fine, I'd rather they not draw the process out and really raise our hopes if they can't afford or don't want to buy the house. It would have been nice to get a final word on what they want to do, but no big deal.

Just thought I'd update everyone to the situation that was our first offer.

April 5, 2010

Bump It!

The Wee house was a pretty common house type for its time and general location. In Eboro, the town it is located in, and the surrounding areas that were also built up in the late 1800's you can usually find quite a few houses that are the same design.

I can't figure out what exactly one would classify our house type as though. So far I've identified characteristics of the house as Folk Victorian and Gothic Victorian. Pete and I like to call the design 1880's Standard Development House with optional 8 foot bump out. Any insite in to what the house would formally be called Architecturally wise would be great!

We've seen lots of other houses in the area that seem to be built around the same time and are designed with the similar plans as our house. Except we rarely ever see another house with the "optional 8 foot bump out" that the Wee house has off the front. A nice little original detail about our house that we really appreciate. So what happens when I spot a house that also sports the optional bump out? I make my sister turn around and drive by really slow so a few pictures can be snapped.

This purple monster is clearly bigger than our house, but you can see they share the same design! I'm a little jealous they still have the original wrap around back deck, instead of the plastic encased capsule that we have. The unsymmetrical front porch is killing me though! The whole idea of the original footprints of these houses were to have a very symmetrical layouts! Is it wrong that I also would love to get my hands on this and shine it up? The potential of this house is outstanding! I know, one crappy house at a time Eva...

April 2, 2010

New living room color!!

A haiku about our living room: AHEM

dear dark living room
lighter coat of paint I did
painful but worth it

Thank you.
You should hear my talent with dirty limericks.

Why paint the living room now? What on earth possessed me after almost 6 years of living with the same color and two days after getting a offer on the house to put myself through the ordeal of speed painting the room? Simple answer, I wanted to.

Long winded and more traditional Eva answer is that I've wanted to paint the room for a really long time and decided to just rock out the project. The maroon wall color combined with the darker floors and the big dark items of furniture all combined with the low ceiling gave the room a feeling of a cave. Even with the windows and blinds open with the sun streaming in, the whole room still would feel dark. I just never got that bright, cheery sunny feeling in the living room like I wanted.

Worth mentioning is in every single "how to sell your house" manual selling experts say to neutralize the wall colors. Despite receiving nothing but great compliments about how nice our house is decorated from almost everyone who has toured it, I felt like maybe these people did like color but wouldn't want to live with it or put forth the effort to paint over it. Or they are all big fat liars and hated the color but played nicey nice to my face.

Being that our house is on the market (with an offer on it) and ever since the warm weather showed up our showings have drastically increased. We were booking between 2-4 showings a week for a little stretch there, so down time on the house while I painted needed to be as minimal as possible. Plus, while we aren't quite done with the bathroom at the beach condo, there is also an extra project being squeezed in before Memorial Day kicks off the summer rental season. Which all means, if I wanted to get this project done then I needed to get it done ASAP because Spring weekends are fastly getting filled up with important more pressing stuff to do.

So I got off my keister and got started on the living room painting whirlwind. I moved the loveseat into the middle of the room all by myself! See the towel? I stuck that under two of the legs so I could pull the loveseat away from the wall without scratching the floor. Highly recommend doing something like that because floor scratches will put you in a bad mood. And no one wants to be in a bad mood. Then I systematically went over the walls with the hand held attachment on our vacuum, because I hate feeling like I'm painting dirt in! Ugh. It just grosses me out to think about it. The husband joined in and helped me to move some of the larger pieces of furniture and anything that I could potentially let slip out of my hands and break.

You like the painting du jour outfit? Get a peek at the ubiquitous pink renovation Uggs. I love those flipping things so much. I figure if I'm going to be busting my rear painting that my feet should be comfortable at least.

See how light and airy the dining room looks through the doorway? I just hated how this room didn't go with the lighter brighter feel of the rest of the downstairs that it is connected to.

First coat of primer done. I was really hoping to get by with just one coat of primer, but it became pretty clear that a second coat was needed. The maroon was still showing through and I really didn't want to get myself in the position of having to do more than two coats of paint.

The sun was long. long. gone by the time I started cutting in the actual paint. Walking into the room with a fresh coat of light primer though was so nice! It was so different already and I could tell I was going to love the light color! This is one of the first times I can remember with painting where the freshly applied color was much brighter than what ended up on the walls. At first the color looked like it was going to border on brighter yellow than I was going for, but in actuality it dried a very nice fresh creamy color.

It was about midnight when I got a coat of paint on the walls, which I have no pictures of because someone named me was really tired. The next morning I did the second coat of the paint and cracked open the white paint I bought for the trim...

Happily painting along I began to realize that the paint just wasn't working right. Couldn't quite put my finger on it, but the paint was definitely wrong. Turns out I bought base paint that was meant to be be tinted, not the semi gloss ultra white paint that was needed. Sigh. Since a showing was the next day there wasn't enough time to run out and get the correct paint. Problems that need solutions lead to invention and finding a solution. Which happened to be triple coating the primer on the trim. Yes, it was a pain, but I was able to get the trim completely transformed from pink to white and now when I do get the correct paint all that is needed is a quick swipe!

Here is how the living room looks today!

I love how this corner seems to be saturated in sunlight now! Before it was quite dark, you could barely see the all the books that are hiding in our secret chimney warming space. Like the antique fan? We found that in our garage! It was really gunked up with a dark gummy substance, so Pete had to wipe it down with a serious engine degunking solution. Worked like a charm though, because the fan looks great today.

Here is a quick before and after shot of the corner on the other side of the fireplace.

And one more final shot of the after! New lighter brighter color just in time for spring, love it!

If you want to follow the progression of the living room check out this post, remember it started its life as a dining room!