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House Renovation Update #3


House renovation #3 drinking game. Take a swig every time you read the word “drywall” or “floors.”

Okay, so I’m a little late on this one. Sorry about that, but you see, I have good reason! If I would have posted on Friday, the photos would have looked eerily similar to last week’s update.

But wait, you guys! Guess what happened on Friday and Saturday. Just guess.

Drywall happened, that’s what! What a difference drywall makes, am I right? WE HAVE DRYYYYYWALLLLLL. I’m totally Oprah right now….AND YOU GET DRYWALL! AND YOUUUU GET DRYWALL! And the audience goes wild! Sobbing and fainting commence! DRYWALLLLL

(My apologies to those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for busting the Oprah reference again, but hey, I bet 11% of you never heard my weekend Oprah singsong Drywall bit. I can’t deny the awesome old school Whoorl readers, can I?)

Back to drywall. God, I love drywall. When looking at this photo, here’s what comes to mind.

1. Spiders
2. Electrical fires
3. Burglars

But drywall!

Hang a little drywall, and I’m all,

1. Look at that light.
2. Ain’t no burglars in there.
3. Do I hear heavenly angels singing? (I wrote “heavenly angels signing” first, and couldn’t get the image of Rachel Coleman in an angel outfit demonstrating how to sign the word “heaven” out of my head. p.s. – I’ve also been playing the drinking game.)

So, yay for drywall. DRYWALL. Drink.

In other news, D finally decided on a stain for the wood floors. I say D decided because the man took his insane finicky behavior to a whole new level this week. You guys, hours, DAYS, were spent trying to perfect the stain to put on the oak floors. On Thursday morning, after dropping Wito at school, I stopped at the house, walked into one of the bedrooms and saw two things.

Number one.

Number two. My husband sitting on the floor talking to Crow, our floor guy. Poor, poor Crow. I looked at him and saw something in his eyes that could only be described as pure, unadulterated desperation. The kind of look you might give after, say, finding out that your flight home has been delayed by 18 hours. I know this look, you all. Because I’ve been shooting this look on a regular basis for about 10 years now. Let’s just say Crow was beyond thrilled to see me, especially when I told D to wrap it up and pick a damn color already. (Crow had a great sense of humor, and made me laugh when he grabbed my hands and said, “thank you so much for coming. No really, THANK YOU FOR COMING AND SAVING THE REST OF MY WEEK.”)

You’re welcome, Crow. Trust me, I feel your pain, buddy.

Now that the finish has been decided, the bedroom floors should be completed within the next few days, the base and case is going in soon, and our kitchen cabinets are being made as I type this. Oh, and did I show you what we found for our kitchen backsplash?

Come to mama.

Until next time!


House Renovation Update #2 (+ Requesting Appliance Advice)


Renovation Update #1 here.

Good news! Demo is officially finished. Bad news. It doesn’t make for a super exciting update #2. Lots of decision-making this week, and not so much doing.

So, we took out the kitchen and opened up the walls, and continued with ripping out all the window casing, the floor base, and crown molding this week. Electrical and plumbing are almost finished as of this morning. However, things look relatively the same as last week.

Oh, and how could I forget – we demolished and removed pretty much the entire backyard (deck, jacuzzi, so on and so forth). Right about now, if you walk out of the sliding doors, you’ll break an ankle from falling into a ravine of dirt and gravel. Here, I illustrated a highly scientific visual for you.

The backyard wasn’t really a project I wanted to take on during this first stage, but hey! What’s done is done.

Right now, we are making a lot of seemingly boring decisions about the house. Like, we decided to take out part of the wood floor in the kitchen and dining room. I mentioned last week that part of the floor was laminate, but surprise! It’s not. It’s real oak. However, D is very, very happy to rip that part out because this?

This is the kind of situation that makes me say, “Yep, not really optimal, but let’s talk about the kitchen backsplash!” On the flip side, this is something D loses sleep over. “We can’t possibly have that ridge. Absolutely not. Not only are the planks running in opposite directions, the floors are two different heights. No. I can’t bear to look at it for one more second. WE’RE REDOING THE FLOORS.” Remember, we are talking about a man who has degrees in both interior design and architecture…that breeds a very special of kind of picky. Persnickety, perhaps? (However, the dude is ALWAYS spot on. Always.)

So, although not originally in the budget, we are ripping out the newer oak and re-framing so the floors will be even. After that, we will sand all the floors and refinish the color. Think more grey-brown, less yellow-gold. Can’t wait – I think it will be so pretty.

Upcoming to-dos:

Drywall (Fun!)
Replace floor base and window casing (Titillating.)
Replace doors and door jams (zzzzzzzzz)
Floors – sanding and refinishing the wood, replace bathroom floor
Paint – prepping and painting (Can’t wait! No, really, that means we’re really, really close.)
Install kitchen cabinetry, island and appliances

Basically, loads of non-pretty renovation stuff in the upcoming weeks. But the pretty will come later, I promise. (Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. One daayyyyy…)

To be honest, most of our time this past week has been spent deciding on kitchen appliances. Because you see, if we don’t know what appliances we want, we don’t have the exact measurements of the appliances, which means we can’t complete the kitchen drawings, which means the cabinet maker can’t start making the kitchen cabinets, which means the toe-kicks can’t be installed, which means the floors can’t go down in the kitchen. It’s called a snowball effect, and I would surely like to get the snowball rolling.

All in all, I could write 50,000 words on the subject of kitchen appliances and why we chose the ones we did, but I will keep that kitchen manifesto to myself for fear of losing you to a deep, deep slumber. (But! I have seen/researched every refrigerator known to man. I could be a refrigerator saleswoman starting tomorrow, for reals. In fact, if I have to discuss ONE MORE refrigerator or hood range or dishwasher, for the matter, I will weep.)

We are going with Viking for the refrigerator since it truly was the only one that fit our size, aesthetic and price criteria, and thinking Bosch for the cooktop, oven, and dishwasher. But! Here’s where you come in, oh wise ones. Who out there uses a Bosch dishwasher? Are they truly as good as everyone says? (J.D. Power #1 in Customer Satisfaction! Best value out there!) I’m going between Bosch and KitchenAid – does anyone have something to say about these brands? Speak now or forever hold your peace! We’ve just hit that point, you know, where we’ve become so bogged down with research, review-reading, and talking to appliance experts that we’re going loco. (No matter what, I’m sure whatever we end up with will be amazing compared to the stuff we use at our rental now.)

So, yeah. Let me know about that. In return, I’m giving you the gift of video. 46 seconds of utter destruction to the tune of Moon River. Enjoy.

(Yes, that was a ginormous corkboard wall in one of the bedrooms.) Until next week!


House Renovation Update #1


I’ll be posting updates on the house renovation every Friday, so if you love this kind of stuff, yay! If you hate it, Fridays won’t be our day. It’s okay, I understand. I still like you a lot.

I will definitely put together more succinct before/after shots at a later date, but these updates are more of the nitty gritty. (I want to document EVERYTHING so D and I can look back and sigh.) Also, if you have any questions about the process, just leave them in the comments!)

So! This week was all about destruction. Nothing pretty to report over here at demolition party central.

Let’s start with the kitchen and surrounding living areas. The previous owners’ floor plan teetered on a great room concept, so we just wanted to take it to the next level. We decided to redo the kitchen entirely, as well as open up some wall space.

Here are some before shots of the kitchen area from the vantage point of the family room, shooting from left to right.

The wood-paneled room in the back left of the first photo was originally used as a den, but we will be using it as the dining room. Here’s a look back at the kitchen from that soon-to-be dining area.

Yep, LOTS of wood paneling. Wowza.

Well, it was nice knowing you.

Here’s the kitchen area after the first full day of demo.

(Wito is totally confused as to where the house went.) And the view from the dining area.

So far we have stripped the wood paneling off the walls, knocked out the entire kitchen, added structural beams, opened up the wall in the formal living room, a removed part of the floor. (The living room floor is original oak, but the kitchen and dining room floors are laminate. We are removing the laminate and replacing with oak.)

Here’s where we stand today.

Loving the open space. Feels so much better already.

Until next Friday!


Odds and Ends (+ House Update)



1. Let’s talk about the house, guys. I realize I kind of left you all hanging with all the updates and then….nothing. Well, we’ve been working hard to finish the space, and we are getting really close. (Although, come on, you are never really “finished,” but that’s the fun and/or frustration of it all.) D and I made a quick trip to Palm Springs for Modernist Week earlier in the month to find some treasures, and we found some really fun additions, namely that brass globe above that will soon be hanging in our living room. I am so in love. (Also, we found our dream house in the desert that is in the above collage as well. One day…)

Also, you may have heard on the Facebook page, but after 2 1/2 months of hanging ginormous pieces of brown craft paper with blue tape over every window in our bedrooms, our window coverings arrived and were installed on Tuesday. People, you haven’t lived until a 5×5 foot of heavy craft paper crashes to the floor at 3 in the morning…heart attack city. No more brown craft paper EVEEERRRRR! (That was in my best Mommy Dearest voice.)

So! In regards to the house, we are waiting on the rest of our lighting fixtures to be installed, as well as a few more pieces of furniture to arrive, but fingers crossed, we will be finished with all the big stuff by the end of this month. I can’t wait to show you the before and after photos in April, and thank you for being so patient!

2. Oh! Fun challenge alert. Have you seen the #lippyaday lipstick challenge on Instagram by Norlin M? I’m totally going to try it – won’t you join me? That’s a lot of lipstick, folks.

3. Newsflash: I have a mom uniform. It involves a striped top, rolled up skinny/boyfriend jeans, ballet flats, a denim or cargo jacket, and a top knot. D and I were laughing at his Instagram feed because every photo of me looks the same. Like this one. And this one. Oh, and I really broke the mold with my hair down one day. (And those of you wondering how I wear my Isabel Marant boots, there you go.) Soooooo….do you have a mom uniform? What is it?

4. Considering going blonde? (Like I did in my twenties? BAD IDEA. Not that I’m saying it’s a bad idea for you, but horrible for me.) Anyway, here are some thoughts to keep in mind. Also, lots of perfectly straight side parts were on the Fall 2013 runways – here’s how to create a good one.

5. Okay, Kristen and I are bummed that our Dishing on Downton videos are on hiatus, but at least we still have our Mama Said ones to keep us warm at night. Some of our most recent ones are TV obsessions (yes, we have more!), lies we tell our children (we don’t get that channel, they don’t make gum in California), and how our introversion affects us when making (or not making) new mom friends.

Happy weekend, everyone! It’s really warming up around here, and we are going to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. A trip to the beach, perhaps?