Sunday, December 28, 2008

December or How I can't believe its the end of 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Things have been slow on the house fixing front at SOABT. Mostly just plastic on some windows, trying to plug some holes in the house with Great Stuff, and trying to decide what to tackle next.
But mostly, we've been trying to spend time with our family and catch up with friends and enjoy the holiday season.

I'll be spending the remainder of 2008 figuring out the 2009 New Year's resolutions for the house.

What are your resolutions for your house?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Balance Beam

We bought this house in late October. This is the conversation that occurred the following May.
Jessie: You know, there are a lot of ants in this house this year.
Jeff: Well, we do have a toddler who hides Cheerios under all the large appliances.
Jessie: Yeah, but why do these ants have wings? And why are they all coming out of that new hole in the dining room floor?

That was when it dawned on us that we had termites. Those little buggers ate through a good 5 feet of a 6x8 inch beam that was supporting the threshold between 2 rooms. We treated the beams that showed activity as well as had a termite company put traps around the house, but we hadn't yet replaced that portion of the beam.

We found other areas of termite damage nearby when we opened up the kitchen and the basement walls, and we rebuilt those supports. But we still had to figure out what to do about the bouncy floor between our dining room and TV room, which I might add, is a very high-traffic doorway.

This weekend found Jeff and our neighbor Jon ( Superman ) standing with a Sawsall above their heads sawing off the useless beam.

You can see how much damage was done, because Jeff is holding this piece of wood as if it weighs nothing. And no, he's not freakishly strong. That wood did weigh practically nothing.

Closeup of the damage:

Here's the finished work, with a new beam in place and new supports.
Now, off to find the wire strippers. We realized this afternoon that Jeff managed to cut through the phone line in all the saws-all-ing excitement.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I was tagged by Larry at Simpson's Folly

Here's how it works...

Share seven random or weird Book facts about yourself. Then tag seven other people.

Notify the seven others that they have been tagged.

1. I was reading at a 5th grade level in the 2nd grade. I was in love with the Dr Doolittle books and I'm sure I drove my Mom nuts with making her define the big words.

2. I still enjoy reading at a 5th grade level. I'm currently reading Twilight, its great.

3. I wrote 2/3 of a book during National Novel Writing Month in 2006. I was 35,000 words into my novel when we found out Jeff needed thryroid surgery and that blew the wheels off my progress. He's fine now, by the way.

4. I buy Richard Brautigan books where ever I see them because they are out of print and I feel that they are lonely, so I bring them home to be with their friends.

5. When I finish a good book, I sometimes will read nothing for a time after that to savor the feeling of reading that book.

6. My 10th grade English teacher taught us to write our name and the date in a book when we buy it. I still do that but I'm sure its leftover issues from being the eldest of 4 children and feeling the need to mark my belongings rather than the need to know when I read the book.

7. Even though Goodnight Moon is supposed be a children's classic, I think its the worst book in the world. "Goodnight nobody"? What kind of lazy writing is that??

I'm tagging these people:
Stephanie (the S-I-L)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another hole in the house

In our ever on-going efforts to stop the house from hemorrhaging warm air, Jeff attacked the basement door. There had been a draft coming from the door, and pulling off the trim showed why the room was drafty. There had been a 4-inch gap with no insulation and you could see daylight coming through it on one side of the door.

Jeff got the Great Stuff before I could get the camera, so we only have an "after"photos. Here is the old sill removed, and the insulation added around the door frame:

A photo of the door frame thats been rotted out by water.

After digging out the dirt that had been up against the frame, it was supported with a new pressure-treated piece of wood.

The new sill was added and glued in place with Liquid Nails.
A new door sweep was added to protect against drafts:
The photo above shows the basement door from the inside. You can see the Icynene insulation covering the walls and the ceiling. We have high hopes for this insulation. The walls are above-ground and before we added the Icynene, there was no insulation at all.

Replacing the sill will hopefully help some of the air from escaping, thus improving the overall disposition of Jeff this winter and result in a net decrease in grumbling about the price of heating the house. A girl can hope, right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Preparing for Winter

List of projects to be done to prepare for winter:
  1. Unhook and drain rain barrel
  2. Remove air conditioner from BN-1's room. (Not sure why we even bothered since she was scared of the noise and preferred the suffocating heat to the A/C's hum.)
  3. Find someone to remove the leaves
  4. Put the basement de-humidifier away
  5. Cover the hydrangea to give it a fighting chance of living through the winter
  6. Clean up the garage so we can park in it again. It's filled with leftover kitchen-building materials.
  7. Make sure all the storms are closed
  8. Make sure all the radiator vents are open

Monday, November 3, 2008

This is just temporary until next year

Now that its November and the Who Can Stand The Lowest Temperature In The House competition is over, we have turned on the heat and started to focus on indoor projects. Viewing ever growing pile of clean laundry sitting in piles around our bedroom, Jeff decided it was time to organize his closet. But thats not what this post is about.

This is the gaping hole in the eaves that connects directly with Jeff's closet. Jeff discovered the hole led to our closets while he was investigating the back of his closet and the cool breeze blowing in through a mouse hole.

We'd almost forgotten about the hole in the eaves now that we aren't on the deck much these days staring in the direction of the plastic and duct-tape solution. But with winter around the corner, and the heat on in the house, it was time to get serious.

Jeff started by removing the plastic and duct-tape.

Then he added some supports since the sides are mostly rotted and flimsy.

He pushed as much insulation into the abyss as he could.

He attached a cover to deter little animals from coming in.

Then he says "You know, this is just temporary until next year. I used resin board to cover the hole. I'll have to fix it again with something more permanent." I don't care. I'm crossing it off the list anyway.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

House hat

Its the time at SOABT, when baseball and football are on tv, its the time to knit something. I found this pattern for the Favorite Knit Hat at SouleMama and I'm sure this will be my Favorite Hat this winter. Its the perfect size and weight to wear indoors this winter to ward off the chill from our drafty windows.

Yes, we wear hats inside the house because Jeff insists that 62 degrees is room temperature.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Making applesauce

making applesauce
Originally uploaded by screwtop
All the magazines I read this summer talked to me with a singular message: buy a patent handbag. Oh wait, those were the fashion mags. The cooking mags told me to can fruits and vegetables, in the event of nuclear winter I suppose.

So I bought a pressure canner yesterday and used up the last of the apples we picked with the Beechnuts and canned my own applesauce.

I'm not a total stranger to this concept. My mother has canned almost everything you can imagine. I usually freeze applesauce and I made my own baby food for BN-1, but canning seemed a little advanced. Once I got into it, and thoroughly read the instructions, it was pretty easy.

Quick note: if you try this yourself, make a LOT more whatever-you-plan-to-can than you think. Four pint jars were all I got out of about 10 lbs of apples.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Apartment Therapy Boston

I noticed that AT:Boston finally launched, so I went to them with a kitchen-decorating question and they posted my query here:
This is very exciting!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Living Room - new curtains

Living Room - new curtains
Originally uploaded by screwtop
The end of my maternity leave is drawing near, so there is a flurry of activity as I try to get something done. Something to point out that I did not just act as a burp cloth for 12 weeks.

I am focusing on the living room now, since I spent most of my time there.

I reused the existing velvet panels from West Elm and added the damask fabric as a border. Its a 6-inch border that goes around the sides and the bottom of the fabric. I also whipped together some throw pillows with the leftover fabric. The Fabric Place is going out of business, so I panicked and bought a ton of the fabric so it would have a good home.

I ordered a new slipcover for the Most Comfortable Sofa in the World, hopefully it will arrive in the next few weeks.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Kitchen details

I feel like all the agonizing over the details has paid off, I personally love this kitchen. This photos shows my 2 favorite items- the Kohler Vinnata faucet and the 2x9 carerra tiles. We went with polished nickel finishes on the faucet, the cabinet hardware and on the lights.

The cabinets were painted a bright white to stand out from the ginger-bread varying width maple floor. The floor turned out better than we had hoped, we were able to have a majority of the boards be wider than 5 inches.
The Atlantic Black granite slab we selected was just long enough to be cut in a way that didn't require a seam, which was a nice bonus.
This kitchen will definitely provide a great place to cook, gather, and eat for years, which is good, since now we can't afford to sell it!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kitchen. The End.

The kitchen has been completed.
The tile installer finished over the weekend and here are photos of the final kitchen.
To refresh your memory, here is Before:


And... (drum roll) here is the After:

You can click on any of these photos to see a larger image.

I am now pouring over a pile of receipts and paperwork to pull together the final numbers so I can tell you how far over-budget we went in a later post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Aside from the tile installer blowing us off for 2 days in a row, I'm still confident we will see the completion of the kitchen before we get a senior-citizen discount at the movies.

I met with the paint consultant today because I am totally insecure in my ability to chose paint colors. Cara spent about two hours with me today and we picked a group of paints for the entire first floor.

I feel great about the color Bristle for the kitchen and didn't understand why I can't just paint all the rooms that color, but Cara helped me find some other neutrals that I liked. Cara is big on browns, and I wanted to get away from the chocolate brown existing in the Living Room. In a startling change, I picked a blue-gray for the dining room to replace the bright red. I usually love a red dining room, but I'm looking for a change. We have no money or plans to paint any other room than the kitchen, but I like to have options.

So, the painters promise to come this week and I'm not losing hope the kitchen will be completed soon.

Note: all of these colors are C2 paints, except Sag Harbor Gray which is Benjamin Moore.

Monday, August 11, 2008

In the end it was quick

After months of agonizing about tile, we decided upon 2x9 carerra marble tiles, one of which can be seen above. This will match the marble counter on the island and its neutral so there's less of a chance we will regret an hour after installation.

It was ordered on Wednesday, we drove like maniacs on Saturday to pick it up before the store closed, and the tile installer is coming today!

Coming soon.. a plethora of paint-chips when the paint consultant arrives on Tuesday. The painters are scheduled for Wednesday.

In theory, the kitchen could be completed this week!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Finally the yard is useful

I pretended to be Martha today and went into my "garden" to pick flowers for a bouquet. The blooming bee balm, combined with the Alium that refused to grow upright, several hosta leaves and ferns has made a nice display, if I do say so myself!
Finally, watching home-shows non-stop on maternity leave is paying off!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

First runner up

We were waiting for friends to arrive with dinner, and frankly, we were tired. So when Beech-nut 1 said "I want someone to play with me.", we raised our fists to prepare for rock-paper-scissors. But inspiration struck Jeff and he looked at her and said "Do you want to get the broom and sweep the kitchen? You can use the Swiffer". BN1 replied with a cheerful "No, thank you." No matter what, we have taught that child good manners!

Jeff looked away while slyly mumbling "Yeah, I bet you don't know how." Ever my child, her competitive streak stirred "What? What did you say?" she demanded to know. Jeff repeated his statement adding for good measure "I think you're still too little."

That did it. Squaring her shoulders and giving her father a Them's-Fightin'-Words look: "I'm not too little! Give it to me! I know how to sweep, Daddy!"

And that's how Jeff lost the Father of the Year award...

But hey! Our kitchen floor looks good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Experiments with Moss

Here is the first of the "Growing moss in the yard under the Shade of a Beech Tree" experiments.

My mother generously spent time pouring over plants at the local nursery to discover they sold Gold Scotch Moss. She purchased 3 plants for us and Beech-nut 1 and I planted these today.

Find a good spot to plant.

We scientifically chose this location considering several key factors:
1. It is not in the path of foot traffic,
2. It is near a rock wall and there was a picture of a rock wall on the plant label,
3. It is in the shade,
4. My mom said it would be a good spot for the moss.

We dug a hole, weeded around the hole, planted the moss, and added water.

Now we play the waiting game.

The waiting game sucks. Let's play Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Its been a little slow at SOABT lately due to the newest Beech-nut being born 9 days early. Now that we're all home and healthy, we can move forward to complete the last few tasks left in the kitchen.

The trim around the windows and doors, the baseboards, and the final piece of crown molding was installed today. Due to the uneven nature of our walls and windows, it took our carpenter longer than expected to complete the work, but its now done and it looks amazing!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A little bit of happy

I know this is more of a house blog, but I saw this video yesterday and it made me happy. I highly recommend you watch it if you need a little sunshine in your day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Small projects accomplished!

As we get ready to welcome Beech-nut #2 (BN-2) to the family, I am starting to panic about the upcoming sleepless nights and the inability to have a coherent thought. My doctor yelled at me when I was dumb enough to complain that I feel sick after raking leaves and weeding. So instead, I'm trying to wrap up some craft projects before the chaos arrives.

Here are a few of the things I've managed to complete:
Shoes for BN-2

Shoes for BN-2. Sorry, this picture is slightly out of focus. Just squint while you look at it. Made from this pattern

Baby shoes

Shoes for a friend's baby boy.

Once upon a time Quilt from this book, for BN-1. The top is pieced together and I still need to figure out how to quilt it. But here it is on the floor in our bedroom. BN-1 is laughing, not crying...

Black apple doll for Genevieve
And finally, a Black Apple Doll for another friend's baby girl. BN-1 picked out all the fabrics. If you make one of these dolls, be prepared, the limbs are hard to turn-out, but its darn adorable.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What's the story, Morning Glory?

The morning glory was starting to climb up the rhododendron. It's the purple flowering thing shown in the middle of the photo. Although it is technically a weed, it was flowering. And, since most things I plant thank me by curling up and dying, I decided to encourage this little guy with a trellis.


I found this wood in the garage and it only took a little encouragement for Jeff to bust out the nail gun, and roughly 10 minutes later we had a trellis!

Trellis - after
Now look! I can grow a plant that actually will flower! Who cares that it's a weed? I am claiming victory!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Home Cure

I bought the Apartment Therapy book last year, right before the holidays with grand plans to get the house in order before my family came for Christmas.
Needless to say, one should never take on an 8-week home exorcism before the holidays. My efforts were defeated by the evil demon Clutter shortly before Thanksgiving, around Week 4. (The book warned me about this, so its not their fault. I didn't listen to their advice about when to start).

The photo above shows the After/Before (before shot is on the right) shots of the alcove where we usually pause, take off our shoes, coats, and drop our bags before we enter the kitchen.

We added a shoe rack and tried to be more diligent about getting the junk out of this area. The shoe rack was built using the tutorial on Not Martha, and I love it. It was really easy to put together, and if that window wasn't there, we'd have the racks going up as high as I can reach.

I have been thinking about this book again, and trying to use the lessons on clutter-control regarding building a "landing strip" near our kitchen. We desperately need a place to store the mail, a place to file, and a desk for the computer.

Something like this photo from Pottery Barn looks like it would solve all our problems, well, except for the price tag.

I plan to (make Jeff) move some furniture this weekend to see what we can salvage from our current belongings to create an "Oasis of Organization" in the kitchen. I'll post photos after the weekend.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Recent instant messenger exchange between the authors of SOABT

Jessie: I think you should update the blog about the termites.I have nothing to say that doesn't include how grumpy and pregnant I am. No one is going to want to read that
Jeffrey: here's what I want to write:
Jeffrey: Title: TERMITES!
Jeffrey: The End
Jessie: Fine. I'll write about the termites.

As part of the kitchen project we've included insulating / air-sealing the "Cold Room" in the basement. A little tip to anyone who's buying a house, open the fuse box and see how things are labeled. We looked at the house in the late summer and purchased in early fall. The house wasn't very cold in August, however on the fuse box there's a room labeled "Cold Room". I've never seen a fuse labeled more correctly. This section of the basement was previously uninsulated, walls and ceiling, and mostly covered with just barn board.

Jeff started in on the demo of the "Cold Room" to prepare for the Icynene installation with his trusty Fubar. It wasn't long before The House threw another surprise at us.

The sill between the foundation and the vertical studs holding up one wall of the house crumbled away and the majority of 3 of the studs had vanished. A frantic trip to the lumber store ensued to buy new supports to shore up the wall of our house.

We followed this up with a liberal application of Bora Care to make the house unattractive to termites in the future.

The depressing part about this: examination of another wall showed that there was also termite damage, but a previous owner had already repaired it. I don't recall anything in the seller's disclosure about termite damage...
Since my time machine is in the shop, I have no way to know if we would have bought the house knowing about termite damage, but I wish we'd known 3 years ago to start looking for it. I wonder how much damage we could have stopped just in that time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Garden in the shade

A consequence of living in the shade of a huge Copper Beech tree is the lack of lawn. Or more correctly, the lack of available nutrients/water/sunlight to grow any sort of lawn. The tree sucks up all the water and the dirt we have is just plain dusty. We did make an "effort" to add organic material back to the soil this year by not raking up our leaves last fall, so that might help this season.

After several years of trying to grow grass in the back yard, we have decided to give up, and start a new plan. I noticed this article on Apartment Therapy about growing moss and I think the new plans for the backyard are going to include a flagstone patio surrounded by moss and a play area for the kid(s) covered in playground mulch.

I wouldn't mind the backyard to look like this:

Moss seems pretty simple to plant. You just need to get some, grind it up in the blender, and add either beer or buttermilk to make a slurry, then spread it around wherever you want the moss to grow. I love the idea of gardening by blender. If it turns out that I can't grow glorified mold in my back yard, perhaps we should just mulch the entire backyard and call it a day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A boring post where I agonize over tile

I'm not in love with the blue tiles that I've seen so far and the plain white subway tiles seem so unimaginative.

Jeff and I went to Waterworks on Newbury Street this weekend to indulge in a little eye candy and then I saw this picture on Black Eiffel, and now I'm thinking about the back-splash with carerra marble tiles, to match the island.

I am sick of looking at tiles.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Installed water barrel

water barrel
Originally uploaded by screwtop
Some might think this is a little strange, but for Mother's Day a few years ago, I received a rain barrel. I'm sure not all new moms get excited about this kind of thing, but I'm not really a flowers and candy type of mom. This lovely rain barrel then spent over 2 years gathering rain on its own while it sat near the downspout. Every time it rained I would grumble about the "free" water we were missing out on. Jeff finally hooked it up for me this past weekend once I dug the "diverter" out of the basement.

Its supposed to rain tonight, so I have big plans of watering my flower beds (pictures to come after the weeds are pulled) this weekend with water captured from the roof.

If nothing else, this removes a tenured item from the to-do list!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A place to set your drink

The countertops are in! After watching 4 men struggle to get the large piece of granite for the counters and the slab for the island, I am very glad I do not have to install stone countertops for a living.

We went with a simple pencil edge on the top and a scant 1/4"radius on the corners to keep with the sharp square feeling of the cabinets. For anyone concerned with the IQ points sure to be lost by our preschooler when she inevitably smacks her head into the corner, we're confident she'll only do it once!

Friday, May 23, 2008


My samples arrived yesterday from Anchor Bay Tile. I choose 2 different blues of from Clayline Ceramic Subway Tiles:

And although I love the "Jeans" color, its a little too blue for the kitchen, and I think we're going to order the "New England" in a 3x6 Subway tile. Yes, plain-old-3x6 Subway Tiles, which my brother informs me is "So 2001". Its just not in the budget to get a custom size, but the color is a nice compromise.

Now that I have a tile I like, we can move forward with paint!

Thanks again to Steve at Anchor Bay Tile for informing me of his company.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Don't touch it. That's evil! *

When the main character in a horror movie decides to "just see" about that noise, you know they shouldn't do it. You practically scream it in the darkened theater. "Don't open that door!" you yell. You know nothing good is on the other side. Yet you are helpless to stop them.

Thats how I felt when I was in the yard Sunday afternoon. Happily minding my own business. Just pulling some weeds and thinking garden thoughts. When out of the corner of my eye I see Jeff staring at the corner of the roof. He gets the big ladder from the garage. He mumbles that he "just wants to see" about that part of the roof that looks rotted. In the infinite wisdom of my preschooler, we see with our eyes - not our Fubars! As Jeff climbed the ladder with his implement of destruction, I wanted to shout out "Don't touch it! Its after 3 on Sunday! You'll never be able to fix it in time!" But he didn't hear me. He poked, prodded, and ultimately took apart half the support that holds the giant gutter that keeps our entire basement dry.

Fast forward to an hour later when the sky has filled with ominous clouds and small drops of rain are sprinkling down. Jeff is frantically looking for a staple gun with which to nail a plastic tarp in place muttering "how am I going to do this?".

DIY-enthusiasts and Horror Movie Casualties, they just never listen.

This photo shows the plastic and duct tape covering the gaping bottom of the support of the roof valley between the main house and the addition. The jumbo-sized gutter was recently added as a measure to control the flow of water over the gutter, which was causing the rot in the first place. The 3/4 inch plywood sides have rotted down to less than 1/4", so Jeff isn't exactly sure how to attach a new "bottom".

*From "Time Bandits", one of my favorite movies

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lessons Learned, Week 8

The countertop people came to measure and do the countertop/island templates last week, so (fingers crossed) the countertops should be in this week, and then the Plumber and Electrician can complete the hook-ups to the appliances. Once that's done, we'll have a working kitchen, possibly by the Memorial Day weekend!

I am not going to update the project plan again, since the remainder of the work after this week will be tile and paint, and since we've stretched the budget to the max, we will likely take the DIY approach to these tasks.

I did get a comment from Steve who led me to Anchor Bay Tile, where I ordered some samples. From what I saw on their website, I think I will be able to find the tile I want within budget! Which goes to show, never rush a decision. Mom, to clarify, that statement does not mean take 25+ years to select tile, just take a few weeks.

I have had to place additional orders for cabinet hardware, which I'm sure means I've spent more than planned on shipping costs, but the lesson here is to carefully count the number of knobs/latches/pulls and have someone else confirm it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gross Negligence

As we turned our eyes to the kitchen we neglected a very important member of our family, The Deck.

Alas, we were saved by the arrival of my parents, who's primary intention was to visit with the eldest grandchild. However, my father is an expert power washer operator and unable to resist the call.

My father removed several layers of "grossness" under the watchful eye of my mother, who made sure he didn't get to close with the sprayer and "raise the grain". If he had she would have "raised the hell". 2 hours later, everything that was within reach of the hose had been power washed. It looks AMAZING!

However, they were not done. A few text messages, initiated by my Father, while I was in a meeting and my father was off to Lowes to get some mildew killer/remover/preventer stuff.

So I'd like to give a huge "THANK YOU" to my folks who have saved us countless hours of washing and explaining to the 3.5 year old why she can't be on the deck. We've also been able to spread out "Temp Kitchen" out onto the clean deck.

Next Steps, protect it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Project Plan, Week 7

This plan not only shows the slippage in our kitchen project, but also the areas where I hate to make a decision quickly.

We still haven't picked out a tile, but are getting much closer. I want a subway tile, but in a less-standard size, like 2x6 or 1x4. I want them in a blue-gray color. Unfortunately this means a handmade size, which translates into "Over Budget" in layman's terms. I'm holding out hope that I can get them for only "double-over-budget", since Jeff has warned me that "quadruple-over-budget" is not an option. But, in the scheme of things, the kitchen can be working without the tiled backsplash, so I'm not in a rush to order the tiles.

Similar to the tile problem, I can't decide on a paint color, and will likley need to talk to the local Color Consultant at Benjamin Moore to get a some good suggestions and to make me feel better about my choice. I do like Bone White from Benjamin Moore and I think a neutral off-white color will keep the kitchen feeling crisp and airy, and this color will help it feel a little warmer too.
Bone White:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Under my feet

Kitchen Floor Installed
Originally uploaded by screwtop
The shiny new maple flooring went in yesterday! The installers had just enough to put the planks under the appliances with a little bit left over.

Don't be surprised if you have to remove your shoes and are subject to a foot-inspection before being allowed to walk through our kitchen!

This photo shows the above-cabinet lights turned on so you can bask in the glory of the reflection on the floor.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Kitchen Cabinets installed

Kitchen Cabinets installed
Originally uploaded by screwtop
Yesterday the cabinets were installed, and the lights in the top glass cabinets were hooked up. Its finally coming together. There were some small measurement issues mostly due to our walls being slightly uneven, but the installer was able to shave a 1/4 of an inch to move the refridgerator to the left to hide the out-of-whackness of the walls.
The island still needs to go in, but that will be installed after the wood flooring goes in, hopefully by Friday!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A note to my brother

Dear Forrest,

Thank you for your less-than-constructive criticism of our posting habits. The staff here at SOABT have taken your comments into consideration and we have added a "Google Widget" to the side bar. Please immediately add this to your Google homepage so you never miss a post.

In the future, your concerns will be processed in a more timely manner when they are not accompanied by high-pitched whining and colorless insults.

Have a nice day, and thank you for your support of our blog.

Shade of a Beech Tree


The plasterers finished putting in the walls and ceilings! Everything is starting to come together and we might actually pull this off!
This post is a little delayed due to my vacation to LA last weekend, but rest assured, the Zipwall was still in place when this work was going on.
Other improvements seen in the panormamic photo: recessed lighting, leveled floor, and a new sliding door to the side patio. Click on the photo for a larger view.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Project Plan, Week 5

We made great progress last week. The floor was leveled, the walls are on, and now the lights and electrical outlets are all working again.

The pendants we purchased finally arrived. If you have any lighting needs, the people at The Lighting Showcase in Shrewsbury, MA were very knowledgeable and helpful and can help with everything.

The cabinets are scheduled to be installed this week on Thursday. The flooring is to be delivered today.

I still need to figure out tile, but I don't want to rush this decision, and I'm sick of looking, so that will come later.

The plan has slipped about a week, but in the scheme of things, I'm not unhappy about this, most of it was due to extra work to reinforce the structure, deal with termite damage, and realizing too late that we should replace the windows. All the things I had recognized as risks to begin with, and I'm chalking it up to a learning experience.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Today was another big step for us. The "Zip Wall" has been tremendous at fighting back the dust on a daily basis. However, the blue board is up! the walls are plastered and we are 87.2% dust free! So I've taken down the zip wall. I am willing to accept the risk of being premature, because opening up the "temp kitchen" space feels good. Jessie was in LA so there was no logic around to stop me. The wall is down and the West has won!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cooking without a kitchen

When we redid the kitchen in our old condo a few years ago, we were still living that wonderful dream called Childless Marriage, and it didn't matter that we couldn't cook at home, we'd just grab a burger and a beer at the Irish bar around the corner or a slice of pizza for dinner.
Now that we live in the suburbs and have a preschooler, dinner requires a little more thought and planning.
Here are my 2 favorite meals for cooking quickly without a stove or a sink:

Grilled Pizzas:
1 large Boboli
1 packet boboli pizza sauce (usually right next to the crusts in the bread aisle)
Shredded mozzarella Cheese

Have your daughter assemble the pizza ignoring the fact that she eats all the cheese off the pizza, adding any other toppings she'll tolerate.

Put on a 350 degree grill. Let it bake for 10 mins until the cheese is melted.
Also- for an adult version: I like to do one without sauce, but with veggies, garlic, olive oil and goat cheese.

I have done this in the past with pizza dough, which is nice if you want to impress guests with a “flatbread” type of pizza, but for a weeknight, its all about the boboli.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(from the Martha Stewart Every Day Food magazine)

Chicken breasts
Boston Lettuce
Red onion, thinly sliced
Shredded carrots
thinly sliced Sweet peppers (any color, I like the red ones)
Plum Sauce
Rice (Uncle Bens makes a decent 90-second microwave in the package version. Love it.)

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and cook covered in the microwave for about 5 mins until done. Take it out and cut it into small slices.

Wash lettuce leaves, leaving them whole
Cut up the peppers and onion into thin slices
Put all the ingredients out on little bowls
Use the lettuce leaf like a tortilla and add some plum sauce, chicken, and veggies. Roll up and eat. Have rice as a side dish.

All meals should be followed with ice cream novelties that can be eaten without creating dirty dishes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Icynene, I think I love you

Big day last Friday: INSULATION!

You may have looked at earlier photos and thought "Wow, they are good at cleaning up that old insulation. I see nary a shred of it anywhere." You would have missed the point that there was No. Insulation. Anywhere. That explains why the kitchen was always so cold.

So, we had the nice people from March & Martin come on Friday and spray the walls with Icynene insulation. It feels warmer already. The photo above shows the state of the kitchen after the foam was sprayed on and before they finished scraping it down to be even with the walls.

I am hoping for a cold winter this year!


Related Posts with Thumbnails