Tuesday, February 19, 2013


We've been chugging along on the living room remodel.  The plasterers came yesterday and the walls look great!  Hubby has been threatened to within an inch of his life if he puts a scratch or dent in our new walls!!

Now that we've completed that fun task, it's time to move onto fixing some of the problems.

Problem # 1
When we took the wall down between the two rooms, it left a space in the floor on either side where we'll have to fill in with wood, since we'll be pulling up those lovely carpets and restoring the hardwood underneath.

We bought the wood last night.  It's certainly not going to look like there was never anything there, but we'll piece it in as well as we can, then sand it with the rest of the floor and put lots of polyurethane on it.

Problem # 2

Same thing with the ceiling.   There's a beam where the wall used to be.   We're planning on covering it up with a nice piece of wood and some molding.

Problem # 3

The chimney sticks out into the room.  We originally thought we'd be able to leave the chimney exposed and it would give some character to the room.  And then we took down the wall around it, and found that a lovely gray metal heating duct ran up the length of it.

So our second plan was to find some paneling that looks like bricks and put that up around it.  Until we went to the store and saw the paneling and.......well........it looks like paneling!  We then started looking into alternatives.   Believe it or not, there is wallpaper that looks like brick.  But again...well, you know.

And then I found "thin brick".   It comes on a mesh sheet:

It's real brick - about 1/4 of the thickness of a real brick.  You paste it onto the wall and then put grout in the cracks, so it looks like a real brick wall.  However,  it's going to cost about $650 to do that small area.   

So problem # 4 is that neither Hubby nor I will be satisfied with cheap looking paneling or wallpaper.   Looks like we'll be spending a fortune on faux bricks.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Riding the Merry-Go-Round

February is the longest month.  I know there's only 28 days, but everyone who lives in New England knows it's the longest month.   I'm so looking forward to this month being over.  Here's why:

1.  We are in the middle of a renovation project that has taken over most of the house.  There is dirt, dust and junk everywhere.  I'm not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination, but the constant mess and clutter is driving me crazy.  

2.  My Dad was in the hospital for almost a week with heart problems.   Luckily, he's doing well and home now, but that kind of thing is always stressful.

3.  Hubby's car died.  We are now going to be looking for a new car for him.  I hate car shopping more than I hate regular shopping.

4.  My car took two hits.  The first one....I hit a tire (with rim) that was just sitting in the middle of the road.  I knew I  hit it, and thought I'd escaped without damage.  Until Hubby noted that the part of the car under the front bumper was all broken.  The second one.....some guy rear-ended me as I was leaving work early because of the snow storm.  Again, not much damage, but stressful.

5.  We had a huge blizzard.  2 1/2 feet of snow.

6.  Hubby was sick with a cold for 2 weeks.  He sweetly passed it on to me.  I haven't had a cold in about 3 years.

So let's try and look at the bright side, shall we?

1.  When the renovation project is done, it's going to be beautiful and allow us to have a big enough living room for parties and jams.

2.  My Dad is doing well and kept up a great attitude through the whole process.

3.  Hubby will have a better car that runs without sounding like a tank.

4.  The insurance company is going to pay out on the second accident.  Since it's just cosmetic damage, and I don't really care how the car looks, we'll bank that money.

5.  Hmmmm...this one's a toughy.   I guess we can say that the children got a chance to see what a big snowstorm is like and have some fun?    (I know that's stretching it a bit.)

6.  There's nothing good to say about being sick.

March 1 cannot come soon enough.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Blizzard of 2013

From the safety of the house

Ready to shovel

Our front walkway is where?

About three feet at the end of the walkway

Those snowbanks would be good to build snow forts

What cars?

Our street

Hubby worked hard to get that car out.

After the storm

Monday, February 4, 2013

Whose Stupid Idea Was This, Anyway?

It all started innocently enough.  Last summer, we decided to have a "campfire jam".  Invite a bunch of musical friends over and sing songs around the campfire.  The driving rainstorm forced us indoors - into our nice big double living room.  But I found myself wishing that the archway between the two rooms wasn't there, since you couldn't see the people who were in the other room.

And that got me to thinking about how much I disliked the brown '70's paneling.   "How about" I said innocently enough, "we take down that partial wall and make one big room and take down the paneling?"

And that's where it began.  The paneling covered plaster.  If we take the paneling off, the plaster will be a mess.  We called Hubby's construction worker cousin over to check and make sure the wall wasn't a bearing wall.  It wasn't but her recommended we take the plaster down too, and put up sheet rock.  And hey, if you're going to do that, you might as well pull down the lathes and put some insulation back there.

On top of that, let's put in some new electrical outlets cause, let's face it, one outlet in each room just wasn't enough.  So Hubby has spent the last month putting in new outlets and trying to untangle the bizarre maze of electrical lines that people have spent the past 100 years creating in our basement.

Finally it was time to start ripping down paneling.  Hubby did that himself.

I foolishly said I wanted to be involved, so I got to do this:

It took us a whole day to rip down all the plaster.  The mess was just incredible.  Another whole day we and my daughter Jamie spent ripping down lathes and scooping up black, blown-in insulation.

The plastic did no good whatsoever.  We had plaster dust everywhere. I spent the good part of a third day cleaning up the house.     We ended out with twice as many bags of debris as is shown here.

It's been a real learning experience (as well as an expense I didn't anticipate) to get rid of it all.

The only thing we haven't done yet is get rid of the middle wall!!

Now we get to enjoy our living room looking like this. (I don't know if you can see it, but that's a super-large bottle of ibuprofen on the coffee table.  Our bodies need it so bad!)

Hopefully soon, we'll have Hubby's cousin come over and put up the sheetrock for us.  That's the only thing we are paying someone to come in and do.   After that the molding, painting and floors are projects we get to anticipate!