February 24, 2013

From Janelle:

Well, almost.

Our ugly 80’s used brick fireplace has been transformed.  Hallalujia!! As of Friday, the most amazing hearth is floating above our bare concrete floors.  Of course I’m biased but after months and months of this, you gotta look on the bright side, right?

We saw a sample in the DeLorenzo Marble and Tile showroom and were disappointed to find that they no longer carried that particular stone but they were able to find a piece of the Brazilian “Infinity Quartzite” at a nearby yard.  DeLorenzo Marble removed the shiny surface with wire brushes in a process called “leathering” so that the softer parts of the stone is removed down to a particular tolerance and the harder materials project leaving a wonderful textured surface.

I love it and can’t wait until the tile is installed.  Our Construction Project is actually starting to look like a house. I’m getting excited!

Progress.  Progress. Progress.

From Lewis:

We were very lucky to find the piece and when it was finished it matched exactly what we thought it would look like.  I wasn’t sure about the tile that will go on the back of the fireplace when it was chosen but now that I see it all together it looks great.  Good job Dream Team.

From Janelle:

Glad that you trusted my vision!

Hearth with tile

Hearth with tile

Bye bye ugly brick fireplace

Bye bye ugly brick fireplace

Code Blue Lighting Emergency!!

February 17, 2013

The bathroom sconce boxes have been installed and the tile guy will be back to finish up installing the glass tile tomorrow.  I’ve decided not to use the sconces I purchased 5 (no make that 6!) years ago.  I tried but I am just over them.  Everything else that I purchased then will be used so I don’t think that’s too bad.

My assignment for today was to choose new sconces.  Yes, I know, I should have done it sooner.  I know, I know, I know.  And I hate unnecessary pressure but here we are.  The tile guy will be here tomorrow.  I must choose.  I just fell in love with amazing Jonathan Adlers but Lewis is adamant that they are too big.  We will see tomorrow but if they won’t work then I have to make another choice.

So, what do you think?  Click here on my Pinterest site and pick one.  It’s hard to choose just one, right?

Robert Abbey Jonathan Adler Lantern White Wall SconceMy favorite but is it too big??

  • Extends 4-inches from the wall.
  • 12 1/2-inches wide.
  • 27-inches high.

It’s really for a bedroom but it could be oversized and rad, right?

Love is Overrated

February 17, 2013

From Janelle:

For the past fifteen years or so we’ve forgone the fancy, overpriced, overhyped and gastronomically unsatisfying dining event called Valentine’s Day.  As usual one year we had reservations for a prix fix menu meal and had planned to dress up for an evening out but I called Lewis that afternoon and asked if he minded if we ate in instead.

When I arrived home from work and walked in the side door I saw him nicely dressed and in an apron working furiously over a hot stove.  He asked that change into a dress and meet him in the living room.  I put on a slinky short Betsy Johnson red dress and obliged, stepped through the doorway and was floored . He had set up a card table in front of the fire place with table cloth, candles, and my favorite, tulips.   It was then that our Valentine tradition began.  I was determined to continue that tradition this year and order take out to enjoy in front of our fireplace but construction is really moving now and the dust bowl that is our living room is no place for a meal.

We had waited too long to make reservations so we decided to wing it and hit a tiny Italian bistro within walking distance.  As expected there was almost an hour wait and we found solace in a bar across the street.  Dinner and of course the company was perfect but I can’t wait for our tradition to resume in front of our new fireplace next year.

From Lewis:

Yeah, Valentine’s Day is a lot of hype.  It is definitely a night we don’t really need to eat out and hope to sit down before 9:00 and not have an overpriced preset menu since we do a lot of fine dining the rest of the year.  It is nicer to hang at home.  We had high hopes of roughing it in the construction zone but production was in full swing this week and  there was too much dust and stuff in the way.  I was looking forward to that dress tossed on the floor again but I don’t think Janelle should be walking around in stilettos in the construction zone.







Who Built This House?

February 10, 2013

From Janelle:

When we bought our 80’s Ugly house (built in 1982) we bought it because of the location and the good bones.  The house was steeped in dark oak and beige, two things that are very un-me.  The house seemed to be well built; exposed wood beams were sizable, the beige carpet in good shape, the wood banister hefty and every cabinet in the house, while ugly, was high quality.  We were dismayed to discover shoddy construction.

When we converted an upstairs bathroom into a half bath/laundry room last year we discovered that someone had cut a horizontal line through the vertical beams supporting the house to run water lines.  That meant that the top of the roof line in the room was supported by, get this, nothing.

Since we are physically moving the kitchen from the back of the house into a more prominent position in the new great room

Kitchen has moved into the space in the forefront and the supporting wall is now gone

Kitchen has moved into the space in the forefront and the supporting wall is now gone

we had to move the main kitchen sewer line.  It was then that we learned that the center piling that supported the house was held up by, wait for this, nothing.  As described in “Cast-in-place concrete piles are made by driving a cylindrical shell into the ground to the desired depth and then filling the shell with liquid concrete. The shell doesn’t contribute to load bearing capacity but provides a hole in order to make the concrete pile. …conditions must be favorable as the concrete must be able to harden in the form.”  Obviously in our situation, conditions weren’t “favorable”.  The “bag” that was used as a “shell” either moved or wasn’t positioned properly so the piling that should have been supported by a concrete block was supported on wait again, nothing.  Every day for a week or so when I left for work I’d look down into a hole at a guy and ask “Are you still digging?”  He’d laugh and keep shoveling.  We pumped in more concrete and voilà, a main buttress actually supported on….something.


In order to remove a supporting wall we had to jack hammer through the foundation (Lewis can explain that one) but there was not one but two foundations to tunnel through.  Apparently when the house was built over a 1950’s bungalow an additional slab was poured.

When we opened up the back walls to install the new sliding doors and windows Contractor Don pointed out that the headers were not the same size and that it would look odd if they didn’t match.  He recommended that one be replaced, we concurred and the windows are now symmetrical.

After months of digging to China, chasing wires to figure out what they led to (that is another story for another time), re-plumbing and rewiring the entire house and a slow down over the holidays we are back on track and moving along .  We may even have the drywall finished next week.  Progress.


From Lewis:

The story is the same with almost anyone who has done a remodel, you never know what you will find once you start looking. Sometimes I think it would have been easier and faster to start from scratch. Anyway we knew there would be a lot of work needed once we started changing the structural components of the house. And it was five holes dug in the house and a trench.

What is wrong with your house?  How well was your house built?

What Door Drama?

February 3, 2013

At long last, the door handle has been installed.  What do you think, do I LOVE it or cringe when I see it?

Front door with handle

Front door with handle

camino times two

walking together on the way of saint james

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