Laundry Room Progress and Our First Tile Job

The last couple of weekends have been a race to get the laundry room finished.

Just so you have an idea of what we were working with, here’s a before pic:

I know, it’s extremely icky.  The hallway led into the master bedroom, and on the left was the laundry closet with broken louver doors, LOTS of dirt and grime, broken vinyl tiles, and “popcorn” texture ceiling.

After scraping the ceilings, removing the tile, and taking out the closet frame, we decided to close off the doorway to the master bedroom and enlarge the laundry closet to make a laundry ROOM.

The master bedroom is also being enlarged and there will be a different entrance to it, so we didn’t need the current doorway.  Also, removing the doorway allows us to enlarge the master bath.

This meant that Chris and his dad (aka Jamie, our secret weapon) spent the last couple of weekends rerouting the plumbing, moving the water heater, putting in faucets for the washer/dryer and laundry room sink, as well as new drains.  They also had to move the attic trapdoor so that it would be right in the center of the laundry room (instead of half in the master bedroom).  They framed in the new attic trapdoor as well as a new “plumbing” wall.

Chris got to work with a blowtorch, which was fun and very manly/sexy.

After the plumbing was done and the new wall framed, it still wasn’t looking pretty, but you could definitely visualize the new laundry “room”.

We got right to work tiling the concrete floor.

We thought the laundry room would be a good place for us to do our first tiling job, since if we mess up, at least it’s not a room a lot of guests will see.  Even as novice tilers, though, we found that tiling wasn’t very difficult.  Of course, having Chris’ dad as a teacher helped a lot.

First Chris and Jamie chalked out a line on the bare concrete floor, that was squared with the walls and would act as a guideline.  Then Chris applied the thinset, scraping it against the concrete floor to ensure that it adhered well.  Then, he evened it out with a notched trowel:

Then he laid the tile up against the already-set tiles.  I handed him a few plastic spacers, and he used the spacers to push the tile out with 1/8″ space for grout.

He pressed the tiles down with a scrap 2×4 to level them all out evenly.

The tiles on the sides of the room had to be cut, so Chris measured them out using another tile as a guide, and marked them with a tile marker.

Chris’ dad already had the tile saw, so Chris got to play with another cool new tool.  I’m happy to say, we did not ruin even one piece of tile!

The tiles along the sides were applied with the same principles as the whole tiles, except with a smaller notched trowel.

Coming up next time, the fully tiled floor and our next project, installing the drywall in the laundry room!  I’m looking forward to the ceiling being finished so cold air doesn’t keep blowing into the house through the attic!  Finishing the laundry room will effectively seal off half of the house from cold air and construction dust/debris from the master bedroom, which is a top priority for us with the baby coming so soon.

6 weeks left till D-day! Oh my.

 

Cheap and Stylish Checks

Chris and I have been looking into ordering new checks, something we’ve kept putting off because we just moved and we wanted to get new checks printed with our new address.

Chris, by the way, is the king of deals, and can be found at all hours of the day scouring DealNews for the latest deals.  It amazes me sometimes.  It’s a special talent he has.

Anyway, he found this offer for new customers at ChecksintheMail.com.  It’s just $5 for a box of 125 checks if you use the code BESTOFFER!  Shipped!  The cool thing is, they actually have some cute designs.  Check ’em out. (And I am not being compensated in any way by ChecksintheMail, I just think the checks are cute.)  Click on the check image to go to the site.

Botanical Checks

Sassy Stripes Checks

Island Tropics Checks

Bird Song Checks

Modelli Checks

We went with the Modelli checks because they were a little less girly than the others, and I felt bad making Chris write girly checks.  They’re still stylish though.  For five buckaroonies, it’s a great deal!

Doesn’t it make you feel good to know that even something as mundane as your checks are cute too?

Art for My Little Dragon Girl

My mom says everyone wants their daughter to be born in the year of the dragon — it’s especially lucky.  According to tradition, the dragon is the mightiest zodiac sign, and people born under this sign are passionate, driven, and ambitious.  My mom says my daughter will be a “Little Dragon Girl”, a famous hero in Chinese legends.

All that may be, but I really just want to get this cute dragon print for baby’s nursery:

Via Crowsmack on Etsy

I just think it will look so cute in the nursery, and at $12 for a 9×12 inch silkscreen print is pretty affordable.  And The Hobbit is one of my favorite books.  But Chris doesn’t really like me buying art online because he says I should just make some original art instead.  So I’m torn.  Should I get it?

Guest Room Progress

Even though the guest room is, like most of the rooms in our casa, still a work in progress, it’s fun to see how far it has come since the day we got the keys.

The room is just a 10×9 foot box, and it seemed even smaller because of the unfinished pine wainscoting that lined the room.

The wainscoting was pretty old, and it had several pieces of trim and molding missing.  It also had a lot of paint and plaster splotches that had absorbed into the unfinished wood.  After briefly considering either a) removing the wainscoting all together and replastering the walls or b) staining the wood a darker color, we decided it would be easiest to simply paint all of the wood semi-gloss white.

I know some people think it’s a crime to paint wood, but c’mon.  These pine boards were in pretty bad shape, and it would have been next to impossible to find matching pine to replace the missing pieces of trim (the pine was at least 20 years old and had aged to a different color than new wood).  The splashes of paint and plaster would have been awful to scrub/sand off.  And under the window, an entire row of boards needed to be replaced in order to bring the wainscoting up to the level of the windowframe:

Painting all of the wainscoting white made it so much easier to cut new boards to frame the window, router new pieces of trim, and open up the small space so it looked a LOT more spacious.  Here’s the after:

The top part of the window was replastered, and new boards were cut for the bottom.  Chris and his dad routered new trim for the windowframe, and new trim to finish off other parts of the room, using leftover pieces of pine that had been salvaged from other parts of the house.  The plastered walls got a new coat of creamy paint.

We moved our bed and our cheap RAST chests from IKEA (refinished in IKEA red stain) into the room, and are sleeping in this room for the time being until the master bedroom is done.  But do you see how the white wainscoting looks fresher, cleaner, and more Anne-of-Green-Gables-y?

The bohemian tab curtains were sewed by me from discount fabric I bought over a year ago at $1 a yard — they’re the first curtains I’ve ever made and I’m pretty impressed that they look decent.  Although next time, I might not bother with tabs but buy clip-on curtain rings instead.

We took the old folding doors off the closet and repainted them, but we haven’t reattached them yet.  The inside of the closet was lined with unfinished pine boards too, that had collected a LOT of dust and dirt over the years.  We cleaned and painted the closet walls white to make the closet feel fresh and clean, but stained the boards on the floor with Minwax Special Walnut and finished them off with a coat of polyurethane.  The closet floor doesn’t match the oak laminate we put in the room, but it actually looks really good in person.  In fact, this closet may be one of my favorite parts of the house right now.

Having the dirty laundry basket in the corner of the closet has been AWESOME!  Chris actually puts his dirty laundry into it now!  Who knew all it took was strategic hamper placement?

There are still a few pieces of trim missing and we need to get some T-pieces to fill in the gaps between the different kinds of flooring, but this room is definitely livable now.

Happy Year of the Dragon

We hosted our first event at our new house last night for Chinese New Year’s Eve.  And we’re happy to announce that our little breakfast nook seats six!  Maybe someday we’ll have a formal dining area that can seat more than six (I’ve got my eye on you, living/dining room, but you’re not the first priority right now), but in the meantime it’s good to know we can still entertain.

Chris’ family came over to eat the Chinese New Year’s feast with us and we had a grand ol’ time.  Funny enough, Chris and his dad were working on plumbing all day so I had to cook the entire meal without running water (except for the last 15 minutes — they finished just in time to eat!).  I had to make do with several pots and pans full of water.

CNY Dinner

Kung pao chicken, Chinese tea eggs, braised mushrooms on baby bok choy, fried radish cake and smashed cucumber salad…

This little guy was swimming around just a few hours ago…

And we also had sticky soy pork ribs, not pictured.

Afterwards we sat around by the fireplace, peeled tangerines, drank tea, and had dessert.

This is what our family room looks like now:

It’s starting to feel a bit more like a home, although it still needs work.  I want to repaint those bland beige walls at some point, but that will probably have to wait.  The fireplace mantel needs to be repainted and I need to figure out something for the mantel.  I’m thinking a mirror.  I thought about maybe a sunburst mirror but they’re so trendy and I’m just not that into trendy.  The bronze sconces have to go.

The wooden bench is something we found at Goodwill last year and we haven’t quite decided what to do with it yet.  It’s a nice place to sit in front of the fire, so we might make a long bench cushion for it to make it more comfortable.

We found the 8×10′ rug at Costco!  It’s actually an indoor-outdoor rug so it’s not really soft and cushy, but it should be durable and it only cost $80!  It really makes the room so much homier.

Hmm…I went off on a tangent there. Oh well, you follow me, right?

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