Monday, February 4, 2008

A Year of Projects

After we moved into our condo in August 2006 Sarah and I immediately started to think of everything we could do to really make this place our own.


Of course we decided that we should paint.  The paint that came with our place was this horrible cheap commercial grade junk that Anna ruined the first time she threw her bowl of mashed peas on the ground.  Before we could paint though, I had to go through and fix the 500 or so imperfections in the wall.  Sarah marked them all with blue tape (the small marks on the wall behind Anna.)


Since it's best to let the place air out a lot during and after painting we had to wait until Winter was over to paint. So, on April 24, even though it was still cold outside we started our home remodeling adventure.


At first things didn't go so well.  We bought some primer to put on before we actually painted anything with real color.  That was tough.  It took me 4 hours to put primer on the ceiling.  I was so tired after the first night, that I didn't know how I would get through putting the paint on the next night.  Luckily for me, Sarah painted the ceiling while I was at work and that was much easier than planned. 


So, with the ceiling painted, we set out to get the main room + hallway done.  I had a friend coming over to help us Saturday morning, so we had to get everything primed before then.  And once again, priming was not fun.  I don't know how long it took to prime that area, but it was a while.  And then Friday night, just before midnight our power went out.  I called the Power Company to tell them it was out.  They asked if the power was out to the whole building or what.  So, I did some hunting around.  It turned out that someone had thrown the breakers for a couple of the condos in our building, including ours.  We got the power on, but we were too tired to finish up that evening.  I got up bright and early Saturday morning to finish priming. 



I didn't mind painting (too much, once), but I'm not a big fan of picking out colors. So, Sarah picked them all out. And I'm fine with that. We bought all the paint in February when Home Depot was having a $5 off coupon on gallons of paint, but that meant we didn't really get to see the colors until we started painting 2 months later. That proved to be a problem since the Apple Crisp paint looked a little too much like Pumpkin Pie. So, off to Home Depot Sarah went to find another complementary color.


Anna had a great time during all of this. She loved to climb up on the step stool and to even lean over the paint bucket. We're just lucky she didn't fall in!


It was really nice that the paint went on so easily. During the day we managed to paint all of the hallway and main room twice. At the end of the day we treated ourselves at Red Robin.



So, with painting done, in two areas at least, it was on to the next project

Laminate flooring

As was the case with the cheap wall paint, the cheap carpet was dirtied by Anna in about 2 weeks.  One thing that both Sarah and I don't like is having carpet under dining tables.  Too  many things get spilled and dropped.  We like clean up to be quick and easy so the carpet had to go. 

We have one big main room, that we have kind of divided into two different areas, dining and sitting.  I would have liked to only put new flooring in the area that we deemed our dining room, but it just wouldn't fit very well.  The entry into our condo makes it hard, and doesn't line up with anything, so we would have had weird lines.  I also don't cut arcs, so making nice curvy lines was out of the question. 

We chose Saturday June 16, 2007 as the day to lay the floor.  During the week prior we pulled off all the baseboards (that would need to put back on at a lower level later), pulled up the laminate in the kitchen and the carpet in the main room, and pulled the kitchen stove, and fridge out (that was a feat.)  I had asked multiple people to come help me.  My friend John, who helped us paint, came.  That turned out to be really good since he used to put flooring in with his dad.  Two other friends came too.  Anna wasn't doing so well around the noisy saws and vacuums so she and Sarah went out while we were working, at least at first (the project turned out to take longer than I was expecting.) 

We started on the right hand wall that you can see in the picture and just worked our way across the room.  By 2 PM all my help was gone and we had made it to the last row before finishing the fireplace, so we had done about 7 rows.  Then I was on my own.  Sarah came back and helped my put the large rows in place after I finished cutting them.  Around 10 PM we decided that we should be done for the evening.  There were only 5 rows to go too.  I was so close. 

I ended up just going into work late on Monday and finishing then.   Here is Anna standing on our new floor.


After doing the main room, Sarah and I decided that we wanted to do the hallway too.  So, I got to spend my next Saturday doing the hallway.  It took me most of the day, but by the end of the day, it was done. 

This picture was taken much later (the base boards are on), but it is of the end of the hallway where Anna has all her toys.



We still needed to paint the rest of the house, so we chose July to do that.  On the cans of paint there is an interesting warning that reads:  This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.  We were lucky we live in Washington, but just to be safe we decided Sarah, who was 6 months pregnant and Anna should go to Utah for a week while I stay at home at paint.  I was very thrilled about this.  I just love staying home by myself with all the bedrooms cleared out so that I could paint.  Ok, it wasn't that great.  But, at least I got everything painted before driving down to Utah, also by myself, to spend a week out of the fumes.  I painted the master bedroom, Anna's bedroom and the office, which is now Mariah's bedroom.  I did have a friend, John (he helps a lot), come to help, so thankfully I didn't have to do it all by myself. 


Here is the color in Anna's room.


Here is the office (Mariah's new bedroom.)


And this is the master bedroom


So far all of the work has gone pretty good. No huge mistakes, or problems. I guess we were just biding our time and waiting for the:

Adventure of the Baseboards

We took the baseboards off in June and it's now September.  Yeah, I did paint three more bedrooms between doing the laminate and putting the baseboards back on, but having the bottoms of the walls in our main room and hallway be really ugly was getting old.  It was time to put the back on.

Putting the baseboards back on was a multi-day multi-step job.  For starters, we didn't really put the baseboards back on.  We put new baseboards on, which meant I had to cut new baseboards.  I would like to thank Josh at this time for letting me use his saw.

Next, I had to figure out how to get them to stick to the wall.  Ok, it wasn't really as bad as that.  Of course I knew you used nails, but what size and how do you do it.  The easiest way, of course is to use a nail gun and an air compressor neither of which I owned.  We bought a nail set and some nails to go with it.  After about 2 minutes of use though, I decided it wasn't happening.  Either I was using a air compressor/nail gun combo, or else they weren't going on.  Well, the second wasn't viable so we started looking into the first.  We checked out rental prices at home depot, but soon came to the conclusion that we should just buy what we needed. 

So far, with all of our projects we have been about 1/3 to 1/2 over budget.  We always seem to leave out the tools that we have to buy.  I wasn't really looking forward to spending a bunch of money on an air compressor, but at the same time I'm, not a fan of junk, so I did a bunch of looking around and what we should buy.  I settled on a small model made buy De Walt.  The problem, or course, is that you can't us De Walt and inexpensive in the same sentence.  Thank goodness for eBay and my dad.  I ended up buying two air compressors one of which came in a set with two nail guns.  I kept the air compressor not from the set and the two nail guns, and sold the other air compressor to my dad.



So, now that I had an air compressor, it was time to get to work.   The nail gun made quick work of the baseboards.  I put everything on in the hallway in about 20 minutes.  But, then came the hiss.  Only I could hear it so I assumed it was the air compressor.  Nope.  I had to pull one of the baseboards back off because I didn't put it on low enough.  In pulling the baseboard pack off I learned very quickly what that hiss was.  A water pipe with a hole the size of a 16 penny nail.  So much for getting the baseboards on.


The worst thing about hitting the pipe, besides having all the skin on the tops of my thumbs fall off because of the pressure of the water against them, was that we weren't able to finish our housing projects that weekend.  It was a long weekend, Labor Day, and we had a goal of being completely done by Monday evening.  It didn't happen.  We were able to finish in the next few weeks, but as we sat there that Saturday afternoon as the plumbers did their work we were pretty sad. 


So, here we have the baseboards, Anna and Sarah.  Theses baseboards had just been painted, which meant all we needed to do was take the blue tape back off, move the furniture and we were done.









What we learned:

Of course we had to learn something with all of these projects, so here are a couple:

It always costs more than planned.

We never seemed to have all the tools.

It always takes longer than planned.

It can be really loud, just ask Anna, to run an air compressor or a miter saw in the living room.

Not everything a stud finder finds is a stud so use magnets to locate screws holding the drywall to the stud.

I like big tools.  :)


All in all, I would say it was a good year.  Sarah might say differently, but I think she likes the finished project more than what we had.


Skylar & Mariann Swank said...

Look and sounds like you guys had fun remodeling. we are probley going to buy a house in TX; so if we have things to fix-up, you'll have to help us out with advice.

Maren said...

Haha. My friends just did the same thing putting baseboard in. We are in contract for a house, and I think we will try to avoid putting base in if at all possible....