How we live

I knew that renovating a house would be long, hard work. I did realize this. No, really! I did! But I never knew that on the one year anniversary of being homeowners, we’d be living like we are. In a nutshell, it’s sort of like camping, but indoors. And with plumbing. But just as inconvenient, and just as dirty as camping.

Since April, we have gutted 4 rooms: the current kitchen, the current full bath, and the space that we are turning into the new first floor half bath and butler’s pantry. We had to do so much at once because we had the opportunity for Jeremy’s dad, Dale, to spend two weeks at our house overseeing some of the system work. Without his help, we couldn’t have made such progress finishing the plumbing and electrical in these rooms. So, we had to do a lot at once.

What’s left is a lot of tweaking with these systems and all of the finish work. This is going to take the better part of the summer. In the meantime, I thought I would upload some photos showing how these in-progress rooms look today. When I complain about inconveniences, people say… “Oh, but everything will look gorgeous when you’re done.” Sure, sure, this is true. But seriously. This is how we’re living.

The utility sink, where we brush our teeth, wash our faces, and clean out buckets used to mix grout:

It\'s a bit on the icky side, I realize

Opposite this wall, is our drill charging/coffee making/pantry area:

pay no attention to the alcohol next to the coffeemaker

 And the kitchen, where we make lots of frozen pizza and Lean Pockets:

If you look close, you\'ll see drywall!

 The new bathtub/shower, not yet tiled until some leaks are taken care of:

At least it is clean!

 To the left of the tub, where the new sink and toilet will be:

gutted, but with promise

The beginning of the new half bath, downstairs, which contains the only functional toilet in the house. Oh, and that white thing in the upper right hand corner? It’s a sheet. Which in this case, is also a door.  

the first contender to be finished

And last, but not least, the dining room. (In name only.) Right now, this is our Home Depot satellite office:

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 9:42 pm  Comments (1)  

The renovation thus far, in numbers

Years lived in home: 1

Total money spent on home improvements: $10K

Funds left in renovation loan: $1,200

Funds needed to complete all proposed improvements: $40K

Times Katherine has broken down in tears due to being overwhelmed by demo: 5

Swear words uttered by Jeremy during projects: 178,299

Rooms affected by renovation projects: 7

Rooms completed: 0

Boxes of slate tile installed: 5.5 (out of 36 purchased)

Average trips to Home Depot per week: 3.5

Returns to Home Depot: 7, including 1 bathtub (post coming later)

Dumpsters rented: 2 (1 10 cubic yard, 1 15 cubic yard)

Animals present in home: 1 cat (permanently) 3 dogs (guests), 1 mouse (ousted)

Animals present on property: numerous birds, cats, oppossums, racoons, groundhogs, moles, squirrels (Uh, yeah, we do live in the city. Go figure.)

Unnecessary gas lines removed, in ft: 60

New plumbing fixures installed: 8

New outlets/lights installed: 20+

Glasses of wine consumed: too numerous to count

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

The little Aveo that could

Think you need a pickup truck or a large SUV to cart remodeling supplies back from Home Depot? Ha – think again.

When we needed to pick up new joists to sister our old, termite-damaged ones, we didn’t even need to rent the Home Depot truck. Note: These are 2″ x 10″ x 13 FEET.

Don\'t try this at home

This may be illegal in most states. We don’t recommend trying it.

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 9:28 pm  Comments (1)  

What we did on our winter vacation

We took December through March off from any major projects on the house. Between our jobs, the cold and the incessant snow shoveling (Mother Nature kicked our butts January through March), we had enough to keep us busy.

Not that we didn’t have anything to do, however.

this show is as addictive as crack

Jeremy bought me “The Chosen Collection,” all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for Christmas. I say that he bought it for me, but in actuality, we tore through this box set together in 67 days. There are 144 episodes in the set, so for those without a calculator, we averaged a little over two episodes a day. 

Jeremy also spent a healthy amount of time working towards, and ultimately becoming, the 2008 Heisman Tropy-winning quarterback from Ohio State. (This occurred while playing NCAA 2008 on his beloved Playstation 3.) Here’s the screen shot of the proof: 

Check out the caption below the picture of virtual Jeremy.

I joke that part of the fantasy of playing virtual football for him is that in this game, Jeremy actually has a butt. 

There were also three great Christmas gifts that were stellar acquisitions for the house. In true form, Jeremy’s were functional: 

The miter saw he would marry if it were legal.

(I have to admit, I’m a little infatuated with this miter saw myself.)


4 tons of much-needed support

This is the 4-ton jack we are using to raise and level the floor joists in the basement. 

My Christmas addition to the house was a beautiful pair of genuine Tiffany lamps I scored with the help of a gift card from my Godfather (thanks, Mike!) These will be the vanity lamps in the eventual French boudoir-inspired spare bedroom:

A little pretty amidst the mess

Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 9:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Renovation on hold; focus shifts to ark building

wet hibiscus

The average annual rainfall in Cleveland in August is 3.63 inches. So far, our side of the city has received well over 15 inches this month, with more to come in the next few days. While some parts of the state are in a drought, it seems we are about to float away into Lake Erie.

 bush in back yard

Things could be worse, however: many homeowners across NE Ohio are dealing with flooded basements this week. Thankfully, ours is in its usual state of constant dampness.

While I was dissapointed not to be able to work out in the yard all weekend due to the weather, Jeremy made the most of it and constructed a new island for our kitchen. Previously, we placed a piece of MDF on two sawhorses to get the feel of how an island would look and function in our kitchen. The idea didn’t work too well as it fell short in height, width and length and wasn’t very sturdy.

The new island, however, is the exact dimensions of what we eventually want to create and makes imagining the future scenario much easier:

the new and improved makeshift island

Where you see a George Foreman grill will be a gas cooktop, and the area behind the wine bottle will have bar seating. Oh, and the bottom will consist of cabinets and a trash recepticle, not just 2×4 planks.

So as Jeremy constructed the island and I did some organizing and cleaning, there was one member of the household who was even less pleased with the rainy weather. Presley absolutely adores her supervised romps in the fenced-in yard, as a life-long indoor cat getting her first taste of nature’s freedom would. Her usual enthusiastic charge out of the back door has been thwarted one too many times by pelting rain drops of late, so she since has given up trying.

She’s happiest stalking butterflies next to the garage…

“it’s easier to hide when they don’t mow the yard”

…or sitting on the cool metal plate in the shade of the garden shed…

chillin’ in the shade

…or hissing at toy shih tzu’s who so thoughtlessly invade her space.

Pres and Tiff square off

Until the skies clear and the ground dries, however, this usually happy-go-lucky feline has but one mood:

happy cat is not so happy

Sheer and utter disdain.

Published in: on August 20, 2007 at 8:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Katherine Elizaklutz strikes again

In the past week, I have sustained the first two injuries of our home renovation. Neither of them, naturally, have had to do with projects around the house but rather my inherent tendency to be a complete and utter klutz.

Last Monday, while the plumbers worked on the gas lines in our basement, I was in the garage looking for a still illusive box of drill bits. While closing the garage door, two of my fingers became wedged in between panels of the door. Silent screaming and massive bleeding insued immediately, and I nearly passed out when I got into the house and saw the amount of blood on my clothing and the floor. Touche, graceful Katherine.

Tuesday evening, after an hour of unloading heavy appliances and moving them about the house with Jeremy, I took a break to play a game of tag with our cat, Presley. She is really enjoying her new home and has taken to running up and down the main staircase. (The “thunk-a, thunk-a” sound her paws make beneath her considerable girth on the stairs is both adorable and hysterical. Maybe Ms. Prez will finally shed some of the extra weight she’s been carrying around the past few years.)

While playing with her on the staircase, my left foot slid off of the edge of one of the stairs and I slammed two stairs down onto the landing. The pain was immediate and excruciating. Everything points to a bad sprain at this point and I am relegated to crutches for a few days to keep pressure off it it. This makes things like, cleaning, unpacking, and oh, I don’t know, WALKING UPSTAIRS TO GO TO THE BATHROOM, very unpleasant.

C’est la vie.

Published in: on June 21, 2007 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Welcome Home

The papers were signed on Wednesday, the keys were dropped off to Jeremy yesterday and today… we entered our house for the first time as its owners.

The experience, in a nutshell, was bizarre. Seeing the naked rooms, overgrown yard and various junk (some usable) left behind, the work that lies ahead of us was blatently apparent. It wasn’t overwhelming, just humbling. We have a lot of work to do.

 But it is ours. We have our own little slice of earth, with the potential to be a grand home once a lot of time, money and effort is put into it. That potential is there and not once did I think, “What did we do??”

Ok, maybe once I said that out loud, but it was with a hearty laugh as I know, deep down, that Jeremy and I are truly insane.

Published in: on June 8, 2007 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Planner, My Love

 The Binder to end all Binders

This is The Binder.

The Binder has professionally labeled tabs, spreadsheets with comprehensive lists and cost formulas, and more thought put into its creation than the entire US occupation of Iraq. The Binder is our plan for renovation success. I had nothing to do with the creation of The Binder.

The Hand that created The Binder

This is the hand of the CFO and Senior Project Manager for the renovation, and creator of The Binder. Here, he is researching more specs to add to The Binder. This, my friends, is the hand (one, of a set of two) of greatness.

Published in: on June 5, 2007 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Two Signs a Move is Nigh

This is on the treelawn:

Sale Pending

This is a common sight at the apartment:

Presley Not Packing

 As of today, it looks like we won’t be closing on Friday as we hoped. So we lose the weekend for unpacking and planning, and settle for an closing early next week.

We’re sort of depressed, so excuse me while I join Jeremy on the sofa with some ice cream.

Published in: on May 30, 2007 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Photo Uploading in Progress

I’ve created a Flickr page to upload the complete set of photos we took at the home inspection. I’ll have them all finished by the end of the day, and the link will always be available under the “Blogroll” heading on the right navigation. (“Our photos at Flickr”)

 These include the good, the bad and the ugly… so view them knowing that everything that appears frightening is most likely on our “to-do” list.

Published in: on May 22, 2007 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment