October 18, 2007

October 2007 House-Tour: Upstairs Bedrooms

October 2007 House-Tour: Upstairs Bathroom

The upstairs bathroom is ready for use!
We ordered some bathroom 'accessories' (i.e. towel bars) back in September, thru FixtureUniverse.com, however they won't arrive until end of November. In the meantime, I borrowed this old coat tree from my mom - it was at the Michigan house, not really being used. I figured it could serve as a 'towel-tree'...

October 2007: Study/Library

We turned that little random middle bedroom into a study/library. For now, we tucked what used to be our kitchen table (now a computer table/desk) into the closet. Eventually, we'll install some built-in shelves and construct a built-in desk of sorts. Keeping it in the closet area definitely saves space, plus once we get doors installed, we don't have to worry about the desk getting messy - all we need to do is close the doors and presto, instant order.

No Money for Doors and Window Treatments? No Problem.

Try and guess how much our temporary window treatments cost and what they are made of... A clue: All components were purchased at Home Depot, the same solution worked for both doors and windows and no drilling, cutting nor sewing was necessary.

As mentioned in my previous post, we had a house full of guests this past weekend - Bryan's family (mom, dad, sister and her two daughters). As a result, we had a marathon month of getting the house to a point of "habitable" for a normal human (unlike ourselves, who live amid a labyrinth of boxes and plastic wrap). One leg of the marathon was getting some type of temporary doors and window shades installed.

So... what did we use and how much did it cost?

We did not want to drill anything into the drywall, given it's temporary, so we ended up using tension rods ($4.99 each). My mom found 5'x9' painters' dropcloths in this linen looking burlap material ($9.99 each) which we we attached to the tension rods with curtain rings (each bag was around $10). The curtain rings have these teethy pinchers to hold the fabric, so no need to make holes - we just overlapped the top, attached the rings and slipped them thru the curtain rods. Many thanks to my mom who was in charge of this endeavor!!!
Positioning the curtain rods into place took two people, since there was some adjusting to do to the rod spring with a screwdriver, while holding the rod in place. But installation went so smoothly and FAST. We had 4 doors and 4 windows covered in an hour.
I told my mom she needs to go into business as a Martha Stewart for the common folk - people who work, have little time and even less money.
Who knew painters' dropcloths could be so nice???

Leveling String to the Rescue!

I kind of goofed, twice, when ordering the shower curtain.
First goof - I forgot to order extenders for the curtain... so, when we hooked it to the track, it hung about 22" above the edge of the tub. Oops. As a temporary solution, Bryan used leveling string as extenders. It actually looks really cool, given that the bathroom is mostly white, with tones of grey.
Second goof - I purchased one very long continuous shower curtain... I should have purchased two, to allow for easier access in and out of the shower and to allow for easier access to the wall mounted faucet controls.
In any case, the shower curtain works (we had 5 house guests this past weekend and no problems). So, we're golden with this solution for now...

ductwork is NOT a garbage chute...

Even though we covered the floor registers prior to demolition starting, some idiot worker, hired by the demolition subcontractor, decided to uncover a register and use it as a receptacle for demolition waste. In fact, the duct was so packed with debris, that it disengaged itself from the register. We tried to remove all the debris by hand and with a monster-shop-vac (600lbs. of suction pressure) - no luck. As a result, an HVAC guy is coming out on Monday to replace that piece of vertical ductwork. Just when you think things are finally going smoothly...

October 16, 2007

Composting and The 40 Year Old Hot Dog

Recently I've been reading a lot about composting. The idea that hot dogs can take 40 plus years to decompose in an average landfill is frightening... and I'm not sure what scares me more - the fact that landfills do not provide an optimal environment for decomposition, yet we continue to fill them or that hot dogs take THAT long to decompose, yet I continue to eat them. In any case, the less we send off to landfill the better. With that said, I've been toying with the idea of starting to do some composting at home, however given our very urban site, I'm not sure how it would work. Once we get the back more 'yard-ified', I'll re-evaluate whether it's an option for us. In the meantime, I'll just continue to learn more about it...

Eames Hacking

I'm not sure if this is creative genius or design sacrilege... whatever it may be, these alterations are a result of a three day charette in the Department of Industrial Design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
The child's chair is a creative alteration... however the toilet seat is complete sacrilege. Is it improving/enhancing the function of a toilet? Absolutely not. Is it an insult to the chair? Yes.
It's a creative effort, but a toilet seat? Poor poor choice. ...
I would have given that student an F.

In-Home Recycling Center

EcoPod Recycling Center - $324. Ouch!
It's a pretty cool machine though... it has a compaction mechanism, that enables you to crush cans, plastic bottles, containers, etc. Crushed items automatically fall into a bin, which can store 50-60 containers. There is also an area that has storage for glass, newspapers, plastic bags, etc. I just wish it wasn't so expensive!

Beautiful Home Safety

Recently, I purchased a smoke/carbon monoxide detector alarm, for the upstairs. It's manufactured by Kidde and not bad in appearance, although I definitely don't think it would win any design awards. If I only would have known about Home Hero sooner... they make a really nice 2-in-1 smoke/carbon monoxide alarm AND it's available at Home Depot, along with their fire extinguisher (photo above), available for around $30. We used to have the standard red extinguisher, which we kept in the pantry. Personally, I think fire extinguishers should be kept right next to the stove... but if you are trying to keep things clean and minimal, an industrial red extinguisher just doesn't cut it. Anyway, while cleaning out the pantry last week, I discovered that the old extinguisher expired, so I think we'll try this model out next.

October 7, 2007

Dover White

Sherwin-Williams, Duration Home in Dover White...
All the painting upstairs should be complete by Tuesday (hopefully).

Sunday Nap

"I think you guys need more anchors..."

Upstairs Bathroom Shower Curtain Track - Installed

We finished up the shower curtain track project this weekend! We had temporarily screwed the track into the ceiling (see previous blog entry), however, Bryan suggested recessing the track, and I agreed, so we took it down and started anew. It turned out to be a more laborious project than anticipated, but then again, EVERYTHING is more laborious than anticipated, when it comes to construction.

The track itself came in 8 pieces, all of which had to be permanently secured to each other, so the track would act as just one single piece. I managed to find a long, flat strip of metal at Home Depot (in the door/window hardware aisle), which Bryan cut into 8 pieces, with a Dremel, to use as connector plates between the different pieces of track. Once all 8 pieces were secured to each other, we temporarily secured the track to the ceiling, again, so that we could draw an outline of the track onto the ceiling.
We then took the track down, again, and with a Dremel tool, Bryan cut the outline of the shower curtain track. After that, he chipped out all the drywall, within the outline. I never truly appreciated HOW fantastic Dremel's are until this project... you can do almost anything with a Dremel... seriously. Every household should have one.
Some details of the track's connector plates above...
After all the drywall had been removed, we inserted the track and Bryan secured it by screwing it to the ceiling joists, so hopefully, it will stay put. The only things left to do are caulk and seal around the track (where it meets the drywall), then paint. ... and then, finally, the bathroom will be 100% fully operational. Minus a door, that is...

A Little Bit of Landscaping...

My mom has been helping us get a jump start on some 'landscaping' in the front yard... Sawyer Garden Center, near my parents' house in Michigan, is a WONDERFUL nursery, offering a huge selection of healthy flowers, plants, shrubs, etc. ... and their prices are MUCH cheaper than garden centers here, in Chicago. Since my mom goes up to Michigan at least once every week, she's been watching for things to go on sale. She managed to pick up three nice pots, a butterfly bush, a couple of hydrangeas, several asters, a rose bush, two types of pieris plants, a pot of mums and a pot of wild grasses, ALL at 50% regular price. ... and then, she helped with planting everything. Thanks mom!

We figure we'll do some more planting next summer, once the garden starts filling in, but in the meantime, we'll have to plant some tulip and daffodil bulbs this fall (for spring).

October 5, 2007

Charlevoix, the Rock Star

Charlevoix made it onto Dogone Fun's website...


Beautiful glass pendant light fixtures by Jeremy Pyles.

Multifunctional Furniture

via Apartment Therapy: Yoon-Zee Kim's multifunctional shelf/bench.

October 3, 2007

Good-buy Modernica Chicago

Modernica's Chicago Showroom is closing (so sad). No set date as to when the doors will close, but in the meantime, floor model furniture is 25% to 50% off!

We ended up taking advantage of this sale and getting a Case Study Daybed at a very nice discount. There were three floors models available - two in Walnut Stain Frame with Type I fabric in Chataqua Lipstick and one in Classic Stain Frame with Type II fabric in Frise Taupe. We decided to go with the Classic Stain Frame/Frise Taupe fabric option. Primary reason being, even though the red color was fantastic, the quality of the Type II fabric was noticably better in quality. Plus, the red was not tweedy, and as a result, already looked somewhat worn. As for the frame, the wood used for all options is actually maple, so the walnut stain was very dark and looked to be more of a painted finish, rather than a stain. I think the walnut option would work in a large, light, open space, but the dark stain makes the frame look very heavy, and given the daybed will be used in the itty-bitty study/guest bedroom, any furniture in that room needs to disappear as much as possible.

We were going to try and fit the couch in Bryan's SUV, but it doesn't look like that's even an option given the dimensions of both, so the couch will be delivered to the house sometime this week or next! I'll be sure to post photos once it has arrived.