Monday, August 19, 2013

Before and Afters Part 1

So I've finished the renovation and rented the place out. I've rested. Now it's time for everyone's favorite, Before and After.  I might fill in with another post about more progress, but this is what we're all here for, let's not kid ourselves.

Let's start with the Sunroom. 

In here, we had bubbling trim paint, no window coverings, one of those ugly square tray light fixtures, and overall sadness.

So I'm not sure why the bamboo roman shades look see-thru? They're not, I promise. What you can't see is that I painted a gold boob light (from my bedroom) black and installed it in here.  Still not my favorite light fixture, but it looks 1,000 times better, and it was free.

Living Room & Dining Room 

The gold fireplace, dingy ceiling tiles, and dirt (?) (hopefully?) smears on the walls were doing these rooms no favors. (So ok, my 2 second photoshop isn't helping either).  The crown molding had large gaps at the ceiling interface that made it seem like it was about to fall down. Fortunately, caulk has been invented, and was used in Costco-sized amounts.

While I did not get around to painting the ceiling fans, once everything else was done, the gold was not so offensive. Or maybe I was just tired. Meh. They did get new matching pull chains, because the mis-matched ones were giving me a panic attack.  That one little thing made a huge difference, at least to me.  Painting the ceiling tiles to make sure all the cracks were filled in was a pain in the arse, but now you really don't notice that they are tiled all that much. Thank god.  
New view into living room from the dining room

The white trim in the dining room really pops now with the light green on the walls. Due to the settling of the house, not one edge of this was flush against the walls. Mom to the rescue, she caulked every seam for me. It was an incredible improvement just after that alone.

Is that a SHOE LACE?! as a ceiling fan pull chain? Of course!

Drum Roll Please....


For an extremely tight budget, about $300, I think the kitchen turned out pretty well. It was a horror show when I got my hands on it though, so being engulfed in flames would have actually been a step up. Filthy everything, a stained dropped ceiling, a ceiling fan?!, surface mounted electrical, upper cabinets crowding the windows, layers of vinyl flooring, and a leaking faucet. Gag.

Things that happened: The drop ceiling was torn down, and I put up new gyp board over the cracked and peeling plaster, regaining 6 inches of height. The light blocking upper cabinets were taken down and relocated to the back wall. The window wall got beadboard, new electrical, and a new black industrial/schoolhouse light fixture, adding much needed light over the sink. The ceiling fan was literally kicked to the curb and replaced with another black painted boob light. I installed a new Hansgrohe faucet that pulls out. It's about a million pounds, all brass, and very tenant proof. All the cabinets were scrubbed and painted Martha Stewart "Mushroom" in semi-gloss. Inside, I covered the bottom of the cabinets with peel and stick vinyl tiles, covering old water stains and making it much easier to clean. I used that new Rustoleum countertop paint to go over the blue laminate. It is now a glossy black, along with the hardware. The previously sad metal cabinet was painted to match the wood cabinets. It was only 18" deep, so I glued a 2x2 piece of birch plywood on top to give more depth to the counter. I stained the top with some random mixture of dark oil stains that I had, painted the edges black, and buffed the top with linseed and beeswax finish to make it waterproof.  Lastly, all the flooring was torn up, excepting the pantry, and the wood was refinished in here as well.
Remember this guy? He got a little facelift.

Someday there will be a new range and vented hood here.


Ironing board cabinet with doors removed. The plan had me putting shelves in here. Alas, I ran out of time.

Well that was lot. Let's save the other half of the house for the next post or else this is going to be the War and Peace of Before and Afters...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Evolution of the fireplace

The fireplace was deceptive. It looks kinda ok here, minus the giant gold doors that are totally ruining the proportions of it.
I've seen worse

Fun grime after removing doors

Yey clean!

 Because I couldn't leave well enough alone, and because I'm just wallowing in free extra time, I decided to paint the brick. It's scored brick, so it collects dirt and hair like crazy. I figured if it was painted, it would do less of that. So here we go:

First pass, just the brick faces. Interior and yucky sconces now pretty and black.

Did I forget to do those grout lines under the accent? Yes, yes I did.
And that's why paint fumes are bad for you kids.
Painting happened this weekend too. The two large rooms are done. Ceiling, trim, walls. Done. Everything in the place will be Behr's Turtle Dove on the walls. It's a light green that plays nicely with the pecan color of the floors. Also, green is soothing. Quiet tenants, quiet...

Floors bring hope. And dust.

The floors were sanded Monday and Tuesday of last week, and I oiled them Tuesday night. Having them done was HUGE and made me believe that at some point, this all might actually turn into something. They got up all the tar, just a little staining was left, but with the oil, it just kind of blends in so it's not that noticeable.

Ghost feet!


Prep work baby

It would appear that after I removed all the flooring I proceeded to prep the walls for painting for 6 weeks. Or something. I can't tell you what I've been doing, but it's been frickin exhausting. It's 12 tubes of caulk later, and I still need to do the kitchen.

The dining room had this really exciting patch of plaster and paint that apparently had a terrible fight and the paint decided to take it's cat and sweater and GTFO, because it just sheeted off the wall. I'd think I was done, start to spackle, then notice a tiny crack, poke at it, then boom, another 2 square feet gone. 

Not frustrating at allllll. *Goes down to the basement for another beer*
Note too the crown moulding in here and in the living room that had to be scraped because whatever monkey painted it did not prep the varnish surface correctly. Color me not surprised. Anyway, it's all curvy and a bitch to handle. (Wait are we talking me or the wood here?!) So overall, I would go into a room and make it look one thousand times worse than the before. TA DA!
This is really nice Beth. I love what you've done with the place.

Eventually I did manage to make it to the priming stage, which to my horror, due to my supreme anal retentiveness, included priming each joint of the acoustical tile ceiling, all 900 square feet of it. The lines were brown and they looked awful and made it look like a motel in which you'd get murdered. Not the look I'm after.

What's this? Oh just 3 hours of my life I'll never get back.
Don't worry, the Biebs is still holding down the fort. Even he can't stand to look at the awful paint job on these built-ins. Glass knobs? Slobbed with paint. Because the ten seconds it takes to remove them it just TOO MUCH. Sigh.

Next up, I finally start to make it look livable in here. Thank goodness.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Minor progress in the kitchen

The kitchen has been last on the list to get done because we were constantly in there making a mess with grout and concrete and whatnot. We did manage to put in the electric for the over the sink light, which will make it so much brighter in there.  Also rerouted the wiring for the outlets that had been in the gross surface-mounted conduit.

The wall is getting wainscoting, which is 2/3rds cut, thanks to my sister and her boyfriend.
Electrical that makes sense. Hooray!

Also, the cabinets are primed after another good scrub. The doors and drawers have gotten their first coat of paint as well, and the hardware is all painted black and looking fantastic.

I didn't hate the copper, but it was worn off in places and had some discoloring that would not come off despite my best cleaning job. The black definitely will look sharp (oh god, I'm turning into my father. WHO says that?!) against the cabinet color, Martha Stewart "Mushroom", mixed into Behr semi-gloss enamel. It's a medium gray with a hint of green. A good dirt hiding color...

Terrible cell phone picture, sorry. You get the idea.

Bathroom Progress

Tons of fun in the bathroom in the past month. First up, after demo'ing all the rotting wall structure on the control wall, it was rebuilt and a new valve for a single lever shower/bath faucet was installed - correctly, by securing it to framing, so that it does not jiggle in the wall every time you touch it, unlike my thighs. Framing anything in the house is challenging, considering all the settling, which means the walls, floors, ceilings are all at different angles. Good thing someone loves geometry!

I went with the same wall tile and pattern as my bathroom upstairs. I liked the way it looked and there was no need to re-invent the wheel. Besides, then I knew exactly how much tile to buy. Also, I scored a box and a half of the subway tile from Albany Historic Warehouse for 50% off retail, saving $60. Moral of the story - check local places like there or Habitat for Humanity's ReStore before jetting to big box stores for everything.
Tiling over Schluter waterproofing system in the shower. No more rot!
 And then there was the floor. 

Large beige/brown tile applied with mastic to backer board made of paper fiber (perfect for *wet* bathroom floors). 

Removal Level 1

Then 2 layers of linoleum glued over the original tile floors, which were broken and crumbling to due a cracked and disintegrating mud base. Perfect! Actually, it was as I had expected, so I wasn't too upset/concerned about it. After removing all the original tile (we were able to save half a 5 gallon bucket of them, either to donate or get crafty with) we then chipped/vacuumed away the failing parts of the floor.

A floor made of dust
A level floor at last!

After much filling in of cracks and waiting for concrete to dry, there was finally floor that didn't make me frown. I wanted a small field tile for the floor because the space is so small. It would also be easier to camouflage any remaining tilt in the floor. I ended up with 3/4" matte glazed hex, because that was the size in the overstock room at Best Tile. The tile was a little thin, which made it installing it a *bit* of a challenge, but it got done. We used the Schluter system for the floor as well, to reduce future cracking if/when more settling occurs.

We've since added in all the cut-in tile and grouted the floor, but I'm too lazy to download that picture right now. You'll just have to trust me that it looks good. Also, doesn't it look so spacious without the toilet and sink? Maybe I can just leave those out?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Demo Week Part 1

This house never disappoints with its fun surprises. Example A below. 

Under the cat pee rug in the 3 bedrooms and hallway, was red and white linoleum tile, stapled and tarred down to the hardwood floors. I mean, who *wouldn't* look at oak floors and say, you know what this needs? A giant checkerboard on it!

As I peeled back the rug, there was whimpering.
Alot of pity inducing whimpering. Except no one was around to hear it. 

Except the squirrels.
After 3 hours of various methods of removal including an ice chipper, a shovel, chisel scrapers, multiple crowbars, and pliers for the staples, I was left with this lovely sight.
Cat pee carpet was suddenly looking much better in my mind right then.
2 of the bedrooms took 3 hours each. The last and smallest took 6 hours to do and 3 years off my life. Fortunately I then got to spend Memorial Day weekend visiting one of my best friends and drowning my sorrows in many bottles of finger lakes wine. Yey Ithaca!

Meanwhile, in the bathroom...

Tub surround tile has been removed.
The renovation from 2006 is slowly being erased, thank goodness.
Am I surprised that the previous renovators sheetrocked over rotting studs? Nope, not at all. Par for the frickin course. Also note the lovely electrical wires all entangled in the faucet controls. Hidden junction box under the tub? What fun! Why, it matches the one hidden in ceiling. *rolls eyes*

Onto the kitchen. Surely this will be less work, after all, it's only getting "spruced up", not gutted. AHahahahahaha.

Under the beige linoleum... Harvest Gold linoleum...
Over more of those damn red and white tiles! ARGH. Someone give me a time machine so I can go back and out law those tiles before they are installed.

"Clean under the stove?! Whyyyyyy would I do that?" - Every tenant, ever.

First layer off and we uncover a fancy "design feature" wavy edge

This floor actually came off every easily, I think the gold linoleum sticking to the red and white tiles helped? Only took me 45 minutes in the kitchen to remove the floor. Then I spent 2 1/2 hours cleaning the walls of grease and cat hair. Barf.
Before I could remove the ceiling, the wall cabinets had to come down. Same fun red paint that had been in my apartment. I'm putting beadboard over this whole wall - screw you holes and gloss paint!

Dropped ceiling removed to reveal damaged plaster ceiling. We're going to rock over this with 1/4" wallboard rather than spend 3 weeks trying to mud the plaster to look ok. Please notice the awesome way they attached the ceiling fan to the ceiling so it would be spaced correctly for the drop ceiling. Just screw multiple boxes together, it's fiiiiine.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In which I get back to renovation

The tenants have moved out. All is quiet. And covered in a layer of cat hair. 
Let the games begin.

Dining Room Before:
  • Acoustical tiles glued to ceiling - ugly, staying, but repaired and painted
  • Gold ceiling fan - ugly, but it works, so staying, but painted black
  • Hardwood flooring - to be refinished
  • Wood trim - peeling, so scraped caulked and repainted
  • Electrical outlets - to be updated so they are grounded and aren't ancient

Yeah. That looks useful and not at all likely to burst into flames at any second.

Living Room Before:

Same as dining room, but with uglier sconces and alot more caulking needed...

And now the kitchen... If this is "the cleanest it's ever been!" I weep.

  • 60's Era Plywood cabinets - not in terrible shape? to be cleaned and painted
  • Blue countertop - newish,but blue? seriously?, to be painted black
  • Tan linoleum - to be removed, along with any and all layers underneath
  • Ceiling Fan - In a kitchen? Really? Out out out.
  • Stained dropped ceiling - Surprisingly, also on my NO list

Above this upper cabinet has never? been cleaned. Close enough to never to seriously gross me out. Also, close up of the wonderful blue. Outlets will be put into the wall, not surface mounted in gross beige conduit.

Cute little metal cabinet next to stove. 
Its side and the floor below is covered in spilled balsamic vinegar. Animals.

Contact paper that hasn't been changed in a decade or three.

Bedrooms Before:
  • Same awesome ceilings
  • Rug, not old, but smells of cat piss. Delish.
  • Square ceiling fixture - being replaced with pretty schoolhouse fixture

 Glow in the dark paint on the trim. It has glowed its last glow.

Bedroom closet abutting the bathroom. I have spent many hours in here when it was full of crap fixing the plumbing. Seeing as we will be replacing all the plumbing, one hopes I have seen the last of this little shop of horrors closet.

Onto the bathroom!
Outlet where a sconce used to be, light linked with overhead fan. To be painted?
All sorts of terrifying electrical awaits me in the bathroom. Fun!

Oh tile. Why why why. No tile level with the next. All I can say is bye baby bye.

 The tour ends with a Beiber cutout in the window. That is all.