Posted by: Cathie | July 12, 2009

Cha Cha Cha Changes

It was a  busy week involving, primarily, the handiwork of two trades, plumbing and framing. Framing, for those of you not used to builder-speak, is the politically correct term for those folks once referred to as carpenters. My framers, Jason and Scott, were terrific guys. Not only because they did a good job, but because they dealt well with my dogs. This is benchmark for a crew working on my project.



On another day I’ll talk about the interaction of renovation crews and one’s personal pets, but let it be said that Elvis, Scott and Jason were all dog lovers and managed to do their work and put up with the wagging tails and curious noses of Lexi and Kiefer, the resident Flatcoats. They earned high marks one day when I had to go to work and they were in charge of setting up the ex-pen to contain the dynamic duo while they installed a sliding door in the study/dog room.  We did not need the Flatcoats running in and out of the opening while the guys worked. A doggie “playpen” was set up under the apple tree and they guys even remembered to throw in a couple of toys, as well as making sure the dogs had fresh water.

Achievements this week included the bath getting plumbed for new fixtures. A bit tricky, including a few changes. We’ve increased the size of the shower from the original so that meant the toilet has to move over a few inches. That requires all plumbing move those few inches as well. New plumbing also went into the laundry room as I’m adding a wash tub; a very useful item in one’s laundry room. Finally Elvis did an awesome job of providing me with a new cold and HOT water spigot on the outside of the house where I do all my grooming and bathing. The man even found my booster bath in the shed, measured it for height so the new spigots would be perfectly placed for comfort and ease of use. When you bath dogs outside, not having to haul buckets of hot water is a godsend!

Framers Jason and Scott managed to complete the “rough-in” of the plasmas wall, our bar and wine refrigerator wall and moved that pesky pantry, the one I had one hour to unload, over to it’s new location. They also built a new breakfast “nook,” for lack of a better word.  We have a small kitchen, space is at a premium, so we’ve designed a permanent eating surface to replace the little table for 2 we’ve been using. This dining bar will feature a black granite top and it faces the lower level so one can watch all the plasmas while one dines, reducing the need for any conversation 🙂

original nook and pantry

rough in of new kitchen nook/pantry placement

rough in of new kitchen nook/pantry placement

new sliding door in study/dog room

new sliding door in study/dog room

We’ve survived week one. All uphill from here!

Posted by: Cathie | July 8, 2009

Renovation Resiliency

Rule #2 with renovations. You must be flexible. You must be able to adapt at a moment’s notice. Because there will be moments that you wish wouldn’t happen.

Day 2 of the project and I was already being tested. At 6 AM! On this day we were having the framing crew come out to start building walls, preparing the plasmas (yes, plural is correct) wall, and other fun things with wood. Even though we are only, technically, renovating our lowest level, unfortunately portions of the project encroach on the second level kitchen area. And this morning, at 6 AM my husband gave me a last minute “project” as he had made a last minute decision about the direction the encroachment was going. I was assigned the task of completely unloading — and finding a new living space — for everything in the pantry. I had one hour to complete the project as that’s when the crew was scheduled to show up.


Now this is a pantry loaded to the gills. Food, booze and wine, appliances, even half a set of Christmas dishes. Where the heck was I going to find places for all this stuff? And in the matter of the food and spirits… a highly accessible location since these items are in regular use. I started to collect every grocery bag in the house. I had one large box… no time to hit Home Depot for storage boxes and bins. And then it dawned on me. The old cabinets which we carefully stored in the garage (to be reused as garage storage) were sitting there empty. Voila! I began loading the grocery bags and trudging back and forth (down one flight of stairs, mind you) to the garage to convert old laundry room cabinets into a pantry.


Flexibility. Not my strong suit, but something I’m able to do if required.

Posted by: Cathie | July 4, 2009

Demolition Day

Those of you who know us well know that when we buy a house (and we’ve owned quite a few) we can’t leave it “as is.”  Our house here in CA will be no different.  After a year of planning, drawing, revising and our annual trip to the National Homebuilder’s show for product ideas, we’ve officially launched the project.  The dropping of the dumpster on our driveway served as notification to our neighbors of the seriousness of our intent, and demoing has been going on for two days, with significant progress being made.


This project will be different than our last.  In Northern Virginia where we lived before moving to CA we took a 1970’s circa box-on-box aluminum colonial tract house and transformed it into a rambling Craftsman-themed home.  It involved 6 months of hard labor.  This time we’re doing the project in stages, hence by title of 1-2-3.  The CA house has three levels and we’re starting on the bottom, making the necessary renovations, then taking time off before starting on the second floor.  Ultimately the whole house will be changed in some manner, including a face life.  The house you see on my blog currently will look completely different by the time we’re through.

Renovation stage one involves a family room, bathroom, bedroom/study and a laundry room.  We had a fireplace in the FR which we tore out yesterday, never to return.  We still have a fireplace on the main floor in the living room, which will remain.  All the rooms will remain the same size and shape but will be completely upgraded.  Stick around and watch the transformation happen!

Phoebe in CA 130


Phoebe in CA 132IMG_0321

Phoebe in CA 136IMG_0322

Phoebe in CA 138IMG_0323

Fun, huh?

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