Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Week 4.5: Demo & Discovery

Week 4.5, still in the middle of the week and everything is moving at snail pace. It's honestly a bit frustrating. I wish things would happen at the house already but it seems like we take 1 step forward and are pushed back 2 steps :(

We recently were demoing the enclosed tub in the master bathroom. Lo and behold, we found it to be a clawfoot freestanding tub!! How crazy is that. It's in fairly good shape. Needs a new glazing surface inside and a paint job on the exterior (which is another vendor I have to find now!! Sigh...).

In a way it's awesome because we literally get to restore an original piece from the house. In another way, we're back to the drawing board with the design of the bathroom after we finished walking it and talking it through with our GC. He must think we're nuts!!

(The Man hacking at the enclosed tub)
(The Man looking at the piping)
Here's a video of the Man demolishing away....or taking out his built up anger....


Plowing through,
The Lady

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week 4: Things are SORT OF lining in place

The beginning of Week 4 is starting off already much better than Week 3..... I can't believe it's almost been a month since we got the keys to this house!! Yikes....hardly any work has been done to the house, only mountains of estimates for this and that. In your mind, you have schedule set for the amount and type of work, but it never turns out that way afterall.....Some accomplishments of this week are:

- Termite work. Check. In theory, we should be termite free.

- Asbestos Sampling and Air Testing. Check. Came back NEGATIVE!!! That has to be the best news yet. We are more than relieved, we are so GRATEFUL that we don't have to live with asbestos in the air and all that popcorn ceiling we have been scrapping since Week 2 was not asbestos!! Woohoo!!

- Bathroom & Kitchen Renovation. Not checked, but we did finally decide on a GC (finally!!) and we're going with it! It comes with a hefty price tag but we're excited to start seeing some changes to our old dingy house. The Man and I designed the kitchen and bathroom together to make it our own, so we are excited to see what it unfolds these next few weeks. Projected time-frame is 2 months. And of course, there will be hiccups as any construction there always is. But for now, I the Lady, will like to stop for a split second and believe that everything will go smoothly.

- Structural foundation work. Not check. This is the only thing that really bothers us that we can't do much about....we are simply out of money to do any more to the house as of now. We have gotten multiple companies to come out and give us estimates, but it's just too much to swallow right now. Hopefully we will be okay with the structural foundation to put it off till next year!! Fingers crossed....

- for the shopping. Shopping for tile, shopping for vanities, toilets, tubs, sinks, etc......this in itself seems like the best part right? Nope, it's actually kind of a hassle. It's now coming down to the wire and things are going to happen quick when construction on the bathroom and kitchen begin. We have to start buying our materials and fixtures so we can all be on schedule. Joy. More deadlines. Am I back in school?!

(The Man's shoe....and us trying to decide on trim pieces)

(Potential floor tile for the kitchen)

(Gray Quartz for the kitchen counter)

(White octagon tiles for the bathroom/shower)

I guess shopping is much better than scrapping popcorn ceilings and taping off the walls and floors with plastic sheets.....One. Step. At. A. Time.

Moving along,
The Lady

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life's Spin

Strange how sometimes life just turns you around, spins you a 180 degrees the other way and then bonks you in the head and says wake up. Taking a second from the construction updates and focusing on real life stuff. Family. When family is affected, stupid little things like construction and color of tiles really don't matter anymore. They seem so minuscule even though it kind of stresses me out.

My dear grandpa has basically been hospitalized since January. I briefly went to visit him in Japan in March mostly due to a scare of worsening conditions. My grandpa is a strong man, hardworking, no nonsense kind of man, who took care of his family and worked basically his whole life. It was heartbreaking to see such a man as I have always remembered strong, to be weakened and hospitalized. It really affected me emotionally when I went in March. It was very hard, devastating, heart wrenching and most of all, I felt complete and utter helplessness. 

He is stable now and is doing okay to an extent, but still hospitalized. However, I just received some daunting news from my relatives that he is once again not doing so well. It is as easy as shattering a piece of glass. Bad news of family members feels like that to me. So fragile. It can change like that, at a snap of a finger. And again, I feel helpless being miles and miles away. 

Just last night, the Man and I ran into a friend at the local hardware store as we were leaving after checking out some floor tiles. He is also a diver and shared some stories with us of his dives. I actually didn't know he dove, so it was exciting (always) to hear a fellow divers adventures. He has been everywhere diving, and I found myself envious of his adventures and dives!! I have forgotten so easily the thrill and excitement that diving gives me. I've been so consumed with this freaking house that I have forgotten everything. Seems like all I get is bad news lately about the house, I have forgotten the amazing, exhilirating feeling that diving gives me. It was just so great and so fascinating to hear his stories and his dives.

As cliche as it sounds, you really have to stop and smell the roses once in a while. One minute you can be so consumed about one thing and the next minute, it's all forgettable. As a diver once said, do a 360 spin before ascending out of the water. Lesson learned, do a 360 every once in a while.

The Lady

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Week 3's Nightmare: The process of getting bids from multiple vendors

This Week 3 has been particularly hard for the Man and the Lady. It's frankly been a huge nightmare. We found out some daunting news about our newly bought house, which has made us think twice about this house. Too late now, we're in it 100%....

We have been working everyday after work (our day jobs) at the house, scraping the ceiling and taping off the rooms with plastic sheets. Mentally, it's an exhausting job. I know the Man and I are both pretty burnt out. We get home to our current apartment, which is nice and clean and construction-free, and it's so comforting to be there. We hardly sleep because we have to work afterhours on our house till late at night, it's just like being in college finishing projects, except it's our house.

Nightmare might not be a strong enough word for this's surely been like hell. As I anticipated, once you start opening up the house, it's like opening pandora's box. It's bound to release bad things. We found out that the foundation of our house is basically useless. Our home inspector at the time of the sale told us that the brick was bolted down to the foundation. This past weekend, we had two foundation specialist and structural engineer come out to inspect and evaluate our house. Turns out, the work the previous owner had done to the foundation was basically crap. If anything, they said, it "weakened" the structural support of the house. Basically, we need a new foundation by means of a "sister" foundation.....which short story short, is going to cost anywhere from $30-$40K.....ouch. That's a big slap in the face.

On top of that horrific news (which the Man was very upset about), there's the asbestos we have to get rid of in the house and COMPLETE renovation of the upstair master bathroom and downstairs kitchen/laundry/powder room. Don't get me started on that!!! Okay, Lady has to vent a little about that......sooooooo, I am an interior designer/architect and being in the trade, I know of certain construction details and home renovations. I'm in the business, of course I would know a thing or two. Right? Right. My very first mentor, who taught me pretty much everything about this business, whom I respect and to this day keep in touch with told me long long ago, that General Contractors are like aliens. You'll never quite get their rational and neither will they. They are just from a different planet and don't think like you.....or so interior designers say.

To close off Week 3, we found a leak in the drain pipe for the upstairs bathroom. Another wonderful surprise that comes with an old house. Yay us! NOT!

(The Man on a ladder looking at the leak from upstairs)

(A hole in the drywall ceiling the Man created to get to the source of the leak.
Fantastico! We have a hole in our ceiling!)

When will this end....,
The Lady

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Week 2: Cottage cheese ceiling!!

Week 2: Removal of Cottage Cheese Ceiling AKA Popcorn Ceiling AKA perhaps Asbestos-Ridden

Okay, so far not a good start at the house. Disgustingness continues with taping off rooms for scraping of the cottage cheese ceiling. And let me tell you, HOW THE HECK did Dexter do this?! Taping of a "killroom" takes hours! HOURS I tell you. Not a few minutes, hours and hoursssss......... :(

Our home is about 2400 sq. ft. The only rooms not lined with the popcorn ceiling is the kitchen, laundry and powder room and master bathroom. Which means, a big majority of the home IS! Just to tape up the living room, which granted is huge, by myself, took me about 6 hours. Yes, 6 hours of my life wasted, putting plastic sheets up like Dexter did before his "kills." Oh joy. Getting up on the ladder, sticking blue painter's tape onto the wall, getting off the ladder, stretching the plastic sheet little farther, hoping not to rip the plastic.....repeat, repeat, repeat.  How do you do it Dexter, how do you do it. Tell me your secrets, Mr. Dexter Morgan. I never want to see plastic sheets and blue tape again.

I guess I shouldn't complain because I apparently have the easier job out of the two choices. The Man has the worse job, coming in after I tape up a room and getting on a ladder to scrape the disgusting white cottage cheese ceiling with some water so it doesn't just create a dust bomb. Sucks to be us right now! (reference: Nacho Libre).

(Panoramic of the living room)

(Living room, half taped off with plastic sheets)

(Living room, just about the start the floors)

(Entry looking at stairs going upstairs)

(Living room, looking towards the entry)

(One out of the 5 sad)

(Hallway upstairs)

(My knight in shining armor....or the Man in a HEPA filtered biohazard suit
getting ready to scrape the ceiling)

Exhausted and it's only just begun,
The Lady

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 1: Yuck, Clean up time!


Oh the joys of owning a home. First week of owning our house and we're ripping things out left and right. It's disgusting and dirty and dusty, not to mention dirty, dirty, oh and did I say, dirty? It's filthy. This house has been vacant for about 8-9 months, and things are just downright repulsive and grimy. Bathroom looked like a nightmare. Kitchen is beyond use. Not to mention the guacamole colored old carpet and spider webs everywhere....of the many, many things the Lady is OCD about, dirty and bugs are like #1 on the list. I hate hate hate dirty places. I just refuse to go to places like this. And for me to now OWN a place that is beyond disgust, it's frankly making me queasy. And what makes me even queasier is that the Man and I have to clean it all up. Not just clean, demo, throw away, rip apart, scrape away, wipe down......oh joy oh joy!!

(Kitchen with bags and bags of trash we found in the cabinets)

(Kitchen, gross floors and old dingy cabinets)

(Kitchen with more trash, nice lighting though!)

(The Man ripping out the guacamole colored carpet to reveal the nice oak flooring)

(One silver lining! Nice hardwood oak floors, just needs cleaning and refinishing)

(The nasty green guacamole carpet lined with disgusting hair and animal fur....yuck!!)

(The Man going at it!)

(Our beautiful hardwood flooring and bay window)

The Lady

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2-1/2 months of waiting and....

We are finally first time home buyers!! Officially July 29, 2014 we closed escrow. We couldn't be more excited. A long sale and escrow process (2.5 months to be exact), but I'm glad we were patient enough to wait!! Now for our big project! Renovations, restoration and making it our very own. 

The Lady

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wundabar Pilates = Stress Reliever/Awesome Exercise!

Sorry for the lack of posting. Lately, the new house stuff has been stressing the Lady out. We are in escrow currently, and it could not be any more confusing. They should just rename the escrow phase to "the pile of paperwork" phase. No fun, not one bit.

So naturally, the Lady gets stressed about every little thing. This big hump in our lives has really stressed me out. Why wouldn't it right, it is the biggest purchase we will probably make in our lifetime (minus the yacht and helicopter we're going to buy one What has helped me out tremendously over the last 6 months, in times of stress, in times of busy-ness, in times of just down-right-crazy, what calms me and centers me is Pilates. Some people swear by Yoga or Spin, I swear by Wundabar Pilates.

Not only is it a great workout, it stretches me, pushes me, makes me sweat, makes me wanna cry, makes me quiver and shake, and makes me focus on myself. It betters me, physically and spiritually. I could be having a crappy day and when I go to Wundabar, you just forget about it. You kind of have to, you focus so much on your body, your position, your core, that you just forget all your problem. If there's one thing the Lady hates, it's exercising. Running in particular. Running and the Lady are arch enemies. So any exercise that I can mindlessly yet mindfully do, I'm all for it. It's become very zen for me, I just basically plug out and detach myself from the world, and for that 45 minutes session I just focus on myself and the exercise. It's very comforting and calming, if you know what I mean. Almost like being in the water, diving.......almost :)

(looks like a scary contraption but it's the uniquely patented 
Wundabar Pilates reformer, this thing is amazing. 
Picture courtesy of Wundabar Pilates)