There is a BACA meeting tonight but I will not be in attendance as I have some pressing paint duties. I’ve been painting my house for what seems like a month. I have formed these big nasty callouses all on my hands and I want them gone.
I have told myself I need to finish all my paint jobs by the end of this week, or else I’ll go nuts. First thing that needs to be done tonight (thus not going to the BACA meeting) is the bathroom ceiling needs a coat of paint. There are only so many times you can shower without damaging the ceiling. I hope it is not too late as there are some funny looking marks up there already.
After the bathroom everything else is whenever but I got to end this painting. The baseboards on the 1st floor need a coat, because the paint I put on was damaged by the floor guy’s sander. Also on the first floor I need to paint over the ceiling paint that hit the wall and the doorway between the kitchen and dining area. Upstairs I have to decide if I’m painting the bedroom ceilings or just leaving it primer white. Sections of the brick wall need caulking and painting. The top part of the 2nd floor baseboards need a lick of paint. The top of the wall near the ceilings in both bedrooms and the hallway need paint.
Then once I’m done painting, there is the cleaning.
Well this week I’ve moved back into the house. The upside of giving away most of your earthly possessions prior to renovation is they aren’t covered in several layers of dust. Nor are they water damaged. The downside is the stuff you did keep stored requires cleaning or replacing and you can’t find half of it anyway.
I was crazy mad trying to put together a bookcase with rudimentary hand tools because I cannot find either one of my drills. The cordless I think may have grown legs. The corded one, it’s down in the cellar somewhere. Can’t find any of my pliers. Tools, I learned from Nathan & BL who had work done on their house, can accidentally get picked up during the rush to leave the work site.
Most of the work has been done and there are just a few things that are left to do. Painting the ceilings, getting the tops of the walls near the ceiling, hooking up the cable/phone wires, hooking up the radiators and then hooking up the AC. These things aren’t required for me moving in.
The place looks nice and very sparse. I put out a call to friends to give me (or loan me) furniture to help fill it out. One friend has been trying to pawn off a few wood table pieces on me for years. Another is preparing to move next year to Chicago and is willing to part with things not worth moving. Though I have my limits, I will not take anything the dog has peed on. I do have some of my own furniture that I couldn’t find homes for before the move but I have yet to see if it has survived unprotected storage.
Lastly, I want to thank Scott and Matt for keeping a roof over my head for the past 3 months during the renovations. They were wonderful hosts. Because of them I was able to live a short distance from my house, so I could see the changes and address other issues that came up, quickly. Also since I wasn’t living in the house, the work went faster, and I was saner.
I’m so easily influenced by other people….
My contractor couldn’t believe my assessment of the floors as being ‘okay’. I pointed out concerns I had with the floor such as the rough hewn boards that already snagged a sock. He told me that wears down after use and it shouldn’t be a problem, but if it continues to be a problem he’d address it.
I was over at my house, painting, as usual, and had some neighbors drop by while my contractor was popping in and out. They loved the floor. Now I don’t want to be one of those people who does things to impress the neighbors, but their opinion began to change my mind about the floor. Or maybe it was the contractor and the neighbors going on about the floor that did it.
Then a carpet salesman showed up to show samples. Maybe he was trying to get a feel for my price range or maybe it was his honest impression, but he said my floors cost a fortune. He basically repeated the same things my contractor had been saying… they don’t make these anymore… can’t get the character anywhere else, etc, etc.
Okay, I get it.
I got the rare thing early, which is why I horded some boards bound for the dump. I figured if something happened to one of the boards I’d have a replacement. I may have horded a few boards too many. Anyone else with a heart pine floor need a board or two?
Lastly, I think this is a point when having my contractor be the guy he is with what he knows being the biggest value. I wouldn’t have recognized these floors as something valuable to keep in their dirtied form. David (the contractor) has worked in a bunch of old houses in DC so he knows about the quirks and was able to recognize what kind of flooring I had.
I’m now officially broke.
This Summer I get to save up money for the plumber to put the radiators in. I should be able to rustle up the $2000 needed to do so by October. I’m not even going to think about what’s left of the SpacePak till I can stabilize my financial situation. The carpet, I might be able to scrounge up something for that. And I think I will still end up owing my contractor money.
Yup. Broke. Brokie-broke-broke-broke.
Well this is my new floor. Which actually is my old floor. Just that my old floor was covered with carpet, fake wood tiles, and ick.
If I were to buy a new floor I would have gone with a lighter color. But do like the fact that the floor is one of the several things I kept from the original house (besides the toilets, the sink, & radiators). My contractor tells me that the floor is heart pine and it is very pricey. Um, okay, I’m happy it could be reused. There was some cost savings to keeping the floor, storing the floor, cleaning the floor and having it sanded and finished over going out and buying a new-new floor.
My contractor is also keen on pointing out the ‘character’ of these old floors. Honestly, my feelings towards the varied widths, the knots, nail holes, varied shades and other unique features can be summed up as ‘eh’. They’re nice and they do add to the house’s overall character, which I do care greatly about.
Let’s start with Peter. I made a 2nd run over to the Bloomingdale farmer’s market to pick up snacks for the weekend painting. While I was there I noticed some guy in front of the Big Bear playing guitar. His back was to the market, facing the R Street entrance of the Bear, but I knew who it was, it was Peter, a neighbor. He and his wife live a block from my house and it was great to see very local talent. The thing that made me feel good was, I asked Peter to play some blues to enhance my shopping experience, he did, and that made me happy.
Right after leaving the market with a bag of cherries, I ran into another neighbor and gave him a house tour. He validated some of my decisions about painting the brick and the new layout which made the place unique. If you count the kitchen that was done several years back, the renovations have been quite customized and geared towards pleasing me and not so much a future buyer. I don’t/won’t have the stainless steel, granite countertop, oak/maple floor, CAC, bricky exposed brick, standard tub, marble tile set up that has become quite common in many renovations. There is nothing wrong in liking and wanting those things, but they don’t reflect me and my desires. I like my counter tops to be forgiving with china and glass. I love my heated floors and I love my radiators. The living rm floors were recycled from what was under the carpet. The tub, a used and now repainted clawfoot, promises me some soaking enjoyment with showering utility. The house has character, now hopefully, the good kind.
Then later that day I met up with a colleague at a mixer (the American Library Association was in town, did you notice?). We were talking, and I mentioned this blog that I’m going to semi-retire and spin off something else that excites me, neighborhood history. Then he and I got to talking about historic districts and preservation and realized we were of the same mind. I can’t explain this joy that rushed over me, to encounter someone with a strong academic background in history and a true understanding that not every d*mn thing can be preserved. Then he mentioned that somewhere out there there is some data that recently shows that houses in historic districts do less well in the real estate market because of the restrictions. He also explained the difference between antiquarians and historians.
I painted the exposed brick white. It looks lovely when the light from the outside streams in and bounces off the semi-gloss white. The problem, or more so a problem because it is interior, is the brick gets dusty. The brick that makes up my house has a lot of small holes, gouges, and was not laid evenly. This makes it hard to paint the exposed surfaces and what doesn’t get painted sloughs off brick dust.
The big gouges mostly have gotten touched with some caulk. In some spots that has worked out okay. In other spots I see that so much caulk was squeezed into the cavity that it is beginning to shrink and separate from the brick.
It’s white paint on white primer so that wall has gotten 2-3 coats. I can’t tell because it is hard to see where I painted before. Yet the strong tell tale signs that I missed a spot is a thin layer of brick dust that shows up quite well on a white surface. The number of small holes in the brick is more than I can sanely fill with caulk, so I’m going to have to accept a layer of dust.
On one side is a toilet, and I flushed it! On the other is a claw foot tub. The tub has a very generic shower head, which I will replace as soon as I am able to with something more fun.
The tub is dirty. So is the toilet, but I don’t care. Ooh! Look! The toilet sits on top of the tile this time. Not in the tile liek the crack heads who ‘renovated’ the house did.
Technically I could move back into my house, but the contractor probably wouldn’t be too happy if I did. I still have to paint the walls in the bathroom (that part above the tile), and paint the ceiling, because I was told, flat ceiling paint in the bathroom is a no.
The day when I can walk into LUSH and actually buy a bath bomb to throw in my bath is close at hand.
I’m writing this between trips to the Home Despot and I’m really tired of running around. But what I am happy about is the sign of plumbers hooking up the toilets. Yay! Also David, my contractor, had me show his guy what to paint. He said that he really needed something for one of his guys to do, but I think he really hates the paint job I and my friends did. And the guy painting is saying I didn’t have enough paint.
Speaking of paint, which I need to go grab after posting this. I still can’t decide on the color for the living room. I had a paint fiasco, sort of with the Community Forklift eco-paint. As it was explained, they had some trouble with the color mixer and it is alright now. Anyway I wound up with two different colors of pink. I sort of liked one, and hated the other and didn’t like the one I did like enough to go out of my way to match that color. So I’m looking at other pinkish reds. The goal is to have a red in the room, but not be overpowered with red. So I’m looking for a dark pink or a washed out red.
Anyway, the end is looking close. Once the toilets and bathtub are in, I just need to get carpet in and have the 1st floor sanded. Oh, and the heating needs to be hooked up. Then I get to save my pennies to get the AC hooked up next summer. And if I save a lot of pennies, maybe get that extra shower.
This bathroom, still incomplete, because it needs the tub, toilet, sink and lights installed. They are things I already had or have been bought already. It’s the labor that concerns me.
I knew that this bathroom would be expensive simply because of the tile. Tile and the labor to put in the tile. Tile is something I could do but because of the order of how the bathroom needs to be complete, some things couldn’t wait for me. Because the toilet, tub and sink (things I can’t install myself) go on top of the hexagon tile, which goes in after the tile baseboard (black tile). The space will be tight when the tub comes in so the walls go in before the tub.
What’s left in the coffers is in the low teens and there are some important things that are still left to be done. Finishing this bathroom is one. And I can’t help but wonder if I had gone with something more simpler if there would be more wiggle room in the building budget.