Renovation 2007: Paint values

You know the values you have when you keep them even when they are at their most inconvenient. That’s what I was thinking when I wandered over to the Home Depot looking getting painting supplies and noticed how much was the cheap paint. Well, the really cheap stuff was around $20 or less, but the higher quality paints were in the mid to high twenties. The eco-friendly low to no VOC paint, $30-$40.
When I was hit with the $40 price tag at Benjamin Moore for their semi-gloss low-VOC paint I started looking elsewhere. Community Forklift carries the American Pride brand of paint, selling between $29-$33 a can, depending on the finish. Cheaper but not as cheap as regular paint.
It would be easier on me if I just went with the regular old paint you find at Home Depot. And I went into the idea of painting the house myself (with the help of friends) to save some money . This paint is not money saving paint, but I guess saving the most money is not my highest value right now….. We’ll see if I can keep it up through this week.

PS– I reserve the right to use whatever paint already my basement from previous paint experiments.
PPS- I want to publicly thank Cerise, Dr. So N Soh, and Elizabeth for helping me paint this weekend.

Renovation 2007: Gone for broke

A number of people have mentioned that this renovation must be stressing me out. Up until last night it was just annoying…. now I’m stressed. Last night I got the latest bill. If this keeps up I’ll run out of money in two weeks.
Completely tapped out. No other reasonable sources of money. Savings, wiped out. Stock, just selling the last bits today. Piggy bank, that was raided early, it no longer exists. I maxed out on the 2nd mortgage. Relatives, the older ones are still working because they can’t afford to retire, the younger ones are young and broke. There is a ‘do not exceed’ amount in the contract, but I swear he doesn’t believe me when I tell him once he hits that amount there is no more money. None. Zip. That’s it. Pack up and go home. No, dude, really, I got nothing.
The end is sort of in sight but the problem is there are three things not in the house that is stressing me out. Toilet, bath tub and radiators. I was hoping to maybe have some money for AC as the stuff behind the walls have been put in, but now I’d be happy if I get my 3 plumbing needs.

Renovation 2007: Paint

Today we are going to pick up tile I dislike. The sooner I get this over with the sooner I’m back in my house.
I am homesick. The that’s what the writing on the wall says. Of course you need a flashlight to see that writing because I wrote out my frustrations on my flat white wall…. with white semi-gloss paint. Low VOC semi-gloss paint.
I did go over to Monarch Paints to grab a gallon of their eco-friendly paint. The negative to that paint, besides being $40 a gallon, is it only comes in the lighter colors and no hi-gloss. So maybe half the house will be done with this paint.
Picking paint isn’t easy. I took two samples and tried them out and they were too dark. The first floor may wind up with 3 or four paint colors and they sort of have to work with each other and the very neutral color in the kitchen. The brick wall will be white.
I really want a nice dark blue, somewhere but I don’t know where that won’t be overwhelming. I was thinking the 1/2 bath, but when I put a sample in there it just seemed too blue. Really, really blue. Blue. Maybe if I had a lot of white shelves and the white sink and white toilet and white towels that would balance out the BLUE!
By the end of this week I will need to know what colors I’m painting the house. So far I know it is some combination of black, white, red, blue, brown and shades of gray. No purple, no lavender, and no peach. Though I really like peach, but all the peach samples I showed to co-workers look pink to them.

Renovation 2007: Good news, Bad news

Okay first the bad news. Whilst chatting with the contractor about tile, he mentioned with happiness and glee that my house should be completely white because they put the primer down.

Me: Oh, okay. Except that one wall upstairs in the bedroom?
Contractor: Oh, sh*t.

Then he quickly got off the phone to see if he could stop the painters. Alas, he was too late.
I know everyone and their grandma has the red brick exposed in all of its red brick glory. I wanted to be different but then thought, it might be nice to leave one wall unpainted. So much for that idea.
When we got back in contact with each other he then mentioned maybe I could paint my walls this weekend. Huh? Wha? Paint? Now? So some of you, my dear, dear, friends, have received an email calling for a paint crew. I know I will need people next weekend, as I still haven’t settled on a tile still and was planning on picking a tile this week. The contractor would like me to paint before the carpet goes in, and it would be even better if I could get to it before the wood floor comes back (HA!). I haven’t picked out a paint color for any part of the house, except the brick wall, which will be a white egg-shell or semi-gloss. Worse yet, I want to use a low voc paint, and honestly I know of two places in car-accessible Maryland where I can get it. Please if anyone knows where I can get metro-accessible eco-friendly paint inside the city that can customize the color, tell me.
The good news? As soon as the tile goes in, the toilet goes in, and I get closer to moving back into my house.

Not so lazy Saturday

I took a nap and ate something so I’m not as grumpy as I was Friday. Anyway here’s how today went.
Florida Avenue Market
Maybe it was because I went earlier than usual time. Maybe it was because the market has been receiving extra attention. I don’t know, but the people who work there seemed…. friendlier. I was greeted, there was smiling. What’s up with that?

Tile Shopping
Well my tile shopping has been more complicated than it really needs to be. I have gotten tile for the upstairs bathroom and the foyer, from two different places. The tile place I went to today, I should have gone to before and saved myself the headache. Morris Tile is in PG County and requires 3 buses to get to from the TC. I thought I would stay 20-30 minutes, but it was over an hour. My contractor said (more like suggested) the 1/2 bath tile should match the kitchen tile. Problem is I like my kitchen tile for the kitchen. The bathroom? Not so much. I found a 12×12 match for my 6×6 sample. But looking at it, I honestly wasn’t too keen on it. If the kitchen tile wasn’t an issue I’d pick small 4×4 or 2×2 mosaic and go for the subway tile look. The other problem was I haven’t given any thought to the 1/2 bathroom’s colors. I don’t know what color I’m painting the wall. I haven’t decided if I’m tiling the wall (more tile shopping, whoo-hoo!) or what color tile I’d use if I did.
After hemming and hawing for a while I picked a small 3×3 tile that matched and had a really cool pattern. When I went to ask how much it was $18 per sq foot. Yeah, a little rich for my blood. I need 47 sq feet plus 15-20% more to cover mistakes, waste, whatever reason my contractor gave me. The same color, but regular 12×12 size, just $3 per sq ft. I just didn’t feel good about ordering a tile that did not make me happy. So after all the time I spent at the tile place, I left. The $3 tile is in stock, so if worse comes to worse, I’ll have the contractor pick up that and suck it up.

100_0395.JPGMt. Rainier
After one bus back, on my three bus trip back home, I got off in Mt. Rainier, MD. I didn’t see a bus to take me to Rhode Island Avenue so I wandered over to The Glut, a funky little all-natural co-op, round the corner and up the hill a ways from the Mt. Rainier Route 1 Circle of Doom. The Glut is one of those things that makes Mt. Rainier, funky. Just on the Route 1 Circle of Doom is a new (within the last year) coffee shop that opened up, the Artmosphere Cafe. And dangit, it’s artsy. There was the prerequisite “local artist” type art on the walls and in the windows, announcements music lessons and other local arts activities, as well as the usual looking for roommates flyer on the bulletin board. Playing to an audience you could count on both hands, was a jazz guitarist. It had a nice laid back vibe, but not lazy ‘laid back’ as I’ve encountered in other places. I had lunch there, and it was quite good. I would go there again, and I did suggest to a friend about stopping by there for a bite the next time we go by.

Jimbo moves close to the TC
Well after two bus rides back to the TC and taking a nap, I ventured over to the new Jimbo digs. Lucky him, he’s not next to the, um, how should I say it?… gathering of fellows that haunt the block. However he is close enough to the TC to hear the mosque’s call to prayer. It will be interesting to see how Jim makes the place look once everything is tidied up.

I was wrong
I’m wrong about a number of things, but anyway. I had announced that there wasn’t going to be a BACA garden walk, aka Flower Power. I was mistaken. According to Jim Berry’s meeting announcement (this Monday, 7 or 7:30pm basement of Mt. Sinai Baptist on 3rd & Q), one of the topics will be Flower Power, so I guess it is on. My bad.

Renovation 2007: Gardening is a pain


100_0359.JPG
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

Everyone says this renovation thing must be driving me crazy. Well, not crazy. Concerned. Concerned about staying on budget. I’m almost resigned to the idea that I won’t have enough to hook up the AC. But the thing that is nearing crazy is not being in my garden.
Some plants are hanging in there. Watering is a problem, mainly when your contractor turns off the water, and somehow decides the pipe going to your backyard spigot was not really used for anything. It got worse as the weather warmed up. The plants in the smaller pots dried out faster and I think the dryness caused the cilantro and the onions to bolt. There are a bunch of alpine strawberries in an old DC recycling bin that have gotten along just fine without me.

Memorial Weekend Grab Bag

Lots of stuff all under one posting.
Shiloh- Well I spent some quality time picking up tile with my aunt, a long time member of Shiloh, and she briefly brought up the thing with the vacant properties. There was a meeting, at first she heard it was 3 houses, now it’s 4, and May 30th isn’t enough time. We’ll see.

Speaking of vacant properties, Si K over in Mt. Vernon went all out and surveyed the vacant properties in the MVSQ region and found 100 properties, and 61 of them are taxed at the wrong rate. Read the report, with pictures here. This is the type of thing the city ‘should’ be doing.

Speaking of reports, in NE at the Florida Avenue Market Frozen Tropics has the Florida Avenue Market Study (PDF) that was presented, at one of the several information meetings about its general development, not the New Towns fiasco. Check of FT and Rebuilding Space’s blog about the Florida Avenue Market.

As a housekeeping measure, I’m disabling comments for 2003-2004 posts.

Speaking of house. Renovation is going along nicely. I need to put up some more pictures at the Flickr site because the walls have been mudded and there is a ceiling. What I’ve been told, is that the trim and the stair railing will be next and that’s going to take a while.

Hope you have a good weekend. I’m hanging out in the hood, while it seems everyone else left the city. If you are some of the few who haven’t left the TC or MVSQ or central Shaw, drop me a line.

Renovation 2007: Whoo, hoo, drywall and insulation


I went back to the house Monday to pick up an ingredient from the kitchen* and noticed there was something a little different. Hey, insulation! Work continues, despite waiting on the plumbing inspector. The electrical inspection was fine so there was no need to keep the wires exposed, however I noticed that the piping for plumbing was still visible.
So there looks like R-15 insulation along the problem party wall. So hopefully that will deal with any exotic smells and noise. When I ventured upstairs to see if they did anything up there, I saw the crawlspace with insulation, and lots of drywall in place.
It is now amazing to see the rooms with drywall . I can see how small the 2nd bedroom/ study/ walk-in closet/ whatever is going to be. I had planned to have made it smaller, and I’m glad my contractor convinced me otherwise.
This project is moving along quite quickly. Well, it has been going in fits and starts. Last week was a lot of nothing, waiting on the inspector and letting the plumber do his thing. At some point I’ll be getting my pine floor back. It will need to be sanded, so another layer of dust on top of the dust that already covered the kitchen.

*Almost everything is covered in a thick layer of dust or dirt in the one room I thought they wouldn’t need to touch.

Renovation 2007: Radiators

I am keeping my radiators. I love my radiators.
During this renovation the radiators have been moved around and are no longer sitting right up on the walls. I figured this was an excellent time to remove the several layers of paint on them. So I spent an afternoon stripping the paint off of them with a heat gun and a metal scrapper.
I know the top layer of paint was good old latex paint, as it was the same color of paint that covered the whole house. However, that bottom layer, the layer above the rust colored metal…. I don’t know what the heck that was, and it was a pain to get off. The latex bubbled a little but the paint under it just had to be burned off. Which then made me wonder if taking a flaming torch to the blasted thing would make my job easier. However, the risk of burning down the house, greater.
While I was scraping I was wondering about the history of the radiators in the house. Wondering when were they put in, were they painted then? Were they new or some old used ones the landlord dug up from somewhere? Then who put on the first coat of paint, and did that paint have lead? That’s the question that made me hunt the job site for a facial mask.

Renovation 2007: Inspections & Miss. Cel Lany

Well my contractor called and said that the electrical inspection passed. Yay. And because they can’t do anything until the plumbing inspection there has been a lull in the amount of work they are doing at the house. Meaning, no one is around when say the plumbing inspector drops by. So there was a big red sticker (not orange but red) on the door saying that the plumbing inspector was by and there was no one to let him in. So that holds back the work until sometime next week when the contractor will wait around the house for the city inspector to come by and look at the plumbing.
The plumbing looks, interesting. He’s using plastic or pvc or whatever the heck that is, instead of copper in some spots. I guess that saves me money, considering the price of copper. The radiator lines do have copper.
Once the plumbing inspection goes through then they will begin the dizzying fast paced work of insulating and sticking up drywall. That’s when the walls will seem more real and I get closer to moving back into my house.
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On the TC front it looks like the grant for the Hanover Civic people and their Truxton Circle confirming beautification project will go through. I say, looks like. Given that the city already calls the area Truxton Circle and the Hanover people need the money and a few of us sent letters in support of the Hanover grant, I think we should be good.
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In the Shaw history research area I went to look for Shaw, Washington’s premier Black neighborhood : an examination of the origins and development of a Black business movement, 1880-1920 by Michael Fitzpatrick at the MLK and it is lost. It might be misfiled but it wasn’t behind the desk, like it was supposed to be. Nor was it on the shelf in the Washingtonia room. Confronted with this problem, I decided to leave the MLK, hop on the yellow line and go to VA to buy shoes. Cloth flats totally make up for a disappointing research outing.