the renovation diaries – month 1

the renovation diaries – month 1

alrighty…we left off post-demo with the asbestos scare (that was nothing but a scare, thankfully).  so next, the tile guys come in and prep the kitchen floor as well as the bathroom floor.  let me say – prep takes FOREVER.  we were probably 2+ weeks deep into this thing and hadn’t seen one shard of tile laid…but lots of prep is GOOD.  these tile guys were so so so thorough!  they are margaret’s primary tile layers and are wonderful.  in fact, it was their schedule we worked ours around, and man, they were worth it.  a day or two in i got that call into the kitchen…  you know, the one that goes “hey callie?  can you come in here for a sec?”  in a hesitant voice.  oh sh*%.  i had just gotten one of those from the demo guy and was dreading what i would find. it was THIS.

photo-196 copy 12in having to remove the original 1940’s hardwoods (sounds like a travesty but trust me – they were covered in asbestos laden black tar – had to go), our subfloor was exposed.  and what’s funny is there was always this slight slope in our kitchen floor and we couldn’t figure out why.  we just assumed it had to do with that concrete slab that was later added onto the kitchen, but weren’t sure.  well, lo and behold, there was some pretty serious termite damage hidden underneath the sub flooring that was never taken care of when it occurred.  i kind of felt like i was on an episode of property brothers…  like: here’s your problem.  it will take an additional $X to correct said problem and loss of X number of days.  luckily it only slowed us down about a half-day and lumber isn’t that expensive.  it also led us to have the rest of the house inspected for termite damage, which there was none.  phew!  but i did manage to get a hard sell on termite insurance.

in no time at all, it was repaired and back in action.

photo-196 copy 11

while all of this was going on at the house, i still had lots of stuff to pick out.  like FAUCETS!  i learned that i have a slight obsession with beautiful faucets.  i went to home depot to look early on and was revolted by everything i saw there.  it was all just so usual and none of it beautiful.  it all just screamed “builder grade” to me.  i tend to like pretty, special things and i ALSO like to make things difficult.  perfect example: plumber and tile guys say that they need the drain to install by thursday.  ok.  how hard is it to find a drain?  so monday i set off to buy a couple of faucets and shower drain / head.  place #1 pretty much turned me away, saying that they only thing they could get would be at LEAST two weeks out but maybe four to six.  um, that is just not going to work seeing as how the plumber is coming in three days.  so instead, i went to the european sink company and had a much different experience.  my sales guy alan picked up the phone when i called them in a tizzy, freaking out about how the HECK am i going to find a drain for thursday so i don’t mess up all of these workers’ schedules.  i explained to him my dilemma.  he said, “oh no no, we have drains here that you can take home?!” in a what’s the big deal voice.  i immediately LOVE HIM.  oh, i should mention that i also have both kids with me, since i ran out of time going to the mean faucet  store when they were both in school.  he was SO accommodating and let me browse, let the kids absolutely terrorize his beautiful store, and was just so helpful all the way around.  and i DID walk out with a drain.

i ended up getting the bathroom faucets and shower head / drain from the california faucets line that they carry at the store.  oh – did i mention i was doing brass?  this was my inspiration – these are beautiful but from great britain (company: barber wilson) and realllllly would have messed up my schedule and not to mention budget…

photo-1so at first i thought i wanted some pretty goosenecks with cross handles…but then i opted for a more simple option.  i ended up with two of these exact sink faucets:

photo-196 copy 8in the “satin gold” finish (look at all of the beautiful brasses they had to choose from! BRASS IS BACK Y’ALL.):

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oh, and circa lighting!  margaret and i had a ball there picking out fixtures for the bathroom.  (she is pretty famous in there, too.)  with her guidance, we chose some lighting that i am absolutely obsessed with!  this flush mount in the “hand-rubbed antique brass” finish for the vanity ceiling:

photo-196 copy 3actually, here it is in the finish.

m_AH4200HAB-FG.jpgand then sconces for either side of the vanity (smaller version in the brass finish):

IMG_5014so many light fixtures, so few rooms…

IMG_5015the folks at circa lighting were kind enough to give me a finish sample  – people, i toted this little thing around *everywhere* to match things to for the bathroom.  holy smokes!  i never realized how many things in there, from all separate manufacturers, needed to match.  we’re talking faucets of course, but then you have cabinet hardware, towel rack, paper towel holder, doorknob, pocket door handle, toilet flusher, shower door handle and wall attachments.  geez louise!  it ended up being sort of a finicky finish to match (see above: like to make things difficult) but i think the end result is fantastic so all is forgotten.  but here’s what i did all over town:

IMG_5031by the way, WHO made so many shower door handle options?!  i think this industry has gotten a little overzealous.


IMG_5107(drexler shower door co. is the best in town and the drexlers are old family friends of the brunettes!  joe is the man.)

we also finalized the countertops – 3cm honed carrera for the kitchen (middle block) and 3cm caesarstone in “blizzard” for the bathroom (right block, but a little thicker).  i found countertops to be a bit like paper – the thicker the better.

photo-196 copy 2meanwhile, back at the ranch – we have a floor going down in the kitchen!  i think i may have mentioned we were doing checkerboard (of some variation – leaning towards grey/white) tile in the kitchen.  that’s what margaret and i both thought as we walked into the tile store.  we needed the tile and we needed it then, so we were limited to options that were in the store’s warehouse.  grey/white – nada.  on to plan b!  i love love love what we ended up with.  a very light taupe/warm grey (looks almost white in sunlight) laid diagonal with medium grey grout.  LOVE how it turned out!  also, if you hem and haw over decisions…just take on a project with a very compressed timeline.  it will make things oh so much easier :)

IMG_5019it took them 2 or 3 days to lay the tile in the kitchen.  it was the first thing we fully finished and we were stoked!


simultaneously, they were still prepping the bathroom.  i see a bench!

IMG_5020and then the tile started to go in… i would go and check out their progress every day after they left, and one day did not realize that i was stepping into a freshly laid slap of cement they were using to even out the floor.  i needed to replace those gold flats anyway. :)  the next day, here is what i found…

IMG_5059they were awesome.  always looking out for me!

phew…that was all of month 1 / november 2013.  while all of this was going on, i was buried in a sea of holiday cards and working some super dodgy hours.  it was really nice to phone in my thanksgiving meal duties due to lack of a kitchen!  (thanks little tart bakeshop)


IMG_5079we also were entrusted with the care of rush’s class mascot, cubbie.  so what do we do?  take him to jalisco’s, of course.

IMG_5032alright, i’ll be back with month 2 of the renovation diaries and then the big reveal!  also, some reno life savers if you’re planning one.  ttfn!


p.s. after my Facebook page giveaway of these new “Enjoy!” tags, i’m offering FREE personalization for orders placed this week (last day to claim offer: 3/15)!  just put the names you would like in the “notes to seller” box upon checkout. yea!!