Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Because we are in the design profession, we are exposed to building materials day-in & day-out. This is good and bad. Good because it keeps us aware of new products on the market, but also bad because we realize our options are endless, and neither Brian nor I claim to be very decisive. Which leads me to the countertops for our kitchen. We've known all along that we wanted a dark gray surface for our countertops, and originally it was pretty clear that we wanted a solid, consistent surface. However, after much deliberation over the flooring for this room, we've decided that we want to go with slate (99% sure). I had tossed around the idea of a terrazzo flooring, but because the cost was almost triple that of slate, that decision was quickly tossed out. BUT, then we realized that we could get a similar terrazzo-type slab for the countertops. The product is called Eco-Terr, and it is "made of recycled natural stone aggregates. Durable, zero VOC materials, non-porous cleanable finish does not support microbial growth... contains pre-consumer recycled content" (according to We contacted our reps at one of our favorite companies, CaraGreen, and they sent us samples of various colors. Although none of them are 'dark gray', we have shifted our opinions slightly, and are leaning towards the Misty Gray or the Gibraltar, below. The black is too black, and the green too green. Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We have taken a break from writing over the past week since we flew to Colorado for a few days, and because nothing has really happened in regards to the house!

We flew into Denver on Thursday of last week and spent 2 nights with Brian’s old roommate Phil. We toured around downtown by bike, and visited old and new favorite bars & restaurants, including Dozens, Don’s, & Benny’s. Good times. Then Saturday we drove up to Vail for Randy & Katy’s wedding. The ceremony (& reception) were held about 12 miles outside of Vail, down a long, dirt, mountain road, where we arrived at the most gorgeous of settings beside a lake nestled in the Rockies. It truly was gorgeous, dinner was delicious, and the party went well into the evening. Sunday morning we were able to visit Vail Village where there was an amazing farmer’s market and great shops. On the way back to Denver, we travelled through Loveland Pass and stopped at Red Rocks. We had such fun with all the old Colorado friends, and the weather was perfect too! If you’d like to see the entire photo album of our trip, click here: Colorado 2010.

Denver Art Museum
Denver Public Library
downtown denver by bike
wedding site
red rocks

Monday, August 16, 2010


The drawings below will give you some idea of the extent of the work we are doing in regards to the renovation of the kitchen & laundry, as well as the master suite addition. These drawings were submitted to the city several months ago in regards to our zoning appeal, so there are minor changes to the configuration of the master bath & walk-in closet. There have also been modifications to the layout of the shed.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

dedica[tion] - day 2

In our my sore state from yesterday's scrubbing, we got a little bit late of a start today. I finished my final floor, which was the worst by far. But it's up to par with the rest of the floors now. I can't say that any of them are spic n' span, but we'll save the white-glove-test for the post-construction cleaning!

I also took down several ceiling fixtures (although not all) and soaked & scrubbed glass, wiped down ceiling fans, mostly just to get the dust out of the house, and cleaned mirrors and doors as needed.

Poor Brian, bless his heart. He continued cleaning appliances. The stove, washer, & dryer are all in much better condition after his scrubbing. By the way, the laundry room that you see below is going to be demolished/rebuilt. This current room is unconditioned space, and was tacked on to the back of the house. Shoddy construction and falling down.

Afterwards, we had a nice (best 2 out of 3) cordial game of Gin Rummy. I won!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

dedica[tion] - day 1

Today, Brian and I spent the majority of the day working at the house. After some quick internet searches last night, feeling overwhelmed by some of the cleaning we were about to tackle, I learned a few quick tricks for getting things clean.

Brian spent most of his time working on the refrigerator. The stove and refrigerator were part of the contract, and we also kept the washer & dryer. This way we can get by with just buying a dishwasher & above-stove microwave for now, and as needed we'll purchase new appliances. Anyway, these current appliances are quite dirty, due to non-use, etc. So the handy internet 'how to' sites say to mix 2-3 cups of bleach and a little Ultra Dawn soap to a bucket of water to spiffy up a fridge. And Brian had read in the owner's manual yesterday to clean with baking soda. So, he did his own concoction, and it looks great!

I also read how to clean grimy hardwood floors, which is what I spent my day doing! Sweep floors, dry mop floors, and then mop floors with a mix of a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. You don't want to saturate the floors, but scrub with a damp mop. It took forever, and I still have one bedroom to go, but the floors really do look much better than I expected! There are still a few spots that I could not clean, but overall I'm happy with the progress. Of course, once the construction starts, there will be dust everywhere and they'll have to be cleaned all over again. But at least now I know how to do it!

Clean floors!
I also tackled the bathroom, starting with trying to get rust stains off our vintage tile floor. I started with CLR, which did NOTHING. Thankfully I had a back-up plan... pumice. This was effective, however it will take a lot more scrubbing to get all the rust off completely. Although I was relieved to see it actually did work. I also cleaned the pedestal sink and toilet, and although gruesome, I'm glad it's done!

Still needs more scrubbing, but better than it was!
Towards the end of the day (after our friends Jeff & Katie stopped by to check out the place), it started to rain. Because we have no central air, only 2 window units, we took the rain as an opportunity to cool off outside. I had bought some flowers and potting soil earlier in the day on my shopping spree for all the products mentioned above. We planted our concrete planters that flank the stairs on the front of the house.

Overall, we got a lot accomplished and were happy with the results. We've got a long road ahead!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


We closed at 2:00 Tuesday afternoon, just down the street from our office. All went as planned. We picked up Ryan & Nick at our apartment to begin our roadtrip to Greenville/Spartanburg and swung by the new house to show it to them, and to toast a glass of champagne! We took a few photos to document the moment.

Unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to get back over there, but we plan to spend some time there this weekend. Maybe we'll get started on yard work, and start taking our "before" photos. Can't wait to get this started!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It's finally here... closing day! Unfortunately our closing date has moved quite frequently due to one thing or another, from July 8 to August 6 to August 10! Let's hope this one sticks.

Although as exciting as this is, the sad part is that our friend Jay's mother passed away this past weekend and we are going to leave town directly after the closing to go to Greenville for the visitation and then the funeral on Wednesday morning.

We are looking forward to getting in and cleaning up! Of course when demolition starts on the front porch, kitchen, & laundry room, it will be a wreck all over again! But at least we can get to work on the yard!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Tomorrow is the big day! Can't wait to sign the papers... fingers-crossed that all goes as planned!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Well, unfortunately due to some delays in our appraisal, we were not able to close on the house today, but there was an exciting delivery made to our apartment!

Last October, Carolina Business Interiors hosted our firm for a 'fun night' (which they've done the past couple of years), where you go and have hors d'oeuvres and drinks, learn about new products, and do a fun group activity. And in the end, you have a chance to win a new chair.

This year's activity was a design competition where they gave us each a box full of materials: string, wire, clay, pipe cleaner, metal mesh, fabric, etc. The task was to design & build a miniature chair in 45 minutes. In the end, we each placed our chairs in front of a ballot box, and we were each given 5 chips with which to vote. You could only vote once for any given chair, including your own. My entry:

Well I won, and the prize was a Generation chair by Knoll! And Brian and I finally got around to picking out what colors we wanted, and it arrived today!! This is what it looks like: