Monday, May 23, 2011

sprucing up the place

This is where it all started.  Last year we had our eye on this kitchen set with its many seats so we all can share a meal together, but never got around to doing anything about it. Our focus was primarily on the other house and once that burden was lifted, it was full speed ahead.  Mike decided it was time to get rid of the pink rooms and exterior and let me know he was on a mission to make that happen and to clear the decks so he could begin this project.  He diligently worked his magic throughout the rooms every Saturday using these cool painting and scraping tools to get 'er done perfectly.   We chose the Behr paint color calm air and it is really quite soothing.  After dismantling the area, on March 7, I made the call to get ideas on how to enhance our windows and Rhonda from Eddie Zs got the ball rolling.  She has a keen decorating sense and offered suggestions I would have never thought of.  My goal was to remove the unnecessary clutter and clear our home providing clear feng shui energies.  I focused on one level at a time so it wouldn't become too overwhelming.  I really enjoy projects and this was going to be a delightfully intense one indeed. 
To keep it simple, I had the Piroquet shades installed in the living room and filters on the dining room windows to prevent the sun's glare from damaging the furniture.  Anthony installed our fancy shmancy entrance and patio doors which brings in more sunlight.  Robyn from Burr Ridge Lighting was so much fun to work with and she knew exactly what I wanted with the artistic light fixtures.  Wayne-O had his eye on this beautiful Italian dining set called Gianna and got involved in the remodeling project when we ordered same, making the room feel as if we are dining in Tuscany.  The light fixture has a G clef which is a popular bass note and since he is a bassist, it had to be ours.  Thanks, Jeff, for installing our beautiful light fixtures!
I had all the wood floors refinished thanks to our new Romanian friends at Floor Mania Inc.  Their professionalism and expertise amazed me, and comparatively speaking, their prices are very reasonable.  Worth every penny!  When we built our home in 1984, fashion dictated having lots of carpeting, however, I detest vacuuming and insisted on wooden floors, which was uncommon at the time.  Not a day goes by that I regret our decision and now that they look brand~spanking new, I love them even more so.  Mike and Margarita gave me a cool tool for easy cleaning that works marvelously.   I patched a million tiny holes in Steve's room from all his artwork previously gracing his room and ended up repainting both his and the massage room.  Luckily I had just enough leftover paint to get this accomplished.  He loves his new big boy, or young man look, and his nights should be more comfortable in the new queen bed.  I figured we might as well make everyone happy and gave Dan and Darcy a king mattress and new sheets and comforter covers as well.  Bed Bath and Beyond and Ikea have a great selection. Since the doggies cannot be jumping off the bed without hurting themselves, I got us a low rider box spring called a boogie board.  The powder blue sheets are perfect.  650 thread.  Sigh. 
The hardest thing about remodeling is being inconvenienced with not being able to walk around while the work is in progress.  Luckily, we planned things in increments where there would always be a way to get to an area.  We found ways to block our doggies so as not to damage the wood by putting a mattress in front of the stairs while they cured.  They survived.  LOL While the experts worked on their areas, I kept busy by clearing out the lowest level and organizing bins and cleaning dust bunnies from the basement.  Wouldn't you know it, as Mercury was retrograde, our clothes washing machine punked out, as did our dishwasher and kitchen skylight leaked, so all had to be repaired and/or replaced.  Luckily, we were referred to a great appliance service ~ Central Dupage Appliance and they did the job for us.  Two weeks of laundromat visits ($150 worth of suds) later, all was back in place.  I really, really appreciate my clothes washer and dryer.  We do the clothes every day so you can imagine my visits.  The guys at Rooftech came to install the new skylight and wouldn't you know it, as they removed the old one, it downpoured for 5 minutes, but no damage was done to Mike's kitchen ceiling painting (thank God.)
I did tons of scrubbing and got a little anal at times, causing one of my fingers to bruise.  I went so far as to clean the garage door inside and out after Showy and family left their droppings.  Yuck.  I endeavored to begin painting the exterior trim on all the windows as once Mike mentioned it looks pink outside, every time I drove up I wanted to puke.  I never noticed it before until he mentioned it and he was right on.  I enjoy painting, so on my 100 or so visits to the mighty Home Depot I bought the paint, after careful selection through their cute little sample jars, and began replacing the old chamois color with beach beige.  Ask me where things are in that store and I could probably tell you.  The fun thing is every time I visit,  I come home with another plant or flower for the garden. Notice my pretty blue orchid. As this is a process, I had to wait for clement weather, which was a challenge given all the cold, wet and windy days our spring brought us; and took my time with three coats on every window, trim and lower fir.  As I am not comfortable working on the ladder at higher heights, Wayne-O did the upper level windows and  fir siding.  We were going to have it all aluminized, but I am not so fond of that look, so we kept what we had and enhanced same.  

 The biggest project has been the total renovation of our lower bathroom.  Whew!  I knew going in that it would be filled with glitches as I signed the contract the day Mercury went retrograde and when Brian of Complete Home Maintenance suggested it would take two weeks to complete, I shook my head and said, "so count on four."  I ordered a wood slab from New Mexico that would take three to four weeks to deliver, however, that and the tempered glass piece took a bit longer for delivery, holding up the job.  You must understand, my family only takes showers, and for them to have to cleanse in my tub was inconceivable at first, but as all fine creatures learn, it is easy to adapt to circumstances, and lo and behold, so they did.  Six weeks later, the mission is accomplished.    We made a new friend in Jeff Dillon, who is a seasoned veteran in home improvements and I enjoyed his company everyday beginning at 8:00 am.  His creativity is evident in the tile design and installation.  Great guy, he is.

intuition shower system
light and window

bench to rest weary bones :)
 vessel bowl and wooden slab

The shower is twice the original size as we knocked down walls and built a deeper area.  The room is filled with Italian travertine called Scabos and it feels like a Roman bath house. Thanks to Rich at The Tile Shop for helping me choose wisely on this one.  Mary Ann from Ferguson's knew exactly what to order for all the plumbing essentials.   The commode is much higher and newfangled with two depressors for number one and number two, aiding in a more energy efficient function (and lower water bills!)  I wanted Wayne-O to feel like king of his castle and this room is for him. 

I painted the little areas where no tile was installed and fine-tuned the family room with a nice ecosteam carpet shampoo and minor rearranging.  I still don't know what to do in my sanctuary bath upstairs but am leaning toward a softer look with onyx tile and vessel bowl.  I must keep my beloved oversized bathtub and work around it, so my final project will be in the works when my creative juices come up with the perfect plan.  As I constantly mentioned to Wayne-O during this renovation process, "I have a system...and it works."  I am so fortunate he gave me the green light to fund these renovations and whenever I came up with another design, all he did was nod his head up and down.  My man. This domestic goddess is proud of her new nesting digs.  I don't know what I would have done without my handy tools such as flax soap, lemon polishing oil, razor to scrape the window edges, variety of screw drivers, hammer, spackle, windex, feather duster, paint brush and oh, yeah...bayer aspirin.  xo