Thursday, March 31, 2011

wood flooring

I have made several trips to Lumber Liquidators lately, in trying to select the wood flooring for the house. We are going to lay wood throughout the entire house -- only the bathrooms will be spared.

John and I both knew that we wanted a dark-colored wood this time. We had a pale (birch??) wood in our Bay Area home, and we definitely wanted to do something different.

At the showroom, I immediately fell in love with this sample of bamboo flooring.

And this walnut sample. Oh my!

However, both are out of our price range.

Our solution: unfinished white oak... stained to match the bamboo sample.

The sample above is a piece of unfinished white oak, stained with two coats of Zar, oil-based wood stain, "Moorish Teak.". At $2.79 per square foot, the white oak is much more in our price range.

And then, something even better came along.

You see, the original plan was for John and me to lay the wood flooring. Afterall, we did it in ourselves in the Bay Area home. However, since we're in a bit of a time crunch, we have decided to hire our neighbor who just happens to specialize in refinishing wood floors. Who just happens to have a distributor who can get us an even better deal than Lumber Liquidators.

It always comes down to 'who you know', doesn't it?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

more framing progress

Last week, when we got back from Disneyland, we were so happy to see the progress in the framing of our house. Unfortunately, it rained for the rest of the week, so nothing was done Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

Thank goodness, the sun has come back, and so has the progress.

I went by the house today, and this is what I saw.

The stairs have been completed. Yay! In case you don't remember --or missed the first few posts-- this is what our staircase used to look like (before we removed it.)

Framing for the upstairs bathroom renovation has also been coming along nicely.

And this is what the interior looks like.


We are increasing the size of our teeny-tiny itty bitty master bathroom. It used to look like this

But that's not all.

Check out what the new entry looks like.

You can see how it has been framed out for our new gas fireplace and for the new front door.

I'm starting to get excited!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

stylish blogger award

I've been given an award! I'm so honored. Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling and Carrie from Hazardous Design honored me with the Stylish Blogger Award. Thanks ladies!

As the tradition goes, I have to share seven things about me that you may not know. (Coming up with this list was harder than I imagined.)

1. I am originally from South Africa. My family emigrated to the States when I was 5 years old, and we've been here ever since.

2. A couple of years ago, I had my own boutique Home Staging business. It was supposed to be a side-job while being a stay-at-home mom, but it turned out to be a bit more time-consuming. It was fun while it lasted, though.

3. I would love to have an etsy shop one day. (I just have to figure out what I would sell.)

4. We just bought an Airstream trailer!! (I plan on posting photos soon.)

5. This is one of my all-time favorite books.

6. I would love to learn about flower arranging.

7. My 20-year high school reunion is coming up this summer, and I haven't decided yet if I will go.

Now is the fun part. I get to pass the award on to several of my favorite bloggers. I'd like to share this award with

Happy reading everyone!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

the DIY balance :: little league, crafts & walks on the beach

We had a fairly quiet weekend, and it was just what the doctor ordered. The only thing *scheduled* was a Little League baseball game -- the first of the season.

Saturday's weather was cold and rainy, so we stayed indoors.

perler beads


my project

On Sunday, the skies were blue and the sun was shining. We took advantage and took a nice walk to the beach. We have had so much rain lately, it was interesting to see how much the beach landscape had changed.

**We did manage to squeeze in a brief visit to Lumber Liquidators, because we need to decide on our flooring fairly soon.**

What did you do for fun this weekend?

This post has been shared with the Good Life blog party at A Beach Cottage. It's one of my newest reads, and it's quickly turning into one of my favorite blogs around. Go check it out!

Friday, March 25, 2011

throw out 50 things :: items 7 - 10

I'll be brutally honest: Going through boxes and cupboards in hoarder's heaven the garage, stresses me out. There are so many things that we don't use --that I want to get rid of-- but I'm worried we might need it or want it down the road.

I didn't find many items to get rid of this week, but I think that's due to my frazzled state of mind. Thank you, by the way, for all your encouraging words in the comments section.

Item #7
sheepskin for a stroller
-- gave to my mom (for future grandkids)

Item #8
Bag of random stuff
--dropped off at thrift shop

Item #9
Forgotten Halloween candy
--if they don't remember it, they don't need it!

Item #10
armrests from 4's carseat
--threw in trash

That wraps it up for this week. However, during this next week, I'm going to start gathering things for a (future) garage sale.

Feel free to join the Throw Out 50 Things Challenge. Leave a note in the comments section, and tell me what you got rid of... or link to your post!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

on schedule

This is what I was afraid of. Everything happening at once.

Back in January, John and I were twiddling our thumbs, just dying to get the renovations underway. I was trying to tackle as many mini-projects as I could, as well as paint the one room that would remain 'untouched,'  because I knew that the day would come when I would be spread too thin.

That day has come. I am stressed and overwhelmed.

I need time to stand still so that I can catch up. Because right now, I feel like I'm 3 days behind schedule.

At least the framing seems to be on schedule.

Maybe I just need a good night's sleep, and I'll feel less stressed in the morning. Here's hoping.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

not for a lack of trying

Last Saturday, I wrote about my 'dilemna' with finding the DIY balance. In the post, I committed to doing a weekly (Saturday) post on our progess in finding that balance.


First weekend in... and a total bust.

But it was not for a lack of trying.

The weather has been cold and wet. And cold.
The wii has been a big part of this weekend.

But I'm not feeling too bad, because we're taking the kids to Disneyland for a couple of days. Yay!

I'll be back with regular posting on Wednesday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

throw out 50 things :: items 1 - 6

The challenge is on. Oh, it's on, Baby. It's on like Donkey Kong.
Too much? Okay.

Item #1
Maternity Clothing
--lent it to my sister

Item #2
(2) car seats that 4 has outgrown
--gave one to my sister
--will try Craigslist or Goodwill with the 2nd one

Item #3
stack of origami paper
--gave it to 4's teacher

Item #4
Old clothing that no longer fits (mostly kid sizes)
--going to local thrift

Item #5
Giant coloring book
--going to local thrift

Item #6
Face painting book
--going to local thrift

That's all the loot I have for today's post. You can read more about the 50 Thing Challenge here. Please feel free to join the challenge, and use the comments section to tell me what you got rid of this week. Every Friday, I'll be posting my progress.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ch-ch-ch check it

On Tuesday, the contractor started framing out the new front entrance and the additional space in the back of the house. I went by the house on Wednesday and again today, because I couldn't stay away. Can you blame me?

This is how the back of the house is coming along.

And here is the front entrance.

75 days to go.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

the 50 thing challenge

Yesterday I posted about my messy garage and my plan to move it in an organized fashion. I also hinted that I have a little plan to help me declutter a bunch of stuff.

So here it is. Here's the big plan:

I read this book last year, when we were getting our house ready to go on the market. To summarize it in the shortest way possible, the goal is to get rid of 50 things. Duh.

However, one "thing" is not the same as one "item." For example, a stack of magazines is one thing. A collection of tupperware containers is one item. Get it?

And the goal is to get rid of fifty things.

There's nothing I like more than a good challenge. It is going to be a lot harder this time around because I already decluttered a bunch of stuff during the last move.

But first, I feel like I have to be clear about a couple of things:
  1. I am going to avoid throwing out items, if it can be avoided. If it's at all possible, I will donate the items or sell them. I'd rather not add anymore items to the landfill.
  2. I'm not throwing out stuff, just to throw out stuff. If it's something that we really use or enjoy, we'll keep it. I think that we all own items that we no longer use or love, and moving is a great time to weed through the junk.

Every Friday evening, I'll post the items that I was able to purge. The plan is to get to 50 before we move which, by the way, is in 76 days or sooner.

Anyone else up for the challenge? Misery loves company. It's going to be fun!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

don't judge me

We are taking advantage of the slow pace of renovations. I'm not complaining, I'm just finding the silver lining.

The main reason we have taken the time to prep the garage is because we are going to start moving things in there. If you promise not to judge me, I'm going to show a photo of our current garage situation.

This is the garage of the current house that we are renting. It ain't pretty.

I have several excuses reasons why it is in such dissaray, but I'm not going to bore you with them. It is what it is.

It is what it is, but now we have the time to remedy the situation.

Here is our pristine garage with freshly painted floors.

So here's the plan: Slowly and methodicaly, box by box, we are going to move the contents of the messy garage to the garage in the blue house. In the process, we will be going through each and every item and deciding if it's worth keeping.

We already went through this process, when we packed up and sold our house in the Bay Area. And let me tell you, we got rid of a lot of stuff.

I'm sure there are still a few things to get rid of. But don't worry, we're not getting rid of everything. But the things that we're keeping can definitely be more organized in a better fashion. Who am I kidding? Anything will be better than this!

So I have a little incentive plan. I won't mention any names, but I know someone who gives herself gold stars for accomplishing tasks. And just like her, I like a little incentive.

I'll be back tomorrow to explain.

Now, be honest: How clean is your garage?

Monday, March 14, 2011

the foundation is done

On Friday, the front of our house looked like this.

Today it looks like this.

The back looked like this.

And now it looks like this.

Let the framing begin!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

finding the DIY balance

When we first moved to the central coast {8 months ago} we found ourselves in an unusual situation: There wasn't a DIY project in sight.

You see, we barely knew a soul, it was mid-summer (hence, no school-related activities), and we had moved into a rental house. After spending the last 12+ years working on our house, John and I were now in a situation where there was nothing to be 'done'.

***Sidenote: One of the reasons we moved away from the Bay Area, was because we wanted to "slow down" and enjoy life.

When the weather was good, we 'survived' the DIY famine. It was rough, but we dragged ourselves to the beach and toughed it out. (wink, wink) However, when the weather was cold and foggy, we were like lost children. We didn't know what to do with ourselves.

I think that certain personality types are happiest when they are working on a project, and both John and I easily fit into this category.

Fast forward to now. DIY-wise, we're back to our old tricks, and we have a house full of projects. But with these good habits, come bad habits. Our priorities seem to have reverted back to house projects, as opposed to family-oriented activities.

I'm of the belief that 'house projects' and 'quality of lifestyle' can coexist. But. If you're prone to favoring one over the other (as we are with house renovations), you need to put extra effort into the other one. Make sense?

In an effort to keep myself accountable to "slow down and enjoy life", I'm going to try to add a weekend post that focuses on what we did as a family. Admittedly, these posts are more for me, than for anyone else.

Ready for the first go at it? Here goes...

father and son

The highlight of the weekend was our walk on the Bob Jones Trail. We walked to Woodstone and had breakfast. Someone earned herself a cinnamon roll.

What did you do for fun this weekend?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

$10 play kitchen

Look what I scored for $10, via Craigslist. Honestly, I probably could have got it for free. (I think the seller was so excited to get rid of it.)

I have big plans to DIY it into the coolest, most badass play kitchen eva. Holla!

* * * Play kitchen inspiration comes from here and here. * * *

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

organization :: this is how i roll

There has been a pile of papers growing in my kitchen. It's a pile of magazine tearsheets, catalogs of sorts, business cards, paint samples, you name it. If it's renovation-related, it's in there. I finally decided to take care of it, once and for all.

My Renovation Binder

All business cards have been stapled to one sheet, located at the very front of the binder. So the next time John asks me to call the window guy or the door guy, I no longer have to consult Google. It's all right there.

Just after the business card page, the binder is divided into eight sections:
  1. great room
  2. kitchen
  3. kids rooms
  4. bathroom
  5. master bedroom
  6. landscaping
  7. exterior
  8. misc.

Each section is filled with (or waiting to be filled with) inspiration photos, product catalogs, paint samples, and orders that have been placed.

our fireplace inspiration

the window bench I want

Of course, a few of the sections are still empty. John and I haven't made any decisions regarding our master bedroom or bathroom.

I imagine that this binder is going to be quite full in the months to come. I'm just happy to have everything in one {organized} place.

How do you organize your projects?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

bumps in the road

The demolition process has uncovered a few unexpected things. Neither John or I are surprised by this, but we're still dismayed.

In a previous post, I mentioned that the contractor discovered an unexpected shear wall between the great room and 4's room. This shear wall meant that we were going to have to leave it. After much discussion, we have decided to proceed with our original plans and remove it. Since it wasn't noted on the original plans, and it was "okayed" by the City of SLO, it's outta there.

Sidenote: Through these discussions, I learned that a "shear wall" is not the same as a load-bearing wall. Huh. You learn something new everyday.

In addition to removing the shear wall, we're also going to "take" 4's closet, seen here as "closet #1."

Taking "closet #1" was not part of the original plans; however, in doing that, we will gain an additional 2.5 feet in the width of our kitchen.

From the blueprints, you can see how the additional 2.5 feet {width} will improve the flow of our kitchen.

Obviously, we'll have to reconfigure 4's room to give her back a closet, but we'll figure that out later.

Monday, March 7, 2011

what's your walking score?

What's your walking score? No, I don't mean you, I mean your house.

Walk Score is a free website that measures the walkability of any address. The address will be given a walk score of 0 - 100, 100 being the most walkable.

The image above is the Walk Score map of our previous house in the Bay Area. It scored 95, aka "Walker's Paradise." I would show you the score of our SLO house but that wouldn't be responsible of me. However, I can tell you that it scored 80, aka "Very Walkable."

San Luis Obispo is known for being very walk-able and bike-able. In fact, I think that's one of the reasons that it's the happiest place in America.

I can't tell you how important it is to me that I can walk or bike everywhere. But that's just me -- not everyone wants to live that close to everything. Some people would rather not see their neighbors at all.

What's your walking score?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

our renovation timeline

"When do you think you'll be done?"

This is the question we're most commonly asked by friends and family.

"End of May"

This usually raises some eyebrows and heavy skepticism when they knowingly see the current state of our house:

Not to mention the torn-down chimney...

But let me clear something up: When we say "done", we don't mean 100% painted, trimmed-out, tricked-out... This is our checklist for being "done":
  • framed and closed in
  • new wood flooring installed and finished
  • plumbing & electrical finished
  • drywall work finished

We remodeled our previous house and we're used to living in a work-in-progress. In fact, I'm pretty much assuming that we're going to have a 'temporary kitchen' set up.

We want to be moved in by May 31st because our lease is up at the end of May. We can always extend our lease, but we don't want to pay {mortgage + rent} any longer than we have to.

86 days to go...

Think we'll make it?

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