D’oh! Wrong Color, pt. 2

We aren’t having the best luck when it comes to picking out paint samples and then envisioning the color across an entire room.   We picked a color called Blue Denim for our master bedroom and bathroom.  The little sample made it look really nice and much, much lighter than this.  This is what we ended up with.  Yuck.  We’ll have to get it changed in the next day or so.  Below is my office, we’d love it a bit lighter than this even.

Finally, it’s not orange, it’s calypso.  Our laundry room.  We felt that if you have to do something as mundane as laundry, might as well have a great color for it.

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Love Thy Neighbor

Update: All is good.

Thanks for your support and comments.

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D’oh, Wrong Color

There is not much weirder than pulling up to your house and having it be a.) A different color and b.) Not quite the right color.

This is partially our fault.  One of the things that we’ve discovered in this process is that we have some unusual neighbors.  One of whom is very particular about his house color.  It is unique, we love it and he guards the color like it was the Colonel’s  Secret Recipe.  I took a bunch of pictures of the house and tried to match it using P-Shop, but and then printed out a 4×6 sample of that color.  Unfortunately, glossy paper screws up the color matching system at Benjamen Moore and our house came out battleship gray.  It isn’t too bad, but I’m trying to keep our block from looking like a Naval Yard.

Oddly, most of our friends just loved it.  The problem is that it, and it is hard to tell in this picture, is more blue than gray.  We are planning on doing white trim with a red front door and you can see where this is going.  Star spangled Scott’s House.

Fortunately, Craig’s guy, Les, is a solid guy and he came out today and changed the color.  It is now ‘Whale Gray’ and anyone who wants it can have it.

As for the rest of the project, these guys are in hyper-drive.   Marco, Craig’s finish carpenter is a total stud (not a carpentry joke) and is blazing through getting the trim up.  He has cased all of the windows and doors.  They poured our driveway, much to our crazy neighbors dismay (more on her in a future post), and they are progressing really quickly.  We can’t wait until they paint the inside.

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Justin’s House

My friend Justin, after 6 months of work on his cool new pad in San Francisco, is moving in.  He has a handful of great things that he has learned including:

  • Ray makes a really great general contractor (thanks sweetie!)
  • An interior design consultant is better than future couples counseling
  • I now have a really great electrician contact
  • Fear of heights can be partially overcome to avoid paying insane painter costs in SF
  • ActionScript Developers should earn more by moonlighting as painters ($.60-$1/sqft of paint!!!!)
  • If in doubt, budget $3,000 for any single budget line item.

Full post is here.

Congratulations, Justin & Ray!!!

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Ikea Flooring / House Blogging Old School Style

A few years ago, I replaced the flooring in my sons room from Berber carpet to laminate flooring from Ikea. I documented all of this and posted it on a site that was hosted by Comcast, our internet provider. As a stroke of bad luck and a sign of their brilliant service, Comcast decided to change my user ID & password and at the same time deleted the entire directory of where this was posted. Sadly, also in a Cabernet induced haze, I had a typo in the file name and couldn’t find it on my computer. I thought that it was lost forever.

Until now. (Cue film noir music)

Today, while cleaning up another directory, I lucked upon all of these old files. They are from August 2004 and if you are a.) Planning the project of putting down laminate flooring or b.) just love old music references from almost 3 years ago, this is a must read post.

So, without further adieu, here is one of my first home renovation blog postings (prior to blogs becoming mainstream).

Enjoy!

The Task:

When we moved to our home 3 years ago, we had a very unattractive ‘sun room’ that came with it. While it was adequate for the old woman who lived here before us to use to look out at her yard and watch the plants grow, it wasn’t much of a room that we, as a family could spend time in. Originally, when we moved in, this room was pretty empty, but when my daughter was born, this room became my pinball room / office.

Once we moved stuff in here, we started using the back door as the main entrance to the house. The Berber carpet that was in the room, just couldn’t take the wear and tear. It became ugly, almost to the point of embarrassment. My wife and I discussed removing it a year or so ago, but thought that we would be doing a remodel sooner rather than later and couldn’t see putting the money into a project like this.



Not very pretty, huh? Notice the spots on the carpet? No amount of cleaning, amateur or professional would get them to permanently go away. It also seemed that each time we cleaned them, they would come back, just darker and there would be more of them. It was like a Hitchcock film, just less scary.

Now that my son has arrived, I have been tasked to do a minor remodel on this room in order to make it into his bedroom. We have decided to keep the armoire that houses the computer here, but that is it. My pinball machine got relocated into the garage, where it will stay until we do our remodel and I get my office back. A sad day for mankind.

The Plan:

We decided early on that the carpet had to go. We would rip up the carpet and put down laminate flooring such as Pergo or something similar, but less expensive. We would also paint the room. As a final touch to a kids room, we lucked into finding an antique dresser at a yard sale earlier in the summer. Coincidentally, the dresser is almost identical to the dresser / changing table that we got for our daughter; only it was $10 not $400 and needed to be refinished.

Oh, did I mention that I had about a weekend to do this project?

Step 1 – Painting

Like any smart man, I let my wife make all of the aesthetic decisions in our house. I always say ‘Happy wife, happy life.’ She wanted the room to be a mint green. Who am it to argue? Plus she painted it. The great part about painting a room that you are about to remodel is
that you don’t really care if paint gets on the floor.

The week before I was to get started on the floors, we were able to have a neighbor help move the pinball machine out of the house. We cleared everything else out of the room and put it into various other places in the house and she started to paint.


Already it looked a lot better. We should have done that a long time ago too.

Step 2 – The Carpet

Once we got that big desk out of the room, it was time to start tearing up the carpet. The family was gone and I was on my own to bask in the glow of my own masculinity. Then it dawned on me that I am not that strong of a guy. 125 square feet of carpet isn’t a whole lot, but I knew that, especially being odd shaped, it was going to fight me to get it out of the room. And it did. Actually getting the carpet out of the room wasn’t too bad, it was getting the carpet tacking up that was the problem. It was embedded into the concrete sub-floor and getting pieces out were extremely easy, or down right horrible. They some how got caught up in the cement and when I pulled the tacking, it splintered everywhere. Then I had to pull the nails out individually or smash them into the concrete. Either way, it wasn’t a good use of time.


Eventually, I was able to get it all and I was left with this beautiful honeycombed linoleum underneath. I tried to convince my wife to let us keep this, but she wasn’t going for it. I am actually pretty surprised that at some point in this so called advanced civilization that someone would actually go into a store and say ‘Honey, we just gotta have that. It will give our sun room that hornets nest look that I have always admired.’

Step 3 – The Floor

The challenge for this project regarding the flooring was to try to find flooring that would look good, match our existing flooring closely and last a minimum of 5 years. We figure by that point, we will either have remodeled the house or moved out and it will be someone else’s problem.

We decided to go with Ikea Hemse flooring. I know what you’re thinking, but I was sold by their in store advertising of the flooring. The one that says ‘This floor gets 350,000 people a year walking across it, do you think that your floor gets as much traffic?’ or something along those lines. For that program they are actually selling their Tundra line of flooring. What I found was the 6mm Hemse that looks the same and is $0.50 a foot less expensive. It came with a 15 year warranty so I was sold. This should cut it.

The best part of this flooring were the instructions. Like anything from Ikea, they really make it simple by putting in a couple of stick figure drawings and making little warning labels suggesting that you don’t cut off your hands or anything when sawing the planks. I swear, Ikea could show you how to completely gut your house and rebuild with 4 pages of instructions in every language known to mankind and a few extra dowel rods.

What I learned (or if you try this at home, what you should do differently)

One of the first instructions is to cut away the pieces of trim around any door jams so that you can slide the flooring underneath. I recommend actually replacing the trim around the door. Don’t try to cut it with a hand saw. You will either wreck your knuckles or cut too high and have a big gap that you have to fill using putty, caulk and quarter round. I ended up doing the latter. If your room is so messed up that you need to replace the flooring, you can probably use replacing the trim around your doors too. It will save you hours of patch work in the long run.

The first step is to lay down Styrofoam under-flooring. I laid down a piece, taped it to another, laid that one down, across the floor. If I were to do something different, I would lay down my first piece, secure it to the floor using tape and put the floor boards over it until I reached the
end. Then I would lay down the second piece of Styrofoam. I tried to make a big sheet as you will see in the picture below and ended up walking all over it and it buckled. I ultimately pulled it up and laid it down as I went along. It would have saved me about 45 minutes had I down it my new way.

Once you have the under floor down, you start laying boards. Laying down laminate flooring is like doing a jigsaw puzzle where you can create the pieces. It is amazingly simple and came out looking really nice. The hardest part is laying down the first and last strips. I live in a 70 year old home, so there are no right angles. Everything in the middle is a breeze.



The only help that I had for this project was my dog who clearly has some deal with Floor Layers Local. She didn’t offer much value.

The really tricky part was the last wall. As I mentioned, nothing in this house is level or at a 90 degree angle, so I needed to meticulously cut each piece individually at a weird angle (another two words of advice on doing these cuts: 1.) Diamond carbide bit on a circular saw. The only way to go. 2.) Wear ear plugs. For some reason this stuff makes a very weird, loud, awkward pitched noise that really bothered my ears). However, another great part of this stuff is that it floats. Meaning that it needs to be a quarter of an inch away from all of the walls. Any screw-ups can be covered up by baseboards.

Step 3 – Baseboards

For Fathers day this year, I treated myself to a compound miter saw. It is awesome and the only way to do baseboards or any trim for that matter. I bought pre-primered baseboards at Home Depot, which I swore up and down I would never do because their lumber is crap, but hey, I was there and they were cheap. What are you gonna do?

Adding the baseboards was really simple. Just cut and nail up. I did have one section where I had to use Liquid Nails in order to get them to stick to a brick area in the room. It worked nicely.


Step 4 – Electrical

I swapped out old outlets with grounded new ones, big whup.

Step 5 – The Dresser

When our daughter was born, being our first, we wanted the best changing table / dresser that we could find. We searched high and low and came across a great one in an antique store in San Francisco for $400. We thought that we hit the jack pot.

Walking home from coffee with the dog and kids a few weeks ago, I found, almost, the exact same dresser at a yard sale for $10. So much for my original jack pot. But we bought it in pretty pathetic shape. The guy at the yard sale told me that I would have to refinish it.

Yeah, no kidding.

So I broke out the CitriStip and got to cracken with it. JASCO works a lot better than CitriStrip, but CitriStrip has a nice orange fragrance that gave me a migraine. Also, unlike JASCO, CitriStrip doesn’t burn (as much) if you get it on your skin. It did, but it just left a small mark, where as the last time I used JASCO, it ate through my rubber gloves and burnt my hands.

A little bit of elbow grease later and I had a pretty well stripped dresser for $10 and about 2 hours worth of letting chemicals sit and scrapping.


3 Cans of Rustoleum later, and I had a very nice dresser / changing table. A little bit of 100 grit sand paper and it now has a very nice, distressed look to it. Rather than spending a ton of dough on fancy knobs, I bought $0.59 knobs and painted them the same color as the room and took a white paint marker and put white polka-dots on them. They look like $12 knobs from any nice home store.

Step 6 – Moving In:

This was the easy part. Just pick everything up and move it back in. Wa La, a finished room.


Be it ever so humble.

Stats:

Square footage – Approx. 125
Extra boards – Only about 16 square feet
Wasted boards – Only about 3
Injuries – 2 – 1 Carpet tack to the hand; 1 burn by paint stripper (which led to the purchase of elbow length chemical gloves)
Amount of Paint – Less than a gallon
Feet of baseboard – about 46
Beers consumed – Many – Shout out to Gordon Biersch, New Castle, Anchor Steam & Modelo
Total number of hours – About 25
Crimes committed – What carpet?
Trips to the hardware store – 6
Total cost – about $450.00

Soundtrack:

Special thanks to Apple for inventing the iPod, the greatest thing to happen to music since the electric amplifier. This is just a partial list of artists that help to make this project more tolerable:

Busta Rhymes, Saves the Day, Johnny Cash, Helmet (whatever happened to them anyway?), Archers of Loaf, Jay Z, Kevin Seconds (when did he begin to suck?), Wu Tang Clan, Mr. T Experience, Sparta, Rocket From the Crypt, 12 Step Rebels, James Brown, Beastie Boys, Luda, Tribe,2PA, Atom & His Package, Warren Zevon, Kool Keith (Black Elvis, Dr. Octagon & Matthew), Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls, Public Enemy, Manic Hispanic, Propaghandi, Lyle Lovett, Erik Sermon & EPMD, Uncle Tupelo, Nelly, The Vindictives, Jurassic 5, Old 97’s, Hank III, and many, many others. Thank God for shuffle.

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Don’t Do This

I’m not sure if I will put this under SU&SW since it isn’t happening to us, but we’ve heard about it happening to someone that we know, so I figure I’d share and hopefully spare someone some heartache.

If you are interested in an 8 burner La Cornue range and a Sub Zero Pro 48 fridge, tell your contractor this up front.  Don’t let the poor guy quote you a price on appliances only to be upset when you want $75,000 worth of appliances, but a budget of 1/5 that.  It is bad news for everyone.

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Pottery Barn vs. Restoration Hardware

Holly and I went out the other night for some retail therapy for her. My retail therapy comes when we buy a TV, but for now, we went to Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware for lighting, fixtures and some furniture that we are going to need. Talk about two totally different experiences.

In both cases, we spent considerable time on their respective websites and perusing their catalogs so that we would be well prepared when we got to the stores. In both cases, we made a list of what we wanted, the price (lowest of course) and part number. It was our goal to go into the stores, find an associate give that person the list, have them write up our order and get out of dodge in time to grab dinner.

Let me caveat this whole post by saying that I hate going to the mall. I’d rather do almost anything than go to some overly crowded cavalcade of stores to watch people buy stuff that they can’t afford. It is almost as depressing as being in a casino without the buffet, free cocktails or show girls. Pulling into the parking lot alone starts a migraine for me.

First stop, Pottery Barn. I love Williams Sonoma, the parent company of Pottery Barn. We recently had to buy a new espresso maker and I went to WS due to their amazing lifetime warranty on all appliances. The staff was helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. I haven’t purchased too much from PB in my lifetime, but I expected much of the same. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. While the staff was nice, they were clearly trained by the Keystone Cops. They didn’t quite get it. There were problems with pricing, catalog versus stores versus special order versus internet orders. There was a sign in the front that stated if you spent over ‘X’ number of dollars, you could get discounts. We were spending well over ‘X’ and pretty disappointed to learn that our discount was that they would knock off 2 points on shipping. Wow, thanks for saving me all of 1% of my purchase. I realize that retail isn’t the highest margin business, but damn, 1%??? Come on guys. Show me a little love. I hope that a bad write up on this blog is worth it.

After 45 minutes of trying to figure out our order, we realized that our baby sitter window was closing rapidly. I ran over to Restoration with my list in hand. They also had a store versus catalog versus special order issue, however, they understood what was going on and I clearly wasn’t the first person to come in with a list. Rather than going point by point, they ran down the list and highlighted 2 items that they had in the store and brought them out to me. Cross those off the list. Secondly, they took me over to a terminal and we quickly ordered all of the items that weren’t in the store. ‘Oh great news, a bunch of this stuff is on sale.” said our associate. Finally, they opened another browser window and stumped me. It was the special order section and I needed Holly to help guide me on decoration ideas. I’m not great with colors and down cushions versus standard cushions.

I literally sat in Restoration and played chess on my phone for almost 30 minutes before Holly came in. I had already been in the store for about 30 minutes, so figure a good hour and 45 minutes in Pottery Barn. Ugh. Holly came in, made a couple of decisions. They added up our totals and sent us on our way. BTW, nothing is more painful than spending a whole bunch of money on things and leaving the store with house numbers and a towel rack. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make it to dinner, but we recognize that we had unrealistic expectations in the first place.

Here is where things go sideways a bit. I suppose that we should have expected this, but when you buy a bunch of things, once in a while things are going to get screwed up in shipping. We’ve been really luck thus far, but we haven’t really ordered too much until the past week or so. We just started to get stuff in the mail and in two cases, we’ve received things in the wrong color. Not the end of the world, but a hassle. The reason we’ve ordered early is that we want to prepare for when things like this happen. Again, it’s good to be ahead of the curve.

Hardly the worst thing to happen. It should look great when they are installed.

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