Tuesday, October 23, 2007

70s Den...Meet the 21st Century (Phase 1)

Happy Autumn everyone. We got our first snow on Sunday.

The plan--get Phase 1 of the den transformation done before it gets chilly out. Phase 1 is to be a CHEAP and QUICK change to the den.

1) Remove gas heater
2) Remove built-in shelves
3) Remove cork tiles
4) Prime, paint, and put the built-ins back up

Easy enough right? Somehow a quick two-weekend, four-step project INSTEAD took a month, with work being done several hours almost every day in some way. I will note that we took a weekend off to go to Vail to relax in a nice mountain home up there that a friend of ours can score for the weekend from time to time. Beautiful snow and turning leaves up there, so it was a good break from the dust and paint smell from our house that I'm pretty sure was making Jamie and I feel both sick and high for about three weeks.

But I digress. Here's what really happened:

1) Remove 60s style heater. Besides being an eyesore, our house inspector noted there was a "MINOR gas leak" on the unit. Not sure what that means, but William--Chelsea fan with a thick London accent--from Brothers Plumbing came and helped me remove this dinosaur of a heater and cap the gas line without blowing up the house.

2) Remove built-ins.

3) Remove nasty cork tiles.

4) Attempt to scrape off cork residue and remaining cork tile crust.

5) Realize that 30-year-old cork tile epoxy doesn't evaporate on any part of the wall that is below ground level. The only option? Cordon off the area, knock down wall, and put up new drywall. (Thanks to Twinkie for helping me lift the drywall and even carry a piece of it on the ski rack of my VW--both of us holding an edge out the window! Sorry, no pictures of that.)

6) Paint.

7) Paint.

8) Paint.

9) Almost a month later and just in time for colder weather, enjoy your half-done room by upgrading your tv (new shelving layout wouldn't hold the old 96lb Trinitron!) and watch the Rockies in the World Series.

Phase 2, to be done sometime in 2008 hopefully, will involve moving the electric heaters, rerouting the stairs to permit for a normal place for a couch (and futher back from tv, which has been a problem), remove the last of the ugly brown carpet that used to completely cover the floors in our house, and install a railing on both the stairs and the ledge to the den. Hopefully it will be much easier than this phase :)

Saturday, September 8, 2007


We ordered and received our house numbers from http://www.customhousenumbers.com/. We went ahead and shelled out for the Neutraface font, which has a great MCM look to it. Finally installed them into the fence today. A small addition, but certainly a welcome one. If nothing else, the pizza delivery guys will appreciate it!

In other news, we went to the Pacific Northwest for a wedding and turned it into a vacation of Portland/Seattle, plus a one-night stint in Oakland for a concert. Pics are here, if you're interested: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jabizzle/collections.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Great Wall of S. Newton - Nearing Completion

The guys finished the gate and started staining the fence today. I think it looks good, though I think they're coming tomorrow to touch up some spots...or at least I hope they are! I'm digging the color of most of it, and the guys did an amazing job on the gate's knob. Very solid feel, and very clean aesthetically.

Oh and on another note, look at these guys--all FIVE of them waiting for me at 10pm last night when I came out to move the water...and they were seemingly not bothered by my presence.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Great Wall of S. Newton

So, since we first moved to this house, one of the projects that we most wanted to take on was the front "privacy" fence that separates the courtyard area/house from the driveway. The fence that was there looked like something used in the cattle corral on our farm in Central Texas, not a fence for a MCM house in central Denver! To rebuild it ourselves would be a colossal project, and I'm willing to bet it wouldn't turn out exactly "professional." So as I write all this out, a crew of three guys are out there cutting 4x1" boards into 2x1" boards, cutting postholes in cement, and trying to get this thing done before the predicted thunderstorms come in tonight.

I have to say, between all the work we did ourselves on the inside and the big landscaping projects in the late spring...it sure is nice to sip coffee while the fence "builds itself." :) That said, the crew doing this has been incredibly competent and been great on communication, so I will take this chance to plug Skky Custom Homes (http://www.skkyhomes.com/). Tune in for the next blog to see if the finished product is up to par, but so far we've been very happy with their work.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Happy Birthday to Jamie

Jamie turned 33 on June 21st. Thanks to some birthday $ from the parents on both sides, she decided to get a new bike to ride around the neighborhood. After careful consideration of some various styles by Electra, she decided to drop the cruiser and go with the Townie, a 21-speed bike with a little more go than a cruiser, but still a leisurely, comfortable rider. The biggest dilemma? ORANGE or BLUE? Ohhhh, so difficult to choose. But in the end, they didn't have any orange in stock, and Jamie liked the blue the best anyhow.

Jamie went on her first ride tonight to survey the neighborhood and figure out how to set the bike for maximum comfort. It's not part of the house, but it's such a cool bike that she has to share.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

More Rock!

With the first phase of the big landscaping more or less done, this project was much smaller comparitively. This time the project was done in one day. The goal? Fill in the 3x30' edge on the left side of the driveway with some rock. We picked a hot one to do it. Almost hit 100 here in Denver; while it isn't abnormal anymore, it's still not what you would hope for (today the high was 79, less than a week later).

My friend Steve, who owns a studio in town that my company frequents for its audio needs, was kind enough to lend me his sweet 1985 Ford F-150. For those of you in Texas, it's similarities to my dad's truck in Carrollton are uncanny. Just a little bigger, a little taller. Alas, only AM radio, so between that and having to use those little weird windows that turn wind into the cabin for AC (no AC in this truck--even the my dad's has that!), it was pretty nostalgic.

Jamie's friend/coworker Bonnie from Integer had a bunch of extra 2" river rock that she needed to get rid of, so between Steve's truck and Bonnie's free rock, this was the true meaning of adding sweat equity to the house. Other than the cost of gas and the loss of a Saturday (though we were done in time to grill on our grill for the first time and then go to Punk Rock's show later that night), this upgrade was about as "free" as a house project can be.

But I digress...about 8 hours later, two truckloads of rock, and two trips to northeast Denver, the project was completed:

Work Commences

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

We are Adults: Part II

I'm not sure when we turned the corner. I think it was somewhere between the ages of 28 and a half and 30, some weird things become exciting. New silverware, mowing the lawn, learning how a swamp cooler works, painting baseboards (ok, we still haven't gotten to that yet--I think we might pay someone to do it because I'm really dreading that job), and new furniture.

But I have to say, we're pretty excited about this addition. Our first, real, adult, kitchen table that we can actually use for eating, entertaining, and well...we're still just gonna put stuff on it when we walk in like we always have, but nevertheless.

We went with the zebrawood top and the stainless steel base (from the "make your own table" series at Room & Board if you're interested). Modern, but not cold. And it will look good with any chair we choose, whether wood or with color. Dinner parties, coming to a house near you. Oh wait. I don't think that was included in that whole 28 and a half to 30 transition. I think that comes in two or three more years.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Six Tons of Rock, Six Hands, Two Shovels, One Wheelbarrow

So...Memorial Day Weekend. Most people were enjoying a well-deserved day off. BBQs, drinks on the patio of their favorite bar, time out in the sun (as it rained here in Denver all week, strangely), etc. Well, we certainly spent some time out in the sun, and we did head over to our friends' house for a BBQ late Sunday (thumbs up on the Omaha steaks, Jesse!), but otherwise we were out in the sun trying to complete Landscaping Project 2007: Phase I. This included installing a rock pathway parallel to the driveway (so we can walk past our cars when parked instead of shimmy-ing between them), installing a rock path to the cabin in the courtyard, and finally adding a rock path on the north side of the house from the courtyard to the backyard.
Luckily, my brother Will volunteered to come up from Taos and help me out; I now know that it would not have even come CLOSE to being done if he had not shown up, so kudos for him. I'm not sure he realized what he was volunteering for, but neither did I! So we just took it in stride, and actually enjoyed ourselves despite 24 hours of labor to knock this thing out.

Things worth noting:

  • It is hard to do anything worthwhile to your house without owning a truck of some sort. Luckily Will brought his. When I get a new car (no time soon), I think it will have to be a Nissan Frontier crew cab. I don't like the idea of driving a truck all the time, but it sure would make all this house stuff easier.
  • We spent 3/4 of the time of this project removing, adding, and transporting dirt. And now, I have to borrow a truck from someone to transport the rest of the dirt/junk/leftover stuff from the project. (See bullet 1)
  • Low-voltage lighting rocks. I was worried about the installation of the landscape lighting, but a child of four, hermedically-sealed in a jar, could have done it.
  • Sawzalls also rock. Everyone should own one...which means I need to go out and get one and stop borrowing the guy's from across the street

Friday - Rock, Pavers, and William Arrive!

Saturday - Setting Pavers and Laying Down Weedblocker

Sunday - Laying Down Weed Blocker, Moving Gravel, and Planting!

Monday - Will Leaves Me to Finish the Rest While He Drives back to Taos