Monday, April 5, 2010

the glass is finally installed!

Update on the never ending bathroom renovation... the glass tub enclosure is finally complete!  After contacting 4 different glass companies we went with a company called California Frameless Shower Doors. They were great to work with and we are very happy with the results!  Now mostly minor items left to finish in the bathroom... prep and paint the trim around the windows and doors, hooks etc.  We plan on replacing all the windows on the second floor at the same time so the current ones will have to do for now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

we need a new boiler...

When we bought the house we knew it would need a new boiler (the current one is 47 years old).. however we were hoping to try to get by with the one that was here for at least one season... there was so much back and forth with the negotiations about the boiler, but the house also had knob and tube wiring throughout so we decided to have the old owner replace all the knob and tube instead of the boiler...  they threw the old 'home warranty' thing at us.. which is fine but of course only covers a very small amount towards the boiler.  we figured we could deal with the boiler at some time... well that time has come.

We also need a hot water heater...the current one is from 1981.  Of course we want to try to get the best and 'greenest' we can afford for both the boiler and HWH.

In  meeting with HVAC contractors to gather bids, we came across one that told us about the NJ Clean Energy Incentives Program which offers financial incentives on energy efficient improvements.  So if your estimated heating savings would be 25% or more NJ will put 50% toward the costs of the HVAC upgrades and then allow you to finance the balance interest free.  This allows us to go with a new direct vent 93% efficient boiler and direct vent HWH and we don't need to lay out tons of money right now.  And we'll save more on our gas bills.. which were pretty steep this winter.  The major downside of all of this is dealing with NJ state employees... this is taking so long to process and there was so much back and forth with paperwork... and we still don't have the boiler yet.  Fortunately the old one is hanging in there with a few minor quirks.. like one day just deciding to not shut off.. the house was up to 80 degrees.. and other times just shutting off completely. 

We should have the new boiler just in time for summer!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

snow days

snow makes everything look better.. at least initially.. once it has been around for 2 weeks and is turning black from the pollution then it's not so nice..

below are some fresh snow photos of the house.  we only lost one tree limb in the front and needed to do some emergency pruning of trees along the driveway or else we wouldn't be able to get the car out.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the colors of 210

After (mostly) all the wallpaper was finally removed.. and there was a lot of it... we started painting.  We are STILL painting - mainly trim.   Most of the wallpaper came off pretty easy - only one room was really bad and took longer to remove in that room then in the rest of the house.  Just so I can feel good about the fact that it is all gone, here are progress photos.
Then came my favorite part - picking out paint colors!   That being said - it took me a lot of time putting up samples on the walls and checking everything out in all kinds of light conditions before making final selections.  I am pretty happy with the results.  We used Benjamin Moore Aura Paint throughout and I have to say I was very impressed with the paint.  It has very low odor and the coverage is great... we went with the following colors throughout the house:

White Wisp 2137-70 on all the ceilings

Skylight Blue (a Farrow and Ball color) in the bathroom

Silver Sage (Finnaran and Haley not the Ben Moore one)

Horizon 1478 - Benjamin Moore

French Press AF-170 Benjamin Moore

Edgecomb Gray HC-173 Benjamin Moore

Monday, January 25, 2010

hardwood floors (redone!)

One of the first things we did was to remove all the carpet from the house.. it had seen better days, was smelly and dirty.. and had to go.  The good thing about all the carpet was that it seemed to have protected the floors really well.   The second floor is red pine and only one of the rooms had an area that was damaged.  The first floor is oak with an inlay around the perimeter in the living room and dining room.  Very nice floors but slightly worn.  So we decided to have them refinished as it would be easier to do before we move all our stuff in. 

The most difficult part of the process was that the carpet on the stairs had some type of clay based padding which apparently was used a lot in the 70's.... over time with the foot traffic on the steps it caused it to break down and was stuck to the floors.  We (and by we I mean Glenn) had to carefully scrape it off.  He had to wet it down to try to soften it.. there wasn't anything we could find that would help other than water.. But he eventually got it all off :)  They came out great!

We decided to go with a dark walnut stain on the first floor and kept the natural color on the second floor. 

Second floor bedroom sanded and with one coat of poly.

Friday, January 15, 2010

85% complete!

ok.. we are almost there with the bathroom.. major items still to be done are the glass around the tub, new windows and prepping / painting the window and door trim.. minor items include hanging towel bars / hooks..

The vanities, medicine cabinets, wall sconces, and faucets are all from Restoration Hardware.. scored some major deals at the outlet and the clearance store in Lancaster, PA.  The subway tile is American Olean from Lowes.  The carrara marble counters are from Abruzzi Stone in Cherry Hill, NJ; really nice, friendly people and the price was good too.  The toilet is the Aquia dual flush model by Toto.  One of the biggest savings was the 1" honed hexagon floor.. I purchased it at 1/2 the cost of any other source I found thru a store on eBay.   I love how it all turned out - I think it's a good use of the space and better reflects the character of the house. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

bathroom design and finishes

This is the new layout of the bathroom...  we relocated the toilet (basically it is directly opposite where it used to be)  there are low walls at either end of the tub which have a sill on them and then glass will be surrounding the tub. 

The finishes in the bathroom are pretty simple; white subway tile wainscot on the walls and 1" honed carrera marble in a hexagon pattern on the floors.  Below are some progress photos...we are not 100% complete yet but it's fully functional.. just some minor items (and the glass) to be finished.  So I will post nearly complete photos soon!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

bathroom demo

Here are some photos from the demo... this bathroom was put together pretty solid.  All the tile was set in 2" wet beds with wire below.  It was a dust nightmare.  We also discovered that at some time insulation had been blown into the walls from the outside so hopefully this will help out with heating and cooling. 

Friday, January 1, 2010

pink is not my color...

Before we even settled on the house, we knew that we wanted (needed) to rip out the bathroom first.. it was not pretty in pink.  One of the things that really bothered me about the layout was the full height plumbing wall that was blocking most of one of the windows in the room.  The size of the bathroom is really nice, it is much larger than what you typically find in an 80+ year old house.  So I came up with a layout that I thought would work better and would also allow us to have two vanities.  Since this is the main bathroom having two vanities is a plus.

This photo is from our walk through and you can make out in the upper left corner the radio that is plugged into an outlet on the other side of the wall and resting precariously on the top of the sliding door... an accident waiting to happen. 

This is the full height wall which was set about 12" off the outside wall blocking half the window into the room.

before photos

Here are just a few photos from one of our walk throughs of the house. It's difficult to tell from the photos, but this house was dirty....really DIRTY. I don't think it had seen a vacuum, mop or any kind of cleaning solution in a long time. Thankfully we have already taken care of the nasty pink bathroom.. but still have to suffer with the kitchen for awhile.  We started with removing all the wallpaper (which was in most rooms - some up to 4 layers) and had the floors refinished.  Also renovated the bathroom.  Progress photos to come soon!