Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

Outdoor shenanigans

We aren’t making much progress on the basement, but we have gotten some outdoor tasks done.

The first project was digging a giant hole for the egress window.3 feet

Emma helped by continuously dropping her toys into the giant pit.     narrow

The excavation went well, all things considered. We abused some 5 gallon buckets, and eventually started using this pulley system.pully systemIt ended up 4 feet by 101″ wide (8.5 feet) and about 7 feet sizeWe used a 72″ gray Rockwell elite egress window from Summit Contractor Supply. It was $952. That’s about $400 less than most retailers, but it was still not cheap. The good news is it will last as long as the house. Plus it looked adorably like a covered wagon before install.

wagonMounting the well was very easy,  just 12 concrete wedge anchors into the block wall.bolting

We leveled and repaired the erosion on the back of the house with the leftover dirt piles. It ended up about a foot deep for a good 50 square foot area. Michael is a champion mover of dirt.


After creating the giant hole, we marked the window rough opening, custom ordered the casement window, and now we’re waiting for the window to arrive.

Well, by waiting I mean pouring concrete slabs and working on the deck 🙂



Progressing right along 🙂


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We introduced our plans for the basement bathroom here. After actually tearing the walls out, we found out that Plan A will not work :/ We were planning on having a doorless shower.Like the image below,you would walk past the glass panel to enter the shower from the left.

Shower Layout

After demo, we found that the entire width of the bathroom will be 7 ft, not wide enough for the glass and an entrance.

One to plan Beta.

We considered a two person shower the full width of the room. The door would have this layout.

Custom_Two_Panel_and_Frameless_Glass_Shower_Door_2009_051but the glass estimates (had to be custom at that width) were $1800 to $2100… our entire budget.

We also considered make the bathroom narrower. 5 by 8  is a very standard bathroom size, and that makes the bedroom 12 feet wide. Our new layout for the basement would be this:

Basement layout

But that would make the den cramped,and it’s the most-used room down there.

We decided to frame-in a standard 5 ft shower and leave the 20 inches to the right (next to the toilet) as a small storage area.

Basement bathroom layout

I’d like the storage to look as much like this as possible.

Bathroom Storage

After demo and modifying our plan, it’s time for procurement.

We got the floor tile, shower drain, and grout from the Tile Shop (40% off black Friday sale, yay)  The tile is porcelain 12 x 24  ‘Burma Negro’ at $3.89 a square foot. It was over budget,but it is super awesome. We spent $945 on the tile materials for both the bathroom and mudroom. 1/3 of that will be used in the bathroom. This picture is from the tile installed in a  mudroom at Fat Hydrangea blog with London Fog grout.Burma Negro Tile

We grabbed this sink (complete with faucet) off Craigslist for $100.

Kohler Sink

The mirrors (KOLJA,$20), lighting (BASISK, $20), and glass shelves (BAREN, $30) were picked up at IKEA.basisk-ceiling-track--spotlights__0138856_PE298668_S4

A rain shower head came from a local Homegoods-style store ($30):


And the ceiling light/vent  (Hunter/Ventura Exhaust Bathroom Fan) was $54 from


The shower door was our big-ticket item. We wanted a frameless pivot-door shower. The Dreamline SHDR-20597210S was $776.

Shower Door

Option B (Dreamline SHDR-21587610) was $542 after a handy 10% discount.


We chose the second, which was $542 beans at . We went about 10% over budget for the shower door, but we’re still doing great overall.

We still need the wall tile, shower pan materials, and miscellaneous hooks, plumbing, electrical outlets, etc. The shower pan materials will be at least a hundred dollars over budget, but that’s what that $345 buffer is for 🙂

Item budget spent
shower door 475 542
floor tile 320 285
sink 100 100
plumbing 100 35
ceiling vent 55 55
glass shelves 50 30
Mirrors 45 20
vanity light 30 20
Total 1175 1087
shower surround tile 500
tile materials 155
wall hooks,etc. 50
outlets, light switches, etc. 25
buffer 345
Total 2250

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New Roof

We now have less brown on the exterior of our house: Score. Previously we had mediocre-condition orange-brown 3 tab shingles . They didn’t match the tin very well 🙂


According to the previous owner, the roof was only 10 years old, but the shingles are peeling and have significant granule loss. We were planning on DIYing some replacement dimensional shingles… but we are very, very slow. Instead, we referred to Angie’s list and grabbed 5 well-ranked roofers in our area for quotes.

Then the quoting flurry happened. All 5 companies prices were between 5200 and 5800.  The expensive bid, poor quality shingles bid, and incompetent guy bids were out pretty quickly . The battle of the last two bids was decided by the quote. The company we went with had a very detailed quote. They mentioned up front that we would do a site-walk with them to point out shrubs/gardens that needed protection and that any changes would be in writing and signed by us. We chose Certainteed’s Moire Black shingles, and they were ready to start in less than a week.

The weather, however, did not want to start until 10 days later.

It was refreshing driving to work with this roof.

Rear FacadeFacade

Then returning after 9 hours to this snazzy number.

New Roof Front

It’s a subtle difference, but at least it matches the shutters 🙂

New Roof and Deck

It most definitely matches the gray tin roof better.

Hiring meant it’s done in a day, and done correctly. At $5200, hiring the roofers cost about $2000 more than material price, but to do this ourselves, it would have taken two full weekends of good weather.

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New Toys!

Evidently January was our appliance month. We were on the hunt for a new washer and dryer. Our 35 year old dryer has a place in our hearts…

Washer Dryer Wall

But no longer in the laundry room. We started at Best Buy hoping to take advantage of a relative’s discount. We glanced over the laundry appliances… but they were twice as much as like-new Craigslist sets after the discount.  A new washer and dryer wasn’t worth that much to us, but I kept being drawn to one of  these pretty things next to the entrance.

French Door Pretty

You’ll notice it does not do laundry. It was, however, a perfect condition floor model at half price. The plan was to find this exact type of fridge used on Craigslist and buy it for about $1000… Eventually.  This fridge was 1.) Not on Craigslist and 2.) $1300… making it  more than my budget :{

But we splurged and bought it anyway. Eventually we’ll move it to the ‘breakfast nook’ wall, surround it with cabinets, and get rid of the peninsula. But we can’t put it there since there isn’t a water connection for it yet 😦

We sold the old fridge on Craigslist for $200,

Ye Old Fridge

removed the upper cabinet, displaying the lovely vintage wallpaper,

Snazy Wallpaper

and then the behemoth slid into her temporary purple cubby hole.

Our Fridge

So far I’m still disproportionally excited that I can adjust the temperature of our ice cream from -2 F to -3 F. Plus, the freezer  drawers on the bottom are more functional for us. The most random feature I like is that there isn’t a tray in the bottom of the ice dispenser. No tray means nothing to turn yellow and gross like this:


After our washing machine shopping resulted in a refrigerator, I resumed stalking Craigslist. We found our new set. They were the Samsung 328 series, white, and about 5 years old. They were being sold by a grumpy guy an hour away, who wouldn’t drop the $750 price lower than 675. We planned to wait a week, call him, and try $600 again.

Grumpy Guy's washer

During our wait, a gray 2 year old LG set was listed for $25 more than the Grumpy Guy’s set. This set was closer, prettier, and I  prefer the LG brand to Samsung. Hence: more new appliances. Well, these new would have cost $2150… new to us for $700 is more our style 🙂Our new Washer & Dryer

Our old washer and dryer sold for $200 in Craigslist for-sale land.

So there are our 3 appliances for the month . Maybe next January we’ll find our oven and dishwasher and be done 🙂

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It’s official: The garage is the prettiest room in our house.

Garage Finished

Here’s Cinderella before her beauty makeover in July.

Current Work Bench

We removed the creepy upside-down insulation, doubled the lighting, swapped out the exterior door, painted the ceiling and walls, installed baseboards, and used a Rustoleam Floor Coating on the old stained concrete. We also installed flashing between the garage and 2nd floor (try leaking now, silly garage).


You can see detail of all that mess in Part 1, Part 2Part 3, and Part 4.

Since then, we got to do all the fun stuff. First, Michael built a long, narrow workbench with scrap wood and a 2×10 top.

Workbench pt 1

Workbench Done

Then it was storage time. Michael found a rolling drawer tool cabinet for $140 on Craigslist  and we built everything else out of scrap wood. The cabinet isn’t super special, but since I’m an Industrial Engineer and a big nerd, we made everything as visible and easy to grab as possible, like storing the bit-cases open (no more opening a drawer and then still needing to open a case.)

Lean Drawer

All the original pegboards were moved to above the bench, with room for large things and scrap wood under.

Peg Board

A $15 kit from Lowe’s kept the brooms off the floor.

Off the floor!

Michael turned this into a table-saw stand. He also made a stand for his miter saw.

Only MichaelThe shelves that used to crowd the side of the garage walls were painted and moved to the back wall.

The Back Wall

The stands for the table and miter saws have handy-dandy storage (cause Michael’s awesome, and also OCD.) We spent about $15 on each for the casters, but everything else is scrap wood.

Storage yay

We swapped parking spots so that we could store things on the far wall. The shelf on the far right was original, but the plywood storage is new (and very needed). The plywood is resting on two $3 hooks from Lowe’s and roped to the wall.Side Wall

There are shelves behind the canvas drop cloth. Those shelves are hidden to protect things from sawdust and also because, well, who would want to look at all that mess?
Hidey Shelves

We spent $60 on the floor epoxy, another $60 on paint, about $40 on lighting, $30 on baseboards, and $50 on hooks and misc. storage. Less than $250 later it looks significantly better than the cave it was before 🙂

Cave of Darkness

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We’re substantially changing the outside of our house this year. This includes adding a roof to our deck, replacing all the exterior doors, replacing the windows, painting the siding, replacing shingles, repairing concrete, and landscaping. We’re working on all of those things at once (to a point). I’m only price-comparing shingles right now and still just researching concrete repair options, but they’re all cooking along.

The window project;

We’re replacing all but one of our windows (The tiny middle window in the picture below will be centered and re-sized to match the other two). Replacing the windows is one of my favorite projects, because once I picked them out and ordered them, my work was done.

A three person crew from Hullco came out to install 10 of our 11 windows. They showed up at 10 and left at 4; and all of those windows are 100% done. It’s nice having something started and finished in the same day!

Here’s the front facade after:

Someday it will look like this:

Here’s the difference from the inside:




Once Hullco was done, we waited two days and Window World replaced the behemoth in the living room.

It took them less than two hours, and voila;

Holy cow, Batman; something got finished in 4 days and didn’t leave a mess.

Well, we do still have to replace that front window… and install an egress window in the basement… but we’re done for now!

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Garage Flip- Part 4

We’ve finished painting the garage floor! Here was the garage when we last saw it:

After we installed the exterior doors… the garage was a little emptier and we could get to work.

I got a great deal on a 2.5 car Rust-Oleum EPOXY SHIELD Garage Floor Coating from the mistint section in Lowe’s for $60 (It retails for $120). It was missing one of the two bags of etching compound… but there was still 4 times as much as we needed.There are two base color options; grey & brown, and they can be tinted several different colors.

Here are the options for Tan Gloss:

And the Gray Gloss:


As I’ve gripped about before, I’m not a fan of brown paint. Luckily, the one on sale was tinted Gunmetal Gloss, which was tied for my favorite option; score.

Once we could get to the garage floor, we pressure washed it. I had expected there to be a big difference… for the floor to be gray concrete again instead of brown, and most of the stains to go away.

It didn’t clean up at all. I am so glad I got the floor paint 🙂 Then according to our handy-dandy instructions (which we followed religiously) we etched the floor twice.

Then we sketched it. Or cut it in with the mixed epoxy… call it what you like 🙂 Here’s what we used for the Rustoleum kit:

We used a 3/8″ nap roller and a 2.5 inch paintbrush, both of which worked well. I would use a larger nap roller if your concrete was in poor condition. I split the paint flecks into 4 equal containers to pace myself. I only used about 60% of the flecks included with the kit.

The directions are very clear, and we followed them like dweebs… or really close rule followers. To make the coating, you mix a ‘Part A’ into a ‘Part B’… but the two gallons are mixed and applied separately. The cure time is only 1-2 hours (1.5 hours at the temperature we were working at), so you can’t mix the whole batch together and finish on time.

I worked in small sections (as directed) rolling and then immediately throwing flecks at it. I felt like a fairy-in-training during this project 😀 It only took me this first square before I was giddily happy. It looked amazing.

We progressed through the first can,  ending up with this grid of sections…

The first can alone covered 70% of our garage.

Then we mixed up the second batch and finished the floor. We spent 2 hours painting the floor; less time than the prep.

Before the 1.5 hour pot life on the second gallon was done, we sprinted to Lowe’s, grabbed some 1x6s, took the leftover paint ( more than half a gallon) and painted our ‘baseboards’.

And then started worrying.

Although the sections of the floor were starting to blur together, there were still noticeable transitions. The worst part was that the second gallon never matched the first. Luckily, Rustoleum has outstanding customer support. We called them on Monday, told them about our clashing floor, and they suggested for us to apply a second coat (no additional prep or stripping needed) within 24-48 hours of the first coat. They even funded the replacement.
The only difference in application they suggested was to mix the two Part Bs together in a large bucket, and then pour back into the original cans. We used a gram scale to get the paint split 50/50 after mixing them together. Mixing the Part B is a foolproof way to get the tints to match; just do not mix the Part A in with this, and be very careful to split the paint evenly between the two cans.

By the time we got the instructions, we only had 5 hours on a workday to finish… but we left work early, ran to Lowe’s, got the second kit, and slapped it down.

We did a few things differently. Since we’re installing baseboards, Michael didn’t worry about cutting in this time; he just rolled. I ran around and played sprinkle fairy. The timing with two people working that way worked out perfectly.

We also mixed the paint every few minutes; this almost completely removed the grid pattern that we had the first time.

The second coat went much more quickly; finished the garage in a little over an hour. There were still some transitions visible in the wet paint…

But they dried seamlessly. I am 100% happy with the end product.

Here’s a close-up of the Gunmetal Gloss.

Some notes about our application:

We left the garage doors open for over 24 hours since we painted right under them. Technically you aren’t supposed to paint where there’s sun exposure (UV breaks the epoxy down)…. but the front of our garage never gets direct sun. We’ll coat it with UV protectant epoxy down the road if needed.

The best fairy sprinkle results I got were from flicking the paint flecks slightly up; not tossing them straight up like the directions recommend, but flinging them almost horizontally. I also had awesome results around the border of the room by throwing the chips at the wall (pretty forcefully) about a foot above the floor. It ended up perfectly even close to the wall.

We’re getting closer to finishing the garage. Now we need to install baseboards and build storage… While building a deck 😀

The garage so far is covered in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

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