The Buehler Buzz

{watch dumb and dumber do up their dwelling}

Category: Dining room

Bathroom gut (part four)

Alternate title: Extreme Psychosis Exemplified Coupled with Bathroom Gut Part Four (ty-five, because it feels like it’s been going on that long, doesn’t it?)

Where were we?  Oh yes – laying hardwood floor, continuing bathroom renovations, and staining concrete floors.

First up, the bathroom is now looking especially close to finished – lookit:

{What?  That just looks like a papered-over wall?  Why yes, that’s because it IS a papered-over wall… marble wall.  You think I’m going to eff up my awesomely awesome totally radical marble while this spaz (myself) attempts to prime & paint a ceiling with my bad 5’2” self?  You’re just going to have to wait for final after pictures… or more likely in progress pictures, let’s get real.}

The serious good news is that we now just need some paint, a countertop, toilet, sink, pendant lighting, baseboard and trim installations and we’re calling this five month project donezo!

Next in our lineup, the hardwood floors, which are coming along, but honestly are nowhere near  completion.  We’ve managed to finish the foyer, hallway in front of the stairs, and hallway by the stereo.  See? (And yeah, you’re going to have to look PAST all of the shit your eyes want to focus on to see those gleaming beauties that are underneath the current extreme mess.)


Slow, but gorgeous, no?  We’re not going slow just because I keep having to take days off due to accidental alcoholic beverage poisoning that I may regularly give myself.  It’s the good ole snowball effect that has us creeping along this time.

Are you not familiar with how small items on your list, such as “lay hardwood floors in kitchen and dining room” gradually expand to “rip out pantry and desk, so we can put the floors under them like Mike Holmes told us to, then move the fridge so we can use the back door again” and then further explode to “we might as well expand these two doorways, rip out unneeded soffits, add actual overhead lighting to replace these fluorescent lights and make this wall a pony wall”?  Um, it goes exactly like I just wrote it, and looks a little like this:


Because these Buehlers love nothing more than taking a not-so-easy task and making it harder.

I know it probably doesn’t look like a huge opening to you guys, but we’re widening them by at least 6-10 inches, so they feel HUGE to us.  And those wider doorways are going to allow me to carry my plate of food AND bottle of wine into the living room without turning sideways to fit through my doorway.  YES.

PS: I’m still getting to the concrete floors… but what’s the fun in writing about a mongoloid contractor, burning acid and attempting to teach somebody the difference between “industrial look” and “boot prints” if there isn’t even a resolution to clear it all up at the end of the story?   NO FUN.  Stay tuned.

A small break from the bathroom gut

Alternate title: Extreme Psychosis Coupled with Bathroom Gut Part Three

So you know those mornings on days when you’re refilling your coffee because you’ve decided to work from home that day, and your mate is laying marvelous hardwood floors while your contractor is laying gorgeous tile, and you and said mate turn a three second chat about widening the doorway openings into the kitchen into crowbar action that involves ripping down drywall from said doorways, and then you do  a happy dance when you discover that half of the wall you want to remove is not structural, confirming your dreams of the past six months?

I mean, we’ve all been there, right?  Aren’t those days AWESOME?

Okay, yes, back up and explain… all has been quiet over here because we’re still slow going on the bathroom remodel.  No fault of anybody – our contractor is actually our buddy who has a full-time job and a family.  And we’re in no rush, so we’re meandering through this renovation at what sometimes feels like a glacial pace… but then I check out the room and see the complete magnificence and attention to detail that’s happening in there and I don’t care if it takes another six months to finish it all.  Seriously.  I have amazing taste, people, and this bathroom is going to look GOOD.

Need proof?  Check out this marble:

And since we’re smart (and by “smart”, I mean “stoopid”) we decided that NOW was the time to finally buy and lay those new hardwood floors!  {You all remember that we’ve been living with subfloors for at least a year and a half, since it was discovered that the house was killing me not-so-softly and the predominant predator was the white carpet that covered the entirety of the first floor?  You know, what used to look like this:

Turned into this:


These new floors are completely amazing and beautiful and magnificent and magical and are TAKING FOREVER TO LAY HOLY SHIT WE MIGHT BE 52 BY THE TIME WE’RE DONE.  As our motto has become “Let’s do this the right way, not the drunken-fool-handyman-special way that it was done before”, we’re not only laying and nailing our tongue-and-groove floors, we decided to glue them down, too.  We also took the time to screw down the old floor with a ridiculously large number of screws to help eliminate squeaking, AND had to level the 2-inch dip in the concrete pad that acts as half our dining room subfloor.

Days 1-3: Prework.  Screwing, sanding, concrete-leveling, measuring and ripping up all of that disgusting foyer entryway tile.
Day 4, 5 hours: 1 row of flooring laid.

{Here’s how a row of flooring gets laid, by the way – boards are “racked” (laid out in pattern you want, making sure none of seams are lined up right next to the previous rows’ seams), pick up first board, glue floor where board will be placed, seet board in place, smash board with mallet multiple times to make sure it’s tight next to the previous row and board in front of it, point out to Aaron that you can still see lots of gaps, smash board many more times to close gaps, nail in the board using the ear-deafening pneumatic floor nailer, wait for Liz to inspect the finished product, move onto the next board in the row and continue until you hit the board that’s going to run into the wall, whence you must first find a board that’s long enough to hit the wall, but not too long so that you don’t cut off too much as scrap and waste a perfectly good board in the process, measure how long the board should be, take it outside to the table saw, trim the board, glue floor where board will be placed, seet board in place, smash board with mallet multiple times to make sure it’s tight next to the previous row and board in front of it, point out to Aaron that you can still see lots of gaps, smash board many more times to close gaps, nail in the board using the ear-deafening pneumatic floor nailer, wait for Liz to inspect the finished product and REPEAT ONE MILLION TIMES.}

Day 5, 11 hours: 10 rows of flooring laid
Day 6, 4 hours: 8 rows of flooring laid.
And so on…

All of the above means we’re about 3 weeks into floor laying and have accomplished our foyer and the hallway in front of the living room.  Yes.  That is all.  We haven’t even STARTED the dining room or kitchen yet.

Check it out though – they are the most amazing floors I’ve ever laid.

What does all of this mean?  That  since this is clearly going to occupy us until Easter, it was time to start finishing the concrete floor of the living room!  But that’s a story for another day…


{PS: Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the wall-removal I alluded to in the first section.  All in good time, my pretty.  There’s a method to the madness.}


{PPS: That method starts with mart, ends with inis and contains 3 olives.}

And… we’re back!

No, we haven’t abandoned “the Buzz” (as the hipsters are referring to it these days. And by ‘hipsters’, I mean ‘nobody’.) That was a bit of an unscheduled summer break. But hey, these things happen, right? Hasn’t everybody been diagnosed with sudden ulcers, infections, new food allergies, new airborne allergies and lactose intolerance SIMULTANEOUSLY, thus rendering you useless for a few weeks? Just me?

S W E E E E E T.

Due to said allergies (which have apparently rendered me completely allergic to my house, mattress, couches, husband, basement, bathrooms, dog, pillows, sheets, vents, continue thinking up items and I’m probably allergic to them), I have some nice house updates coming your way… if I ever find the camera and actually take any pictures. (Yeah, I totally know where the camera is. I’m just really lazy.) And by ‘nice’ I mean ‘subfloor exposure’. Get ready to get jealous, people. We’re starting a whole new trend. I mean really, who needs REAL floors when you can have an awesome, patchwork quilt-like mix of scuffed and stained hardwood with gaping holes, plywood subfloor patches and concrete slabs? Not us! Yep, the carpet that covered our living room, dining room and foyer is all GONE.

Now back to my regularly-scheduled job… more to follow… sometime or another.


PS: We did manage to sneak in our July 4th party – and I think this photo of Aaron just about sums it up:

4th of July


The updated pictures of the living and dining rooms!  (What, you know I’m slow.  So remember when I lost the battery charger for the camera?  Well, I found that a while ago… but couldn’t find the thingy that connects the camera to the computer.  It’s true.  You know what else is true?  I’ve worked in IT for 7 years and I still call it a thingy.)

Ok, since we’ve been seriously picture deficient around here and I’ve already told you all about the serious fun that ensued while making these changes, we’ll just jump right in, er, show you the pictures!

Walking in from our front door, you hit a foyer and see an opening view of the living room in front of you.
(Damn, I’m totally reminded of what an awesome painter I am when I look at these pictures.  See that peach wall that’s now a really pretty gray? And the new non-peach baseboards?  And the wooden lip that surrounds the wooden ceiling that’s been painted out white?  And the brightened up white ceiling?  Yeah, I did that all by myself.  Who’s awesome?  ME!  And who’s lying?  ME!  I like to just watch people work, remember?)

Next we move into the actual living room.  The living room is sunken, and the stone is Lannon and original to the house.  (You know where spiders love to make webs?  On Lannon stone walls, that’s where.  Fun fact.)


The only “physical” changes to this room that we’ve made is that wooden lip near the ceiling that we painted out white and the metal screen surrounding the fireplace that we removed.  Everything else is still as it was when we bought the house… and most of it actually came with the house.  Couches?  Check.  Coffee table?  Check.  Console table behind the couch?  Check.  Floating shelves that look as though they may fall on your head at any moment leaving you with either a skull fracture or some sweet new and kooky thoughts?  Check.

Here are some more detail shots, because who DOESN’T love looking at a house decorated for Christmas a mere hours before February begins?

A more straight-on shot of the stone wall:
The view standing with your back to the fireplace:
Second fun fact of the day:  Check out those lamps – yeah, they came with the house, too, but started off a really scarily stained yellow color.  We tried painting them white and then black, and both were complete failures.  Aaron has sat through so many HGTV shows with me that he’s started to just shoot out crafty ideas.  He suggested we wrap the lamp shades with ribbon and then hot glue some trim around the edges, taking the cost of “replacing” the shades from about $175 (those suckers are HUGE) to $20.  We’ve since dubbed him “The Crafty One”… or just Gaywad, depending on our mood.
Onto the living room!

Big changes have taken place in here.  Standing with your back to the opening of the kitchen.


Sheesh, I know it’s dark, but I have no photography skills that extend beyond “look through screen and hit button” and it’s impossible for someone with my limited skills to shoot at white snow and not end up with a dark room, OK?

It gets better starting now.  This view is if you’re standing close to those redone lamps on our stereo cabinet and looking towards the dining room.


Now you can see some changes, yes?  We painted out all the paneling to the same gray we used in the entry way and hallway by the living room, and the wooden lip that continues into the dining room was painted out white.  There were two slatted doors that closed the kitchen off from the dining room, and although they added character, they closed the space in too much.  So off they came!  The dining room table and chairs came with the house, but we changed out the seats on all six of the chairs.  (And by “we”, I mean “Gaywad”.)

Just to tie it together, here’s a shot standing at the intersection of the windows in the dining room.  You can see into the kitchen and the end of the stereo cabinet with the updated lampshades:

And there you have it!  There have already been changes, however, namely… well, come on, it’s February.  You still think I have Christmas stuff up?  Haha… um… the nutcrackers may still be living on the floating shelves and staring at me menacingly as I type this… just saying…


The living room lounge and eating area

(Boy, are these titles witty.  At least the rest of the posts are HILARIOUS.)

Fresh off the basement redo, I’m happy to continue on with our living and dining room update.  As alluded to previously, this happened during the same time frame which means my mom and dad helped with these spaces, too.  (Remember?  Aaron + Liz = Dumb and Dumber aka you’re stupid to turn down free labor.)

These spaces were completed within a couple of days and were super “fun” for a couple of reasons.  (Yes, read the fun as sarcastic.)  First, Johnnie got really sick.  I may have failed to mention that the week of the basement painting I was suffering from the bubonic plague.  Now, Johnnie has a fail-safe method for evading sickness – a friend’s doctor told her one time that it “wouldn’t hurt” to suck on zinc when you feel as though you may be coming down with something, so of course, she religiously sucks on zinc when she’s feeling down or around somebody who’s hacking up her left lung.  As I was afflicted with the latter for a couple weeks, she started popping her zinc while painting the basement.  Weirdly, that homeopathic ridiculous excuse for medicine did not work, and I passed along the sick to my mom.  (She still swears that she got less sick than I did, and attributes it to the zinc, I’m not even kidding.)

The other reason this space was so fun to do was because Aaron is apt to feel slightly uncomfortable with change.  Often this isn’t a huge problem, as things tend to get worked out just fine.  He has a pattern, and it goes a little something like this:

Liz: “Aaron, I’ve been thinking – my lease is up in 6 months and since you own your place, what do you say we start thinking about me moving in there, in 6 months?”
Aaron: (Weird stare as though I have some smooched boogers hanging out on my cheek)  “WHAT?  ARE YOU JOKING?”
L: “No, I just think we should start thinking about it.”
L: “Well, because it’s a waste of money to be paying for two places when you are here five nights a week.”
L: “Aaron, don’t you think I’m your mate?”
A: “Of course you’re my mate!  (Under his breath: What does that have to do with living together?)”
L: “And you’re my mate.  We’re going to be stuck with each other until death anyway, and will be shacking up at some point, so just think about it, OK?”
A: “I GUESS I can think about it a little… but I really don’t feel comfortable with this.  (Under his breath: And I DON’T want to move my stuff.)”

One month later, he presented the idea back to me as if he’d just thought it up.  Seriously.

Anyway, can you see where I’m going with this insight as to Aaron’s displeasure with change?  If not, let me present you with some before pictures of our living room and dining room:

Living room

Dining room
Pretty fantastic to begin with, if I do say so myself.  And I do.  The problem is all that wood – the ceiling is different than the dropped lip that circles the living/dining room and both of those were different than the paneling.  I’m not just talking different stains, I’m talking different types of wood for all three.  You combine that with some of the great pieces we inherited (check out our stereo cabinet that came with the house) and the built-in bookcase/bench/TV stand and you’ve got WAY too much of a 1940’s-1970’s wood smorgasbord.

So what have I had to contend with for the PAST SIX MONTHS whenever I bring up painting the wood?  “You’re going to ruin it!  I like it this way – the orangey browns and the yellowy browns look nice together!   The entire vibe of the house will be compromised!”  And my favorite, “You’re destroying the integrity of our house!”

I admit, the last one almost got to me a few times.  I actually started second guessing myself, and kept running up to my mom and dad that weekend asking them if I was truly destroying the integrity of our house.  To which Johnnie would reply, “I (cough) hate all that wood and (cough, cough, wheeze) would have paint… (cough, lung hack) …ed it six months ago.  (Blow nose, lung hack, cough)  I think you should (cough, cough, cough, cough) paint all the wood you want to leave alone, too.”  and Tom would reply, “I don’t know, maybe.  (Evil laughing ensues.)”   Helpful, right?  NOT!  (Oh yeah, that’s two successful ‘not’ jokes, for those keeping track at home.)

And, while I would love to post the “after” shots here… you’re just going to have to wait.  Because they’re on my camera… not here with me… and all the before shots are actually before we closed on the house… so we’ll see some serious changes with the afters this time around… and I wonder how many ellipsis I can work into a single sentence… while I think about the martini I’ll be consuming in under 2 hours… and then maybe some of the cheese from our wine club… and then another martini if I’m feeling really silly… or watching some horrible girly movie since Aaron’s getting home late… and I have to do something to break up the monotony of wrapping presents… and I made it to ten.  Damn I’m good.