The Buehler Buzz

{watch dumb and dumber do up their dwelling}

Category: Living room

Wait until you see this!

Alternate title: Bathroom Gut Part Five and check out this living room floor!

First of all, our cherubic faces have gone back to horribly, dry, scaly, winter messes with the unfortunate but necessary loss of our steam toilet.  It sure was sweet while it lasted…

And after almost seven months, we are officially calling this bathroom 99% finished!  What’s left?

  1. Purchasing and having glass installed for the tub surround
  2. Installing some sort of static window cover (think stationary roman shade)
  3. Finish painting the door trim and edges
  4. Removing window film on door

And that, my internet friends, is ALL.  Seriously!  Only 4 little tasks to go!

I’m sort of in shock.  This dress bathroom exacerbates the genetic betrayal design awesomeness that is my legacy – check it out:

{overall vanity view}

{overall vanity view}

{vintage dresser found on Craigslist - we cleaned up the pulls, spruced up the wood, added a couple of Ikea sinks and some carrera marble and shazam!}

{vintage dresser found on Craigslist – we cleaned up the pulls, spruced up the wood, added a couple of Ikea sinks and some carrera marble and shazam!}

{mirrors from World Market, changed from pewter to gold}

{mirrors from World Market, changed from pewter to gold}

{another shot of sink area... because I'm in love}

{another shot of sink area… because I’m in love}

{yes, glasses as art, because do YOU have a pair of family heirloom specs that made it through the revolutionary war?  I do!}

{yes, glasses as art, because do YOU have a pair of family heirloom specs that made it through the revolutionary war? I do!}

{the tub, waiting patiently for his glass surround}

{the tub, waiting patiently for his glass surround}

{no longer steaming, still just as marvelous}

{no longer steaming, still just as marvelous.  and black penny tile, I really love you.}

{lion art, because lions are cool}

{lion art, because lions are cool}

{this is a baseboard heater cover.  seriously.  awesome.}

{this is a baseboard heater cover. seriously. awesome.}

{towel nook, behind the door.  the top row MAY be almost too high for me to reach, but I make it on tiptoes.  I'm tall... not.}

{towel nook, behind the door. the top row MAY be almost too high for me to reach, but I make it on tiptoes. I’m tall… not.}

{color is soot, bm.  delightfully navy/black/charcoal all in one.}

{color is soot, bm. delightfully navy/black/charcoal all in one.}

{my favorite - black penny tiles with black grout}

{my favorite – black penny tiles with black grout}

I’m so in love with this bathroom that I almost made my sister sleep in here when she visited me last weekend.  I’m not kidding – it was a viable option I gave her.

Now to move on to the living room.  Remember the allusions to a “special” contractor discovered through the powers of Craigslist?  Here’s the story in a not-so-small-and-you’ll-probably-be-bored-by-the-end-nutshell.

We (Buehler here, the Liz Buehler, mate to Aaron, who’s with me on this) like hiring independent workers and/or working with small businesses as much as possible.  There are so many talented people out there with exceptional skills, and when you find them and are able to work with them their dedication and personal investment in your projects are so much deeper than when utilizing a “bigger” contractor or business.  Also, let’s get real, their prices are usually way lower, so… bonus.

That’s when you find the good ones, that is.  The bad ones can be bad.  Real bad.  Like a hot mayonnaise sandwich served with 3-week old salmon sushi and a side of curdled warm milk.  {Or in my case, shrimp served over celery with a side of cooked mushroom caps and beets.}  In a word – HORRIFYING.  And of course I know this from experience, because we went a smart route and found an independent concrete guy to stain our living room floor on Craigslist.  We’ll call this guy Frank… because his name was Frank.

Now Frank seemed cool – he came over, we liked him, he’s a nice guy, working for “the man”, wants to go solo this year, has a kid; you know – likable.  And talked a good game… to two mildly retarded homeowners who really don’t know anything about staining concrete floors.

Did he have pictures to show us?  No.
Did he have references?  Nope.
Could we see anything he did?  Sure – a restaurant from about 8 years ago.

Did we miss all of the signs?  YES.  {Hey, you gotta accept responsibility for certain situations, right?  Yes.}  But he was NICE; we liked him.  He gave a good vibe.  And… we may have had blinders on because the price was cheap.  Just throwing it out there.

He quotes us a weekend job – as in, start to finish Friday through Sunday.  We’re in, because yes the bathroom has taken out the entire back wing and yes the rest of the first floor is in chaos with the laying of the new hardwoods, but who cares about also tearing apart the living room at the same time if it’s only going to be for three days?!  Right?!

FIVE WEEKS LATER the living room was still useless.  As was the rest of the first floor and the basement.  To the point that we were taking meals upstairs and eating in our bedroom.

In five weeks, he managed to fill some gaps that needed filling, skim-coat the entire living room floor, stain the floor, stain the Lannon stone walls, get stain all over our outside patios, fail to seal the stain (so that it was continually seeping up and onto whatever was put on top of it)… and then DO IT ALL AGAIN IN AN EFFORT TO FIX IT.

I can honestly say that those weeks were the very worst of any part of any house stuff we’ve tackled since applying for our mortgage to buy our house 3 years ago.  For real.  No kitchen, no dining room, no bathroom, no office, down two guest rooms, no basement and no hang out space in the whole house besides your bedroom?   That’s not fun for five weeks.  Not to be dramatic, but there were certain days towards the end when I may have been one bad thought away from stabbing Aaron to death with the nail gun.  {Because you take it out on your mate, no matter how awesome he actually is.  And he’s my love dove… NOW.}

But a family friend who’s been in the business years and years came to the rescue!  {Oh, why didn’t we call him in the first place?  Because we’re sometimes very very very very dumb.}  These folks were PROFESSIONAL and awesome:  Bildor Concrete Corporation

As it turns out, things get fixed quickly when you hire a true expert and fork over more money.  Who knew?!

And you know what?  We got the fabulous floors in the end – look:

{hi Aaron! hi Lex!}

{hi Aaron! hi Lex!}

{love love love love those Wassily (ahem, knockoff, ahem) chairs and the red rug against these floors}

{love love love love those Wassily (ahem, knockoff, ahem) chairs and the red rug against these floors}

 

Ah… how nice are those?  They’re freaking nice.  I may pet them sometimes while expressing my deep love for them, just putting it out there.

So all is well these days, the bathroom and the living room are looking unbelievable, and I have tons more updates to share regarding furniture and flooring.  Until then, remember to stay away from dudes named Frank on CL who pretend to be concrete stainers.

-L

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:

Pretty.}

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.

Breakdown:
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…

Tata,
-L

{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.}

A few updates…

So, in between switching jobs, heading to Bermuda, hosting a party or two, picking up more dog shit in the basement, and generally living the high life, we’ve actually managed to do some stuff to the house recently!  Now, shut your pie-hole when a couple of you realize that some of this is a few days… I mean weeks… who are we kidding I’m talking months here, people, months old.  Deal with it. 

We’ll start with my favorite – the attic.  What once looked like this:

Now looks like this:
shoe storage
 shoe storage, purse storage
purse storage
Oh yeah, who’s totally jealous?!  It’s cool, I know you are all.  Sure, it’s not a ‘finished’ space (and by that I mean there aren’t any walls, just some sweet asbestos-covered pipes and what probably passed for insulation in 1954) but I guarantee you my shoes and bags are having a rave every single night, talking about the good ole days when Lizzie used to tear it up nightly.  And by ‘tear it up’, I mean ‘fall down and hurt myself because I was drunk a lot’.
What’s next… oh yes.  Remember when I told you all I was going to spend a weekend spray painting?  Weirdly, that never happened.  However, I have been attacking random objects in the house with my acquired spray paint over the course of the past few months, and these lamps got it good with some pretty green paint.  They came with the house – see one to the left of the bed?  That beautiful beige loveliness with a gold applique of flowers and a yellowed (from nicotine) shade?
beige lamps, old owner bedroom
Let’s see that bad boy up close, shall we?
beige lamp
We kept those beauties because there were two of them and who am I to turn down a matching set of lamps?  A dummy?  I think not!  My mantra, then and now, and especially when my mother-in-law is around because she always thinks I’m nuts and that it’s going to look like poop, is “I can spray paint that and it’ll be awesome – you’ll see!”  And it’s actually been proving true recently.  I mean come on, look at those lamps now:
first floor bedroom, spray painted lamps
Fabulous and awesome, right?!  Only two cans of cheap green spray paint and a couple of new white lamp shades from Walmart.  Oh yeah, I said it – Walmart.  You laugh… until I tell you they were each only $12.  In your face!
We actually purchased something that I’ve had my eye on for a while – this mirror made up of mirrors to go above our fireplace:
I’ve been looking for something to go there since we moved in, so we’re talking a year and a half.  That’s pretty patient for me, so the day I went back to the website where I’d seen it (Pier 1, for your inquiring minds) and saw that it was on a good sale and only available in stores, I called up our nearest one and picked it up that night.  I got the last one… winner!  I’ll try to take a better picture sometime maybe, possibly during the day, maybe with an actual camera… we’ll see.
And to round up today’s lovely post, I’ve been working on where to put our odds and ends art.  You know, things you love and want to display, but don’t really require their own highlighted spot?  Plus, I’m running out of wall.  For real.  I buy way more art than we need; I fear that by the time we’re 70 you won’t be able to see a wall in our house due to the art.  Which will be awesome – it’ll be the wall-less Buehler home, and we’ll be like hoarders but with art.  Back to the point – here’s what I started in our purple room/study:
We’ve got a picture with my sisters (hiya Chrissy and Kat – you get a special Christmas present if you actually read this and tell me you found your name in here since I’m about 80% certain that nobody in my family even reads this because they all hear about our retardedness on a daily basis and who really needs to relive that when you’ve been dealing with it for 30 years already, am I right?), a picture of A and his mom, a picture of us, a picture of A’s dad (they could have been identical twins at 18, I swear), a picture of A as a baby, our college diplomas (see Jennifer – I found an awesome place for these… and it’s not a bathroom!), and a copper piece my grandmother made.  I’ve already added to it since I took this picture, but I like it because it’s not my usual format – all black frames and white mats.
And that is all for today.
Later taters,
-L

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.

Tata!
-L

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

Finally…

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.
Before:
After:
(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.)
Before:

After:


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.
Before:

After:

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.
Before:

After:

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…

Tata,
-L