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Tile Mania

20th February 2011


I’ve been going crazy trying to keep the cost of the kitchen back splash down, and still have a classy, appealing and complimentary tile job.

It has to match and be just busy enough to catch your eye, but not so noisy that it yells “LOOK AT ME!!!”.

With the rich golden brown of the oak cabinets and the very dark rich brown counter tops, of course my back splash was going to have to lighten up the show for some contrast.

I have planned, measured, planned, measured, did mock ups with paper cut outs, and planned and measure again.  Laying out tile plans with an Excel spread sheet helps me get started.  Then I actually cut out paper and do a tape up my pattern.  After I work out a fit that I like, I go shopping for what is available at a reasonable price.

I found these at Home Depot.  The 6″ square are very reasonably priced and I find them so interesting when put in the diamond pattern.  I owe my friend Erin a big thank you for introducing me to using tiles in this configuration.  It’s a lot of work, but very appealing.

The 2″ square come in sheets of 24 pieces (12″ square).  They were the one’s that ran my budget up.

The 6″ cost under $.72 per tile, the 2″ cost right at $3 per square foot.  However, that is a bargain for 2″.  The others cost about $5 per square foot and on up to much more.

Not including thin set and grout my back splash will cost about $130 for the hole kitchen.

I can’t wait to start!

Just a funny!

07th March 2011


When we were working on the “L street house” a  neighbor lady came over.  She introduced herself to me and I introduced myself and Dave as my fiancee.  She says, “Really? Even after all this? You still want to Marry him?”  LOL Still working on it!

Color me Happy!

03rd April 2011


Things are starting to come together.  Dave has been working like a Tasmanian Devil.  I helped a little bit with the paint, but he pretty much painted the whole house by himself.  I love how much brighter it is.  The existing color was neutral, but a bit gloomy.  It needed some cheering up!

The dining room really shows the compliments of the two new colors.

We still have ideas for finishing the fire place that are subject to change. The large travertine tiles are going to be the hearth.

The stair case has shown the most benefit from the lighter colors.  Even with the treads still needing work it looks so much better.

The den is still functioning as a work shop, but we should be getting it started soon.

Dave has been doing double duty.  Look for his reports on the removing the existing heat and air and repairing the plumbing, and duct work.

The drywall dust has finally cleared it’s time to stir it up again. This time it will be with sawdust though. Since the linoleum stripped did such a good job removing the floor finish I thought I could save time and do a better finish by stripping the rest of the floors. In my mind I figured I just sand lightly with a pad sander and not risk the gouges I’ve experienced with the drum sander. After spending another 2 evenings stripping the floors, I was ready to sand. I rented a vibrating pad sander from Home depot and began to sand. In short it did not work; AT ALL! It simply was not aggressive enough sand even the bare wood floors. I quickly loaded everything back up in the truck and exchanged it for a drum sander. I made the first pass getting as close as possible to wall then Carri took over with the drum sander and continued with the edging sander.davesandcarrisand Before Carri made the final pass with 250 grit I took some of the sawdust, mixed with untinted wood filler and filled all of the crack in the floor. Fortunately, there weren’t to may sport that required filler. Even with the wasted time I spent with the pad sander I still was able to get the sander back to Home Depot within the 24 hours, but just barely. We decide to wait a couple days before we spread the polyurethane.  That would give time for the dust to settle again and we could rest up for a couple of days.

I started about 5:00 AM on Sunday morning while Cari was still sleeping. Worst case she may have been stuck in the back for 2 hours since waterbourne poly dries within that time. We had vacuumed and swept the night before so just ran over the floor with tack cloth and put on the first coat.  By 5:00 PM Sunday evening the floor was done. I considered scuffing the floor one last time and putting a fourth coat but Carri was happy with the way it looked and we called it done.

floordoneAll of the baseboards had been stripped of the paint and varnish and sanded. While waiting for the floor to cure completely we finished trim with 3 coats of poly. I used one of the door jambs to make rails and stile for the hall cabinet doors and re-purposed the wainscot for the panels. The door have a few defects but they look great.
cabs trim

Painting and replacing the trim, and moving the furniture back quickly brought everything together. We started in mid January and had everything moved back in by mid March. Three months and 3 thousand dollars in materials and it is time to close the wallet until the next project. Unfortunately the next project will be putting another rental back together often the tenant moves out next week. diningview2



Rubble Garden

24th December 2017


Several years ago on one of our remodels, we had to replace the concrete driveway. We broke into large but manageable chunks to haul off. Instead of hauling it off to a dump, I put an add in Craigslist ‘Free Concrete.’ I had 2 people come buy and load up the back of their pickups with a couple of loads. One said he wanted it to stop the erosion on his dirt drive. The other said he wanted it for stepping stones to one of his out buildings. I also got a few very strange calls checking to see if the craigslist ad was legit. A couple thought it was joke so I explained the possible uses. It turned out we had made an afternoon feature on a local radio show contest for funny and unbelievable craigslist add people post. The joke was we were just trying to get someone to haul off our debris for free. We were winning for most of the afternoon until someone submitted a post for free ‘Maple leaves, Baggged or Free Range’. In the end, I hauled off most of the drive to a house that was asking for free dirt and fill materials.

Once again, I had to break up a large concrete slab in the back yard of one or our renos. Rather than haul it to the off I decided to use it for edging along the back yard for a garden.







I used as much of the concrete as possible for the garden edging, and a bit more for a path along the back of the house leading to the deck. Even then 8 trailer loads were hauled  to the concrete recycler.  Not sure I would do this again but it was an interesting project