Sunday, June 26, 2016

We Love You So

This morning we celebrated my dad's parents' 65th wedding anniversary. It was a beautiful brunch party with lots of laughs and good memories. The girls love parties, especially if they get "three desserts! Chocolates (on the tables), cake AND ice cream!"

I want to remember the little moments sprinkled throughout this house renovation, so I'm here tonight to jot down three sweet things our three kids said (or did, in Peter's case) today. As we were leaving the brunch with my dad, Cora said "that was a fun party." My dad said, "Yeah! I'm glad you could make it." Cora's response, very matter of factly, was: "I was invited."

After the party we went back to my parents' house to take naps and quiet times. Nate was lucky enough to borrow a car so he could get back to Madison to get back to work on the house. We were going to leave after naps, but at 4:30 pm the lake was too inviting to leave, so we stuck around and went tubing. Lou enjoyed performing the hand motions for faster, slower, ok and cut it and after a short ride with me on the tube, asked to go by herself. Cora enjoyed watching from the boat, but Peter wanted in on the action too, so took his first tubing ride at 17 months.

We left Oconomowoc around 7 pm and Cora, having only a quiet time instead of nap, was a bit out of sorts, so I rolled the window down for her, telling her that when we get on the highway we'll have to roll it up. That got Lou's brain going and she asked, "Mom, where does Oconomowoc end? When we get to the highway?" Essentially, yes, so I said "yes." Then she wanted to know if Madison starts when we get to the highway. She sits in the third row and understandably has a hard time hearing me, so when she didn't hear me say that there are actually lots of little towns in between Oconomowoc and Madison, I told her we'd have to talk about it later. "Okay," she said happily. Such an easy going child, LouBear.

Peter's funny moment was once we got home. We swung by the new house to pick up Nate so he could help me get the kids in bed. Peter was beyond tired (or so I thought)...too tired to even brush his teeth, which is normally something he finds quite fun. So I sang him song - Go to sleep my baby, sleep now little you, go to sleep my baby and dream of powder blue. Flowers in the sunshine and boats upon the lake, dream my little baby, I'll see you when you wake - and laid him in bed. I was giving Nate a haircut at least 30 minutes later when we heard him slapping his crib rail. No wining or talking even, but clearly awake. After Nate took a shower, he went in to get a shirt (Nate's dresser is in Peter's room because it doesn't fit in ours), and Peter sat up in bed, took out his pacifier and offered it to Nate. This is his routine every morning when he gets up. Nate said "No, it's time to sleep," so he put his pacifier back in his mouth and laid back down. It's so fun when babies really start to show that they understand most of what you say.

Kids, kids, you can be a handful, but we love you so.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tile Progress

We hired the best tile guy. His name is Matt and he runs his own business called Stone Concepts. He's the best because he's happy and does really nice work. He also responds incredibly quick to text and email and uses lots of thumbs up emoji in his texts. His emoji usage prompted Nate to tell me today that "they're" (who?) coming out with a face palm emoji. Nate will likely make good use of it.

Here's a sneak preview of Matt's handy work!

Kids' bath tub surround

Loving penny tile

Master bath

Kids' Bath

Powder room

Mudroom, which Matt will grout with a light grey to accentuate the herringbone pattern


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Trim it out

Nate was very committed to saving the old trim, which meant hours of pulling nails, bundling batches, washing, labeling, priming, painting and hauling. Thankfully, the end is in sight. I never thought to take a picture of the pile of trim bundles in the garage and now it's too late. All the 2nd floor trim (which we're painting white) has been washed and 70% has also been sanded, primed and painted with one (of two) top coats. The color is Pearly White, which was determined by the interior of our white windows.

Because we need to move out of our rental house by July 4, we started hauling the semi-finished trim over to the new house from the rental garage. Now it's been sorted and placed back in the original rooms, unfortunately taking up a lot of floor space. 

In the end, I'm sure we'll say it was worth the effort, but trim refinishing is very far down on my "favorite aspects of a renovation" list"

June 20 Update: Marcia must have been feeling overwhelmed for us back on February 23, because she snapped a few photos of the trim piles, back when only the de-nailing, bundling and hauling had happened. Oh how far we've come!

Just looking at it makes me want to take a shower and rid myself of the dust and grime
Sometime in March or April, we tried wiping each piece with a damp cloth and quickly learned that a full on bath would be better, so moved the cleaning operation outside
I took this tonight. See that very small stack on the floor (to the left of the card table)? That's all that's left to prime!









Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Finish Line Glimpses

Exciting finishes are popping up around the new house. Two nights ago I had a kitchen brainstorm and today we have a fresh, fun accent wall that I think will look really good with the kitchen cabinets. When we picked the colors for the first floor, we knew we would add color to the back wall of the kitchen. Since the refrigerator will soon be installed in the back corner, it's great to have this done. A HUGE thank you to my amazing Aunt Jeanne for encouraging my enthusiasm for such a bold color and painting the wall!

The mudroom floor is temporarily orange. This is just the structure for the wires that will heat the floor under the slate colored, chevron patterned tile that will be laid this week.


Refrigerator will go in the left corner and the spice rack may hang between the window and the light switches

Nate must like the color since he bought himself a new helmet in the same hue

And aqua stripes in the table cloth. It's everywhere!
I also saw the powder room tile for the first time today and LOVE it. Can't wait to see it installed.


A little pop in the attic too! The other dormers will be bright - maybe one yellow and one coral?


Thursday, June 9, 2016

And The Winner Is...

Carrara marble! We didn't see anything we loved last weekend (except expensive Super White quartzite), but then the kind woman from Stone Design in Milwaukee emailed me this photo. She thought it was still on a boat, making it's way from Italy to Indiana, with a hugely variable arrival date. Nate and I decided that living with plywood countertops for a little while wouldn't be so bad, but then SURPRISE! an hour later she emailed to say that it actually was on land, not sea, in Indiana.


This is actually a mirror to the slab we'll use. This one is also polished, whereas we'll have ours honed for a matte look. There is a small crack at the bottom, but that will be cut out, still leaving a rectangle large enough for our bathroom vanity, where it will complement the 3 inch marble hexagon tile on the floor. Excited!

Carrara Marble Hexagon Mosaic Tile
Hexagon tiles for the floor of the master bathroom

Here is an example of honed carrara marble:


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Satin Floors

The main floor needs a second coat of finish on Monday, but otherwise, the floors are done! We're really happy with how they turned out. Although Louisa came home today after seeing them and said Yeah, they look good. Just the same as these floors, tapping her toe on the floors in our rental house (which are fine, but nothing to blog about :). Oh, how the brand-new finish of a satin floor gets lost on a 5-year-old!

















Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hard (but fun) Decision #2

Since posting Exterior Color Agony on Tuesday, I realized that the word "agony" is very dramatic. Agony is not something I experience often (ever?), and I definitely don't want to seem like I'm complaining about this renovation at all. It's something we entered into very willingly and still have no regrets, 70% of the time (smily face emoticon here).

The other difficult, yet still fun, decision is the countertop decision. When I first posted about our kitchen daydreaming last October, some of you suggested a white/grey countertop in quartz or marble. I had not considered carrara marble, but since then I haven't been able to stop thinking about it! I've read posts like this and wondered if I could live with such a soft stone. I've visited three countertop/stone shops and all three salespeople gave me the same speech, something along the lines of we really try to discourage people from choosing marble for a kitchen. Despite their warnings, I brought home a 12x12 sample of honed carrara marble and told Nate I wanted to sleep on it. It's SO soft and lovely. I was pretty set on it, telling myself that the character of etching and staining would make it feel loved and lived in.

So we got a quote for honed carrara marble and the estimator at Madison Block and Stone said ideally we would drive to Waukesha or Milwaukee to pick out a slab. I drove to Waukesha on May 21st, the first gorgeous summer-like day in a while. Unfortunately the marble they had was too short and it wasn't love at first sight. The weather that day is important to mention because I didn't want to drive further from home to look at the other wholesaler, so I still haven't seen what they have in person. Here is the Venintino marble slab that is too short:

Just kind of dull, right?
That same day in Waukesha, I saw a granite called viscount white. I've never had a thing for granite, but when I went to these warehouses and saw the huge slabs and listened to how they're "harvested" it really helped me gain an appreciation for natural stone, so I entertained the thought of granite as another natural stone option. I was surprised by how much I liked this viscount white granite.

p.s. it's not actually pink, that is a reflection of the store sign
The benefit of choosing granite over marble is that granite is much harder, so it will stain, scratch and etch less. But marble seems much more timeless than granite. They are priced similarly, within $120 of each other.

You might be wondering, why not quartz? Because Quartz, which is manmade and much less porous, is more pricey, especially for the white/light ones. We do hope to find some beautiful quartz remnants to use in the bathrooms and laundry room, because when you use a remnant, you pay the same whether it's super cheap granite or expensive quartz. This is fun and not fun. Fun because you could get lucky and find an unclaimed remnant the day it arrived in the remnant yard as a scrap from someone's larger project, and not fun because it makes me feel like I should stop by the remnant yard daily to score a sweet remnant.

To help you picture things, here is Nate's latest drawing of the kitchen, from two different angles:



The wood really will be wood, so you can see the the approximate size of the countertop we need. I don't love the super dark part of the viscount white granite slab, but we could easily avoid that by the way we cut the "L" shape and the square cut from the whole slab.

More kitchen news! The cabinet colors have been decided. Thanks to a blog post at The Inspired Room, I knew what color they used (below) and went with it. The lower cabinets and refrigerator surround will be this charcoal grey and the upper cabinets will be a cool white, called ice cube.


Not only do we have the cabinet colors picked out, we also purchased our stove and refrigerator last night! I'm really happy that after looking at many different brands for weeks we were able to make a crunch-time decision (because of a sale ending at midnight last night) that we both woke up excited about:

Kitchen Aid Range

Maytag Refrigerator
On Friday night and Saturday we'll celebrate a huge hotel renovation my dad just completed in Brookfield, so we'll drive  to Milwaukee after that to check out the other wholesaler's marble slab in person. Here is the picture I've seen. It's polished, but can be honed, which is what we would choose if we went with marble.

These are such fun decisions! Really, there is no agony at all. It's all fun and I already know I'm going to miss the research and decision making once it's over...like I did each time I decided on a dress for a high school dance and my wedding dress.

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