Friday, April 30, 2010

How Hamsters Feel...

In my last blog entry I mentioned that some water was found in the ceiling. While removing the lights for their makeover, one of the bedrooms had wet sheet rock around the light and the back of the light was really wet. This spelled out trouble and made me very nervous.

One of my friends came to look at it, but couldn't get into the attic to find out what was wrong. Why? BECAUSE IT'S TOO SMALL! My attic is about two feet tall at it's highest point. After looking into the access to the attic, it was decided that I was the only person that was likely to fit. It was already late that night and I decided to investigate another time.

I came back to the house the next day with long pants, a turtle neck, beanie, safety glasses, and my super trusty gloves on. I was ready to go explore the attic to find the source of the leak. It was suspected that an old swamp cooler line was still up there potentially causing the problem.

Welcome to my attic! There is fiber glass insulation EVERYWHERE! I had to push all the insulation back and then try to start maneuvering. There was no crawling on my hands and knees, this was basically an army crawl on my stomach. I was trying to be very careful, moving from truss to truss so that I wouldn't fall through the ceiling. I was surrounded by all of this insulation, having to burrow through it as I went. I could not help but think of all the hamsters we had as kids. They live in that "bedding" crap that smells real bad after it gets peed on. Yeah, I felt like a hamster burrowing through insulation bedding.

I was kind of having fun at first, like I was an adventurer. Knocking the insulation out of my way with ease! Carefully, but stealthy moving to each truss. Eventually I reached a location that I thought was the approximate location of the light and started digging through the insulation. I was being very careful to close my mouth so that I wouldn't get that itchy crap in my throat. Eventually I found the light box and there was minor signs of water damage with a small amount of mold. Nothing major. The area was no longer wet.

Flashing the light around the attic I couldn't find any tubes that would lead to the old swamp cooler. I decided to follow the beam that the light was next to. After going down about another foot, I found the sheet rock right next to the beam was darker. It was still damp from water. The strip was about a half an inch wide and went all the way to the edge of the roof it seemed. It eventually got so far that I couldn't fit to follow it.

I had gotten so excited from my lead that I hadn't noticed something... I couldn't breathe! I had been breathing through my nose, but I also have ridiculous allergies. The fiber glass had been causing a severe irritation, but I hadn't noticed at first. My entire nasal cavity was blocked off and felt like it had swelled to the size of a baseball.

Not being able to breathe through my nose forced me to have to breathe through my mouth. However, that did not promote breathing either. With each breath I took, my lungs started to get very angry! So I'd take a breath, then have a hacking cough. While coughing I would gasp for air, which would only cause more coughing! I had to get out of the attic FAST!

I immediately got to the center of the attic and started back to the opened. The entire time I was coughing and gasping for air! When I made it back to the opening, I was facing the wrong direction. I couldn't drop out of the attic head first! It the tiny space I had to try and flip around do that I could drop out feet first. Ever seen a hamster start going up those silly colored tubes, but then about half way decide to flip around and go back. Well they make it look easy, but it's NOT that easy. I was basically stuck by the opening to the attic and I still don't know how I managed to flip around.

Once out of the closet I immediately ran into the bathroom. My body had begun producing mucus to capture all of the fiber glass and prevent it from getting into my body. So once again I couldn't breath because there was too much schmuck in my nose and throat. So I'm in the bathroom trying to get it out (I'm purposefully eliminating details here) so that I can breathe. Meanwhile, my body has started to itch furiously from the fiber glass that made contact with my skin. I ripped my shirt off and knew that I had to get home ASAP and shower. So I started running through the house, getting what I need...with no shirt on.

Lucky for me, my mom has left a jacket there on accident and I was able to wear that on my drive home. Mind you, I was still battling for consistent breathing. I was coughing so hard that it made water come out of my eyes. Don't be fooled, I wasn't CRYING. I wasn't that upset about the situation, just trying to stay calm.

Once home I stripped down and took a hot shower until the water ran out. All was well, though it did take me about 36 hours to be able to breathe through my nose. Hopefully we can investigate the leak some other way. I'd prefer not to, but if I have to then I have to. Oh the joys of home ownership! Next time I'll make sure I wear a mask so that I can breathe without getting masses of insulation in my respiratory system.

To the moments that take our breath away,


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brass = TACKY

While at Lowe's the other day with my parents, I was looking at all the things I wanted for the house. Really, I was coveting all the things I couldn't afford for the house. My mom made a very astute observation that will probably ring true for at least the next year of my life:

I have champagne taste with a Shasta cola budget.

Raised sinks, cracked glass counter tops, oil-rubbed bronze fixtures... I was looking at a lot of stuff that I just couldn't afford. I, however, am a resourceful person. Looking at things I want inspires me to find a way to get it for cheap, hence my passion for the ReStore.

One thing I want to do, but can't afford is to have oil-rubbed bronze fixtures for everything in the house. Door knob, hinges, lights, faucets, etc. I want them to match! However, I do not have the money for oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures. If there is a will, there is a way. Here is how you all can get beautiful fixtures for way cheap.

Disconnect ugly brass light. Make sure to wash and dry thoroughly, then sand the surface with 220 grit sand paper, wipe clean.

Mist layer of indoor/outdoor flat black primer. MIST, don't spray one heavy coat and cause it to pool and run down the fixture. Then you will have to let it dry, sand it again, and then re-prime it.

Let dry 10 minutes.

Mist with copper paint, let dry ten minutes.

Mist with brushed metallic oil-rubbed bronze paint. Let dry one hour before reinstalling light.

I had a hard time finding all the right colors, Walmart ended up having them all. For more detailed instructions, check out Krylon's DIY project page. Total cost ended up being $20 and I've done three lights so far and have plenty of paint for more.

So here are the official before and after shots:



I think it turned out really great! Jake was so great and took down all the fixtures for me because I had no idea how to do it. Unfortunately, one fixture was wet when he removed it. I'll have to investigate. Then he put one back up in the dark so I could take my "after" picture for the blog. However, he did tell me the rest were going up in the day light :) What do you think of how it turned out?

To living the high life with a regular budget,


Demolition Time!

Friday I finally closed on the house! Wahoo!!! So after signing, I ran back up to Sunset as quickly as possibly to get the water turned on. I paid $30 to have someone come out and turn it on, but when they got there it was already on! Grr... If only I had known! Oh well, how was I suppose to know. I was told it wasn't on.

Anyway, the weekend was spent tearing things apart. A MILLION thanks to my parents for helping so much. We ripped up the linoleum and subfloor of the kitchen, tore up the floor in the bathroom, removed the weird wall, took out the counter and sink, removed the sheetrock around the shower, took out all the trim, and pulled out the staples/nails from the wood floor. I felt great about all the progress we made. Here are some pictures!



The Living Room/Dump

Pulling staples out of the floor

Brit showing the trim who's boss!

Jake also mowed the lawn with a new lawn mower from his great parents! This is a massive amount of pictures, but it is only a fraction of what we accomplished over the weekend.

To building things back up again,


Friday, April 23, 2010


Official Home Owner!

Don't worry, my mom took pictures of me signing my paperwork. I'll get them on here unless they look too ridiculous.

I almost can't believe it's finally finished!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Life's little blossoms

A small shot of one of the flower beds in the back yard. I really should thank the previous owners for the hundreds of dollars in flowers that they spent on the yard that will now show up every spring for me.

To the good that people leave behind,


Monday, April 19, 2010

Treasure Hunting

Can I just start by saying how relieving it is to have people help? I really struggle asking people for help, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate it. This weekend my parents and my wonderful friend Britney helped me at the house. Part of it was raking up the back yard so that I could put some Weed and Feed on there. In the process of raking up two years of acorns, dead grass, and leaves some interesting things were found. Here's the list:

-Pottery shards
-3 socks
-Lid to a soup can
-Ear plugs
-Grocery bags
-Hostess wrapper
-Sprinkler heads
-Metal tent stake
-Plastic tent stake
-Bouncy ball
-Gardening gloves
-A dead bird
-Squirt gun

Everything is raked up and has been properly fertilized. For the record, we've hit a total of 9 garbage bags full of yard garbage! Once I close on Friday I can get the water turned on to start seeing if the sprinklers work. The yard does have a number of beautiful flowers that are growing all on their own. Talk about easy on me. I'll just have to weed! Pictures soon, I promise!

To life's little discoveries,


Saturday, April 17, 2010


I finally have a closing date! I'll officially be the owner of my own home on April 23rd.

My offer on the house was accepted on February 26th. It's only taken 2 months to close, no big deal.

The end is near!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

I can now say that I have a small taste of the hard work I'm going to be putting into the house. I still have NOT closed, but it was a beautiful day outside and decided to go rake the yard at the house.

The front yard has a bunch of Oak trees, so there were acorns EVERYWHERE! The house has been vacant for almost a year, so when the leaves fell in the fall no one raked them. So the grass is patchy, there are leaves/dirt all over, and the acorns were all mixed in. Needless to say, it was in some need of attention.

I suited up for yard work in some holey jeans, a t-shirt, and some old tennis shoes. Then I grabbed my recently purchased rake, shovel, and gardening gloves and went to work! I am now beginning to realize how big my yard it. Not that it's bigger than the standard yard, but I've NEVER had a hard that I've had to maintain. I've lived in apartments since I've been from home. Plus, when I lived at home I never had to work in the yard. I'm very familiar with work, just not yard work.

Much to my dismay, I was only able to finish half of the front yard. So... a few hours and I'm maybe 25% done. Maybe. My wonderful friend Britney came to visit me while I worked. She then helped me by holding open the giant trash bag for me to shovel everything into. We had such a good time!

I found yard work quite refreshing! I haven't had time to get to the gym and it was nice to push my body a little. Some of you may laugh at this, but the bent over shoveling, vigorous raking, and constant sneezing from allergies takes muscle work that I had not expected.

Anyways... after shoveling all of the piles I ended up with three garbage bags full! That made not feel as bad about only getting 1/4 of the yard done. While working in the front yard, I was greeted by four of the neighbors on the street. It was nice to meet them and I felt so welcome. I've never had that happen before. Although everyone on the street has five kids, that seems to be the magic number. Gross.

To getting your gardening gloves dirty,


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Light or Dark?

When originally picking colors for the house I wanted to do grey walls with white trim. I wanted to do a neutral that wasn't beige, but would still look good with either blacks or browns.

Here are some pictures of what I was sort of planning on doing:

Lately, I have been to some newly remodeled homes that have had a lighter wall color and darker trim. Now, I know dark trim immediately seems to give people the willies. I know white trim is classic and probably will always be in style. Decorating with a darker trim would probably be quite difficult, because trim should be consistent throughout the entire house. I know, I know... but in these houses I went to it looked very good. I'm sad I didn't take pictures, because I had a hard time finding any examples on the Internet similar to the ones I saw in these houses.

Here are some pictures of a light wall, dark trim that I did find:

I'm very curious as to what everyone thinks about this? Which one are you more partial too? I was thinking of maybe doing a light grey, with a dark grey trim for the color scheme. Do you think I will regret this entirely? Is it too contemporary? Has anyone else done this and loved it? Do you have picture examples? I don't know... just give me your thoughts. I'm trying to figure out what to do here!

To having contrast in our life,


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Breaking and Entering

Got these new door slabs down at the ReStore for $10 a piece. I'm going to take the old doors with the new ones to Wheelwright Lumber to have them drill the hinges/knob holes that I need. Door slabs are usually around $30, so I was able to save some money there.

As we usually do, Jake and I went to Chipotle after our visit to the ReStore and then came home. Upon arriving back at the apartment we ran into a small problem: we were locked out! I dropped my car off this morning at the shop to get some work done and borrow my brother's truck. Well his key ring doesn't have the key to the apartment on it. Ooops!

Lucky for me, Jake was able to get in through the window above the sink. I just wish that I hadn't had a sink full of dirty dishes for him to try and climb over. Looks like today will be a cleaning day :)

To life's little surprises,


Yep, I got cheap new knobs!

I have to take a moment to give a vast amount of credit to my mother. I had been throwing the idea around for a while about buying a house, but didn't want to until I had like $20,000 saved up for it. So it would have been a while! It was her that called me up and put the bug in my ear about looking at some houses before I renewed my lease. She also came to every house my wonderful real estate agent, Lewis, took me to see.

Needless to say her involvement has been quite critical! She has been very supportive and I cannot express my gratitude clearly enough on this blog for all that she has done to help. The list does not end here though, just this Tuesday she out did herself helping me again.

Last Saturday when Jake and I were at the ReStore, they said they were going to have some oil-rubbed bronze door handles out on Tuesday. My mom was so concerned that they were going to go fast that she offered to go down that morning and buy them for me. She went down there and they still didn't have them out. She was able to talk them into letting her into the back to search through a pallet of door knobs. She was literally there for HOURS. The boxes did not specify the color, so she had to look through every one to find the style and color she needed. Plus then she had to make sure she could get enough of one style for all of my doors to match.

Not only did she find some for me, she also find some for her too! Here's some shots:

Since I wasn't there to see them when she picked them out I was kind of nervous. I thought they were going to be too bronze, but they are more black, which is just what I wanted. These fit with my color scheme and I'm pretty excited! Silly me, I should just trust my mother.

The best part about these are the price. I looked up the brand and model online and the cheapest I could find them in this same finish was $22 a piece. ReStore was selling them for $15. She got me six door knobs, however; my mom also picked me up two dead bolts for $30 a piece and two outside door knobs, for $50 a piece. She got 9 door knobs for herself too. So for the discounted prices of $15, $30, and $50 my mom should have spent $385 on those door knobs. She got up to the register and the guy helping her (one of the owners) told the cashier to charge her $125 for everything!

So my amazing door knobs only cost me $65!

To having a wonderful mom that I love,


Saturday, April 3, 2010

First Big Purchase

This is the tile that I bought for the main bathroom and the kitchen. For 278 square feet of porcelain tile it cost me $460.00. That is my biggest purchase for the house so far! I'm a big fan of grey and plan on using that throughout the house as my neutral, beige is played out for me right now.

Saturday Tradition

In preparation for working on the house, Jake and I have recently started a new tradition on Saturdays. This tradition was started when a friend of mine, Jed, did some service at ReStore down in Salt Lake City.

ReStore is a place where you can donate construction items, kind of like a DI for construction goods. ReStore takes these donations and sells them to raise money for building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Sometimes things are close to what you would regularly pay, other times they are way cheap. Some things are brand new, some are used. My friend Jed called because there had been a construction trade show in Salt Lake, but instead of shipping a lot of the displays back, they donated them instead.

Inventory is kind of unpredictable, so you really have to check it out every week. Plus, on Saturday they always have specials. The last time I went all the lighting was 50% off and I got some cute sidewalk lights for the yard. So we go Saturdays because of the specials.

Today we went and got a lot of odds and ends of things we would need. Painting supplies, some more stuff for the yard, door hinges, and some lights for the outside of the house.

They are dirty and need to be cleaned, but for $5 each I'm not complaining. Plus the best thing about the store is that there is NO TAX. That's right, there is no sales tax on anything in the store. I got my double oven here for $125 and that's what I paid, not $133.50. Hopefully by spending some Saturday's getting supplies and some good deals on stuff I will be able to save a decent amount of money for the house.

After a morning looking at the stuff in the ReStore, then Jake and I hit up Chipotle on our way back. I think their burritos are about the size of a new born infant. I can only eat about half of one. They are super tasty and a very environmentally conscious company. Everyone should support businesses that have good ethics like Chipotle! Plus you get a ridiculous amount of food for a pretty cheap price tag.

To adventurous traditions,


Friday, April 2, 2010

Home Is Where the Hearth Is....

Right now I'm not allowed to work on the house. It's kind of driving me crazy because I have SO much to do, but I just have to sit here and wait. Now is a good time to kind of start getting the vision for things that I want to get done in the house.

The house has two fireplaces, one is the living room and another in the second family room (future master bedroom). I really like the look of mosaic glass tile being used on fire places. Here are a few pictures of styles that have caught my eye.

Fireplace #1

I don't really care for the color scheme here, but I like the "floor to ceiling" look. I also like that it's kind of narrow. This picture is also a good shot of the fireplace/mosaic tile in a room with wood floors.

Fireplace #2

This fireplace fits more of the color scheme that I'm looking for. Most of all, I love how the mantel and decorations on this fireplace really pull it together. This fireplace if a focal point of the room and I want my fireplace to kind of hold the spotlight in my living room.

Fireplace #3

I like the modern twist on this fireplace. The fireplaces in the house both need new inserts. They are both wood burning and I'd like them to be gas, however, inserts can be around $2,000 new. So it might have to wait. The candles might be a good (con)temporary decoration to let me save up money for new inserts.

Of the three, which do you like best? Better yet, what do you like/dislike about each one?

I'm terrible with decision making and might use this page as a forum for discussion the upcoming decisions that I have coming. I guess this means I need to get more people to come here!

To finding your inspirations everywhere you can,