With not much time remaining, we have a nursery!

    Well, we were put through a whirlwind with the burglary, temporarily moving out, and all that madness.  With only a few weeks remaining (possibly earlier), the nursery is finally finished!  We took a disgusting turd of a room and turned it into something awesome.  I have taken the pictures from the other blog posts and compiled all of the process pictures to create this wonderful room.  For a while, when we were trying to sell the house, losing this room before the baby got to see it was brutal on me.  I was doing my best to deal with it, but I couldn’t let go of it.  I slowly started getting more and more angry….

When we had to make a call to stay or possibly not have a place at all for when the baby came, we decided to stay, I love our neighborhood, we just has some super shitty luck.  It was then going to be full speed ahead in finishing the room.  I want to thank all who helped make this possible and who helped us get through the worst two months ever.  It is finally done…

Girl or Boy….. the Bills are in their blood.

Our Imagination Nursery Project!

   This weekend was super productive.  With no set plans, it gave us a ton of time to work in the nursery as we are closing in on the final project in this room….the new floor.  I’m a bit scared to try this next project by myself, but I was scared when I was trying the crown molding, and that turned out fine.  This will be my most challenging project yet.
    This weekend, we started wrapping up some of the final things that needed to get done before starting the floor.  We had to finish the inside of the closet and we had to sand and paint the window molding.  As soon as we finished these, all of the dirty work was pretty much done.  This would clear the way for putting up the new light.  We had looked at a number of lights and up until maybe a week ago, we were set to pay a little more than $100 for the one we wanted.  Then Nicole came up with the idea to get one of those paper ball  shades.  I loved this idea, mainly because it would sort of resemble a moon!  We found one at Pier 1 Imports for about 10.00.  We then bought a mini pendant light kit from Home Depot for 14.99 making the entire light around 25.00.  Pretty sweet huh?  I put that up this weekend as well, and we are finally getting to see the formation of this room come together.  Besides our kitchen, this baby is going to have the best room in the house!

Stay tuned for more updates!  I’m trying to make a more constant flow of blog posts happen, I have been insanely busy but if I pour myself a tasty pint, I can chill out enough to type out an entry!  

The Nursery is coming along nice!

If you are new to this blog, my wife and I are having a kid, so we have been working on a nursery.  We took the room where my old office was, and completely gutted it out, down to bare bones.  The room was a disaster…crumbling plaster walls, layers of overlapping wallpaper, no insulation, a pull string light on the ceiling, wall sconces with twisty switches randomly on the wall, and a wood floor that was cracked and in rough shape.  This has been, by far, the biggest job I’ve done myself in this house.  My wife has helped a lot as well, but the hardcore stuff she couldn’t help with.  I went balls out.  It’s crazy when you know you have a kid on the way, like someone you are going to raise and care for.  A new life that you get to pass down things to.  It makes (or should make) you want to be the best you can be, and to give the best you can give in terms of effort in life.  You don’t want your kid thinking your a shlub.
I’m a nostalgic person, I never forgot what it was like to be a kid and to use your imagination.  Mine was always going.  I’d spend hours and hours with my toys, acting out entire wrestling story-lines that went on for years.  I remember all of them, its completely ridiculous looking back on it now, but at the time, I know I loved it.  My toys at the time, were all commercial, like He-man, Rambo, Thundercats etc…..but I never really cared about that, all of the toys in my mind had totally different names and personalities that I created.  That’s just how I was.  As stupid as it sounds, I think it was just creativity, something that once you get a taste of, it never leaves you.  Lets get back to this room…

Nicole and I are not going to know what the baby is and want to be as unisex as we can be.  We painted the room a pretty neutral combination of colors and we will be putting in an oak floor to further soften the room. I currently am in the process of doing the crown molding around the door.  This was one hell of an experience, but I finally learned how to do it!

A royal pain….but it came out great!

     On the wall where the closet is, will be where the crib goes…I wanted to do something cool on the wall.  Like many kids, the timeless tale of “Where the Wild Things Are” was one of my favorites, a true tale of a wild imagination.  I decided to attempt my first wall mural.  I’m not a painter, in fact I hate it.  I never had the attention span to deal with paint, which was why I always worked pen/ink.  This was going to be painted and I knew it would be a challenge.  I borrowed my step fathers projector to help me get an accurate outline of the picture on the wall.  This sort of failed.  Mainly because I couldn’t move the projector back far enough to fill the wall, in fact it would only fill maybe a quarter of it…minus a few facial details, the projector was sort of a failure….I was going to have to draw out 90% of it myself which was sort of intimidating because I’ve never worked on something so large.

For the paints, I had the idea of just bringing a picture of the book cover to home depot and then having them mix me $2.95 8oz samples of every color I needed.  It was really super easy although I’m sure they were annoyed at the amount of samples I wanted.

I’m not the greatest painter, but i feel this is looking OK so far.  If it winds up looking terrible, we can just paint over it!

More updates to come, including new shirts, beer, and Doctor who!

Oh the work continues….

     Couldn’t post last week, the shirt orders were steady and there was much to to.  I had taken Monday off to work in the old office room, continuing my demo work and making progress.  The room has now gone from one outlet, to three.  The pull string light on the ceiling is now gone and I installed a dimmer switch on the wall for it (which was a giant pain but I better get used to it, there are 2 others in the house that need to be gone), and the room is now insulated.

Here is a good look at the wall paper that was hidden behind the paneling.  This layer came off easy….but the layer under it might have been at east 60 years old.  That one I needed to spend an hour or two on steaming and scraping.  The plaster wall behind it was in good shape though which will save a ton of work and mess.

I get amazed when I see the bones of this house which was build in the 1800’s.  These things were built to last.

Hard to make out, but this is the floral, base layer of wallpaper that needed to get steamed.

This is a close up of the hippy second layer paper.

After a steam.

All insulated!

   Next up is clearing out the room of anything that we don’t need in there, tearing down the rest of the door and wall molding, and starting the brick wall.  Stay tuned


   Oh man I’m glad its Friday, this week has been draining.  Over the next two weeks, we will be focusing on the Toddler section of our site.  I received a few orders for Toddler shirts this week and was immediately embarrassed that the Toddler webpage looked as terrible as it did.  Thanks to the people that looked at that and still wanted to order!  The pictures of the shirts on that section of our webpage were horrendous, you couldn’t tell what colors the shirts were not to mention, 90% of the colors/styles were discontinued.  Over the next two weeks that section is under complete overhaul and it will look fantastic when its finished.
    Also for blog readers that like it when we post home improvement projects, we have started renovation in another room.  The room that used to be my office has begun demolition.  The room was way too big to be my office and I pretty much hated being in there.  I moved my office into a smaller room and began tearing the room apart.  I made the vow that there will be no messing around in there.  This house was loaded with archaic electrical situations, terrible dry walling, and the floors are awful as well.

The previous owners drywalled over the plaster to hide the wallpaper and damaged plaster. This is a common practice but do it right….don’t drywall around the woodwork or it looks like this……kill me.
Our bedroom and the old office have lights like this….no switch…just this rope hanging from the ceiling.  I have had enough of this as well….I’m going to rewire the ceiling to a switch.

………………. plus the plaster is cracked.  This will need to be addressed as well.  Oh and do you see that to the left…?

…yeah this. We are almost 100% positive that this gorgeous paneling is hiding something as well. Oh the anticipation!

More to come on this!

First Year in the House Retrospect: The Dining Room

    The dining room was a big job.  Between the new floor, the leveling of the floor, the plaster removal, the water damage repair, and the hard stuck-o ceiling, this job was long and tiring.  We had to use a steamer to get the old wallpaper off which had to be like 30 years old or more.  We were able to turn this dining room into something pretty awesome.  All we have left is the floor molding.

This bay window was totally messed up.  There was a leak in the roof which leaked down in to the dining room and destroyed the plaster.  It all has to get ripped down and drywalled along with stopping the leak.

The table we ordered from worldmarket.com.  We always wanted a table like this with the old style wood.  The chandelier we bought for a few bucks at the thrift store.  Nicole touched it up and painted it, like new. 

First Year in the House Retrospect: Kitchen and Floor

    I haven’t had many posts the past few days mainly because I had taken a few days off to devote my time to working on the house.  With the summer gone and the cold weather approaching, I’ve moved the focus back into the house.  Nicole and I have been in this new house for a little over a year now and the amount of work we’ve done while working full time, is pretty crazy.  This week we are finishing off (minus some molding etc) another big section of the house.  I should have pictures of the finished product sometime this weekend.  For the next few days leading up, I figured I’d post everything we’ve done this year in consecutive posts as a recap.
Looking back on this, its amazing to me still.  This kitchen was unbelievable.  It was astonishing to me that people actually lived here in the shape it was in.  There was a weird basin sin on the wall that looked like it was from 1942 and everything else was in really awful shape.  This room and the bathroom were definitely the worst rooms of the house.

This wall of the kitchen has wooden built-in cabinets.  I remember Nicole and I being torn on weather or not to keep them, but after numerous opinions from other people, it turned out that the wood used to build them was considered to be the cheapest, lowest grade, product of its time.  Combining that with the fact that it was pretty beat up, we decided to get rid of them.  Looking back on it, I’m glad that we did.

The wall on the left we decided to knock out and open up the kitchen.  The kitchen was a little cramped and with the larger appliances of today, it would have been worse.  This would make it feel less crammed and open the room up with light.

Unfortunately, like most of the house, there is no insulation.  I’ve made it a point to throw insulation in the walls at every importunity given.   You learn a lot doing this stuff and I was lucky enough to be able to work on and off with the kitchen contractor and learn even more.

Hidden behind the plaster wall was this brick chimney.  We decided to go with it and figured it would add something unique to the room.  The amount of work involved in bringing this to life made me second guess my decision. but I went with it.  About 8 hours, a chisel, wire brush, and some hydrochloric acid, I scraped and uncovered that brick like it was some ancient artifact.

When it comes to colors and decor, I step aside and let Nicole do her thing.  She spends hours looking at stuff like this and has a pretty good eye.  Basically, for most things, she will narrow it down to a few choices and then we decide.  I’m not good with most of this stuff.

These lamps, Nicole had found online.  We weren’t sure they would work when we saw them in person, but they ended up looking awesome. 

Bamboo flooring.  One lesson learned from this is that Bamboo flooring is not much cheaper then hardwood and a bigger pain in the ass to put down.  Even worse, it is not very resistant to dents and scratches.  The home improvements channels would speak about bamboo like it was this easy thing to use.  It’s totally not.  The rest of the house will NOT be bamboo.

Garden Walk!

    Another Garden Walk year has passed and this year was really something.  The things people do with their backyards in this city are amazing and we got some really good ideas from some of the things we saw.  I didn’t have the good camera, we are still waiting to get a new one since losing it but the old Nikon took some pretty decent pictures today.

Garden Walk Weekend.

   This weekend is the 2012 Buffalo Garden Walk which is one the biggest garden events in the country.  It is a great opportunity for gardening nerds like us to get out and see what people have done, get ideas, and gain inspiration.  The event takes place all over the city of Buffalo and is free.  Houses that opt to share their garden areas place a Garden Walk sign in their front yards with different boxes to check off.  They alert the garden walk guests as to what is available to look at.  They indicate weather or not you are able to go into the backyard, or if the garden is only in the front yard, etc.  That’s the greatest part about the event.  You get to see what these beautiful old homes do with the smaller backyards that most of them have.  I will have some pictures up this weekend of some of the better creations we encounter on our venture.  

Hope everyone had a great 4th!

    Our 4th of July ended up being a a day of production instead of cooking out, shooting fireworks, or drinking heavily.  I think we were both OK with that seeing as it was a mid week holiday and the day off from work wasn’t very satisfying.  We have been working hard on the sun room and the back yard, both coming along nicely.
    I’ve been laying pavers for a patio in the back which is pretty brutal when its 90 degrees.  I have to admit, its exhausting, but I love it.  The hard part will be the cutting once I start rounding it and doing curves.  I could take the easy way out, but then we are left with a square patio that doesn’t look all that great.  When it comes down to it, a square patio means that you didn’t want to go the extra mile to create something a little more appealing to the eyes.  It will be challenging, but it should look awesome.

    Once we had the sliding glass door installed and put up the wooden stairs, I laid down fresh soil and planted some shade grass.  In just over a week, the grass had fully grown in and was bright green.  It made a world of difference.  Once more time went by and the grass got a little stronger, we started digging out the beds so that Nicole could spend the day planting and we could start to establish our gardens.

    Its amazing the amount of work we have gotten done in just a few weeks with limited time to spend it.  The backyard has become an obsession of mine now because it literally looked like a dump, and now its starting to show glimpses of what it could become.  The sun room transformation has been great as well.  Nicole’s eye for decorating is really something, its amazing what a few new things can do to a room.

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