March 7th, 2011
This project is back-burnered somewhat, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think about things now. I’m talking about STAIRS!
We’ve got a one-level pillbox ranch house, so any dreams I had about lovely Newell posts, grand staircases, and whatever else are pretty much out. However! I do have one set to put my mark on, and that’s the stairs going into the basement.
even Saffron is a little creeped out standing on them
Up until very recently, I mostly tried to ignore them. They were rickety things, covered in the same shit-colored carpeting as the rest of the house, and always a little too shallow for my comfort. It was honestly an area of the house that I tried to ignore as much as possible. Vacuuming them never made them look any better/cleaner. They always gave just a little too much whenever you’d walk down them, too, and whenever I’d be carrying laundry down, I’d try to push the story about how Kevin’s mother fell through one of the steps out of my head. I had to work even harder at not thinking about them when Kevin took a good look at the underbelly of the staircase and found that the treads were basically just flimsy boards held in place with nails on either side, and no supporting brackets or boards or whatever you’re supposed to use to keep your stairs from cracking under the pressure of anything that weighs more than a hot dog.
I was at clinicals (the nursing school kind) a few weeks ago, and Kevin sent me a blurry cameraphone shot of something indiscernible, although I thought it looked like carpeting. It was basically a crappy version of this picture:
Gross. And now, we’ve got this:
The improvement is obvious, although the amount that the stairs give when you’re walking down them is ALSO quite obvious now. And scary. Eventually, these stairs will be replaced with sturdy ones that we’ll never have to worry about falling through. Yay! As for design, Anna over at Door Sixteen has done a couple of posts (1, 2) on staircases from which I’m going to draw heavy inspiration. I’ll have to keep my eye on Ferm Living for the next time they’re having a wallpaper sale. Oooh, or Minimoderns (yum).
February 23rd, 2011
Kevin has been working his ass off on the basement bathroom, trying to get it as close to “finished” as possible before the wall-anchor guys show up to shore up the basement and make sure our house doesn’t collapse into a crater in the earth. Isn’t that nice of him?
Just starting to frame up the walls
In order to install the shower stall we chose, he’s going to have to move the floor drain a little, which entailed busting up a square of foundation that hasn’t been touched in about 60 years. First, he tried using some sort of diamond-edged saw blade. Then he tried using a hammer and chisel. THEN, he Hulked out and just hammered away at the concrete like John Henry and that’s what did the job. Look at that virgin soil! I should snag some for the garden this year.
the results of a little John Henry action
I can’t wait until the basement is done and we can get to work getting Galaga and Space Invaders cleaned up and up and running again.
walls mostly framed
Can I tell you how happy I’ll be to get a rebate check from our electric utility for all the insulation we’re buying up for the basement?
walls framed, outer-wall insulation up, starting on the drywall
Hey, guess what! It’s hard to take pictures inside a tiny room. It’s turning into a legitimate bathroom, though! Yay!
February 1st, 2011
They came out to the house today in order to mark the yard for the holes they’ll be digging in order to anchor our basement walls and finally fix them. Progress! That means we need to get working on that bathroom in earnest, so we’ll have a usable one available to the construction guys while they’re working and they won’t have to tromp around upstairs, letting the cats escape and causing generalized havoc. Might as well come up with a few plans for the space, amirite?
This is probably what we’ll end up doing in the room. Somewhat boring tile floors that are readily available at the hardware store here in town, with grey or black grout (we learned our lesson with bright white grout in the upstairs bath, that no matter how clean it is, it shows EVERY FLAW and EVERY SPECK OF EVERYTHING, cripes), shallow pedestal and toilet, corner shower stall, and white walls. We’re going simple on the lighting fixture, and there will be a little nook alongside the shower where I want to hang bare pine board shelving for towels and toilet paper. We’ll also need a hook for the hand towel (I love this octopus one), and I’d like to go with a wooden bathmat to carry over the shelving theme. Cute, but a little boring.
If I had my choice, I’d go with a nice punch of color on the floor, like these vivid Mexican cement tiles in a bold graphical pattern. Sigh. Kevin will veto, I’m sure of it.
Also, I’d like to do a large, interestingly-framed mirror that’ll run the length of the space behind the sink and toilet, so I’d better start junk shopping for one. Brand new will be outrageous.