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Baby steps

9 Jun

Those who know me well know that I am not a DIY-er kind of girl. I fall more into the ‘someone do it for me’-er category.  I like to think of myself as the visionary, the strategist, the conceptualizer. I think better than I do.  This trait runs rampant in most of my family.  We call plumbers rather than repair leaks.  We hire cleaning help and yard workers and, when I grew up in Texas, pool men. (My mother has some kind of deviant gene in that she actually enjoys painting, but that is most definitely the exception.)

My first foray into home-keeping illustrates this trait perfectly. My grandfather asked me to clean the glass patio door when I was about five. He gave me Windex and some paper towels. The dog had slobbered all over the glass and I couldn’t seem to get it off no matter how hard I tried.  Frustrated, I went back to my grandfather and told him of my failure.  His response: ‘Put some elbow grease into it.’ My quizzical response: ‘Where do I find a can of that?’

My husband’s family on the other hand is the total opposite. Doing it themselves is always the first option. They understand how these things work and the thought of failure doesn’t seem to intimidate them. They all have the gene my family lacks.  (These are the people who put in a wall on moving day, remember? Just for kicks.) Brett’s brother Eric completely renovated a 1904 craftsman by himself. We are talking removing a fireplace, redoing siding, electrical, plumbing, putting in a new kitchen, bathrooms, hardwoods, etc. You get the idea. Brett’s parents think nothing of putting in a floor over a weekend.  I stand in awe of these people.

All this is to explain why the project list for the house only intimidates me to the point of mild anxiety and not total paralysis. The list is categorized first by size of project: Big projects and then room projects.  The goal is to complete one room before moving on to another. Big projects will be done either simultaneously or when feasible. We talked about the top three in a previous post. (Ready for my close-up…) I also believe that, for me, it’s good to start small. I need a success to inspire me to try another project. So here’s the list of the big ticket items and the first achievable room. (Read that as easiest!)

The Big Ones

  1. Drainage ditch
  2. Terraced retaining wall
  3. Remove deck and install terraced patio (A sunken hot-tub would be nice, too.)
  4. Refinish all the floors
  5. New electrical panel and those safe outlets all through the house
  6. French doors in our bedroom and a private patio with outdoor shower
  7. Studio/guest house

First Room:  Main Bathroom

  • Finish removing wallpaper (Thanks for the great start, kids!)

  • Paint walls, cabinets, tile countertops (New countertops someday!)

  • New sinks with faucets
  • Going to look at some salvage stores in Seattle for this.
  1. http://earthwise-salvage.com/
  2. http://www.seconduse.com/
  3. http://www.re-store.org
  4. http://www.seattlebuildingsalvage.com
  • New fan
  • Cedar ceiling repair
  • No idea how to do this.  Any thoughts are welcome!

Think the bite sized piece I think we can handle right now.  More posts to come on the choices we need to make. But to the ethos, I started to hint at it in the last post. The options are to go completely original and stay absolutely true to the time period (i.e., if we had a pink bathroom, we’d leave it.) or to honor the intention of the house, the original style and design, but make choices that will bring it closer to the 21st century. In essence, ask ourselves WWFD (what would Fred Bassetti do) if he were building this house today. We want to honor the indoor-outdoor sensibility, simplicity in design, lightness on the land and the environment and make as many green choices as we can.

We welcome any and all suggestions and will highlight the – process in future posts.

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6 Responses to “Baby steps”

  1. Brandy June 9, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Excellent suggestion! Let’s plan a salvage field trip when I get back! I will check out Daly’s. Thanks!

  2. Jennifer June 9, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Hey there is one more place for you to find recycled fixtures and that is the Habitat for Humanity Store in Seattle 21 S Nevada St, Seattle, WA 98134. There sales go back to helping build in the community.
    As far as the ceiling in the bathroom goes. I talked to my painting specialist and he recommends Daly’s for all you wood problems. (I left you a voice mail so this is redundant.)
    If the Marmoleum is structurally sound it can also be painted with the Gripper product, latexed and then more poly. My cousin has done this in three stores with a fair amount of traffic and it hasn’t peeled.

    Keep up the blog I love it….

    It’s supposed to say wood not would 🙂

  3. Kate June 9, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Regarding the Marmoleum: if you don’t need to replace it, just leave it. That stuff is pretty durable, so as long as it is clean and the walls have fresh paint, I would just get a couple of nice mats with matching towels for the sink and tub, and wait on the floor until you redo the counters.
    You can also get some new knobs to dress up the cabinets and replace the light fixture.
    I am just guessing here, but the cedar probably just needs a light sanding and sealing, maybe a Swedish finish?

    • Brandy June 9, 2011 at 11:43 am #

      I am wondering how much chiropractic work is needed after sanding a ceiling! But I think you are right. What exactly is a Swedish finish? Please tell me that’s a massage after the sanding!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Keeping Calm « mid-century MODERN LOVE - July 5, 2011

    […] isn’t a reality, I need to break it into bite-sized achievable projects, baby steps as discussed here. But even the baby steps haven’t really reduced my discomfort with the overwhelming amount of […]

  2. Mission Accomplished. Sort of. | mid-century MODERN LOVE - June 28, 2011

    […] sinks and faucets purchased and installed, and even in my wildest fantasies, a new floor. It was my baby step, remember? It’s one of the smallest rooms in the house! It shouldn’t take long. Knock this baby […]

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