Thursday, January 28, 2010

Aside about Apple's new iPad - it is about how one uses it

Most of the media reports don't seem to get the new iPad - it's not about how fast it is, or its lack of a camera or the flash to display video - it's about using it just about anywhere and not needing a mouse!  When I decided to retire and move back to New Jersey, I ditched my big heavy desktop for a sleek macbook, thinking I would use it anywhere in the house and especially as I was planning the renovation, how convenient it would be.  Well, that laptop sits in one place 97% of the time.  I use my iphone to walk around with and either squint at the screen or do the pinch, spread fingers, and slide screen around action sequence in order to see what is on it.  That means it is far better to deal with a small screen than carry around a small notebook with its keyboard and mouse.   I have never taken to the touchpad entry method as too similar yet not the same as the mouse.   And, balancing the clam shell of the notebook is not fun either, especially if you want to share something on the screen with someone else.

I also use my iphone to take most of the photos here on the blog because it is so easy but if the iPad had a camera, phone and blue tooth capability, I would ditch the iphone immediately  and sew me up something to carry it around on my person for those times I wasn't carrying a purse.  Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love my iphone and the way I buy focused apps from Apple's app store, I just want a slightly larger screen so I see what I want to see - photos, books, videos - and use my fingers to interact with the screen.

I used to tell my son, Brent Simmons (, that all I wanted was a convenient way to move around the house and see and interact with my email, the internet, and read news and books.  Apple just provided it.  I want one.  Will have to wait since the costs of renovating have been piling up, but I will have one, maybe next generation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

staining of trim is slow work

Trim in the new rooms will be same size and style as the original house and except for the back bathroom will get two coats of Minwax Red Chestnut stain plus a coat of satin polyurethane.  Trim saved from the original house will go back where it came from (windows & baseboards were numbered) but we can not match the old to the new exactly because the wood is different (pine rather than real chestnut) and over the years the varnish on the original trim has yellowed and darkened or faded from sun light.

What will be interesting is to see what color the floors really are.  They are under so much stain and old varnish and old glue from wall to wall carpets, that you can't really tell.  I think the original, original floors (not the dining room bump out from the 30's) are maple downstairs, pine upstairs, and oak treads on the staircase.  I think the dining room bump out has a cherry floor.  Time will tell and that should not be too much longer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

some bead board up; vanities in position

40 inch vanities with Corian integrated sinks for each side of the jack and jill bathroom were placed today.  This meant some of the maple finished bead board wainscoting had to be installed to get proper depth from wall.  And, while I know that vessel sinks and granite are highly prized right now, I went with the choice of easy maintenance and somewhat lower cost, although Corian is not cheap.  I particularly liked that there is no chance of mold between the countertop and the sink where the grout always gets icky.

And the contractor got creative with the sill into the shower for the jack and jill bathroom by using the extra bull nose to make a border with the single tiles from the shower floor.  The sill of the back bathroom shower is made of plain white Corian, so is much less stylish.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cork floor finished in front bathroom; more lights & paint

The cork floor in the front jack and jill bathroom is complete.  The flooring was also put into one of the walk in closets, the other will be finished tomorrow.  The back bathroom got pendant lights for either side of the pedestal sink and so I decided to paint the walls above the tile before the white tub, sink, and toilet go in.  I picked a beige that is in the floor in the back bathroom.  

Friday, January 22, 2010

wall ovens installed; cork flooring going into jack and jill bathroom

Since they fished the electrical lines for the kitchen ceiling speakers in the wall area behind where the ovens go, the ovens are now in place.  One more step to getting a working kitchen.   The rest of the grout was put in the back bathroom and the jack and jill shower, which meant they could begin installing the cork flooring for the jack and jill bathrooms.  That should finish on Monday and then vanities and fixtures should go in.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

tile ready for grout in front jack and jill bathroom

Tiling was completed without the need to buy some plain off-white ones to make a border.  Every tile was used to the max.  Grout should happen tomorrow.

Bathroom vanity sconces are in except for their shades.  It leaves about 22 inches for a medicine cabinet with a mirror.  Also purchased pre-finished birch bead board to use as wainscoting in the jack and jill bathroom.  That will be authentic to 20's decade and provide lower maintenance than paint.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

skylight makes stairs naviagable; shower door matches motif

The sky light is only over half the stairway but it turns what seemed a forbidden, hidden passageway into just a normal stair case anyone would travel.

I managed to find an inexpensive glass shower door that has some of the same graphic pattern as the tile listel.  It is a pivoting door because the shower opening is 34.5 inches.  Frameless would have looked spectacular like on HGTV but was out of my price range.  This has a bit of style without breaking the bank.

Vineland High School colors of red and gray clad the house

Not all the stucco work is completed but the color scheme looks very good with the roof IMHO

Monday, January 18, 2010

more electrical and more tiling

Ceiling fans are being reused.  One went back into bedroom it came from; other went into dining room that is now bedroom.

Front jack and jill shower is getting tiled.  It is cream and white marbled tile but there is an art deco style listel trim to break up the bland background.

Friday, January 15, 2010

siding color revealed -- ruby red

It looks very bright but will dry with a darker tone.  The foundation will be a dark charcoal gray and the trim stays white.   The neighbors will probably be appalled but it is the colors of Vineland High School from which both my sister and myself graduated in the '60's.

The floor in the back bathroom is almost finished - just need one more cork tile piece.  All the tile and flooring for the remainder of the house has also been delivered and the next photo shows one of the workers grinding out a half circle in the tile that makes the base of the front jack and jill shower.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

work continues in back bathroom

The back bathroom got trim around the windows - most of it in vinyl as its cost is very similar to wood and it will be maintenance free from moisture.  The cork floor is going down.  It 'floats' above the cement that is over top the radiant heating.

Since the weather warmed up, the painters show up to prep the exterior of the house.  Tomorrow should be exciting to see the house get sprayed.  The ice house siding will be the same color as the old garage - Sherwin Williams Mineral Deposit.  The foundation is a deeper shade of gray and trim will be white.  The surprise is the siding on the main house.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

cementing over radiant heating; new light fixtures up

The radiant flooring has to be covered with cement before cork floor can be installed.  Two fixtures went up - one is the entry way, the other is the fan for the breezeway.  

Monday, January 11, 2010

Measuring for countertops

The island gets a table height counter in one color of quartz on the left side of the photo and they measured out to make sure there are gentle curves if some bumps a hip or head (toddler).  On the other side where the gas cook top will be is regular counter top and is another color that matches the remaining counter tops.    These are all straight runs and you can see the templates resting against the cabinets.  The templates are made of thin, 3in wide wood and they use a glue gun to join the pieces.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

sun rise colors in kitchen living dining rooms


Been 30 days since ivory paint so here comes some color

In the tray part of the ceiling in the living/dining room I am using a sky blue.  The ceiling is like 14 foot in height so this takes advantage of that height.  And, guess what, the gadget called a paint stick actually works.

Friday, January 8, 2010

more tile up ... ordered more to wrap entire bathroom walls same way

You can see where the individual tiles at floor level were added and the new portion uses the remaining tile until the new order comes in.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tile and its trim going on walls

The walls will be tiled all the way around the room up to chair rail height.  The contractor puts up a ledge that is perfectly level and about 1 tile high above the floor and adds tile above that ledge.  This makes sure all the tile above that first row are level.  You then go back and do the bottom row and make the cuts appropriate to the unevenness of the old floor.   In the photos you may notice that the trim row is a gray as opposed to white background.  This helps finish off the look, particularly when the tile is patterned rather than solid, but it is also done with solid color to make an accent.  This is more of a vintage look.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shower ceiling tiled; adding wall base to basement

Because I am using 9by12 tiles for the shower, I had to choose whether ceiling pattern would match the back wall or the sides and I chose the back wall.  It looks more continuous and larger that way.  I also added two corner trays for holding shampoo and bath gel.  Grab bars will go on side opposite the shower head.

The transition between the epoxy floor and the dry white walls was very rough in the basement so flexible wall base is the solution.  It is usually applied in commercial buildings and some residential baths and kitchens and it not expensive.  It will also make it easier to keep the floor clean as it has a cove edge that bends between the floor and the wall.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

wall tile going up in back shower

Using large format (9x12 inch) tiles with blue marble veining.

Really pleased with the epoxy product for the floor that I purchased thru Costco.  We have been able to do it in sections to accommodate the other activity in the basement.  It dries to high gloss but with grit in it is not slippery at all.  And the "seams" between sections are not visible either.  Perfect for the very uneven, old well worn surface of the basement concrete. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

floor tiled in back shower

Wet saw was used to cut small squares since the floor is smaller than the set of mesh backed small square tile as you can see in the overlap in the 2nd photo.  The finished floor will be grouted tomorrow.