Archive for Uncategorized


With one major project complete, it’s time to think about what should come next. The list of things we would like to do include painting, re-tiling the shower and adding some laminate-type flooring to the downstairs.

Here’s what the downstairs looks like now:

So now I need help!

We need some good ideas for how to paint/design/decorate downstairs so send me your best stuff! Since there is only one window, we’d like to keep colors fairly light, for the most part.

Anybody have experience with DIY flooring? I know Home Depot has some relatively easy stuff. I’ve also heard good things about CostCo flooring but I don’t think it’s back in stores for another four or five months. And I think we’ll also check out Ikea’s stuff. If possible, it would be nice to use something that can be used in the bathroom as well so we don’t have to do something completely different just for the bathroom.

The ReBuilding Center has a TON of tiles that we could use for the shower. I am looking for a good deal on those 12″ by 12″ sheets of small tiles for the floor of the shower so let me know if you see anything good. The cheapest I’ve been able to find is $3 and some change (plus shipping) on Home Depot and Lowe’s seem to regularly have them for $5 at the very least.


Wall Recap

Done! Saturday, we found a nice, prehung door at the ReBuilding Center for $10 and picked up everything except the drywall at Home Depot on our way home.  It was raining (crazy, right?) so we waited until it wasn’t raining so much to pick up the dry wall (had to wrap it in a giant tarp and tie it to the top of Mom & Dad’s station wagon).  I really can’t take much credit for the actual work.  Dad and David did the framing (I did write down some numbers!).  I helped a little bit with hanging the drywall but David did most of it.

We did have to buy a couple things that weren’t originally on my list: some weather stripping for the bottom of the door (to keep out the bugs & coldness) and one those pre-taped corner reinforcement strips for the corner by the closet.   The weather stripping put us over budget by a bit.

I forgot to mention the closet!  I’ll try and get a good picture but we have this nice closet right across from the bathroom door.  Originally, we knew we had to make a bit of an alcove there to accommodate the light switch and the placement of the beam.  And then, when we were moving all of the stuff out of the way, we found a socket!  So we were graciously allowed to make the alcove a bit bigger so that we could use the socket too.  Although I just realized, we never plugged anything into the socket to make sure it still works.  Someone please remind me to do that… Either way, the closet will fit one of my shelves perfect and will probably be home for the vacuum, maybe even a coat rack too.

I know it’s not particularly pretty yet but it will be painted and such.  Unfortunately, decorating is at the bottom of the list.  No point in trying to paint the new wall now and then having to paint the rest of the walls later.

Trips to Home Depot: 6. no, 5 because I counted one in my post about painting Ariel’s room.  Plus two trips to the ReBuilding Center.
Total Cost: $157.82
Hours: a lot… maybe 20?

Project One: The Wall

Tomorrow we start the wall!  The plan is to go to the ReBuilding Center (if you’re a Portlander doing any kind of home stuff, you MUST check this place out) and pick out a door to go between our side and the actual garage side of the downstairs.  Then, we’ll swing by Home Depot for the rest of our supplies (lumber, nails, drywall & drywall accessories and lots of other things) and go to town in the garage!  Ideally, we could have the frame up, drywall hung, and everything mudded/taped by Sunday night but I won’t hold my breath.

I did my homework on this one (two budgeting trips to Home Depot) and I think we can build this wall for $115 or less. We need a few special things, requested by my General Contractor (read: Dad) to make things easier if (heaven forbid!) he ever wants to remove the wall.  I’m sure it will be so fabulous when we’re done, he won’t even consider tearing it down.  Right?  Right.

Here’s what it looks like now (with my lovely curtain):

I made a curtain out of king size sheets right after we moved in. It will soon be replaced by a real wall!

And what it looks like with nothing:

Basically, one the wall is up, we won’t have to look at the cars every morning when we step out of the shower.  And maybe it will keep some of the bugs out.  Maybe.

Story Time

Ok so here’s the story with the whole garage/house/loft thing for those of you who don’t know:

When my parents bought their property the city of Happy Valley wouldn’t let them put a mobile home on the property while my dad built the house (henceforth referred to as the “Big House”) so he built the “Little House” and we lived there while the Big House was under construction.  It’s about 1150 square feet (760ish downstairs and 390ish upstairs).  Upstairs was our bedroom.  And by “our” I mean everybody.  Mom and Dad had half while JJ and I had the other, plus Ariel when she came along.  Downstairs was the living room, dining room, play room, office, kitchen, laundry and bathroom.  We moved into the Little House just in time for me to start kindergarten.  Fast forward three and a half years.  We moved into the Big House and the Little House became mostly a garage (downstairs) and a loft (upstairs) for a guest bedroom and storage.  Fast forward fifteen more years.  After David graduated, I was able to transfer to the Portland branch of the bank where I worked in Idaho and we needed somewhere to live, at least until he found a job too.  With rent being so reasonable (read: virtually free), we’ve been able to pay off almost all of our car and student loans since we moved (THREE PAYMENTS LEFT! Not that I’m excited or anything…).  Now that we’re about to be debt free, we’re thinking about our next steps financial and thought well, if we keep doing what we’ve been doing (living in the garagehouse), we can keep all that money that was going towards the loans to do other things, like having a solid emergency fund and saving for our own house.  And then I looked at the shower one morning.  I mean REALLY looked at the shower.  Twenty years later, it is not as nice as it was brand new, especially with no one using it for those fifteen interim years.  And then I looked at the floor.  Same story.  And so, after receiving the official blessing from our very benevolent landlords (love you!), we decided to start remodeling.

The End.  Or really, just the beginning.  Ha, sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Project Zero

Our first project was painting my old room which is going to be Ariel’s new room.  Technically, I guess this wasn’t a “remodel” project so I will call it Project Zero.

Here’s the story: Ariel is graciously relinquishing her old room (really my original room… confused yet?) so that it can become Mom’s crafting extravaganza headquarters.  When I was about 13 or 14, Mom and Dad let me paint the room in question (the one Ariel is moving into) and let’s just say that my decorating tastes today are vastly improved from my early teenage years.  Ariel picked out this great purple color for most of the walls and then a lighter purple/pink for as an accent color for part of one wall.

We made our preliminary trip to Home Depot on Saturday, picked up samples of the paint colors and started prep work that afternoon.  After the AIDS Walk on Sunday, we picked up the actual paint to get started and between Ariel, Jessica and myself, we had a good first coat done by Sunday evening.  Monday, Ariel and I did the second coats on the light wall and all the darker trimmings.  Tuesday, I finished up the second coat for the darker colors.  Today, we took off the tape and I think it turned out pretty great!

Since this was more of a whim project than a planned one, I don’t have good before and after photos (or maybe I just didn’t want to further document what my prior paint job looked like).  Also, I don’t have a good measure of how close to our budget we were since I didn’t actually do the homework on this one.  I will tell you that we probably spent more than if I had made a budget.  Thus, I promise to post an estimate & budget for every project from here on out!  I also underestimated the amount of paint we needed.  Thankfully, I have a fabulous husband who made a few extra trips to Home Depot for me.

Also, has anyone ever used one of those paint sprayer things?  I thought that this project was going to be fairly easy (it’s a relatively small room), but it seemed like it took longer than I thought it would.  Although, that’s usually the case when I get silly ideas.  I’m just thinking when the whole remodel is done and we want to paint in the garage/loft, it might be worth considering using a sprayer thing.  Maybe.  Another tip I’d like to remember for next time will be using wider painter’s tape, just to be on the safe side.  And spending more time on wall prep.  I thought between Dad and I we caught all the little pin holes and such but as we painted, I found quite a few that we missed.  Nothing really noticeable, just annoying. Please, remind me to re-read this when I’m ready to paint again

The darker purple color looks great with her freshly painted white furniture.

Here’s the stats for Project Zero:

Trips to Home Depot: 4 (two of which were just David.  Bonus points towards his Husband of the Year award!)
Total Cost: $82.27
Hours:  I’m going to guess 10ish


With the blessing of my parents, we’ve decided to do some remodeling projects in the garage/house/loft and then I decided to blog about them!  Our overall goal is to make our living space less garage-ish and more home-ish.  So far, this includes projects like building a wall between our downstairs area and the garage, re-tiling the shower, adding some laminate flooring, some painting when we’re done and who knows what else.  Our first major project will be the wall so look forward to reading about that adventure soon!  Most of this will be new to us so any thoughts or hints or such will be greatly appreciated!  And if you have nothing better to do on the weekends, I’m sure we’ll need help.  And that there would be baked goods involved if you do help.

As far as the blogging goes, I’ll try to at least to a “before” and “after” shot of each project.  I’m also going to try and keep track of the number of trips to Home Depot we make, how close we are to our budget and how many hours each project takes us.