3/25/11

Clawfoot Tub

This is the clawfoot tub in the downstairs unit when we bought the house. We knew we wanted to reuse it in the new apartment. But the nasty burgundy color had to go. It wasn't until we took it out of its' place that we found that only half of the tub was painted. They used the same paint for the trims on the house. It was also the same nasty color as the old carpet. WTF?
Just to refresh your memory.

Don't worry, the toilet in this photo went to a good home. 

Bottom of the tub. Doesn't look like it's been painted. Looked a little rusty.

We bought a wire brush and did what we can to sand off some of the flakey paint. The surface was kind of rough and no amount of sanding was going to smooth it out. So I said, eff it, we'll just paint over it. 

We tightened up the legs. They are in good shape.

Applied one coat of black Rustoleum enamel paint. 

The paint is showing through after the first coat of paint. 

These are some of the worse bumpy spots. 




I think it looks pretty good after two coats of paint.

I would really like to keep this faucet, but it's not compatible with the new shower kit. Bummer!

I got quotes to get the inside of the tub refinished. It's going to cost $600. That's not going to happen anytime soon. 

Apparently, the genius who painted the outside of tub also painted the inside of the tub and the paint is chipping off. Now I have to get some chemical stripper to get that sh*t off. Or pay someone hundred dollars just to get it off. Ugh!

I will update with pictures of the installed tub soon. That's it for now. 

3/24/11

Back Yard

Here are some before and in progress photos of our yard.

This was our yard from a year ago, right after the demo.

After I chopped down the persimmon tree and trimmed some walnut branches. 

Last summer.

All the weeds had dried out.

Got rid of bunch of overly grown plants. This part of the fence is falling over, now sure when we can afford to fix it.


So nice to have most of the crap in the yard gone. 

This photo makes this corn of our yard look almost pretty, is you ignore the blue porta potty barely showing on the right. 

This was taken last month. The heavy rain fall this winter has made the weeds grown back with a vengeance. It's all green and lush looking now, but when summer comes, it's all gonna look brown and dead. I can't wait to rip up this walk way. When I push the baby stroller down this walkway, if I deviate even a little, the stroller goes off into the weeds. It is way too narrow. 

3/23/11

Spring Has Sprung

When we were house hunting, one of the criteria for me was must have space for garden. One of the houses we were in contract in did not have a garden and looking back, it was a blessing in disguise. I almost got a house with no front or back yard!

Our cute Queen Anne victorian not only has curb appeal due to its' architectural details but it sits on a relatively big lot for this neighborhood. I got my wish of having a yard, but was over grown with randomly placed and selected plants. There was a gigantic cactus in the middle of the back yard next to a aloe vera type succulent plant that was at least 3 feet wide. There was also an ill placed skinny persimmon tree next to the garage, with the top half of the tree trunk practically lying on the roof.


I gave away the cactus on Craigslist and chopped off the tree. Justin's dad dugged out the aloe plant. Last summer, we pruned the three loquat trees, one japanese maple and four bougainvilleas to tidy up the yard. That's not all, we also have three walnut trees on our property, two in the back and one in the front. The loner in the front has to go, because it's growing sideways to compete for sun with the giant loquat tree. The sad lemon tree will have the same fate because of said loquat taking up the whole corner in the front yard.

That yard will need a lot of work to make it shine, which is a project that will have to wait until at least next year. In the mean time, I am looking online for garden inspirations and day dream about building my own lush urban oasis...

I am no where as handy as this lady who re-built her own back yard. She did such an amazing job!




3/18/11

House

I've been scouring the internet looking for reputable house painters. We've had couple of painting companies came to our house, their bids are about the same price, around 10K. Now where in the world are we gonna find that kind of money lying around? I am going to get couple more bids from painters and guess will go from there.

Our final inspection walk through is scheduled for this Thursday. I am on pins and needles about this because there are a few things that I hope the inspector will over look. We've done the best we can with limited budget and acting as our own contractor.

Update: We did not pass inspection. The inspector dinged us for twelve thing. None of them were biggies, couple of outlets need to be switch out for GFI plugs around the kitchen. Some forms to fill out, grounding wires for water heaters. The only thing that could have potentially be a pain was adding an under counter outlet to our kitchen peninsula. After some research on my part and a phone call to the inspector, Justin convinced him that the receptacle was not required by code...woohoo! We are so ready to get this inspection thing behind us. 

$$$

These days I feel like we are the real life version of that 80's movie, The Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Currently our big project is to paint the exterior of the house. But that's being derailed by something even more urgent...

After interviewing four companies for bids to paint the exterior of our house, I think we've finally found the one. This company has a good reputation and the customer service was excellent and their quote was almost a thousand dollars less than the other two companies. One of the companies that came by the house did not care to get back to me with a bid. Just when I thought we can finally get our house painted that pesky leaking problem pops up again. It's been raining a lot and the window is leaking again. What scares me is the potential mold problem that will arise if the leak is not fixed soon. So I called American Leak Detection company, they use an inferred gun to find out where the water is coming from. After about 45 minutes of them poking around with their high tech gadgets, they told us it's most likely the gutter is over flowing into the wall and that's why the whole section above the window is wet behind the drywall. For $450 they diagnosed the problem but we have to find a gutter company to fix the problem. We also need to cut open the drywall, take out all the soaked insulation and dry out the wall to prevent mold problem in the future. This was not what I wanted to hear...

I called couple of gutter companies to see what we needed to do. I was told that the way our gutter was build makes it easy for water to get into the wall when it over flows. In other words, we need to replace our old decrepit galvanized steel gutters with new seamless aluminum gutters. I can already hear the dollar signs, ka-ching, ka-ching...

The first guy told me that since we've never had our gutters cleaned before we should pay them $240 to clean and inspect our gutters. If they find any problems with the gutters, it'll cost us $1900 to replace them. This guy was really pushing me to get it done asap and I almost fell went for it too. The second guy was much nicer and not pushy like the first guy. He said that if the downspouts are working, we don't need to get the gutters cleaned. The price he quoted me to install all new gutters was $1400, ugh, that's a good chunk of change! I guess the painting will have to wait, again...but I am determined to get it done this year.

Just a reminder of how far along we've come in the home renovation saga. Below are photos taken from a year ago today.
Replacing the rotted wood below the french window in the front.

View from inside.

Replacing the water damaged siding and water proofing from future damage.

Closing it back up.

Window installation. 

3/9/11

Green Privacy Screen

With spring on its' way, I've been dreaming about a total landscape make over to our garden. The big money sucking project this year is painting the exterior of the house. So our garden will probably be neglected due to lack of funds this year, maybe next year...

Place to visit...Foothill College. There is a bamboo garden with "70 varieties of bamboos and covers an area of two acres". The garden is located in Los Altos, about one hour drive from our house. Will definitely have to check it out.

I am collecting plant inspirations for my garden. I especially like black bamboos. Bamboo is a grass which mean it will grow like a weed and invade every inch of the garden if you are not careful about keeping them in a designated contained area. Black bamboo is a runner, which means extra careful about not letting it "runaway" into the neighbor's yard.

See how our back fence has big gaps, that's where I would like to have some bamboos to add some color and privacy from the neighbors.

I like the gravel ground with round pavers.

Love the bamboos in tank idea.





Different varieties of bamboos in planters.

Not about bamboo although there are some bamboo leaves on the upper part of this photo. I like the square pavers with the grass sprouting in between them. 

Square pavers again, in a staggered pattern.