I want muscles

Remember that cheesy eighties song by Diana Ross?  I bet it hasn’t come to your mind in many years, but after seeing the title of my blog post you’ll probably be replaying the song and the equally cheesy video in your head.  All of that to say that never in my wildest dreams did I think our home renovation would require the the kind of muscle this bad boy provides.

You might be wondering why we needed this kind of heavy duty machinery.  Well before we can concentrate on the pretty, we need to attend to the basics and our house needed a new sewer lateral.  I know, not sexy.  But having unfortunately experienced a sewer lateral that was not up to par in our last home, we figured that it was best to get it done right up front than live with the consequences… I wont get into details, but I’m sure you can imagine.

As they say, you live and learn, and we learned a lot from our last home.

Not sure if this is a backhoe or a bulldozer, my older son would be able to set me straight in two seconds.  But needless to say we needed it to dig a trench and using the right equipment makes  a difference.  Perhaps renting this kind of equipment seems less budget friendly, but ultimately it saves time.  And time is money.

Our new sewer lateral is in and passed with flying colors.  Yippee! One step closer to making the house a home.

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Interior Inspiration: Starting Small

The first room I started to tackle, at least mentally, is also the smallest room in the house.  It’s the main floor powder room.

I’ve always loved the apothecary sink from Pottery Barn but have never felt it was for me, because of the lack of storage.  However, with a half bath, something we’ve never had in our previous homes, I feel it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace the clean, spare aesthetic.  After all a half bath is intended to be passed through, not lingered in.  That said, I don’t want the space to feel like it was an after thought just because it isn’t one of the main bathrooms.  So for a small bathroom, that doesn’t require tons of storage, I think the apothecary sink is perfect.  Plus it is quite elegant and will help to elevate this small room’s design. My plan is to make every design decision in this little room revolve around my choice of sink.

But wouldn’t you know it, the sink is no longer available from Pottery Barn.  Not that I would have bought it.  I remember it costing upwards of $1500 just for a sink.  I need to spend the remodel dollars wisely and make every dollar count and unfortunately much of the budget is going towards what goes on behind the walls, e.g. modern wiring, proper energy efficient insulation, re-plumbing and much much more.  That stuff ain’t sexy, but it sure will make the house function a lot better.  So dollars spent on “pretty stuff” will have to be spent with a lot of give and take between rooms. Read, I need to make the most of every sale, coupon, discount under the sun.

But in the meanwhile, here are some great inspiration photographs using sinks in the same style (a.k.a sink consoles).

via Better Homes and Gardens

via Apartment Therapy

via Pottery Barn

via The Architecture Blog
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A New Beginning: Tearing Down the Walls

My hubby and I have undertaken a few renovations in the past, but none as substantial as this one.Our first house was a modest 1910 Craftsman.  It needed a lot of work and we put a lot of sweat equity into the house.  Our second house was a large 1926 Spanish style home.  It needed work, but was live-able so we were able to do the work over a few years.  In fact, we had just remodeled our master bathroom a few months before moving.  We had been dying to have a nice bathroom and of course did it, before we learned we were going to move to the Bay Area.  Our current home is a large 1953 mid-century home.  It is the “youngest” home we have ever owned, however, it probably needs the most work of any of the homes we’ve previously owned.  My explanation for that is that we are only the second owners of the house.  Which means the previous owner lived in it for almost sixty years and with that comes a lot of deferred maintenance.

We bought the house for several reasons, it had the bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage we were looking for.  It also has a flat backyard, something we took for granted in Los Angeles.  However, the Bay Area is very hilly and a flat yard that kids can run around in isn’t as easy to find as you might think.  And, last but not least, it was within our budget.  We did compromise on one thing, the location is not very pedestrian which I had hoped for when leaving car-centric Los Angeles.  However, the neighborhood itself is safe, family friendly, lovely and green. Plus, we got a bonus… a pool, but more about that later.  Our first priority is tackling the interior of the house so that we can move in.

And so it begins.

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