Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Marmoleum Click Flooring

I've been debating with myself for months the issue of the kitchen floor. In my last house, I installed natural slate, and honestly, it was a pain in the neck not only to install but to maintain. It was messy and just a little grim for a kitchen.

Lo and behold, the kitchen in the Hawthorne house has laminate flooring designed to look like slate. I hate it, but I'm not going to post a picture of it because it photographs surprisingly well. Several people, when browsing before pictures on my camera, have said, "I see you've already put in another slate floor." Ug. Plus, I have a built-in bias against laminate flooring.

Actually, the bias is against something designed to look like something else. It always ends up worse. If something is meant to look like wood, just suck it up and use wood. Laminate flooring is like a toupee; it's fooling no one. Saying, "That laminate flooring looks great!" is like saying, "Your toupee looks great!" You know you don't mean it.

After waffling for weeks, I finally pulled the trigger on Marmoleum Click. It's an all-natural product similar to Linoleum. The click part equals easy installation (or so they promise). Let's see. I ordered it fairly sight-unseen on clearance. Here's a link to a picture of what the brown looks like. I went with blue.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Passthrough Problems

The complicated but cool roof (roofs?) on this house presented an unexpected problem with the passthrough. It turns out that there are nearly-back-to-back support beams in the wall and former laundry closet. Frank could have rigged something at a pretty large expense, but I need to save up some money for the kitchen redo. So, I've got to get creative with what's left. He's going to create attractive columns out of the exposed studs, and I'll figure something out once things start to fall into place. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Updated Lighting

It may not seem like much, but it was a pain in the ass. First, as background, there wasn't a single light fixture in this house that I liked when I bought it. I love the black push-button light switches (see photo), but not a single one of the fixtures was right. All I've done for the switches is to put on clean new white switch covers. Anyhow, I took down the terrible black track lighting in the living room and put up these metallic cones instead. They seem more in line with the swinging vibe of the place. 

I also removed the existing vinyl conduit and replaced it with 1/2" steel conduit that I spray painted with chrome. It was more difficult than I imagined to rig the whole thing, and when working with electricity, I always feel as if I'm about to die. Seriously, as I'm working, I'm imagining my funeral. Anyhow, it was worth the effort. More about the lighting later.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mud Floor

The new shower in the master bath has a mud floor. I've seen it done on television, and I knew I wanted no piece of that. Frank, the contractor, brought in a special mud floor guy, and he knocked it out in no time. A plumber also repositioned the showerhead to the middle of the new space and rasised it a bit. As an interesting side note, it turns out that the existing drain wasn't attached to a pipe of any sort... just a hole in the floor. 

Sally Containment System


One of the first orders of business at the new place was to build a Sally Containment System (SCS). Since Sally is somewhat subterranean, I wanted to fence in the area around and under the deck. This also gives her access to space under the house, which is, when she's not with me, where she really wants to be. She has foiled inferior SCS's before, so I wanted this one to be of high quality. To do that, I hired Piti and his neighbor Chris to build it.


Piti and Chris working on the SCS. 

In the end, the SCS turned out really great. Sally has access to the deck, to the space under and around the deck, to the crawlspace under the house, and to a pooping area on the other side of the deck. The other night, an opossum got into the containment system, and all hell broke loose. While the opossum escaped, it was like Christmas morning for Sally. She snorted and patrolled the perimeter for an hour. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Master Bath

The master bath was really gross. The ceiling had extensive water damage. There was awful vinyl sheet flooring, a cheap vanity, small closet space, a cheap fiberglass shower stall, and a sad little commode. I guess it would be called a 3/4 bath because there was a shower but no bathtub. I wanted Frank to put in a mud floor in the existing shower space, but he had the great idea to bust out the wall between the closet and shower and create one large shower. Here are some progress pics. 

Master Bath Before

New Ceiling Going In

Taking Out the Old Shower and Closet

Sunday, May 23, 2010

God Bless Painters

This is the final day I have the painters, and they are a little bit ahead, so they tackled the job of scraping the textured ceiling in the master bedroom. Thank God. In 45 minutes of pathetic effort yesterday, I got about three square feet done. They brought in a handheld pump sprayer and much better scrapers than I had. After about an hour's work, the ceiling was smooth. 

Here's a picture of my sad effort. I'll post some afters later. They're still in that room painting, and the clock is ticking. 

By the way, if anyone in eastern NC is looking for a good, honest, and inexpensive professional painter, please let me know. I highly recommend Bobby. He works 8 hours straight and does quality work for not that much money. Email me at