Sunday, August 27, 2006

And the walls came crumblin' down...

We keep a nice house, don't we ?
This was our guest room-- it had pink carpet and pink flowered wallpaper. Michael and I had lots of fun tearing down the walls. We had a couple of layers -- wallpaper, paneling and plastic tile. We figure we gained a couple of inches in the room just taking the layers out.

I really like demolition... of course, I'm mindful of electrical wires and plumbing, but there is something so satisfying about pulling down a wall. If it stays in tact, there's a sense of accomplishment. And, if you have to rip it to shreads to get it out, you still get the sense of accomplishment because you worked really hard to get it out. You can't lose.

The square hole in the wall was the medicine cabinet and you can see through to the bathroom. We thought we'd keep that bathroom in tact, but once you decide to gut a place... it's hard to stop. You'll see that demolition in a future entry.

This is what was before.
It's the exact same corner. You can't see the window in the first because we have a piece of paneling up against the wall. Quite a change. I'm looking forward to the day we can post the after pictures, not just the in between shots.

Michael likes to say I just love to smash stuff up. Yep, I do. But I've seen him enjoy it quite a bit, too. Now, I just hope we're as good as putting it all back together... I guess we'll see. But even as is, I still like it better than the pink. One day we'll have guests in here... For now, we have a really great tent.

Here are some of those progress shots:

After the carpet was out, but walls are still up. The pink on the floor is a primer and sealer. Pretty funny that it was also pink!

Beginning stages... the paneling begins to come down.

I always said I wanted an open floor plan, but this is a bit too much. Michael is in our bedroom and I'm taking the picture from the guest room (through the old closet).

Monday, August 21, 2006

It's a zoo out there.

Each county in Maryland has at least one sighting of a coyote, except for Queen Anne's County.
Well, that's what our neighbor told us. Then we had a coyote in our backyard. I ran for a camera to "shoot" it, and our neighbor came out with a gun -- also to shoot it. I got pictures and he, thankfully, didn't even shoot once.

Then there is the story of the turtle and the hare...
but you've probably heard that before. This turtle came by on a rainy day. The rabbits are around all of the time.

One cold December morning I heard fireworks.
I thought it was pretty peculiar -- who shoots off fireworks in the morning? Michael smiled, it was goose season. They seemed to think our backyard was a safe haven. Again, we got the camera, but this time the neighbor didn't reach for his gun. Lucky for them. I guess we'll have another opportunity to "shoot" next season.

And then there's Harry.
He is by far our favorite visitor. He comes by often for a swim, a bite to eat and to relax. I'm not sure the fish and the frogs that live in the pond are as fond of Harry, but the circle of life is alive and well in our backyard. Although there is more than one heron that stops by, they're all "Harry" to us.

Why I now hate carpet.

This is not a good look for me.
When we first moved in, we knew we wanted to make changes. Changes that would make it our home rather than Bob and Mary's home. The blue exterior carpet had to go, the door in the guest room could be closed to hide the pink carpet, but the carpet inside we thought we'd keep. Give it a good cleaning and it was good to go.

How wrong we were.

In the common areas, we had white carpet. Not my first choice (I'm a fan of red wine and I'm clumsy -- not a good combination for white carpet), but we thought we would take a chance. We rented a steamer and got to work on the carpet, it made a difference for about 8 hours, but the stains came back. We soaked, we purchased special cleansers for pets (the previous owners had dogs), we followed the directions closely, but the stains and even the smell came back each and every time. So, we began to remove it. That's when the protective gear was necessary. There was dust, some interesting smells and so many carpet nails and staples.

Before, during and after.

I've seen so many home improvement shows where the owner of the house is pleasantly suprised to find beautiful hardwood floors underneath the carpet. We found more carpet. Really, another layer of carpet and padding. I still had some hope (although a bit diminished) that under the second layer there would be some great surprise. There wasn't. It was the subfloor. The good news is that we don't have to protect the floors as we tear down the walls. We can drop nails, tools, whatever, and we can't hurt the floor.

So what kind of flooring will we have? Wide oak planks in most of the house, tile in the bathrooms and slate of some sort in the kitchen. We have some throw rugs that we'll use, but I never need to see another carpet tack strip or padding.

Our first home.

We moved in December 2005, which is when we took the picture. This is the front of the house. Although Michael and I don't agree on what the "front" is. This is Michael's "front" of the house:

Of course I see his point. This is why we bought the house.

Since moving in, we've been slowly demolishing the inside of the house... but we'll get to those fun pictures in the coming days, weeks and months (years?).

For now, we'll share a new picture of the side that faces the road... We've cut down all of the trees (while cutting down trees sounds awful, the trees were in just terrible shape and downright ugly), torn out the flower beds including tropical plants that had to be moved inside each winter, removed the fake well and painted the door, shutters and street numbers. We have a lot to do still and we'll have to work on that lovely outdoor blue carpet soon. Plus, we'll probably add some plants back in. I know our neighbors would like that.

I guess I can get used to calling this the back of the house... It's just so unfortunate that this is what people see as they drive by. Blue carpet and empty shrub beds. Sorry, new neighbors.