Kitchen and Dining Room Floors Ready for Refinishing

20181023_151510There was linoleum flooring in the kitchen and after pulling it up months ago it revealed some pretty serious water damage in areas.  The majority of it will be covered by the kitchen cabinets, but there were some holes that I wanted eliminated and the floors in the most worn areas just felt spongy.  In my opinion not a good surface to lay my kitchen cabinets.

Since I had enough wood I decided to patch the most worn areas and all the boards with holes.  It took two days.  The first day I worked with my normal arsenal of tools: circular saw and JobMax tool, but it turned out my neighbor that rip the boards for me did not rip them narrow enough, so those tools proved to be somewhat useless and I was not producing an acceptable finished look.

20181030_141650Months ago I purchased a table saw, but was scared to use it the first time without someone knowledgeable on hand.  Fortunately that same neighbor came to the house and gave me a quick lesson.  With my crash course under my belt I was able to make faster work of the kitchen floors.  I can’t wait to get my workbench and miter saw to the house.  I’m going to be scared of myself with what I will do with proper tools.

The sub floor in part of the dining room was gone or rotten from water damage (most likely culprit a leaking radiator).  Once again I started ripping out before taking a before picture.  To get past the rot I had to take up about 20″  in width of flooring and almost the full length of the side wall.


The original sub-floor was laid in a diagonal with 6″ wide planks.  I did not want to disrupt the oak flooring that runs parallel to the front of the house, so I cut just past the rot.  I needed to create an anchoring point between the floor joist.  Because the electric, water, and GAS 20181027_203400lines were run in that channel I didn’t have much space to work with, I took a scrap piece of 2×10, cut it to 14″ lengths, laid it flat on each end of my openings and anchored it.

Flooring comes in 4’x8′ sheets, so I had Home Depot rip a piece down in 20″ strips, which gave me the ability to transport it to my house.  I’m still amazed by how much I can haul in my PT Cruiser.  Crossing my fingers it keeps running at 102k plus miles.  The area removed was approximately 11′ long so the first, 8′ piece was a piece of cake to install.  The second had to be cut in a diagonal and was a bit harder, but I cheated by laying the board down, going down in the basement and drawing a cut line with a pencil.  With the angle set it was just a matter of getting the right length.

With the patch completed Baker, Bauer, and Fish HVAC company was able to return and run the last air duct line.  Now the floors are ready for Bob and Trish on the 5th.  Back to painting and tile floors.


From Master Bath to Master Bedroom

With the walls complete in the master bath I moved on to the master bedroom.  Pinterest photos of painted attic spaces helped me decide to place Sherwin Williams Pacer 20181017_125405White in the closet, dormers, ceiling, and angled walls and Sherwin-Williams Indigo Batik on the vertical walls.  As I learned in the bath, a consistent, even, smooth primer coat is key.  As you can see by the dark spots on the walls, there were several areas I missed with the primer.  It’s hard to distinguish the white from drywall mud 20181019_155056.jpgand paint sometimes.  That picture was after one coat, still wet.  Even dry it was clear two coats would be needed.  I don’t cut well in painting, so having a dark color next to a light was a test for sure.  Most places I did OK, others I did not.  I think I’m going to lower my standards on this as I’ve got way too much else to do to correct them all.

With the paint dry I set out to hang more light fixtures, outlet covers and the speakers.  I really love this light I found for the master closet on

Brass wall plates were used in the house originally, but only 8 were left.  I decided to put those upstairs where three of the original gold light fixtures are being returned.  I’m still amazed by what was under all that soot on these fixtures.

My mother was a collector of brass, so I love the idea of putting a small bit of her in this SWEET space.  I’ve named my house Janet or JT for those that knew her well.  The original face plates were for duplex outlets, but I found some brass ones for the Leviton Decora switches also.  I even found a brass cold air exchange register.  With the paint on the walls I was curious to see how the original wood trim would look next to the colors, so I went in the basement and found the wood for the trio of windows and the two dormers.  Once cleaned up the wood is going to look fabulous next to both colors, but doing that little exercise revealed to me more bad drywall installation that had to be addressed.

I’m not sure why they left these gaps on each side of this window, but the trim did not cover them.  Sadly, in hanging my favorite original light fixture I also got another sour taste of their poor routing around the gang boxes. In that regard I had to return all the standard size face plates for Midway (I refuse to go Jumbo), just to cover the gaps around some of the outlets.  Making these repairs cost me a half day, which is a half day I really couldn’t afford to loose.

Color on walls reveals imperfections.  Perhaps I should have paid the drywall crew the $1400 they wanted to apply the primer.  He said in doing so he could catch and correct all the imperfections not caught in final sanding.  I caught some at the primer stage and corrected.  More at the first coat and corrected, but those minor dings not caught after the final coat of paint I’m calling “character”.  After all JT is almost 100 years old.

20181021_190135The vintage, Edison, bulbs I put in the light fixtures give off a soft, warm, yellow glow.  At night the room won’t be bright.  It will feel tranquil and peaceful, exactly what a master retreat should be.  I made sure to get a soft warm light for the can light as well.  Hopefully the LED bulb in the ceiling fan will cast a warm light also, if not I will hunt down a suitable replacement.

I haven’t hung the fan as I discovered I didn’t like the size I had selected, 52″.  This is what I was advised by Keidel, based on the size of room.  They were so wrong, so I’m glad I didn’t purchase all the fans for the house or any from them.  I got the fan from and they allowed me to return it for a 60″.  I only lost $14 in return shipping, it shipped for free.  I’ll get a 60″ for the living room too.  Thankfully the same fan for the master came in the larger size as I really like that choice.  I didn’t get as lucky with the living room fan, but I found one I liked better and it will match, almost exactly the entry foyer light.  It came at a higher price tag though.

My awesome electrician, Mr. McGhee, is helping me with the fan install, so to not waste his trip I won’t hang the master until all the paint is finished downstairs to allow us to hang them all. He lets me be his apprentice.  I’ve never hung a ceiling fan, so can’t wait to learn.  Enjoy this 360 degree span of my master bedroom.


Sometimes You Need a Deadline to Light a Fire (or Mirror)

I found a great couple, Bob & Trish Roland, to refinish my hardwood floors.  The rehab business in Cincinnati is booming and everyone good is booked.  The earliest they could start is November 5th, so that gives me a firm deadline to get A LOT done.  I need to finish priming the first floor and paint all rooms, except 1st floor bath.  I can’t work on the guest bedroom until the last sheet of drywall is hung and taped.  That can’t happen until I have the master tub placed and connected and that can’t happen until the tile floor is laid…….whew!  Oh and I need to finish patching the pine floors in the kitchen……..HELP!

So where do I start, the Master Bath because I really wanted to see my mirror hanging on the wall.  I had originally planned to let Homestead Furniture make the mirror to match the vanity, but I thought that would be too much blue and wood.  I started searching on 20180823_211210.jpgthe Internet for mirrors and stumbled across the LED mirror featured above.  I then went on a business trip to Salt Lake City, Utah and my hotel room at Little America Hotel (great stay) had a similar mirror and that sealed the deal for me.  I did ask hotel management about the extra lights and was told they felt the mirror didn’t provide enough.  I wasn’t deterred.

I found my mirror on Amazon.  I wanted beveled glass, like the hotel mirror, but I saved about $400 on this flat glass mirror and I thought the mini magnified mirror would be awesome for those pesky chin hairs.  The mirror needed to be hard-wired and since this was not planned I had to call in my awesome electrician Mr. McGhee.  It also meant more wall patching before I could start painting.

With the electric run I completed the primer paint and the following day put Sherwin-Williams Icicle on all the walls except for the dormers.  An even, smooth primer coat I now know is a crucial step in the paint process.  When the Icicle hit an area where the primer was missing or too thin the color was altered in that spot.  After the first coat the room looked like I had painted clouds.  I had not planned on two coats (two weren’t needed in 1st floor bath), so I had to buy another gallon of paint.  I only needed about 1/4 of the 2nd gallon, so I decided to paint the laundry room and storage areas in the master bedroom Icicle too.

The next day I started on the dormers with Sherwin-Williams Pacer White.  When I applied the color to wall I thought it was more beige than white and I panicked a bit. However, once it dried it lightened and I could not be more pleased with how the bathroom turned out.

Only painting left to do in the bath is the trim and that may happen after the floors.  I feel pretty confident I can protect the floors under the windows and doors when that is happening.  The floor trim needs to be painted same color and I haven’t purchased it yet, so another reason to hold off.  That will be painted in the basement and then mounted in place.

With the walls dried I could not wait to connect and hang the bathroom speakers.  I have to admit when the music filled the room it brought a smile to my face.  It’s pretty darn cool.  I also hung the exhaust fans, can lights, storage room lights, wall plates (except one near door trim), the vent grate the City Plumbing inspector suggested I add, and the first of the restored original light fixtures.  That light originally hung in the center of the room and now it is my laundry room light.

In regards to the LED mirror, the hotel was absolutely right about the mirror not giving out enough light. It’s more like a giant night-light.  A woman who wears makeup (not me) would not be happy with the lighting, so I plan to install a three light linear pendent light from the ceiling utilizing the light switch and electric that I had run originally.  I won’t do that until the vanity is installed as I want to position the light in the center of the sink.  Also the magnified mirror doesn’t magnify enough, so that was a bit of a let down.  I still love the mirror and can’t wait to see the vanity and sink installed.20181019_133945


Last 40% Off Sale For Year

Sherwin-Williams is having their largest savings sale, 40% off paints and stains/30% off paint supplies, and this is the last time this year that savings will take place.  For that reason I purchased the 17 gallons of paint I need for the first floor.  5 gallons of their Drywall Primer, 5 gallons of their Eminence High Performing Ceiling Paint, and 7 gallons of their Cashmere in Low-Luster (eggshell).  I didn’t have any of the gallons tinted, so I can return any that I don’t use.  I padded each by a gallon, so I hope that will be the case.  I threw in some brushes and the total came up to approximately $550.  Without the sale I would be closer to 4-digits.

I’ve been using PPG primer, so I’ll be curious to see how theirs works in comparison.  The Eminence I will have tinted to Incredible White as that is the color for all my ceilings on the first floor.  I like to use Flat on ceilings, egg shell (low luster) on walls, and semi-gloss on trim. I’m allocating a gallon per room: dining, living, office, and guest bedroom.  The Cashmere will be tinted to multiple colors.  Incredible White for the kitchen walls and ceiling (kitchens and bathrooms I like a little sheen on the ceilings), Passive for the office and guest bedroom, Krypton for the dining room, and Swanky Gray for the living room.  My entire first floor color scheme is from the 2017 HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway home.

On November 5 my hardwood floors will be refinished.  My goal is to have all of the painting completed prior to that day.  A tall undertaking given that up until last week I only had the 1st floor bathroom completely painted and the dining room only primed.  I had been focused on getting the tile done in the first floor bath as my tub re-glazing was scheduled, but with work commitments and high humidity causing the thin set mortar to not dry overnight I was forced to reschedule that for November 15.  The floor is down, not grouted, but I’ve now turned my attention to painting.  I’ll do a post on that tile job once the grout is down.

While I got free, professional help, in first floor color scheme (Designer, Brian Patrick Flynn designed the HGTV Urban Oasis 2017 home) I struck out on my own with the help of Sherwin-Williams and Pinterest on my Master SWEET (my upstairs suite is sweet).  Blue is my favorite color and I wanted a dark blue on my bedroom walls.  I typed dark blue attic bedrooms in Google and on a Pinterest site found Indigo Batik.  On the Sherwin-Williams website when you pick a color, they provide you with suggestions for coordinating colors, so that help my color scheme was created.

The master bedroom will have Indigo Batik on the vertical walls and Pacer White on the ceiling, angled wall, and entire dormers.  The Pacer White continues in the master bath in the dormers and on all trim.  Trim in bedroom area is natural wood, but because I created new spaces (laundry room and water closet) in the bathroom I put new trim that I will paint.  All other surfaces, not tiled, in the bathroom will have Icicle.  The bathroom vanity I had made is painted with Sherwin-Williams Naval same color Shiloh Cabinetry uses and my kitchen cabinets color.  Ironically the coordinating color for Naval is also Icicle, so I really feel I’ve made some good choices.  I look forward to sharing pics of the final colors.

I actually bought the paint for upstairs during a 30% off sale, so bottom line quality paint doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.

Short and Sweet….I Have Heat

Duke Energy came out Thursday and ran a pressure test on my gas lines.  I passed and the gas was turned on.  Just in time as it looks like we are skipping fall and headed straight to winter.  Cincinnati experienced a 30 degree drop in temps with our lows in the 30s and highs only in the 50s all week.  I have the thermostat sat at 62 and the house is comfortable, so I hope this means I’ll see low utility bills in the years to come.

I grew up in an all electric house, so needless to say I’m a bit nervous having gas running.  Fear of leaks and explosions.  I have connected the the smoke and carbon dioxide detectors in the basement and master.  I have one more combo and two smoke detectors yet to connect, but those will happen as the paint is completed in those areas.

In regards to water I have plans to salvage the cement sink in my basement to finally have a functioning sink and access to hot water.  I’ve been told by many to take sledgehammer to it, but my inner MacGyver has better ideas.  Stay tuned.

2nd Floor Windows Finally Complete, Sort Of

My father uses my blog to stay connected to the project.  He calls me everyday asking to see pictures of what I’ve accomplished that day.  He’s asked several times to see the windows and I had avoided this post because I don’t like them.  My budget dominated my decision to go with vinyl windows and the lowest price to install.  My two floors have two different window manufactures although both Earthwise Windows.  To the novice eye from outside you’d never know; thankfully they look the same.  I covered the downstairs windows in my She’s Got 1st Floor Windows blog.

The 2nd floor windows came from Tri-State Building Supply.  Tri-State’s larger windows have only one lock, the 1st floor windows have two.  I prefer the single lock.  It’s made of metal vs. plastic, so in my opinion sturdier.  The 1st floor windows have security levers that limits how far the windows can be opened when employed.  I like it as I can crack windows and leave the room without worrying about someone pushing them open further and climbing in.    Hopefully no one will scale the roof when I have the second floor windows open as the cross breeze is awesome.  With the ceiling fan on I am hoping for much lower utility bills as I minimize the use of the AC.

20181007_184247Hopefully this is an anomaly, but the seal in one of the windows has already failed.  Fortunately it’s covered under warranty, but that window hasn’t been in a full two months.  Several years ago I replaced the rear windows on my current house with Renewal by Anderson.  About six years later the seal failed and all I had to do was call them, give them the number of the sticker on the window and they sent me a whole new window sash.  With Tri-State I have to remove the damaged sash, take it to them and they will replace the glass.

The second floor only has 10 windows, 1st 14, but Mr. Jackson, my installer, definitely had the harder install due to the 4 dormer windows.  It’s speculated that a fire at some point in the house impacted the inside walls and led someone to frame new walls inside the original outer walls.  When I bought the house all the original, weighted windows, had been replaced with aluminum windows and the four curved windows in the dormers had been frame from the inside for rectangle windows.  A piece of metal was screwed to the curve to create the look you see below.  20170727_142703

Unfortunately it also blocked 1/3 of the light, so I removed it.  What I didn’t realize is that the piece of metal also hid gaps created when you place a square shape in a curved space.  The frames of the vinyl windows is thicker than the aluminum, so without that piece of metal the sides and tops of the windows are very obvious.  I hate it.

I really wish I had bit the bullet and ordered curved windows, but it would have meant 20181007_155625ripping out the drywall to frame inside for the curve and then find curved molding.  The inside view from these windows isn’t any better.  I will definitely need to come up with some type of blind or valance to hide the framing that I can see.  I cringe every time I see it.

Fortunately it only impacts the two windows in the master bedroom area.  I put obscure panes in the lower part of all the functioning windows in the master bath.  While painting I realized that at my height my chest area on up is exposed in the upper part of the dormer windows which is at the same level of the second story of my neighbor’s windows.  I can’t see myself remembering to close curtains or blinds every time I go in the bathroom, so I’ve decided to make the upper sash of the dormer windows obscure also.  It’s only a $150 expense, but I think worth it.  I probably won’t put any type of window coverings in the bathroom and the obscure pane will minimize the unsightly framing I can see.

I still love the trio windows in the “wet” area of the bathroom.  The window on the left will actually be inside the shower, which unfortunately can’t be completed until I sell my house.  Funds are getting too tight and I don’t want to compromise.  Only the bottom sash of the center window is 20181007_155616obscure, but only my head is seen in the upper sash.  No neighbor’s windows on that side, just  a parking lot for a business.  Plus I plan on steeling an idea I saw at my friend Joan’s house.  She has a stained glass hanging in front of her window in her bathroom.  I want to do the same.



My Grace + Grit Experience

The updates have slowed because I hit a rut.  The light can be clearly seen at the end of the tunnel and yet now that I’m a solo act to get the project complete I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I also got some news a few weeks ago that hit me like a ton of bricks.  It deflated one of my visions for how I saw myself living in my house and I truly had days were my house was no longer a happy place for me and I didn’t want to be there.  Add on my disappointment with my windows now that they are all installed and I found myself in a depressed funk that just made me not want to work at my house until my Grace and Grit – Skin. Body. Soul facial experience.

I’ve been working catering jobs for the Perfect Brew and have the pleasure of working with Crystal Grace who recently opened Grace + Grit salon spa located at 6712 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236.  I told Crystal at her grand opening I would get my first facial from her, but I had not made the time to do it until last week.  We worked a job together and she was able to give me an appointment on the spot, so I had no excuses or distractions.  I’m so glad she made it so easy as it was exactly what I needed.

Her shop is located in an older building, but has an eclectic/mid-century modern design vibe that exudes relaxation as soon as you walk through the door.  I have never gotten a facial, so I was expecting to be placed in a shampoo bowl like chair and draped with a cape.  Instead I was told to disrobe except for my panties and put on a terry cloth wrap and get under the sheets of massage table.  I was so caught off guard.  The facial includes a neck, shoulder, arm, hand and foot massage.  I told Crystal if I had known that I would have gotten a pedicure, which is what I always do before getting a regular massage.  She quickly said she prefers to show love to feet that have been neglected.  Wish granted.

Her table was tremendously comfortable.  It has a wave to it that was the perfect contour to my body and my feet were elevated slightly above my head.  When I first entered the room music of Leslie Odom, Jr was playing, but once my session began it transitioned to soothing Native American instrumental.  Crystal began by asking me a few questions about my skin care regime.  Short conversation as I do next to nothing.  My face for the most part gets the same body wash my body gets in the shower.

First step was the cleanse.  Not sure what she used, but it smelled wonderful and during the application a steam machine blew on my face.  It was warm and soothing.  After the cleanse she did a skin reading.  I don’t have any blackheads, but she did see congestion on my nose (white stuff that comes out my pores when squeezed).  She can remove it, but the process is a bit abrasive, so as not to spoil the tranquil atmosphere I was experiencing it will be saved for my next visit.  She also pointed out my chin hairs, which I did decide to have waxed.  Unwanted facial hair is the worst thing about pre-menopause, by far for me, so far.

Next was the exfoliation.  Again while that was being applied the steam machine was running.  While that product sat on my face, Crystal performed the foot massage.  When I work at my house I’m generally on my feet hours at a time.  My calve muscles have gotten tight and I frequently get lower leg cramps.  Between the tilt of the table and her magic hands my feet and lower legs got some much-needed relief from the pressure of standing all the time.  Following the feet was the shoulder, neck, and face massage.  I have no doubt I’ve strained a muscle in my shoulders from working at my house.  Sleeping in certain positions at night is painful, so the shoulder/neck massage was highly welcomed.  I could feel the knots in my muscles pop as she worked that area.

Next was the mask and more steam.  Actually between each facial step she also applied a warm moist towel to wipe off the product she had applied and that felt awesome too.  While the mask marinated she performed the hand and arm massage.  More wonderfulness!  With the removal of the mask, my first facial experience came to an 20181005_112105end.  Crystal helped me sit up, and left the room while I got dressed.  Upon exiting the room and returning to her lobby I was greeted with a plate of goat cheese drizzled with honey on crackers, grapes, and infused water.  Exactly what I needed as I did not eat breakfast that morning and I was starving.

I assumed the word Grace in her business name was due to her last name, but Crystal shared with me the true meaning and her story was the inspiration that snapped me out of my funk.  Over seven years ago Crystal was working at Time Warner and she found a co-worker dead at their house.  That experience sent her into a depression that she decided to combat through self-help via yoga and meditation vs. anti-depressants.  She got a facial one day and following the session the grief that had been pent-up came pouring out of her and she felt a tremendous sense of relief.  At that moment she internally heard the voice of God telling her this is how he wanted her to serve.  She quit her job and enrolled in Aveda Esthetician School and went to work at one of Cincinnati’s largest spas.  However, God’s voice was telling her to open her own spa.

It took her seven years to bring the spa into reality.  In the beginning it was her own self-doubt holding her back, but once she got over her “self” hurdle it was the “societal” hurdles putting up road blocks and obstacle that she had to overcome.  So Grace is God’s grace for giving her the Grit to overcome what stood in her way.  Such an inspiring story that came at a perfect 20181005_113207time for me.  I’ve got a new pep in my step and just in time.  I found a great couple to refinish all my floors and they can start November 5.  That means all the painting and floor patching must be complete by then.  I can’t paint the guest bedroom until I get the tile laid for the master bathtub area, which will allow the tub to be set in place.  Access to the plumbing connections for the tub are in the ceiling of that room, so I still have one sheet of drywall that needs to be hung once the connections have been made.  Lots to get done in just a couple of weeks, but I’m up for the tasks.

I’ve already decided to make my second Grace + Grit facial my reward for meeting my deadline. I actually may do a full day of beauty, something I’ve also never done for myself.  In addition to facials Crystal shares her shop with Sha-Kim Smith massage therapist and currently under construction in the rear portion of her shop are manicure and pedicure stations; the next services that will be added.  If you live in Cincinnati or plan to visit, I highly encourage you to experience Grace + Grit, you will not be disappointed.