Move In Day……Definitely No Fixer Upper Reveal Moment

20181115_12135548 hours from move in day I spent my first night in my home.  I got my much-anticipated king size bed purposely delivered on Thursday, so I could have a night or two alone before hosting my first house guest, my father, who arrived on Friday.  He had planned to return for Thanksgiving, but when we booked his flight I had not listed my house and no way of knowing I’d be moving out and closing on the house he built during his visit.

When I say there will be no Fixer Upper reveal I am not kidding.  Despite my most gallant efforts and even paying skilled labor I moved in without a functioning kitchen or bathroom and a very drafty front door.  I have many post to put up: flooring refinish, more paint, cabinet install, hot water access, but I wanted to share the move-in.

My master suite is my oasis.  I have always wanted a king size bed, so part of my house search was finding a house with a bedroom that would be large enough to accommodate one.  The attic space of my house was screaming king size bed, so now it was just a matter of finding one.  Off and on over the last year I’d stop in at various mattress stores and try out beds.  My current bed is a hybrid, but I’ve been focused on foam as push come to shove (literally) to get the king up the steps it may have to be folded.  Removing the door leading to the attic space was definitely a good and needed decision.

I gained about 20″ in the height of the opening.  The two men delivering the mattress got it upstairs in relative ease.

I selected a Tempur-Pedic Adapt Medium mattress.  I LOVE IT!  I splurged and got an adjustable bed frame.  OMG how did I sleep without it. There is a preset zero gravity button that tilts your head and feet in a position that is supposed to relieve pressure off your joints……yeah it does!  An in-store promotion netted me $300 in free accessories, so I added two king size Tempur-Cloud Breeze Dual Cooling Pillows.  It seemed counter-intuitive that a pillow that hard could be that soft and comfortable, but it is.  Most of my nightly tossing and turning is due to a hot pillow, even in winter, so I love that this pillow stays cool all the time.

I went with Two Men and a Truck for the move.  Insulation install in the heat and moving in the cold/rain are two things I hope to never do again.  Thankfully the crew (Kris and Aaron) didn’t mind and their performance was absolutely stellar.  They wrapped things I didn’t think necessary and had me loaded, moved, and unloaded in about 5 hours.  I must admit I shed a couple of tears when they first started.  My only regret was not being 100% packed for them.  I rented a U-Haul van for the last few remaining items that really weren’t a few.  It took me 3 trips with the van.  I was miserable tired by the end of Sunday.

While kitchen cabinets are up, I had no appliances for the first weekend and will not have a kitchen sink until Monday, which meant the dishwasher could not be connected.  As shared above I don’t have a functioning bathroom, so former neighbors and friends have been letting me shower at their homes.  None of the closets have been dressed (shelves, poles, etc installed), so I can’t put things away.

It’s been a rough start to my new journey, but I’m thankful it is finally underway.

Fevered Pitch

I truly feel like a dog chasing its tail.  Since accepting the close date of November 19 I don’t think I’ve been to bed earlier than 1:30 am; frequently at house til 3:30 am.  When my cousin Alex can’t go let my dogs out, I’ll pull two shifts.  Arrive about 8 am, work till 4-5 pm, leave to feed and let out dogs, and return around 8 or 9 pm to resume work.  I’m exhausted, but progress is being made.  Here’s an update:

New Mailbox. 

20181108_172537Simple project. I wanted to have a mail slot added to my new front door, but since that is weeks away and would have to be added on site by my installer (manufacturer won’t do it)  I decided to search the Internet for a locking mailbox and I found this one on  It was easy to install and matches my light fixtures.  I wish everything could be this simple.

Doors, Painting, and Drywall. 

20181025_110322I brought a finish carpenter back to hang the last two door jams.  One was straight forward, original door and jam, but the entry foyer door was more challenging.  The original door was beyond repair, but it was the same size as the door that led to the upstairs space, which I decided to remove.  Same size, but different swing and hinge locations.  He worked his magic and I now have a functioning entry foyer closet.

The carpenter also jumped in on painting, which was not a great choice as his painting skills did not match his carpentry skills.  He put one coat of paint on the ceiling in the entry foyer, dining room, and office; Sherwin Williams Incredible White and the first coat of Krypton on the dining room walls.  My friend Joan helped me put first coat of Passive on the Office walls and the second coat of Krypton in the dining room.  It’s nice seeing real colors on the walls.  Since the frame around the windows is the same dark color as the molding I can see that the colors will work with them.  The HGTV Urban House that used these colors had painted trim throughout, so I was a bit concerned.

I’ve completed all prime paint now too, so hopefully by Friday of next week the whole house will be painted.  I move in the next day, so I sure hope so.

Brick Sealing

During demo I revealed brick in the master bath and closet, kitchen, and 1st floor hall.  It’s a soft, Chicago brick that was constantly dropping dust and crumbling; I knew it would need to be sealed if left exposed.  During the drywall install I made the decision to cover the brick in the master closet and master bath.  Prepping the brick for sealing was a task I didn’t have the time or desire to do and in the bath area it recessed about 1/2 inch from the drywall, which would have posed a challenge when installing the vanity.

20181022_160255I should have made the same decision about the wall in the kitchen.  I scrubbed the whole wall and it seemed the more I scrubbed the more it’d crumble.  I looked at several brick sealers and decided to go with Radonseal’s Lastiseal Penetrating Brick and Concrete Sealer.  I bought a gallon jug, which should cover 150-225 sq. ft.  The wall was 27 sq. ft.  Easy application process.  I bought a pump sprayer with a fan spray, put down plastic to protect floor and sprayed from bottom up.

The instructions said a second application may be needed and it certainly was with this wall.  A brush of my hand revealed more dust and crumbling mortar.  A second coat reduced it some, but not entirely.  I ended up applying the entire gallon bottle.  I contacted the company and they were very surprised such a small area needed so much.  I shared this picture and they said I should have tuckpointed the bricks first.  The wall looked and felt solid after the full gallon, so I believe their product worked, eventually, but his comment did give me concern looking ahead.  My stove would sit in front of this and I wondered if cleaning food splatter would be an issue.

The vast majority of the wall would be covered by cabinets, microwave and stove, so I decided to cover the wall.  Bold decision given my posing deadline and past experience with drywall crews.  Fortunately my friend Joan came to the rescue with a great referral and a young man, Ryan Fabel, joined the journey.

I hung the drywall, but Ryan did the finish work. Once before I mentioned that someone told me his drywall man could finish an entire house and you’d have only a handful of dust.  When Ryan was done you couldn’t fill a thimble with dust and the wall was as smooth as silk.  I found the man to help me hang the last sheet of drywall in the guest bedroom.  Given that is taking place after my floors have been refinished I am elated by his skills.

The only exposed brick will be in the hall and it was the most sound of all locations.  I scrubbed it to remove most of flakes/crumbles and it only took two applications of the LastiSeal.  I almost wish the brick stayed dark as when the product is applied (right side of first pic), but it returns to its normal color when dry.

Master Bathroom Floor Tile

My soaker tub has been sitting in its box in the master bedroom area for months.  It had to placed in its proper home before the floor refinishers started.  I hoped to have it actually hooked up so Ryan could do the drywall, but I needed to get the tile laid first.  I found the tile on Pinterest and fell in love.  It’s an Italian porcelain tile made by Isla Fascino Italiano and is their King Wood collection.  I got excited when I found it at JP Flooring locally, but man was it expensive.  Not to be deterred I surfed the net and found it at Mission Stone & Tile at half the cost of JP Flooring and FREE shipping.  SOLD!!!!

20181101_134155The pressure to not mess up this tile was immense.  I started with finding my center lines in width and depth with my trusty laser followed by a dry run with 1/16″ spacers.  I bought that size for the first floor bath and it turned out the tile for that has built-in spacers.  They were not a good size for this tile, so I pulled the plug about 1 am.

I returned the next day with 3/16″ spacers (blue vs. green) and went to town.  I selected Desert Sand grout from the Tile Shop in Oakley with the help of a great sales person, Cari Branden.  The walls surrounding this tile and in the shower will be a basic bone (color) subway tile.  It looks fabulous and I can’t wait to see it next to my restored hardwood floors and with the tub resting on top.  Unfortunately my plumber’s truck broke down and this didn’t happen prior to Bob and Trish Roland of Roland Hardwoods starting the floor restoration.

Their work is projected to last five days, Monday – Friday.  I was able to do some work, but now they are staining and coating the first floor, which means I can’t be there until for the floors are dry.  I’ll use that time to pack up Inner Circle and REST!


Tiburon Energy – Use Them If You Can

One of the first people I called when I was thinking about buying my house was Toni Winston.  She was an instructor at a gym I use to patronize and also owner of Tiburon Energy.  Months before she shared with me some key tips about old houses and energy savings, so I wanted her input on Henshaw.  Turns out she had sold her company to Daryn Goulbourne, so she put me into contact with him.

Daryn took customer service to the highest extreme by not only selling his services but also putting me into contact with companies that could provide other services that I needed.  Before purchasing the house he must have made 5 trips to it, most not related to his services, just to help me put together a restoration budget.  I told him then that he’d be my insulation company when I came to that point.  Pre-renovation my plan was to do foam insulation through the entire house and blown-in in the attic space.  With cost overruns I was forced to scale back to fiberglass insulation, which I did myself.

However as promised I called Daryn to handle the attic space, but to also foam seal my basement.  My appointment was set for 9 am and they were Johnny on the spot.  I was actually late by 30 minutes and they waited.

With my speakers in the ceiling of my bedroom, I expressed concern over the insulation interfering with their function.  No worries as before they started the process one of the crew had the pleasure of crawling in that space to put a box around them.

You know you have a great company when the owner/boss can leave the site and the work still gets down correctly.  Daryn got his crew started.  They got busy and when he 20181030_205308returned he did his quality control check.  He also let me know how great a job my HVAC company, Baker, Bauer, and Fish, had done on the duct work.  The sealing around the ducts is first class.  Daryn said home owners don’t realize how much energy is lost through improperly sealed ducts.  He’s been in new construction homes where this work wasn’t done at all and it’s a service his company provides.  I loved hearing that as it confirms that I made a great choice in HVAC companies.

I noticed a difference in my house, especially the basement almost immediately.  I’ve been keeping my thermostat between 66 and 68 degrees, but now I fluctuate between 64 and 66 and I’m comfortable.  Granted I’m working in overdrive and creating a lot of body heat, but I know once I move in I’m going to see much lower heating and cooling bills from my old house.  I truly wish I could have foamed the whole house.





Ready or Not Here I Come

Barring any unforseen circumstances, ready or not, I will officially be a resident of Camp on November 19th.  If you walked in my house right now you’d scream NOT!!!!  Although I’m feeling totally overwhelmed I am energized by the reality of knowing I will finally get to call my labor of love home.  I listed Inner Circle on September 12 with Steve Petersen of Sibcy Cline.  After two public open houses, one agent open house, and 16 showings I received an offer on October 19th with a close request of December 6.  I thought, that’s plenty of time.  With the floor restoration starting on the 5th I could make that happen.

The home inspection took place on October 23rd.  Some issues were revealed and eight request were presented. We came to terms on 6 of 8, but the buyer added a request for an early close; November 19.  I agreed.  I’m so ready for my new chapter to begin and clearly my buyer is ready to start her’s too.  Needless to say work at my house is on overdrive.