The Money Pit

Wanting to add to the revitalization of our 'hood near downtown San Antonio, we undertook the project of all projects. It was at one time, and will be again, The Jewel of the Neighborhood. But we all know those beautiful diamonds start off as coal.(Oh, and we're on the 5 year plan - make that 10 year plan)

07 February 2017

Current state of addition

1st floor "party room"

1st floor, showing electrical and HVAC.
That "box" needs to go. Next to the stair
landing will be a door to the bathroom

2nd floor, bedroom, windows facing north. Sheetrock on ceiling was a mistake. Should be shiplap.

2nd floor, looking from bedroom into closets 
2nd floor, new bathroom,
tile for shower walls. Multiple patterns. 

2nd floor from bedroom looking into bathroom
full plan, showing 1st floor layout

2nd floor plans

1st floor bathroom in original house, to be redone

1st floor bathroom (in original house),
tile for shower wall. 4 different tiles

1st floor tile pattern, satillo.

14 May 2011

I haven't disappeared

Real Life just caught up to us...

On March 14, Frederic got diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately all looks good now, but it means home renovations have been put on hold for awhile.

My garden is coming along, but due to our drought here in South Texas (until 2 days ago, it hadn't rained in 3 months!), I'm avoiding planting any thing new in the landscape. However, I'm planning to do an "edible Landscape" in the front yard in the fall, so am spending some time researching the various plants and designs. In the meantime, just doing maintenance with my current garden: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, assorted squashes, herbs, beans, and a few other opportunists. Oh, and blueberries!

13 March 2011

Just Call me "Farmer Rohr"

Projects: these days, it's a lot of fixing up loose ends. Or loose roofs.

The big project was replacing the shed roof. The shed is a little room attached to the garage, which, unlike the garage already had a cement floor and initially, what looked to be a decent roof, so we didn't replace it when we did the garage. Alas, we didn't so much "replace" a roof as tear down what little was left of the shingles/beams and start over from scratch. And when I say "we" I mean Frédéric. The roof itself didn't take *that* long, but it required cleaning out the shed, aka receptacle of a bunch of items we didn't want to toss...and then that involved clearing out the garage (aka huge pile of wood we couldn't get to). So, two weeks later, the roof is finished, and slowly we're repopulating both shed and garage, hopefully ina more orderly fashion. Meanwhile, or back yard looks like a dump truck landed there - full of junk-that-can't-be-thrown-away while we organize said shed and garage....

At the same time, it's Spring Planting time. So I've been focused on re-building our garden. The old garden beds had a combo of landscape soil and gardening soil, but had been infested with fire ants. I had to remove a lot of the soil and bring in new stuff, which I mixed with our compost. Frédéric made me another garden bed (also from salvaged wood) because I've been a bit over-zealous with my planting. We still have lettuce and kale going strong. I've added in more than I can remember now. Some I've started from seeds on my own, some I've bought starter plants. It's been a heck of a lot of work to get going, but hopefully it'll pay off with loads of fresh vegetables.

The one drawback - the neighborhood cats love this beautiful soil for their litter I've had to put fencing around the beds. They seem to stay out of those with plants already filling it, so I've focused on those with small seedlings. And I'm armed with my hose to spray on them when they try....

Next year I'm going to re-arrange the beds so I can build one big fence around all, with neat gravel paths between. Right.

24 February 2011

It's Garden time again!

First, a small update. Our fireplace insert is in, but no pictures yet as it's not totally completed. A piece wasn't the right size so they've re-ordered it, and we haven't yet figured out what to do with the mantle.

Other projects: prime the baseboards in the living room, mainly because lead paint was chipping onto Lenaïc's, a bit of sanding, priming, and TONS of cleaning. Same for the front door frame. The chipping paint was awful, so when I took the kids off for a birthday party, Frédéric attacked the frame. At least the two worst offending areas for chipping lead paint are covered.

He's also going to attack the shed. We re-did the garage a couple of years ago. oops make that *3* years ago. At the time, the attached shed was in decent condition. Alas, the roof was ready to go. It is now so full of holes it's hopeless. It's a smallish project though. We have a few other tidying up sorts of projects to do before we start to tackle the living room.

Now, about that garden. I'm working on the garden beds. Getting ready to plant vegetables. I also decided to try a couple of rose bushes. I'm not a huge fan of roses but Angelina loves them. Our neighbor has a few which hang over our fence and she always wants them, so I figured we could add a couple.

And blueberries. This should be interesting. I went to Fannicks for some more garden soil, and of course could not resist a look around. I was tempted by the blueberry bushes so decided to give one a try. Despite our general attempts to be mostly xeriscaped/low water for our landscape, I confess we do use a lot of water for our fruit trees and vegetable garden. But I don't feel too guilty, as I figure we at least eat that stuff, and we collect rain and a/c water (the latter of which is good for blueberries).

Everything is a huge mess (see the link and you'll see why), so no pictures yet.

08 February 2011

Fireplace progress

The plans for the woodstove insert required us to expand the fireplace from its depth of 9 inches to at least 14 inches. Initially Frédéric planned to do this himself, then decided he didn't want to do it wrong, and it'd be done a lot faster if we hired out. So we did. And presto! Finished in a day. Except the floor area. The contractor had all sorts of ideas but I'm glad Frédéric said he'd take care of that himself. Off we went to the tile store, found some gorgeous slate, and here it is:

Next up, we need to figure out a solution for the mantle/wall area. Originally there was a wooden mantle with columns that matched the porch columns. However, with the additional brick, this no longer fits. I'd love to have the slate run up the wall and behind the mantle, but Frédéric doesn't think it'll hold. I'd also love to use the slate as a mantle, but the interior is hollow, which means we'd need to put some kind of backer-board down which could look funny. We looked at various stone options at Keller Materials, found a gorgeous one, but realized we were too nervous to cut it ourselves and they don't cut it. So that's not looking likely. Maybe wood?

I just love this slate so much I want to use it elsewhere...

30 January 2011

Papa's Little Helpers

Next project is our fireplace. Originally it was for burning coal. At some point it was filled in a bit and used with a gas grille. When we bought the house, Frédéric's initial thought was to make it a regular wood fireplace. It's not like a fireplace is a necessity (esp since we installed central heat), but for a couple of months per year when we get cold fronts (even though it was 78F/25C yesterday), it's nice to have.

We had it inspected and despite the chimney being in good condition, we can't guarantee that there are no gaps where sparks could exit, thus sparking a fire in the walls, so we can't use it as an actual fireplace. Instead, it was suggested we put a wood stove insert. This insert goes up the chimney, so all sparks are contained. To fit the stove though, we had to extend out the fireplace a bit... We decided to hire someone to do the masonry work so we could get it done quicker, and now Fredo gets the fun job of just tiling around it.

For the record, we chose a slate called Raja red which is gorgeous. I just wish we had a larger area to tile so we could use more.

06 January 2011

Feels like a whole new house

Our house has the original long leaf pine floors, never finished. For many years they were covered with linoleum and/or carpet. First thing we did when we took posession was rip up all the flooring. (To see what they looked like, go here.) At the time, we did a raw sanding to get rid of the gluey residue, with plans to finish the floors soon. That was Dec 2004. Eventually we did 2 rooms ourselves, and did a pretty good job. But other things took priority and the living room and entry hall/dining room were still rough wood as of Dec 2010. After Lenaïc got a few splinters in his hands, we decided it was time to fix that.

Having seen our neighbors floors, recently re-finished by a pro, we decided it was worth it to hire out the messy, smelly job. Timing worked out that they could come while we were away on vacation, and said wonderful neighbors were kind enough to manage the workers (letting them in, giving them $ after the job was done).

So after 3 weeks away, we came home to beautifully finished floors. Finally!

We also came home to a mess - had to move all the furniture into the other rooms, so the house was in a bit of disarray. Would be nice to show the rooms all nice and orderly, but it's taking awhile to get everything back together and unpacked.

It's like having a whole new house now. What a difference the floors make!

I also took advantage of having the living room empty and us away and hired someone to fix the sheetrock in that room. Frederic usually does it himself, and it's no fun and takes up many weekends. I decided to have it done as a Christmas present for him. Fortunately, our neighbors also had a guy who did their work, so he came while we were away and did the room before the flooring guys came. He didn't paint, as we still need to do the windows/door frames, but at least there are no more cracks! Very romantic Christmas present :)