New brick exterior (+ baby’s first walk!)

Julius took his first few steps! It is so fun to hear George encouraging him. George was nowhere near walking when he turned one – he had a gigantic ass and it took him forever to figure out how to navigate that thing around. He was also wearing 18-month clothes at one year and Julius still wears 9-month clothes. Total opposites, these boys. Should make for interesting lives. I love how Julius holds himself stick straight when he walks so as not to collapse:

In other news, we have a new house. I mean, a practically new-looking house. Ross recruited some guys to help him put new brick on the exterior of the rental and it looks totally different! Curb appeal like whoa. All we need is an adorable little window box with fresh flowers and….SOLD…for ONE MILLION dollars…

New swank brick exterior

New swank brick exterior

It was about ten to fifteen degrees that day so Ross had to enclose everything and heat the area so the brick and mortar would set up correctly. He was worried the enclosure would blow down overnight so he didn’t sleep very well that night! They worked really hard and fast and got it all done in a day. #ateam #getthat #getitdone #handlethat

Enclosure keeping the brick and mortar warm

Enclosure keeping the brick and mortar warm

Brick ties

Brick ties

Laying the brick

Laying the brick

Ross left the heater on overnight to give it enough time to dry. I love it of course and I’m super excited every time I see it, but it sucks they had to do it in the dead of winter…Ross said the forecast called for warmer weather, but you can’t believe everything anything you hear. Ross washed the brick off with a type of acid wash – Vana Trol brick wash to clean up any mortar that was spilled on the face of the brick.

Brick cleaned with Van Trol

Brick cleaned with Vana Trol

It’s not completely done – there are a few items left to take care of like finishing the very top of the brick (I think Ross called it a runoff layer of brick, or coping?), taking the scroll ironwork down by the front steps – #shudder – and adding posts instead, and shutters. We are thinking some painted cedar posts (white) with some brick along the bottom half would look nice and finish the exterior off. I scribbled what we’re thinking below.

Crusty old scroll ironwork straight outta 1970

Crusty old scroll ironwork straight outta 1970

Now that this brick home is ours, I cannot believe what it looked like before. Yawn. I loooove the brick…lurve lurve. It may be replacing stucco as my favorite exterior of all time. “Hey brick?” “Yah?” “I love you. Muah.”

Future state. Crude drawing but cross your eyes a bit and you can see my vision.

Future state. Crude drawing but cross your eyes a bit and you can see my vision.

We were worried about not having enough brick but it seems we might have just enough to do the bottom of the posts and some runoff brick along the top. Thanks to a sudden abundance of free yellow Chicago style brick on Craigslist, we also have plenty of brick to restore the exposed chimney, cover the chaseway in the kitchen, and cover the vent/pipe in the dining room and upstairs master bedroom. Yay for exposed brick er’where! The future is looking bright, friends. #gotmyshadesontopbackrollingwiththemusicjacked

 

Mom’s saving money again

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So I’m changing George’s diaper and grabbed a cloth diaper. We have been traveling a lot so we’ve been using regular diapers lately, for both George and Julius. So this was the first time I’ve put a cloth diaper on George in quite awhile.

George: “Uhh…Mommy?”

Me: “Yes George?”

George: “Are you saving money again?”

Me: :::dying laughing:::

Obviously Dad explained to George that we use cloth diapers to save money…but I cracked up at this randomness coming out of George’s mouth. “There she goes, saving money again…” 😉

Frosting the upstairs bathroom window

I didn’t even think about privacy in the upstairs bathroom when Ross initially bought the long/wide window to replace the upstairs bathroom window. With neighbors right next door, some glass-frosting was definitely in order.

Framing out the new bathroom window

Framing out the new bathroom window

The double-paned window we bought for the bathroom

The double-paned window we bought for the bathroom

Ross actually researched a few different ways to do it. There are tons of tutorials like this one from YHL for glass film and what-not, but Ross was pro-spray on frost. I was slightly nervous about this because he’s…ya know…not a painter? But apparently in the last five years when I was popping out babies he was perfecting his spray technique, because it looks amazing. He used less than one bottle of Rustoleum Frosted Glass and he did about eight coats to ensure it looked even.

Spraying the window with frost

Spraying the window with frost

We used Rustoleum Frosted Glass

We used Rustoleum Frosted Glass

Light shining through the frosted window

Light shining through the frosted window

The window is a Crestline brand window – Menards sells them. It is double-paned which is important for our crazy weather…case in point… it is below zero right now. Ross only frosted the inside of the window, so from the outside it looks totally normal. With it trimmed out, it looks like it was there all along!

Finished window ready for install

Finished window ready for install

Cutting a hole in the house!

Cutting a hole in the house!

The finished window from the outside

The finished window from the outside

I love it – I can’t wait to get the clawfoot tub, sink, toilet and some hex tile in the upstairs bath. From the placement of the tub you’ll be looking out this window – it’s just like it was meant to be!

Bauer Brothers Salvage haul

We went to Bauer Brothers Salvage for the first time on our way to a birthday party, thinking we would be there for an hour or two tops. We even brought the kids with, which was just silly. It was way too cold in there for them and they clearly didn’t have as much fun as we were having.

We only made it to the first floor out of five floors!

We only made it to the first floor out of five floors!

I kept telling George “Look at those stained glass windows!” and he had zero reaction. We just decided to come back when we had an entire day to look around, when we didn’t have the kids, and to bring the truck and trailer. We can’t wait to go back. We have a gigantic list!

You can find just about anything there...storage, decoration, architectural materials...

You can find just about anything there…storage, decoration, architectural materials…

My favorite part of the trip was seeing super-expensive items that we had purchased on Craigslist for next to nothing. Right when we walked in, there was a cast iron clawfoot tub for $1200. The only difference is we had to clean ours. We also saw the exact same cast iron farmhouse sink we have, for a $1k price tag. This made me really glad we drove all over the state to find rehab materials on Craigslist; it was totally worth our time and gas money.

They had a huge collection of cool knobs and hardware...I WANT

They had a huge collection of cool knobs and hardware…I WANT

We left with two items which was all we could fit in the truck. We bought a buffet for the “pantry” corner and a medicine cabinet for the downstairs bathroom. They were willing to make a deal on the buffet because it had been there since at least 2014 and they wanted it gone. We were actually looking for one with a counter for additional workspace but those were all $1k or more and Ross said he can just split it in the middle to add a countertop and back/sides. I’m not sure when he’s going to have time for that but it was such a deal and the perfect width, so we couldn’t say no!

We need to clean up our buffet a bit but we got a deal on it

We need to clean up our buffet a bit but we got a deal on it

We almost got into a bidding war for the medicine cabinet. A party of three came by and started touching it so I stood closer to it and said it was mine. With a warm smile of course. The Bauer Brothers worker had to come by and haul it so we had to wait, but I put my arm on it possessively. They started asking what we needed it for and who was “doing the work” for us….what a laugh! I pointed at Ross and said “He is!”

#diy = do it yo’ damn self

Our new medicine cabinet from the side

Our new medicine cabinet from the side

We are going to use this in the downstairs bathroom

We are going to use this in the downstairs bathroom

Tips on buying a new furnace

The rental had a gigantic old furnace that was somewhat dangerous to operate. The inspector said he wouldn’t leave it running when no one was home. You know, because our dreams might all go up in smoke. #poof

Our new furnace being installed

Our new furnace being installed

Ross still used it when he was working over there because he doesn’t value his life too much. But obviously we needed a replacement. Ross called around and talked to a few installers and one nice old guy said he was not interested in selling us one or installing, but gave us some pointers from a lifetime of furnacing…he said to stick with a basic model because less moving parts means less opportunity for breakage. He also said never buy used, which was helpful, because there are hella used furnaces on k-bid and we were tempted. We were advised that 80% efficiency is plenty for our house and meant we wouldn’t have to run new pvc venting which is a plus.

Our flashy new Goodman furnace

Ross said the lowest quote was from a small mom-and-pop shop outside of town, which was a difference of about $2k! The furnace alone was only about $600 of that and the remainder was for the privilege of the installer. We went with a new Goodman 80,000 btu’s 80% efficiency natural gas furnace. We can now keep the heat on while we are away so the pipes don’t freeze and so the house doesn’t contract as bad over the winter. Same concept as when my dad keeps the faucet dripping when he leaves for the weekend so his pipes don’t freeze (he has a wood burning boiler).

Goodman 80,000 BTU single-stage blower 80% efficiency furnace

So, in no particular order, here is our advice for purchasing a new furnace:

  • Always buy a new furnace (not used)
  • 80,000 BTUs is plenty for a house similar in size to ours (1400 square feet)
    • Make sure you figure in all of the variables to your space
    • Here is a great furnace sizing calculator to figure out the BTUs you need
  • We chose 80% efficiency so we didn’t have to run new pvc venting
  • 80% efficiency furnace is cheaper than upgrading if you are currently using the same level of efficiency
  •  Don’t pay extra for fancy. Less moving parts means less things that could break.
  • We paid about $600 for the furnace – installation is more
  • Get a lot of different quotes – shop around. We had ours installed by a mom & pop business instead of the big shop in town. The quotes had a $2k difference.

We plan on installing AC this summer. It’s such a bummer to spend money on heat and a/c but it had to be done!

Less boring… are these amazing lights I found…of course our lighting is pretty much all installed as recessed…and we aren’t going to spend $50 on a single light for a house we don’t live in…but I take a break from reality sometimes and this was one of those times – check it:

Crazy for mason jar lights....

Crazy for mason jar lights….

We are in brick mode, because we are working on the brick exterior so I found this lovely exterior shot of brick laid decoratively on the front/underside of stairs. I love this idea but I’m not sure it would look good on our house as our stairs are higher and business-y, not shallow, path-like “landscape/sidewalk” type of stairs. Plus Ross probably won’t let me mess with the stairs….but I love the idea of this!

I would totally credit this but I don't remember where I snapped it :/

I would totally credit this but I don’t remember where I snapped it :/

Finished off the new windows…started off the new year!

We have finally finished off all of the windows, except for the upstairs bathroom [newer larger] window. Ross wants me to show him exactly where I want it centered before he does any work on it. Presumably so I can’t complain about it afterwards. Smart on his part. If you remember from our earlier posts, the upstairs bathroom had a tiny 8” by 8” window which was worthless. We bought a longer window but it’s not much taller because of the slanted roof upstairs. It should let in a lot more light – we also plan to frost it so I need to do some research on diy frosted glass.

This is the crazy small window in the upstairs bathroom

This is the crazy small window in the upstairs bathroom

It is sitting on its side, but this is the longer window we'll be putting in the upstairs bathroom

It is sitting on its side, but this is the longer window we’ll be putting in the upstairs bathroom

We also finished painting the downstairs window white instead of almond. It looks amazing and I’m so excited about the money we saved on windows. Ross took extra time to insulate around them really well. He also had to patch some insulation in where it had been taken out for plumbing and wiring, I’m proud of him for insulating so well for the new owners – some people might take shortcuts on this part but not us!

Downstairs window before painting

Downstairs window before painting

Downstairs window after painting it

Downstairs window after painting it

Ross had to add insulation where it had fallen out

Ross had to add insulation where it had fallen out

Adding insulation in the kitchen ceiling where it had been moved for wiring and plumbing

Ross added a storm window on the kitchen window where one was missing. He trimmed out these windows too and they look sharp! I love the black trim against the white siding and I can’t say it enough.

The exterior of the kitchen windows

The exterior of the kitchen windows

We have been super busy over the holidays and went right into the new year without taking a breather! New year’s eve we hosted a king crab legs meal at our house. It was a little bit more expensive than we expected…we bought 18 pounds of crab, which was ridiculous and we had tons left over. We didn’t want to run out and not have enough for people, but we made about five other dishes to accompany the meal and obviously most people were full by the time we brought out crab. So we have been eating king crab for three days. Not complaining tho.

We bought enough crab legs for each person to eat two pounds!

We bought enough crab legs for each person to eat two pounds!

Cheers to an amazing 2016! Don’t fuck around. Make each day count!!! 🙂