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Showing posts from 2015

Award from Montclair Historic Preservation Commission

Our lovely porch restoration has won an award from the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission for Brick and Mortar Preservation project in the residential category.

We are very honored. Here is the story in Baristanet.

And here is the photo of the porch.

The awards ceremony is on Thursday, November 19. We hope to see you all there.

Kids Bath: DONE!

This is the panoramic photo of the room. Not my best attempt at it, but, hey, it's done. We can have our bathroom back.

Kids Bath: Electrical - DONE

Electrical - DONE, TOO! Yay!

However, he opened a hole in the wall in the wrong place above the mirror, so now that needs to be patched up tomorrow. That means an extra day tacked on. We really wanted it to be finished tomorrow. We are already 4 days over schedule. Ugh.

I. Need. This. Job. To. End.

Kids Bath: Plumbing - DONE

Yes, sir. Everything installed and ready to go.

We've had some water pressure issues due to construction. Apparently, since our valves are pretty old, due to them being opened and closed so many times in the last weeks, we may have disturbed the sediment or even jeopardized the quality of the valves, including the pressure reducing valve. Sigh. I just started seeing dollar signs.

Luckily, after a thorough investigation, it turns out that was not the problem. Thank God. The air that was in the pipes actually detached supply lines to some of the toilets, which in turned had for a result low water levels. The plumber reattached them back, and, yes, I'll say this again, thank God, we didn't have to fiddle with the main valves any more. Phew.

Kids Bath: Shower Caddy

The grout is in, and this little baby is done. I have to admit, at first I was a little skeptical how it will turn out, but it really looks great. We used one 12x12 tile to create 2 shelves: the bottom for soap or short bottles, razors, and whatnots, and the top shelf for shampoo/conditioner/body wash bottles.

The bottom shelf has a slight pitch, to improve drainage. At first, I was not really sure that I would be able to match the color of the marble tile to the color of the vanity marble, but, again, it all worked out. Huge thanks to our carpenter Charlie who suggested it. I hate looking at bottles all over the tub. And I hate even more not having any other place to put them.

Also huge thanks to our tile guy, Don, who worked tirelessly for almost three weeks. He worked long days, and made sure that everything was done to the best of his ability. He said that the tiles, especially the floor, were of such good quality, he wanted to do them justice. So, thanks Don.

Home stretch. Almos…

Kids Bath: Floor Tile, Final


Just lovely. And it works really well with the Dove Grey double sink vanity. More photos soon.

Kids Bath: Floor Tile

With the shower enclosure finished, we have moved to the floor. We are using Walker Zanger marble penny tile from the Tribeca collection in Flatiron Gray, accents in Black pennies, from the same collection. The base molding will be Boulevard, in same color.

Here is the preview, before the grout is in. Beautiful, right? I love the natural color/shade variations.

Kids Bath: Tile Work, continued

The shower enclosure is almost finished. The architect had a specific idea on how he wanted the tiles laid out, to create interest, since just having subway layout would be a little boring. I have to say he was right. It really does look "different", and certainly timeless.

Really looking forward to the final results.

Kids Bath: Tile Work

The time has come to start laying the tile. First the shower enclosure.

We chose the 3x6 white subway tile by Dahl. It will be laid in the classic subway pattern. On the right side, we will build a small cubby for shampoos and soaps. The shelf will be from the carrera marble, to match the cabinet. Wish us luck.


So, you know when your contractor is working on the bathroom, and then he trips and his feet fall through your kitchen ceiling? That.

Kids Bath: Electrical

You may wonder why I haven't had a post about the electrical work so far. Well, the answer is simple: I can't find the photo I took of the knob and tube wiring. Ha!

In any case, yes, everything had to be replaced. And, yes, the electrician was shocked how none of it caught on fire, especially the built-in electrical heater. We wonder that too.

The new bathroom will have:
shower lightfan over the toiletsconce near the toilet2 lights over the large mirror 2 electrical outletsand a towel warmer (one of our 2 splurges) We were considering doing some recessed lighting in the bathroom, but decided against it. We have it in the master bathroom. And the only reason we do is because the ceiling there seems so much lower, probably because of the floor to ceiling tile all around. I believe this new bathroom will look amazing with the lights the kids picked. Photos coming soon.

Kids Bath: Sheetrock

Here we go. Ceiling is in, and the sofit is next.

These two photos are from the end of the day. You can now see the bathroom taking shape. The tub enclosure has a cement board, which is specific for wet areas and tile installation. It has superior waterproofing, though our tile installer said that if the water is reaching the cement board, he hasn't done his job right. Here's hoping for the best case scenario.

Kids Bath: Framing

Now that we passed both structural/engineering (fire), a well as electrical and plumbing inspection, it is time to start framing the new tub enclosure. The photos are a little dark, as I took them at dusk, but I hope you get the idea. It will be clearer once the sheet-rock is up in the next day or two.
As part of framing, we've also sistered all the beams and most of the joists in the floor, as well as the left wall. It would appear that as bathrooms were being renovated, several cabinets have been installed in that wall, and they just kept cutting the joists, without providing additional support. Well, it's sturdy now. And sound proof.

Kids Bath: Plumbing

What you see in the photo above are the old cast iron pipes from the drain and the main stack, as well as galvanized steel for sink drain, and copper that was water supply. All of those are being replaced, and you can see in the photo bellow the new PVC main stack.

One interesting thing a plumber asked us was if we ever had an issue with pipes freezing in winter. We haven't. Apparently, we were very lucky. The copper supply pipes were in the outside wall, and there was no insulation. We are now making sure that EVERYTHING is insulated. Including the interior walls between the rooms. Just in case.

Kids Bath: Demolition Time

It is finally here: demolition time. One of the complicated things about this job is that we wanted a gut renovation, since we wanted to make sure all the structural, plumbing, and electrical work was done properly, to code, and using the newest and best materials. And we don't believe in shortcuts.

Apparently, not everyone feels the same. During the gutting, we discovered many things:
1. The white bathroom we used was done somewhere in the 50s.
2. Underneath the white bathroom was another bathroom, a green, black, and gold. The walls were wallpapered in very pretty gold, and the tile was small hex, green with black edges. It must have been very pretty. We believe this was done some time in the 20s.
3. Under the green bathroom was another bathroom. This one had wood flooring and gray plaster walls. We believe this was done when the house was moved to this location.
4. We discovered that the ceiling was dropped when the bathroom was done in the 50s, so we gained another 10 inches …

Landscaping: Master Plan

Over the last several years, we tried to spend as much time as possible in our backyard. This task seemed very difficult, especially once the summer heat really kicked in, because of the mosquitoes. They were just about impossible to control. We tried everything: sprays, sticks, zappers, nothing worked. As a last ditch effort, we got the Mosquito Magnet. And, it worked. Not perfectly, but it made being outdoors bearable. So much so, that we are again thinking about how to improve our backyard.

This is where Jennifer Bakshi, our neighbor and landscape architect comes in. We have commissioned her to create a master landscaping plan, one that will enhance our outdoor spaces, and compliment the grandeur of the house. This is the final product:

We are very excited with some of the solutions she presented us with, and are looking forward to implementing them.

New Year, New Project

Finally, finally, the plans are done, and we are boldly undertaking the renovation of the bathrooms. Well, bathroom. Gut jobs are expensive, man... We had a budget in mind that included full renovation of 2 bathrooms, staggered over the period of 3 months. Unfortunately, it would appear it was completely unreasonable. We were short, like, 20 grand. Crazy.

In any event, the kids bathroom HAD to be done, as both the sink and the tub just stopped working, so we finalized the plans and submitted them to the permit department. Wish us luck.

Join us!

Cause that's how we roll!

Bringing the Montclair Pop-Up goodness to the Montclair Farmers' Market.

For detailed schedule, please visit our Facebook page.

When all else fails...

Light a fire, and open a bottle. I hear this winter may come to an end. Not today.

Snow. Again.

So, yeah, this

Enjoying the winter?

Today at Edgemont Memorial Park. The pond is frozen solid and open for skating.

Also, pretty awesome for making moonscapes.

By the way, welcome back. And Happy New 2015!