Mar. 24, 2009 at 11:20pm

Color Dilemmas

As the kitchen has been shaping up, we've been moving our attention to the adjoining living room. We bought a new sectional sofa from Posh Home, here in Tacoma. I really like the clean lines, the compact size, and the retro feel. It is a little more blue than I was expecting though. The fabric swatch was accurate, but what looked like a brown dominated tweed really is a blue dominated tweed. We had already painted most of the walls a shade of beige (Benjamin Moore Camouflage) that ended up looking a lot more green than we expected - in some light, it even looks mint green. I've been trying to be less matchy-matchy, but the green and brown and blue has been making me a little nervous about our choices. Here is the sofa on the day that it arrived. (I'm not using that pillow on the sofa, I just tossed it out there to see how it would look.)

So, then, this last weekend, we decided to paint our TV wall a dark taupe that I thought matched the brown in the sofa pretty closely. We knew that we wanted to paint that wall a darker color to camouflage the big black television screen and hopefully make the living room look less long and narrow. We chose Benjamin Moore Roosevelt Taupe and, surprise, it looks like dark green in most light. Rick keeps telling me that it is just paint and we can change it if we really don't like it. But I'd like to give it a little time. I'm also shopping Craigslist and e-Bay for a retro TV stand/cabinet. That piece and a new plant pot should improve that end of the room substantially. Getting the trim installed will make a difference also.

Maybe this room just wants to be green?

These pictures were taken in the bright evening sun (southern exposure). I'll take a few pictures some morning after the trim is installed and also show you the cool end tables we got on Craigslist. Oh, and maybe by then the FLOR rug tiles will be here too!

Do you like our pair of pears? That painting, by local artist Sharon Carr, inspired us throughout our remodeling project.

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Mar. 24, 2009 at 10:53pm

Kitchen Update

I'm kind of embarrassed by how long it has been since I last posted something here! My motivation to be consistent was partially provided by my grandparents, who checked in here regularly to see the progress on the kitchen and to see what I'm up to. But now they are on Facebook (yes! my grandparents are on Facebook!!) and I've kept them updated there. Tonight, though, I was inspired by Anna's blog to give this another go.

The construction on the kitchen is almost done, just a few items remain outstanding. I'll list those below, but first, this is how the kitchen looks now:

We get the most compliments on the backsplash tile. It really is beautiful.

I'm also really enjoying our Craigslist finds, like the dining room table and chairs, that we bought from a nice family in Shelton.

We painted most of the walls in Benjamin Moore Camouflage. We used their zero VOC line and the complete lack of odor was amazing. Rick also spent some of his weekend painting the trim that will be used for baseboard and around the windows. This week our new front door should be installed along with the trim. Also on the 'to do' list, some work for the electricians: a missing dimmer switch, an outlet in our appliance garage that doesn't work, and one of the outside lights that doesn't work. For our cabinets, we are waiting for a glass door for the wine glass storage shelf, a few shelves from another cabinet, some trim and pulls. I was the reason for the delay on the pulls, I just couldn't bear to see holes being drilled in the beautiful cabinet fronts when I wasn't 100% sold on the pulls. After a lot of thought and conversation, Rick convinced me that our choice of pulls would be great and I finally gave the go ahead. The refrigerator door was dented by the floor guys, so that is being replaced in the next few weeks also. I think that is all that is left for the contractor to handle. The work list that is left for me is much longer, but I'll leave that for another entry!



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Feb. 5, 2009 at 11:07am

Two steps forward, one step back

So, it has been about a month since I've posted about the house.

Right now, the kitchen looks like this:

The cabinets are gorgeous. I would recommend Creation Cabinets of Tacoma to anyone. They are

vertical grain fir, which is a fairly local wood and they are FSC, which means that the wood was sustainably harvested.

The marmoleum has been installed but not yet sealed. We didn't get our first choice of color for the marmoleum as it is made in limited batches and our choice was completely sold out. We ended up

with a really nice pattern though, and it may actually be better than our first choice. The new hardwoods are also installed but covered in brown paper until they are finished along with the rest of the hardwoods in the house. So far, the guys from FloorArt have done really good work.

We've had some issues with the drop ceiling that was installed to hide the support beam that could not be removed. The new ceiling is not level, but that did not become apparent until the cabinets were installed. Of course, the framer blames the sheetrock crew, and the sheetrock crew blames the framer. It took over a week to sort out the best way to fix it, which ended up being another couple of applications of hot mud. The owner of the sheetrock company is doing it himself and it looks better already. I'm thinking that he must hate our house, as we asked to have the wall texture re-done and now this ceiling issue. The schedule for the final weeks of the project have been adjusted several times, due to one problem after another, but our general contractor insists that we will still be done by Feb 14.

The latest problem is that the EcoTop counters that we ordered are temporarily unavailable because of a change in ownership negotiation by KlipTech. Supposedly, all deliveries are on hold until the negotiations are finalized. But since we "ordered" these countertops months ago, our contractor was able to talk to Joel and work something out. As it stands now, the counters that were scheduled to be installed yesterday will be installed Saturday morning. I'm skeptical. The guys that are doing the installation are cool and this delay is not their fault. It was fun to watch them do the template.

Yesterday, shingles were installed around the front living room window where the framer (yep, same guy that I think messed up the ceiling) cut back way too much of the original shingles for the window installation. This new guy is doing a lovely job. It looks good. Today he is replacing the shingles on the back of the house, where we moved the back door and window. Then our deck area will look much better and we'll be able to start painting the exterior. Well, maybe when it warms up a little more! Speaking of the deck, doesn't it look fabulous? George Reed-Harmon did a great job on the entire project, including finding the Massarunduba at a reclaimed wood yard in Portland, designing around the house set at a funny angle on our lot, and finishing on schedule.

Today we are also getting our stove vent installed and a portable storage unit delivered. Next week, we need to empty everything out of the house so that all of the floors can be refinished. I was happy to find a local (not a national chain or franchise) supplier for the storage unit. I ordered it from the same company that does the recycling pick up for University Place.  It should be delivered today; we'll see how that goes!

Hopefully I'll be posting in the next few days with pictures of the finished siding, finished countertops, partial appliance installation, our new sink, and new faucets.

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Jan. 20, 2009 at 7:49am

Inauguration Day Begins

Well, it just began for me since I'm not great at getting out of bed in the morning (especially when I spent most of the night on YouTube reviewing Obama speeches and Bush ridiculousness). It is obvious from the news coverage that the festivities were well under way before I got going this morning. 

My friend, Leon, who lives in Iowa, sent me a link to this comic very early this morning.


I am so proud of our new President and First Lady.

It is usually so annoying to me when people talk about the first lady's clothes, but I have to admit that I googled Isabel Toledo when I heard that she designed the beautiful outfit that Mrs. Obama is wearing today.

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Jan. 9, 2009 at 2:30pm

End in sight?

More work has been completed on our kitchen.

Drywall was installed on Dec 27 and was tapped and mudded the next week. The electricians also stopped by to make a few adjustments.


This week, the texture has been applied to the walls and ceilings. Because of the exceptionally damp weather, it took a little longer than usual for each application to dry.

On Monday, the primer will go on the walls and we can move on to the next stage, either Marmoleum or cabinet installation. I'm hoping for Marmoleum so that we can get the washer and dryer out of the living room and back into use! Just having the primer done will be a huge step. Once it is done, we can pull up the mud and dust encrusted paper and do a thorough cleaning. Right now it doesn't matter how much I clean our living areas, the dust just gets tracked right back in by Pandora and us. Speaking of Pandora; she says, "Let me in! Or at least clean this window!"

Oh! And the best development of the last two weeks is that we have a deck in progress! I'll write all about that when it is finished, but here is how it looks right now.


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Dec. 28, 2008 at 8:50pm

Kitchen Progress

So, the kitchen was not finished by Christmas. Not that any of us were holding our breath! However, a lot of progress has been made since my last post. The electrical and mechanical systems have been installed and passed inspections. Framing is complete and passed inspection.The new old floor was removed and the most of the new subfloor has been installed. Insulation was installed last week and also passed inspection.

The snow last week was pretty and did a lovely job of camouflaging the pile of debris in the front yard.

We came back from BC on Saturday to find that some of the sheetrock had been installed. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Maybe it will be complete by Valentine's Day?


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Dec. 9, 2008 at 12:01pm

The Hood Gets Greener

One of our neighbors installed a new roof a few months ago and it is looking fabulous. I don't know what kind of grass they planted up there, but it sure looks healthy.

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Dec. 4, 2008 at 11:13am

Sunshine makes everything look brighter

I'm feeling more optimistic today. The sunshine helps!

Construction progress is still slow, but fairly steady. Our general contractor has been sick in bed since Sunday, but the framer, Dave, has been on-site for at least a few hours each day this week. On Wednesday, the plumbers were here and they completed the plumbing for the laundry room and put in new frost proof outdoor spigots. Dave said that we will be able to hook up the washer and dryer on Friday night, which is a nice surprise. But this means that the electricians need to come out either today or tomorrow and I'm a little skeptical. But it is really nice to see the laundry room wall and some of the new ceiling framed. Because of the beam that needs to remain, there will be a small ceiling box in the kitchen. And the ceiling between there and the laundry wall will be a little lower than the rest of the house. This was already the case, as the ceiling sloped down from the kitchen through the utility room and the powder room. Now the ceiling will be level in that area, rather than sloped. This way the beam will be hidden. It is difficult to describe, but once the ceiling is rocked and the cabinets are installed it should all become clear. Hiding the beam this way was my idea and the cabinet guy said it was a really great solution. We'll see how it turns out!

Yesterday, Dave removed part of the front wall. It is now possible to imagine what the dining room area will look like.
Today Dave is working on completing the ceiling soffit. Hopefully he will have time to also remove the remainder of the old exterior wall.

Last week, I got to visit the cabinet shop and see our cabinets. They are so beautiful! All of the wood is FSC vertical grain fir. Most of it is not stained, just clear coated. It will patina over time and be a bit darker and more amber colored. My sample, that was made in April, is looking gorgeous. The dark piece is the island. 

The back of the house is also shaping up. 
Rick and I plan to build a deck in this area soon. Eventually, the window to the right will also be replaced with french doors, but not as part of this project as we were trying to keep part of our house private and not part of the construction zone. This was only partly successful, since to meet code, new hardwired smoke detectors must be installed in every room.


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Dec. 1, 2008 at 5:05pm

All I want for Christmas is a kitchen

My last entry about our remodel was October 14. I can't believe how little has been accomplished since then. Our general contractor told us recently that we would be done by Christmas. I just don't believe.

The new windows and french doors are installed.

(no the washer and dryer are not hooked up)

But the cool front door that I thought I gave the "go ahead" for, back in May, has not been ordered. So we have a temporary front door. Actually, we have two front doors. See?

Today, Dave put the handles on the french door and framed in the old back door. Tomorrow (cross your fingers, folks) the plumber will be here to put in the pipes for the new washer dryer location (roughly the area of gray insulation).

Dave is scheduled to frame in the new laundry room wall and doorway. Hmm, I wonder if he realizes that the old light fixture (still hot, obviously) is going to be in his way? He also mentioned that he might start demo on the old front wall. Oh, or maybe he'll frame in the ceiling around the beam that can't be removed as planned. He also mentioned that he might start tearing out the rest of the floor. Maybe if he gets here before 11:00 he can work for more than 5 hours. Maybe if he isn't here by 9, I'll start tearing out that front wall. He shared his lunch with me today. I suppose I should be nicer.



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Nov. 18, 2008 at 12:25pm

Tacoma Farmers Market seeks Associate Managers

On November 11, I resigned  from my position as 6th Ave Farmers Market Manager and have started working on documenting the first season for a new manager. I've been trying to keep it quiet; I'm not exactly sure why. I just wanted to be respectful and supportive of the farmers market. But they have posted the position, so I feel okay about telling everyone now.

Resigning was an extraordinarily difficult decision for me, as I was very dedicated to the success of the 6th Ave Farmers Market and really enjoyed working with vendors and members of the 6th Ave community.

If you are interested in applying for the position, it has been posted via Craigslist. My good friend, Kyle, forwarded the link to me just a few minutes ago. It seems that the board has decided to do some restructuring, as the position is listed as Associate Farmers Market Manager and refers to a Market Director. The job description that is located on the Tacoma Farmers Market site says that they are looking for one or more persons. There is an application deadline of Dec 3.

One feedtacoma contributor mentioned to me once that there were a lot of people interested in managing the 6th Ave Farmers Market when the job was originally posted last spring. I hope this is true, that they are still interested, and that the best individuals are hired for these positions.


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Hello! I'm Heather and I'm a bit manic about Tacoma.

I'll probably be blogging about my experiences in Tacoma as they relate to the environment (natural and built), social (in)justice, community building, economic development, bio-diesel, public transit, biking, gardening, home improvement, food & wine, and my little family (me, my husband, one dog, one cat). This is my first attempt at writing a blog - so please bear with me.

Contact: heather.ups@gmail.com

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