The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity, the majority of the time I have no idea what day or date or time it is. Working nights tends to have that effect on people, you start the shift one day…and end it the next. Add to this the pressure cooker stress of renovation; the accidental discovery of moldy bathroom walls, the backbreaking work of ripping/chiseling up tile, the clouds of dust and mold, the DIRT, the stolen naps in place of regular sleep, not to mention the shuffling of bills and the unexpected expenses (oh, this sink we were going to use just fell apart, guess we’ll have to buy a new one!). The result is that we are all existing in this in-between twilight zone, half in this apartment, half in the house, desperate for progress and yet conscious that if we don’t do things right we are the ones who have to live with it. But we have made progress…really awesome amazing progress.


This picture is not actually of our floor, nor our those our dogs, but this IS a picture of the floor we FINALLY went with. We abandoned the idea of the plywood floor when we did a bit more research and discovered that acoustically plywood is not that great, not to mention the fact that it is easily scratched and dented. We are just not a gentle family, and therefore the plywood wasn’t a good option. We tossed around other ideas; hardwood was cheap but labor intensive, laminate was easy to install but more expensive and couldn’t be refinished, linoleum just wasn’t right for bedroom spaces, carpet traps dirt and was as expensive as the hardwood.

We finally came across some literature on cork; eco-friendly, dampens acoustic noise, is forgiving of scratches and dents and cushions the inevitable tumbles of our wee ones. We contacted the fabulous women of Eco Friendly Flooring in Madison, WI and she walked us through the options. Not only did we come out of that conversation with some lovely unfinished Bambus cork tiles, but we also scored some gorgeous slate for the bathroom tile and received priceless tips on installing both. The flooring arrives today and will be in by the end of this weekend…we hope!

Bathtub Wars

** sigh **

Bathtub wars…

It all started when we examined the old clawfoot tub and declared it unfit for human bathing. My wife had visions of soaking in a clawfoot tub for hours on end, reading and eating snacks and blissing out, and I thought that sounded rather nice too. We checked out Vintage Tub and Bath and agreed that a double slipper tub with an old fashioned telephone faucet would be perfect.

Gorgeous, right? Unfortunately the space we have to fit this tub into is only 60 inches wide, and the smallest double slipper is 61 inches. So then we decided on just a double ended tub.

Somewhere along this path of bathtub negotiation I began to have chest pains, actually I think it was the moment when we got the quote for the tub. My chest pains blossomed into full scale angina when we realized how much work it was to get the old tub out, and when we surveyed the damage BEHIND the old tub. My wife found a guy in Vermont who would refinish the old tub, but unfortunately my father had already claimed the old tub for his space.

For a long, long while it seemed we were at an impasse. Finally, practicality won out when we both agreed we didn’t ever want to have to deal with that moldy, disgusting wall and floor again, and that meant we needed to do a built in tub. We found a gorgeous, affordable acrylic tub, kept the telephone faucet and found a matching sink…celebrating the end of our bathtub wars!

A note on toilets…Did you know you can get a dual flush toilet for less than $100? I also highly recommend reading the first review on this page, never have I heard a toilet praised for it’s ability to handle someone’s “large diameter colon”.

Medium Yellow Sun

In the last post we mentioned milk paint, and after much deliberation and You Tube video watching we decided to milk paint most of the house (except for the bathroom due to moisture concerns). There are premade milk paint mixes you can buy, but at $45 a gallon there was no way we were going to use those.

We found this great video from the Earth Pigments company, and decided to go with their amazingly beautiful pigments, saving over $30 a gallon!

The results are absolutely stunning, Izzie’s room is being painted in vary shades of blue and it looks just like the ocean, not to mention there is absolutely no odor. One note of caution; the first batch we used “room temperature” milk and were unsuccessful at getting our curds and whey to separate. We recommend heating the milk just slightly before adding the vinegar, and make sure to follow the tips on the video! We are also planning on using a finish over the top, one made with either wax or linseed oil, as there can be problems painting existing latex paint with homemade milk paint. A thorough sanding is absolutely necessary! Pics coming soon!!!

Renovation tally:
Demolition/disposal costs: $126 (two large truckloads including all the carpet and old appliances)
Flooring : $2,463 (product only for 850 square feet)
Flooring finish: $346 (for Bona Kemi Traffic HD – an eco friendly product great for cork!)
Bathroom tubs/sinks/toilets: ~ $700
New mattresses for kids rooms: $799
Paint supplies: $74.66 (pigment for 8 gallons of paint) plus cost of vinegar, milk, lime and brushes, an additional $5 a gallon.
$4528.66 – not too shabby for renovating an entire second floor!
We hope you keep reading, there is much more to come!