Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lights, mirrors & bamboo

Lots was accomplished today! Eric and Helen spent much of the day installing the under-cabinet lighting in the kitchens together. Eric said he was so glad to be working with her instead of Bruce, who would have made it much more of an ordeal.
Eric also drilled a hole in the 4" bamboo vanity so we could install a faucet. And finally, he tested out the 1/2-bath mirror by making me a photo strip with his ipod app. :)

Natural beauty

Eric and I spent Sunday pre-conditioning and staining the reclaimed wood stairs. We used a natural stain that effectively drew out the color contrast of the wood grain, just like we intended! Monday, Eric and Phil put on the 1st coat of polyurethane, which is toxic stuff, and coat #2 goes on tomorrow.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jupiter II

This is the fixture on our cable track light that will go over our staircase in the 11' ceiling area. It's called Jupiter II by Prima Lighting. We're only buying 3 for now but eventually need 5. So cool! The little eye ball is only about a 4" diameter but with the fins it's about 11" wide.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Our final fan was installed today in the living room, the Minka Aire Artemis. Ooh so pretty! It looks invisible when on (for obvious reasons). Joshua, our plumber dropped off his alcoholic assistant Ricardo today too who fixed a few things and F&#$ed up a few other things, but we do now have hot water in our unit which is huge.

Sounds like my tasks for the weekend involve cleaning, making an IKEA run, installing handles on the kitchen cabs and doing some mudding and sanding.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Progress in the dark

We had one crazy storm at 7am this morning, a lesser one this afternoon and then there was a fire at the Washington Hilton a few blocks away which contributed to power being out on the job site for a while today. Eric actually thought the plumber and his helper worked better in the dark, maybe we are on to something! Here's a picture Eric sent me today of our hot water heater - these are the things that excite us because it means showering can take place!

Here are few more shots of the master bath too, which is really looking great.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reclaimed wood stair

I expected these stairs would take a while but Phil is really inspired by Eric's design and the reclaimed wood itself, so the two of them cranked away on Monday cutting and laying out the wood. Nothing is nailed down but its looks really good set in place. I love the detail on the end of the runs (close up below) and how it will look from the side, the chunky exposed risers & runs, once the doors are built out underneath.

Eric's bathroom

Eric masterminded the design of the half bath. I almost don't want to post pictures and lessen the surprise of seeing it in person! It has a black toilet and really everything else is secondary to that. The flooring is metallic, same stuff that we have in the kitchen. There are glass mirror mosaic tiles behind the toilet and a very cool laquered bamboo sink. Here's an aerial shot. Please disregard blue tape.

Friday, August 6, 2010


We've hated this weed turned tree in the yard next door for so long and today Eric and Phil decided to remove it. Pepco also decided, with no notice and no return phone calls for about 3 weeks, to do our electric heavy-up today. They ran a new service line because our trunk was too small to feed the electric boxes for both units and then convert our service from 1-unit to 2. Amazingly, they do this for free too!

Among other things, Eric, Phil and Cleve mounted both upstairs bath vanities today - pictured here is the one in the master bath. I can't wait to see them in person! We also decided today to call another plumber since Joshua's availability and commitment to our project are unacceptable. He's worked about 4 or 5 half days in the past 3 weeks and we are just done playing games with contractors. I called Kelly Walsh today, also known in Brookland as "the Wench with the Wrench."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hicksville Planing Mill

Eric and Phil picked up the wood at Hicksville Planing Mill this morning in Frederick, MD. Eric says it looks really good with interesting grain, knots and holes. I think Eric's too tired to start building the stairs today, but maybe tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Master bath

Yesterday Eric and Cleve grouted the glass mosaic tile in the master bath. I showed up at the very end to help clean the tiles. Grouting always creates more contrast between tiles and really makes them pop - it's beautiful. Phil finished the baseboard downstairs and did some other tweaks to finish trim - he's the master carpenter of the bunch. Today Cleve cut holes in our vanities for the electric outlets (so we can store our toothbrushes inside, yay!) and mounted them on the wall. They look awesome. I think installing the vanity below will happen very soon, and then I'm definitely moving in! Tomorrow the planed down wood returns to the site and staircase work can begin. Also, Joshua will be back to continue hooking up the plumbing fixtures. Argent is ordering a part for the basement A/C, but besides that, I'm thinking the basement could be pretty much done by the end of this weekend!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Today the Kemco alarm guys were on site wiring up our alarm system and I ordered a basic Verizon phone line for it to run through (to be hooked up tomorrow). Fixing up our security is a high priority before leaving for Europe. I asked Eric if we were going to plug in a phone and use our land line. He thought that would be fun and "novel". Maybe we will get a rotary phone too.

Our plumber worked a 1/2 day today, as usual. Eric has him focusing on the basement and now the hot water heater is hooked up but not wired, because apparently he doesn't know how to do that and we need to get Helen back in. Just to recap, we had wanted to use tankless, gas hot water heaters in both units but it would have cost $10,000 to upgrade our gas line sufficiently. Electric hot water heaters also use a ton of energy so we had to plan our use of amps carefully, but both units have electric tank hot water heaters.

Phil worked on baseboard trim today and also loaded up his truck with our reclaimed joists, which are going to be planed down in Frederick, MD this week and used as the finish material on our staircase. We're going to use a clear matte stain and next to the expresso floors, it's going to be gorgeous!

Here's what the boards will look like when planed down, 100-year old old growth VA pine:

Weekend fun

We had a fun Saturday that started with a trip to the dump to drop off cardboard for recycling, followed by Home Depot, followed by a 2nd trip to Home Depot because I realized we had the wrong type of grout for glass tiles. We started work on the house mid-afternoon and worked until 2am, Eric completing the wood flooring on the 1st floor and sanding some drywall under the stairs, and me grouting the mirror tiles in the 1/2 bath. Everything takes so long! Just for something fun and different on Sunday, we spent the day in Frederick cleaning out a bunch of Eric's old models and files from his mom's garage, since she's moving to Baltimore soon. Ah, the glamorous lives of Terra & Eric! This photo is at the dump and shows off the retro-red interior of Eric's 20-year old Chevy Blazer that has been a lifesaver during construction.