Sunday, April 3, 2011

Basement Update

Our winter break project was to replace the carpet in our finished basement. We decided to replace the main living space, half bath, and laundry room with laminate. Our garage door is off of our basement so a lot of dirt/grass gets tracked in. I really wanted a solid surface for ease of cleaning. We want to use this as another living space or potentially a future playroom. It looks kind of blank right now except for cat stuff and exercise equipment, but we'll get there!

I kind of forgot to take before pictures until after we had started ripping out carpet so a lot of these are more like 'during' pictures. We changed out a few lights, replaced smoke detectors, updated the electrical outlets and switches, and painted too.

I did find this picture from a friend's album that showed her dog on our treadmill haha. You can see the blue carpet under the treadmill. Nothing exciting.

More 'during' pictures. You can see the laminate and Quiet Walk in the corner, ready to get put down! We'd also started edging at this point. We painted the main room, hall, and half bath a greige color (Revere Pewter - Benjamin Moore). We wanted to keep things pretty neutral.

Here are some after shots. I took pictures at a bad time of the day so the brightness from the windows was hard to work around. We purchased our laminate from Lumber Liquidators and the color was a light mahogany.

Well at least this shows the color of the floor!

This is the half bath off of the hallway. We need to update the pull string light at some point. We left everything else. The mirror, toilet, and pedestal were in good shape.

For some odd reason this was the way the builders decided to utilize the storage under the stairs. Weird.


In the before pictures you could see exposed pipes that were tacked to the baseboard. I think this bathroom was added at a later point. We found some white moulding that fit over top of the piping. That way it will still be pretty easy to access if we ever need to get to the pipes.

I got my mother-in-law to sew some curtains for behind the toilet. I found this martini fabric on Etsy and they do a good job of concealing the gigantic hole behind the toilet.

Here's another before looking down the hallway. The half bath is on the door to the left and straight forward is my laundry room.

Here was our before of our laundry room. I had started to call to get quotes to see if we could get drywall put up over the concrete walls and to conceal all of the piping. This room is a pretty tight space and our washer and dryer just fit. I was afraid that adding drywall was going to make the room too small. I also realized this was going to be more money than I felt like putting into a laundry room by hiring a contractor.

After. I figured this was a good place to let a little color show :) That's a dog proof litterbox on the rug in case you were wondering what that box was haha.

I decided to put some $9.99 curtains from Target up with a tension rod to hide all of the piping. I added a decal and painted the exposed concrete walls. We've never had water issues so our local Lowes recommended we used DryLok Fast Plug to fill any large holes and we primed with a concrete filler/primer. I think it was Olympic brand. The paint color was Jalapeno Jelly (Valspar).

Looking back down the hallway. My dog is being a photobomber around the corner.

My husband thought this would be a good accessory to slap every time we walked down to the basement :) You can see the color difference in this picture too.

I also decided to replace our lights beside the door today. This is the only picture I could find of the outside of our home. This was our "We just bought a house!" picture.

Here are the new lights and you can also see our new screen door that we added last Fall as well. Another shih tzu photo bomb for ya.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grilled Pizza

This has become one of our favorite meals and we've slowly perfected it to where we can at least get a square pizza now. This takes a little more skill then just popping it in the oven but the grilled taste is so worth it. I've heard other bloggers say this before, but this is the only way I prefer homemade pizza to a restaurant. I took pictures of the steps tonight while we were cooking so that I could relay back our experience in case anyone is interested in trying this out.

I usually make veggie pizzas so while I'm stretching out the dough I get Casey to carmelize onions and peppers in a grill pan on the grill. I use a few turns of olive oil and grill whatever veggies we're using on high until they have good marks and have softened up a little bit.

Brush olive oil on the pizza before placing it on the grill. I like to add a little flavor so I make a spicy garlic oil. This is super simple. Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic and throw it in a saucepan with about 1/3 c. of extra virgin olive oil. Add a few shakes of crushed red pepper if you like it and turn the heat up to medium. Once the garlic starts sizzling, cook for about 1 minute and then remove from the heat.

Use enough dough for one pizza. I use Annie's recipe over at Annie's Eats which makes two pizzas. You can make this recipe and freeze half of the dough for later which is what we had done. If you're freezing the other half just wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in a freezer bag. Place it in the refrigerator the morning you plan to use it and it will be ready by dinner time. Divide your dough (half of Annie's recipe) into two balls. It's much easier to work with small circles on the grill.

Stretch out the dough to form a circle (use a little bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking) and brush the top with the olive oil/garlic mixture. It's definitely easier if you make your individual circles smaller but I got a little carried away with a big circle and it might be why I end up with square pizzas.

Now you'll want to grill the side of the pizza with your oil on it so that it won't stick to the grates. We keep the grill on medium high to high during this process. How you want to get the dough from the counter top to the grill is a personal choice. I've figured out that I like to make my dough on a pizza peel and carry it out to the grill and flip it over with my hands stretching the dough across the grates. You can use tongs, spatulas, etc. Whatever makes things easier. It probably won't look pretty, but that's ok!

Now brush the top with the garlic oil while it's on the grill.

This cooks really quickly (within a few minutes) so keep an eye on the bottom of your pizza. Once it starts to cook on the bottom it's easier to shift it around so that you can keep spots from burning. Once the bottom is cooked, use your tongs and place the pizza on a pizza peel or cutting board with the oil side down and the cooked side up.

Use whatever toppings make you happy and load up your pizza. I use marinara (I love Muir Glen's Cabernet Marinara), grilled veggies, and grated mozzarella.

Once your pizza is ready to go, take it back out to the grill and slide it on so that we can cook the bottom. The pizza is much easier to work with once you've grilled one side.

Grill on high for a few minutes to get the bottom crispy and then move the pizza to the other side of the grill which I put on medium low. Shut the lid for around 4-5 minutes to melt the cheese. You can start the process for the second pizza whenever you have the time. I start stretching out the second one while I'm waiting on the cheese to melt on the first one.


It sounds complicated but after you've done it once it seems much easier. The transfer of the dough to the grill is the hardest part b/c the dough is so soft but once you have that part down you're good to go. My biggest advice is to work with small circles and keep an eye on your crust! Enjoy!

**I'm also aware I haven't blogged in 3 months. I figure by now that if you people still read my blog you know I'm kind of like that friend that you see every now and then and you don't really expect to contact you every week. I'm glad we understand our relationship with each other.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Completed Bathroom!

Just in case you forgot what we were working with here. This honestly all started b/c the toilet needed replacing. I casually mentioned that while we had the toilet up maybe we should replace the lovely blue linoleum. Well, and while we had to rip everything out maybe we should just replace the vanity and so on. You know, when you give a mouse a cookie.

Here's the picture of the other wall again. I was a little too excited to pull the medicine cabinet out of the wall so I don't have any before pictures of it.

Here's the after!

Here is a close up of the pictures of Tuck above the toilet. I got inspired by these shih tzu bath pictures and gave Casey the job of photographer during one of Tuck's baths.

Here's a better look at the sink area. No hole in the wall anymore!

This is one of my favorite parts of the bathroom. We had a faucet like this at our hotel in Maui on our honeymoon and I think of that every time I see it. We ended up purchasing the sink and vanity set separate b/c there were no combos that looked that great in this room. It's kind of hard to see but our tile has reddish tones to it and there's a little bit of that reddish tone in the granite.

New working toilet! This toilet has actual given us trouble from the get go as far as the installation but I think it's finally ok now. I think we'll definitely be replacing the toilet downstairs in the powder room with the one we have in our master bath b/c we've been really happy with that one so far and the installation went much smoother.

There were fixtures that matched the bamboo faucet but they were really more than I wanted to pay. I just could not fathom paying $50 for a toilet paper holder. I found these at Home Depot and the edges actually resemble the bamboo fixtures that we originally wanted but the price was much better.

We're lucky to have linen closets in the guest bath and in our master. I keep all of the towels in here and we have cleaning supplies and medicine cabinet items in our linen closet.

Here's a close up of the floor and our new floor register.

One last shot just because!

The hardest part of this whole project was all of the patch work on the walls. Getting rid of the sexy vanity bulb strip and smoothing the wall to move down to a smaller vanity and mirror was very tedious. Patching the medicine cabinet hole was also tedious b/c there was a lot of applying joint compound, sanding, waiting, and repeating. I purchased a little DeWalt electric sander halfway through this project and I wish I would've had it from the get go. We've already used it again to sand down the doors to accommodate the new floor level. I was worried about going from a 47" vanity to a 30" but I think it gives the room more space and it's just not as overwhelming.

The tile was the easiest part ironically enough b/c that's what we were the most nervous about. Measuring to make sure the tiles were even and cutting was the hardest part of tiling but it was a relatively quick process once we got started.

This was our first big DIY renovating project and it went pretty well. We learned a lot and we got our hands wet in a little bit of plumbing, a lot of tiling, and a little bit of drywall work. Everything always seems much more daunting when you're trying something new but I'm glad we've attempted some of the things we have since we've lived here. It's allowed us to save money and it's given us confidence when it comes to doing other projects.

This has also become a hobby that we really enjoy doing together. Sometimes there are some tense "..but HONEY, I don't think you have the clamp down hard enough", "Well, HONEY if you think you can fit your hand in this space then maybe you should do it" hahaha, but we worked in a tiny space together for weeks and we worked well together.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh Dear

First we had this which was a little out of date. Nice blue flowered linoleum, old sink, broken toilet, 90's bulbs and builder grade mirror.

There was also a medicine cabinet randomly in the side of the wall. They are in both full baths and both of the full baths have vanities and linen closets so the medicine cabinet seemed a little overkill so we jerked it out of the wall. In case you were wondering, Sookie definitely inhabited this room before we started on this project. We want to move her stuff to the basement when it gets warmer.

Then this happened and we noticed there was no junction box where our light was. That sounded safe! But look, the medicine cabinet hole is gone!

I remedied the junction box issue and we put up a new light.

Oh hey, this is what I look like when I'm working on the bathroom or when I'm going out the door to my niece's birthday party when Casey is taking pictures.

Tuck appreciates the sink hole in the wall.

Now the toilet is gone, the linoleum is ripped up, the tiling is done, the painting is done, and the grouting is finished. We need to caulk and put up baseboards and of course the new toilet and vanity. This is a guest bath that we don't use so we're really taking our time and working on it when we can so that we don't get burnt out from the project. I'll show plenty of pics when we're done, don't worry :)