house post alert: progress report

and here’s a little update of where we’re at! as you can see, pretty much all of the debris is out. we’ve still got some things to take care of, like all of those wires hanging down and the chimney, but it’s moving along.

our future living/dining room
our future kitchen
our master bedroom nook
view from nook into master bedroom and second bedroom (you eventually won’t see it!)


house post alert: what’s coming down?

Blog Demo Plan

and here’s our house! it’s the demolition plan that we’re following. as you can see, it’s currently a duplex configuration. all of those dashed lines? that’s what we’ve been working on taking out. it’s quite a few walls – luckily 90% of them are not load bearing.


house post alert: unpleasant surprises


when doing a renovation you’re bound to come across interesting things in the walls. i found a military dog tag. we also found a slew of old razor blades. why are razor blades in the walls? apartment therapy explains.

we even found some old news papers from 1978 and old t-shirts. will spence was pretty excited about one of them, a kid-sized jerry jeff walker shirt. apparently he is a very big country singer in texas. if you’re down in austin or gruene, texas next march – make sure to check out his annual birthday bash.

however, we did encounter some unpleasant items in the walls.

nick really doesn’t like spiders or snakes – normal stuff, right? i won’t say that i love either of them; however, they don’t bother me so much. luckily we didn’t find any of those. however, we found something that i consider much worse.


my skin crawls just thinking about them. yuck yuck yuck.

we found four of them (that i know about) and luckily(?) they were very dead and had been that way for a long time – essentially mummified. i know that’s supposed to make me feel better, but nothing makes you feel good about finding a rat, let alone four, in your house. twice i encountered them when shoveling debris. i shrieked louder than i ever remember shrieking. then i’d go find nick to dispose of it.

considering i’m not too squeamish about much, i think nick found my reaction slightly baffling and probably a little bit entertaining.

for those of you who are thinking about putting your travel plans on hold, don’t worry. the way that we’re fixing up the house will eliminate the pest problem. rest assured – they’ll be gone. i wouldn’t live there otherwise.

house post alert: demo begins!

a huge thanks goes out to our buddy, Will Spence. he made the drive down the previous weekend to help us take out all of the drywall/plaster. by the end of the weekend, almost all of it was down, including a couple of walls. more thanks goes out to our friends Matt and Bryant. they stopped by on sunday to chip in.

the light shining through the gloom, lighting up our demo expert.

in our house, they did something kind of strange. they put up 1.5×8 foot strips of drywall, then a layer of plaster over the entire thing. on the negative side, it meant that nothing came off in clean sheets like drywall would. on the positive side, it also meant it was easier to demo than plaster on lathe.

there goes the bathroom…
and the kitchen/living room

knitting pattern review: february lady sweater

anytime people see me knitting, their first question tends to be: did your grandmother teach you?

the answer is no. i randomly decided to start knitting on  my own. right after college, i was bored and thought it looked interesting. now, it’s great for when i’m flying. all of those times where you need to turn off your electronics during take-off and landing? no one’s stopping you from knitting.

why this pattern?

well, i saw this pattern and was immediately drawn to the subtle variation of the yarn. even better, the pattern is free. i thought: i have the perfect yarn for this!

the yarn came from argentina. this was back when i was really into knitting. i made nick go with me to the yarn stores in buenos aries. i can only imagine what he was thinking.



if i ever made this pattern again (which i probably won’t – there’s too many other things to make!), i’d go down a physical size or needle size. i made the 37.5 size and it turned out bigger than expected. did i swatch? heck no. so it’s my own fault.

in the end, it was an easy pattern to follow and i think it looks good! it ended up going to my friend Krista. she likes bring things and wears a lot of cardigans. i’m hoping that someday she’ll send me a cute photo of her wearing it (hint hint).

final product: front
final product: front
final product: buttons!
final product: buttons!
final product: back
final product: back

house post alert: why i love craigslist

so, before we could start demo, we needed to get everything out. we posted a washer and dryer set on craigslist. and we ended unloading all of it. it took the guy three trips and 4-5 hours, but we unloaded:

  • 2 washers
  • 2 dryers
  • 2 ranges
  • 2 refrigerators
  • all of the window burglary bars
  • all of the closet hardware (and there was a lot of it)

i think he takes it and either uses the items for parts or recycles items for scrap metal. either way, he got a bunch of stuff for free and we didn’t have to pay to haul it away. i think it was a win-win situation.

that’s the thing about craigslist. you’ll always find someone to take something off your hands – as long as it’s the right price.

house post alert: take care!

so remember when i wrote PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT loud and proud in my last post? let’s talk more about that.

so what do i wear out on site?

  1. jeans
  2. long sleeve shirt
  3. safety glasses
  4. gloves
  5. N95 dust mask
  6. running shoes

seems pretty safe right? you’d think. with an aching arm, i will warn you – it’s not.

it was getting towards the end of demo yesterday (i took the day off to work on the house), and i was finishing the removal of some trim. i took a step back at one point and BAM! nail right through the running shoe. i crossed my fingers and hoped it didn’t break skin.

no such luck…

so, after calling around – i found the local urgent care in my area. they got me pumped up with the Tdap vaccine and out the door in less than half an hour. not exactly the best way to spend my friday evening, but certainly better than the possibility of death.

so. running shoes are not safety wear.

and to provide you with a little eye candy, here’s some more pictures of demo!

bathroom: before
bathroom: before
bathroom: now
bathroom: now
kitchen: before
kitchen: before
kitchen: after
kitchen: after