Home Improvement

Week 2 of the second bathroom installation!

A little more work has been done by putting up studs (I helped a little with the shorter side):


There wasn’t much room to work, so putting together the shorter side was REALLY difficult for my husband. It kept on falling apart here and there, so we had to improvise and lean the frame on the open door to the basement:


Basement door in the back was open slightly, so the frame was leaning on top of it while I was holding one side and my husband was balancing on a step stool with one foot on the wall to nail the studs from the top.


Bathroom fan will go above toilet. It will have a humidity sensor, so will automatically turn on to keep the room from getting too foggy.

There is some water damage from the upstairs bath, but we’re hoping it’s not too extensive and only the top layer will have to be replaced…but that’s for another renovation, and another post. :)

Plumbing is the next step, stay tuned!

Our house has one bathroom upstairs, and we thought it would be better to have  second one downstairs. My husband has been planning this for several months and now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s a nice time to start tearing things down. Our house is 233 years old, so we learned a lot about how people built their homes way back when.

First thing we noticed was all the odds and ends that held together the walls. You won’t see a lot of nice, even 2x4s, but rather an assortment of wood pieces, whatever pieces could be salvaged and used as support while the main beams of the house were nice and sturdy. See where that red leveler is? That wide plank isn’t a support beam, but was probably used as a surface to nail the inside wall to.


Future site of new bathroom. There was no insulation in these two walls, so I stapled large table cloths over the doorways and pretty much avoided using this room all winter


Drainpipe in corner will be covered with drywall. Doorway will be from the porch. One more layer of flooring to be removed.


View from the porch. To the left of the opening is that framed-out drainpipe, door will go here. Coat closet on the right. Door to the kitchen hidden by hanging coats.

I think he’ll work on this over the weekend again, so I’ll post more pics soon…stay tuned!

November 8, 2011 was our last day living in Hawaii.

My husband and I packed our two cats in their carry-ons, made sure we had their paperwork for the plane, got our luggage and left our 600-square foot apartment in the middle of Honolulu for good.

Bathroom on the left by the TV, kitchen (out of the picture) on the left. Cozy place for two adults and two cats.

Balcony and kitchen. Sammy likes the warm air from the wine fridge. :)

We had been married for about a year and a half and our plan was to purchase a home on Oahu. Though we tried to secure a couple of homes, it just didn’t work out.

We looked at a condo deep in Wahiawa valley:

2 bedroom condo with balcony, about 1,000 sq ft.

A tiny plantation house near Lake Wilson, also in Wahiawa:

Old plantation house w/separate studio, both about 600 sq ft each. See how close you are to your neighbor?

We were also in escrow for about ten months for a house in ‘Ewa Beach, but problems with the title and mortgage company had to be addressed in land court, and that prevented us from taking that last step into ownership.

When it seemed that nothing was working out, we decided to move and find a home elsewhere. We visited my sister and her husband in upstate New York and really loved the area, so that’s where we decided to move the first week of November. For the first 4 months we lived in a studio above a garage in a tiny little town called Deposit.

Our rental car and rental home, about 600 sq ft. of the top floor. Bottom is storage for the owners.

There’s a lot I had to learn about living in a colder climate, like driving in the snow:

My husband didn’t let the lack of a garage stop him from working on the car:

Who needs a garage??!!


Although we started looking at homes while we still were in Hawaii, we were now able to see listed properties in person. There were a few that looked promising, but we happened across a lovely farmhouse that was in a great location and going for a great price!

My husband & the home inspector, Dec. 2011.

After a long wait we finally purchased our home in March and were moved in by April. Along with the beautiful house and property, we also got the lady of the house, Trixie:


We started doing some home improvement projects, both inside and outside:

My outdoor project: stone steps going down to the creek.

Ripping out the old ceiling in the dining room.

My husband working on the plumbing.

But in addition to renovations, we also had a couple of get-togethers:

My husband’s birthday dinner: Thanksgiving in July!

And received our first official guests:

My in-laws visiting from Germany.

New York is great, but I miss my family:

Always lots of food at my parents’ house, especially when my two uncles stop by with their own dishes (pork ribs, smoke meat, poke, sushi, etc.)

and having friends over for dinner:

Christmas Eve dinner with friends at our apartment in Honolulu.

But I prefer the weather and changing seasons in Upstate New York over the daily dose of sunshine. Granted I’ve only lived here for one year, and the first winter experience has been one of the most mild ones in the area, so maybe the lady at the Post Office was right in saying, “After a few years, you’re gonna MISS Hawaii!” I really do love it here, and my husband does, too. The people are nice, the weather is great, we live far enough away from the city to have peace and quiet, but close enough to head into town when we feel like it. :)



We inherited our dining table set from our former neighbors who gave it to us when we moved into our new home (thanks again, guys!) It’s a nice set, and is big enough for six, maybe eight people. One day at JoAnn Fabrics I came across some upholstery fabric in a very cool pattern (remnants bin, additional 50% off!) This would be great for updating our dining chairs, just to give it a personal touch. It has a random/geometric pattern that makes it fun, but not over the top, and the brown in the fabric goes well with the color of the wood.

I love the mix of textures as well as the pattern.

I had my fabric, staple gun, heavy-duty scissors and a screwdriver. This is really easy to do: I unscrewed the seat form the chair frame, put it on my fabric, cut, staple, and screwed it back in. Easy peasy!

The corners are the hardest to do, but just cut away some fabric and fold nicely. You don’t want it too thick, it’ll be harder to screw the seat back in.

The old chairs have a cream colored seat. It was nice, but I felt like something more funky.

Four chairs reupholstered for less than six bucks…awesome! And Trixie likes the new fabric, too.

This is a great project because you can update the look anytime you feel like it, and no sewing involved! BUT…if you notice something, I did a major mistake: TWO of my chairs have the pattern running in the opposite directions! Haha, well, I can either get more fabric or just deal with it. ;) In the meantime, maybe my husband won’t notice, shhhh!!!

Happy Friday, everybody, hope you have a wonderful weekend!


I planned on priming the rest of the kitchen this weekend, but when Sunday came along, I didn’t really feel like it. It was cloudy, windy, warm, rainy, humid…not my favorite weather to be doing much of anything. My husband and I checked out a couple of antique stores–just to see if there were any coffee tables or nightstands we liked–and came home with a nice, old piano bench:

A few nicks and scratches, but I can deal with that. But that cover has got to go!

The cover wasn’t even hinged on, and there were something like 200 staples holding this flimsy fabric to the particle board.

My husband helped me cut two pieces of plywood with the grain of each piece running in opposite directions. I screwed them together before adding the old top, which had some padding.

Saving the old bench top (but ditching the maroon fabric) I now had a super thick bench seat.

A while ago I purchased a remnant of fake leather from JoAnn Fabric, figured I would use it for something, someday:

I stapled the opposite sides first, then went in a clockwise direction and stapled all around, 7 on the long sides, 5 on the short sides.

I folded the corners as neatly as I could (which wasn’t very neat) and cut the extra fabric before stapling them down. And here is the finished product:

This updated white seat cover looks cleaner and can be a traditional or modern look.

The inside is not very neat and clean at the moment!


And here is the finished product in our bedroom:

Though our king-size bed might be too large for this piano bench, it’s the perfect spot for putting on/taking off your shoes, or a perch for our cats.

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