Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tile Progress

The master bathroom has a good deal of tile on the walls--a giant splash protection for the bathtub.

It is done.
(The floor is a bit wet, thus the uneven grout color.)
The tub will be scooted into place and plumbed this week.
Can't wait!

Moving on to the laundry room.
This room is the unique room of the place.  It houses white cabinetry, blue paint, and stainless shelves and hardware.
I thought it would be a good place to mix up the tile a bit.
I decided to go with this stone and stainless tile.

 I think the scattered stainless tiles look cool here.

Here it is with the grout. I went with a bright white to tie it all together.

 In addition, the kitchen is tiled, though not grouted because I ran out of grout.

To contrast the warm woods and dark granite and to maintain continuity throughout the house--excepting the laundry room, 
the kitchen tile is the white subway tile.
By the way, there will be floating shelves above the white tile there in the corner for everyday dishes.

While I worked on the back splash tile, I got to experience my kitchen view for the first time.
(There is still a plastic film on the exterior of the windows until we can get it painted.)
I am going to LOVE looking out at that every day.

In addition to the tile, the doors and much of the trim has been installed.  Nearly all of the header boards are faulty and had to be reordered, so all of the doors and windows look like bald-headed men.

 They are hemlock and are solid, but carefully hanged doors; they swing easily on their hinges.

Meanwhile, back in my giant shower....a floor starts to go in!

Much to do, much to do . . .

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Giant Shower

 Almost everything in our new house is functional or logical.  I tried to make it beautiful in is functionality, but it has to have a purpose.  One thing that doesn't fit into this formula is the master shower.  Obviously we need a shower, so in that it does have purpose, but no one needs a shower this big or posh.
I was continually feeling guilty about the presumed gluttony of the thing. 
My Justin set me straight, "Emily, the whole rest of the house makes sense.  It is okay to have a little bit of luxury to greet us each morning.  If taking a shower here puts a smile on our face in the mornings, it is okay."
So, we have a giant shower and I am consciously not feeling guilty about it.

It has taken me twice as long to tile as I expected.
We went with white subway tile with a marble basketweave inlay.
The floor is the same marble basketweave.
The shelves are made from the black granite they cut out to make way for the kitchen sink and cooktop.

It measures 4' x 7' x 9' and has four shower heads.
We just asked for two shower heads because Justin likes the peel-your-skin-off spray and I like the gentle rain.  Then, the plumber suggested we would want a handheld head to wash the enormous shower.  Anyway, now there are four.
I know, luxe.
I'm not going to feel guilty.

And the tile is up!
Next is the grout. We chose a light gray to better highlight the individual tiles.
I still need to do another washing, but besides that, here is phase one.

Man, this is a huge shower.
I tiled it, so I never have to clean it.

After the plumbers are done, I'll finish the floor.

On to the back splashes . . . 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


It is so good to be home!

The city is exciting, but I am smitten with our little spot.
And I MISSED my little people.

Monday, April 20, 2015

New York City Part II

We were able to sneak in lots of touristy things between Isaac's ballet things.
We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge--this time after dark.
(Don't worry.  It wasn't late, just dark enough to see the city lights well.)

One "must see" in NYC is a Broadway musical.  We decided to go see On the Town.  
It was a Gene Kelly/Frank Sinatra movie adapted for the stage.
Our single common complaint that the play had too much forced sexuality.
The story was smart and the sex jokes just dumbed it down--easy laughs.  Blah.

But the singing! And the dancing!
It was still money well spent.

Later in the week, we stumbled upon an awesome Frank Sinatra display.  
Look what they had:

Frankie is good, but my heart will always be with Gene.

One place I really wanted to go while in New York this time was The Tonight Show.
They weren't filming the entire week.

My husband made it up to me by taking me to the Manhattan Temple.
It was wonderful and peaceful and quiet.

We went to Chinatown.
That was weird.

And Central Park.
That was lovely.

Last year we rented bikes and rode through the park.  This year, we decided to walk.  There were lots of walking paths where bikes weren't allowed, so we saw a completely different park this year.

Happy Couple
So Alone
 One night, Isaac randomly challenged us to arm wrestling.
Isaac won right arms, Dad won left.
I couldn't win against either of them, even if I cheated and used both arms.

On the last day, we opted to not bother with the barre any longer.  I asked the guys working just a couple of blocks away if we could toss the barre into their dumpster.
They had us put it next to the dumpster to be recycled for cash.  Sounded great to us.  We were awfully glad to be free of that thing! It served Isaac well, but we didn't want to haul it around one more minute.

The night before we were to go home, I still hadn't done any souvenir shopping.  When you leave five children at home, you have to bring something back with you.  Isaac had tickets to the ballet included in his YAGP participant's packet and Justin wanted to take the trip to the top of the Empire State Building. (I'd gone last year and, though it was cool, it was also $32 and I didn't need to see it again so soon.) We decided to divide and conquer.  

I was at Times Square and it was insane.  There was construction on one entire sidewalk, so there was no where for the masses to move.  I walked by the TKTS booth and they were advertising that they still had tickets for An American in Paris (another Gene Kelly master work).  The show was to start in an hour and a crappy seat was cheaper than Justin's ticket up the Empire State Building.  After making sure no one's feelings would be hurt if I went without them, I bought it.

This was a highlight of my week.

Have you ever recommended a movie (or book or dessert) to someone, then experience that thing with them?  I don't know about you, but I always feel this uncomfortable pressure to enjoy it even more--like that will influence my friend's review of the recommendation. I worry that they won't like it, which, ironically, makes it more difficult for me to like it. Does that make any sense?!
(Oh, my poor husband.  Based on that last paragraph, I sound like a wacko.  He puts up with me, nonetheless.)

Anyway, I went to the musical
and I felt no pressure to make sure everyone else was enjoying the entertainment I chose.
I just enjoyed it.

Well, enjoy is such a small adjective for the way I really felt.

I laughed and cried.
I patted my chest and sighed.
I leaned really far forward so I could see the stage.
But, no matter.
It was phenomenal.

This was my text to my mother:
"Mom, I just saw An American in Paris.  
Oh, Mom.  It was magical, transporting, beautiful.
I'm glad my son is in the business of bringing joy and beauty to the world."

Thank you for a fun visit, New York City.
The way things are going, we will probably see you again next year.

Monday, April 13, 2015

New York with a Barre

We were not going to Finals in New York City. No matter what, we weren't going.  Because we didn't have money to pay for new choreography, Isaac's teacher had him learn a contemporary piece she already knew.  It involves a 10 foot barre, but since we weren't going to NYC, it wasn't going to be an issue.

Well, we are in New York.

With a 10 foot barre.

In the taxi with a barre. 
It has been an adventure...getting it on the airplane, finding a taxi that would take us to the hotel, getting it up to the 5th floor (the elevator was too small), then hauling the thing across Manhattan on the sunniest spring day in New York so far this year when EVERYONE in the city was out and about.

And we aren't done moving that thing yet. Joy.
Oh, well. Isaac's dance is memorizing and memorable. I think it was worth it...even if he doesn't make it to the final round.

In other news, we saw Seinfeld's cafe,

The 9/11 Memorial,

And the Statue of Liberty.

Justin's major request was that we visit the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art.  It was thrilling to see the master works by the masters themselves.  Justin was, in his words, enthralled.

A favorite sight was when we entered the Greek and Roman statues. The statues were cool, of course, but I LOVED the scores of people, scattered about, sketching.

One major highlight, of course, is food from the Halal cart.

More to come.......

Friday, April 10, 2015

Wood Floors

So many beautiful things are happening in our house right now.  Doors are in, trim is going up, cabinetry is being finished, tile is being installed and this:

Our "Historic Oak" plank laminate flooring is down.

The floor is covered in construction dust, but still looks alright.
We liked this flooring initially, but decided on it for sure after seeing it at a local parade of homes.  Even with everyone wearing booties, so many floors looked terrible under all the traffic; these looked great.
Everyone knows I need disguising flooring!

Best surprise? My tile is pretty darn flush with the wood. This amateur made a few mistakes, but at least not that one.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Floor Tiles

In the past, I have always used Hardiboard under tile. It was suggested I use ditra this go 'round because it is a better product and is thinner, making the transition between the wood floor more level. 

I watched 200 videos on YouTube and read scores of details on tile guy forums.  It actually does make a lot of sense, the physics, so I went ahead and tackled the project.

After gluing the ditra to the ground with thinset (and letting it dry), 
I prefilled all of the waffling with a different kind of thinset.  It is rather labor intensive and I had just de-kinked my body from the hand and knees position required to do the job, when my toddler came running in to "help."

Don't worry, I fixed it.
The next day, I began on the second half of the floor tile.  
(I'd done the mudroom and laundry room already, but the plumber had neglected to put in a drain for my bathtub so I had to wait for him.)

300 square feet of this charcoal tile--and not big happy-to-cooperate rooms, either.  No, it was a laundry, mudroom, powder room and master bathroom in a continuous run which meant lots of corners, edges, doorways, cubbies and drains.  

I made a few mistakes, but I don't think they will be life changers, just annoying to the tile-setter.  We are going to pretend that every line is perfectly straight and every tile is perfectly level with its neighbor.  If you come to my house, feel free to join right in to that pretend.

I still need to do another washing (the tile is quite a bit darker), but I am finished with the floor tile.
I'm very pleased with how it turned out!


Update:  I keep trying to get a good picture of the tile, but it seems like there is always something big in the a person installing doors, or a stack of ceramic tile for the wall, or a pile of supplies that were moved from this place to that, and so on.  I guess you'll just have to see it piecemeal.

Here is a bit of it with a sneak peak at what was installed yesterday.
So much floor!