Thursday, May 24, 2012

New LVT floors

Today the crew from Northport flooring was back to replace the luxury vinyl tile (LVT). We really liked the style of floor we put down.

This is the Konecto Exotic Woods Bamboo in Caramel.
Apparently, we got a bad batch, because almost immediately, the planks started coming up, like this:

It was most noticeable in the laundry room, but the planks were also starting to come up in D's bathroom as well. Our builder called Northport, and the owner came over and took pictures. A few days later, he called us to say that he would be replacing both floors. He suggested we go with the Armstrong line of LVT instead. We still liked the bamboo look, so we choose National Creations ArborArt, Bamboo Caramel

Two days ago, the replacement planks were delivered so they could acclimate to the house before installation.

The crew arrived promptly at 8:30am, and after laying down lots of drop clothes, got right to work pulling up the old planks.

The other issue we had in our laundry room was the drip pan for our washer. When MAS came back with our right-sized dryer and installed it, they cracked the drip pan.

We've been leaving messages for them to fix it, but to no avail. (We loved MAS for the selection and price of our appliances, but the customer service we've received since then has been frustrating).

I had suggested that the flooring crew work around the washer and dryer, but to their credit, they insisted on replacing the entire floor. They took out the drip pan because it was useless anyway.

Once the drip pan was pulled out, we saw that they didn't seal the drain, either.

They took a break from the laundry room as I was consulting with Todd, our builder.

When I brought our son up to see what was causing all the racket, he was very perplexed to see his toilet in the hallway.

The new floor looks almost exactly like the old...but is nice and flat.

Here you can see the difference between the old floor (far) and new (near). The pattern is exactly the same. The old floor was slightly thicker, and the new floor has a slight texture to it, which makes it less slippery, which is good for me!

After talking to Todd, we decided that I would run to Lowe's for a new drip pan and Northport would install in. We're very grateful for this because that washer and dryer are HEAVY!

The new drain was securely sealed. 

The new drip pan is actually a better fit, and the plastic is much thicker (that is, harder to crack).

They guys finished up at one, an hour sooner than they predicted. They cleaned everything up and vacuumed the new floors, the hallways, the stairs and the entire path to the front door.

D was very excited to check out his "new" bathroom.

And he immediately started getting bathroom back in order. 

He was not as excited to take a nap, but after a short obligatory meltdown, he was asleep within ten minutes. 

It feels good to know that we have the floors replaced. We continue to be grateful for Charis' ongoing help with the last few punch list items. There are still a few little things we've noticed since we've moved in that are getting worked on (that may be our next post), but mostly they are minor, and if we were more handy, we could fix them ourselves. But even with the occasional hiccup, we are so happy that our house is home.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vinegar Dispenser

I have the laundry room on my mind because Northport Flooring dropped up our replacement floor off to acclimate before it's installed on Thursday.

Our current floor is Konecto Exotic Woods Bamboo, in Caramel. We really like it, except that it doesn't stay put:

It's being replaced with Armstrong Empire Bamboo, Caramel, which is almost identical, except that it glues down instead of sticks down. We're very grateful to Northport to making it right.

As I was cleaning out the laundry room today, I got thinking about my big, heavy bottle of vinegar.  

We started using 1/2 cup of vinegar as fabric softener in our washers when I started making my own laundry detergent. (I'm still using up the last bottle upstairs, and have the jar of homemade detergent in the first floor laundry room). I've been trying to figure out an easier way use the vinegar. 

I found this beverage dispenser at Target on the seasonal rack for $5.99.  

Once last time pouring that big bottle.

Instead of buying another measuring cup, I decided to repurpose a bouillon jar. Clearly, I can't draw in a straight line.

I pulled out my sticker letters to make sure no one thinks there's an actual beverage in there.

Now everything is handy to reach, thanks to the deep ICF window sill. 

You can also see the hand towel hung with a command hook so I remember to wipe out the rim of the washer.

It sure is nice having a laundry room upstairs with the bedrooms. However, if we were to do it again, I would have put the washer and dryer in the center of the room instead of against the window. The washer drawer opens to the left, so it's a little awkward at times. Live and learn.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Landscaping: Before

Spring has definitely sprung, and our lawn in over run with natural vegetation. Since xeriscaping is not acceptable in our development, we have been patiently waiting our turn for our landscaper to get started. It looks like things will get started this week. It won't take much to make a big improvement, as shown below, in our "before" pictures.

Shall we take a tour?
The view from across the street.
Slightly to the right. Our rock pile is hidden by weeds.

Beyond the rocks, the right side of the house is pretty sandy.
Same side of the house from the back porch.
View from the back of the lot. 
View from the other side of the lot.
I'm thinking of putting my composter and raised garden under the dining room window.
We're thinking of letting this little area have wildflowers.
Coming back to the front. The really tall weeds to the right are on the neighboring lot.
Future home of our tulip garden.
Almost looks like a lawn, right?

A few highlights:
I have a few clusters of Red Clover. Nice that I already have my purple foliage.

All the thistles have congregated along the side of the driveway.
Still waging war each day with the bird who insists that our newspaper bin should be his home.
Our very sad tree needs some TLC. Good thing our spigots are being installed next week so we can finally water it.
If you look very carefully, you might even find some grass in this collection by the sidewalk.
Stay tuned for the big "after" reveal.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Landscaping Update, and Niels' Veto

I'm dealing with some health issues again so instead of posting during D's nap time, I've been napping, too. Hopefully, I'll have some energy again soon and get caught up with the posts from my last burst of productivity.

In the meantime, we're very excited to be getting ready to put our lawn in. Hopefully, our guy will get started later this week.

As I was researching landscaping ideas, I found this online and asked Niels (the computer guy) what he thought. I'm shocked he vetoed such a green idea.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Repurposing a crib as a magazine rack

The other day, a friend of mine made a Facebook post seeking ideas for what to do with her child's old drop-side crib. (In case you've been out of the crib stage for awhile, it is now illegal to sell or even give away cribs with drop-sides due to safety concerns). Several of her friends posted ideas and one posted a link to this article with several ideas. 

My favorite suggestion was the magazine rack:
I have been planning to pick up a magazine rack at Ikea (oh, Ikea, why can't you be closer?!) or the Container Store. But, since we haven't had a free day or extra money lately, it's been on hold. But the photo above got me thinking.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, our son was in his "lifetime" crib. 

It starts as a crib, then converts to a toddler bed, and then to a full size bed.  (I realized after my two hour trip down memory lane, that of all the thousands of photos I took of my son, I never took a newborn photo of him in his crib. Bummer. I blame it on sleep deprivation).

Now that we're in the new house, D is in his big boy bed.

The two small sides of the crib have been hanging out in the basement. In most of the Pinterest crib magazine racks I saw, people used the long side of the crib for their racks. Since we'll be needed that for D's bed for the foreseeable future, I decided the short side would work out just fine.

Yep, that'll work. 

It didn't take long for me to remember the losing battle we have fought over the last three years with the milk stains on the wood.

They didn't really matter, since I was planning to cover the slats with magazines, but I had just heard of a new solution so I decided to give it a shot. 

Add boiling hot water to a squirt or two of dish soap. Our soap dispenser and insta hot made this very easy.

Next, swish the water around until it makes lots of foamy bubbles.

Dip a dry cloth in ONLY the foam and wipe away.

Wow! It worked!

I could have saved myself three years of cleaning frustration if I had known this trick.

I used a little goop-be-gone to get rid of the safety sticker since it's pretty unlikely that we'll use this set as a crib again, or that I'll forget the safety tip about bumpers and other items with an infant.

The smaller size works well with water closet.

I started out with the magazines in our bedroom. Do you see a theme?

So, for the bargain price of nothing, I was able to put in a magazine rack like we wanted without a trip to Ikea (saving lots of gas money!), and I even decluttered a little of the basement.

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