On April 15, 2008 we closed on a 1955 Mid-Century Modern home in Merriam, KS that was custom designed by the late Donald R. Hollis of Hollis + Miller Architects. We will be sharing our journey as we update the house to make it our own, while trying to stay as close to the original design as possible.

Monday, April 26, 2010

RIP Master Bathroom and its Pepto Bismol Tub

Deffenbaugh delivered a 30 cu. yd. trash bin to our driveway Friday afternoon.  I was quite excited about the delivery because I knew that things were about to get serious this weekend.

I was very impressed with the delivery guy's skill at unloading the bin.   It only took him one try to place the bin precisely where we wanted it ( I can't even back up in a straight line).

Our big demolition started Saturday morning.  We spent a few hours demolishing the walls, ceiling, and removing the old insulation.

By the time we were done, all we had left was the pink Pepto Bismol tub.    I don't know what the original builders were thinking, maybe it was on sale, or maybe they were color blind.  Whatever the reason for a pink tub (which used to have a 5-gal pink toilet for a partner), it was certainly not something we wanted to live with much longer.

We tried using a 4-lb sledgehammer to break it, but no cigar!!!  So Saturday evening I went to Home Depot and picked up a 16-lb sledgehammer.  I was quite shocked by the size, and I thought for sure we would have to ask one of our neighbors for assistance.

After procrastinating a few hours on Sunday morning, we started tackling the bathtub.  We thought if we drilled a few holes through the tub, the holes would weaken the cast iron making it easier to break.  LD managed to drill a hole and a half, but it took a long time.  So I handed LD the big sledgehammer, the canvas tarp, and crossed my fingers.  The first few blows only took some of the enamel off, but after a few more blows the cast iron actually cracked!  Swinging that sledgehammer sure took its toll on us, so we traded back and forth to give each other a break.  After a couple of hours we had managed to take out over 85% of the tub.

The remaining 15% was still there because we broke two tub drain wrenches trying to remove the tub drain.  So we decided to take a break and go haul some of the brush from our backyard to the bin.  Our neighbor came over to see why we had rented such a large bin, and LD explained that we were gutting our master bathroom.  He went in to take a look, and told us that the brass drain had seized to the pipe, and we could disconnect the pipe further down.  After about 15 minutes of looking for our pipe wrench, LD gave it a shot.  Well there was not much room to maneuver the wrench, so I did what any self-respecting DIY person would do, I brought in the reciprocating saw!  Within seconds (literally), LD managed to cut the pipe and free the rest of the tub.  A few more blows later, and the Pepto Bismol tub was history.

We were lucky in that there was only minimal water damage to the studs, but we will have to replace some of the subfloor.  Then we'll need some plumbing and electrical work done.  I am hoping that the handyman can make it out tomorrow to give us a bid on those items.

With a sense of accomplishment and plenty of room in the dumpster, we turned our attention to the brush pile.

A cardinal decided to nest in our brush pile, so we tried to minimize our disturbance to the nest, and worked around the cardinal family.  However, we still managed to fill the rest of the bin, and our pile has shrunk.

We will have to wait for the chicks to fledge, and a day when we can burn to get rid of what is left.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Fun

In celebration of Spring and the 2nd Anniversary (April 15th-Tax Day) of our house, we had a Spring get together this weekend.  We set up our new hammock on Saturday morning, and the kids had a blast breaking it in.

After picking up after the party this morning, we headed out to Home Depot and ordered the stone for our backsplash.

We are going with a 1 x 3 Grecian white marble.  We were planning on using the marble in the shower, but then we saw some tile that had the look of concrete which we are seriously considering.

After our Home Depot fix, LD talked me into going to the River Market.  We had a good time looking at all the interesting items up for sale.  I was very glad that I was able to talk LD out of this chair with its barrelesque curves and stumpy legs.

She returned the favor, and talked me out of the polar bear baby painting.

I can't believe she didn't like it.  Just look at that adorable face!

We bought a little table that caught my eye.  It looks really nice as a bed side table.

I went back to Home Depot for the second time today to pick up some mulch and potting soil.  Came back to find that LD put some holes in the master bathroom.  Well, there's no turning back now!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tree Clearing, Baseboard Progress, and Grace

Last weekend we finally decided to cut down the tree that was growing outside our master bedroom.  A branch had broken off during a storm, and had been hanging from the wires since we bought the house.  We managed to cut most of it off, but the base of the tree was too big for our little electrical chainsaw.  So we asked our neighbor Don if he could cut down the rest of the tree stump.  He came by on Tuesday, and cut it down for us.  We are very grateful for having such great neighbors in our neighborhood.  LD made Don and his wife a berry-peach cobbler in return.

It took us a couple of weekends, but all the baseboards in our lower level are now done.  It is so nice not staring at the bottom of the drywall anymore!  It was not as easy as we thought.  Walls in a 55 year old home are never square, and floors are not always level.  It's a perfectionist's and amateur's nightmare. 

Now it's time to start working on the baseboards on the top level.  We're going to stain the baseboards, and we have finally selected a stain (Cabot's gunstock).  But we need to decide on the type of wood.  We bought pine, red oak, and ash; the pine is definitely out of the running.  So that leaves the ash and the red oak.  Who would have thought that picking baseboards and installing them would be so difficult? 

It's been 8 years since we had a puppy in the house.  Today, our friends, Jeannette and Rollin, came by to introduce us to the new addition in their family, a beautiful 6-week old black lab puppy named Grace.  I was surprised at how energetic and confident she was at six weeks!  Morgan and Katy did not know what to make of her.  Grace was trying to be playful, but Katy and Morgan were not interested.  When Katy was a puppy, Baine and Morgan pretended she did not exist for three weeks.  They would literary ignore her, but once they decided to accept her into the pack, they became the best of friends and siblings.  Grace tried jumping and biting on Katy, and Katy would run away.  Katy was a holy terror as a puppy.  Her nickname for a long time was Sharky.  What goes around comes around!