Greetings from the construction zone!

Well, hello there. It has been a while. Too long, really. This is what happens when you get your wish and your design business grows: sometimes blogs take the back burner. But wait, there’s more.




We did this to our house.





Construction debris




Well not the whole house. But, we did get cracking on the remodel which means this:



1. Our house isn’t pretty anymore. (We’re in the “It has to get worse before it gets better” stage.) In preparation for new floors, all the cute stuff has been banished to the garage, leaving only the essentials (you know:  sofa, coffee table, leopard throw blanket).


2. The slate flooring in the entry has landed in the trash bin (look closely and you can see the outlines of what once was) and our guests are now welcomed to this hot mess. (In reality, not hot at all. In fact, very chilly on the toes which is certainly not a plus during winter.  We decided while the world has its love affair with 12″ x 24″ rectangular tiles–12″ x 12″, so yesteryear; rectangles are the new tile darling–we want to push the porcelain envelope even further and use 24″ x 24″ tiles.



Why, you may ask.  Because 24″ x 24″ seemed to add the right amount of oomph for the eyeballs, whereas the rectangles looked a) too busy and b) too wimpy next to the brawn of the 24″ squares.  However, weeks later I am still making regular trips to the tile store to retrieve samples of dark charcoal tiles that come in this size–who knew 24″ squares would be so hard to find while the world is fixated on rectangles? The poor tile salesman has been working on this for weeks and yet still has only found three tiles that come this large in a dark charcoal color. The one we like best will take three months to produce so we are debating whether it’s worth it to wait so long (the degree of darkness is just one shade deeper and it is the difference of waiting days versus three months) for the tile we prefer. But what is three months of suffering a hypothermic, foot-scuffing entry when the tile we want could offer a lifetime of style?



Entry tile demo




3. The stenciled chevron patio rug tutorial I was going to blog about is about to be unearthed which is a shame because I was going to show you how to determine the correct rug size for your dining table by adding 24″ to each side (or 48″ to the diameter of a round table). And how to tape off the area with painter’s tape and paint the background color of the rug with patio paint like so.





Painting chevron patio rug




Then once the field color dried (two coats may be necessary, depending on the color and condition of the underlying surface), how to plot your chevron pattern with painter’s tape, like this.





Taping stenciled chevron rug





How to use more patio paint in a contrasting color (dark charcoal, in this case) to paint the chevron stripes.





Stencil patio rug





And to paint “fringe” at both ends. (“Fringe” painting courtesy of mom. Thanks, Mom!)






Fringe on painted rug





So you’d end up with a cute, inexpensive outdoor rug that is perfect for areas where leaves drop and you find yourself constantly sweeping, scooping, and swearing at those darn leaves. An area, like this…






Patio with stencil chevron rug





And maybe you’d want to buy one of those outdoor lanterns they sell at Osh for $20 and hang an electrical bulb attached to a socket kit attached to a black cord that fades to the background and lets your light be the star of the show. The addition of marquee lights (best price at Target), wouldn’t hurt, either.






Pergola and lights





But I can’t because now the patio looks like this.












Patio undone





Farewell pergola.






Pergola undone





All because we discovered this….





After a couple of rains blessedly interrupted our steady Santa Barbara drought, our kitchen counter and base cabinets separated from the wall by 1/4″! Eek!





Counter separating from wall




Thus a simple plan of updating doors, windows and floors screeched to a halt because you can’t install hardwood floors in a house that has a slab foundation, is below-grade, and is obviously experiencing a lack-of-proper drainage mega moisture issue without those pretty new floors warping, cupping, and buckling. Certainly not, dear reader.




Even though JB had been so industrious and already ripped up most of our existing carpeting in a moment of “Let’s do this already!”, we must not do this already.





Dining room below. Note the site of the moisture test which confirmed a new retaining wall and drainage were–darn! darn! darn!–necessary.






Dining room floor



Welcome to the exposed slab hall. Check out that bit of carpet peeking out from the doorway on the right. After pulling up the existing baseboard, carpet, pad, and tackstrip, JB had a brainstorm and started to loose-lay the carpet back in place, atop the concrete, which, although not as cushy as carpet over pad, keeps the house warmer, cleaner (not that carpet is clean, but it is certainly cleaner than the exposed slab) and more sound absorbent. No more echoes of, “What is for dinner..ner…ner..ner?”




Carpet demo in hall





All of this is to say that tomorrow the patio which has turned into a cracked and pitted surface with points peaking like colliding continents will be jackhammered into oblivion and replaced with a new, prettier patio. A new retaining wall, which should take care of any future rain trickling down our sloped backyard, will be erected. And gutters a plenty will be going up.





Pitted patio




Which means the remodel can move forward and I’ll have one less excuse for my blogging tardiness! In the meantime, thanks for hanging in there with me and thank you for your patience!





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