Monthly Archives: May 2012

Slowly but Surely

So, you’ll recall what the downstairs bathroom looked like before we set out to de-uglify it. Well, here’s a quick photographic progression of the project thus far.

Sink, toilet, mirror, light fixture, tile– out. Adios.


The yellowed 50-year-old thinset that was under the brown tile was actually prettier than the tile itself.

And the hole under the vanity? Gah, we’re still baffled by that decision.


Here’s the tile we chose for the hole. Sold by the square foot at Home Depot, actually cheaper than our tile outlet options.


Naturally, said tile ended up on said hole.


Due to some bad plumbing choices circa 1958, and some emergency-ish plumbing solutions circa Friday, the hole is not centered on the roughed in plumbing for the sink. When you get to cover the rough-in with a vanity, it doesn’t have to be pretty, nor does it have to be centered. Unfortunately, it’s a different thing with a pedestal sink. So:


Yeah, it’s off center. But we’ll live. Just wait until you see where the light fixture lands in all this…

Anywho, the beadboard is in,


the outlet is moved (and will be replaced with a white gfi outlet eventually),


the first coat of paint is up,


and the best part?


Aggie finally got a much (much!) needed bath. After 6 weeks in a splint wrap for a luxated patella (which went on after our Easter trip…and a solid 2 or 3 weeks after her first bath), that sweet face stank something wicked. It was time, let me smell tell ‘ya.

Next? My very handy brother in law will be getting some construction practice by installing the trim, baseboard, and whatever else. I’ll paint the beadboard and all the trim, and do any touch ups on the gray. Then in goes the toilet and the light fixture. Then the sink and all the plumbing and faucet stuff that goes therewith. I’ll frost the window some time soon, and the towel bar and shelf will go in after that. Lots to do, and I can’t wait until it’s done.

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The Best Burger I’ve Ever Eaten

Our first meal from our meat CSA was simple but delicious. It even earned the above accolade from Steve. Obviously it was burgers.

I shaped four thick patties from one pound of the ground beef. I’m sure that if you’re reading this, you must be the kind of person who can appreciate a close up of ground beef.


The fat content was perfect, evident before I ever took a bite.

We grilled them up with my new favorite-for-burgers cheese, the yogurt cheese from Trader Joe’s, and served them up with some tomato and mozzarella salad and oven roasted baby potatoes.

Our first candle Coleman camp lantern lit meal of the summer really warm late May was divine.


I love how the lantern looks like it is casting ethereal beams on a perfect meal. Might as well.


Those burgers *were* the best we’d ever eaten (note: try as we might, neither one up us had room for the second burgers last night, so they became a late Sunday breakfast!). It didn’t hurt that they were slathered with my homemade aioli from the Pat’s Pastured eggs!


I always end up doing a “local roundup” for every meal like this, highlighting the local stuff and from whence it came. So, here’s this meal’s local roundup.
• beef…..Pat’s Pastured CSA
• mozzarella in salad…..Narragansett
Creamery from Munroe Dairy
• oregano in salad…..our garden
• aioli…..Eggs from Pat’s Pastured

I wish I could say that more came from around here and not Trader Joe’s, but a lot of our produce (ie, tomatoes) aren’t ready yet unless you grow it at home (which we don’t….yet).

What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?

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Meat CSA, Volume One

Our first meat CSA pick up was today, and I am SO excited to eat it all. Ok, I guess I’ll share with Steve.

This is what was in the cooler:


Roughly sixteen pounds of locally-raised, organic pastured meat and poultry from Pat’s Pastured in East Greenwich, RI. Don’t forget about the two-dozen beautiful eggs:


I’ll be spending the evening planning menus around…
• two whole 3 lb chickens–6 lb total
• chicken legs, 1.75 lb
• pork rib chops, 1.7 lb
• kielbasa, 1 lb
• pork rack of ribs, 1 lb
• beef shoulder steak, 1 lb
• ground beef, 2 lb
• lamb sausage, 1 lb

Our freezer is comfortably packed…


… I’m hard boiling the eggs we already had, and the weather is perfect for making home made mayonnaise with some of the beautiful new eggs.

Some people have said “wow, that must be so expensive!” In all honesty, no it’s not as cheap as supermarket meat, but it’s really not that bad. I hate revealing how much big purchases were–it’s so gauche–but I should share this. For $650.00, we’ll get 6 deliveries, or $108.00 per month for meat and eggs. Today’s haul (which I expect is par for the meaty course) totaled roughly 15.5 lbs of meat, plus 2 doz eggs. Ignoring the eggs, the meat alone works out to about $7/lb. That’s not too far off from the higher grade meats at the supermarket, yet: the quality and taste is higher and more rich, the animals were able to do animally things outside(and not be stuck in tiny dark cages or herded in giant dark stinky warehouse-like “barns”), and they were raised locally– meaning my money went from my check book to my farmer’s hands 4 miles away. I feel good about that–not “sanctimonious food snob bastard” about it–and we chose to vote with our dollars, so to speak.

**Edit: I did some more math (…my brain hurts) and worked it out to–again, ignoring the eggs–about 17 meals for two. Divide the total $108.00 by 17, you get $6-ish. Divide by two people, it’s $3-ish. Worth. Every. Penny.

Looking forward to cooking and pairing this stuff with our eventual vegetables!

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One “theme room” too far

I’ve mentioned before that we enjoy very subtle themes in rooms. Not “Frank from Trading Spaces chicken theme” rooms, but super subtle things like a loosely surf ‘n turf dining room.

Well, who[m?]ever did the downstairs bathroom before us apparently was a fan of the theme room. I’ll admit, it’s a subtle theme utilizing colors, but it really hits home when you’re, um, sitting there. Any guesses?


Yes, those are yellow walls and indescribable-brown tiles. And yes, that is a bathroom themed bathroom. Yellow brown, brown yellow, you catching my drift? It’s the dream decor of 12 year old boys and/or Jonathan Swift-wannabees everywhere.

The nice thing is everything works. But everything–except the floors–is ugly with a capital awful. So thus begins our first big DIY renovation (let’s pretend we’re Canadian and call it a reno!).

First, a quick tour.

Again, this is the room as you walk in.


And as you are, uh, in there:


It’s a very small little powder room on the first floor, just off the kitchen and side entryway. How small? This small:


Yeah, tiny. It is 6.5′ x 4ish’. And that hackjob of a vanity doesn’t help.

And it was built for people who are either very low to the ground or had much stronger quads than do I. The toilet is low, yo.


And the light fixture, aside from being dated and fugly (I’m seriously running out of ways to say “ugly”), takes a while to warm up. So unless you are settling in to write a novel in there, it’s darkish for most of your visit.

But, you say, there’s a window! There sure is, and it is perpetually covered by this door mat roman shade:


This is a totally unfair picture, actually, because the shade is up. But, being a bathroom, and with the toilet right underneath the window, privacy is nice so the shade is mostly down most of the time. I mean sure, we’ve met our neighbors, but that’s a bit much.

My final but major problem with this room is the fact that when they installed the vanity (or the flooring), they didn’t continue the hardwood floor under the vanity. Because, of course, all the subsequent owners of the home would agree that the vanity could never be removed…..eyeroll.


After touring the house twice before we purchased, we knew that this room was high on our list for a reno. It’s ugly, outdated, and inefficient in terms of space and water usage. And we knew it was a job we could do ourselves in a weekend. So over Memorial Day weekend, We’re diving in. Here’s our list:
• rip out toilet, vanity, mirror, and light fixture
• rip out tile
• remove shade
• paint upper half of wall
• tile the sink hole with Carrara marble
• install 4′ bead board with baseboard and moulding to lower half of wall
• install small pedestal sink and new faucet
• install high efficiency dual flush toilet with a higher height
• install light fixture
• install mirror
• install marble threshold shelf over sink
• install one towel bar
• hang some art
• frost the window

We’re buying all of our materials this weekend, so I can share the wallet damage then. But our initial projections have us coming in safely under $600.00. We shall see!

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Light, camera, blog post

This weekend, we tackled the lighting situation in the kitchen. It was bad before:




(These are obviously pictures from before we bought the house–we didn’t get all new furniture and paint everything blood red since our last post)

Over the workspace, we had a huge white boob light that, frankly, didn’t put out enough light. Gracing the skies over what is meant to be the eat in kitchen area was an awful brown curly victorian looking contractor grade chandelier. Steve and my dad both became well acquainted with the chandelier in the first few visits we had in the house, as they both smacked their heads into it several times each. So as soon as we closed, we zip tied that sucka up to the ceiling and promptly forgot about it. It put out pretty great light out, so it was not high on our list to replace.

I should note that we have zero plans to put a table in that spot, as it really is too small if you want to use the slider, basement, and the pantry. So a chandelier made no sense in that spot.

The last light in that area was a simple flush mount above the window, over the sink, hidden behind a cornice board. After painting that area, we just left the light bulb in the socket and ditched the globe. And again, we fuggudaboutit.

Last weekend’s light fixture project in the dining room was the straw that broke the really ugly camel’s back. I was itching to replace the uglies you can see above. Some light googling (ha!) later, we had two semi flush mount non boob fixtures for the kitchen. And with some medallions thrown in for good measure to hide some wicked haggard looking ceilings, we were in updated transitional style business.


Together, on:


I love that they are pretty traditional but in a more modern finish and with a modern touch–the shade.


They relate well to the dining room fixture.


The sink light was not forgotten. We opted for a mini pendant in the same brushed nickel finish with an opaque white glass shade.


It all looks pretty nice together.


It’s so light and bright now, and a far cry from the blood red bordello kitchen, complete with boobs (apropos for a bordello, non?) and a creepy victorian chandelier.

The two semi flush mount lights were $99 each at Home Depot (the Hampton Bay Gala line), and the pendant parts were like $40 total from Lowes.

Next up? The front door entryway light and the light at the top of the stairs. They’s gotta go, y’all. Them’s ugly.

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