Archive for the 'Home Improvement' Category

New Floors!

We finally did it! When we moved into this house in 2001, we were greeted with brand new builder-grade carpet. It was never our favorite, but it suited our purposes. Over the years, we made improvements here and there, but we knew we wanted to ditch the carpet and get new flooring. The timing had to be right, and there were lots of moving pieces to consider. We’re nothing if not patient. (Heh…when it comes to major projects, that is.) Fast-forward a few years (more like a decade-and-a-half!) and look what we did! WE LOVE IT. The crew we used was fantastic.

This was QUITE the undertaking, though. I keep the place pretty well organized, but even I had things on the floors of closets. All of everything on this main level of the house needed to be sorted, purged, and moved to the lower level of the house.

This was one of our more ambitious projects, but it was worth every pulled muscle!!


We picked something that is waterproof, pet-proof, scratch-proof, and yet it looks just like hardwood. It’s the best of both worlds.

*happy sigh*


The Fort

We’ve upgraded things at The Hotel Rasmussen, and we had fancy-schmancy electronic theatre seating recliners delivered for the Entertainment Room.

With big-ticket items come big boxes.

“I’m going to make Claire a little fort!” my husband declared. “I’ll just use one of the boxes. It will be simple.”

Nothing that man does is simple, so when he got out TWO of the boxes, the hot glue gun, and an exacto knife I wasn’t truly surprised. (The tarp was an addition, because apparently it rains now in Colorado. Who knew?)

Click photos to enlarge.

Fort original location

Claire had a friend over for an all-day playdate, so they were able to play in the fort.

They also took a break, because that can be exhausting.

They also took a break, because playing can be exhausting.

Then, when they discovered raiders on the horizon, they leapt to action.



…so they did with super-soakers. (I then had them water my plants. I’m a practical multi-tasker, if anything.)

I’ll admit, it’s a great fort, but I got tired of it on the deck. So, last night, my two enginerds scoped out new locations.

They found one in the back 40.

They opted to use the natural resources of the area to secure the fort.

They opted to use the natural resources of the area to secure the fort.

The child labor laws have always been lax around these parts.

The child labor laws have always been lax around these parts.

This particular post was installed inside the fort, through the floor, to keep it in place. Worked like a charm!

super cool new fort

It got too dark to take more photos, so I ventured out today to snap some more.

Fort 1

Fort 2

I love it.
I love Claire’s simple, little, tiny fort.

Woodsy Feel of the Fort

It has a woodsy feel.


So, to the rest of the visitors headed to The Hotel Rasmussen this summer? Your Guest House is ready. 😉

Junipers be gone!

Before! (Our day-laborer stood near them for perspective…)

After! Yeah, baby! I should have had Claire stand out there, but I was too exhausted to organize the photo shoot. (Now, we just need to put down some mulch, etc. …after we recuperate from digging out the massive trunks and root systems.)

In the last photo, you’ll see the big rock we found! (It was not in that location.) We also found a flagstone! …and a whiffle ball! …and a golf ball! …and trash from the 1980s.

I’m not going to lie. At one point, we thought the junipers had won. Tenacious doesn’t even come close to describing them.

…but we did it! Yeah!

Curb Appeal

Click on the photos to see more detail, if you wish.

The three of us worked and worked today, and this is the result. I am SO PLEASED with how it turned out! The funny part was the fact that everywhere I wanted to plant a new big plant, there was an even bigger root from our old pine tree. One root was too big to extricate, so we shifted our plans, and burst into laughter when we discovered yet another root! That one was only about 8-inches in diameter, so we got it out. (We didn’t have all day to devote to root removal, and since we could shift, we did. Unlike what happened that other time.)

When we FINALLY got the root removed (which involved the Sawz-all, a chisel, and a sledgehammer), I kept a straight face and said, “You know what? On second thought, I’d like that plant to go over HERE.” The look on my husband’s face was priceless. I let him in on my joke pretty quickly for fear he’d have a stroke.

So what did we plant this time? (This area has a lot of shade, with only the tip of the peninsula getting any real sun during the day.)

What did we plant where? This. This is the proof.

Yes I did take a photo of this so that we’ll remember. You’d be amazed at how many arguments this tactic has solved!

In the first photo, you’ll see off to the right, the flagstone path. Years ago, we lovingly (and painstakingly — you can read about that here and here.) planted yellow iceplant, wooly thyme, and pink chintz in hopes it would fill in between the stones, and it has!

The joy I feel when I see it is indescribable and worth every pulled muscle to get that stuff planted and tended. I can only hope this fills in that way, too!

I love it.

Edited to add, June 1st, 2014:

“Mom!” Claire screeched when she looked out the window this morning. “The flowers we planted yesterday are happy. They’re REALLY happy!” (Two blooms opened today!)

Project Save the Locust sounds nicer than Kill the Evil Pine Tree

Our house was built in 1977.  We’re assuming the landscaping was completed in 1978.  We moved into the house in 2001.  We’ve had a love/hate relationship with the pine tree in front ever since.

It’s not the tree’s fault.  It was planted smack dab in the middle of the 1970’s “Plant Evergreens Way Too Close To The House. What’s The Worst Than Can Happen?” phase of landscaping styles.

It’s a beautiful tree.  It’s too close to the house.  Its needles have ruined everything they touch.  They touch everything.

We have a gorgeous Locust in the front yard as well.  It’s not too close to the house.  It’s too close to the pine tree.  It doesn’t ruin anything, but is dying because of the pine tree.

We finally had enough wiggle room in the budget to face this problem head-on.  I called people and had estimates done.  Shockingly, the price wasn’t nearly as high as we’d feared.  The company we chose was awesome!  (Locals, if you want a referral, let me know!)

Looking back at the timeline for the house, we can add one more date:  June 27, 2012.  The day we had the pine tree removed and the dead parts culled from the Locust.

“Project Save The Locust!” sounds so much nicer than “Project Kill the Evil Pine Tree!”…don’t you think?

This simple fix has changed the whole look of the front yard…in a good way…not to mention the fact that we have so much more light that comes into the main living room upstairs!

Here are just some of the photos I took documenting the event:

And the removal of the pine begins!

It's hard to explain how high up this guy is, even with this picture.

I can see the (new) top of the (old) pine tree from here. Weird.


It's official. I'm a tree hugger.

Long live the Locust!

The New Bench

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bench in the Entryway downstairs?” we said to each other when we moved into this house over 10 years ago.

“Yeah, that would be awesome!” we both agreed.

…but then continued to just line the shoes and boots up against the wall and used a small wooden step stool in the corner as a seat.  I mean, who has time for such projects when you have an entire house to renovate.

Well, it’s no secret that we’re pretty much done with the major projects around here…so look what we finally completed!

The Craftsman Extraordinaire decided to use some of the mahogany he’d purchased for a different project (long, yet common story around these parts…), and he created an awesome hand-crafted built-in bench, complete with shoe and boot storage underneath.  (I think we’re going to get baskets or containers to fit on either end. He may or may not have used the dimensions of some IKEA ones we’ve been eyeing.)

See the rubber stone-like mats?  I got the glamorous job of cutting those to fit.

In sticking with the theme of our entire house, nothing about this project was square. The walls, the corners, the mats: all NOT square.

But we made it work, and I love it!


Sneak Peek at the New Kitchen Floor

Yesterday, installers came and transformed my kitchen into a space I’d never seen before…

…except in my dreams.

I love it.

Yes, we still need to install baseboards (and when we do, I’ll probably do another post just to show off my hubby’s handiwork), but the finish line is in sight!  Nearly 10 years of working on this house is almost behind us.

I wasn’t sure when this day would come.

Last night, my husband looked at me and said, “Is it weird that I want to sleep in here tonight?” to which I replied, “Let me get my pillow!”


It’s like a whole new kitchen!

It’s true! Our old kitchen is gone. The new kitchen has taken its place. All we have left is to get the floor installed. (Date, TBD)

In the meantime, I thought I’d post the photos of our progress. I LOVE the kitchen. LOVE it. I am so happy and amazed by the changes!

It’s amazing what a little paint can do!

And this is where I admit that “a little paint” wasn’t. It wasn’t just a little paint. It was a lot of paint…and blood…and sweat…and tears… I know you’re not supposed to say “never,” but the thought of painting cabinets ever, ever, ever again makes us sick to our stomachs. If we ever move, and the new house “needs a little paint,” I may burst into tears.

They make it look so easy on those HGTV shows. Time-lapse photography and an army of workers gets it done in a flash. That’s just not the case. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we just didn’t really grasp how horrible it would actually be.

We looked at the cost of ripping out the old, gross cabinets and just replacing them and thought it was too expensive. We’ve done so much on this house, what’s one more project? It was terrible. Refinishing them instead of painting them would have been just as bad. Mid-project, we looked at each other and said, “It’s just money.  Let’s rip them out!” …but by then it was too late. We’d invested way too much to give up. We powered through, and I’m so glad we did.

I’m so glad it’s done, and I LOVE IT.


(This was taken in 2008 when we replaced the stove.)


The walls are still Montpelier Olive.  We used Baked Brie on the cabinets.  The countertops look new, but aren’t!  Bonus!

I would have posted photos sooner, but my husband was busy adding little extras to the cabinets for me.  I wanted to post pictures all at once, so there they are!  He does such good work:

Spice Rack!

Hand-made silverware drawer divider! (As with everything else in this house, the drawers are not standard, so none of the dividers on the market actually fit properly.)

Trash and recycling center!

Pull-out drawer for pans and a slidy-drawer for the lids!

This is now a pantry!

Even Fred was happy about the changes, but he wanted to wear a disguise for the photos. Silly Garden Gnome.

Along with the kitchen remodel came a total rearrangement of every item in the cabinets. For almost 10 years, we’ve tried to find the best place to house things. Our cabinets were just awkward.  We were forced to put things where they fit, rather than where they “should” go. We did the best we could, but I’ve never really liked it. After 10 years, I knew where things were, but it never made sense to anyone else.

With the remodel came restructuring, and now things fit in a manageable flow. Things make sense. I still walk across the kitchen to where the trash used to be, but I have yet to throw it in on our food. (The trash wouldn’t fit under the sink, like in a normal house. So, we had it in the tall cabinet. We added shelves, and that is now a pantry, and we added the trash/recycling unit to the cabinet next to the sink. See photos above.)

When we were painting the cupboard doors, they were all off, exposing the items inside. I actually grew fond of this look. Our things looked pretty, and it did wonders in learning where things were. Now that the doors are back on, I’ve remembered where things are. There have only been a couple times I’ve reached for something where it used to be.

Next up will be the installation of a hardwood floor in the kitchen. It’s not a top priority, as we’re just basking in the glory that is a fresh new kitchen. I’ve convinced the other half of my work team that someone else needs to be paid money to install the floor. (We can demo to save that part of the budget, but the installation needs to be someone else’s responsibility.)  He agreed.

In fact, this time, he didn’t even hesitate. 😉

Painting, Painting, Painting, and More Painting

Posting will be light this week, as I’m painting. (If you can’t tell by the title…) 😉

In fact, I painted for 8.5 hours yesterday. (Yes, for real.)

That does not count the hour break I took to eat lunch and go get more paint. This does not count the time I spent painting the cabinet doors on Friday and Saturday or the hours we spent painting on Sunday. Yesterday, I was all alone in the painting arena, but I had help on Sunday.

She did a great job!

Well, my allotted break-time is over.  I’m such a meticulous slow painter that there is no time to stand around here!

In fact, if you stand still long enough around here, you’re likely to be painted with primer, two coats of white and then however many coats of “Baked Brie” it takes to make you look nice on the outside. 🙂

What “DIY” REALLY means to me.

Yes, it’s true! We are in the midst of a “minor” Kitchen Remodel. No, I’m not sure what we were thinking, but it sounded like a good idea at the time…  😉

Over at Mile High Mamas, I wrote about our forays into the wonderful world of DIY. We’ve been doing this for over 9-years now. Can you believe it?

Go check it out!

Comments are closed here, but I’d love to hear what you have to say over there!