Color, Texture, Pattern, and Shine – Vol. 2

Today is moving day (yay!), so this will be a quickie post.  The house isn’t even close to being finished, but our apartment lease is up so our stuff needs to go no matter what!

Skunk wants to know when he can see his new house.


One BIG thing that was completed yesterday was our floors.  As you saw in one of our first posts, the old wrinkled carpet with crumbled padding was the first thing to go once we had the keys in our hands.  For the past 6 weeks, we’ve had nothing but a dark concrete slab to walk on every day:


We’ve had a lot of advice from people on what to put down.  Hardwood, poured terrazzo, you name it.  Our final decision, and this is not going to be popular with a lot of people, is…  carpet.  Yes, we decided to keep with the original intent for the house and go with wall-to-wall carpeting.  When we looked around the house, there were so many hard surfaces — stone, wood paneling…  carpet would add a softness to the place and carry a color and texture element throughout the open living area.  Luckily, we found a carpet that was perfect for what we needed: it’s the same color as the original berber in the house (Jack found a box of original carpet remnants in the attic),


but a low pile (so we can add throw rugs on top if we want) and a funky pattern (to be a bit modern).

So, here’s a sneak peek!  Here are the floors with our brand-new carpeting.


…and a close-up of the carpet, so you can see the pattern.


The funky squares and lines echo the design in our linoleum kitchen floor, and other design elements throughout the house.


We almost didn’t get it, which caused a crazy scramble a few weeks ago.  The original color we’d picked out was on backorder, and the date kept getting pushed until it was out of our timeframe.  Thankfully our amazing carpet company put another color on hold that was almost identical, and were able to squeeze us in to install it the day before we moved in!  Whew!

Enough for now…  time to get rolling so we can move our stuff onto that new carpeting!

It’s been a busy week here at Biohazard Manor.

As I mentioned in our last post, I’ve been working on de-nicotine-ing as much of the house as possible.  A lot of it was removed when we stripped the wallpaper and tore out the carpets…  but there are several surfaces that aren’t getting stripped or painted that we need to scrub down to get rid of the stains and the ashtray smell — mainly the kitchen cabinets, and the wood paneling in the living room and rumpus room.  Nicotine stains are truly amazing, because the stuff practically bakes onto every surface and is next to impossible to remove.  Thank goodness for this cleaner called LA’s Totally Awesome, it’s been a lifesaver because it dissolves the stuff like it’s nothing.  Soap and water barely make a dent, but this spray is genius.  (And you get it at the dollar store, which is even better.)  If you don’t want to see any more freaky nicotine cleaning stuff, skip the next few photos and go down to the next block of text, where you’ll learn about the unexpected construction Jack had to handle this week.

Dressed up to tackle the nicotine and grease in the kitchen!  I took everyone’s advice after the last video and wore gloves and a fumes-blocking mask.  Even with this heavy-duty cleaner, it took 4 hours to clean the kitchen because of the amount of grime.


This is one of the kitchen walls a few seconds after spritzing it with Totally Awesome.  I know, totally nasty!  But it also shows how amazing that cleaner is, that it completely dissolved all that baked-on nicotine and grease with just a few sprays.


And here’s a short video of me cleaning one of the AC vents from the living room.  We thought they were a sort of bronze metal, but nope.  (Again — nicotine sludge.)

Okay, enough grime for one weekend.  Besides all the cleaning, Jack has been super busy dealing with an unexpected issue in the living room.  When we bought the house, we knew from the inspection that there was a little bit of dampness along the baseboards in the corner that joins the living and dining rooms…  so last week, Jack removed the baseboard there to see what was going on.  And he discovered this:


I’ll back up for scale.


Turns out there is a little pipe in there (you can see it in the middle of the photo) that was capped a long time ago, but has been leaking inside that wall for years, rotting away the support beams.  Oh yeah, did I mention that’s a load-bearing wall?  Because it is.  (More on that in a sec.)  So we went from “hmmm, let’s get rid of that moisture” to “OMG we need to rebuild part of a load-bearing wall to keep the house from going *pppfffttt*”.  Thank goodness our contractor was able to fit us in to fix it a few days later…  he cut out that section of the wall, repaired everything inside, and made it like new:


So now we’re a bit poorer, but back on schedule for everything else we have to fix to make this house habitable.

So, let’s go back to this load-bearing wall thing.  When the rotting was uncovered, that little pipe was driving Jack crazy: there’s no bathroom on the other side of the wall, so why was there a pipe in there to begin with?  After much brain-wracking, and an intense study of the architectural plans for the house, he figured it out: our dining room used to actually be the patio!  Which is why that wall is load-bearing — it used to be the outside wall to the house, and that pipe was probably the line for the garden hose. Which MEANS, and it was confirmed by one of the plans Jack found in our stack…  our house wasn’t BUILT in 1957, it was RENOVATED in 1957!  We couldn’t figure out why all the architectural plans said “renovation”, until Jack found what was probably the very first rendering done for the 1957 owners; it showed that our dining room is where the patio used to be, and the cool “rumpus room” and the beautiful big patio off of it, plus half of the kitchen, were add-ons as well.


It looks like the 1957 owners bought a smallish L-shaped rancher, and completely gutted and renovated it into the mid-mod pad it is today.  All the stone exterior, the cool huge windows, the custom kitchen, the entire back of the house, all of it was done as part of a massive rebuild.  Which then begs the question: when was our house ORIGINALLY built?  The county property records list it as 1957, but we now know that’s not the case.  So we’re probably going to have to go in person and dig through hard copy documents to find the actual build date from the 1940s?  1930s?  We shall see!