Making an Old Door Work Again

21 12 2015

Check out our video clip below!

You know that the MOST sustainable way to build a building, is not to build at all. Construction is horrible for the environment, and so much perfectly usable stuff gets sent straight to the landfill in favor of something new and shiny. In some cases, this makes sense, but wherever possible, we try to breathe new life into the historic elements of an old home.

Here, we are renovating an 1890s duplex, and we discovered that the original 8 ft. tall door was hiding behind an added screen door frame. So, instead of replacing the door, we worked to keep it. We added a new keyless entry system and a reinforced steel jamb for security. But, as with most renos, nothing goes perfectly the first time. So, as I was walking up to the project house on this day, I found Bethany grinding away on a cold December day, determined to make it work!


 

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Carpet Tile at su Casa?

21 12 2015

Check out our video clip below!

The renovation is getting closer and closer to completion!! It’s very exciting when we start getting to the paint and finishes. One thing we are excited about now is completing the bedroom.

Typically, it’s nice to have a warmer, softer flooring in the bedroom, not only for keeping your toes warm over those cold winter months, but also for some acoustical privacy, because softer fabrics absorb more sound than hard surfaces that reflect sound waves.

Instead of a traditional broadloom carpet, which requires professional installation to get is stretched into place, we are using carpet tiles. You may not be familiar with carpet tiles, but they’ve been used for eons in commercial buildings, like offices. Why is the residential market so slow to catch on to the wonders of carpet tile? I have no clue. But, I’m going to share with you the secret awesomeness of this wonderful product!





Tiling Tips

21 12 2015

Check out our video clip below!

If you know us, you know that we are both uber geeks about planning and being organized. Seriously… our spreadsheets have made love and created tiny spreadsheet babies.

This comes in mighty handy when working on a renovation project, especially when you have helping hands that may not know the project as well as you think you do. So, Bethany decided to share a couple of ‘Life Hacks’ (aka “tips” circa 1998) that might help your project to go a little smoother!





Silly for Schluter

21 12 2015

Check out our video clip below!

Sometimes I think we have too much fun on our projects! Enjoy this ridiculous outtake of Bethany being slap happy after we worked late into the night laying the Schluter Ditra tile backer.

It was our first time using this product, though it’s been around for years. I actually used cement board in the bathroom, because that’s what I’ve always used, but when we fell behind on our renovation schedule, we decided to give this a try to see if it lived up to the hype. In short- we LOVE it!!





Ditching Cement Board

21 12 2015

Check out our video clip below!

If you’ve installed tile in the past, you’ve likely used the traditional method of cutting 1/2″ thick slabs of mesh-embedded cement board, which is heavy, dusty, and difficult to handle. It requires either power tools to cut, or an entire bucket of razor blades. Then you have to drill holes through your backer (and the separate waterproof membrane you installed below it).

After many, many tiling projects, we have finally decided to try out the newer flexible tile backer products. It’s supposed to install much faster, and we needed to make up some time on our project schedule, so we wrenched open our wallets and decided to give it a whirl.

We quickly learn how easy it is to use and install. With no screw holes, greater cushion, and more flexibility to adapt to the unpredictability of old houses, I’m very pleased with the initial results. We will see over time how the cushioned support works to prevent tile cracking in the future. At this point, I don’t think we will be going back to cement board unless we really need that added 1/2″ of floor height, or miss the smell of cement dust in the morning!





Repurposing Wood Lath

21 12 2015

Check out our video clip below!

IMG_1402As part of our historic renovation, we like to salvage and repurpose as much as we can, to divert from the landfill and preserve history. One of our favorite things to do this with is the old wood lath strips that come from demoing a lath and plaster wall.

Here we are showing one example of ways to reuse this material, while also solving another problem that arose when we ripped out the gross carpeting and restored the original hardwood floors below!

We also had a lot of fun using the natural variation in color to draw attention to the threshold where we infilled with lath where we removed the wall.