Our Biggest Fan.


Well it took a couple of days and some monkey-like rafter swinging but we got our ceiling fan installed in the bedroom. And just in time for the hot weather! Sadie smiles and says “fayun!” whenever she looks up and sees it.


This is not a test. The photos you see here are REAL. This is our actual bath tub. With tile. Not concrete backerboard. We have been taking showers now for nearly a month and it is blissful. Especially for this 7-months pregnant lady.

Lest anyone forget how far we’ve come at Casa Dos Gatos, let’s take a look at the evolution of Sadie’s room. All of the following photos were taken from the same angle:

Sadie’s room as it was the first time we saw it:

First glimpse of Sadie's room

After the previous owner moved her stuff out:

The carpet was soaked in cat pee.


New window (sized for egress) and closet wall. Floor not yet laid.

And now, one little step from completion (fabric roller shades):

Wow. We've come a long way!

Nick’s dad, Grampa Luke, flew out for a week-long visit and we had a trim party. He and Nick caulked, spackled, sanded and painted all the trim in Sadie’s room and our living room. It was a lot of work, hindered somewhat by the gloomy weather we had for the first few days of Luke’s trip. But the end result is phenomenal, as you can see here in Sadie’s room:

Next up: some fabric roller shades I plan to make out of this Amy Butler fabric.

Spring Cleaning

We’re finally getting to the point where cleaning is actually just normal cleaning, not a retroactive major clean-up of leftover construction dust or months-neglected debris from the renovation. The house is really starting to feel sort of finished. There are lots of little projects left to do, like sanding, caulking and painting all the trim, but we’ve taken care of some of the major eyesores.

Nick cleared out the sleep loft–took all the boxes and bins we were storing up there down to the basement storage heap instead. Then he scraped up all the spray-foam insulation that was stuck to the plywood floor of the loft. We plan on laying down the ash wood we never used for Sadie’s room up here to give the loft a finished feel. Our house is so small that hosting guests without a dedicated guest space could be difficult, so we’re hoping guests won’t mind sleeping in the loft. Currently, it can only be reached by a rickety old painter’s ladder. We searched online for a ship’s ladder, which would be perfect, but discovered that they cost several hundred dollars, even when you buy used ones. So we asked our neighbor, carpenter Ben, if he could make us one, but he doesn’t have time since he and his wife started their catering business (helpful plug: Bazkari Catering). Nick’s dad is coming next week for a visit, and we’re going to give him the choice of climbing up to the loft and sleeping on a futon mattress or camping out in the library/sewing room/kids’ room on an air mattress.

The other little job involved finally putting up our bathroom shelves. Slowly but surely, we’re making progress. The latest on the bathroom tile is that contractor Ben won’t get a chance to work with the tile mason until sometime after May 5, when he gets back from visiting his fiance in India. So, we’re still roughing it to a degree, but more and more it’s feeling like home. I think the longer daylight hours definitely help. I can actually see when I get home from work, so I feel motivated to work on projects or clean things up instead of letting things pile up until the weekend.

And finally, our little spell of warm weather got me thinking about plants. My mom and I went to the garden show a couple of weekends ago, and then,  since I don’t know a hydrangea from a watering can, I went to the library to check out books on plants and gardening. I’d like to get a dozen plants for the deck to give it more the feel of a plein air room than a deck, so it’s a place we’ll wander in and out of like any other room in the house. In particular, we want to get a trellis with climbing vines of some sort to park right in front of the wall of the neighboring condo building so we aren’t looking at plain green siding all summer. Some flower boxes for the railings, a few pieces of outdoor furniture, and voila, we’ll have our little piece of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, we’re supposed to wake up to snow tomorrow morning, so I have no idea when any of the planting and landscaping is actually going to happen.

First, some renovation news: our tile order won’t be coming in until April 12. That means we won’t have a tiled tub surround until probably the middle of April, at the earliest, which means we will have been without a shower for nearly 6 months when all is said and done. Sort of incredible, if you think about it. But we’re just not going to think about it.

And, on another note altogether, we have some much happier, bigger news: Two Cats is gaining a new family member. No, not another cat (or chihuahua). I am pregnant with baby #2! We are expecting our little bundle in early August.

It’s funny, when we first moved in, I remember feeling totally drained and had zero motivation for doing anything around the house. I think I even told a friend that I felt like a mother who had given birth and then shunned her needy baby. Well, turns out I was onto something. We’re pretty sure I conceived about two weeks after we moved in, and shortly after that my motivation and energy levels plummeted. I thought I was just exhausted from the energy expended from packing up the old apartment and moving, which I”m sure contributed to my malaise, but with pregnancy hormones raging, I never quite recovered from the move, and was pretty much catatonic for the last two months of 2009. I’m four months along now and feeling much better–less tired, less nauseous, and feeling like less of a bump on a log.

Our little house might start to feel a lot smaller with two kids running around, but we’re ready. We have enough friends in New York living with children in apartments to know that you can raise happy kids in small spaces. I think it’s going to come down to being super efficient and organized, purging even more of our stuff, and getting really good at creating storage niches and building shelves. And, of course, I still hang on to the dream of buying a piece of the Horseman’s yard. Being able to fling open the door and run outside is a great feeling for a kid, and I hope ours can have that someday.

Subway Tiles

Nick had today (Saturday) off, so he, Sadie, Ben P and I all went tile shopping. In case we didn’t tell you already, Ben has gifted us with a tub tile surround. He has hired a professional tile mason to do the work and spent 4 hours today helping us pick out tile as 3 different home stores here in Portland.

Originally, we were planning on using some recycled glass mosaic tile we found online. It was a pale greenish-blue color, and we were pretty happy with it. But after the tile mason came over to spec out the bathroom, he suggested to Ben that we really look at some local places before buying tile online. He said there’s a chance the tile can arrive cracked, or have inconsistencies in the color. So, Ben set up some appointments for us at Old Port Specialty Tile, Paul White Interiors, and Capozza Tile.

Since Nick and I both tend to be pretty DIY and self-directed (read: stubborn and unlikely to listen to advice) , I didn’t have a lot of faith that a tile salesperson would be able to help us figure out what we wanted. But at Capozza, we hit the jackpot. Our saleswoman was extremely helpful and pointed us towards some beautiful, oversized, glazed Italian subway tile we’d never seen before. We decided to go with an aqua for the majority of the  surround, which will be accented with a row of rectangular vertical mosaic tile in white, greens and blues.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the tile company and have scoured the web trying to find it, but the closest I can find is this image. Picture the color in a very soft aqua and that’s what it basically looks like. We can’t wait! Ben is going to Panama for two weeks, and he wants to learn from the tile mason, so they’ll be doing the installation when Ben gets back in March. We can’t wait.