Thursday, April 30, 2009

Powder Room Completed

Renovations to our powder room are now complete and let me take this opportunity to post some pictures.

Before: Huge bulky toilet tank, gold fixtures

After: brushed silver / nickel finish, more modern fixtures

I like it.

The total cost came to just under $300 and I lost count of the amount of time that we actually spent working on this - not to mention the numerous trips to Home Depot to get supplies that we didn't know we needed (mostly, these were water supply connectors to replace the old ones that turned out to be the wrong length when we replaced the faucet and the toilet tank).

Granted, the toilet tank replacement was unplanned - I accidentally broke it - and the bulk of the expense was really the faucet and the lights. I'm still not sure if the end result is worth the cost but I do like our "new" bathroom and it has a Zen-like feel to it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

You know you're having a bad day when...

... after weeks of discussions (during which I strongly urged and encouraged my uncle to just look for a local supplier in Manila), I finally put in the order for bathroom light and exhaust fans totalling $1300 for my uncle.

... that it's been a week since the order was sent in and confirmed and that the products were shipped out.

... that we are expecting the products to be delivered tomorrow to my sister's house and upon receipt, she's ready to put them in shipping boxes to be sent out to Manila.

and today, my brother logs on to YM and asks "pinapatanong pala ni Uncle J kung pwede pa i cancel yung order ? may nahanap yata siyang local supplier eh."


I replied, "NO."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Murphy strikes

Things have been going smoothly so far as our DIY home improvement goes so I guess it was about time that we started getting disappointed - after all, Mr Murphy is bound to strike sooner or later.

This was what our powder room used to look like, notice the finish on the walls (applied using the sponge technique). All the bath fixtures were bright gold and all this looks so dated. Notice also that the mirror is slightly off center and that the mirror clips are not symmetrical. We planned to address all these for this project.

So we started painting the walls, took off the ugly old fixtures and replaced them with something more modern. This was when we discovered a few things.

(1) that the wall attachment plates that came with these new light sconces did not fit the electric receptacles that were installed. Eventually, we McGyvered our way around that by picking up bits and pieces that we had left over from previous projects and from the scones that we had just removed.

Took 2 hrs to figure out and install the first one and another 20 minutes to install the 2nd one.

These lights look really good when lit.

(2) that the mirror IS stuck to the wall, took off all 4 clips and the mirror stuck to the wall so there was nothing we can do about it (w/o running the risk of breaking it). That mirror is there to stay and short of replacing that, there's no straightening it or fixing its position.

(3) that the walls are NOT smooth at all. In fact, they're pock marked as seen in the picture, this must be why the previous owner painted the wall in that fashion - the textured finish disguised the flaws on the walls.

This portion of the wall in the picture isn't the worst of it, this was just the clearest that came out of the pictures I took.

I have convinced myself that I can live with this because I don't spend a lot of time in *this* bathroom anyway and besides, I can always stare at the new light sconces beside the mirror.

(4) the worst part ? while I was getting ready to replace the toilet tank lever, I heard a distinct *craaaaack* sound and water started gushing out like a waterfall. Check out the hairline fracture that starts off from the gold lever.

I should have emptied the tank before attempting to replace the lever and I should've turned the water supply off.

Let's just say that this did not make my day.

Now, we have to replace the entire toilet tank. Sigh. Hopefully, the fittings are universal and that the colors are generic and easily matched so we wouldn't have to replace the toilet seat as well because replacing the seat might mean replacing the floor tiles altogether. I dread this cascading domino effect.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

DIY Updates

The past several days have been very busy for hubby and me - as evidenced by the bunch of DIY posts and pictures which I have posted recently.

The living room / hallway painting is mostly done, all that's left over is the trim and the closet doors.

All the electrical switches have been replaced by decorator-style switches:

and all the outlets have been replaced with matching ones as well:

I started prepping to replace the kitchen light last night but was sorely disappointed when we opened the box of the new light fixture that we bought and found that the frosted glass dome was damaged. Hubby has to return this to the store tonight and get a replacement.

I'm not posting any pictures of the living room yet as the place is still a mess. I'm hoping that we finish refurbishing the powder room soon so that we can get on with the trim & the cabinet doors. Only then will we be able to completely clean up the room and put away the tools, paint cans & trays, boxes and bags of supplies.

I'm not even going to look at this month's credit card bill. All these little purchases (paint, new wall plates, switches and outlets, light fixtures, hardware for the powder room) didn't seem to be much at the time that we're buying them but I'm not ready for a heart attack just yet.

I'm thinking that we saved a lot by doing the work ourselves and I can't wait to see the final tally.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dishwasher Rack Part 2

Thanks to these wonderful products - vinyl paint & vinyl caps - our dishwasher rack is now without the rusty bubbles.

Granted, if you look closely, you should be able to find the patches of new paint because it does not exactly match the original color. But this is so much better than letting the rust build and eventually eat up the rack.

The only complaint I have about the vinyl paint is that it dries up fairly quickly but this small bottle, which I originally thought is too small, has more then enough paint to fix the rusty portions of our racks (which isn't really a lot to start with).

This is how our rack looks now. Not too shabby. Check out the caps that we glued (glued using vinyl paint) onto the tines. Our next job is to attach the remaining caps onto the tines on the top rack.

Vinyl Paint with 130 caps = $19.99 (you have the option of buying just the paint or have different choices on the number of caps that it comes with and this comes in white, gray or blue).

LocTite Rust Neutralizer = $5.99

Total Cost = $25.98

A replacement rack costs more than $100 each.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dishwasher Rack Part 1

We decided to tackle the dishwasher rack tonight, it was starting to rust up in places - indicated by bubbles in the vinyl - and when hubby scraped off the vinyl, this was what was underneath.


We had purchased the repair tools we needed earlier - rust neutralizer, vinyl caps for the tines, and vinyl paint - so we were ready. We wanted to do this sooner than later because we decided to stop using the dishwasher (until we can fix it) when we bought the supplies a few weeks ago (and we always used it regularly before).

After exposing the rusted parts, hubby scraped off the rust, sprayed it with rust neutralizer which turned it into black. We're now waiting out the 24 hrs that it takes to cure before we paint over the exposed portions with the vinyl paint.

In the meantime, we started installing the vinyl caps on the tines. a drop of vinyl paint dabbed on the tines before slipping on the cap will serve as glue.

I'm keeping my fingers (and toes as well) crossed in the hopes that we can keep up with this batch of home improvement updates. It's about time, two years should be more enough time to plan and dream :)

DIY Kitchen Wall Part 2

Remember the exposed and dangling wires that run along the sidewall behind the stove and the microwave? Well, hubby finally got to cutting up the wire runner that we purchased previously and got it installed.

Until we are able to find new hardware (handles) for the cabinet doors and drawers, we're done with the kitchen for now. There isn't really much more that we can do to update this area without spending the big bucks.

This took us a total of 2 hrs which include looking for misplaced tools, accidentally banging my head against the microwave and getting ice for the bump, patiently slicing the wire runner with a tiny hacksaw blade (no hacksaw) and lots of fun and laughter.

Tiles - $5, wire runner - $7, fun bonding moments - priceless.

Gobi Desert it is

Impatient as I am, there was really no choice but to rush off to Home Depot last night to get more paint- this time, in a lighter shade (Gobi Desert).

Hubby was excited too because he started painting as soon as we got home to test the color "susubukan lang, hindi tatapusin". So this is what it looks like now.

Notice the darker portion on the bottom of the left wall, near the arched doorway? That's Harvest Brown, the previous color.

I'm loving this now.

I can't wait to get started on painting the cabinet doors (see bi-fold doors on the right). They were painted with Flat enamel paint so it easily gets dirty and is so hard to clean. I also saw some hardware with a brushed nickel finish that seems perfect for these doors too, will get them when we're done painting.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New color

We've been postponing some home improvement projects for a few years now and since the company has decided to cut some of our vacation benefits and I suddenly find myself with several days off in the month of April, this seemed like a good time to start on a project.

I decided to paint.

Bahala na about the colors, we chose some colors that we liked and picked one. We weren't quite sure but decided to try it out anyway. When we first decided to paint the condo a couple of years ago, we couldn't decide on a color (or colors) so we didn't do anything. I didn't want to fall into the same trap again.

So here goes, we painted the hallway and this is how it looks like: (the one with the white walls is the "before" and the one with the Harvest Brown walls is the "after" )

We still have not decided if we like this and we're giving it a few days. The color seems too dark but it does not look too bad in the photo - and the white trim / doors do look great against the darker walls. We may keep the color or we might decide to repaint with a lighter shade and use the rest of this darker paint in the bathroom just off this hallway.

Any comments?
The weather has been warming up the past few days and I decided that it was time for some bbq. I prepared some Aristocrat style chicken bbq and prepped the George Foreman grill and when I opened the patio door, gosh, I felt a rush of cold air.

It's still freezing outside. Argh!

What to do? Guess I'll have to figure something out.

Friday, April 3, 2009

DIY Kitchen Wall Part 1

Remember this old double oven range that came with the condo?
... which we eventually replaced with this model last year?
Notice the unfinished wall behind it which suddenly became exposed (the middle part) even after the micro-range hood was installed.

After a looooong time, during which we've explored different options that included having the kitchen completely redone or just having new countertops installed, we eventually settled on a very recession-friendly solution - vinyl tiles.

$5 and an hour later, this was how it looked like:

We'll be installing a wire runner along the side to conceal those wires.

Rain rain

I've been staring at the window and watching the rain fall down all day today. I'm still trying to get used to the fact that our company has succumbed to the recession - we thought we were sort of immune, but hey, we were obviously wrong - and laid off some employees yesterday.

The good news is that I am still employed but the bad news is that a good friend and colleague lost his job. This is someone that I've worked with for the last 12 years. He is like family.

I'm thinking that I ought to be relieved somehow but I get the nagging guilt that accompanies people in my situation - guilt that you survived when others didn't make it. There's also the paranoia about the near future, what if there is another batch of layoffs? Will I still dodge the bullet then?

What now? How? So many unanswered questions. If I am this confused, I'm sure that those who got laid off yesterday are even more confused, sad and disappointed (to say the least) than I am. I just hope that they find the answers they are looking for soon.

In the meantime, I will try to cope and move on the best that I can. As another officemate (a fellow survivor) said, we'll just have to work doubly hard. I have to agree, what else is there to do?

In a way, I'm hoping that the rain outside will wash out all the bad vibes and we can find it in ourselves to smile again.

Lord, please bless us and keep us safe. Teach us and help us to be good friends and stand by those who need us and help out wherever and however we can.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Something seems to be brewing and I have no idea what. I just hope that it's not something big nor bad.

We'll know tomorrow.

Sana, paranoid lang ako.