Archive for January, 2010

a mad approach

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Since I’ve started cross-posting madmaison to my facebook page, mad has started seeing an uptick in the comment traffic on our site, for which we’re very grateful. One of the questions we received via comments warranted an answer in a new post. Faithful reader Michelle wrote “That sure is a lot of work! do you take breaks in between rooms?”

The short answer to the question is no, but with most things mad, the truth is a little more complex. Now that mad has worked through a couple of rooms, we’ve realized that we’ve developed a bit of a rhythm when it comes to completing our rehab work. We’ve already started working on our next project, which is the floor of our bathroom. It has older, dirty linoleum tiles that were installed by my grandfather when my pops was just a lad. We’re many years away from doing a full reno on the bathroom, but as an interim measure we want to get down to the original wood plank flooring (as we did everywhere else in the house). We’re often motivated to start working right away on the next room due to the enthusiasm and excitement generating from finishing a room. Inevitably, once we start working on that next room, we start to realize we’re a little wiped out and slow the pace down a bit–only for that pace to pick up again as we start to see the progress we’re making. In addition, mad tries hard to incorporate a little fun in our fair city. When you’re working on a project like this it’s easy to get frustrated, burnt out, and yes, even a little bitter. We try to make sure we take time to enjoy San Francisco so we can remember why we’re on this adventure in the first place.

All things considered, we think we have a pretty healthy yet productive pace for rehabbing the whole house before we get too far into this new decade.


the two mad cats, trying to teach us how to pace ourselves

Bedroom before and after

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

mad has been happily sleeping in our new bedroom for almost a month. We’re still in the process of “settling in” to the room–unpacking any remaining boxes of stuff that belong there–but it’s been absolutely wonderful to have such a restorative place to retire to every night. I wanted to share before and after pictures of the room. The before picture was while my pops was still clearing the house out (mad was in NY when the before picture was taken). We won’t be displaying any of our art until the whole house is done (rehab dust finds its way everywhere), but the furniture is in place and (most important), the walls are done.

Here's a before shot of our bedroom, while my pops was working away.

Our newly completed bedroom. It's unusual to have both cats pose for a picture.

project sneaky follow-up

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

I’m happy to report that project sneaky was a success. After Mike expressed a little guilt that I completed some work without him (what a sweety!), he has stated that even with the few items that need to be changed, our ‘new’ half bath is currently his favorite room in the house. Given that I picked the wall color (gray tint from Benjamin Moore) without him, I’m thrilled and relieved that he’s happy. I’m also pleasantly surprised that what I had planned as a temporary fix, spray-painting the brass frame of the mirror silver, is one of Mike’s favorite elements. There’s also something invigorating for both of us to work through a room so quickly. I’ve gotten a couple of requests to show the room with the floor visible as well (since it was so visible in the before shot). Here you can see the wood floors that run through the whole house. We’re so grateful that these floors were refinished before we arrived–and I think you’ll agree they ensure that all of our work has a gorgeous “canvas” to sit on .

New half bath with floors

Here's our new half-bath, including our gorgeous floors

Project Sneaky

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

This past Saturday, Mike caught a flight to Florida to visit his mom. He was able to leave with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I would be sleeping in clean, restful comfort in our newly completed bedroom. What he didn’t know is that I had a plan to surprise him with some covert home improvements. I decided to enlist my pops to help me complete a small but meaningful project. It seemed like a tangible way to say “thank you” to my amazing partner who has embraced this adventure by working hard to make our house a home. Mike is en route to California now, so this is a perfect opportunity to let our faithful readers in on the project before Mike even knows about it.

We have a small 1/2 bath that was created in the early 1990’s out of a coat closet. True to form, it was decorated with wallpaper and other touches that are not exactly to mad’s tastes. The room is tiny, but something we use quite frequently. Given that the wallpaper isn’t 900 years old, isn’t painted over, and is in such a small room, I thought it presented a perfect opportunity. Over the course of Sunday and Monday (which was a holiday for me), my dad and I removed the wallpaper, primed, and painted the room. I now understand how all of these wallpaper removal products are supposed to work. We scored the wallpaper, sprayed some Diff, and after some steaming, pealed the paper off in about an hour. There are things still left to be done in the room (replacing the beige toilet and sink primary among them), but the task that has given mad the most grief over the last 6 months is done. We’ve also removed all the brass-colored fittings and replaced them with mad-friendly chrome. I’m hoping Mike appreciates the surprise. Perhaps he’ll let you know in this very blog after he recovers from his long flight and jet lag.

Here's the original 1/2 bath on our main floor. Notice the wallpaper and brass fittings.

The after. No more wallpaper, and chrome fittings. Trust me, this light is much better.

Bedroom progress

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

I’m happy to report that we completed the walls of our bedroom and we’ve started the process of cleaning the floors, moving our furniture in, and hanging window coverings. We’re not fully assembled yet, but I wanted to share the different between our walls before we painted and after. I’m excited to move in and share more pictures with our faithful readers.

The bedroom walls sans wallpaper, post plaster repair, ready for primer.

Our new bedroom walls