Archive for the 'Housework' Category

The Bathroom Project

April 7th, 2009 by Eric Anderson

Last month we started work on renovating our main bathroom. The bathroom, with it’s chintzy cabinets, baby-warshing sink, coffee-colored shower surround, mildew-stained shower basin, drafty aluminum window, and brown/orange vinyl floor had been a bain on our household since the day we bought it.

Over the past year we’d played around with getting it remodeled. At first we thought about doing a few things piece-meal. We talked with a few contractors about the job. No one we talked to really fit the bill until we met and talked with Tim Stevens of Stevens Sustainable Homes.

One of the things that we REALLY wanted to focus on in the project was utilizing ecologically sustainable materials and processes in home repair. Materials sourcing and manufacturing have a huge impact on the environment. We wanted to make sure in taking on the project that:

  • As many of the materials used were sustainably extracted
  • The manufacturing process for the materials was as sustainable as possible
  • The room would improve in energy efficiency and water conservation
  • The materials would contribute as few toxins to the footprint of the house as possible

To these ends we added the following features:

  • We hired our friend Jonathan who runs Bunchberry Woodworking to build our new vanity cabinet and trim out of FSC-certified cherry hardwood and veneer-core plywoods that contain no formaldehyde and use FSC veneers. The wood is finished with a traditional wax finish which has zero VOCs (volatile organic compounds)FSC is the Forest Stewardship Council and their mission is to certify that lumber is sustainably harvested in a way that encourages ecological stability and economic opportunity for the communities that supply that lumber. Given our personal believes and Chandra’s professional commitments this was a no-brainer decision.
  • Our cabinet top is going to be Paperstone, which is a locally (PNW) produced solid surface countertop product. It’s made from 100% post-consumer paper products and natural resins. It can also be manufactured from virgin plant sources that are FSC-certified. It primarily comes in dark colors and feels like stone (hence the name).
  • Our flooring is marmoleum, which is the original linoleum. It’s sustainably-harvested cork that is bound together with pine resin and linseed oil and uses non-toxic adhesives to bind to sub-flooring. It’s naturally resistant to bacterial growth, including salmonella and staph bacteria, which is one of the things that makes it great for kitchens and bathrooms. These are major benefits over traditional vinyl floors, which offgas quite a bit and have a fairly toxic manufacturing process.
  • For the paint, we chose Benjamin Moore’s zero VOC line ‘Natura’. All of the gazillion colors of Benjamin Moore paint are available on the natura line. Some VOCs (volatile organic compounds), particularly those used in home construction and materials, have been shown to be carcinogenic, and contribute heavily to indoor air pollution.
  • For our toilet we’re getting a dual flush toilet.
  • We’re installing a steel-enameled tub and a ceramic tile surround, with a glass tile accent.
  • We’re re-using our old bathroom mirror with new trim supplied by Bunchberry. That plus the light switch plate will probably be the one thing that we re-use from the old bathroom.

Now you have the thorough-view of some of the decisions we made and the reasoning behind them. Now it’s time to take a look at the photo documentation of the process that’s been occurring over the past month.

Goodbye old cabinet and countertop:

Goodbye old nasty shower:

Goodbye old toilet and nasty orange floor:

Hello framing I:

Hello framing II:

The original sub-floor. Old fir planking:

The insulation near the shower basin where mice were living at some point in time:

The tub gets installed:

The new sink plumbing:

Dry wall hung, taped, mudded and a new window:

More new dry wall:

New plywood sub-floor:

Cabinet installed I:

Cabinet installed II:

Tile surround I:

Tile Surround II:

Tile Surround III:

There it is! You’re all caught up on the bathroom. Tomorrow the tile and grout get sealed. Thursday the countertop goes in. Soon thereafter go the trim, fixtures, toilet and finishing touches.


Moving Without Moving

January 26th, 2009 by Eric Anderson

Chandra and I spent most of the weekend rearranging the house. One of the things we knew going into the Adchemy job was that it was going to require some changes in our home life. The master bedroom of the house had served as our joint office since we moved into the house, but this wasn’t going to be an optimal set-up for working from home.

For one thing, I wanted to try and create a very clear separation of work and home life. For another, I’d been lobbying off and on for a while for us to move to the master bedroom because the spare bedroom was just too cramped for our queen sized bed, giant headboard, and both of our dressers.

On top of that, we haven’t made much use of the studio as a living space since we moved in. If friends weren’t staying here, then it was primarily used for storage. The studio offered a perfect opportunity to take advantage of all our square footage, and allow me to create an optimal work atmosphere.

So, to make a long story short: this weekend we moved our bedroom into the master bedroom, Chandra’s office into the spare bedroom, and moved my laboratory out to the studio. Here’s the result:

New Bedroom:

New Bedroom

Our New Reading Corner:

Our New Reading Corner

Chandra’s New Office:

Chandra's New Office

The Laboratory:

The Laboratory

The Laboratory Viewing Area:

The Laboratory Viewing Area



August 25th, 2008 by Eric Anderson

Friday night C and I were invited to Mt. Pisgah to celebrate the upcoming wedding of our friends Dan and Ivy. They’re getting married somewhere very warm and far away this December, and so they thought it would be a good idea to have lots of friends come out to Pisgah and wish them well, seeing as we wouldn’t all be able to make it to the sunny, warm December locale.

We had a great time eating a bevy of sweets from our favorite patisserie, Sweet Life, and drinking good wine and local microbrew (Ninkasi) while chatting with friends. It was great to catch up with some folks that we hadn’t seen in a while, including some folks that we weren’t aware knew Dan and Ivy.

Saturday was the beginning of a weekend of chores. With all of our recent travels, the house has been severely neglected. Saturday and Sunday we got the following things done:

  • Tended the garden, harvesting and watering
  • Power washed both decks (thx R+P for the washer)
  • Stained the front porch (it looks gorgeous)
  • Cut the back deck-boards and re-assembled the back deck
  • Laundry
  • Cleaned out the fridge
  • Mowed the lawn
  • Fixed the studio bathroom door
  • Cleaned the car port
  • Built some rafter storage for our extension ladder, and stored it :)
  • Made cucumber relish
  • Gave some love to DGM Live (more is needed)
  • Defrosted the chest freezer

In the middle of all that we went out to dinner at one of our fav local restaurants, Ambrosia. We’re both becoming very aware that summer is fading, and within a few months there will be certain things we won’t be able to do in Eugene, like sit outside at Ambrosia’s and enjoy a nice dinner and a bottle of wine. So, we took advantage. We biked downtown. We shared some delicious sauteed olives to start. C had a pasta special with lobster and shrimp in a dijon alfredo sauce. I had the whole quail stuffed with italian sausage and mushrooms and served on a bed of risotto. This was all accompanied by a bottle of Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc which had some strong honey and oak flavors which stood up well to our dinner.

We decided to go for a walk after that and wound our way around downtown eventually ending up at Davis’ for dessert, drinks, and coffee when who should we run into but Todd and his parents, who were also out for dessert and drinks. We joined up and had a wonderful late evening together.

All in all, a very productive and enjoyable weekend. But there’s still a lot of cleaning inside the house that needs to be done before Nedford Rose, Grand Duchess of Djibouti arrives for a Labor Day weekend visit and we have social engagements almost every night this week already. So, I don’t know when we’re going to get all this stuff done.

So, what the hell am I doing spending time blogging ???


Back at it

July 13th, 2008 by Eric Anderson

Well, I ran out of time to blog the last half of the week. We’ve been busy with work and play. The studio construction has moved along quite a bit.

We’ve got new siding:


New Siding


New Siding II


New Siding III

And we’ve been working on choosing new colors for the house, which is going to get painted in a couple of weeks. We’ve doing a rich, creamy yellow with an off-white trim/accent color. Here were some of the finalists:


The winner is the swatch in the middle, with the trim color to it’s right.

The garden is coming along wonderfully. The peas have finally tapered off, after a couple weeks of bounty. We’re having garden salads almost everyday. We have tomatoes, zucchini, and beans that will be ready in a couple of weeks. This morning we had a nice bowl of blueberries from the front yard that we mixed in with our oatmeal and honey.

Saturday, I joined Chandra as she led a hike along Browder Ridge in the old cascades. A lot of the hike was just under 5,000 feet elevation and the east side of the ridge afforded some fantastic views of the Cascades, from South Sister up to Mt. Jefferson. Here are some highlight photos from that trip.

Snow at the Trailhead

Snow at the Trailhead

Wild Rhodedendrons

Wild Rhodedendrons

Alpine Meadow

Alpine Meadow

The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters

Mt. Washington

Mt Washington

Mt. Jefferson through the trees

Mt. Jefferson

Flowering Bear Grass

Flowering Bear Grass

These pictures don’t really do the views justice. I need a better zoom lens to get real detail.

Let’s see… what else is new… C and I stood in line for almost four hours on Friday morning to get new iPhones. When I told Guenther, he described it this way. We were very excited as we got the last two white 16gb models at the store. We’ve been having a lot of fun with them over the past couple of days learning all of the tricks that they do.

This afternoon I went shopping for a nice jacket and some slacks for the wedding we’re going to in D.C. this coming week. Here I am with my iPhone trying on the winning jacket:

New Purchases

I’d blather more, but C is waiting for me so we can watch a movie. Adios.


The Underside of Things

July 7th, 2008 by Eric Anderson

Bought meself some new kicks today, so’s I can tear up the ultimate field with them, starting tomorrow:

New Cleats

On Sunday I spent the middle of the day pulling up deck boards in the back of the house in preparation for having the studio re-sided. We’ve hired a contractor to re-side the north and south sides of the studio and replace the remaining aluminum windows.

Today, that contractor got right to work, removing all the old siding and hanging the three new windows.

Missing Deck Boards and Siding:

Missing Deckboards and Siding

North Wall:

North Wall I

Rear Entry and new Window:

Rear Entry and New Window

New Window on the South Wall:

New Window on the South Wall

New Bathroom Window:

New Bathroom Window

We also bought some external paint colors for the house which we’re going to apply over the next couple of days to decide what color we want to paint the house this summer.