blank'/> 2014 | NidoBeato

Livingroom Reveal (Long Overdue)

I don't even want to think about how long it's been since I posted here. One thing after another has kept me busy, but with the end of the year looming,  I thought it was high time I brought you up to date on the fruits of my rehab/redecorating labors. I did a post on the kitchen remodel a few months back. Now I'll show how the livingroom got to this:

Livingroom, - After

From this:

Livingroom - Before
Livingroom, in process. Everyone needs a folding chair when you're remodeling.

The "Red Wall of Pain"
I had decided to built out a false wall between the livingroom and guest bedroom so I could soundproof behind it, but because the original wall was warped, the drywall wouldn't line up. I suppose I could have torn down the original wall and rebuilt it like I did every other wall in the house, but by that point, I was firmly embracing the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought. After two fruitless days of skimming and sanding the seam, I gave up and covered it with textured wallpaper in an acanthus leaf design. The paint is Sherman Williams Cashmere in Positive Red (SW6871). The antique buffet was a ReStore find for $75.00.

Piecing the two corbels together to fit over the island separating the kitchen and livingroom. The six-foot long, inch-thick corbels were from an old porch and were a Brocante find for $75.00. I had to cut a foot off of each and glue them together
My original design concept has evolved as I live in the house and learn what works and what doesn't, as well as incorporating my latest finds into the mix. Like the huge copper plate I scored at a yard sale for $5.00. You can't tell from the picture, but it's thick, solid copper and very heavy. It had some ugly schmutz in the center where someone had tried to glue something and failed. When I couldn't clean it up, I picked up a six inch round mirror at Michael's and glued it over the mess, then trimmed it out with copper chain and glued little jewels along the rim (because everything is better with jewels, right?).

Copper plate yard sale find
After walking around the house with it for two days trying to figure out where to hang it, I settled on layering it over the large mirror above the bar. Now it looks like the mirror I glued on it is actually a hole in the plate revealing the lower mirror. I kind of like the effect.

The bar itself I bought at a scratch and dent sale at Macy's years ago. It was originally all black and quite banged up (hence the low price), but it's solid wood and after decoupaging the drawers, painting the top and adding a piece of glass and metal drawers, it's become a statement piece. When the mirror (from an antique dresser, a Goodwill score at $10.00) wouldn't fit on top of it, I removed the legs.

Bar top. I layered a pashmani shawl under the glass top after the paint got scratched during the move. I always feel it's the little details that come from adversity that make a house a home

I bought the couch at the Palma Ceia Salvation Army in Tampa last year. I made new back cushions for it, covering them with the fabric from pillow shams I found at Goodwill. The end table was another ReStore purchase for $10.00. I stripped and refinished it, then gold leafed the detail on the legs and trim. The urn lamp I bought at one of my favorite Tampa thrift stores, Sunshine Thrift, for $3.00. The shade ($5.00 at St. Vincent's) doesn't really fit it, but will work until I find something else. The side curtains I made, the ones over the sliding glass door my sister-in-law gave me when she redecorated. Who says things have to match? All my curtain rods are old pipes I dressed up with bronze and copper Rub n' Buff, then hung with assorted corbels I've found at yard sales and thrift stores.

The teak coffee table was one of my greatest yard sale steals ($10.00, can you believe it?). All my chotchkies are yard sale and thrift store finds. Treasures are so much more fun when you happen upon them by accident. Everything I own has a story--and a memory--behind it.

Looking towards the diningroom, which I'll cover in a future post

Can you tell I love trays? Copper, silver, wood--it doesn't matter. And footed trays are my favorite.

The vintage hanging lamp is one of a pair (the other is in my bedroom) that I scored a couple of years ago in a thrift store. After they didn't sell in my Etsy shop, I decided the universe agreed with me that they were too great to part with 
I made the dvd cabinet several years ago, one of my Yummies furniture creations. The framed posters were yard sale finds at $5.00 each.

I love little lamps. I have them all over the house

I turned a dead corner into a little gallery. The bookcase was an old storage shelf I found in the shed when I bought the house. It was falling apart, but I repaired and painted it for my reference library.

My maroon vignette. I love this little spindle table I got at a yard sale a couple of years ago. After draping it with a fringed shawl,  I added a sweet little beaded lamp and a few red glass pieces I've collected.
I guess you might have noticed I like color. I describe my taste as Eclectic Bohemian Gypsy Chic. I don't follow rules when it comes to decorating, I just go with what I like, fitting things in as they come into my possession. The way I see it, just because I choose to live in a mobile home, doesn't mean it has to look like one. Besides, it's the perfect home for a gypsy.

Next up, the diningroom

DayNa Decker scents

Dayna Decker Posy

I put this under Decorating because that's how important scent is to my home. It's a well-known fact that our sense of smell is the most memory-inducing of our senses. The mere whiff of a familiar scent can transport us back in time or remind us of a beloved person. Is it any wonder then, as a Pisces and self-proclaimed sensualist, I am enamored with all things aromatic, especially when it comes to my home?

I have spent small fortunes on oils, incense, candles, perfumes, and resins to scent my home. I nearly always have one or several of them burning, and am constantly searching for new, more exotic fragrances. That is how I came across the Dayna Decker line. To say it was a revelation would be an understatement.

Dayna Decker was a successful Ford model, spending several years traveling the world immersed in fashion, art, and culture. But there was more to her than a pretty face. Born into a family of entrepreneurs from the design and wellness industries, creative expression and business savvy came easily. She followed up her modeling career by mastering the art of perfumery in Grasse, France. Her scents, derived from the essential oils of rare and exotic botanicals sourced from all over the globe, are an alluring, hypnotic, sensual feast for the senses. The Dayna Decker line includes products for both the home and body, and if the quality of her home products are any indication, the body line must be unparalleled. I haven't tried them, but believe me they are on my wishlist.

I first came across the Dayna Decker Home line in Nieman Marcus about three years ago. It was just before Christmas and I was aimlessly wondering the mall, not really looking for anything in particular. It was the first holiday season after losing my mother, and I just felt the need to be around people. The frenzy of the shoppers was like a soothing balm to me, which, if you know me, is completely out of character since I normally hate crowds.

I had been on something of a candle buying kick at the time, experimenting with high end candles in the hopes of finding something that would actually scent my home with something other than a burning wax smell. Most of my buying had been online, and I was so far disappointed with both the quality of the candles I had ordered and the money I had spent for them. I spotted a candle display in Nieman Marcus and thought, "what the hell?"

The saleslady seemed actually glad to talk to someone who wanted information as opposed to yelling at her to hurry up. She told me about the different brands of candles then asked me what I was hoping to accomplish with them. When I told her I just wanted to make my house smell good, she asked, "Have you thought about a diffuser?"

"You mean those bottles of alcohol with sticks that lose their scent the minute you open them?"

Then she picked up a small green bottle with short brown reeds and held it under my nose.

Now let me just preface my reaction by saying I used to own a nursery where I grew rare and antique roses and herbs. Some of those were Damascus roses, which, if you know anything about aromatherapy, is the origin of rose attar. I've stood in the garden on a sunny spring morning and been enveloped with the heady scent of roses and herbs, so when I say I know that scent intimately, I'm not exaggerating.

What wafted to me from that little green bottle was the most amazingly sensual fragrance I have ever smelled outside the garden. Rich floral notes with an underlying vanilla-like muskiness that was almost mouth-watering. And there is no alcohol anywhere to be found--just the full bomb of quality essential oils.

When I asked if she had just opened the bottle, the saleslady informed me they had been using that sampler for three months. I didn't even balk at the $45 price for the 4 oz diffuser kit. This had to come home with me.

The scent I bought was Posy, a delicious melange of hydrangea, calla lily, heliotrope, jasmine, white woods, and clove. That little bottle sat in my bathroom all year until the last of the oil evaporated. Even then, the scent clung to the reeds, as fresh and penetrating as the day I bought it. I wrapped  them in paper and stuck them in my underwear drawer. The following year (at Christmas) I went back and bought the 8 oz diffuser of the same scent. That bottle now has less than an inch of oil in the bottom, and yet two years later, is still scenting my bathroom with the same strength it did when it was new.

I assure you, it's not an overwhelming, hit-you-over-the-head manufactured type of scent, more of a natural, understated, elegance that wafts across your senses at the most unexpected times. Sometimes I catch it when I walk past the bathroom and I have to stop and drink it in. There is really no other way to describe it.

I've since discovered the entire world of Dayna Decker scents, and am anxious to try some of her more exotic offerings like Oud Vetiver, Sandalrose, and Ashiki. If you are like me, and love surrounding yourself with the sensuality of scent, you owe it to yourself to check out Dayna Decker. You can buy a limited number of her home scents at fine retail stores or online at Candledelirium, or you can go straight to her website, Either way, you won't be disappointed.

A Complete Kitchen Remodel for $1113

Sorry I haven't been around much lately, but I've had my hands full between remodeling one house and packing up another. Flitting between two disaster areas is exhausting, and it doesn't help that there's a traffic-laden hour-long drive between them. By the time I get home from a 12-hour day of demo, construction, and unforeseen problems, I have all I can do to shower and pass out on the couch. Blogging is a distant dream. And so the Endless Summer continues.

But there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. Gutting an entire house at once is daunting; putting it back together more so, especially when you're doing the majority of work yourself with limited resources. I set my original budget for the remodel at $3000, but the Unexpected kept rearing its ugly head--something a seasoned DIYer like myself has come to expect. Still, I'm currently sitting at just over $3600 for the whole house and still have a couple of little things to buy. Like trim. LOTS of trim--baseboards, molding, casings. That stuff is expensive, so I'm exploring alternatives and practicing patience at wabi-sabi. Today we're going to be concentrating on the kitchen. Here's a peek at its current state:

Kitchen island.

The budget tally for the kitchen remodel goes something like this:

Dresser for island - $40 (Goodwill)
Doors for island countertop - 2 at $20 each (Habitat for Humanity ReStore)
Porcelain enamel double bowl sink - $30 (Habitat for Humanity ReStore)
Oil-rubbed bronze bridge faucet - $220 (Overstock)
Butcher block countertop for sink cabinet - $130 (Ikea)
Cabinet doors for build-in buffet - 4 at $3 each (Habitat for Humanity ReStore)
Door handles, latches, and hinges - $28 (Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Home Depot)
Paint - $120.00 (Home Depot and Sherwin Williams)
Polyurethane for island countertop - $8 (Home Depot)
Pantry door - $10 (Habitat for Humanity ReStore)
Wood and drywall for sink base, island knee wall and columns, and built-in buffet - $198.00
Hardware (screws, nails, caulk, etc.) - $60
Beadboard, 3 sheets at $20 each - $60
Dowels for plate and baking sheet racks - $22
Shelf brackets 4 at $7 each - $28
Plumbing parts - $32
Plumber (to fix leak in the old copper pipes) - $75

Grand Total (so far) $1113

Part of my low cost success is recycling. The small cabinet I used in the island was the only cabinet I was able to salvage from the old kitchen. The shelves in the built-in buffet and new pantry were made from wood salvaged from the old pantry. The twin corbels above the island I picked up at Brocante last year and have been hanging on to them waiting for the perfect place to use them. I had to cut them down and glue them together, but they look like one piece now. The light above the island I scored at a thrift store last year for $3. The spice rack above the sink I built for my previous house. It was a 7-foot tall vertical shelf that I cut down and rebuilt to fit its current location. The metal shelf for the microwave was something the previous tenant left in the house where I'm currently living. I opted to lose the under cabinet microwave in favor of my old red countertop model because I just don't need a huge microwave. I also took out the dishwasher because frankly, I find them to be a waste of time, water, and energy. Hand washing dishes is kind of zen to me. Sort of like painting.

I still need to find some fabric for the sink base skirt and trim everything out. I've since hung the doors on the top of the built-in buffet and need to frame out and hang the door on the pantry and find a piece of wood for the shelf above the island, but the kitchen is functional.

How I got from where I started in April to here is a messy, sometimes frustrating process. If you recall my Closing Day Reveal, the kitchen looked something like this:

Kitchen before I took possession. I don't know what drove me crazier, the window to nowhere or the glass marbles glued to the wall. Both are thankfully history now.
For anyone who has never lived through a kitchen remodel, there is no way to describe how much fun it ISN'T. At least this time I wasn't forced to live in the house while I was doing it. Months of washing dishes in your only bathroom with three young boys is an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone. And I did it four times in four different houses, all DIY jobs. Talk about a glutton for punishment. And so begins the demo...

Kitchen with the wall  and old pantry removed. It's already 100% better.

Cabinet doors gone, demo set to begin on sink wall

Ripping the wall down to the studs. FYI - exposure to 40-year old fiberglass insulation is a pleasure not to be missed.
And now the fun part begins. Construction. I was originally going to purchase unfinished cabinets, but budget constraints nixed that idea pretty quickly when I started running into problems in the rest of the house. My plans changed, and I opted for open shelving above the sink and building my own base cabinet out of 2x4s and plywood. Let me tell you, between the weight of the wood, the butcher block, and that bohemoth of a sink, that sucker isn't going anywhere. And yes, that is a wood backsplash. Remember my mantra - recycle, reuse, repurpose. (The crooked outlet above the sink is a problem from the kitchen's previous life - no support stud. I'm going to have to get creative there.)

DIY kitchen base cabinet
Constructing the island knee wall. It may be the best built wall in the house.

Adding the dresser for the island base. Love that disaster area mess in the background?

The doors are installed for the island's 10-foot countertop. I used one full and one half door, which left me enough for the countertop on the built-in buffet. I was going to trim the edges, but I kind of like seeing the origins of the wood. I even like the difference in grain between the two doors.

Drywall goes up

Countertops are stained and paint goes on. Yes, that's one of my light creations on the counter. An ugly shiny brass chandelier I salvaged, painted, antiqued, and strung with crystals. Can't wait for it to go up in the diningroom

Built-in buffet construction. The whole thing was built with salvaged wood. Not the prettiest thing, but tons of storage.
It's been a long three-month journey, but the kitchen is finally serviceable. Yes, there are little things to do--hang trim, doors, built a base for the wine fridge next to the stove so the countertop has something to rest on, but I could live there and cook as it stands right now. Is it perfect? No. But that's the way I like it. Perfection makes me nervous. Like I'm in a museum or a hotel. I love the quirky, crooked (there isn't a level wall in this house, though all my shelves are level, which makes them look crooked). Everything is cobbled together from salvaged materials, and it was all done without a budget that could feed a small country.

And now for some before and after shots:

Island wall - before

Island wall - after

Sink wall - before

Sink wall - after

Pantry wall - before

Pantry wall - after

The room is about 85% complete. I'll post pictures when it's all done, but considering I only get up to the house two to three days a week and do most of the work by myself, it's not a bad progression.

WD-40 - Who Knew?

Sometimes you learn the most interesting stuff while tooling around the internet. Today I stumbled across a fascinating Facebook post by Ron English that I just had to share, especially since it involves something that nearly everyone has around the house. I'm talking about that blue and yellow can of WD-40 tucked under the kitchen sink or out in the garage. If you thought it was just for squeaky hinges or getting the rust off old screws, think again.

WD-40: The history

WD-40, or Water Displacement #40, began as a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts. It was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. The name originated from the project that was tasked with finding a water displacement compound. The formulation was finally successful on its fortieth attempt, hence the name WD-40. The Convair Company bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you. In fact, the main ingredient in WD-40 is simple fish oil.

40 uses you might not have known about for WD-40:

1. Protects silver from tarnishing.
2. Removes road tar, grime, and unwanted paint spray from cars without harming the finish.
3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
4. Gives floors that just-waxed sheen without making them slippery.
5. Keeps flies off of cows, horses, and other farm animals.
6. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
7. Removes lipstick stains from clothing. Just saturate the stain with WD-40 and throw it in the wash.
8. Loosens stubborn zippers.
9. Untangles jewelry chains.
10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
12. Keeps ceramic/terracotta garden pots from oxidizing.
13. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
14. Keeps glass or plastic shower doors free of water spots.
15. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
16. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on both home and vehicle doors.
18. Removes those nasty tar and scuff marks from the kitchen flooring. It doesn't seem to harm the finish and you won't have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
19. Removes bug guts that can eat away at the finish on your car, including love bugs.
20. Spray on children's playground slide for a super fast slide.
21. Lubricates gearshift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
22. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and sliding doors and makes them easier to open.
23. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
24. Restores and cleans vinyl and leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers and roof racks.
25. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
26. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
27. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
28. Keeps rust from forming on saws, saw blades, and other tools.
29. Removes grease splatters from stove-tops and leaves them shiny clean.
30. Prevents bathroom mirrors from fogging.
31. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
32. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
33. Removes all traces of duct tape.
34. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain.
35. Used to protect the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
36. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it's a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
37. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
38. It's great for removing crayon from walls. Spray it on the marks and wipe with a clean rag.
39. If you spray it inside a wet distributor cap, it will displace the moisture, allowing the engine to start.
40. Use it as an ant deterrent. They don't like it.

Don't you just love it when a single, common household item can replace a multitude of products?

One Month and Counting

OK, I've been in possession of the new house for just over one month, and while it probably wouldn't be recognizable to the former owners, it's no where near ready for occupancy, nor am I satisfied with my progress. I told my sister-in-law Fran the other day that if this was 20 years ago, I'd be done with this by now. Oh well, we do what we can, right?

I had to stop work on the inside last week to address the outside, thanks to the friendly HOA that insisted I clean up the exterior. So my son Anthony and I pressure washed the house, then I spent the week painting. I couldn't match the yellow of the siding on the main house, so I decided to go brighter on the addition.  You can't really tell from the picture, but the color, Behr Ultra 400A-3 Pear, almost glows neon in the sun. I love it!

See the difference in the new color (brighter) vs the old, faded color?
I got most of the yellow done and repainted all the white trim around the doors and windows, plus the fascia, back steps, and shutters. The ceiling of the carport is peeling in spots, but it's just going to have to wait till fall because it's too bloody hot right now and I need to get back to work on the inside.

This is where I left off inside before I was so rudely interrupted by the HOA nasti-gram;

Drywall is up and mudded in master bedroom. Awaiting priming and paint, then on to the new floors.
Of course, just because I haven't been working on the inside, doesn't mean I've forgotten it. I've been haunting the ReStore, thrift stores, Goodwill, and eBay for the little extras I need (we won't go into how much time I've spent at Home Depot and Lowe's and how my studio space currently looks like a lumber yard). I've managed to score quite a few finds, including four rolls of vintage wallpaper for the guest bedroom I picked up for $45 on eBay, an antique sewing cabinet I found at the ReStore for $10, and a solid wood bed I got at Goodwill for $30. I love treasure hunting--so much more fun than buying retail.

The guest bedroom has been doubling as a furniture storage room. Check out my bed from Goodwill and the sewing cabinet. Can you just imagine how cute they'll be painted?

After taking a couple of days off to catch up on some Crystal Creation orders for Nancy Dunn's new garden shop in Raleigh (more on that later), I plan to put in a full day tomorrow, priming all the new drywall, hanging  the beadboard wallpaper for the wainscoting in the guest bedroom, and hopefully getting some paint on the walls. My plan is to be ready to lay the new wood floors this weekend. Then I can concentrate on finishing the kitchen.

Adventures in Renovating - Electric Avenue

Tuesday was electric day at the new house. It took all day, but Tom and Dave at Guarantee Electric finally got the main breaker box moved, relocated two bedroom outlets, and ran a new line for my refrigerator.

The job turned out to be more involved than they thought, which meant I got a bargain on the price. I've been on the underbidding side way too many times in my own business, so I guess the Universe was looking out for me yesterday because Tom confessed to me they should have charged me twice what they did for this job. Oh well, live and learn.
Everything torn out waiting for new box and wiring

Putting in a new box meant shutting off the power all day, which isn't fun in 90 degree heat. It also reminded me how much we depend on electricity to do the smallest tasks. I couldn't do much all day but watch them work, though I did manage to clean up a few small things I've been neglecting. Like removing the cabinet doors in the kitchen in preparation for demo.

Things are moving along in the kitchen
I also started attacking that huge stack of drywall I finally got moved inside thanks to my son Anthony's help on Mother's Day.

Drywall stacked in the livingroom waiting for me to get to work
Here's how the bedrooms look now.

Guest bedroom with wall framed out awaiting drywall

I started tearing out the weird hotel sink in the master bedroom. Love the bare wire hanging out of the wall with no junction box in sight.

Master bedroom side of the wall

Got one sheet of drywall up to cover the black hole in the wall.

I'm heading back over today to work on framing out that old pantry area and moving the fridge into its new home.

Adventures in Renovating - Stage One Destruction Complete

I'm now just over one week into the new house renovation and have completed the first stage of destruction (read about the BEFORE state here). For those of you who have never lived through a whole house renovation, this is a little of what you can expect.

Diningroom full of destruction debris. Notice the cool wicker desk and chair I scored on Craigslist the other day
It took most of the weekend to rip out the old carpeting in the bedrooms and hallway and tear down the old pantry and leprechaun/linen closet. Halfway through that, this is how it looked.

Leprechaun/linen closet and end cabinet destruction started. Yes, that is a lawn chair and the crappy bed from the spare bedroom I still haven't had a chance to haul off to the dump.

Leprechaun/linen closet --removed walls and doors

The old pantry is history

The doors pulled off the end cabinet
Tuesday was a day of frustration. Lowe's called me on Monday night to let me know my bedroom flooring was in. Then Home Depot called to let me know they would be delivering the drywall between noon and 7 on Tuesday. So I got up early on Tuesday and headed out on the 45 minute drive to the house, figuring I'd stop by Lowe's to pick up the flooring on my way and get to the house in plenty of time for the Home Depot delivery. Unfortunately, when I got to Lowe's, they couldn't find my flooring in Receiving. While I was waiting for that, the driver from Home Depot called me to say he was in my neighborhood so he was making my delivery early (like two hours early). I told him I was in the middle of something and could maybe be there in 30 minutes (providing Lowe's found my flooring and got it loaded in the next 10 minutes). He said he'd try to wait but if he had to leave and come back there would be an additional charge. You're kidding, right? Like it's my fault he's early?

Which leads me to ask--whatever happened to customer service? When I ordered this stuff over the weekend I asked for afternoon delivery. They confirmed afternoon delivery-which, by the way, they charged me $79 for. And the only reason I opted to have them deliver rather than renting one of their trucks and doing it myself was so I wouldn't have the dig up help to schlep 14 sheets of drywall, two sheets of plywood, and 20 2x4s into the house.

So I tell the girl at Lowe's to keep looking for my flooring while I rush back to the house. I made it there in 20 minutes to find the driver dumping the pallet in my driveway. When I asked him to bring it inside, he said $79 only covers curbside delivery. Really? What the hell am I supposed to do now? What if it rains? What if someone decides to help themselves to my supplies? His answer was a dumb shrug. Thanks for nothing.

To add to my joy, the garbage men decided that even though I had meticulously bound and wrapped all the carpeting and debris in three-foot long sections the way they liked, they couldn't be bothered to pick it up. They did however throw it all over the front lawn, prompting the HOA to leave me a nice love letter about cleaning it up. Which prompts my next question--if you can pick it up to throw it around, why can't you put it in the truck?

So I picked everything up, shoved as much into my truck as I could fit and stacked the rest in the carport then ran the load up to the dump. On my way back, I stopped by Lowe's to see if they've found my flooring. They say they have, but it still takes another 45 minutes to bring it up front. Then when they do, the T-molding isn't there, so they have to go back and take another 20 minutes looking for that.

By now it's 90 degrees out and I'm hot, tired, and frustrated. I figure I'll run back to the house and unload the truck then go grab a late lunch. But on the way there the electrician calls and says he's on his way to the house to give me an estimate on moving the electrical box. Fine, let's get this out of the way.

He spends 30 minutes looking over what I need, then says he's going back to the office to work out some numbers. I just finish unloading the flooring from the truck when I get a call from the electrician's boss saying he wasn't comfortable making the estimate so the boss is coming out the next morning. Great, that means not only do I have to come back the next day--which I wasn't planning to do--but I have to be there early.

Okay, by now it's after 3:00 and rather than go grab a sandwich I decide to start tearing out the wall between the kitchen and livingroom. I turn off the circuits and disconnect the power outlets in the wall and yank the first piece of paneling off and then the real fun begins. Roachageddon.

Apparently every roach in Florida was nesting in that wall and they were pissed about being disturbed. Those of you who know what a palmetto bug is can testify that those suckers are big enough to ride. And they fly. And there were dozens of them. It was like a freaking horror movie. I'm scrambling around looking for something to kill them with and grab the first thing I see-the shop vac. I fire it up and play Ghostbusters for the next ten minutes, vacuuming up everything that crawls or flies, along with the three inches of roach poop and eggs in the wall, then run the vac outside and dump it.

By now I've got a serious case of the heebie jeebies. I don't have any bug spray, but there is a bottle of 409 I bought for cleaning, so I spray down the wall then duct tape the thing closed, lock up the house, and leave. That finished me for the day. I needed a 20-minute shower to wash away the creep factor. I did stop on the way home and pick up some bug spray and four tubes of caulk.

I got the wall down the wall down the next day with only a couple of bug mishaps and squirted three tubes of caulk in the cracks. I also finished tearing out the wall between the bedrooms so the electrician could get in there and move the outlets. So here's where I stand now:

Kitchen with the wall down. The room feels so big now

Looking down the hall. I nailed that board down to make sure no more creepy crawlies invade before I can close it up and build the island in that spot.

Looking back toward the livingroom from the bedroom

Master bedroom closet removed

See that wire? Yeah, it has to be moved and I'm not crawling under the house to do it

The new master bedroom closet. Notice the black hole is gone.

The built-in dresser is gone

My lumber stash

I took a couple of days off, but tomorrow the fun resumes.