This post was found in my draft box, 7 months old…shameful…and completely outdated…

All I can say is that my blogging consistency has been absolutely shameful this last two months. I looked at the date of my last post, 7/27/11, and it made me sad. Summer’s are always fun and crazy times, but I have been totally slacking on my DIY projects and blogging. It has been compounded by the fact that my sister got engaged in July. Being the MOH ( for those wondering if that was a typo, MOH=Matron/Maid of Honor) has resulted in lots of party/wedding planning. Her wedding is fast approaching, October 29th, which means lots of out of town guests and motivation to pick up where we left off and get our place together. This also means more posts, or at least a feeble attemp at more posts :)

Andy sent me an email this morning it said,”What do you want to do tonight? I want to do something besides just sitting around and watching TV or movies… It’s sad but my ideas of fun are working on projects, or remodeling our office…  anything else come to mind?”

I love it when he reads my mind…sometimes it is so easy to spend our evenings zoning out at the TV but it always results in me going to bed feeling dissapointed that we didnt accomplish something. So here was my response:

“150% in agreement. Let’s work on something…so many projects to finish. I would like to do all of these things…. In order of interest/concern.

  1. Assemble my second nightstand – need your help to put it together fast enough to clamp before glue dries. – 10 minutes maybe.
    1. Take measurements of inside space so I can work on drawers tomorrow night.
    2. Find plans for drawers – dovetail? Butt joint?
    3. Start working on office –
      1. thinking of switching bridge artwork to bedroom ( above bed)…
      2. Re think office layout
      3. Throw crap away
      4. Organize printer cart with office supplies
      5. Move one desk to guest room
      6. Decide on Desk Layout – Rocky make top in woodshop?
      7. Measure out pergola dimensions
        1. Draw plan – cad
        2. Make shopping list
        3. Make step by step directions so we can slowly chip away after work.
        4. Downstairs bathroom
          1. Remove drywall for medicine cabinet
          2. Make shopping list
          3. Caulk and seal handle and faucet
          4. Call dad to arrange new time to fix plumbing.
          5. Front gate         �
            1. Finish design – how are we going to lock gate?
            2. What kind of wood are we going to use?
            3. Make shopping list
            4. Make time to go down and work on it at dad’s / couple this with visiting Donny?
            5. Upstairs bathroom
              1. Remove caulk between tub and wall tile– bleach moldy corner before it gets out of control.
              2. Replace caulking
              3. Linen Closet
                1. Brainstorm functionality of linen closet – currently it is a cavernous mess of crap
                2. How many drawers – how can it help alleviate bathroom storage issue?


Fast forward 7 months…

…Wow how time flies:

What can I say, sometimes life gets in the way… especially for an extra curricular activity such as blogging. A wedding happened, out of town guests happened, a baby is now on her way (due August 10), a trip to Egypt and Spain happened and lots of projects were started and finished.

My little sisters wedding In late October was beautiful. You have to love California in the fall. Here is a little peak into that day:

The bride and Groom

My sister and I

Sorry for the small size photos, some of these are thumbnails from the photo viewing page. Wasn’t she a beautiful bride?!

In other news, Andy and I found out in early December that we were going to have a baby. I am officially 25 weeks and feeling good. It has slowed down my DIY production, but Andy has been gladly picking up the slack.

With a baby in mind we have been rethinking our entire house layout. It is amazing how adding a 7-10 lbs baby in your home can have such a dramatic effect on the way you think about the use the space. So we made a few major design decisions and had a few bedroom switcheroo’s. Here is the new layout:


Even though my blogging has been non-existent, we have been whittling down the To-Do list that I was about to post in September.

To Do List Update 4/28:

  1. Assemble my second nightstand – need your help to put it together fast enough to clamp before glue dries. – 10 minutes maybe.
    1. Take measurements of inside space so I can work on drawers tomorrow night.
    2. Find plans for drawers – dovetail? Butt joint?
    3. Start working on office –
      1. thinking of switching bridge artwork to bedroom ( above bed)…
      2. Re think office layout
      3. Throw crap away
      4. Organize printer cart with office supplies
      5. Move one desk to guest room
      6. Decide on Desk Layout – Rocky make top in woodshop?
      7. Measure out pergola dimensions
        1. Draw plan – cad
        2. Make shopping list
        3. Make step by step directions so we can slowly chip away after work.
        4. Downstairs bathroom
          1. Remove drywall for medicine cabinet
          2. Make shopping list
          3. Caulk and seal handle and faucet
          4. Call dad to arrange new time to fix plumbing.
          5. Front gate         �
            1. Finish design – how are we going to lock gate?

            3. What kind of wood are we going to use?
            4. Make shopping list
            5. Make time to go down and work on it at dad’s / couple this with visiting Donny?
            6. Upstairs bathroom
              1. Remove caulk between tub and wall tile– bleach moldy corner before it gets out of control.

              3. Replace caulking
              4. Linen Closet
                1. Brainstorm functionality of linen closet – currently it is a cavernous mess of crap
                2. How many drawers – how can it help alleviate bathroom storage issue?

 It is pretty amazing to see that we have completed almost that entire To-Do list…the linen closet is definitely still a cavernous mess of crap, but I have taken one pass at purging it. The front gate is welded up and only needs some fine detailing to finish the steel portion of it. So all is on its way, hopefully before the baby’s arrival in August.

If I were to tell you what is in store for this weekend it would look a little something like this:

  • Work on Sub Floor for upstairs deck off master bedroom (new deck to come before Baby B arrives)
  • Brainstorm furniture ideas/create mood board for deck layout
  • Fix guest bedroom window after leaking window episode, hang curtains
  • Finish cutting board projects before belly gets in the way
  • Mood board for office
  • Pick Baby B’s room paint color
  • Work on blog layout 
  • Free decorating class at CB2 in West Hollywood

Hopefully this will get me back in the swing of things. For my one faithful reader out there…I’m back and I will try to be more consistent for your reading/viewing pleasure

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Almost two weeks and not a word…It has become a standoff between me and the computer at home. I walk by the dreary office, that desperately needs some attention, and quickly shut the door so the computer does not stare back at me with that judgemental look. I feel like I am failing with all of my blogging plans. I really enjoy writing about our projects, and sharing them here. It just seems that there are not enough hours in the day to work on the projects, take photos, edit, write posts in order to really do my DIY projects a justice. Despite this “feeling sorry for myself since I don’t have time to blog” post, Summer has been wonderful! We decided that this year we would really try to take advantage of the late nights and long weekends. This pact meant that we actually had to be spontaneous…two engineers=lot’s of planing, therefore spontanaity is often lacking.

Keeping with the spirit of being exicting people who jetset around the world (In our dreams)… Two weekends ago we went to Seattle (post to come – I swear – this one is written just waiting for photos). While we were there I got to make my own glass bowl at this glass blowing shop:

That’s me, twisting a steel pipe in a hot furnace with molten glass on the end. I decided that this was a fun experience, but a hobby I will not pursue! It was hotter than Lake Havasu in July, I left feeling looking like a hot mess!

Besides our mini vacay, we have been taking bike rides down to the beach, visiting family and friends and working on the front yard and top deck. Here are a few sneak peaks at my potted succulent creation:

This location is not the permanent home for these bad boys, but I have to finish some upper deck work before I can move them.

Alright, back to work. I wanted to write a quick post to say Hi and reaffirm that posts will be coming soon :)

Does anyone reading this feel like there is never enough time in the day?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fitting the Mold

When we started our outdoor fire pit project we couldn’t wait to get to the point when we could try our hand at pouring our own concrete tops . After watching/obsessing  over countless DIY videos/tutorials on how to set up the mold and pour the countertops we thought it would be smoooth sailing.  Here is a pic of the fire pit before we created the mold.

First step was to head to the Depot and buy sheets of melamine. We then cut the melamine into 4″ strips so we could attach them to the side of the plywood base that would form our countertop. We wanted a 3″ thick concrete slab as our countertop.

You can see here we attached two strips of melamine using simpson A34 brackets at the corner. You could attach the two strips using only screws, but we had a bunch of simpson brackets laying around from an older project we decided to use. Plus they are cheap at $0.35 a bracket and create a nice 90 degree angle which made standing the vertical piece of melamime upright. We spaced the brackets at about 12″-16″ apart, we decided better safe then sorry. These vertical edges had to carry 3″ of wet concrete while the countertop cured, we didnt want to risk a blowout.

Once we set two vertical edges we decided to caulk the corner joint between the bottom and vertical piece of melamime. Most of the DIY tutuorials recommended this in order create a water tight mold and to end up with a smoothed out corner.

DAP caulking can be bought at any major hardware store, all you need is the caulk “gun” and a tube of it. It is pretty amazing the variety of choices you have when it comes to caulk. We happened to have a few tubes of exterior use water tight caulk laying around the garage. The only wierd thing is that it was brown. Usually we use white or clear caulk for interior work ( i.e. around base boards, doors and bathrooms). As you can see in the pick above, I had already squeezed out a line and smoothed it out.

Step 1: Try to squeeze out a continuous bead of caulk that is approximately the same thickness along the length.

Step 2: Once the bead of caulk has been squeezed out along the length, you have to smooth the caulk out with a tool, or in my case, my index finger

Step 3: make sure the smoothed out caulk is consistent along the length, with no air pockets. Since this is the underside of the countertop corner, I was not tooo worried about making it perfect.

Step 4: Use a wet paper towel/wash cloth if you really want to smooth out the caulk. (I skipped this step because of the afore mentioned reasons)

Once I finished caulking along the two long sides of the mold we finished assembling the short ends of the mold.

Here is the exceptionally overdesigned corner support. Leave it to two engineers to get crazy with a countertop mold!

Next I caulked the short ends and the inside corners to try and make this mold water tight!

In 30 minutes we had finished the mold and were ready to move on….pouring the countertop…eeeK

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The little things in life

The last few weeks have been a dark period for me and the blogosphere. I have no excuses other then work and A Lot of out of town adventures. Between camping on the beach, Andy’s business trip to Egypt and a weekend with the ‘rents’ it has been a fun filled busy month! Don’t let me fool you with all of this talk of busyness…we have still been working around the house in our spare hours (or minutes) to finish things on the to-do list. Progress may be an overstatement, but we are definitely chipping away at small items we wanted to finish for the summer.

A few weekends back, before the above mentioned craziness, I walked into the garage looking for our camping gear. Thirty minutes later I was completely frustrated, covered in dirt/tile dust, had a bruised shin and still had not found what I was looking for. Cue the first amazing garage picture

I don’t know what I can really say about the state of affairs in our garage. It is a mix between storage shed, wood shop, tile cutting arena, bike repair shop and it looks like an obsessive compulsive has been hoarding empty paint cans in the back corner for years.

Another shot…

May I take this opportunity to thank Nipo for putting up with this mess for the last few months and reminding me on a daily basis how filthy the garage really was by tracking tile dust inside the house all over our dark wood floors.

Back to the fateful Sunday when I went off for camping gear…never to return (ok…overexxageration – I did return- 7 hours later…). It became clear in the first hour what my mission in life was…at least for that Sunday… Clean the garage.

The first part of this mission required pulling everything out of the center of the garage on to the driveway and into the front yard.

The next few hours was spent sorting through about 10-15 boxes of crap we had never dealt with after our move. I am pretty sure our neighbors have been looking in our garage in recent months and were ready to recommend we be on the Hoarders television show. So, I created a couple self imposed rules while sorting, (I plan on using this in the office and middle bedroom when I have enough will power to organize those spaces)!

Step 1: If I (we) had not used something in over a year (besides a few sentimental items) they were going in the dumpster/goodwill. This does not apply to books, or tools.

Step 2: Sort through old college notebooks and decide what could be thrown away. Between the two of us we threw away 3 boxes worth of binders and notes. (Did I really need to save my class doodles I mean notes from psychology of the human personality…umm NO)

Step 3: Sort like items and either pack them into one storage container (with a clear label) or locate them in the same vicinity. We now keep all our paint cans in one corner of the garage on a shelf so they are easy to find and access. Camping gear also found a home on the top shelf.

Step 4: Place occasional/rarely used items on the top shelves or towards the back of the shelf. This way you are not pulling out tons of crap just to find your flashlight/bike pump.

Step 5: Go Up! Use brackets/hooks to hang items like bikes from the rafters instead of leaving everything on the ground. We placed Andy’s surfboard and ladder on a high shelf. We also installed bike hooks from the garage rafters so we could keep the road bikes off the ground.

Step 6: Create a clean and usable workspace. This step really only applies if you do a lot of projects in the garage. Since our garage duels as a woodshop it was important for me to have a clean space to work on projects and access the miter saw.

After seven hours, a few cuts, nose full of tile dust I was able to pull the car into the garage for the first time since we have lived at 1508…in one word…priceless.

It may seem like a trivial thing, but I still smile when I can open my garage and drive in after work. It amazes me how simple it is to make a space feel more livable without spending a dime. My total cost on this project was 20 dollars (we spent 6 months ago) buying the bike hangers. While the garage is no looker, it is SO much more functional. I can’t count how many times we have looked at each other and said, “Not gonna lie…I am really lovin the garage!”

Have any of you worked on projects lately that required a few hours of elbow grease/organizing and made your life better?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stack Stone

Once Andy finished with all of the back breaking work I was ready to step in and help with the stack stoning progress. We thought, and talked, a lot about how we wanted to finish the facade of the outdoor firepit. It was a pretty unanimous and quick decsion to use stack stone as the finish. We went to a local stone yard to take a look at our options and ended up buying  7 boxes of a man made stone. I had searched craigslist for months looking for good deals on stack stone, but more often then not I found 1 box of leftovers someone was trying to sell. My fear is that we would buy it and never find a good match. So we bit the bullet and bought it all from one place.

In this photo we are pretty far along in the stack stoning process, we had learned soooo much by this point:

Professionals will tell you that your should start from the top and work your way down, this avoids mortar, or thinset, from driping onto bricks below. We tried that…epic fail! Let’s just say as soon as we pushed the stone against the wall it started slipping down the face of the CMU, not pretty. We realized that the only way we could get this project done was by building from the ground up, that way the bricks could rest one on top of the other. We started with mortar to adhere teh stone to the CMU…another Huge fail! The mortar is dark grey, dried too quickly and was super watery and hard to work with. Within 20 minutes we were both covered in mortar and over IT. A friend suggested we use thinset…what a huge difference. Here is me with a bucket of thinset, mixed per the directions on the bag.

For stack stoning here are the tools we needed: 5 gallon bucket, water source/hose nearby, Trowel, pencil, bags of thinset, tape measure

Step 1: Mix thinset in a 5 gallon bucket per directions on bag.

Step 2: Grab a stone in one hand and the trowel in the other. Dip the trowel in the thin set and smear the thin set across the back of the stone like this:

Make sure to cover the entire back side of the stone, then move on to the bottom and sides:

I believe they call this process back buttering. Once you are ready to go the stone shoudl be covered on three sides.

Okay…so I admit… I was a little gratuitous with the thin set. I managed to get this crap Everywhere. Looking back I probably could have used half the amount, I just really wanted to make sure it stuck :) So, learn from my experience, not quite so much thin set! Once it is in place you slap it on the wall in the desired spot:

Before you place the piece on the wall you want to make sure you have put a thin layer of thin set on the surface the stack stone is adhering to. After much trial and error I found that this was the best way to go about it.

Step 1: Dip your trowel in the thin set and pick up a blob of it

Step 2: push the trowel against the wall, or surface you plan on adhereing to, at approximately a 45 degree angle, kind of like this:

Step 3: start pulling the trowel upward smearing the thinset in an even layer up the face of the brick.

Once you have evenly spread the thin set it should look a little like this:

Step 4: Make sure you have spread thin set over a large enough area that the next stack stone will be completely covered. However, be careful not to spread too much thin set or it might start drying. We learned this lesson the hard way and had to chip some off to continue stack stoning.

Step 5: Back butter your next piece and place it on the wall. 

Step 6:  Clean up any excess thin set drips with a sponge before it drys.

Step 7: Repeat ( about 100 more times)

At the end of a long day ( stack stoning from 6-10 pm after work) this was what our fire pit was starting to look like:

I am a hot mess in this picture and look at the disastor on the ground below me! If anyone is reading this who has worked with thinset they will probably laugh their ass off when they see what a mess we made. Regardless, I was very proud of my mad stack stoning skills that night.

Things we learned:

Don’t rush ahead and stack stone areas you can’t finish. Once it sets it is a nightmare to place stones in between. We found they tend to shift a little as they are drying. The stones are all the same exact width so if one are ends up being too skinny you have to cut the next stone down along its entire length.

WEAR Gloves… I literally rubbed my fingertips off. I had to wait a week before I could continue stack stoning it was so bad.

Be prepared to have to cut stones to fit corners and awkward areas near the top and bottom. We used a diamond blade on a hand held grinder…not the safest option, but it was what we had. Ideally you would want a wet tile saw, you can rent these at Home Depot. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…

Overall stack stoning was an awesome DIY project that takes about a weekend. I will definitely do it again when we work on the matching BBQ pit in out future “Outdoor Kitchen” area. Until then I am glad to put the stack stones away and work on a few other projects…Like concrete countertops….

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Shower Success!

In my last post I eluded to my big adventure trying to  fix up the bathroom while Andy was away. We are a bit conflicted over our downstairs bathroom. You see, we both have a problem just leaving the downstairs as is, not because it is hideous but because we both desperatly want to change it. We are both realistic enough to accept that this is not a priority renovation. So in the meantime I have taken it upon myself to step up and salvage the downstairs bathroom… i.e. the cave.

With guests en route we were forced to address the broken shower head/bathtub faucet. For some reason the handle to turn on the shower never quite redirected the water through only the shower head or faucet. What you ended up with was an irritating trickle of water from the shower and pathetic stream from the tub. So here I am…the daughter of a welding pipeliner… I can handle a faulty faucet…RIGHT?! Well, not without excessive photo texting to my dad to make sure I had taken apart the right pieces.

First thing was first, I have to turn off the water. This will be different for everyone depending on where their water shut off is located. In my case I have to go to the front of my garage to turn it off. Once off, I ran the sink faucet to make sure the water was totally off.

I inspected the handle, saw that it was connected with a recessed screw, grabbed the right fitting allen wrench and moved forward with operation “shower faucet removal”.

Step 1: Remove the handle:

Removing the Handle

Once the handle is off, I was able to unscrew this portion of the handle. Then you can easily move on to

Step 2: Remove the face plate:

Remove face Plate - It should pop right off

Once the face plate is gone  you can see the “cartridge” – which was responsible for directing the water through the shower, or bath tub spout. In my case the source of the broken shower handle

Step 3: Remove cartridge:

The cartridge is attached to a brass fitting that directs water from our house lines into the shower

This is when I started madly taking photos and texting them to my dad to make sure that I wasn’t about to get shot in the face with a stream of water or destroy 1508′s plumbing :) He assured me that this black piece was the source of all my shouwer related problems. I went ahead and used a phillips head screw driver to remove the 4 brass screws that attach the cartirdge from the fitting.

This is the cartridge piece that I took to home depot

I noticed a little water was dripping from the fitting in the wall so I shoved a rag in the space in order to soak up any moisture. I was paranoid of lettingwater drip behind the wall and creating a sess pool for mold to start growing:

Now that I had successfully removed the cartridge it was on to the bathtub faucet:

Step 1: Try unscrewing the bathtub faucet counterclockwise. Apparantly  a lot of standard bathtub faucet’s screw on and off.

This is actually the new bathtub faucet, I forgot to take picture with the original

Step 2: Completely remove from wall and inspect:

This is the piece of copper piping that feeds through the wall and delivers water to the bathtub. The bath tub faucet screws on and off of this pipe.

There is the problem - Disgusting!

When I looked in the bathtub faucet and saw all of this lime scale buildup and grossness I was immediately

A. thankful I had never bathed in this bathtub.

B. Clear on why water was having such a hard time with the bathtub faucet.

So with my bath tub faucet and cartride in hand I set off for home depot. I think my first mistake was assuming home depot would be able to give me the answers or parts I was looking for. I initially wanted to replace the whole handle and buy something more modern and updated. It took 3 different salesmen until I found one person who knew anything about shower handles/plumbing. He directed me to a small plumbing store around the corner. Before I left I learned this:

Many new faucets and handles ( Kohler, Price Fitzer, etc) Build the cartridge piece into the entire assmbly. So when the cartridge breaks you actually have to buy a new handle (Between $50-$400, for typical home depot options). Two, Some of the cartridges need unique brass fitting in the wall which means hardcore plumbing changes (not what I was looking for on a Saturday afternoon). So if you are ever replacing a cartridge and or handle, make sure it works with the current brass fitting in your wall, otherwise you are going to be sautering in new brass fitting and praying that they don’t leak :)

I arrived at the plumbing store around the corner and felt like I had hit the jackpot ( 3 roto rooter vans parked out front buying parts). I went in through the front door and found that the front of the store is a complete bathroom and kitchen show room, Here are a few snapshots of my favorite things:

Love these modern fixtures

Lots of vanities:

Upstairs bathroom Ideas!

Future Downstairs bathroom Ideas:

I love the concrete counter top  on this one!

So after a little diversion I got back to business and went to the back of the plumbing store to buy parts. The guys were SOOO helpful and patient with my questions. I definitely looked like the strange lady who had no idea what was going on, thank goodness my good friend was with me to share the embarrassment. Power in numbers!

After a half hour we left with a new cartridge and faucet having spent less than $25, I felt like a Rockstar ( DIY, money saving rockstar) :

This is a good time to point out that it is always worth paying attention to How you take things apart. It never fails that when it comes to putting things back together I always do it the wrong way. Oh well…In the end we had success:

With the new cartridge installed and the faucet put back together all the water was diverted to the shower head, showing me just how bad the shower head really is :) Now off to soak that in some lime away so I don’t have to buy a new one!

For the finishing step you need to caulk in the new bath tub spout and handle face plate with a wet application caulk. Dap is a common brand we like to use around the house, and it is stocked at every major hardware store.

Next for the bathroom…a new coat of paint.

Posted in How-To | 5 Comments

Party at 1508

So, last time I was able to write a post we were in a mad rush to get ready for out of town guests. I had a massive list of things to do: finish the outdoor fire pit, paint the bathroom and spruce it up, buy a queen mattress for the guest room etc.

The Thursday night before everyone arrived we ran around like chicken’s with our heads cut off buying items to check off the list. Our Ikea trip was hugely successful, we were about to walk out empty handed when I made Andy walk to the “As-Is” section on the bottom floor. We scored a queen memory foam mattress ( $259, normally $499) and two outdoor chairs ( approximately $40/chair). At least when we left we had a place for one couple to sleep and chairs for 4 people to sit on!

What I probably didnt mention is that everyone was coming to town for our friends wedding, three of our husbands were groomsman. It was on a Friday afternoon, started at the botanical gardens in Palos Verdes with the reception following at a restaurant in San Pedro. The wedding was beautiful and the bride and groom could not have looked happier. One of the highlights of the wedding was the photobooth set up with crazy hats/glasses and props. It resulted in a few awesome photos, here is a peak:

There I am, dead center laughing, Andy is behind me with the champagne glasses on. Classy!

Classic Andy and Rocky photos…

You are probably wondering what these photos have to do with home renovations…well nothing actually… I thought they were a lot of fun and proof we do more than work and house projects :)

Ten of us came back to 1508 after the wedding. I was shocked that we were able to comfortably fit everyone. I worried someone might be stuck on the patio, j/k. Each couple took a room, equipped with air mattresses and bedding they brought from home. One couple set up camp in the living room. It was definitely tight, but no one seemed to mind.

One of our house guests ran out Saturday morning and picked up a big jug of coffee from Starbucks and we all snacked on italian cookes from the wedding (more like pastries) for breakfast. Andy had already made plans to host a huge thai cookoff that day. He and our friend Tim were the acting Sous chefs. So while they went out to grab supplies we girls decided a shopping trip was in order.

I love figuring out the cheapest way to buy things that I love. For example, I painstakingly wait until the summer each year to buy linens at my favorite bedding company’s, Matteo, massive sample sale. Or I make sure to hit up the Zgallerie outlet first when shopping for furniture. Since one of our friends recently moved, and she is searching for a couch I took everyone to the Zgallerie outlet in Gardena:

Couches galore, all about 50% off.

Chairs, chairs and more chairs.

A tag for a large white leather sectional.

We all left empty handed on this trip. I did not have anything I was “Really” looking for. In fact, after stocking the house for all of our guests I had inacted a self imposed spending freeze. It is amazing how it all adds up, one trip to target, one trip to big lots, one trip to homegoods, $200 dollars later…

The cons of shopping at the outlet are that you Must bring home what you bought immediately. You cannot return items bought from the outlet. Also the outlet has very strange hours Tus-Fri 10-2pm and Sat 11-3pm. That being said, it you are ever in the greater Los Angeles area, love Zgallerie and need furniture, this is the place to go. If you google “zgallerie outlet, gardena, ca” the address will pop up with store hours and buisness phone.

After shopping we enjoyed an amazing thai curry meal with about 15 friends thanks to Andy and Tim. It was the perfect way to round out a fun/busy weekend. It was also proof that our front yard is a Great place for summer BBQ’s! I wish I would have snapped a picture or two, but I was pretty busy trying to play host and visit with people.

I will catch you up on my pre party progress in the next few posts. We had a non functioning second bathroom shower head and bathtub faucet before our guests arrived. I was determined to tackle this one on my own while Andy was away for the weekend. With the help of good ole dad (via cell phone and text messaging photos – gotta love technology) and a friend who accompanied me on my adventure we were able to get it done in a Saturday afternoon. More about that to come!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Earth, Wind and FIRE!

I have posted a few random shots of the fire pit progression. After much ado, I am happy to announce that it is official: we have Fire! More specifically we have a fire pit. After a few hours of hard work we were able to enjoy ou first evening hour where we could sit around our newly minted fire pit and bask in the heat. Here it is…

Functioning Fire Pit

I am gettting a bit ahead of myself. This project has easily been in the works for the past month, I just haven’t sorted through all the crappy Iphone photos to pick the best yet. Here are a few to give you an idea of the process:

Laying out the inital footprint of the fire pit ( massive points to Andy for doing this while I was working over the weekend one Saturday )


Our initial plan for the fire pit was to create a barrier in the between the front yard and what we hope will one day be the outdoor kitchen. You can see in this photo just to the left of the CMU fire pit that there is a small step in the concrete. The step always made the space feel so wierd and inaccesible. I hope that once we have a pull up bar on the lower side and the fire pit on the garden side it will encourage people to walk into the little squared off area. Only time and finishing the project will tell!

About two weeks after the last picture we were at this point. CMU blocks mortared and set in place. Plywood base (for future concrete counter top) in place. Random wood post sticking out of plywood base (there is a plan for this…don’t worry!). Overall Progress…Then we started working on the part I liked, making it pretty.

On second thought…nothing about this photo above looks pretty…Yet! Proof I am actually working away:

Now for the part we enjoyed, admiring our hardwork.

So there it is… a fully functional, asthetically pleasing firepit we built all ourselves. I can’t tell you how thrilled we are at having pulled this one off. Some projects are no brainers, this one felt like an uphill battle all the way. Thank Goodness Andy had it in him to stick to it and make me get my butt in gear. If left in my hands we would still be looking at a pile of CMU blocks in the front yard.

I can’t wait to write more about how we DIY’d the CMU blocks and Stack Stone. Both ended up being messy, back breaking and awesome projects.

Our deadline (self imposed) is 3 days away… it looks like we will not be able to get the concrete countertops done in time. At least we can enjoy the firepit in the evenings. Speaking of which, I have thinset all over my hands…So I better head out before it adheres to my skin and the keyboard :)

Posted in Outdoors | 3 Comments

Too Busy…

This is going to be short, sweet and to the point. Work has been crazy + DIY projects around the house are at an all time high = no time for posting :( In order to keep ourselves motivated Andy and I have set a deadline for 5/13/11 to finish our outdoor fire pit. In addition I have decided that we need to make our guest room/guest bathroom a little more inviting before our out of town guests stay that weekend. Then there is always my current wood shop project. Needless to say we are over ambitious as always and I will be knee deep in quick set and stack stone by 6 p.m. this evening in order to stay on track.

Here is a progress shot of Andy working on our outdoor firepit, notice the poor tree stump in the background from this post:

Mortar + CMU Block = Messs

A little bit of the stack stoning process, Check out this corner Andy and I worked on together:

Stack Stone

Now inside, how much help does this bathroom need ?!?!

Downstairs Bathroom Before

Test rug… It is hard to tell in these photos, but I am trying to bring out the light bluish green in the ceramic tiles. Here is my $7 Homegoods (wanna be Restoration Hardware) Bath Mat:

New Bathmat

Now testing paint samples…both failed, back to home depot!

Too Baby Blue...Too Mint Chip Green...

On other notes, our outdoor fence + succulents are really starting to look awesome from our last post here:

Fence Blowup

A shot of the front:

Planter Boxes

Here is a little creation of mine, hypertufa pot + succulents, trying to mimic the succulent pots I saw at the nursery I posted about here:


One Final shot of my creation:


As you can see a lot is going on around here! This post has become sort of a smorgasbord of all projects 1508. Hopefully by the weekend of 5/13 we will wrap up the bulk of these projects so we can enjoy the garden and our guests and take a much needed DIY hiatus!

Andy is off to a bachelor party this weekend which will hopefully get me motivated to keep posting away and working on the bathroom decorations :)

Until next time…

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Death of a Tree

Avatar fans out there may not want to read this post; it could be too painful…

Now that I have put out the disclaimer I can move on. When we bought 1508 we were both excited to inherit a couple of full grown trees in the yard. My favorite was an amazing deciduous (loses its leaves in the winter) tree in the back corner of our yard. After a few months of renovating the tree started coming back and we realized it was a fruit bearing tree…nectarine tree to be exact. We would check the fruit every couple days hoping the fruit had ripened so we could try it…That excitement faded into frustration when we came home one day to find that someone had picked the tree clean. Seriously! I was so pissed! Here is the backyard right after the robbery:

Outdoors Before

Instead of seething/ranting I decided it wasn’t the end of the world and I would just have to continue being patient and wait for the next season. In the meantime I would build a tall locking gate to keep the thieving fruit pickers out of my yard.

The next season finally came around…and the poor old tree didn’t come back. I couldn’t understand what had happened. Was the tree angry at me for not giving it enough attention…probably?

After months of waiting and debating about what we should do we decided it was time to deal with our pathetic old tree. It just so happened that the weekend we decided to do this my mom was visiting. Let me break by explaining that my mom is the total plant whisperer. She talks to her plants and swears they are happier/healthier for it. She probably has even named her plants. Who am I to throw stones, I can barely keep a succulent alive. With her over we decided that we would get to the bottom of the tree problem.

Her first suggestion was to cut a small branch from the tip of the tree to see if there was any life left in the out limbs. The first cut was as dry as firewood…

We slowly worked our way from the outer limbs to the larger inner limbs…every cut hoping for life. Every limb looked like this:

Dead Tree Limb

Andy kept on cutting…

Andy cutting Away

Searching for a hint of life…

The Carnage

Our yard was starting to look like a massacre had happened. At this point I run inside to take “aerial” photos (i.e. looking out the bedroom window)…brief stop at the washer and dryer to switch laundry over… I look out my window to see this.

Andy Vs. The Tree

WTF…first I was shocked that Andy had pulled down the tree, then I was mad he didn’t wait for my mad photo skills…hehe

Andy Won!

I ran back down stairs to assess the damage. Apparently, while I was switching over laundry Andy heard the tree make loud cracking sounds as he continued to cut limbs off. He noticed that the trunk at the base of the tree was fractured. He grabbed a rope, looped it around the remaining stump and was able to pull the entire tree down. I just thought he must have been overpowered by some inhuman strength because he was so motivated to get the tree out of our yard. (Like when someone gets a surge of adrenaline and picks a car off a child)… What really happened is that some alien creature growing within our beloved nectarine tree:

Cored out tree stump

Tree Stump

Seriously creepy right? This plant had eaten away the core of our tree and was growing within in. The only solution we could think of to rid ourselves of the red alien roots was having a bonfire:

Andy Relaxing Fireside

We took this opportunity to drink beers fireside and strategize how we were going to provide privacy in our now Very exposed backyard. As you can see there are masonry blocks lying around the yard. The loss of our dear tree gave us a kick start to start the new fire pit project. More posts to come about the fast progressing outdoor kitchen.

Have any of you ever ripped out a plant and found something crazy lurking beneath the surface?

P.S. for those interested in know what happened to our tree, we later found out that the neighbors nectarine tree died from subterranean termites that cored out the trunk of the tree. Our tree must have been slowly dying from the termites for years. Finally the termites won, abandoned their host and left a nutrient rich space for another plants root to grow within the cored our trunk. Not so alien after all – still creepy!

Posted in Outdoors | 1 Comment