Throw money in your walls not out your roof

I think it's time to cash in a certain Christmas gift that involved a massage because this past weekend I spent 10 hours army crawling around my attic (thanks to the AWESOME help of the father!). My kinda good time. JK. BUT it was all in the name of an efficient home. You see, the heat that my furnace was giving off, was literally going right out the roof.

How do I know this? Well a few clues: The upstairs was FREEZING (also due to a broken window and the heat not being turned on up there...) and in the location of the attic you can see a little dip in the snow on my roof, meaning that the roof is venting out warm air melting the snow which is dripping down until it can freeze again (at the eves) creating icicles.

Side note: who needs a fence in the winter with all this snow? Literally burying my house.

The picture below shows a few of the icicles, but also of the ice dayyym. See, as the snow melts on my roof (where the heat is escaping) it's falling down towards my gutters (no heat here) and freezing back up causing an ice dayyym. So phase 1 to get rid of these is to insulate thy attic. You can also see what roof vents are in the image below under the eves.

K see the pictures below, the first is with a flash so you can see wassup in thur. The second is without. That light? Is outside. WHICH IS FINE. But the rest of the space was on an insulation-lite mode and just wouldn't do for a building science geeko like me.

A BRIEF idea of how attics work (well, the one in my house, there are different types, k?): Think of buildings like a living organism. They need to breathe and air out (so it doesn't get moldy/frost inside). The overhangs on my roof has soffits, this is where air comes into the attic and is to float through the attic and up the roof. Which is good, and healthy. But the interior envelope of the home needs to be tight and properly insulated so that this cold air doesn't penetrate causing a cold atmosphere and heat loss. 

Steps  to beef up your attic insulation:

1. Add roof vents. This will help direct the air through the attic and up into the peak of the roof and keeps the insulation out of those pockets. These are super easy to install with a staple gun. Add these wherever you see light (where the soffits are located)

2. Add shims to beef up the walls. You don't want to squish insulation, you want to allow it to live at it's full width to get the full R-value of the batt. We added 1x2 shims to the studs so we could staple the insulation batts onto them creating more room for the batt to sit. 

3. Start adding the insulation. We started on the floor boards, adding batts directly on top of the batts that previously were there to create a thicker barrier between the inside of my home and the cold air. 

Step 4: Insulate the walls! Using a staple gun and kraft paper faced insulation, it was a pretty simple install. 

Overall, the prep was by far the hardest part. There were areas that needed 2x4's added to get even beefier insulation, and of course the obligatory 2 trips to the hardware store ate up some time. But installing the actual insulation went as fast as we were able to cut the panels and refill the stapler. 

Time will tell if our plan worked! But for a couple hundred dollars in materials, this will surely pay off shortly thanks to this lingering winter!

BUT, you knew I couldn't just end a post with some lame pictures of insulation in a creepy attic right? Thanks to my mudar, resident painter extraordinaire, we have another little transformation!

This color is a little hard to take an accurate picture of, especially with the non-existent sun - BUT it's a nice light green to spruce up the space. Looks so much better sans carpet/cream walls. Also, a little surprised it took this man a whole month of seeing these beauties before he took a screwdriver to them.

Little by little people, little by little. 

Project ADD & Carpet Removal round DEUX

I'm in the middle of about 35345 projects in this house, and I work on each of them for about 5.6 minutes a night, which is why nothing is getting done, just half done. I start a project, then I need a hammer which drags me into a room with another project, work on that for a little. Then I go and grab a glass of water and see a third project, slop a coat of paint on that...and the cycle goes on. All night. Which is fine, but I go to bed feeling unproductive and unable to see that anything was accomplished. BUT last weekend, after a month and a half of work, I took a break and spent the weekend up north.

Such a fun weekend, and I'm so glad we started this tradition last year! Winters are horrible in Minnesota, taking the time to spend the weekend hibernating with some pretty great people make it so much more bearable.

We got home on Sunday and after eating my weight in cookies and cupcakes all weekend I had some energy, which needed to be capitalized in this here room:

It's the upstairs bedroom/office/closet space. This area will be getting some nice new carpet so I had to start prepping for that. By the end of the afternoon the carpet and 8 million associated staples were up! The space was already looking better.

Ugh, so much dust in that carpet! For a space which appeared relatively unused it sure knew how to pack on the disgusting. Oh, see that fluffy pink stuff there? The Insulation Party of 2014 HAS COMMENCED. More on that later, because let's talk about THIS hot mess.

I've showed you these walls before, but like whaaaaaat went on here? I showed this picture to a guy at Home Depot to see how I should fix the holes and I kept getting "I've never seen that before!" (which I've been hearing alot in this house...) He suggested this epoxy shizz that people use to fill holes in CARS. Uh, first, no. So I went up to another employee (BY THE WAY, HD has employees coming out of the WOOD WORK in that store, go to Menards and GOOD LUCK finding anyone. And when you do they'll give you the 'tude...SHOULDAKNOWN insulation was in the warehouse! my fault.) and he had 3 suggestions (one being the car situation). So what did I do? Try all three to let you know what worked best? 

HA. Chose the cheapest/largest tub and ran.

It was a spackling paste and so far has worked. I of course ran out, because a GALLON wasn't enough. So a little sanding and touch ups are left before the priming and painting party can begin. This stuff is the consistency of cake frosting (doesn't smell as delicious though) so that was cool. This weekend I'm tacking whats BEHIND those walls (hint: very little insulation). Gotta beef those up so this room is a little more toasty! 

I hope you all are having a good week, drive safe through this blizzard tonight!

Bathroom Progress: The death march drags on

After waiting 24 (okay, 48) hours for the thin set to...set. I went in to tackle the grout (mere hours after moving in). Grouting is actually FUN. You spread this gunk all over the tile and press it unto the cracks, swipe it clean and wait about 20 minutes for it to set. Then you use a million sponges and buckets of water to gently swipe the tops of the tile free of grout. It was painless and had instant results. Something I needed.

p.s I'm not giving tutorials on how to tile because, it's kinda hard to hold a camera while your hands/body is covered in material that could ruin said camera. BUT, This girl has some AMAZING tutorials, so if you are interested in tiling check it out!

Glorious, white, clean tile.

 What's that you see there?? No, not the missing trim but...

A toilet! We have a semi-functioning bathroom! Finger snaps to my parents who, upon landing home from a trip to Nahlens (New Orleans), cruised up here to help this place look more habitable! 

Ah, we've come a long way...but are still missing something. Wondering about that beauty of a vanity? Well, it needed a serious face lift. As I mentioned before, this bathroom is shaped in a way that wouldn't suit a normal vanity...and having a pedestal sink in a main bathroom just doesn't seem efficient (where can I hoard all my headbands and scrunchies?!). So, now that the floors are done, i'm workin' on a little face lift for this guy, because, gross.

The outside is getting a gel stain treatment, and the inside is getting a fresh coat of paint

BUT THE TOP, the top I am trying something new. Well, newish. After seeing this and this, I knew it would be a great way to update the baby blue Formica countertops that once were. And don't worry about concrete being a porous material in a bathroom. Companies are getting smart and finding out what kids like me are DIYing and coming up with new products to help! So although the concrete i'm using isn't meant for this application (but still works for it) the sealer is. More on that later though, but here's a sneak peak between coats!

It'll add some nice texture to the space and will be perfect with some soft grey walls. I put the final coat of concrete on last night and i'm having it dry over this weekend (while I party up north and try to enjoy this horrible winter) so fingers crossed for a vanity reveal next week!

Have a nice weekend/valentines day/galentines day!

Bathroom Progress: laying some tile

If there is one thing I have learned from refinishing hardwood floors to laying tile in a bathroom, is that I need to stop judging my work from 1" away. No one (and if you do, you are never invited over) is going to crawl on the floor inspecting your work. Judge from the standing position. This was actually something that Pete's Hardwood Floors told me in a moment of panic. Even the PROS get judged from like 3' high. SO THERE.

Anyways, the bathroom tile got laid (hehe). And it went surprisingly well, aside from a few panic moments as per typical through any DIY home improvement act.

Step one: have a plan. When you are spreading thin-set you don't want to be cutting tile. It's just a mess. So I laid out each and every tile piece and labeled them all. Then I stacked them on little piles outside the door so I could grab the next piece. 

Semi-pro tip: Mosaic tiles come in sheets about 1'x1', stagger the joints! Cut some in half, especially if this is your first tile job (i'm sure some actual pros are like whyyy would you do that, it's SO simple). Whatever. Just do it, it will trick the eye and you won't be able to see the gaps between pieces as well.


Once the tiles are sorted, start mixing your thin-set (read the directions, yo). Put on some clothes you don't care about (oops...) and grab some knee pads. Laying the actual tile is pretty straight forward. Use a notched trowel (the notches should be the same side as the depth of your tile) to spread the thin set. Lay the tile and press into the thin set with a rubber float (which you bought to spread your grout, k?). Then wash, rinse and repeat until you work your way out of the room. 

Oh, and use around a million spacers, because they the tile.

After waiting 24 hours i'll add some grout and seal this puppy up so I can start rebuilding the bathroom! Three cheers for functioning bathrooms! 


These shower heads remind me of two things. College dorms and showers at camp sites. Although both great places, i'll keep that aesthetic elsewhere. So, I got ridda her. And it's super simple, just screw off...

And you're done!

Haha jk lolz. I got a new shower head. and twisted the 'ol thing on...per the direction specifications...

WHAT! 4 settings?! Is this the Taj Mahal?! Jk, it's not. But it is a Waterpik EcoFlow so i'm saving water here too people, it's delightful. 

The bathroom saga continues...can I draw this out ANYMORE?! I suppose we will find out...

The emptyoutyourfridge Meal

So, radio silence. I moved last weekend so i'm basically in shambles living out of boxes lately. Finally, last night i've started to get my life back together and made my FIRST actual meal in the house. Like with ingredients. Not from a pre-packaged Trader Joes bag. And MUCH to my surprise it was delish so I thought i'd share the 'recipe', because i'm such a good cook (jokes on jokes here).

ANYWAYS. It all started with me being starving and having only a few ingredients in the 'ol fridge...Kale, Beer, 3 kinds of cheese, 2 pieces of chicken, half an avocado, cooked quiona, and some almonds. So, I googled some kale and chicken recipes, gave up when they asked for 800 ingredients because, ain't nobody got time for that. And started grilling the chicken. I just put some peppah on it and put it on a pan with some olive oil (because, dad, my oven is really smoky?!). I mixed about a cup of cooked quiona with 2 handfulls of kale (like this 'recipe'?!) and 1/4 cup of almonds.

Once the chicken was cooked I added the quiona mixture to warm up the kale a bit. I added some more (2Tbsp?) of olive oil and about 1Tbsp of balsamic. Once the kale was  a bit soggy I tossed it in a bowl and topped it with goat cheese and YUMMM.

So here's what the 'recipe' is...

2 Chicken Breasts
2 Cups Kale
1/4 c Sliced Almonds
1 Cup Cooked Quiona
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic
Sprinkle of Goat Cheese

Oh does it feel good to eat some home cooked meals these days! Come back tomorrow for a bathroom update!! HOLLA.

One Step Closer

This past weekend was one of those weekends that just had to happen, it wasn't going to be fun, but was crucial to keeping my move-in plans on schedule. My father and his friend (Roger) kicked my houses' arse ALL DAY Saturday. I'd share pictures, but images of new water heaters and plumbing just aren't all that jazzy.

Fun Fact: My old water heater was made the same year I was born! 3 points for coolness, -10 for not working.

Once the new one was installed (there's nothing like the touch of hot water after days of cold!) and the bathroom plumbing was updated (after 5 trips to the HD), they got to work on my bathroom floors. If you recall, we needed to lay some underlayment to put some cute tile on. Hardibacker is installed right onto the floor boards providing a stiff surface for the tile to get placed on. This underlayment needs to be flat and level to ensure the tile gets laid in the same manor. Roger  has installed tile many times and was willing to help; thank the lord.

We bought 2 sheets of 1/2" Hardiboard. This, along with the tile, will bring up the flooring level with the wood floor. I watched a few youtube videos (research for DIYing) of the installation of Hardiboard. Most people are using a thinset to keep the hardiboard in place and for covering the seams. Roger prefers a construction adhesive to keep the hardiboard in place, in addition to the 1 1/2" screws. Basically this stuff isn't moving, forever. Which is great because I don't anticipate wanting to tile this room again.

They started by cutting each sheet to size. The room has a weird angle, and the boards need to be tight to eachother, which made the cuts pretty tricky. After a dry-fit, they started installing the board to the subfloor.

ALL SET FOR TILE! The end, ah the end is near. The upswing of projects is coming closer. Although demo is fun, there isn't much better than relishing in a final product. I guess it's time to try my hand at laying tile! 


Now you see the carpet/pleated drapes/bland paint/awkward table...


 One room ready for move in, thanks to the painting skills of my mother. Oh geez, before and afters (well, progress) are just so great.