Sunday, May 30, 2010


We arrived in Portland on Thursday evening before dark and got to come and visit our new House!! While there were a couple of disappointments, it is exciting to have our own home again.

We've been busy this week. On Friday morning we went and bought a new mattress and box spring. We're not going to move the old set as it's 10 years old now and due for replacement. We bought a mattress set that was made in Newberg, Oregon! We paid more to get a set that was manufactured locally, but we're doing what we can to buy local-made goods.

Then we met with our basement repair guy, Blackmore Quality Construction, and reviewed our upcoming job with him. During our conversation we decided to expand the project to include the entire basement, rather than just one wall. While only one wall is "bad," the other three do sound like they're starting to separate from their parch coating. Since we expect we'll eventually be finishing the basement (thus, making it harder to do future repairs), we're just going to have all the mess and dust up front, before our stuff arrives. The basement repair begins on Tuesday.

One of the disappointments we found on Thursday night was that our realtor did not write into the contract that the washer and dryer were included, so of course the sellers removed the existing set. While we did plan to eventually replace the washer and dryer that were there, we were looking forward to not having to deal with it right away. So, anyway, we went off to Sears to pick out new machines. Luckily, I brought my box of Consumer Reports on this trip to help us pick. We're just going to buy the "CR Best Buy" front loading washer with the matching dryer and call it good. We've got them all picked out and we're planning to go order them tomorrow. We're also going to buy a 19.7 cu. ft. freezer.

While we were at Sears, we bought a Kenmore Elite convection microwave and took it home with us. Once we took it out of the box, we discovered it wouldn't fit on the counter under the cabinets. Oops. So, we temporarily have it next to the sink. We'll soon be bringing a small table that will fit in the finished porch and will hold the microwave. The reason we're not bringing the microwave back to trade it for a smaller one is because this is the microwave we're planning to install once we remodel the kitchen (and also the reason we didn't buy it in white).

We've been unsuccessfully hunting around town at antique stores and craigslist trying to find a bedroom set. We're hoping to find some furniture we can use temporarily until our current set arrives, then we may either sell it or move it into the basement for a second bedroom for summer use. I did buy lights for our bedroom end tables from Lamps Plus. I found these pretty lights at their website on sale and got two for our master bedroom. The lights we are currently using got damaged in the last move and I'm not going to move them again.

This morning we bought a rug at an antique store that was going out of business! We had dropped in there planning to buy a modern, but solid-wood, dining room set we had seen on Friday, but it had already sold! Oh well, we snoozed, we losed! =) Of course, Shasta has to try out the rug and make sure it works!

I have changed my plan for this next week. I was originally planning to stay here in Oregon until Jun 11 (and Jeff was going to fly back on Wednesday) and we were going to have the POD delivered and unloaded on Jun 3. Due to the bigger basement repair job, we've decided to change the plan. We are now going to both drive back together to California on Wednesday, June 2. Then I'll come back alone in a couple of weeks to get the POD delivered. That will give me time to sew window hangings in my still-set-up sewing room in California and the basement repair guys won't have to work around a big pile of stuff in the middle of the basement. Also, our boxes and household goods will get less dust and dirt on them.

Ultimately, our final move date, when we're finally moved out of Redwood City and here in Oregon full-time, is going to shift out about two weeks. Rather than being here to stay in the middle of July it will now probably be the end of July.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Poor Baby Shasta!

Jeff took Shasta scootering last night and while they were out, Shasta stopped running and started favoring her foot. She and Jeff sort of limped back home and we kept Shasta on the couch with us last night. We poked around in her foot trying to find out what happened, but couldn't find anything obvious. There weren't any obvious rips or tears in her pads, or any cuts that were bleeding. We took her to bed with us to see if she would be better by this morning.

This morning, she was still limping around.

Shasta is no faker, so we decided we'd better take her to the vet. They pulled a 1.25" nail out of her foot! Our poor dog child! Now that the nail's out, she's feeling much better. She's running around again and acting like there isn't a big puncture hole in her foot!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

3 Risotti Dinner

Dinner was wonderful and we really enjoyed our visit with friends. We went off to Scott and Pattie's house in Mountain View. And we were joined by Chris and Jenny for dinner. Somehow, we didn't quite manage to catch pictures of Scott and Pattie together, but we got Chris & Jenny.

Dinner was three types of risotto. Two from the Cucina & Famiglia cookbook: Risotto alla Milanese (Traditional Risotto from Milan) and Risotto con Gamberetti (Risotto with Shrimp). They also made a pesto risotto.

First POD Almost Full!

We had an amazingly productive morning this morning! Pretty rare occurrence, but I guess nothing motivates like a deadline! The POD is being picked up tomorrow so we really needed to finish filling it today. We can spend maybe an hour on it tomorrow morning so the bulk of the work had to be finished today.

Jeff went off to storage and finished emptying it, so we're out of there. Since he was right by Home Depot, he picked up a few moving blankets for wrapping furniture. And, while he was off running errands, I was busy packing books so we could move a couple bookcases in this load.

This afternoon we're off to visit friends, Scott and Pattie, for a cooking visit. Jeff and Scott are going to make the risotto dishes from the movie, Big Night. This is a follow-up to the Timpano Party we had a while back. (I'll try and do another post later tonight or tomorrow with photos and recipes.)

We're running out of time here in California, so we're trying to spend as much time visiting friends and family as we can spare.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Storage Empty (Almost)!

We took another load from storage this morning and moved the rest of the furniture pieces. So storage is basically empty, but for a small pile of long poles that wouldn't fit in the load. We're not really sure how we'll move them. We used to strap long poles to the top of our Ford Ranger, but the Ford is in Portland already. So, we're hoping we can drop the seats in the Toyota Highlander and fit them in there. Otherwise, we might just have to chop the poles down shorter.

The POD continues to fill. We're slightly more than halfway full. We've got more furniture to put in, so it will probably finish fast tomorrow, and not fill up as tightly as the first half. We won't really be able to fill it to the roof as we don't want to damage the furniture by stacking too much weight on it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Moving Has Begun!

Moving has officially begun in our house. I've spent a few hours sifting and packing stuff over the last week. We're hoping to not move so much stuff this time that we don't need anymore. This morning, we brought over our first load of boxes from storage.

Tonight, we'll get another load. Hopefully we'll only need another two or three loads to empty out storage and we'll be able to close that out this weekend.I thought I was done with the semester, except for a final next Wednesday. But thanks to my Contracts teacher, I now have to spend many hours writing a paper this week. Last Wednesday, our teacher sprang a new assignment on us. He informed us we would now be writing a 15-page paper rather than taking a written final next week. Sigh. I would have preferred the final; it would have taken less time. So, this week I'm trying to write the paper in short bursts; I'm trying to write 3 or 4 pages a day. I would have been happier about this assignment if we could skip the last class, but I still have to go. I have no idea what we'll be doing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We Bought a House!

I just got an email from our realtor: "Your purchase of the house is final. Congratulations!" It's a relief to finally have this house-buying experience come to a conclusion. Over the last four years, we looked at countless houses both in California and Oregon. We had nearly a dozen house-hunting weekends/trips with realtors. This house was our sixth written offer.

So, our long California adventure is nearing an end. During the last four years, it has been nice to be near family and get to know our nieces and nephews better. I hope we'll have the resources to come back and visit more often than we did last time we lived up in Oregon.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

PODS scheduled

This morning I spent more than three hours on the phone scheduling our move. I started calling around to get quotes, but I eventually just decided to go with PODS (Portable On Demand Storage). They'll allow us to stagger out the move and move containers one by one.

The first container is going to be delivered on Tuesday and we'll have several days to fill it. Then it will be delivered in Oregon on June 3, during our first visit up there after buying the house. Once I get back to California in mid-June, we'll start a parade of containers to finish up the move. With our current schedule, we should be mostly moved back up to Oregon by end of July.

Now, we just need to round up sufficient moving boxes and packing supplies. I need to place an order at Uline as soon as possible. This time I'm going to try to make a more accurate guess at how much we need; I bought WAY too many boxes last time. Unfortunately, since we were so tight on space here, I got rid of them. I might have kept them if I'd known we were moving again so soon.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Packing Has Started

I spent a couple hours today starting to pack for our first trip up to Oregon in a couple of weeks. Since we're going to be so tight on space, I'm trying to figure out what we most need for that first trip. Today, I packed up bedding, towels and toiletries. And also started packing dog supplies. We'll probably start packing kitchen gear this weekend. Luckily, since our SCA gear is already up there, we'll mostly be able to pull out that cooking gear to use temporarily.

I still spend too much time during the day cruising around the internet looking for design ideas, paint stripping advice and for furniture. I found this dragon fireplace tool set recently, and wish I could justify the expense, but the price is just too high! But, wow! Want!

This evening I began looking into our moving options. We're looking at either a DIY move with a UHaul truck, or maybe a move where they bring containers out to your house and you fill them and then they drive them up to the destination. We're looking for an economical solution that won't make us too crazy. But, we can't really justify the expense of a full-service move. Oh well. Though, probably the best cost saving option for us is to continue to downsize. The less we have to move, the less we'll have to pay.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I spent too many hours today dreaming about the possibilities for the future rather than actually preparing for the future. I really like this kitchen. This one is my favorite.
Another nice kitchen.

These last two kitchens were pulled from the The New Bungalow Kitchen book by Peter Labau.

The copper hood is real nice in this kitchen. This picture was lifted from Paul Duchschere's Inside the Bungalow: America's Arts and Crafts Interior book.

Here are a couple of period examples. This one was actually a pantry at the White House in 1909. I like the curved "brackets" below the upper cabinets.

This last one I like it because it's a period example with unpainted cabinetry. I'm pretty set on having unpainted cabinetry in our new kitchen.

Maybe it's a little premature to be dreaming about a kitchen remodel that won't happen for quite a while, but it somehow makes it easier to embark on this crazy project of ours.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hiring Contractors

I've managed to shift all the funds for closing into one place and this morning I mailed off our wire instruction form, so it looks like we should be on track for the May 18th closing.

There are a few repairs (that we don't plan to try and do ourselves) that I think are a priority for this year, so I'm looking into getting them hired out. We've got a quote from Blackmore Quality Construction for the foundation and pest damage repair work. It's a priority to get the foundation work done as soon as possible. Not so much because we think the house is going to come down, but more because once we move all our stuff in, it will be nearly impossible to get to the basement walls!

I'd also like to have the masonry repair work done; we've already got a quote from Bestway Masonry. This again doesn't need to be a priority, except for the fact that we want them to take down the uppermost portion of the old, abandoned chimney. That will bring it below the roofline and then we can get the roof repaired later this year.

The roof is the only real high priority. We'll probably have it totally replaced as the install was so shoddy. We need to do it this year before the rain starts. One of the times our realtor, Clint, was out this spring, it was raining and he said it was raining under the porte-cochère. We, therefore, need to deal with the leaking roof before Fall as we're hoping to prevent further damage to the ceiling of the porch.

I definitely need to look into signing up on Angie's List again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Finding Inspiration in Other People's Restoration Efforts

I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with this paint stripping and remodel project Jeff and I are about to take on. I've spent several hours this morning finding inspiration from other people's blogs where they show their paint stripping efforts. Specifically I've checked out these blogs/photo galleries:

1912 Bungalow
Ayers' Bungalow photos
Fixin' Up the Bungalow

I'm trying to psyche myself into looking forward to taking on this challenge. We paid less for this house partly because the woodwork was painted and it was in pretty original condition. Hopefully with a couple year's effort, we'll get a house we love and is more valuable than our financial investment. (Though it's always a struggle for us to not over-remodel the last house we owned.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Multnomah House Pictures

Now that we're sure the Multnomah house purchase is going to go through, I figure it's safe to talk about our plans and show the "before" pictures. According to PortlandMaps, this house was built in 1912. We were told it was the first house built on the block and was actually the residence for a dairy farm back then. I believe the Leonard family bought it in the late 1930s and it passed from the parents onto the children (a son and daughter who jointly own it). It was used as a rental for something like 10 years by one of their children (according to one of the neighbors). So, we'll be the third family to own this house.

When you enter in the front door and look right, you see the fireplace in the parlor. Honestly, if they hadn't painted that brick, we probably would leave the fireplace alone, but I think the shiny, white latex paint looks awful.
And with that brick being so bumpy and irregular, we might just remove the brick altogether rather than try and strip it. The mason we had out to give a bid for the exterior brickwork said the fireplace wasn't really anything distinctive that needed to be saved. And I don't like the brick well enough to spend the 100+ hours taking off that paint. If we remove the brick, we will probably replace it with a new reproduction tile face and wood trimmed fireplace facade, sort of like this one. That project will have to wait, though.

This is the ceiling in the parlor. I think it will look quite nice once that white paint is gone! Also, you can tell when you look closer that there once used to be light fixtures on the junctions of the beams. I hope we'll be able to get rid of the horrid modern light fixture in the middle and put ceiling-mounted fixtures back on the junctions.

This is the front of the parlor with a couple of built-in bookcases. Again, we're hoping to scrape off all that white paint. Luckily, the inside of the window seat and the bookcases haven't been painted! We'll probably also end up replacing the lighting fixtures because I suspect this large living room is very dark at night (hence the white paint!) so we'll plan to add some light fixtures. And I have a thing for matching fixtures. This stained glass also has a big break in it.

This photo is looking back into the entryway from the parlor/living room. I'm hoping to strip all that paint. We'll definitely be uninstalling those French doors and having them dipped.

This is the dining room. We're hoping to scrape off all that white paint and repair the stained glass in the built-in (it has a couple of broken pieces). There's also a drawer front that has a corner broken off and will have to be repaired. We'll probably uninstall all the doors and drawers and have them dipped. The rest we'll have to strip in place with a combination of an infrared heat stripper and chemical strippers. I like the light fixture so we'll leave that as is.

This is the existing kitchen. Looks like they did a cheap-o remodel somewhat recently. They replaced the bottom cabinets and put the old ones down in the basement and left the upper cabinets in place.
The third photo is a bit of cabinetry in the attached breakfast porch. I'm not really sure what it originally looked like, but none of this cabinetry is original to the house. I think this family remodeled when they bought the house in the late 1930s. When we can afford to remodel the house, we're going to entirely remove the kitchen, the breakfast porch cabinetry, and the abandoned brick chimney (covered over in plaster or sheetrock in this photo) and try and make one bigger space. We'll have to pay to have some structural work done, as more than likely the wall we'd like to remove is structural. It's gonna cost us! So, for now, we're going to live with this unfortunate kitchen. I'm already plotting the remodel though!

This is the scary downstairs bath. Ugh. I think this room is going to be our first try at DIYer remodeling. We're going to see if we can peel down the outer layers of tile and see what's underneath. If we're lucky, we'll find something nice at the bottom. If we're not, we'll put some marmoleum down in this room until we can do the downstairs remodel. Ultimately, we're hoping to make this bathroom at least slightly bigger when we remodel the kitchen; it's tiny!

This is the linen built-in at the top of the stairs. One day, I'd like to strip it down to the wood. But, in reality, the upstairs woodwork was normally painted in these old Craftsman homes, so that project will wait until we're done with the downstairs. I'm not sure these doors are original, as they match the old kitchen cabinetry. I wonder whether they replaced these doors when they remodeled in the late-1930s. Once we learn how to do woodworking, I'm hoping we'll make new panel doors for this built-in (from reclaimed wood).

This is the upstairs bathroom. We're planning to leave this room as is for quite a while. Someday we may remodel it and replace that tub with a clawfoot, but it's not a priority.

This is the upstairs master bedroom on the front of the house. It has an attached sleeping porch that is now closed-in with windows. As soon as we can afford to remodel, we're going to convert this sleeping porch into a small attached bath with an accessible shower for me.

The upstairs also has two bedrooms on the back of the house. One of them has a finished porch. We're going to remove that old chimney as it's no longer used and save the brick for some cosmetic work on the brick facade. I'm not really sure what we'll use this porch for; perhaps a plant room.

Here's where we'll need those spare bricks. Someone did a very poor remodel/repair of the brickwork on the porch. We're going to have to have all the brickwork on the front of the house repointed as much of it has bad mortar. We may have this work done right after we move in, as I suspect if we let it get too bad it will cost much more to repair.

This is a variety of pictures of the basement. Since you typically work from the top down when you remodel, it's going to be a long time before we get to the basement.

It's probably mostly going to be used for storage for quite a long time. We will be setting up our television down there. We'll be having the foundation and pest damage repair done right away; before we start to move in. We figure it will only get harder to get to the foundation walls once we're in, so we've decided that project is a priority. We're going to go ahead with the quote we already got for the inspection and just have the work done.

And to complete the tour, here is the attic. This will be getting insulated very soon!