DIY + OCD = OMG

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Sometimes I think that projects would be so much easier if I wasn’t such a neatnik.

Take the task of stripping the fireplace brick, for instance. Not only have I created an ornate plastic bag and taping routine to keep the surfaces surrounding the fireplace protected, but I also clean and put away the entire operation at the end of every weekend.

I’d probably save a lot of time by leaving the ladder and plastic bags and other stripping supplies sitting in the living room even when I wasn’t working on the project. But, well, that just wouldn’t be me. I like a neat and clutter-free home – whether projects are finished or not.

And, hey, carrying that ladder up and down from the basement is a good workout!

Down to the Details: Pergo Laminate Flooring in the Basement Bathroom

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So, quite frankly, I thought I would have more details about the basement bathroom to share. I bought a new toilet and sink that we had planned on installing in the bathroom. That is, until we discovered that the standard toilet wouldn’t work. For future reference, folks, always check to see how the toilet drains before you buy a new one. Our basement toilet drains out the back so of course the standard model we bought didn’t work. And since we kept the toilet the new pedestal sink I bought wouldn’t fit either. Hey, at least we saved some money by cleaning up the old stuff!

The one new thing that did go into the room was laminate flooring. Since it’s a small space I wanted something I could just buy off the shelf at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I eventually found a laminate with a nice grain and dark color: Pergo Montgomery Apple. When I picked up the box I was delighted to discover that Pergo is made in America! As you might know from previous posts, one of the goals of This American House is to outfit it in American made and vintage materials and furnishings. Mission: accomplished!

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Early in the planning stages of the basement bathroom overhaul I had contemplated laying down a hex tile floor. I saw this as my opportunity to experiment with laying tile before moving on to the kitchen and main bathroom. And then reality hit. I wanted to knock out this bathroom in a weekend. To do that, I’d have to find a faster flooring option.

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Laminate flooring appealed because it’s affordable, easy to install and it can look really good. I’m happy to say that all three things applied to this project. I purchased four boxes of the flooring (plus, the underlay that is also made by Pergo) for under $200, installed it in just a few hours and ended up with a nice looking floor in the bathroom. In fact, since everything else in the bathroom is white, I like the way the woodgrain of the laminate flooring warms up the space.

**This American House was not compensated for this post. This is our opinion about a product that we purchased for installation in our home.

Wright Colors: Cherokee Red
PAINTING THE DELBERT MEIER HOUSE

A sample of Frank Lloyd Wright's Cherokee Red

We’ve put it off for the past two years but this summer we finally had to face it. The exterior trim on the house MUST be painted. There are sections of trim – especially on the south side of the house – that are down to the bare wood. If we forego painting much longer we risk damaging the wood trim. And we definitely don’t want that to happen. There are far too few of these American System Built Homes that are in as good of shape as ours. We want to preserve that as much as we can. And leaving bare trim exposed to the elements is not helping.

We’ve known for the past two years that we would need to paint the trim on the house. And almost from the very beginning of our ownership we’ve been talking about repainting the trim in a deep red color. Through a little research we came across PPG Architectural Coatings’ Fallingwater paint collection. And there it was – the first little square on the inner leaf of the catalog: Cherokee Red.

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Wright Words: Cover It in Vines

A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.

It’s been said that Frank Lloyd Wright hated garages. And, in fact, the American System Built Home designs did not include blueprints for garages. Of course, these designs were produced during the 1910’s, so garages were probably not deemed nearly as important as they would eventually become.

And yet when Delbert and Grace Meier built their American System Built Home, they also built a garage. At some point the original garage was decommissioned and a new garage, along with a roofline extension, was added. The old garage now serves as our carriage house – used for storing firewood and as a summer hangout space. That the old garage is covered in a thick layer of lush, green vines would probably please Mr. Wright. As he famously stated in the quote above, vines are the only way architects can cover their mistakes.

It’s been suggested that we try to remove the vines from the old carriage house. It’s a suggestion that we will not heed. We love the vines on the old carriage house – they way they cover the worn stucco and add a lushness to the space in the summer months. We’ve actually considered adding vines to the new garage extension which, in our opinions, is the much more unsightly building.

Before & (Almost) After: A Quick Basement Bathroom Refresh

Basement Bathroom Remodel

When our house was built in 1917 it was equipped with one bathroom on the second floor. Somewhere along the way – and judging by the Bathking shower I think it was post-WWII – a bathroom was added in the basement. This little bathroom has been great in a functional kind of way when we’ve had houseguests. Or even when it’s just the two of us and nature calls at the same time! Still, this little bathroom could use some refreshing. From the army green wall to the peel and stick floor, it was time to give this bathroom new life.

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