Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Shotgun Bathroom Remodel

After thinking and talking about remodeling our main floor bathroom for the past 5 years, Steve decided to ask one of his builders he does work for.  The builder came out to the house, assessed the job, and said.. "Yes, we can do it.. and will need to start the work in a couple of days.... if we don't do it now, it'll be sometime in 2017 before we will have time."

Well.. now you know why this is called a "shotgun bathroom remodel".  After looking at different layouts, showers, tile, etc. online (Houzz, Pinterest), it was now time to put it into action.

While this bathroom has served us for almost 6 years, we had realized very early on that the functionality could have been significantly improved for our lifestyle.  There are several reasons we knew (or hoped) this day would come and the first reason was the shower.  The shower is very cramped and there is no where to put shampoo or soap.  Sometimes you would hit your elbow on this  little protruding thingy in the wall as you bring your arms down from washing your hair.  Only a couple of make-shift "soap/shampoo caddies" could be found given the narrow size options (one I had to turn upside down to actually work.. but it did).  The caddies would also rust.. and then you have chunks of rust on the shower floor when they are bumped.  The shower door is also very high maintenance with it's brass channels and grooves around the opening.. a popular spot for mold, mildew and general slimy grossness (I don't have the time, nor inclination, to get down on my hands and knees with a toothbrush in order to get the channels clean).  Have I mentioned I wasn't a fan of this shower?  Here is the shower before we started the demolition (which Steve loved to do):

And here is what the shower looks like today (below).  It will be a ceramic tiled walk-in shower.  Once the plastic molded shower unit was pulled out, there was a lot more room so we were very excited about that!  Our Golden Retriever, Maggie, will also love this new shower.  In our old house where we had a ceramic tiled walk-in shower, she used it as her little house.  It was quiet and cool... and she laid in there all the time.  We're doing this.. for Maggie, you know! 

Did I mention how EASY it is to clean a ceramic tiled walk-in shower?  If I didn't, it's EASY!  

The angled part of the shower on the left side will have some glass in it.. we are thinking half way up.. kind of like this photo:

The next item that just wasn't useful to us is this big, beautiful Kohler whirlpool tub.  Some people would kill for this tub... we've used it once in almost 6 years.  They say if you don't wear certain clothing in a year, you should donate or get rid of it.  I think it's time for this bathtub.  It takes a long time to fill up with water and because of it's size, takes up a lot of precious floor space that I would rather have for storage.  So, out it goes.  We will be either selling or donating the tub, toilet and sinks because they are all a matching set of Kohler products that we know weren't cheap.  The tub was great for refilling the dog water bowls.. and also for collecting dust.  Have you ever swept out or vacuumed your bathtub?  I have.

Another thing it was good for was washing/soaking window blinds.  Mmmm.... No, I'd still rather have extra storage (something I need and will use).

Any soaking will continue to be done in the hot tub outside in the winter.. or in the standard bathtub upstairs in our guest bathroom.  We're making room for a bathroom that will be more functional for us (and, um.. Maggie).

Here are a few "before" and "current" pictures of the bathroom.

Goodbye oversized tub and bathroom sinks that are hard to clean with all the grooves, curves and faucets.  And.. hello to a pocket door that will replace the closet door.  The layout plans will have the double vanity where the tub currently is in this picture... and there will be storage cabinetry where the sinks currently are.

Shower is gone as are the sinks (tub still there covered up with a paint cloth)
Down to the studs!  Evidence of mice chewing on wires.. not good!  Insulation will help that!
The closet door opening will move a little more to the left and will be replaced with a pocket door. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Horse Arena

It's been about four months in the making... but the new riding arena is finished!

The process started in early Spring with the "wrong" excavator.  Unfortunately, even after the wrong excavator came back to fix his mess... it was never right.  It was not level and the sand still had 'deep pockets' in many locations (this can cause significant damage to horse legs and tendons).  It did not drain but held water puddles for weeks.

We then found Tip Top Horse Arena Services right here in the Grand Rapids area.  They do excellent work and have a following by some of the "big name" horse people.. so we knew they would do a good job!

And.. we were not disappointed.  They fixed the mess and the arena is now level and drains very well.   The base and footing has been done now for a few weeks (and it's been used), but just today the base units were delivered.  We got the boards from a big box store to save money.

Base units are lightweight enough to move, but sturdy enough to hold the railings/boards.  
By using these base units, we can easily take them down in the winter and store them (or to drag the arena smooth again during the warmer months).

Steve & Maggie ready to drag the arena 

Arena before it was dragged and the fencing installed
Maggie May.. just supervising!

Steve & Maggie drawing the arena.  Riding the Ranger is one of Maggie's favorite things to do. 
Here comes the arena fencing (tractor in the background)
Horses seem unfazed by the commotion 
Two Sweeties!
 We now have a great place to ride and work with the horses.. very, very happy!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend - Walk About

Since it's been quite sometime since I've just posted some random pictures of our property, I figured tonight I'll document what our property looks like in Spring of 2016!  

C'mon... and take a walk around with me!

Main Door entrance floral grouping

Finally.. the gardens are starting to "green up" and look lush again.

Everything is still pretty small... May 28 2016.  We added the stone border around the beds this year.

Myrtle Vinca was planted around the large trees in the front yard this Spring.  Since the area is permanently shaded and grass simply won't grow there, we figured why fight it?  Let's just put some myrtle there and mow around it.  
Driveway Urn
My favorite thing to do in the Spring is plant the urns on our new driveway pillars!  The pillars make such a statement ... they were one of the best additions to this old property!

The new birch trees that we planted last Fall next to the pillars are also doing well.

Iris' in bloom... ahhh, just take a deep breath of that glorious smell.

Vegetable Garden - May 28, 2016
The vegetable garden was planted just this week (a little later than normal). 

We're going to have a very 'fragrant Spring' with our honeysuckle that is growing on our garden shed.  It's loaded with buds that are about to open up.

The clematis that was planted last year is also doing well as are the perennials that were planted at the base of the clematis to keep the roots cool.