29 September 2009

what comes before part b?

partaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. ha! that one just never gets old for me.

i think it's very important, when moving, to put an immediate stamp on your new place. what better way to do so than with a party?

now that i am blessed with my very own yard, i decided i should do some grillin' for the besties. it wasn't fancy (read: we had no dishes yet and no furniture in the house at all - thank god i remembered some t.p. at least!), but it was sure fun.

i have a minor obsession with korean barbecue so i decided to try to make some on my own. it was supposed to be a nice day, sunny and hot, so what better? especially with a bit of kimchi on the side? and ice cream sammies? with lots of chilled bubbly on the side?

i mean, seriously, who would even notice that we don't have furniture?

you'll note from the photos below that the new recipe was a success. but, more importantly, what a great opportunity to share such a major milestone with some of the people i love most.


wha so funnay?

after the story about kicking a guy's face in on muni i am wary of the look on v's face.


meat gone

auntie jennifer always has the best party favors

my lovely charlotte

27 September 2009

mad love for t & a hardwood.

isn't that just the best name for a flooring company, like, EVER? i swear that they need to make t-shirts because they'd probably double their income (at least)!

so, the floors are coming along nicely. all of the junk - carpets, padding, marble tile, linoleum, plywood - has been removed and the floors stripped and sanded once through.

here's a look at the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious results:

some of the junk being hauled away

entry hallway

formal dining room

bottom of the stairwell

living room

top of the stairwell

upstairs hallway


guest bedroom

master bedroom

BONUS!! i found mardi gras beads IN THE CEILING. add that to the prohibition era whiskey bottles that the inspector found in the crawl space and i think it's clear that this house has a long history of fun tenants.

i plan to do my part to carry on the tradition! w00t-w00t!

26 September 2009

happy, happy, joy, joy!

floooooooooooor day! floor day is here!

i know i keep harping on this but... the carpets here are truly
hideous. it's not the color or style so much, but the filth.

3 college students and a dog, unchaperoned, can do a lot of
damage. between the thousands of pieces of double-sided tape on
all of the walls and the many, many stains of indeterminite origin
(eww), there is certainly some cleaning up to do!

as far as the carpets go, we had two options: "call 1-800-steemer,
stanley steamer makes your home cleaner" OR see what's under
this mess and try to salvage or replace it.

having spent so much time living in an old victorian apartment, i
have a deep appreciation of original wood floors. so we decided to
take a chance removing the carpets.

when the floors guys came, we found original 5-inch planks under
most of the carpets. huzzah! so, while any hardwood that may
have been here is long gone, the beautiful old subfloors (likely
douglas fir) survived - albeit with many coats of paint.

under a couple though, we found faux wood linoleum tiles glued
either directly to the wood or to plywood that was installed over
the wood.

lots of gooey gluey mess

so, we crossed our fingers, took a deep breath, and started to rip
everything out.

isn't that breathtaking?

the "thank you, jeebus!" moment. wood in tact under the plywood.

anyone need some press-on nails? or sunflower seeds?

master bedroom: looking better already!

and the guest bedroom. oh, happy day!

fingers crossed that they turn out as lovely as they already look in
my mind!

25 September 2009

"you know what you gotta do when life gets you down?

just keep painting.
just keep painting.
just keep painting, painting, painting.
what do we do? we paint, paint, paint.
OH HO HO, how i love to paint.
when you WAAAAAANNTTT to paint you want to paint..."

okay, so those aren't the EXACT lyrics, but pretty damned close.

gina's lease is up on the 1st - so how did we spend the the beginning of this week? painting until it hurt. literally. i have taken more advil this week than i did when i thought i had the swine flu!

the floor guys were scheduled for wednesday morning, so we had precious little time to use those foul carpets as built-in drop cloths. and, by god, we were going to take advantage!

so monday night, with the help of super sarah and kate the great, we knocked out the office and the upstairs hallway, including the ceiling (but minus the area under the chair rail, where i will be installing anaglypta or lincrusta - is there a difference?!).

tuesday we took a half day and headed to home depot - and lunch at in-n out to fortify us - to buy 15 (!) more gallons of paint and planned to knock out the rest of the house. ha! well, a girl can dream...

nom nom nom

with the addition of maggie & melissa the magnificents, we managed to put a dent in things (and i made a great game-time decision on the color for the guest bedroom). we completed the master bedroom, the guest bedroom (including ceiling - ugh), and started on the stairwell and living room. neglected the dining room altogether because, by the time i could finish cleaning, i knew i'd be stuck at the house past 2am again.

gina, kate the great, and magnificent maggie

melissa works on the 24-foot stairwell ceiling

bathrooms we can save for later - just a fresh coat of "super white" should do. kitchen will require some strategy - want to paint the ikea cabinets but have to figure out if i can do that without ruining the birch veneer. (suggestions, please!)

here are a few before and after shots for you. colors look a bit ish-y as i was using the camera phone.

what do you think??

master bedroom in "solana beach" from ace hardware - a gorgeous grey-blue

guest bedroom in "beach water" by ralph lauren. it's like a mint chip milkshake - so pretty!

office in "super white" by benjamin moore

half-baked upstairs hallway in "marilyn's dress" by benjamin moore (waiting for textured wallpaper and molding) - this is the most lovely gray i have ever seen

ugh. living room, peppered with "blue shale" by behr

and a sorely neglected dining room

24 September 2009

what not to wear.

(top row, l-r) entrance, downstairs hallway, formal dining room, living room
(2nd row, l-r) downstairs (illegal) bathroom, kitchen, view of city hall from kitchen, upstairs hallway
(3rd row, l-r) master bedroom, master - 2 closets. w00t!, view from master (you can see the bay!), guest bedroom
(4th row, l-r) upstairs bathroom, office, view from office, backyard
(last row, l-r) backyard, backyard entrance to basement, basement

several of youse guys have asked for some "before" shots of the house. here are a few that i took at the open house back in early july. (yes - it took FOREVER for us to close!)

you'll note that the entire interior, including all closet interiors and some of the ceiling (!), is bathed in a lovely, baby-poopy yellow. the carpets, which these photos do not do justice to, are covered - COVERED - in disgusting stains. these, i assume, courtesy of the three college kids who were renting the place before it was sold. so let's just pretend they are all pabst blue ribbon, or natural ice from the keg, and not something far more sinister.

doesn't look so bad in these photos, you can't see the filth (or feel it stick to the soles of your feet) - but they do show the lack of original detail.

after a good scrub down and new paint job, it will be beautiful. but stick with me for a few years and it'll knock your socks off!

plans for the house - expertly drafted!

severe sleep deprivation.

i'm punchy today. and emotional. and cross-eyed. i promise you, it's really not a pretty picture.

gina and i are sprinting towards move-day, next thursday, and i have hardly slept for a week. i've been painting and cleaning brushes (yes, i'm a good little girl who tidies up every night) into the wee hours, fueled by white wine and pizza, for days. (klassy, right?)

and then, when i get back to my apartment, i have to catch up on gossip girl, glee, and bones. it's a rough schedule to keep, people!

the side effect of all of this is that i have developed an inappropriate giggling-slash-crying thing - at work and at home. the contractors think i am crazy and i'm sure it does not instill much confidence in the engineers at work. and my parents are worried.

i might just about have it under control, but the big floor reveal is bound to start the waterworks right back up again.

i think i need to start posting video here...

a little bit about us.

before i dive into posts about the work being done at the house (ugh) and the decorating plans (yay), here's a bit of background.

i'd been looking for a place to call my own for a while when one of my good friends, gina, started looking as well. we decided to visit some open houses together - and soon were both feeling a bit discouraged about what we'd each be able to buy for our money (studio or one bedroom, under 1000 square feet).

so... one fine day i said, "hey, what do you think about looking at some 2-unit buildings together? we might get a bit more for our money." and, because she's game for just about anything (and is just crazy enough to trust me!), she immediately said "let's do it!"

we started looking at historic fixer-uppers right away and eventually one of our offers was accepted (competition is still fierce here out west).

our new home is a 1880s italianate victorian in the heart of san francisco. while most multi-family homes here were built as flats for multi-generational families, ours was built like the townhouses and row homes you typically see on the east coast. this means that we each have our very own 2-story home, complete with private basement and yard. it could not be more perfect!

what isn't so great is that both houses were, at some point, completely gutted by someone who likely was interested in modernizing. all of the original detail - crown moldings, chair rails, picture rails, baseboards, hardwood floors, and doors - are gone. most have been replaced recently with cheap, and historically inaccurate, stock versions from home depot.

miraculously, the facade is beautiful and well-preserved and they didn't seem to have the energy to remove the original marble fireplaces.

so, over time, we will slowly restore her to her former glory - or what we imagine it to have been. i have lived for 10 years in a stunning late 1800s victorian mansion, converted to apartments, so i will be using the architectural details there as my guide.

i hope you will enjoy all of our adventures. and please send us ideas, tips, encouraging words. we will need them all!

and now... onto the show!

22 September 2009

"crack is whack!"

oh, girl, you KNOW i agree with you.


but when i look at these renderings of the proxy and permanent plans for the empty lot at the end of the street, i just feel like singing "pass the dutchie".

this guy was definitely smoking the good stuff...

my favorite image from the permanent plans (found @

me and melissa circa 2040. after a quick dip at the dolphin club, trolling for a hook-up.

and from the proxy plans
(found @ http://www.envelopead.com/proj_octaviakl.html):

ooh! look, hipsters! it's "the sound of music"!

i actually really, really love this plan. it'll be several years before they can break ground on the permanent structure, so we may as well have a fun community space in the meantime. outdoor movies? temporary art installations? belgian beers and fries al fresco? sign me up!

21 September 2009

that was, like, WHOA...

it takes a village...

so, g and i survived our first weekend of homeownership - and, miraculously, no serious regrets (aside from the multiple hangovers).

we've had the keys for 6 days now and here's a snapshot of what we've accomplished in those few days: 12 lbs short ribs, 9 bottles champagne, 5 bottles wine, 3 six-packs, 2 lbs cookie dough & 1 room painted. huzzah!

special thanks to everyone who's stopped by with gifts and glad tidings. you've made this is a very memorable week for us!

- mom & jeff, who changed all of our locks and put together the barbecue! (not to mention the gift of a thousand tools and a 20-foot ladder!) and brought us a magnum of 1982 chateau montelena. big people wine!
- dad and bonnie for the 14-person "woo-hoo!" all the way from the oregon coast. you brought tears to our eyes!
- amanda, susana, valerie, debbie, sandra and barkley for a great first night at *home*.
- the horstmanns for a home-cooked dinner on friday night...
- and eric and ryan for each stopping by with my favorite fancy-schmancy beers. (and thus making sure i was not nearly as productive as i'd planned to be!)
- jim, valerie, doug, riin, sarah, matt, deb, and alex for a super "lazy sunday afternoon" barbecue - and for the many, many gifts. can't wait to crack open the ardbeg!
- and the horstmanns, again, for sunday night dinner. you are superstars!

i love you all!

11 September 2009

hayes valley is for lovers.

at least that's what acura tells me.

click *here* to watch a super-charming short film starring hong kong superstar andy lau. it opens just outside of momi toby's - just a block away from the new digs.

i'll bet you can guess where you'll find me the next time it rains!

(thanks, curbedsf!)
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