All in a day’s work

So it followed from the previous post on the decks that the HOA has asked me for an explanation of the work being done, when all that was being done is really just a deck cleanup; however some neighbor reported as a construction work 🙂 As there was significant water deposit on the deck due to the pressure washing done earlier, I wanted to clean it all up. I bought a 9 gallon wet vacuum from Home Depot for this purpose since it seemed that this deck will really need vacuuming to clear up the water retention again and again. I must have vacuumed and emptied out the tank at least 10 times, but finally the deck ended up clean, most of the water deposit was gone and the deck looked presentable for any inspection that may be required.

Also wanted to test out my hand at painting having watched a lot of DIY videos 🙂 And although I had been advised that it is not worth the effort, I wanted to verify for myself if that indeed was the case. [because unless I learn for myself whether it is worth or not worth the effort, the nagging doubt remains in my mind :)] So I went to Home Depot and bought a painting tool set and some white paint and decided to test out my hand at some kick-ass kitchen wall painting. Surprisingly, it went well- although the walls did end up looking like it had been painted by an amateur 🙂 Some paint got into my hair and some got on my hands and I had a tough time cleaning up the paint brushes afterward with water and soap. Also I was not patient enough to complete the second coat of paint and it was good for me that the paint included primer too. The plan is to cover the entire wall will a good paint color and some cool brick backsplash once the cabinets are up and all the appliances are hooked up.

The final verdict: My friends were right, yes, it is not worth the effort 🙂 But now I “know” the answer for myself!

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Doors, lovely French doors

If there is one thing I love, it is glass doors. Glass doors add a touch of elegance to a room and the more I see French doors, the more I fall in love with them.  So it follows that I certainly wanted as many French doors and/or glass doors as possible in my new home. I know it sounds crazy, but I love glass so much that I think I may do just fine living in an all-glass room! Maybe I was a plant in a nursery in my past life 🙂

So, I had started collecting the doors since the home offer was finalized and had collected about 6 doors, 3 of the doors lay underneath my bed and the rest were got from the awesome store at Here is the thing about doors- everyone prefers prehung doors as they are so easy to install, but there are not as many prehung doors available in the custom door segment. so I had to rely on a skilled carpenter to make the jambs and fit them into the door frame. The two French doors you see here were part of a double hung French door with jambs. Unfortunately as the frame for a double door would not serve my purpose (I needed two separate, similar looking/exactly same doors). The good thing about getting the single doors from a double hung door was that I had the option to choose which swing went where and fortunately for me, the mortises were not already cut for these doors, do it was possible to easily define the swings.  The doors cost me $60 from a construction site via a Craigslist posting. They fit perfectly as the two bedroom doors.

For the rest of the home too, I am changing the interior doors to have stained glass inserts and wherever possible, replacing with glass doors as they add character like thing else. Will keep updating the pictures below.

Here is what we have so far…

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Cleaning the decks – Part 1

After the secrets beneath the deck were revealed in this post, we decided to pressure wash the decks, clean them up well and make them look sanitary and safe enough to be walked upon. The pre-purchase inspection had revealed several safety issues include moisture in the decks, missing siding etc. among others. The moisture under the decks was causing the wood to rot.  So we decided to do a basic cleaning as a big deck overhaul is expensive and unnecessary at this point. The deck’s wooden pallets lie on two layers of black plastic that sit on top of the black membrane.

Our pressure washing task was fun. It begun by rolling up the plastic sheets and cleaning the layers and layers of pine twigs and dust and dirt that had accumulated as a result of years of neglect. After that, we started pressure washing the decks using a gas pressure washer. It can smell nasty! The concrete deck was easy to pressure wash and the wooden pallets had to be individually pressure washed for them to be clean. My friend R helped with the process one day. The handyman and his son worked another day.

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Bye Bye old Kitchen cabinets

To see the old cabinets, view the slideshow or click on an image below to enter the gallery.

With a new home comes the opportunity to “upgrade” some features- the kitchen normally gets top priority. So I decided to take off the old 1980 style cabinet and exchange them for a newer style.

Saying bye to the old cabinets was hard…not really!
They went to a garage in Marysville and the buyer (a smart war veteran) wanted to paint them red.. old cabinets will look exciting in new bold colors.  He even emailed me a picture of them and they do look snazzy!

Bye bye old cabinets. You served the home well and a heartiest thank you to you for that. May you be happy in your new fun colors in your new abode 🙂

Psst.. Here is what the ad read on my favorite recycling website:

Switching out my kitchen cabinets as part of kitchen remodel. These are sturdy and decent looking cabinets that can be stained/painted a different color to suit your needs. The material is not very heavy and can be easily moved and hung. Good for a starter home.  My contractor will be taking these down in a few days and so they will be available for pick up very soon.  Here are the measurements.  Upper cabinets: 27×30 (two), 12×30, 30×24, 18×30 Base cabinets: 30×30(two), 9×30, 12×30, 18×30

I got three replies in two days 🙂

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The secrets beneath the Deck

Uncovering the pallets gave way to the mysterious water retention problem in the deck! We raised all the pallets and left them to dry in the sunshine. The pallets were layered with a sort of black plastic material and there were several layers of them, that were causing all the water retention since most of the water was not flowing out into the drainage. As you can see the deck’s wooden pallets have started rotting (some of them) and the white yucky looking deposit is god-knows-what from another planet! Everytime I look at them, I want to pressure wash the heck out of them and make them the clean and smooth looking wood pieces God intended them to be.

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Lights, lights, lights

Having lived three years in Seattle and dragging floor lamps from one habitat to another, because of such morose weather (especially during winter),  I thought buying my own place will give me a respite from the tall lamps always standing in the corners of every room, using up useful space and confusing poor little Roomba 🙂
Seizing this opportunity, I went for the installation of recessed can lights which will ensure there is optimal light at the click of a single button in every room. Not only are can lights energy efficient, they increase the value of the home and make it look very attractive. I had the contractor put in LED lights so that I never have to change them (yes, I am an odd mix of smart and lazy!) Also got sensor controlled dimmers, which means that the lights will be shut off automatically if the sensor senses no presence in a room. This was an awesome feature for the forgetful lazybones that I am as that means there won’t be any need for me to keep shutting off lights. Finally technology is catching up with my needs 😉

[Edit: Actually had the sensor controlled dimmers removed shortly afterward because the lights kept shutting off after a specific period of inactivity which was a rather painful feature]

Very happy with the way the work progressed. The contractor did a good and clean job of installing the recessed can lights.

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Needam- nomenclature and Grihapravesham

The word “Needam” in Sanskrit means nest. Home for me always evokes a warm and fuzzy feeling and “Needam” just felt the right expression of that sentiment. Besides it was also the name of one of my college hostels in India and so it had another special significance in my life as well.

Traditionally all Indians first pray to the Gods and seek their blessings before we enter and inhabit any place. And although right now it was just about renovation, it still seemed very appropriate that we seek the blessings of God, with whose gracious support I was able to afford to buy a home and call it my own.

The invitee list was a very select few friends, most of who were supposed to be helping out with getting and hauling the kitchen cabinets and doors etc. from Seattle in a truck. The invitation read:

वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सुर्यकोटि समप्रभ

निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा

Its time for a new start with “Needam” (means nest in sanskrit) and with the blessings of the compassionate Lord Ganesha, it gives me immense pleasure to invite you for a humble Griha Pravesh tomorrow at 10 AM.

Most of us were sick with the seasonal flu and had cold; in fact I was running a temperature and suffering from congestion, but miraculously, everything went very well.  Lol.. I remember being so disoriented that I ended up wearing mismatched earrings  (this rarely happens. Earrings for me are sacred and should ‘always’ match!).

We all did prayers together and sought the blessings of all the good spirits around us. I shall forever be thankful to these friends, because they helped me when none of my own either could not or did not help.

Even though there was so much going on and despite the sickness, the feeling in my heart was that of a gentle settling down, like a dew drop on a leaf in the morning mist. I felt happy to be sharing my happiness with others, who (lucky for me!) were also happy for me. And even though this was supposed to be a small scale house warming ceremony, it will always remain very special because my friends were with me.


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