Wait. Don’t you mean 2013? As in the year we are currently in now? No.

I mean 2012, as in the MOVIE! I just watched it with Tim and Daniel and man was it suspenseful even though I knew how it would end (and possibly anticipate how next scenes were going to take place).

ImageNow, I’m sure I’ll have nightmares. Why does our brain remember all the traumatic stuff for our dreams? I really need to start watching happy movies before I fall to my beauty sleep. :) SO how does the movie rate? Well considering I don’t watch TV much or movies for that matter (*ahem* I just got excited about Netflix!! LOL), this is a 3 /5 stars for moi. :) Would I watch it again, HELL NO. Jk… I probably could, but not itching to, like I did for THE GREAT GATSBY. I loved that movie. :)

k, well tis getting late and I should turn in and get some shut eye. Hubby and I enjoyed a wonderful late night date yesterday @ the Amy Grant and Brandon Heath concert courtesy of YELP! I need pictures…which means I really should buy one of those nifty 3/4 cameras so I can tote it around!

So many more things to talk about but I’ll save that for another night. Or morning. :) RIGHT!

Praise for Kim Sunee’s Trail of Crumbs!

Ok, so this post will be completely unrelated to remodeling but definitely in the category of a life of a  Mimi! I just finished Kim Sunee’s book, “Trail of Crumbs – Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home”. Aside from being engrossed in the remodeling process, I’ve been engrossed in books, books, and books !!! My first love. :) — I even just recently joined a book club, finally!

I cannot think of a better place in the world than a good library. I j’adore stories, the piles of moments waiting to be unfolded. Kim’s book found me by surprise. Don’t you just love those? Usually when I go to the library, I scan the new books section first, because I have a thing for new books – the promise of a new adventure in fresh pages and readily understandable language (for the most part). ;) Kim’s book is a little slow to start, chronicling her story from when she was abandoned in Korea, to her adopted life in New Orleans, to her life in Paris and all over Europe. However, stick through her musings, and towards the middle and end of the book, it begins to peel at the core of her and your heart as she opens up her vulnerability that makes you connect to the common humanity in all of us. While a large portion of the book is dedicated to her love for a man (owner of L’Occtaine), it clearly is a book on a stumbling, unguided, and raw look at her path of self discovery. The story of her insecurities, her desires, all reminded me of myself and our shared understanding of our broken past. Through her book, I found that there is no “right” way to live. You are just simply given the life you have and sometimes you will stumble, fall hard, blindly forward because life does not stop for anyone.
But, I do digress a bit. I should’ve named this the digressing blog huh? hehe :P She talks about her search for love, for stability, and a void that is ever present. She speaks of a lack of optimism,  a wavering, a foggy world … in a sense a heart forever broken by her childhood. It got me thinking, that perhaps those who have had  rough times growing up will forever be in a sense broken hearted forever. We don’t understand completeness because we never felt it, and always are on the move thinking that moving will move us towards that completeness. It’s neither a good nor bad thing. It just is.

Home Depot’s Online Ordering

Ok, it’s been a day or so and I haven’t updated. Why? Because these guys work so quickly, that I sometimes can’t even catch up. It’s also ridiculous how many issues come up when you start deconstructing your house — e.g. see the piping problem.

A nifty thing that I learned the other day was Home Depot’s “Order Online” service. Basically, you can set up an account, have your contractor input all the things he / she needs with quantity and then you review the order and pay with your credit card. The order goes to the Home Depot that you want your supplies at and they bundle your order together so you/ contractor doesn’t need to run around looking for materials. They help bring the supplies out and most of the time help you load. Apparently, delivery is also free, but it’s not totally clear when they could deliver it. Typically, an order can be filled in an hour or two, which I think is pretty fantastic and a totally efficient system!

Today I learned… leaks are bad

Especially when its the central pipe that connects to every other line through the house. So, today we found out just how horrible a job, aka a “Mickey” job, that was done on patching defects on the house. Apparently, the bathtub pipe had been leaking for who knows how long… so much so that dry rot had nearly eaten away many of the joists and beams. It’s a friggin structure issue. MEH. However, we are assured that this while an issue won’t be a killer issue.

Here’s a picture of said water damage that corroded beneath the bath tub and laundry room floor. If you’ll notice.. that little beam at the bottom will have to be reinforced. The plumbing needs to be re-done which we hadn’t even calculated into our project at all. Which brings me to … FACTOR IN 10% additional cost to any remodel project for stupid things like this that come up. MEH.

Ok, but aside from all that … Trinidad, Sal, and crew just wrapped up the 2nd real day at work. Like I said in my earlier post, day one was demolition. They basically took the back wall from the kitchen to laundry room down and removed all the plaster from the kitchen sink area because… well the water pipe for the sink currently runs through the wall which is a big no no for modern day usage (imagine a pipe busting or needing fixing… you’d have to open a wall!!) Since we are already replacing the sink and counters, the back wall for the sink had to be ripped out. Also, all old lighting fixtures were removed (see the top ceiling) to make way for… recessed lighting!!

Here’s the before…

Here’s Day ONE after…. flooring removed, back wall removed, sink wall removed, ceiling lights removed


Another look at the kitchen wall at DAY 2. Tim removed the cabinets and sink himself. I is proud. :)

So basically, at this time.. it’s looking like a whole house remodel. While I’m there busy flipping out, Trinidad and Sal are a dual of super awesome people re-assuring me that it looks crazier than it actually is. I dunno, still looks crazy to me.

You see this wall here? It connects the kitchen to living room. Yeah, that’s going to be changed to a breakfast bar / counter. And you see that hole up in the ceiling? It used to be the vent for the stove. It got re-framed so it’s flush with the ceiling. The whole gas line will be moved from here to the opposite corner. Again, we’re still one Day 2 here and the amount of work already done is AMAZING.

We also had to remove an old heater /radiator unit that was built into the floorboards in the living room right at the entrance of the hallway.. wtf right?? Anyway.. this is it .. .like digging up fungus or something.

Here’s the laundry room before… as you can tell, there is a water heater there that has now been removed and moved to the outside of the house (so in case gas leaks, it doesn’t leak into the house).
 The wall that is attached is attached to the kitchen. That wall is the wall you see come down in the previous pictures above.  This is the before.

That wood platform? Yeah, when that was ripped up.. what they found was a bunch of rotted wood which essentially meant that all had to be replaced. ALL. MEH. Thankfully, these guys are sooo awesome that they had saved all the wood from our deck and re purposed them for our laundry room floor. They keep telling me… it takes a long time for a tree to generate x amount of wood, we need to recycle as much as we can. I LOVE THAT!!

All the saved wood below. Also, Trinidad wanted me to take a picture of the liquid nails which not only will serve to glue a door down, it acts as a sealant as well. DPP_0002

 OH! And guess what. The back of the house cannot be open.. and the back needed to be framed, so Sal went out and found us the French patio doors we’ve been wanting! It’s steel … maintenance free!! :) Also, it’s energy efficient. Again, awesomeness x 1000000 for such proactive contractors!  Here’s a pic of the patio door being installed. You can see that the deck has been ripped away for a new deck later on. Oh! Also, I learned something.. joists are the beams that run across the ceiling, studs are the beams that run top to bottom, and rafts are the beams on the floors. oui oui!


Mounting and making the door flush is a tedious and meticulous job. Any little tilts makes it such that the door cannot close correctly. This is a view from the back. Originally, we were going to go with wood siding, but after some discussions, we all decided that stucco’ing the laundry room wall would be the best and cheapest.

That’s it for today! It’s amazing how much work has already been done!

-all flooring removed from all rooms
-radiator removed
-water heater removed
-kitchen everything removed
-vent reframed
-patio door installed
-laundry room floor reframed
-most crown moldings and baseboards removed
-wall from kitchen to laundry room removed
-back wall reframed

so… FINALLY… and yet…

So, we finally closed on our house – horrrrayyy! Technically, our second…but finally one of those brand spanking new things called, “Single Family Residences”. Minus the “brand spanking new” because it’s as old as old can get, sorta. You get my drift. It’s old. Like 1920′s old … *squeal* …roaring twenties anyone?* This “baby” is an American Craftsman, which was the popular architecture of the time, made big in Los Angeles area by the Greene brothers – builders of the Gamble House  (from Proctor & Gamble) in Pasadena.

I digress. I say this is a craftsman house in its bones, but since then the various owners who’ve taken over it have added on to the little square footage it originally was built for. Judging from our neighboring houses, the original house was probably no greater than 700 square feet, with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. From my little experience with smaller craftsman homes, it seems that these homes generally have 2 beds and 1 bath, which … to us is eh… not really preferable. There’s so much more I could go on and on about this….because, I digress. -____-”

So with the additions, the craftsman took on a more colonial look. The house was expanded in the back and the front which removed what used to be the porch of a craftsman house. The owners prior to us deferred a lot of their maintenance. So much so, that it requires nearly a whole house remodel.

Whoa. WHOA. whoa. I didn’t sign up for this. Or did I? Oh yeah. We did. Crap. To be super duper honest, I was pretty intimidated. As my husband and I worked on some of the initial work, it was daunting and seemingly insurmountable. We had a huge running list of things to do. Excel sheets were made. Draft models of the home were done. Hours were spent. Contractors were met.

Here was my criteria list:

*must be reliable, honest
*must be able to communicate with us
*must be within budget

We called, interviewed. And let me tell you … some will ignore your calls, some will take a long time to reply, some will not actually do a through walk through of your home before quoting you (basically, WAG’d it)…giving you an extraordinary number… usually with prolonged sighs and head shaking in dismay in things that are actually easy to do to trick you on the cost.

However, we finally did find a very good contractor who has his team - Trinidad and Sal from OnSync .They began work today and already I am feeling pretty good about it. The initial work was DEMOLITION. And, let me tell you.. it was not pretty, but it was awesome to see so much progress already.

A tip for those who are doing large scale demo work from the contractor’s company — get a dumpster. You can rent one for a weekly rate followed by a daily rate thereafter. For incorporated Los Angeles areas, if you’re serviced by Athens Waste Management, they will most likely give you the best rate. You shouldn’t have to pay more than $500/week for a dumpster that will contain 1 ton of trash. Athens Waste undercut everyone we called by nearly $300. We called yesterday, requested a dump bin to be delivered this morning and it actually came!! ** lol, you can see my lack of faith in the service sector being timely  **

Without further adieu … of course.. PICTURES of demo work today *EEP*.

That Athens Dumpster Bin!!!
That Athens Dumpster Bin!!!

Yep, flooring in all rooms were removed.


breaking of walls has begun



the wall is gonna come down like no other. MAN.

Like WHOA huh? Something outta HGTV…for sure!  A little scary but also exciting at the same time!
Till tomorrow for more updates! I’ll share with you a great program to use to model your home! *Pst, it’s free!

Feeling | Sleepy, Listening to | Clarity (forgot by who), Weather | Cloudy!, Reading| Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee