How to: Penny Tile Floor

Awhile back – actually way before any concrete plans for this renovation materialized –  I came across these pictures of penny-tile floors and thought – that might be cool thing to do at some point somewhere in the house. Sergey was totally on board. In fact, I think he actually sent me a picture of the penny time floor for inspiration. It’s not that often that we agree on a particular project or look from the very beginning so this idea was definitely filed in the “for sure, maybe” file.… Read the rest

A Saturday Favorite

Now that breakfast made at home is hardly an option – due to cooking, clean up, and time constraints we have a new Saturday favorite tradition. A walk down North Capitol to get the requisite delicious items. First up is always Catania Bakery – not because its the closest, but because they run out of delicious Italian pastries by 9 am or so. And its not going to be a good day if you miss out on these exceptional apple croissants, the bread is excellent as well.… Read the rest

The Otto Renovation – Ikea edition

So I have been hoarding these pictures thinking I would do one big post about the ‘otto’ renovation (get it? say it out loud!) But I am not the most patient person it the world, plus I have enough of these for at least several installments. So, here we go :)

Otto really enjoys scaling things, so the pile of Ikea cabinets was his idea of perfect kitchen. His mediation pose says it all – no need to adjust anything here, i am quite pleasedthankyoumovealong.… Read the rest

A Day in the Life of a Renovator

We are by no means DIY all the way kind of renovators. I have no patience for that, and Sergey has absolutely no desire to go to any home renovation extremes, such as tiling a bathroom (contrary to the impression you might get from this blog).

And yet, we are still constantly doing, deciding, and figuring out the details. And that, is no piece of cake. A day might start something like this: wake up at 6 am and have a meeting of sorts to discuss what Sergey needed to tell contractors, such as where we wanted the light to be positioned in the bathroom, which piece of molding to use for the window, how deep the recessed shelves should be, which pieces of tile to use for recessed shower shelf etc, etc.… Read the rest

Head Explodes: Construction To Do

Ok. I am going to complain again. Because, well, its my our blog, and i can do that if i want. so there. Sometimes renovation life can be miserable (sometimes it can be pretty awesome too, but that’s not how i feel right now) its the details, details! constant details and decisions. Details and decisions can be rather overwhelming. Here’s our to do list for the next three weeks:

Upstairs Bathroom


  • molding around door – find correct pieces, strip & paint
  • molding around window – find correct pieces, strip & paint
  • purchase p trap and drain kit
  • pick out paint for bathtub, paint bathtub
  • purchase ceiling paint, paint ceiling (Farrow and Ball)
  • size glass shelves for medicine cabinet, purchase (HD)
  • size glass shelves for recessed shelf, purchase (HD)
  • size glass shelves for recessed shower niche, purchase (HD)
  • pick out puck lights for recessed shelf, purchase (HD?)
Read the rest

Building Blocks for Adults – Ikea Kitchen

We have been plugging away at putting together our 18 building blocks of fun, i.e. our Ikea kitchen cabinets. (More on why we chose Ikea here). And by we I mean Sergey and friends. And by fun I mean until it starts being a total pain and is fun no longer (a fair share of time). Here’s Kirill -he’s actually been an all around super helper:

And Chris and Tricia dropped by Sunday:

And our dear friend Peter, just off the plane from London where he spent the last two years.… Read the rest

Construction days 20-24: July 4th edition

Hope everyone had a nice fourth – ours was great, we actually had about 15 people over to grill and watch fireworks. Our roof view is privy to a pretty spectacular amateur show in addition to the national display on the Harbor and the Mall.

Pictures by Sergey from 4 July 2011, please stand by for this year’s link.

Anyway, progress has been slow and steady on the construction front; Sergey is actually very pleased with the quality of the work.… Read the rest

Construction Days 16-19

Ah its good to be home. Sergey and I took an unexpected trip to Russia, a second home for us both. No serious reasons, thankfully, just an unexpected and opportune alignment of circumstances.

In my hometown of Petrozavodsk (yes it was cold).

Meanwhile progress has been chugging along here. Thank you to Kirill for keeping a watch here and sending us pictures. Here’s a recap of what happened over the last four days of construction.… Read the rest

State of the VIB

While we wait for Construction Day 8 – D-day, otherwise known as door install day (promised tomorrow), I thought I would do another post on our living situation here. I already posted about our kitchen set up, which works just as well as day 1, though we are probably getting additional exercise going up and down stairs to the second floor bathroom any time we need water for cooking or washing produce/dishes.… Read the rest