cat cave

Upon moving into our newly built house last April, one of the first things we did was cut a huge hole in the wall. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. We took note during the construction process of all the little nooks and crannies that would eventually get walled up – free space that was just sitting there, waiting for someone to find it. The largest of these crannies, by far, was under the stairwell. While the upper half of the underside of the staircase was used as pantry space, the lower half was boarded up, covered with sheet rock, and left there to die.

So, what did we two DIY-ers say to ourselves? “Why, that space would be ideal for a litter box cupboard!” As the proud parents of three cats, we like to keep their bathroom habits as private as possible. Rather than leave the litter box out in the open (bathroom, laundry room, etc.) we like to keep it hidden…and, quite frankly, I think the kitties like their privacy. So we cut a hole (or two) in the wall. The first hole is about 2.5 x 3 ft. and is located just inside the laundry room, beside the door leading into the kitchen. It’s big enough for Trey and I to crawl into and leads into a space that’s about 3 x 5 ft., the ceiling of which starts at about 2 ft and runs to about 5’4″ (it’s under the stairs, remember?). The second hole is in the kitchen, just outside the laundry room door and is about 8 x 8 inches – and is the frame for the kitty door flap. That way the cats have access to the litter box under the stairs without having access to the laundry room and pantry. I hope that makes sense.

As I’m typing this, Roger has decided he’d be much happier in my lap – specifically sitting on my arms, effectively pinning me to the keyboard.

Where was I? Oh yes. So we cut this hole in the wall sometime around May. In September we purchased the sheet rock to finish in the space. Sometime around then, we also installed a permanent LED nightlight and a pull-string light fixture (one for the cats, one for us). But it wasn’t until December 29th that we actually started to make the inside of the litter box cupboard look like a real room. And it’s almost done! After being on our “to do” list for nearly 8 months, I can honestly (and without fudging the truth of our productivity) say that the cats will be allowed into their newly refurbished bathroom again before the week is out.

Now, we can’t just keep calling it a litter box cupboard – cause that sounds weird and uninspired. This new space is affectionately referred to as the Cat Cave. And every time I say that, the old Batman them song pops in my head…

Duna-duna-duna-duna duna-duna-duna-duna CAT CAVE!

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popcorn, anyone?

So, after the grand finale of Project Powder Room, we decided to take on a smaller DIY project…popcorn ceilings. 

The kitchen was our next target.  We’d had some significant water damage a couple years ago, and while we got a new roof out of the deal, we never quite got around to fixing the water-stained crumbling spot in the kitchen ceiling.  Also, when we changed out the light fixtures when Trey first bought the house, we chose a smaller fixture, leaving a dark ring around the base of it where the previous fixture once was. 

It seemed simple enough.  I’d already scraped the popcorn ceiling in the bathroom, and that project (well, that part of it anyway) only took a couple hours.  So I cleared everything off the counters and taped up plastic to protect the walls and appliances and went to town.  I was careful not to scrape as deep  as I had in the bathroom in order to keep the surface as smooth as possible.  After two days the ceiling was flat and had two coats of paint on it, and I was perfectly ready to put the project to bed. 

Trey had other plans.

Because I put two coats of paint up in about three hours, (for the record, the can of paint specifically said that a second coat could be applied after only ONE hour), the ceiling started to ripple and bubble. I was perfectly content to pretend it wasn’t there…cause come on, who’s gonna pay that close attention to the ceiling anyway? But my precious husband wanted to make sure the job was done right. 

So…after some ridiculous mood-swingy hormone-filled sobbing and crying on my part, Trey convinced me to let him repair the lumpy spot in the center of the ceiling. 

And, while it didn’t seem necessary to me at the time, the ceiling really is better for it.

Now, the thing I most regret is that while the plastic was up in the middle of the room, I didn’t get a picture of Rufus getting stuck in it.  We’d retaped the plastic to the ceiling just around the middle section that Trey fixed up.  We made a complete cone of plastic – you had to walk though about 4 feet of a plastic “hallway” to get in.  I don’t know how Rufus made his way in to the plastic cone…that was covered in debris from the ceiling, but I do know that he knew he wasn’t supposed to be there, and he didn’t know how the heck to get out.  Trey and I pointed and laughed at him for a good five minutes before he finally broke through the force field, covered in plaster from the ceiling.  We’re pretty sure he was traumatized.

We’re gonna make great parents one of these days…

project powder room: fin

Labor Day, 2010 – this week I was a painter, caulker, chair rail installer, wood puttier, vanity putter inner, shower curtain hanger, cleaner, grouter, tiler, DIY guru, dog-sitter and complete and total hormonal basket case. This was the begining of Labor WEEK at the Hendon house. With the tile laid and the grout dry, that glorious day off was the perfect time to kick Project Powder Room’s butt. And we did.

After nearly three months of work, Project Powder Room is finally finished. In one week, we went from a cement floor and dried goo on the walls, to fabulous wanescoating, crown molding and tile. I think I speak for both Trey and myself when I say we’re so proud of our hard work and super pleased with our new beautiful bathroom.

project powder room: intermission

Somehow, in the midst of Project Powder Room, I got lost…distracted…saw-something-shiny-and-couldn’t-focus. And that something shiny came with the delivery of my very first piece of REAL art :) I fell in love with My Painting at the Valdes exhibit at Hub-Bub during the run of Gutenberg: The Musical. And then, when the day finally came for the gallery opening, I got there only to find that My Painting had been SOLD! Lucky for me, it was sold to Todd Stephens, my former neighbor/all-around fabulous human being, who (after much begging on my behalf) sold it to me. Now, when you buy a painting at a gallery opening you don’t get to take it home with you…you have to wait until the exhibit closes before you can get your art. And HERE is where Intermission begins…

Smack dab in the middle of Project Powder room came the close of the Valdes exhibit…meaning I had a bright new colorful painting that looked horribly out of place on the mantle of our earth-toned living room. So, while Trey was distract…er…busy filling a hole in the bathroom wall, I started rearranging things…a few knick-knacks from the guest room, a picture here and there…and before I knew it, we’d bought new curtains and a decorative hour glass and I’d totally reworked the living room. And of course, like with Project Powder Room, I have no “Before” picture to show for it.

project powder poom: part 1

“You have a great starter home!”

The first time I heard this, it sounded like a back-handed compliment. Starter home? As if we needed training wheels to have our own house. Ladies and gentlement, I am here to tell you that yes, you DO need training wheels. Home ownership is great…it’s fantastic…you get to do things like paint and remodel without the permission of a landlord! But you also don’t get to call the landlord when something breaks, or when the lawn needs some attention, or when there’s a leak. No, you are solely responsible for taking care of those things on your own.

Ever since Trey and I got married, and I moved into his house (now, our house), there have been certain home-improvement projects that I’ve been dying to get my hands on…probably more than any other, was the overall make-better bathroom project. For those of you who have never been to our house, the hall bathroom (my bathroom – Treyuses the tiny bathroom off the master bedroom…I have too much crap to be confined to that space) is fine. Just fine. Not super welcoming or cozy, as I like for bathrooms to be. You know what I mean…don’t you love it when you’re a guest in someone’s home and the bathroom is all neat and clean and has matching hand towels and candles lit? It makes you feel like you’re not invading anyone’s privacy, like it’s the “guest bathroom.” My bathroom’s not like that. Mostly because the sink is cluttered with moisturizer and makeup brushes and random hair products.

Let me paint you a picture: the walls of the bathroom are cream colored, there’s panelling around the room (about 4.5 feet high) with a chair rail at the top – the panelling is yellow. There’s a white vanity with a medicine cabinet above that’s so rusty that it can’t be used, a cabinet that reaches from floor to ceiling, and a window that looks into the laundry room.  And for almost 3 years now, it’s been begging for some DIY attention.

Well…not any more.