current renovation

Treehouse Landscaping!

Finally got around to having the back yard landscaped… I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal but it’s crazy how awesome it feels to have this project out of the way!

Check out these process shots…  there’s something super soothing about watching work get done  =)

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Treehouse Catch Up Post

I have neglected to post an update on the house for a LONG time…. no excuses really.  Here is a catch-up of where we were just before Christmas, so don’t mind the reindeer, stockings, and wreaths propped in random locations.  Since my last post in NOVEMBER (woah)  I’ve fully moved in… so the place is officially “home” for Ossie and me.

No furniture except a dog bed… Before I put any furniture in the room, I wanted to finish painting the side wall.  I agonized for weeks mixing the perfect shade of grey. After cycling through all the variations of too blue, too pink, too yellow, too light, too dark I came to the conclusion that grey is HARD!  I am pretty happy with the shade I ended up with, but wish I would have gone slightly darker.  I was worried about doing that though because with the tree next door, there is already not a ton of light in this room.


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Finished putting everything together, installed the dishwasher and put together the fridge.  Kind of a mess right now but it’s going to be lovely.




Upgraded from a mattress on the floor to a really great bed.  I got it at West Elm and have received a ton of compliments on it.  My favorite piece of furniture I have purchased to date.  Now the pressure of finding a good sheet/blanket combo to pull things together.  I also got that small white stand at West Elm…  really happy with that too.  I am pretty against having a TV in the bedroom… it’s just sitting here because that white stand is the only place I had to put it for the moment.  Choosing furniture for this place has been really hard.  I did so much work on the house that now there’s all this pressure to choose pieces that live up to it!


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For quite some time, the bathroom has been the most finished room in the house.  Despite the lack of a mirror.  I seriously can’t find one that I don’t hate!  So, if you see something cool let me know.



Seeing as how it is now JUNE, a lot more has come together at the house.  I’m making this 6-month-late post for the sake of documenting this process.  I’ll try to be better about posting in the future as I accomplish all the smaller projects that are left.

Treehouse Week 59: if you can’t say anything nice

You know that old adage “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” ?  Well it’s been 8 months since my last post and that’s about how long it has taken for me to cool off enough to blog about the events at Treehouse last winter, or rather to not blog about them haha. Let’s just say we had some major contractor trouble on this one, bringing in another old saying ” if you want it done right, sometimes you’ve just got to do it yourself.”

Long story short, we fired the guy and have been putting in the finishing touches ourselves.  Luckily, the first floor had actually been finished (for the most part) so the unit left in disarray is the one I’m going to call home.  I was working out of state for most of the summer so that wasn’t such a big deal until I was rendered basically homeless upon my return.  I cancelled a planned vacation in August and we spent a week doing some concentrated work on the house.  The goal was to finish enough so that I could live there.  And by live there I mean sleep on a mattress in the corner…

Here’s the mess we were left with:


No working plumbing, no functioning kitchen appliances, no stairs to the deck, tons of siding to be repaired, a crapload of painting and trim work … and really one giant wreck!!

Here’s the progress of one week of Urbanspace slaving:

of utmost priority was the bathroom…  my awesome dad installed all the plumbing and light fixtures





The other big goal for the week was to get the tile backsplash in the kitchen finished so that the stove and range hood could be installed.  My rockstar neighbor Dave pitched in and busted this out in less than a day.



We also set about organizing the chaos and installing light fixtures so you can, you know… see.

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I accidentally ordered these fixtures straight from China.  Amazon makes it so hard to tell, those sneaky jerks!  So they literally rode over on the “slow boat from China.” and arrived about 2 months after I placed the order.  Each came packaged with the tiniest white gloves I have ever seen so you could install the fixtures without getting your fingerprints on them. That is, if you had child hands that actually fit in the gloves? Oh, China.





I also installed a closet system… it’s kind of a dream of mine to have one of those super organized walk in closets.  This system came from Ikea and was a total bitch to install, but I had good help from my friends Rick (supplying actual help) and Christina (help in the liquid form of wine) and we managed to get the thing together.  Not after 4 separate trips back to Ikea though, of course.



Not much happened in the bedroom except for a bunch of cleaning, but it looks way better than it did a week ago!





So… moving right along getting this place back on track so I have somewhere to live!  Up next:  paint, a functioning kitchen, finished deck, and… furniture!

Treehouse Week 23: take a deep breath

I debated about whether or not to post this one…  I try to keep the outlook positive around here, but I get a lot of people asking advice on whether they should take on a project like this.  So, to be honest you should know the low parts as well as the highs.  Renovating houses is awesome but it’s also one of the hardest, most emotionally trying heart-wrenching things you’ll ever do.  And that’s where we are right now with Treehouse.

This is the part of the project where I inevitably start to feel like I am dating my contractor.  Not because there is anything weird going on.  Like, at all.  But… you’re in constant communication with this person.  You’ve gone through a grueling ordeal together, because who am I kidding?  The construction process is pretty brutal. It’s full of ups and downs,  deliveries and disappointments.  And (if they’re any good) the contractor is the one by your side through all of it.  On good days you’re both stoked about the progress.  On bad days your heart jumps when the phone rings… because you kind of don’t even want to know.  Sound familiar?  Even if you’ve never renovated a house I’m sure you know that feeling.  Towards the end you both kind of feel over it… the glow of the honeymoon period is gone and you’re left feeling over the house, over the decisions, the negotiations, and totally over the never ending slew of work.

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In architecture school this same exact thing would happen.  By the end of the semester, weary and saturated with opinions and designs and changes and victories and, again, disappointments… it was kind of hard to see the finish line even though it was right in front of your face.  Even though your comrades thought each others projects were the bees-knees, it became nearly impossible to see any merit in your own.

And then, every time, you take a deep breath and push on to the finish line.  You finish, begrudgingly, and bemoan all the things that could have been.  Then, somehow, in the following months you forget the struggle, and the disasters.  You may even lay on your couch, stare at the ceiling, and laugh at yourself for ever freaking out so damn much about some stupid light fixtures that nobody ever sees?

Sooo yeah… we’re taking that deep breath here before the final push to finish the 2nd floor at Treehouse.  Here’s a look at where we stand.  We’re hanging in there.  I hope you guys are too because I’m going to need a big old drink with some good company to laugh it all off  =)  And all the stuff about this process being heartwrenchingly difficult?  Totally true… but also, so totally worth it.


Treehouse Week 22: handing over the keys

I didn’t get a whole bunch of the normal “final shots” of this one because we had a tenant who pretty much couldn’t wait to move in.  Literally. They began moving in as we were finishing up final touches like hanging blinds and mopping the floor.  Seriously, there was still paint drying.  But it’s all around awesome because I love having someone who is as excited as I am about the place.

Hopefully I can get in there and get some final (albeit furnished) pictures soon.  Until then, here are some 98% done pictures of the kitchen and living room.  I had to take the pictures with the bedroom doors closed to hide all of the tenant’s furniture and boxes waiting to be unpacked.  That’s pretty unfortunate because we did all that work to open the two rooms to each other.  Haha.  So these final shots are not perfect, but here they are!  See if you can spot the missing light fixtures, cabinet doors, etc.  It’s like a scavenger hunt!









Treehouse Week 21: home stretch (part 1)

Wow this week the first floor came together in a frenzy.  The flooring was installed and right on their tails, Casey and his crew got the kitchen cabinetry in and… the place is really coming together.  I had an idea in my head of what it would be like, and it’s pretty crazy to have it come together even better than I expected, even despite the tiny heartbreaks we suffered at the beginning of the project.

This is also the part of the project where you feel like you’re hemorrhaging money.  The final install is the second financially scariest part (after demo, which is #1… because you never know what you’re going to find behind those walls- no matter how much experience you have).  What is super scary about this part is there is no telling yourself “ok that sucks but we’ll save money on something later,” because there is no “later.” But check out how it’s going and as you can see, financial panic attacks aside, with a good creative crew, and a bit of stubbornness on my part, awesome things are possible.

.. check out this place!


First floor kitchen cabinets being installed…  and check out that subway tile backsplash!!

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First Floor Bathroom:  This room had been updated just before I bought the house, so I had no real plans to do any work in here… but the place was shaping up so well I really felt like I would regret having not done this bathroom.  So, at the last minute I made the guys replace the flooring and put in a new vanity.  Here you see it being installed…

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The barn doors from the living room into the bedroom installed…  These were custom made by the folks at NW Artisan Hardware. I am kind of in love.

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Here’s the bedroom… flooring installed and covered up.

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Not gonna lie, it was kind of a mess in there… with everyone working away on their task with their tools trying to get the place finished in time for the new tenant to show up… here’s the bedroom looking back towards the living area.

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And here’s a look at the second floor… it fell behind the downstairs unit a bit because, well, I’m going to be the one living in it… and I can wait.

Second floor bedroom:

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Another look at the Second Floor bedroom:

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Second Floor kitchen… with flooring!!

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Kitchen pre-cabinets… I loooove the new back door!

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And here’s the living room (now housing kitchen parts).. with the long awaited double doors out on to the deck.  I can picture Ossie doing some really good bird watching from this post!

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And back downstairs to the entry… I hadn’t originally planned for it, but we decided to make a tiled area in the foyer.  I’ve got some neat ideas for that spot… if I’ve got any cash left in my bank account when this is all said and done  =)


And another view of the entry… this is the best shot of the floors.  Kinda dirty and dusty from installation, but pretty awesome.  I didn’t originally want dark floors, but I spent 2 weeks shopping around and agonizing over flooring choices.  In the end I had to stay true to the house.  What was left of the original flooring was roughly this tone.  I decided that when in doubt, stick with the original.  So glad I did.


That’s it for Week 21… next week I’ll have final shots of the 1st floor, and the before-and-afters that you guys love so much.  I can’t believe we’re already here.  This project both dragged on and flew by.  How does that even happen???

Treehouse Week 20: trimming out

This week was all about trim, and paint… the remaining doors were installed, and the walls in the downstairs unit were painted.  I have to say I am really impressed with the quality of work and attention to detail these guys have.  I am also really impressed with the downstairs apartment as it comes together.  Pictures really don’t do it justice- and I’m not just saying that! All the problems with it are a thing of the past.  The dungeon-esque lair down there?  Hardly even remember it.  As it is now, the space just feels right… there is so much natural light.  It feels so right, in fact, that it’s been spoken for already!  How about that?

The final push comes next week so stay tuned for flooring and kitchens!  For now, check out the progress:

A great example of the attention to detail is how they did this trim around the railing.  I would have just made the door trim skinnier.  But these guys?  They kinda blew it out of the water.  So very nice.

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And here’s a look going downstairs from the former stairs to nowhere.  I just love how they fixed those treads!


Downstairs the best decision I made was to add a full glass door in the living room…. love the light and (eventual) views to the yard.  Don’t mind the ugly gold hardware that the doors came with… we’re swapping it out with some sweet iron black knobs next week =)


Downstairs apartment living room looking back towards the kitchen:


Downstairs future kitchen with added window:


Downstairs living room looking back towards bedroom… that opening is going to be getting some sweet barn doors.  Stay tuned for that next week!


View of downstairs living room from bedroom:


Downstairs bedroom:


Downstairs bedroom looking the other way:


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand because sometimes you have to remember where you came from:  First floor bedroom then and now.


Now upstairs to check out the second floor… not as much work happened up here because all the focus was on the downstairs unit.  But the new back door was installed and I have to say it made me smile.  This apartment is going to be awesome.

Second Floor Walls primed and ready for paint:

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check out that back door!  woohoo.  Totally love it.  =)

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And again, to remember how far we’ve come… a then and now shot of the living room.  Woah.


That’s it for now… it’s hard to explain how excited I am as this place comes together.  This crew has been awesome to work with and I think that shows.  I am a little bit in love, aren’t you?