30 March 2010

the full renovation rundown

I've created a page within the blog that houses full documentation of all of our renovation to date, in every room of the condo. Check it out!

Condo Before and After

29 March 2010

a colorful weekend... and bonus recipe

The vernal equinox passes, the weather heats up, and suddenly the city is full of color. With trips to Hashimoto Nursery to fill out the balcony garden, Sherwin Williams to get paint chips for the master bath, and Royce Hall to see Ira Glass, and with a second attempt at cooking the very green pork chile verde, our weekend was practically in technicolor.

Hashimoto Nursery



Sherwin Williams



UCLA Royce Hall



Pork chile verde


Here's how to make it...

Cut 2-3 pounds of washed tomatillos into chunks small enough to go into the food processor. Puree them, and pour the puree into a slow cooker.


Cut a 2-3 pound piece of pork butt (actually the pig's shoulder) into pieces somewhere in the vicinity of 1" cubes (does not have to be exact).


Boil the pork cubes in enough water to cover them until they stop producing foam. Skim off the foam as it forms, and when finished, strain the foam out of the stock. Add the pork to the tomatillo puree in the slow cooker, and reserve the stock.

While the pork is boiling, roast four poblano peppers over a gas flame until the skins are blistered and black (I like to do this one at a time with sturdy metal tongs... also good to shut off the smoke detector in advance).

 

Put the four roasted peppers in a paper bag, roll it closed, and let the peppers hang out for five to ten minutes.

In the meantime, saute a roughly diced medium brown or yellow onion and three chopped cloves of garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once they are translucent, add the mixture to the tomatillo puree.

Once the peppers are cool enough to handle (though still warm), clean off the char with hands under running water. Leave a little bit of char on for flavor.


Roughly chop up the washed peppers, leaving out the stem, seeds and pith. Add them to the tomatillo mixture. Stir in a few pinches of salt, 1 teaspoon of dried cumin and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Add enough of the reserved pork stock to give the mixture the consistency of a very chunky soup.


Cook covered until the mixture begins simmering, then uncovered for an additional 2-3 hours on high, or 4-6 hours on low, until the pork shreds easily with a fork.

Roughly chop the leafy portion of one bunch of cilantro, and stir it into the chile verde. Salt to taste. Serve with rice, beans, tortillas, bread, chips, or anything else you have handy.

 
Voila!

28 March 2010

guest bath cost breakdown

Now that it's finally done, here is our complete cost breakdown for the guest bathroom renovation.



We came in lower than I expected, largely thanks to labor cost savings from tiling the floor ourselves, and reglazing the bath/shower instead of installing a new tub and tile (this saved a TON, though we did not do it ourselves). We also saved a bit by buying Ikea hardware and a well-priced medicine cabinet. We certainly did incur more plumber and electrician costs than we anticipated, but still came in at a pretty low total considering how much the renovation improves the look of the whole condo. All numbers include sales tax.

Wall paint: $167* (SW Techno Gray)
Vanity and countertop: $220 (Home Depot Euro Shaker)
Sink faucet: $101 (Moen Eva)
Shower faucet trim: $242** (Price Pfister Saxton)
Mirror: $99 (Pewter rectangle from Lowe's)
Medicine cabinet: $49 (Home Depot)
Light fixtures: $207 (Lamps Plus)
Toilet: $360 (Toto Eco Supreme)
Floor tile and transition: $166 (12" off-white porcelain)***
Hardware: $42 (Ikea Lillholmen and Grundtal)
Wall shelving: $87 (West Elm spine wall shelf)
Shower curtain rod: $33 (Home Depot)
Misc. materials: $468****
Tub/shower reglazing: $477 (PKB Reglazing)
Electrician: $140 (Brentwood Electrical)
Plumber: $178 (Johnny Carrillo Plumbing)

GRAND TOTAL: $3036

*Includes primer and ceiling paint for the master bath and kitchen as well, and a number of samples that we will retest in the other rooms
**Includes both the original, failed Moen set (not its fault) and the replacement Price Pfister set
***Includes some leftover tile that we will use in the master bath
****Includes a ton of stuff that we will reuse... tiling gear and leftover grout, a few new paint brushes, various hardware and tools, lots of nails and screws

27 March 2010

enjoy it while it lasts


For today, at least, we have a healthy garden. Though it's rapidly heating up, topping 80 today, meaning that someday soon I will forget to water all the plants for a few days and they will shrivel up and die.

But for now, optimism! I'm pretty pleased with what we're maintaining at the moment, given our single patio and array of containers.

26 March 2010

done da done done DONE!

Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

At looooooong last, we have finished the renovation of our guest bathroom, and checked off our very first real home renovation project. We came in right under the wire, at literally a few hours short of eight full weeks.

When the electrician, our last contractor to visit, came in, he gave us the best compliment. "Wow, you did this all yourselves? You would never know."

The photos...

Before



After



My favorite details...



Thanks to this project, we now know how to:
  • Demolish plumbing and built-in furniture
  • Remove and install a toilet
  • Pull up resilient flooring
  • Level a concrete subfloor
  • Lay and grout floor tile
  • Install a recessed medicine cabinet
  • Install a new vanity 
  • Install a sink faucet
  • Hang a heavy mirror
  • Install a GFCI outlet and new light dimmer/timer switches
  • Buy the right shower/tub trim for the built-in plumbing
  • Install and caulk molding
  • Install a range of bath hardware
Whew! It's exhausting looking at that list. And yet, here we are on the verge of doing it all over again, and then some, in our master bath. Deep breaths...

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