Ice skating in Evergreen, Colorado

I found these pictures on my computer from 2007 when we went skating on the lake in Evergreen. Since I was just talking about this I thought I’d post them along with what I was thinking at the time- it was so long ago!

I flew into Denver from L.A. , Mike picked me up and we drove out of town about 30 miles to Evergreen. THIS is the Colorado I was expecting. Mountains, hippies, organic foods and ice skating on a lake! I could practically hear John Denver singing.

Ice skating on the lake in Evergreen, CO

Ice skating on the lake in Evergreen, CO

Was this only 5 years ago? Skating in Evergreen, CO

Was this only 5 years ago? Skating in Evergreen, CO

Mike doing some kind of hockey move.

Mike doing some kind of hockey move.

Evergreen, CO

Evergreen, CO

Anyhow, if you live in Colorado or are just visiting, you should go out there. It’s really fun and pretty unique! You should call the hotline first to make sure it’s open, (720) 880-1391


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Another DIY adventure: The bathroom renovation

When we first toured the house that would eventually become ours, Adrienne pointed out that the bathroom would need to be “redone.”

I asked what was wrong with it, and she gave me a look. The look scared me, and I said, “I mean, except for all the obvious stuff, of course.”

So after settling in, we got started “redoing” that bathroom.

Step One was getting rid of the plastic shower surround that was installed around the tub. Aside from being yellowed with age and kind of gross, one big section was put in upside-down. We needed tile. Black and white tiles, to be precise. (Adrienne assures me that the black-and-white scheme was not for the purpose of coordinating with the cats.)

After the tile, we installed beadboard wainscoting. For more information on wainscoting — maybe even more information than you ever wanted — the This Old House people have an awesome slideshow. We had a choice between paneling or individual slabs, and we chose the slabs because we thought they looked better, more traditional.

Add a little paint, clean up the hardware, hang a few brass hooks that were nearly impossible to find, and you can consider that a redone bathroom.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

See that soap tray on the main panel there at the top? Yeah, the one that can't hold any soap because it's upside-down? This is one of the things that was wrong with this bathroom.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

Since the place was vacant when we got it, it had been winterized by the friendly HUD folks. Not sure who did the painting, but it was a single yellowish-white color on everything. Looked like a spray job.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

After yanking out the disgusting plastic paneling we needed to prep the walls for tile, which meant removing the damaged plaster. Our tile guy, Tim, was a gem to work with, and he let me do the demolition. I love demolition.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

Here's what I thought going into the project: I'll rip this plaster down, then the tile guy will come in and tile. Easy. Days later, I'm still busting my hump trying to pull this godforsaken plaster down and I'm thinking it might be best to just wall off the damn bathroom and just start using a bucket and the outdoor hose for washing off. The problem, it turns out, is that this plaster has some kind of steel mesh that can't just be pulled down. It has to be cut with a grinder and pried off. Miserable.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

This stuff right here. Steel. Or something. Whatever. Might as well have been titanium. The plaster on this stuff was virtually impossible to take down. Took days. I cursed a lot and cut myself on it no fewer than eight times. A tip for anyone thinking about taking this kind of project on: Rose-pruning shears work really well on this, but there are people who object to having her fancy rose shears being ruined on steel mesh. FYI.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

It occurred to me pretty soon after starting the demo that Tile Guy Tim knew exactly how awful this was going to be and "worked with me" on the demo because he knew our budget was tight. Well-played, Tile Guy Tim. Well-played.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

After the tile job. Looks pretty good with the circa. 1920s fixtures, I think.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

There was a lot of consternation about whether to put the thin black liner tile there, but after a LOT of discussion, we think we made the right choice.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

Tile Guy Tim doesn't have a website. If he did, we'd share it with you and recommend his work. Despite his skillful avoidance of the demolition, he was really great to work with: showed up on time, every time; answered calls; put up with someone's changes of heart about very small things; worked quickly and cleanly. And affordably. He went with us to the tile place to look at some options. A-plus transaction. Would hire again. If you need a tile guy, we still have his number. Why he doesn't have a website is a mystery. Come on, Tim, get on that.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

Because the beadboard came in 8-foot pieces, we moved the trim down to 4 feet so we could just cut the slats in half and save a little cash. Of course this also meant that we had to repair some damaged plaster under the old trim. And by the shower, there was a section of Durock cementboard that needed some attention.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

I used my supersuperior ingenuity to repair this damaged corner by using metal cornerbead and then just mudding the hell out of it. Genius!

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

There were some spots, too, that needed some wood putty.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

Another profoundly damaged corner? Cornerbead!!

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

The beadboard was fairly easy to install. Adrienne's dad did most of it, and I stood around a lot talking about things he's not interested in.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

While we were doing all this work, we figured we might as well raise the sink a few inches so the taller people in the house don't have to hunch over it uncomfortably when we need to wash our hands. Didn't realize you could just unbolt the bracket from the wall, move it up a few inches, and reattach it. If I had known how easy it was, I would have been raising sinks all my life at every house I've ever lived in.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

I find that the best carpentry is done in pajamas.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

While I was painting and installing beadboard, Adrienne was cleaning and polishing all the hardware. Here's a doorknob and plate before cleaning.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

Here's one after cleaning. Still has a good amount of patina, but some of the details are coming out more. Also, thanks to Henley's Keys downtown, we have a skeleton key that works!

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

A "Before" hinge, showcasing one of my biggest peeves: Homeowners, please stop painting over hinges. Really, knock it off.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

See, doesn't that look better? Of course it does.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

Keyplates before and after. Not too shiny, but not too grungy. Just right.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

Adrienne's method for cleaning the hardware was pretty simple: Boiling water and salt mostly. Then a light polish afterward. She's written about it before: http://www.oinkety.com/?p=4133

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

Finding good vintage brass hooks is a lot harder than it sounds. Took us forever to find these damn things.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

This is my favorite hook. It's on the back of the door. It's a sad realization in life when you see it in writing that you have a favorite hook.

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

And here's my least favorite hook. We don't like it because it's weird. But since we won't be living here much longer, we put it up as a sort-of jab to the next owners. Take that, next owners: That's right, a weird bathroom hook. How are you liking your dream home now?

After the painting and the putting back together of everything, the bathroom does look much better. We used Benjamin Moore paint (Cottonball for the trim and Icing on the Cake for the blue walls).

After the painting and the putting back together of everything, the bathroom does look much better. We used Benjamin Moore paint (Cottonball for the trim and Icing on the Cake for the blue walls).

Bathroom renovation, Colorado Springs Craftsman

The finished bathtub/shower area. Thanks, Tile Guy Tim!

Got a cute shower curtain from TJ Maxx and we were done.

Got a cute shower curtain from TJ Maxx and we were done.

So there it is. Our bathroom, finally finished. Only thing missing now is a toilet paper holder. We love this one, but I can’t spend $245 on a toilet paper holder. It’s just not right.

My cool old bike

I bought this neat old Rollfast bike in 1990 in upstate New York while on a road trip. It was $18 and I had to buy a $50 bike rack to get it back to California. But it was so awesome and I always meant to restore it. Fast forward 21 years (sheesh) and vintage bikes are hot once again. Of course I never did get around to restoring it back in the 90s. My dad restores vintage cars so I asked him to help me restore my bike. But everytime I go out there I have a million other things to do. So it will probably sit there for another 21 years. Only now it’s in a bunch of pieces!

Anyhow, it’s pretty cool.

Vintage Rolfast bike

Vintage Rollfast bike

It was in need of restoration when I got it and has been outside for the past 21 years so now it REALLY needs help.

It was in need of restoration when I got it and has been outside for the past 21 years so now it REALLY needs help.

The handle bars always looked like this.

The handle bars always looked like this.

The vintage seat might clean up ok

The vintage seat might clean up ok

The original headlight still works!

The original headlight still works!

I’ll keep you all posted if we get any work done on it! I’d love to be able to ride it around.

Jack Quinn’s- the best Irish Coffee

It’s the perfect time of year for an Irish Coffee- why not go downtown, where the parking is free all day on Saturdays and Sundays during December. Do some Christmas shopping (buy local!) and then reward your virtuous self with a delicious, authentic, hot Irish Coffee at Jack Quinn’s.

Irish Coffee at Jack Quinn's, Colorado Springs

Irish Coffee at Jack Quinn's, Colorado Springs

 

You want to know where the best french fries in Colorado Springs are?

Taste of Jerusalem. Really. Not a burger place, not a diner, not a fancy french fry store. Taste Of Jerusalem. The Middle Eastern place downtown. The rest of their food is great too, of course. But the french fries, oh boy. Seriously. Go get some.

The best french fries are at Taste Of Jerusalem, downtown Colorado Springs

The best french fries are at Taste Of Jerusalem, downtown Colorado Springs