New toilet and bathroom decorations

The time has come to give our bathroom a complete overhaul. There are numerous things we would like to achieve in doing so. We feel the paint and tiles need changing, or perhaps modernizing. Sometimes I feel like we’re in the 80’s when I walk in that room. We will be looking for something with quite a minimal but easy on the eye color, such as cotton white, or cream. Both work great with sunlight. There is also the issue of replacing the old plumbing fixtures such as the toilet which we go into in more detail below.

After living for too long with a older toilet that was consuming ridiculous amounts of water when you flush, we have decided to go out and look for a water efficient toilet, which typically consume far less, bordering between 1.6 GPF and below. The Toilet Throne has some fantastic guides that helped us choose a good unit through using their reviews and recommendations.

We have to be careful when choosing a new one simply because we have to find something that fits the shape of the room and has the correct rough in measurements. So I have measured that today and we found it came with a 12 inch rough in. Good news as I thought it was going to be a measurement that lacks diversity in choice. This is not the case however. In my research, I have found multiple toilets that could be well suited for our needs. The main thing to consider now is what brand we want. We are leaning towards Kohler or TOTO, but we can’t completely rule out American Standard either. All of these have got some great features that will be highly beneficial to us.

The floor is currently carpeted. Not ideal for a wet environment in my opinion. This will be getting ripped up in the near future and replaced with tiles or wood. Probably large white, hexagonal tiles. Underfloor heating is something else that is being considered as we love the idea behind stepping out of the shower and the floor being toasty warm and comfortable.

This is something we envision to be a 3 week task that I will be bringing a few friends in to help me with the areas I lack the expertise. Photos will follow upon completion that will show before, mid way through the process, and the finished article. Speak soon.

The kitchen work is underway

In the coming weeks, we will begin to see a massive transformation in how the kitchen looks. As mentioned in the to do list, there are plenty of plumbing faults that need correcting, especially the taps.

We are on the lookout for some new kitchen accessories however, including making the decision to get rid of the old sink and faucets, and get a more modern design. This removes the worry of repairing those, and enable me to concentrate of fixing and installing the new parts. We think stainless steel is going to be the way forward, with a special food waste disposal unit on the plug.

There are a few sinks and faucets we have in mind, but nothing is set in stone yet, so we will have to keep you posted on this matter.

Aside from the plumbing, you may remember me talking about the lighting fixtures in there not quite living up to my expectations. If i’m honest, the current set up seems a bit dull and that’s not just down to the lights. That is down to the colors that have been used on the wall, kitchen counter top, and flooring. So I’ve made it my task to fit some cool under cabinet lighting, along with some spot lights strategically placed on the ceiling. My wife will be dealing with choosing a color for the walls, which will most likely be a cream, but the flooring will have to wait until we have decided on what products we will be using to heat the flooring, as mentioned in our heating post here.

This will be one of the most used rooms in the house, so I am very excited to see how this turns out. I want to ensure we have spent plenty of time planning this so that our visions come to life.

The garden tasks are stacking up against us

The amount of tasks that lay in front of us, can be overwhelming at times, but me and my family know that if we want to make progress towards our dream home, we need to take the appropriate steps and work hard until we get just that.

With so much of our work and focus on the inside of the house, we haven’t really had a chance to address whats going on outside yet. When we first got the house at auction we knew there was plenty of work that needed to be done, but we weren’t aware just how much was needed in the outdoors too. The majority of trees and bushes we have out there have become so overgrown that we are seriously considering getting a power tool to do the job for us. Pole saws are one of the first things that came to mind when thinking about the maintenance of trees and their limbs and branches. We have got several ideas as to what model we need using the helpful buying guide provided on .

We don’t believe the work will be stopping there either as we have some hedges that have been causing problems on the fence posts that run down the driveway that links to the back yard. These will need to be pruned and trimmed back to a manageable size in the next couple of weeks.

We have a superb decking area that’s going to waste too with rotting wood found on the steps leading you up to a nice seating area. This will need to be replaced and repaired and we will also be re painting that whole area with varnish to give it a newer feel. Alongside that, we will be getting some kind of outdoor heating system that will allow us to chill outside in the evening without feeling cold.

The possibilities are endless, it’s just putting the plan into action at the moment that we’re finding quite difficult. But all in all, we’re slowly getting there and hope to have the full house completed by October.

UPDATE: We have just purchased a new pole saw which has been making light work of the branches and overhangs so far. Why we didn’t get this sooner we will never know. Shortcuts are the way forward.

A warm house…finally

After lots of laboring the past few days, we have finally got to the stage where we can say the household is fully heated, which is fantastic news, and a huge weight off my back. That was some hard work, and I think i’m right to say a job well done too.

our wood stoveTo give you an idea of the conversions and work carried out, we now have several sources of heat ranging from more traditional sources like wood stoves, to fireplace inserts and electric heaters.

The garage is the only place (which is soon to be our home gym), which doesn’t currently have a fully implemented heating system, but there are plans in place to do so, and it will most likely be an electric heater of some kind. More details on that later.

The bedroom are all running on a central heating system which naturally warms the house through thermostat, but we are not limited to that, as it can get pretty chilly here at times. So we have decided to find a good wood stove, preferably one that is easy to load up on logs for a long lasting burn. This will be placed in our living area, near the TV. There is nothing more homely than the flicker of light from the fire in the evening, let me tell you that now! UPDATE: As you can see, we got the stove! We love it, and it fits perfectly with the decor. What’s more it allows you to see the flames through the window, which was kind of a requirement of my wife, which is a bonus!

Then in the bathroom, we have got a simple infrared heater, because there is still some insulation work going on. That is a portable, temporary solution to that problem though, and hopefully we will be free of that soon enough. Along with that insulation project in the walls, there will most likely be a need to do something beneath the tiles and shower. First of all we want to get some form of underfloor heating in place to keep your feet toasty warm even in the middle of the night. Secondly, we are looking into several possibilities with the shower. It does appear that it could do with some modernization, as it’s currently a dual bathtub/shower. But both of these will be another job for my building tools, another day.

Overall, thing are looking up, DIY has never been my forte, but i’m starting to believe in my abilities a bit more the more of this project I complete. Of course, i’m getting plenty of tips off the net to help me on my way too.

Making progress on the home gym

When I first started out on this home improvement journey, I wanted to concentrate on building the essentials first. But as fate would have it, I need to fit all the cardio equipment simply because it’s beginning to get in the way and making life more difficult to move around the house. So far, we have replaced the electric switches along with ordering a new heating system to ensure the gym is reasonably warm when working out in the winter months.

We have also knocked a wall down to make a bigger doorway to carry the treadmill and elliptical trainers through. This in itself has been a workout and will be something i’ll be glad is over when all is said and done.

Plenty more left to do though such as ensuring the right flooring is in place as well as the rubber impact mats needed to keep the recumbent bike in place. We have also ordered several weight plates for my barbell to replace the aging equipment already there, as well as a motorized treadmill and a spinning bike for my son, who prefers the more intensive forms of workouts such as high intensity interval training. I must say, I’ve seen that going on in one of his spin classes, and it looks extremely difficult to keep up at the pace they are peddling at.

Mirrors are going up along the wall as soon as they get delivered. These will be fantastic for monitoring your form throughout all parts of a workout. We also want to ensure there is some good sound system in place to listen to some motivational tunes while exercising.

Pictures will be coming upon job completion, I have got a good few that shows the work before and after, i’m really happy with the results so far. But we still think there is room for improvement.

Day to day life in a Arlington Household

After moving here at the age of 13 with my parents and 2 siblings, I have never felt the need to leave, with the exception of holidays. I am now 32 years old, and have a family of my own. This blog is all about sharing the culture and everything fun happening in this wonderful town. That and a dash of a personal journey wish will detail a home transformation.

After becoming a home owner, I have not really made much of an effort to bring out the best in the space given to me. For the paint on doors being chipped, handles broken, and a unkempt garden. I want to change all that, but not lose the will to go out and immerse myself in the delights of Arlington, and meet new people.

That’s the trouble I’ve had in the past when meeting new people, if I ever had a side project that I was excited about, that would always be a priority, which is a shame, because there is so much more to life than that as I soon found out after visiting a number of bars and markets nearby. Needless to say, the building work still needs to be done if I really want to make a change in how i’m living. It’s more of a lifelong goal than anything else.

picture of the house before building workLengthy hours of tidying up the dining room awaits

One of the most frustrating things with my lounge and dining area is the amount of clutter that’s always found there. Because it’s what I call the central point in the house where people are coming and going all the time, things just get left forgotten about and it piles up overtime. The first task in this home makeover is to ensure both the lounge and the eating areas are sufficiently clean and tidy, then perhaps it will be suitable to have guests round!

While on the subject of that room, it has a rather old and worn down fire place that doesn’t fit the look or style of the room. And it’s quite clear, as my wife would agree, that it’s bringing the beauty of the room down with it. So I will probably end up finding a decent insert, or possibly even a wood stove to bring a modern, yet homely feeling. Still undecided what to go for as of yet, but i’m sure there are plenty of reviews and guides out there to help me with that.

The trouble with the kitchen

The kitchen looks antique. It seriously looks about 200 years old, and not in a good way. Half the plumbing is broken, or faulty and that will be one of the focus points along with the kitchen faucets on the sink. Then looking at the other bits and pieces in there, we will need a new dishwasher, and more counter space, which could well include knocking down a wall on the right hand side of the room to add a few extra meters in walking space. I’ll take photos of this work both before and after, so you get an idea of what’s happening, and perhaps be inspired to change things up in your own household. We have an update on the current progress here.

Heating the house

One of the first things we noticed upon purchasing the home, was just how cold the rooms were. Drafts seem quite common as it’s quite old. Needless to say, there will be plenty of work being carried out in the coming weeks to find a good heating source. I have been conducting research into various options, such as wood stoves, or general fireplace inserts. Still undecided on what I will pick. Keep tabs on what we are doing about the heating situation here, this will get updated each time we fix or improve something.

Home gym installation

In addition to all of the above, i’m also looking to improve the equipment from my own home gym, and perhaps convert the garage into my own personal training space. In total, I have about seven different cardio machines to take out of its packaging and set up, which only adds to the workload.

Balancing going out with nights in working

With all the renovations under way, I have to find the right balance between spending time with my family and friends, and building our visions for the future. It’s not been easy, as I always had poor time management to begin with. But hopefully, if I can get into a rhythm, I can keep it going, and it will become second nature to me. I should never forget the important stuff, and I will treat the family for a night out once in a while, perhaps a nice steak restaurant, or even the cinema.

The more I think about specifics in each room, the more my mind wanders and daydreams. I have even drawn up a few plans for a games room to be built. Nothing fancy, a few TV’s, console, mini bar, pool table, and a en-suit bathroom with high end bathroom features like bidets and a dual flush toilet. Just a place to kick back whilst spending time at home more.

I have been looking at the guys advice over on the DIY Network for putting these ideas and plans into place. There is some great topics that will help me sort out some of the more difficult jobs that I haven’t yet undertaken.

Keep checking back for updates and pictures. They will be posted as soon as I have had time to take them all and upload them.