Demolition Diaries: KaZoo Kitchen Reno

Newsflash: We are back in demo mode! The KaZoo Kitchen is no more. Well, the old one anyway. When we bought the ‘Zoo in December 2013, our kitchen looked like this:

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It was a typical builder kitchen with basic white appliances, stock thermofoil cabinets, beige laminate countertops, beige vinyl tile, and a micro pantry. All the essentials, and all functional (mostly). Once we brought our old (but newer than theirs) fridge and a new gas range, things were looking up:

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After installing our hood vent in summer 2014, which necessitated the removal of some of our wall cabinets, the kitchen took a turn for the worse functionally and aesthetically. We added some hardware to facilitate drawer and door opening, but the loss of so many upper cabinets was rough. We painted to help the kitchen feel happier until we could do a real renovation.

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In the interim, we began discussing ideas for our future kitchen. Almost immediately, we began dreaming of relocating the refrigerator: Its position in the southeast corner meant we could never open the refrigerator door fully. Stuffing pizza boxes, jugs of milk, watermelons, holiday turkeys, etc. in the refrigerator was next to impossible, but even regular things like heads of lettuce, bagged carrots, and leftovers saved in Pyrex containers proved difficult. While buying a French door fridge might help matters somewhat, we were also frustrated with the inefficient pantry on the opposite end of the kitchen (deep but not wide = digging out 10 things to get 1 item at the back). While having a pantry is nice, we decided we’d rather have more cabinets and counterspace…and was it remotely possible that the fridge would fit in the pantry’s spot if we tore down the pantry?! We couldn’t shake the idea, and after measuring, there was joyous celebration in the KaZoo Kitchen for the kitchen-to-come.

Of course, we were concerned the pantry might be structural, but other homes with our same floorplan in the neighborhood didn’t have a floor-to-ceiling wall at the pantry (the boxy area above our pantry was completely open to the living room in the other homes), which gave us hope. We took everything out of the pantry (feel free to play “Where’s Hermes?”)

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and tore into the drywall above the pantry to check things out.

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Our basic understanding of structures was telling us we were looking good, and after getting a licensed professional to confirm our suspicions, Mission Fridge Move was a go! That’s when the fun of Demo Day began. Kicking down drywall is so…satisfying!

Once the pantry was torn out, it was amazing how open the kitchen felt! While we had attic access above the old pantry/new fridge location, my dad and I installed a new electrical circuit and outlet so that the refrigerator would have its own independent circuit. My dad is a professionally licensed electrical engineer, and while I could do the wiring myself now after years of helping him, I’d rather have a professional on the site.

There’s a lot of shoddy DIY structural, electrical, and plumbing work out there that might get missed in a regular home inspection that can be the ultimate nightmare, so be skeptical of any home that’s obviously been renovated (especially if you see signs of bad workmanship, like the worst painted-over, patched drywall you’ve ever seen). Chances are, those homeowners may not have gotten the licensed professionals, permits, or inspections necessary to ensure a quality job. Installing or moving electrical, structural, and plumbing is a huge deal. Just because a friend or family member ‘taught’ you how to do something back in the day doesn’t mean it’s up to current code or would meet the code for the state in which you now live (Florida and California have specialized requirements, for example). Calling a professional is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of intelligence. 

We then took out the island, scraped and cleaned the remaining vinyl tiles up, lay the underlayment, and tiled the first part of the kitchen. We also patched, taped, mudded, and sanded the drywall in the new-fridge area.

 

After allowing those tiles to set, we took out the rest of the cabinets, only to discover damaged drywall behind the sink, where the previous residents clearly had experienced a leak at some point. We expected some damage because of the water damage we had seen in the cabinets, but it was more extensive than we had hoped.

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We had a mold inspection when we purchased the house that came back good to go (otherwise we would not have purchased the home), but we definitely wanted to get rid of the water damaged drywall (and the insulation behind it) ASAP, now that it was exposed and accessible.  At this point, our fridge got to move to its new, happier home. Behold the wonder and glory of being able to open the doors completely!

Can’t you hear angels singing? Hallelujah! We can. Every time I open the fridge now I can’t help but smile. You’ll note that we left the wall to the left of the fridge (a) because it had the kitchen switches on it) and (b) because we wanted the wall to hide the fridge from the view in the rest of the main living and dining area, which it does rather well.

Anyway, out went the damaged drywall, followed by the insulation, as carefully as possible to minimize possible mold spore diaspora. We took out everything in all areas evidencing any water damage plus a bit beyond the damage, both vertically and horizontally, just in case. The studs were fine, though. Whew. We installed new insulation and mold resistant purple-board (the new green-board), which was made easier with a compass-like drywall cutter than enabled us to cut clean circles for the pipe fittings and wiring.

We taped and mudded the new drywall, then lay more underlayment. The floors would already have been finished, but we wanted to keep our range connected to the gas, which has meant flooring in phases.

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Hermes is ready for things to be finished. So are we. Next time we’ll be sharing the finished flooring, painting, and all about the cabinets. I can’t wait to put ALL THE THINGS in the cabinets. And now back to work. 😉

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The Easement Awakens

Ah, the sweet satisfaction of finishing a project–in this case, replacing our fence. Warmish weather for the win! While many of you have been blasted with winter storms of late, we’ve had nothing but blue skies on the weekends, making it possible for us to actually finish our fencing project over the course of the last four weekends.

What once looked like this:

now looks like this:

In the left picture we don’t have all the posts cut to size or caps glued on the posts, so technically the finished product looks like the picture on the right. Also, the thing under the tarp in the foreground is our fire pit, if you were wondering.

Privacy? Check! Rotting? Nope! We’re calling it good.

If you’re actually interested in the fencing project, keep reading. If not, but you’re wondering about the title, skip to the “and now for the fun part” section at the bottom for a funny story about our fencing experience. 🙂

Choosing Fence Materials
We’ve only had experience with wood fences up to this point, but we chose to install a vinyl fence at the ‘Z00 for four reasons, in no particular order:

  1. Free materials. My parents installed a vinyl fence (after having a wood fence) and had leftover materials they gave us.
  2. Coordinating with existing fencing. Our neighbors already had white vinyl fences, and the west side of our backyard was already fenced with white vinyl, thanks to that neighbor.
  3. Maintenance. The white vinyl fence is lower maintenance for this area, which is one of the reasons my parents installed a vinyl fence after living with a wood fence for awhile. The salty, humid air accelerates the weathering process of wooden fences, and even those galvanized exterior wood screw boxes will tell you they are not to be used within 5 miles of coastline.
  4. Cost. Considering the damage our existing wood fence had suffered, after pricing out replacement wood for the worst sections, it was cheaper to replace the entire thing with vinyl fencing.

Installation Process
With a regular wood fence, fencing is rather straightforward because you set the posts, then attach the panels to the posts using the runner boards. Not so with the vinyl fence we installed.

We experienced a number of issues with installing this kind of fence: The brackets that attach the panels to the posts must be attached to the posts and then to the panels. If you measure the length of the panel, set your posts, then try to install the panels between the posts, you have no wiggle room, and you can’t slide the panels down into the brackets from above if you are a two-man one man, one short woman crew. Even if you could do that, the panels aren’t uniformly sized (and aren’t always square), so creating an installation template for the distances between the posts and between the top, middle, and bottom brackets based on the measurements of one panel result in post overlaps, gaps between panel and post, or bracket misalignment. Awesome. 

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After experimenting with different installation techniques, we decided that the following sequence worked best: (1) Person A holds the panel level at correct height while Person B traces the top bracket location on first (already set) post. (2) Person B attaches the top bracket to the first post snugly, then Person A holds the panel level in the top bracket while Person B traces the middle bracket position. (3) Person B attaches the middle bracket to the post with a little wiggle room, then Person A holds the panel level in the top and middle brackets while Person B traces the bottom bracket position. (4) Person B attaches the bottom bracket to the post with a little wiggle room, then Person A holds the panel level in all three brackets to set middle and bottom bracket final position, while Person B drills pilot holes in the panel and then attaches brackets to panel. At this point, the panel is now attached fully to the first set post. (5) Person A continues to hold the panel level at correct height (helped somewhat by the first set and now attached post) while Person B positions the second not-yet-set post in its hole beside the panel. (6) Repeat steps 1-4 for the other post, but Person B must also check the placement of the post along the string line (for straightness of fencerow) and that the post remains plumb as (s)he attaches the brackets. (7) With Person A holding the not-yet-set post in place, Person B pours the concrete for the post. Fun times. Not really. 

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One of the other complications that we experienced was having to meet up with our neighbors’ fences. For example, in the back east corner of our yard, our fence doesn’t meet our east neighbor’s back fence because they have set their fence ON the back property line, rather than inside it. Since we went through the proper procedure of getting a city building permit for our fence, we will be held accountable for making sure our fence is inside the property line. It makes for a bit of an eyesore that the fences don’t line up but is what we must do. The pre-existing white vinyl fence on the west side that our west neighbors built actually sits in our yard (PAST the property line, not even on it), and there is a retaining wall that extends from their backyard into our yard that made us have to stop our back fencerow too soon to meet up with the too-inside west side fence. We had to devise a solution for this awkward arrangement. In addition, we had to make our gates, including a new gate on the northwest side, work with the east and west neighbors’ existing gates, both of which had been attached to OUR original wood fence posts. We would have preferred to move our gates further forward in our yard so that more of our windows would be fenced into our backyard (we have to stare at our east neighbor’s trashcan from our living room window-ugh), but we are required to match on the front with our neighbors, even though our fence was the original one to which THEY matched. It is so frustrating to live in a city and neighborhood with such ridiculous restrictions if you actually abide by the law.

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The last complication also related to the gates–namely, that the instructions provided with the gate gave the wrong specs for the allowance between gate posts, so we always had oversized gates for the space between the posts we had stood (the gates required set posts, so no wiggle room here). We had planned our post positions such that we could make the cuts for our gate sizes along the prefabricated picket lines in the panels so that the gates were sturdier and more factory-finish looking on the ends. On the first gate, we just assumed my dad had mis-measured somehow to be too tight, or “precise” of a fit. On the second gate, we thought we made the same mistake he had. By the third gate, when we experienced the same phenomenon the third time, we realized the error was not ours. Overall, this experience taught us that my dad’s adage about not reading/following the directions exactly actually made sense. We tend to be skeptical of directions for items made in certain countries based on past experiences (sorry China), but this fence was made in the States. Plus, a measured distance of 7 inches should always be 7 inches, but their specification of “7 inches” allowance needed to have been 8 inches instead. Fortunately, my dad gave us these white vinyl pieces (I can’t remember what their real purpose is) that slide over the jagged edges where we had to cut down our perfectly sized gates, and they actually make the gates look even better.

And now for the fun part
You can imagine the tedium of fencing: string, set, measure, prop, level, hold, drill, drive, repeat ad nauseam. Fortunately, some neighbor kids have provided us some much needed entertainment while we worked recently.

Behind our house is an electrical easement, and beyond that, another neighborhood. The power company allows ‘native’ weeds plants to proliferate in the easement, coming only once every three years with a Bobcat to mow them down and a wood chipper. Although some things die back in the mild Florida winters, mowing once every three years is hardly enough to keep the flesh-eating plants wild blackberries, sandspurs, cat’s claw, etc. at bay. The power company does allow us to use the easement for gardening, if you should feel like taming the jungle on your own, of course. Of course, because the jungle snakes its way through our fences into our backyards, we have to mow and weedeat the jungle anyway. Constant vigilance! as Professor Moody (or Barty Crouch, Jr.) would say.

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Rarely do we see anyone back in the easement. In fact, I can only remember seeing a group of teens walking through it on a holiday weekend in search of a shorter route to the beach than the main road. I suspicion they regretted their decision to hike into the jungle wearing bikinis and flipflops, given the certainty of the briars marring their flawlessly tanned skin.

Fortunately, 2015 was a mowing year, so things were a bit shorter than usual this winter, making it easier to see the neighbors’ houses, traverse the area, and most importantly, work on the fence. Late one afternoon while standing posts and panels for the back fence, we saw a couple of tween boys emerge from the undergrowth in a clearing, brandishing sticks like light sabers. They reminded me of Max from Where the Wild Things Are as they shouted and galloped through the brambles with their sticks, slashing at briars and each other. They climbed into a shabby treehouse nestled in a grove of trees in the backyard of a house in the neighborhood opposite us, a few lots down.IMG_5131

After a little while, the boys reemerged and began scavenging the opposite side of the easement for anything homeowners might have discarded in the jungle (sadly, this happens). A couple of old screened doors soon adorned their treehouse. It wasn’t too long before we heard them heading our direction–heard, not saw, because by this time we working on the side of the fence interior to the backyard and thus out of their line of sight. They stopped short directly behind us, and one of them exclaimed, “Here’s some bricks we should come back to get!” We realized then that the boys were planning to take our bricks and obviously had no idea that we were on the premises! Previously, we had been using those bricks to line our flowerbeds in the back, but we had to take the beds (and bricks) out to take down the old fence and build the new one. During this process, we had also discovered a zone of the easement along our fencerow colonized by fireants, and we used the bricks to mark the places NOT to step until we no longer had to dance delicately between the ant beds while fencing.

Chris swung open the gate we had just hung the previous weekend, and I stepped through it into the easement. You can imagine the look on the kids’ faces when they realized that we had been on the other side of the fence and had overheard their plans. The obvious leader (and quirkier of the two), managed a rather cheery “Merry Christmas!” over his shoulder as they scampered out of sight. It was the end of January, but you know.

Needless to see, we paused in our fence building to move all the bricks to a safer place deep inside our yard. Once this was accomplished and we had returned to fence work, we saw them gallop past us, carrying a discarded (and extremely dry) Christmas tree, complete with red plastic base, overhead. Presumably, it is now sitting in the “living room” of their treehouse, where we can only hope they do not play with matches. Because if they do, let’s just say, tinderbox.

Ah to be young and imaginative again.

They were hilarious to watch. Of course, they didn’t know we had been watching their antics the whole time we had been working. Of course, it could also be that we were simply so bored that a couple of kids engaged in make believe play was highly entertaining to us.

As the sun was setting, they crawled over a fence into a different backyard, presumably the other kid’s home, and disappeared until the next day.

I’m almost sad that we finished the fence, as I cannot vicariously return to Jakku or Narnia or Middle-earth, or whatever world the easement becomes for them on the weekends.

And now we will be getting a lock for our back gate so they don’t haul off our adirondack chairs, too. Wink.

Mista Lista: To Do/Ta Da List Summer in Review

Mista Lista is back by popular demand with a quarterly post on how the KaZoos are improving the ‘Zoo one bullet point at a time. Here’s the latest on the to do/ta da situation at the ‘Zoo:

Yard

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Moving gate latch to the inside of the backyard (Surprise! We discovered we did in fact have a gate latch already, but it was put on the outside to allow free access to our backyard to any interested parties…what-tha-what?)  We now realize how the neighbors were able to show other interested buyers the backyard while we were looking at the inside with our realtor!) (1)
  • Cut down imposing magnolia in side yard (2)
  • Trim trees, shrubs, and grasses (2)
  • Remove sago palms in the way of mowing (2)
  • Replace rotted fence board (2)
  • Test/correct sprinkler aim (2)
  • Clear easement behind fence to keep weeds out of our yard (2)
  • Remove overgrown (ugly) hedges and grasses and snakes, oh my! (2)
  • Remove scalloped landscape edging (3)
  • Add new plants, mulch, and edging (3)
  • Replace odd flower bed between entry and driveway with brick pavers so that we aren’t stepping out of our car into the flower/weed bed (2)
  • Cut down magnolias in backyard (3)
  • Paint faded mailbox (2)
  • Shadowbox wood fence (3)
  • Line fence with crape myrtles for low maintenance privacy and shade (3)
  • Add edible plants! (3)
  • Upgrade fence (4)
  • Add gate on garage side for convenience (4)
  • Add sunporch? (4)
  • Add pool? (4)

Paved Areas, Garage, and Attic

Last Year /This Year (not much change here!)

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  • Fix garage door keyless entry that cannot be reset/changed for some reason (1)
  • Install paddleboard storage to get paddleboard out of the living room (2)
  • Install carpet squares for walking path around garage hazards (2)
  • Build garage racks for storage (2)
  • Uninstall wire shelving and cut to fit Master Bedroom Closet (2)
  • Pressure wash driveway, front sidewalk, and back patio (2)
  • Patch cracked concrete (2)
  • Fix attic stairs (2)
  • Find new home for plywood hurricane window covers to maximize floor space (3)
  • Organize garage shelves and floor areas so we can find things we need to knock out things on the to do list (2)
  • Install second paddle board rack for Amy’s new board (2)
  • Take out rest of yellowed sunbursts in garage door (so much better!) (2)
  • Install pegboard, hooks, etc.  for functional vertical storage (3)
  • Add floor to attic for functional storage (3)
  • Paint (3)

House Exterior

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Change locks (1)
  • Make key copies (1)
  • New wind standard roof (1)
  • Replace weather stripping on back door (2)
  • Remove corrosion from back door (2)
  • Add storm door (3)
  • Buy hurricane shutters to replace plywood (3)
  • Repaint house numbers (2)
  • Replace front door (4)
  • Replace garage door with wind standard garage door (4)

House Interior

Last Year/This Year (not much changed here)

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  • Install new smoke detector batteries (1)
  • Change air filter (1)
  • Install Nest thermostat (2)
  • Install carbon monoxide detector (2)
  • Recaulk windows (2)
  • Install reverse osmosis system (2)
  • Replace windows with energy efficient windows (3)
  • Color correct light fixtures and door knobs (4)
  • Replace cracked/Color correct faceplates/sockets/switches (4)

Foyer, Hallways, and Linen Closet

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Tear out carpet and vinyl tile (1)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls and trim (3)
  • Upgrade flooring to wood-look tile (3)
  • Redesign guest linen closet to function as coat closet (we have two linen closets but no coat closet!) (3)
  • Wainscoting, beadboard, board/batten in foyer (some sort of special wall treatment) (4)

Front Bedroom (Guest Bedroom)

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Buy wooden dowel to “lock” broken window (1)
  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Scrape popcorn ceiling (1)
  • Prime and paint ceiling (1)
  • Prime walls/trim (1)
  • Install MBR ceiling fan so there is a light source and air circulation (this room gets stuffy!) (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (1)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (1)
  • Install wood-look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Guest/Hall Bathroom

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with wood-look tile (3)
  • Replace lighting (4)
  • Frame out mirror (4)
  • Replace vanity/countertop (4)
  • Replace molded shower/tub combo with tub/shower with tiled walls (4)

Side Bedroom/Craft Room/Future Nursery

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Install ceiling fan (2)
  • Replace ceiling (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Install wood-look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Living Room

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace carpet with wood-look tile (3)
  • Take out existing ceiling fan (for bedroom 3) and replace with awesome fan (3)
  • Fix gas fireplace (4)
  • Apply new ceiling or plank the big wall (or both?) #shiplap (4)

Dining Area

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rods (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixture (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile with wood look tile (3)
  • Install built-ins for china storage/buffet serving area (4)
  • Apply new ceiling or plank the big wall (or both)? #shiplap  (4)

Kitchen 

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Install our refrigerator (2)
  • Upgrade to gas range so normal family cooking can occur (2)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Upgrade range hood to functional one vented outside (instead of recirculating) (2)
  • Add electrical outlet for gas range behind it (currently having to plug it into a counter height wall outlet to the left of the range, maxing out the length of the electrical cord-ugh!) (2)
  • Upgrade dishwasher (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixtures (3)
  • Reconfigure island (3)
  • Move refrigerator to where panty is and put new awesome pantry where fridge currently is for more functional layout (right now we can barely open our fridge door against the wall) (3)
  • Replace vinyl floors with wood look tile (3)
  • Install wood cabinets (4)
  • Install new countertops (4)
  • Install new sink and smart faucet (4)
  • Install tile backsplash (4)
  • Upgrade pantry to be cabinet pull-outs instead of wire shelves (4)

Laundry Closet

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Install our washer and dryer (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Add a laundry cart for better use of space! (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile with wood look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving (3)
  • Install countertop for enhanced folding (4)

Master Bedroom & Master Closet

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Replace ceiling fan with awesome fan (2)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rods (2)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Change closet configuration to allow for two levels of hanging (using extra shelving from garage) (3)
  • Replace carpet with wood look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet to non-wire rack closet system (4)
  • Build out coffered ceiling in MBR (4)

Master Bathroom 

Last Year                                                                                 This Year

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  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Install more towel rods and robe hooks (3)
  • Add double shower rod for more room in shower + hanging space for swimwear(3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with real tile (3)
  • Tear out awkward linen closet stealing space from vanity (3)
  • Tear out awkward doorway to toilet/tub/shower area (3)
  • Swap wimpy vanity and torn-out linen closet + dead space with master closet (4) MASSIVE RENO AHEAD!
  • Replace 1 old-person shallow tub/shower combo with 2 person tub (4)
  • Tile bath surround (4)
  • Plumb and install new vanity and shower in former master closet (4)
  • Install vanity mirror(s) (4)
  • Install better lighting (4)
  • Install new (non-leaking) sink hardware (4)

Mista Lista: October KaZoo To Do

Mista Lista sat down with the KaZoo family this past weekend to do some planning and goal coordination of their next steps, now that most of the necessary, smaller, and easier tasks are out of the way.  Note: Painting the remaining rooms doesn’t even count as a smaller, easier task because the KaZoos will have to rent equipment to be able to reach their high ceilings and move their heavy furniture to do so.  Mista Lista does take pity on the KaZoos every once in awhile.  Mista Lista advised the KaZoos to tackle future to dos in a more time and cost-effective way than their frenzied spring/summer get-it-done-yesterday madness approach.  The new plan is to tackle one big project, one medium-sized project, and three smaller projects, plus conduct research and purchase materials necessary for forthcoming projects in November.  Here’s what Mista Lista helped the KaZoos plan for the month of October.

Projects on Deck:

The Escalade

Painting the living room, dining room, and the rest of the kitchen is the big project of the month.  If the size of these walls (over 13′ high, and running the width and length of the public spaces in the house) isn’t enough to earn the Escalade designation alone, having to rent equipment that costs money and requires logistical planning is also a big deal. Note the height of the ceiling over the height of the baby grand piano with its lid raised. Yes, that is an empty frame on the wall. It’s a placeholder.IMG_3221

The Camry

Coming in second place is putting the finishing touches on the yard, and by this we mean finish clearing the overgrown easement behind our house (note the ginormous, blooming wild shrub+ vine combo), replace broken sprinkler heads, finish edging/mulching the flower beds in the backyard, and transplanting crape myrtles to the backyard fence row for low maintenance privacy and shade.  Sounds like a pretty big job, right? It is.  This might be more like a BMW 7 series sedan instead of a Camry sized job, but all of these things can be accomplished in one long day’s work without needing extra equipment, hence the mid-size designation. You may be thinking, um, but wouldn’t a Bobcat rental help with clearing the easement? Yup, if only we could get one back there. 

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The Focus, the Fiat, and the Fit

Painting the house numbers, exterior light fixtures, and mailbox is one of our bite-sized projects for October. We plan to ORB the light fixtures, but the mailbox has to stay a standard black per HOA regulations.  We haven’t decided what color to paint the supremely faded house numbers yet (black like they were before [we think]? ORB’d to match the light fixtures?)…any preferences/suggestions? We’d really like to upgrade the numbers down the road to some of those awesome art deco-looking numbers.  All in good time, right?

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Fixing up the fireplace is also on the list.  We got a coupon in the mail for a chimney sweep, and we definitely need our fireplace inspected and cleaned.  It is supposed to be a gas fireplace, but there are no gas logs…and where they should be is a grate for actual wood.  The inside of the fireplace is all black as if the people who used to live here might have burned real wood in a fireplace not really equipped to handle it.  Although we don’t really need a fireplace down here, we would like it cleaned professionally. No time like the present, right?

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Sprucing up the front entry to the house for fall is also on the hit, er, Fit list.  Nothing says welcome like mossy bricks, a mud/dirt dauber nest, and a dirty front door, right? We know we are supposed to leave the nest because these insects rarely sting humans but do eat spiders (take them all!), but this nest looks like it has long since been abandoned.  We I  would like some fall flowers and a nice wreath for the front door, so this may involve breaking out my crafty skills.

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Right now, the pots/plants you see in the picture above no longer occupy this location, and the front looks like a barren wasteland of brick pavers and dirty concrete.  The small blue and green pots were temporary guests of the front porch while their kitchen home was filled with drywall dust, and the petunias that look so healthy were ravaged by mealybugs…along with a lot of other plants in my yard. Rage. I was able to launch a fairly effective counterattack on the mealybugs and only lost three plants, but the petunias were one of the three that didn’t make it.  The only thing I found to be effective against the mealybugs was spraying my plants with rubbing alcohol (that’s the professional recommendation–not just a stupid idea I had), and the three plants that didn’t make it were so damaged that the alcohol sent them over the edge. Mealybugs are the worst, people.  If you see little grayish-white bugs that look fuzzy on your plants, grab your rubbing alcohol, put it in a spray bottle, and spray like crazy (preferably not on a rainy day where its effect will be overly diluted and not in the sun where the effect of heat + alcohol will burn your plant up).  I thought I had eradicated them from our yard a month ago, but I recently had to launch another alcohol attack after finding them on some canna lilies that they had previously ignored.  So frustrating.  I’m now stocking up on rubbing alcohol and inspecting all my plants religiously.  Apparently they are supremely invasive, massively destructive, and highly resistant, so gardeners beware.

Other October Happenings:

Our neighborhood is also having a garage/yard sale in October, and we plan to participate.  We’ve got quite a few items to sell, and Craigslist hasn’t been our friend of late.  We’ve had several people call about pieces of furniture and set up a meet, only to not show up. Thanks for wasting our Saturday that could have been at the beach, people. You know who you are.  We’re having to post ‘serious inquiries only’ on all our listings, and even still….Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.  We’re not totally enamored with the idea of a garage sale, but if we can clear out some large clutter and make some money to go towards other purchases and projects, it might be worth it.

Project Research: Dining Area Furniture

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We would like to replace our dining table and chairs with a farmhouse table and some new chairs/benches/something.  Our current set is a hand-me-down from my parents and not really our style, even though the mahogany finish is nice.  More importantly, two of the six dining chairs are in need of a major re-upholstery job (two have sagging seats, several have batting coming out, and the fabric is stained, worn, and dated) that is beyond our skill set, and the table isn’t safe.  One of the legs snapped last year in the city (super scary!) and my dad helped repair it well enough for it to be safe for use until we could do better.  Unfortunately, two of the other legs are now cracked and threatening to do the same thing, so it’s only a matter of time before this table gives out for good.  We recently learned of a local furniture maker who does awesome solid wood, custom pieces, so we want to investigate this vs. making a table and benches ourselves using plans from Ana White.

And that’s our October.  What projects are you tackling this month?

Mista Lista: September Aha’s and Ta Da’s

Now that the KaZoos have made almost all of the small and affordable repairs and improvements they can at this juncture (except for a few things needing to wait until cooler weather later this fall), Mista Lista will only be sharing seasonal updates on their home improvement progress.  These home improvement to do/ta da posts will come at the end of November, February, May, and August.  Not to worry, though: Mista Lista will be sharing other to do and ta da posts that focus specifically on certain projects that are receiving some KaZoo love in the interim months.  Let’s get this party started!

September Aha’s and Ta Da’s:

Receding Yard Uglies
Our neighborhood HOA has a policy (not always well-enforced) that air conditioning units and trash cans should not be seen from the road, and while some people may not follow this policy, we happen to like hiding the yard uglies.  My parents gave us a leftover lattice screen to hide our trashcan, and we bought another lattice screen to hide our AC for $17.13 (on sale at Lowe’s end of summer clearance sale).  We also put down 9 red square patio stones ($7.83 also on summer clearance) underneath our trashcan, since the grass underneath it was dying from lack of sunlight anyway.  We dug down the area so that the patio stones would be level with the ground for easily rolling the trashcan into place behind the lattice. Now if we could just hide the ugly meter in a way that would still allow it to be read….

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Reorganized Garage
Once the KaZoos started some of the more involved projects like installing the range hood, they realized that they needed a location to organize everything for their current and upcoming projects.  After putting away some clutter that had accumulated on various shelves in the garage, they designated one shelf as their DIY project shelf.  This shelf holds all the smaller items they are/will be using for projects, grouped by project, and sequenced by order of project.  Although one shelf may not seem like very much room for all of their DIY needs, this is one way the KaZoos are keeping their to do list manageable for the future.  Plus, now Mr. KaZoo can fit his car in the garage where all of those things were taking up valuable car real estate. Mista Lista applauds the KaZoo family’s efforts to minimize clutter and maximize efficiency.

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Remixed Office/Living Room
When Mrs. KaZoo first arrived from the big city, her home office was set up in the front bedroom where she would be encouraged to work by the abundant natural light.  Mrs. KaZoo knows she works best in natural light in an open, minimalist space free of distractions, and the front bedroom offered a nice picture window on the north side of the house.  Plus, this would make the front bedroom seem like less of a space-waster if it could double as an office.  Unfortunately, the cramped space in the front bedroom was cramping her thinking.  Keeping the draperies open on the picture window allowed plenty of light but also plenty of heat,  not to mention the constant distraction of neighbors passing by the window while she was working.

At the same time, the KaZoos were feeling frustrated with their living room arrangement because they could not sit on their favorite couch to watch TV, due to the size limitations of the room rendering it impossible to have the media stand opposite the sofa.  Plus, the living room was feeling very crowded with its oversized furniture awaiting a neighborhood garage sale in October.

Mrs. KaZoo had an “aha” moment when she realized that the KaZoos could swap out some furniture with existing pieces in other rooms to solve both the living room and office dilemmas.  When Mr. KaZoo came home from work one evening, they shifted the TV to a smaller TV stand, relegating the larger media stand to the front bedroom for media storage.   The smaller TV stand fit on a smaller wall in the living room, allowing the sofa to occupy the longest wall opposite the TV.

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By putting the TV on the smallest living room wall instead of a bulky loveseat and moving a French chest to a different wall beside the piano, the angled wall was freed up for Mrs. KaZoo’s displaced desk.

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Now, both desks are in the living room area (making for a more functional office space), the KaZoos can watch TV from their comfy couch, and the front bedroom still serves a valuable double purpose as book and media storage in addition to a guest room.  Having a media stand in that bedroom also provides a flat surface for guests’ suitcases, and we can eventually put a TV in that room if we so choose.  Three birds with one stone, fools.  That’s what Mista Lista calls efficiency.

Re-Mastered Closet
For under $100, the KaZoos completely redid their master bedroom closet, maximizing storage by reusing existing shelving from the garage.  See these posts for other details: Part I, Part II, & Part III.

IMG_3203Here’s the cost breakdown:

  • 1 can Sherwin Williams Harmony paint in Sea Salt = $31.79 (on sale)
  • 4 packs of Rubbermaid fastset back clamps = $7.24 (on sale)
  • 3 Rubbermaid 12 inch support brackets = $7.62 (on sale)
  • 1 pack of Rubbermaid c-clamps = $6.20 (on sale)
  • 3 Rubbermaid wall end brackets = $3.28 (on sale)

TOTAL PROJECT COST: $56.13

Not too shabby, eh?

You may have noticed that there are only ta da’s here and no to do’s.  Say what?! Mista Lista and the KaZoo family have decided to set monthly project goals, so tomorrow Mista Lista will be back sharing the KaZoo To Do list for October.

Mista Lista: Home To Do/Ta Da List August

Mista Lista took Labor Day Week off, so he’s late with the KaZoo’s August Ta Da List.  Better late than never, right?

Yard

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  • Moving gate latch to the inside of the backyard (Surprise! We discovered we did in fact have a gate latch already, but it was put on the outside to allow free access to our backyard to any interested parties…what-tha-what?)  We now realize how the neighbors were able to show other interested buyers the backyard while we were looking at the inside with our realtor!) (1)
  • Cut down imposing magnolia in side yard (2)
  • Trim trees, shrubs, and grasses (2)
  • Remove sago palms in the way of mowing (2)
  • Replace rotted fence board (2)
  • Test/correct sprinkler aim (2)
  • Clear easement behind fence to keep weeds out of our yard (2)
  • Remove overgrown (ugly) hedges and grasses and snakes, oh my! (2)
  • Remove scalloped landscape edging (3)
  • Add new plants, mulch, and edging (3)
  • Replace odd flower bed between entry and driveway with brick pavers so that we aren’t stepping out of our car into the flower/weed bed (2)
  • Cut down magnolias in backyard (3)
  • Paint faded mailbox (2)
  • Shadowbox wood fence (3)
  • Line fence with crape myrtles for low maintenance privacy and shade (3)
  • Upgrade fence (4)
  • Add sunporch? (4)
  • Add pool? (4)

Paved Areas, Garage, and Attic

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  • Fix garage door keyless entry that cannot be reset/changed for some reason (1)
  • Install paddleboard storage to get paddleboard out of the living room (2)
  • Install carpet squares for walking path around garage hazards (2)
  • Build garage racks for storage (2)
  • Uninstall wire shelving and cut to fit Master Bedroom Closet (2)
  • Pressure wash driveway, front sidewalk, and back patio (2)
  • Patch cracked concrete (2)
  • Fix attic stairs (2)
  • Find new home for plywood hurricane window covers to maximize floor space (3)
  • Organize garage shelves and floor areas so we can find things we need to knock out things on the to do list (2)
  • Install second paddle board rack for Amy’s new board (2)
  • Take out rest of yellowed sunbursts in garage door (so much better!) (2)
  • Install pegboard, hooks, etc.  for functional vertical storage (3)
  • Add floor to attic for functional storage (3)
  • Paint (3)

House Exterior

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  • Change locks (1)
  • Make key copies (1)
  • New wind standard roof (1)
  • Replace weather stripping on back door (2)
  • Remove corrosion from back door (2)
  • Buy hurricane shutters to replace plywood (3)
  • Repaint house numbers (2)
  • Replace front door (4)
  • Replace garage door with wind standard garage door (4)

House Interior

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  • Install new smoke detector batteries (1)
  • Change air filter (1)
  • Install Nest thermostat (2)
  • Install carbon monoxide detector (2)
  • Recaulk windows (2)
  • Install reverse osmosis system (2)
  • Replace windows with energy efficient windows (3)
  • Color correct light fixtures and door knobs (4)
  • Replace cracked/Color correct faceplates/sockets/switches (4)

Foyer, Hallways, and Linen Closet

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  • Tear out carpet and vinyl tile (1)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls and trim (3)
  • Upgrade flooring to wood-look tile (3)
  • Redesign guest linen closet to function as coat closet (we have two linen closets but no coat closet!) (3)
  • Wainscoting, beadboard, board/batten in foyer (some sort of special wall treatment) (4)

Front Bedroom (Guest Bedroom/Amy’s Office)

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  • Buy wooden dowel to “lock” broken window (1)
  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Scrape popcorn ceiling (1)
  • Prime and paint ceiling (1)
  • Prime walls/trim (1)
  • Install MBR ceiling fan so there is a light source and air circulation (this room gets stuffy!) (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (1)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (1)
  • Install wood-look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Guest/Hall Bathroom

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  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with wood-look tile (3)
  • Replace lighting (4)
  • Frame out mirror (4)
  • Replace vanity/countertop (4)
  • Replace molded shower/tub combo with tub/shower with tiled walls (4)

Side Bedroom/Craft Room/Future Nursery

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  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Install ceiling fan from Living Room (2)
  • Replace ceiling (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Install wood-look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Living Room

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  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace carpet with wood-look tile (3)
  • Take out existing ceiling fan (for bedroom 3) and replace with awesome fan (3)
  • Fix gas fireplace (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (beam and plank for the win!) (4)

Dining Area

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  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rods (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixture (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile with wood look tile (3)
  • Install built-ins for china storage/buffet serving area (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (beam and plank for the win!) (4)

Kitchen 

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  • Install our refrigerator (2)
  • Upgrade to gas range so normal family cooking can occur (2)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Upgrade range hood to functional one vented outside (instead of recirculating) (2)
  • Add electrical outlet for gas range behind it (currently having to plug it into a counter height wall outlet to the left of the range, maxing out the length of the electrical cord-ugh!) (2)
  • Upgrade dishwasher (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixtures (3)
  • Reconfigure island (3)
  • Move refrigerator to where panty is and put new awesome pantry where fridge currently is for more functional layout (right now we can barely open our fridge door against the wall) (3)
  • Replace vinyl floors with wood look tile (3)
  • Install wood cabinets (4)
  • Install new countertops (4)
  • Install new sink and smart faucet (4)
  • Install tile backsplash (4)
  • Upgrade pantry to be cabinet pull-outs instead of wire shelves (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (beam and plank for the win!) (4)

Laundry Closet

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  • Install our washer and dryer (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile with wood look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving (3)

Master Bedroom & Master Closet

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  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Replace ceiling fan with awesome fan (2)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rods (2)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Change closet configuration to allow for two levels of hanging (using extra shelving from garage) (3)
  • Replace carpet with wood look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet to non-wire rack closet system (4)
  • Build out coffered ceiling in MBR (4)

Master Bathroom 

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  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Install more towel rods and robe hooks (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with real tile (3)
  • Tear out awkward linen closet stealing space from vanity (3)
  • Tear out awkward doorway to toilet/tub/shower area (3)
  • Replace 1 old-person shallow tub/shower combo with 2 person tub plus tile shower (3)
  • Tile bath surround (3)
  • Steal space from torn-out linen closet to replace micro-sized “double” vanity with actual double vanity (3)
  • Replace mirror (3)
  • Replace lighting (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)

Master Bath Updates

Mista Lista’s last post gave you a sneak peak of some painting happening around the ‘Zoo if you were looking closely.  Painting a whole house is s a slow process, especially when you are trying to work full time (Chris) and work part time/finish your dissertation (Amy).  Between the two of us, we’ve managed to paint five rooms (and one room twice–more on that in a future post) since the beginning of March.  Isn’t it amazing the difference that paint (and furniture and bedding) can make?

Before

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After

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Our master bathroom is feeling a lot better now that it has been painted in Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray and has a new toilet.  We’ve adjusted to the plastic seat, which is apparently a good thing since we can’t find a non-plastic Kohler seat that would fit with our toilet should we want to swap ours out at some point.  We love the chameleon nature of Comfort Gray: As the light changes in this room, it shifts from gray to green to blue.  In the shadowy water closet/shower area, it even looks like a marine blue.

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Oh, and did I mention we have a new shower curtain, too? I found this at Target last Friday for $19.99.  IMG_3097

I wasn’t supposed to be shopping for home things since we had to shell out big bucks for the roof this month, but my mom had a coupon for $15 off a home purchase of $75 that she wasn’t planning to use.  While I was at Target purchasing essentials like toothpaste, I took a tour of the home goods section and found this new quilt for the spare room bed. It coordinates nicely with some pillows I made last summer.  It will likely become the quilt for the guest room bed once this room becomes a nursery, but right now I’m happy that the fabric helps the random assortment of antique white, white, and black furniture and the Drizzle paint color (Sherwin Williams) come together in a more cohesive, intentional way.

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Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the quilt was $69.99, so I wouldn’t get to use the coupon if I didn’t add something else from the home section to my cart…and that’s when I heard this shower curtain calling my name.

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Even without the coupon, the $20 shower curtain is still a bargain compared to the $50 one we had considered buying from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Another change to the master bath involved the addition of some much needed storage in the form of a maple Cubeical that was previously snoozing in a closet waiting to be used somewhere.  IMG_3102

Even though our master bath has plenty of storage in theory, the deep wire rack shelves in the linen closet and the lack of counter and drawer space make storing small bath essentials difficult.  We barely have room for soap dispensers and toothbrushes on the countertop. Seriously, builder, what were you thinking?! Ever notice that builders frequently make choices that don’t consider how a space will actually be used, other than for basic verbs (eat, sit, sleep, pee)? ALL. THE. TIME.

Cubeicals are hardworking little things around the ‘Zoo, let me tell you, from books to crafts to bath storage.   This one tucks away nicely behind the door, so you wouldn’t know it was there if I hadn’t just told you.

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The open storage is much better for accessibility and makes the best use of the otherwise dead space on that long, empty wall. IMG_3104

I’ll continue to play with the arrangement of items stored here, but for now, it is helping make morning and evening routines faster.  Chris even commented on how he liked having everything stored in the Cubeical.  Yessir, we are making progress when the hubs actually likes and utilizes the organizational changes the wife makes.

Mista Lista: Home To Do/Ta Da List July with NEW PICS!

Mista Lista’s back with another update about the KaZoo Get it done already To Do/Ta Da list of home repairs and improvements with NEW PICTURES (about time, right?).    As always, some things are partially crossed out because they are halfway done/in progress. Some things have been added to the list, as other needs/ideas have surfaced in the last couple of months.

July in Florida is HOT HOT HOT so to escape the intense heat and humidity, we mostly worked on the inside of the house (and went paddle boarding).  In case you forgot, we are busy people who work jobs, have pets, and live in our house while renovating it (and while also trying to enjoy the fact that we live at the beach!), so our home does not look like a designer home from a magazine, especially since these pics were taken with a smartphone (we hope to get our real cameras out soon!). Without further ado, I give you the ‘Zoo:

Yard

IMG_3063

  • Moving gate latch to the inside of the backyard (Surprise! We discovered we did in fact have a gate latch already, but it was put on the outside to allow free access to our backyard to any interested parties…what-tha-what?)  We now realize how the neighbors were able to show other interested buyers the backyard while we were looking at the inside with our realtor!) (1)
  • Cut down imposing magnolia in side yard (2)
  • Trim trees, shrubs, and grasses (2)
  • Remove sago palms in the way of mowing (2)
  • Replace rotted fence board (2)
  • Test/correct sprinkler aim (2)
  • Clear easement behind fence to keep weeds out of our yard (2)
  • Remove overgrown (ugly) hedges and grasses and snakes, oh my! (2)
  • Remove scalloped landscape edging (3)
  • Add new plants, mulch, and edging (3)
  • Replace odd flower bed between entry and driveway with brick pavers so that we aren’t stepping out of our car into the flower/weed bed (2)
  • Cut down magnolias in backyard (3)
  • Paint faded mailbox (2)
  • Shadowbox wood fence (3)
  • Line fence with crape myrtles for low maintenance privacy and shade (3)
  • Upgrade fence (4)
  • Add sunporch? (4)
  • Add pool? (4)

Paved Areas, Garage, and Attic

IMG_3065

  • Fix garage door keyless entry that cannot be reset/changed for some reason (1)
  • Install paddleboard storage to get paddleboard out of the living room (2)
  • Install carpet squares for walking path around garage hazards (2)
  • Build garage racks for storage (2)
  • Uninstall wire shelving and cut to fit Master Bedroom Closet (2)
  • Pressure wash driveway, front sidewalk, and back patio (2)
  • Patch cracked concrete (2)
  • Fix attic stairs (2)
  • Find new home for plywood hurricane window covers to maximize floor space (3)
  • Organize garage shelves and floor areas so we can find things we need to knock out things on the to do list (2)
  • Install second paddle board rack for Amy’s new board (2)
  • Take out rest of yellowed sunbursts in garage door (so much better!) (2)
  • Install pegboard, hooks, etc.  for functional vertical storage (3)
  • Add floor to attic for functional storage (3)
  • Paint (3)

House Exterior

IMG_3064

  • Change locks (1)
  • Make key copies (1)
  • Replace weather stripping on back door (2)
  • Remove corrosion from back door (2)
  • Buy hurricane shutters to replace plywood (3)
  • New wind standard roof (1)* Note that this used to be a 3.  Post to follow (cue the womp, womp chorus).
  • Fix sad looking house numbers (2)
  • Replace front door (4)
  • Replace garage door with wind standard garage door (4)

House Interior

IMG_3066

  • Install new smoke detector batteries (1)
  • Change air filter (1)
  • Install Nest thermostat (2)
  • Install carbon monoxide detector (2)
  • Recaulk windows (2)
  • Install reverse osmosis system (2)
  • Replace windows with energy efficient windows (3)
  • Color correct light fixtures and door knobs (4)
  • Replace cracked/Color correct faceplates/sockets/switches (4)

Foyer, Hallways, and Linen Closet

IMG_3052

  • Tear out carpet and vinyl tile (1)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls and trim (3)
  • Upgrade flooring to wood-look tile (3)
  • Redesign guest linen closet to function as coat closet (we have two linen closets but no coat closet!) (3)
  • Wainscoting, beadboard, board/batten in foyer (some sort of special wall treatment) (4)

Front Bedroom (Guest Bedroom/Amy’s Office)

IMG_3045

  • Buy wooden dowel to “lock” broken window (1)
  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Scrape popcorn ceiling (1)
  • Prime and paint ceiling (1)
  • Prime walls/trim (1)
  • Install MBR ceiling fan so there is a light source and air circulation (this room gets stuffy!) (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (1)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (1)
  • Install wood-look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Guest/Hall Bathroom

IMG_3049

  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with wood-look tile (3)
  • Replace lighting (4)
  • Frame out mirror (4)
  • Replace vanity/countertop (4)
  • Replace molded shower/tub combo with tub/shower with tiled walls (4)

Side Bedroom/Craft Room/Future Nursery

IMG_3051

  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Install ceiling fan from Living Room (2)
  • Replace ceiling (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Install wood-look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Living Room

IMG_3059

  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace carpet with wood-look tile (3)
  • Take out existing ceiling fan (for bedroom 3) and replace with awesome fan (3)
  • Fix gas fireplace (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (Beadboard? Planked?) (4)

Dining Area

IMG_3061

  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rods (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixture (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile with wood look tile (3)
  • Install built-ins for china storage/buffet serving area (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (Beadboard? Planked?) (4)

Kitchen 

IMG_3062

  • Install our refrigerator (2)
  • Upgrade to gas range so normal family cooking can occur (2)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Upgrade range hood to functional one vented outside (instead of recirculating) (2)
  • Add electrical outlet for gas range behind it (currently having to plug it into a counter height wall outlet to the left of the range, maxing out the length of the electrical cord-ugh!) (2)
  • Upgrade dishwasher (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixtures (3)
  • Reconfigure island (3)
  • Move refrigerator to where panty is and put new awesome pantry where fridge currently is for more functional layout (right now we can barely open our fridge door against the wall) (3)
  • Replace vinyl floors with wood look tile (3)
  • Install wood cabinets (4)
  • Install new countertops (4)
  • Install new sink and smart faucet (4)
  • Install tile backsplash (4)
  • Upgrade pantry to be cabinet pull-outs instead of wire shelves (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (Beadboard? Planked?) (4)

Laundry Closet

IMG_3054

  • Install our washer and dryer (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile with wood look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving (3)

Master Bedroom & Master Closet

IMG_3057

  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Replace ceiling fan with awesome fan (2)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rods (2)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Change closet configuration to allow for two levels of hanging (using extra shelving from garage) (3)
  • Replace carpet with wood look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet to non-wire rack closet system (4)
  • Build out coffered ceiling in MBR (4)

Master Bathroom 

IMG_3055

  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Install more towel rods and robe hooks (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with real tile (3)
  • Tear out awkward linen closet stealing space from vanity (3)
  • Tear out awkward doorway to toilet/tub/shower area (3)
  • Replace 1 old-person shallow tub/shower combo with 2 person tub plus tile shower (3)
  • Tile bath surround (3)
  • Steal space from torn-out linen closet to replace micro-sized “double” vanity with actual double vanity (3)
  • Replace mirror (3)
  • Replace lighting (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)

Mista Lista: Home To Do/Ta Da List April, May, and June

Mista Lista’s back with a belated post about the KaZoo Get it done already To Do/Ta Da list of home repairs and improvements.  So much for that monthly report!  Perhaps we can do a quarterly update instead (like this one turned out to be-whoops!) now that we are both living in the ‘Zoo together and our schedule is slowing down a bit.  As always, some things are partially crossed out because they are halfway done/in progress. Some things have been added to the list, as other needs/ideas have surfaced in the last couple of months.  Stay tuned for updated pictures, now that we have furniture for realz!

Yard

BackYard18

  • Moving gate latch to the inside of the backyard (Surprise! We discovered we did in fact have a gate latch already, but it was put on the outside to allow free access to our backyard to any interested parties…what-tha-what?)  We now realize how the neighbors were able to show other interested buyers the backyard while we were looking at the inside with our realtor!) (2)
  • Cut down imposing magnolia in side yard (2)
  • Trim trees, shrubs, and grasses (2)
  • Remove sago palms in the way of mowing (2)
  • Replace rotted fence board (2)
  • Test/correct sprinkler aim (2)
  • Clear easement behind fence to keep weeds out of our yard (2)
  • Remove overgrown (ugly) hedges (2)
  • Remove scalloped landscape edging (3)
  • Add new plants, mulch, and edging (3)
  • Replace odd flower beds in front yard along walk with brick pavers so that we aren’t stepping out of our car into the flower weed bed (2)
  • Cut down magnolias in backyard (3)
  • Shadowbox wood fence (3)
  • Line fence with crape myrtles for low maintenance privacy and shade (3)
  • Upgrade fence (4)
  • Add sunporch? (4)
  • Add pool? (4)

Paved Areas, Garage, and Attic

Driveway_View_of_House

  • Fix garage door keyless entry that cannot be reset/changed for some reason (1)
  • Install paddleboard storage to get paddleboard out of the living room (2)
  • Install carpet squares for walking path around garage hazards (2)
  • Build garage racks for storage (2)
  • Uninstall wire shelving and cut to fit Master Bedroom Closet (2)
  • Pressure wash driveway, front sidewalk, and back patio (2)
  • Patch cracked concrete (2)
  • Fix attic stairs (2)
  • Find new home for plywood hurricane window covers to maximize floor space (3)
  • Organize garage shelves and floor areas so we can find things we need to knock out things on the to do list (2)
  • Install second paddle board rack for Amy’s new board (2)
  • Take out rest of yellowed sunbursts in garage door (note the one that is already missing on the far end) (2)
  • Install pegboard, hooks, etc.  for functional vertical storage (3)
  • Add floor to attic for functional storage (3)
  • Paint (3)

House Exterior

FrontDoor2

  • Change locks (1)
  • Make key copies (1)
  • Install missing roof flashing (2)
  • Replace a couple of missing shingles (2)
  • Replace weather stripping on back door (2)
  • Remove corrosion from back door (2)
  • Buy hurricane shutters to replace plywood (3)
  • New wind standard roof (1)* Note that this used to be a 3.  Post to follow (cue the womp, womp chorus)
  • Fix sad looking house numbers (2)
  • Replace front door (4)
  • Replace garage door with wind standard garage door (4)

House Interior

Foyer4

  • Install new smoke detector batteries (1)
  • Change air filter (1)
  • Install Nest thermostat (2)
  • Install carbon monoxide detector (2)
  • Install reverse osmosis system (2)
  • Replace windows with energy efficient windows (3)
  • Color correct light fixtures and door knobs (4)
  • Replace cracked/Color correct faceplates/sockets/switches (4)

Foyer, Hallways, and Linen Closet

GuestHall

  • Tear out carpet and vinyl tile (1)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls and trim (3)
  • Upgrade flooring to hardwoods/real tile (3)
  • Redesign guest linen closet to function as coat closet (we have two linen closets but no coat closet!) (3)
  • Wainscoting, beadboard, board/batten in foyer (some sort of special wall treatment) (4)

Front Bedroom (Guest Bedroom/Home Office)

Front_Bedroom_1

 

  • Buy wooden dowel to “lock” broken window (1)
  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Scrape popcorn ceiling (1)
  • Prime and paint ceiling (1)
  • Prime and paint walls/trim (1)
  • Install MBR ceiling fan so there is a light source and air circulation (this room gets stuffy!) (1)
  • Replace carpet with hardwood (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Guest/Hall Bathroom

GuestBath

  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with real tile (3)
  • Replace lighting (4)
  • Frame out mirror (4)

Side Bedroom/Nursery

GuestRoom4

  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Install ceiling fan from Living Room (2)
  • Replace ceiling (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Upgrade to hardwood floors (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Living Room

LivingRoom1

  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace carpet with hardwood (3)
  • Take out existing ceiling fan (for bedroom 3) and replace with awesome fan (3)
  • Fix gas fireplace (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (Beadboard? Planked?) (4)

Dining Area

Dining2

  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixture (3)
  • Replace floors (tile? hardwood?) (3)
  • Install built-ins for china storage/buffet serving area (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (Beadboard? Planked?) (4)

Kitchen 

Kitchen1

  • Install our refrigerator (2)
  • Upgrade to gas range so normal family cooking can occur (2)
  • Upgrade range hood to functional one vented outside (instead of recirculating) (2)
  • Add electrical outlet for gas range behind it (currently having to plug it into a counter height wall outlet to the left of the range, maxing out the length of the electrical cord-ugh!) (2)
  • Upgrade dishwasher (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixtures (3)
  • Reconfigure island (3)
  • Move refrigerator to where panty is and put new awesome pantry where fridge currently is for more functional layout (right now we can barely open our fridge door against the wall) (3)
  • Replace floors (tile? hardwood?) (3)
  • Install wood cabinets (4)
  • Install new countertops (4)
  • Install new sink and smart faucet (4)
  • Install tile backsplash (4)
  • Upgrade pantry to be cabinet pull-outs instead of wire shelves (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (Beadboard? Planked?) (4)

Laundry Closet

LaundryCloset2

  • Install our washer and dryer (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace vinyl floors with real tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving (3)

Master Bedroom & Master Closet

MasterBedroom1

  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace ceiling fan with awesome fan (2)
  • Change closet configuration to allow for two levels of hanging (using extra shelving from garage) (3)
  • Replace carpet with hardwood (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet to non-wire rack closet system (4)
  • Build out coffered ceiling in MBR (4)

Master Bathroom 

MasterBathroom

MasterBath1

  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Install more towel rods and robe hooks (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with real tile (3)
  • Tear out awkward linen closet stealing space from vanity (3)
  • Tear out awkward doorway to toilet/tub/shower area (3)
  • Replace 1 old-person shallow tub/shower combo with 2 person garden tub (3)
  • Tile bath surround (3)
  • Steal space from torn-out linen closet to replace micro-sized “double” vanity with actual double vanity (3)
  • Replace mirror (3)
  • Replace lighting (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)

There’s plenty of work left to be done.  Henceforth, at the end of every month, Mista Lista will do an update of the To Do/Ta Da List post of what the KaZoos have accomplished (and what’s left to tackle).  We hope this will be good motivation for the KaZoos to turn the to do list into a “ta- da” list as soon as possible.  Plus, we suspicion that as we settle into our house more, we will have more ideas for nifty upgrades like cool shelves in the guest bath to help with storage and maximize the dead floor space around the toilet, so the to do side of the list will probably also grow.

 

Mista Lista: To Do/Ta Da List

Mista Lista’s back with the promised post about the KaZoo Get it done already To Do/Ta Da list of home repairs and improvements.  Here’s a breakdown of what made the list, organized by space.

Note: Some things are already crossed out because the KaZoos did those in the last couple of months.  Some things are half-crossed out because they are halfway done.  Don’t you love it when you can already cross something off the list you just made?  Do you ever write things on your list just so you can cross them off and feel that inflated sense of accomplishment?  It’s okay to tell Mista Lista. He understands. 

Yard

BackYard18

  • Add locking hardware to gate latch (currently just a wire/nail setup) (2)
  • Cut down imposing magnolia in side yard (2)
  • Trim trees, shrubs, and grasses (2)
  • Remove sago palms in the way of mowing (2)
  • Replace rotted fence board (2)
  • Test/correct sprinkler aim (2)
  • Clear easement behind fence to keep weeds out of our yard (2)
  • Remove overgrown (ugly) hedges (2)
  • Remove scalloped landscape edging (3)
  • Add new plants, mulch, and edging (3)
  • Shadowbox wood fence (3)
  • Upgrade fence (4)
  • Add sunporch? (4)
  • Add pool? (4)

Paved Areas, Garage, and Attic

Driveway_View_of_House

  • Fix garage door keyless entry that cannot be reset/changed for some reason (1)
  • Install paddleboard storage to get paddleboard out of the living room (2)
  • Install carpet squares for walking path around garage hazards (2)
  • Build garage racks for storage (2)
  • Uninstall wire shelving and cut to fit Master Bedroom Closet (2)
  • Pressure wash driveway, front sidewalk, and back patio (2)
  • Patch cracked concrete (2)
  • Fix attic stairs (2)
  • Find new home for plywood hurricane window covers to maximize floor space (3)
  • Install pegboard, hooks, etc.  for functional storage (3)
  • Add floor to attic for functional storage (3)
  • Paint (3)

House Exterior

FrontDoor2

  • Change locks (1)
  • Make key copies (1)
  • Install missing roof flashing (2)
  • Replace a couple of missing shingles (2)
  • Replace weather stripping back door (2)
  • Remove corrosion from back door (2)
  • Buy hurricane shutters to replace plywood (3)
  • New wind standard roof (3)
  • Replace front door (4)
  • Replace garage door with wind standard garage door (4)

House Interior

Foyer4

  • Install new smoke detector batteries (1)
  • Change air filter (1)
  • Install Nest thermostat (2)
  • Install carbon monoxide detector (2)
  • Install reverse osmosis system (2)
  • Replace windows with energy efficient windows (3)
  • Color correct light fixtures and door knobs (4)
  • Color correct faceplates/sockets/switches (4)

Foyer, Hallways, and Linen Closet

GuestHall

  • Tear out carpet and vinyl tile (1)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls and trim (3)
  • Upgrade flooring to hardwoods/real tile (3)
  • Redesign guest linen closet to function as coat closet (we have two linen closets but no coat closet!) (3)
  • Wainscoting, beadboard, board/batten in foyer (some sort of special wall treatment) (4)

Front Bedroom (Guest Bedroom/Home Office)

Front_Bedroom_1

 

KaZoo Family Note: There will be a forthcoming post about why this bedroom became high priority (and thus why a lot of things on this list that would normally be Phase 3 items were bumped up to Phase 1 items)!

  • Buy wooden dowel to “lock” broken window (1)
  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Scrape popcorn ceiling (1)
  • Prime and paint ceiling (1)
  • Prime and paint walls/trim (1)
  • Replace carpet with hardwood (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Guest/Hall Bathroom

GuestBath

  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with real tile (3)
  • Replace lighting (4)
  • Frame out mirror (4)

Side Bedroom/Nursery

GuestRoom4

  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Install ceiling fan (2)
  • Replace ceiling (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Upgrade to hardwood floors (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Living Room

LivingRoom1

  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace carpet with hardwood (3)
  • Fix gas fireplace (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (Beadboard? Planked?) (4)

Dining Area

Dining2

  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixture (3)
  • Replace floors (tile? hardwood?) (3)
  • Install built-ins for china storage/buffet serving area (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (Beadboard? Planked?) (4)

Kitchen 

Kitchen1

  • Install our refrigerator (2)
  • Upgrade to gas range so normal family cooking can occur (2)
  • Upgrade range hood to functional one vented outside (instead of recirculating) (2)
  • Upgrade dishwasher (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixtures (3)
  • Reconfigure island (3)
  • Replace floors (tile? hardwood?) (3)
  • Install wood cabinets (4)
  • Install new countertops (4)
  • Install new sink and smart faucet (4)
  • Install tile backsplash (4)
  • Upgrade pantry to be cabinet pull-outs instead of wire shelves (4)
  • Apply new ceiling (Beadboard? Planked?) (4)

Laundry Closet

LaundryCloset2

  • Install our washer and dryer (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace vinyl floors with real tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving (3)

Master Bedroom & Master Closet

MasterBedroom1

  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Change closet configuration to allow for two levels of hanging (using extra shelving from garage) (3)
  • Replace carpet with hardwood (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet to non-wire rack closet system (4)
  • Build out coffered ceiling in MBR (4)

Master Bathroom 

MasterBathroom

KaZoo family note: After living here a few months, we’ve decided this room needs a full renovation fairly soon, primarily due to condition and layout (not sure what/if the builders were thinking). We are constantly running into doors, banging doors into other doors, trapping someone in the awkward toilet/tub/shower area while someone is opening the linen closet, and tripping on the “helpful” tub step.  We are also scared of the toilet, especially since the window is RIGHT OVER THE TOILET.  We can totally hear the neighbor getting his trash can and talking on his phone as we sit on the toilet.  The window glass does have some sort of shape-hiding treatment, but it isn’t really frosted in a concealing way. Plus, with the light on in the separate toilet/tub/shower area, our neighbors can easily tell (from their living area!) if we are cleansing our bodies and colons.  You can only cover waist-down in the shallow tub even if you are a small person like Amy, which renders the tub fairly useless for baths. The shower curtain leaks water into the floor because the shape of the tub + step surround separates the curtain from the liner too far, even if you use sticky tabs to adhere the liner to the shower surround.  And how did the original tub and toilet not match? Seriously? One is white, the other off-white, but both are original.  You will notice that most upgrades in this room have earned priority phase 3 instead of their usual phase 4 designation.

MasterBath1

  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Install more towel rods and robe hooks (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with real tile (3)
  • Tear out awkward linen closet stealing space from vanity (3)
  • Tear out awkward doorway to toilet/tub/shower area (3)
  • Replace 1 old-person shallow tub/shower combo with 2 person garden tub (3)
  • Tile bath surround (3)
  • Steal space from torn-out linen closet to replace micro-sized “double” vanity with actual double vanity (3)
  • Replace mirror (3)
  • Replace lighting (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)

There’s work to be done for sure.  Henceforth, at the end of every month, Mista Lista will do an update of the To Do/Ta Da List post of what the KaZoos have accomplished (and what’s left to tackle).  We hope this will be good motivation for the KaZoos to turn the to do list into a “ta- da” list as soon as possible.  Plus, we suspicion that as we settle into our house more, we will have more ideas for nifty upgrades like cool shelves in the guest bath to help with storage and maximize the dead floor space around the toilet, so the to do side of the list will probably also grow.

You probably noticed that nearly all the to dos on this list are “fixed” items, or items that would typically stay with a house if the KaZoos ever needed/wanted to move again.  Mista Lista and the KaZoos don’t consider buying furniture, draperies, accessories, linens, rugs, etc. home improvement: Although they definitely make a house feel more like a home, they are a more portable kind of investment than ripping out your gas fireplace to take it with you (although we’ve seen houses where people have done that (!)).  No worries, though: Mista Lista’s working on lists of those needs/wants for each space, too, because that whole where’s-the-furniture-and-stuff thing is about to change, too (countdown to truck packing: 8 days!).