Mother Nature Hates Me

Alternate Titles for this post:

  • Need bad weather?  No prob.  We’ll just refinish our pool.
  • I thought I had a decor post, but my pictures decided otherwise. (Doh!)

So, anyways, since I have plenty to post about inside the house, but few viable photos at this time, I thought I’d give y’all a little update on what we’ve had going on outside. We knew from the start that our pool would need to be addressed shortly after buying our home.  We think it was installed in the late 70s-early 80s and was somewhat neglected for a period of time before the owners whom we purchased the home from lived here. They replaced the filter, drained the pool, and had it cleaned, and while this was much needed (and pretty costly overall: pool filter = not cheap), unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to prevent us from having to put in some bucks as well. The previously white plaster had turned all shades of color as it wore out, which you can see through the water…. And there were cracks in the bottom…. Not only this, the coping was cracked in spots and the grout attaching it to the pool’s edge was chipping away… and the coping had settled in towards the pool creating major tripping hazards… We were lucky that the cracks on the bottom of the pool hadn’t yet turned into major leaks. We were told that the process of refinishing the plaster would be much simpler because of this.  We would only need a crew to come in and replaster the basin. We were told that if we waited much longer to complete the repairs and the cracks DID worsen into leaks, the process would be much more time consuming and costly. At that point, we would have to get an entirely different crew in there to properly seal the leaks, THEN have a refinishing crew come in to replaster the pool.  So, we saved, got estimates, and planned to get it done as soon as we were able. Once the time came, we chose our coping.  Since flagstone was the cheapest option, we went with that.   The flagstone that we chose was the lightest in color that the pool company offered… We liked that it had both hints of orange and green.   Orange to tie into the terracotta tile under the covered porch, and green to coordinate with the green tile border, which we’d planned on keeping.  It seemed to be in good shape, and it would save us money to keep it so it was a no-brainer. That Monday, our pool was drained.  They drilled holes in the bottom to allow any water that had settled beneath the pool to come up.   We were told that a bunch of water was released in this process… Yet another sign that we’d done the right thing by not waiting any longer… IMG_2841 Then, demo of the coping ensued… IMG_2844 Notice anything missing??  I was at work while the pool was being demoed and that’s when I got the call from Joey.   They’d been unable to remove the coping without removing the tile.  Apparently, the tile wasn’t in as good a shape as we’d thought.  It was barely hanging on for dear life.  So, when they went to separate the coping from the tile, the tile came with it.  Ugh.   Thus, we would have to replace the tile.   (= more cashola. Oy.)  This is a lesson to remember when you go into projects like this.  Always have a contingency fund.   You never know when things like this will happen. So, that evening when I got home from work, we chose our tile.  We ended up going with a pretty aquamarine tile with a hint of neutral undertones and a touch of glimmer.

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Yeah.  There would’ve been a lovely photo there had I remembered to take one.  Sorry guys.  You’ll get a nice close-up shot once the pool is done.  In the meantime, the pool looked like this after the tile and coping was installed…

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The tile (and flagstone) are still really dirty in these pics from the mortar and dust so it isn’t a true representation of their colors, but you sort of get the idea. The little interesting divits and aquamarine shimmers in each tile are covered up by dirt which makes them appear more of a flat green than their actual color.  These lovely attributes should be apparent once everything is finished and clean, though.  As for our choice, since the original plan had been to keep the green tile (which had white grout), we’d planned on resurfacing the basin with white plaster to match what was originally there.   It was too late to change that at this point, so we had to factor in the white plaster when choosing tile.   Once water was back in the pool, the bottom would appear blue-ish, so we wanted something fun and bright to compliment that, but still subtle enough to coordinate with the rest of our yard.   And this tile accomplished that.   Plus, something about that aquamarine tile just spoke to us.  It was the first one I was drawn to. Two days later another crew came to prep the basin for plaster.   They chipped away any weak spots in the current plaster and applied a grey coating which we assume is some sort of primer/sealer (don’t quote me, though)….. Then, Murphy’s Law happened. We went from sunny weather in the 50s-60s to weather in the 20s.  In a day.  In ONE day.  #mothernaturesoncrackagain At this point, it was 7 days after they’d drained the pool.   And we had an ice storm…. Two days later the 20ish-degree weather turned to 50ish-degrees…. and it rained. Then, the temperature dropped again into the 20s by that Friday and we had a bonafide Texas snow storm…. img_2925 I know most northerners are probably laughing at this meager amount of snow, but here in Texas it qualifies as a big deal (sadly).   The roads get slick and since we don’t have this weather often, nobody has snow tires… or knows how to drive for that matter.  Seriously.  The traffic map that Friday looked like this…. img_2931Most major highways… RED.   (Insert pointer-finger-gesture) REDROAD! REDROAD! I was driving to work that Friday morning as the snowstorm was just starting to get bad and I witnessed two wrecks happen in front of me and three different cars spin out across the lanes and into the shoulder (as I was also slipping and sliding on the road although I was driving slowly and cautiously).   It was stressful.  I got to work, hurried so I could head home ASAP, and then got back on the roads.  Ugh.   My drive home (which normally takes 20 minutes) took an hour and a half.  It was bumper to bumper traffic.  But, at least I got home safely (and with a newly refreshed craving for wine in very a large glass). So, anyways, That’s where we are right now on the pool front.   It’s two weeks post pool-draining.  It’s 39 degrees.  It’s rainy.  And snow is in the forecast for Wednesday.  OH!  But, WAIT.  It’s supposed to be 66 degrees tomorrow. Riddle me that. Anyways, so far the pool company that we’ve been working with has been great.  They just can’t do anything until it’s dry and above freezing consistently.  Things are just gonna remain at a stand-still until Mother Nature decides to remove head from sphincter.    So, cross your fingers for nice weather!!  And stay warm! :)

TDC Before and After

I’m bringin’ vintage back… (to our wet-bar!)

Yes, that title is to the tune of JT’s classic jam.   Anybody else awkwardly bobbing their heads to the music in your brain?  Just me?  That’s okay.  Anything for JT. ;)

So, anyways, I’ve decided that I should never make statements like “I’ll (maybe) write that post today”.   Heehee!  Every time I do that it seems like life gets in the way and it doesn’t happen.  So, from now on if I make preposterous ambitious statements, I give you permission to insert a well-intentioned eyeroll.  At least I threw the “maybe” in there, though. Just sayin’.  ;)

If you’re new to my little blog here, you can check out this post to get caught up on our wet-bar progress thus far.   To summarize, we started out here…

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Then, I painted the cabinetry white, ripped off the backsplash/sidesplashes, mirror, and the seizure-inducing wallpaper we found beneath it.  I patched/primed and painted the wall, and updated the dated faucet. (although, this next shot was taken before  the faucet switcheroo)…

So, next the plan is to to add a concrete coating to the countertop, tile that back wall, hang a mirror in the center, and mount two pendant lights overhead.  But until those projects commence, I decided to style the wet-bar to look as nice as possible.   I never mind putting in the effort to accessorize a space, even for a short time, if it means I get to enjoy the pretty in the meantime.  So, I collected a bunch o’ stuff that I already owned and got to it.  At one point, I got here…

…and, to be honest, I wasn’t super happy with it.  I mean, it was o-KAAAAYY.  Just not exciting for me. I think it was the mirror.   I’ve had that mirror since my very first apartment and I felt like it just wasn’t right for the space. It was a smidge too traditional, whereas I felt that something either more modern or vintage-y would be a better fit.   Modern to contrast the new door/drawer pulls (which are the same ones I used for our built-ins) or vintage-y to accentuate them.  Traditional just wasn’t really jiving with either goal in my opinion.  Plus, I knew that once the countertops were grey concrete, they may clash with the frame color anyways.   The next day, I hopped onto the internet to see what Sir Craig was offering in the way of mirrors and I came across this gem…

A HUGE vintage mirror for $25!!!

The size was perfect for the wet-bar and I loved that the wood tone would play off of our mid-century media stand on the opposite side of the room.  Plus, I felt like I was replacing the vintage mirror that we’d torn out with a BETTER vintage mirror.  Vintage-lover-guilt officially stowed.  I texted the seller, who stated that it was still available and that she could meet me in Fort Worth (which is halfway between us) the following day.  I met her as planned, loved the mirror even more in person, and took ‘er home.

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It was a bit dirty and the wooden frame had a few nicks and scratches, but it wasn’t anything a little stain, a craft brush, and some elbow grease couldn’t fix (Tip: Varathane’s Early American stain is the PERFECT mid-century-toned-brown.  It matched the frame exactly.).   The following day, my dad and Joey hung the beast.   Which left this…

Here’s a detail shot so you can see the texture of the frame…

And here’s the wet-bar in the context of the entire wall.   I took this pic on a dark and gloomy day and the lighting in this part of the room isn’t great (which’ll be remedied eventually), but you can see that the vintage mirror nicely offsets the more modern furnishings beside it.   I definitely plan to hang the alphabet canvas higher now that the mirror is hung so that they’re at similar heights…

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As for the bar styling, it’ll change.   There’s a bit too much brown happening with the wine-rack, but it was all I had (fornow), so it stays until I either paint it or find something else.  I can’t tell you how perfect the mirror is, though.  I literally bounced around the house in excitement when I saw it in the wet-bar.  I mean, the size couldn’t be better and the shape really softens the bar and makes it feel less square.   Once the lighting situation changes with the addition of two pendant lights and that peach countertop bites the big one, the bar will appear much more balanced and bright.  I really think that adding concrete to the counters will add some nice visual weight below and a cool contrast in color and texture which will further balance the space.  I plan to use some sort of modern small mosaic tile behind it. Something simple that lets the mirror shine, but still adds a touch o’ bling.  I have no idea what yet, but I’m tossing around a solid color square glass mosaic, or maybe a sleek penny tile.  It really depends on how the space feels with the concrete counters and difference in lighting, so we will see.

Next up, I’ll be concreting the countertop (once time allows… probably not this weekend, maybe next), then we’ll get pendant lights installed, and finally, tile behind the mirror. It’s coming together, people! It’s coming together…

TDC Before and After