Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Week 1 (or so) or better yet WTF!

Well, well, well, here I am after spending a few days on the "Cottage Project" as I have taken to calling it and things are going along swimmingly albeit slowly. Apparently, my day job gets in the way of my toys. It can happen with older houses where things were put together to last. This nail and a few others were pulled out of the wall holding up some cabinets.

As with any project, scheduling is quickly proving to be the key. I haven't commuted, and by that I mean driven to a job through traffic and such versus hopping on a bus for a few minutes, in over 30 years. And I've never done it with a time change in the middle. See Illinois is on Central time and Michigan is on Eastern. That adds a whole 'nother wrinkle, especially when the snow comes in.

Anywho,  let's get back to chatting about the project. It's cold out there.

Phase 1: Destruction!

Tearing out ceiling tiles is not the cleanest job, but a smooth drywall ceiling will be much prettier. It's also a pretty simple job for a simple man like myself. As I tore tiles off the ceiling I got to thinking about many projects I've worked on in the past where we needed to literally tear apart the old to make the new better. People do it all the time in their house, but design and advertising (see this is a design blog after all) clients and agencies seem to just keep adding layers to brands instead of removing the detritus and cleaning things up. A mani-pedi is also a good analogy, I think.

Phase 2: Floors

My bride (of 17+years) and I couldn't decide exactly what to do about the floors. There used to be carpeting in the house. It seemed to have been here for a while and let's just say it didn't smell the best. New hardwood floors would be the order of the day, but we aren't quite sure what kind we want and the costs of doing it is not something I want to get into before we hang out here.

So, we'll go with option 2. My own brand of subflooring that I've done in other apartments with a similar flare. 3/4" birch plywood is only a few dollars more a sheet and the grain looks nice, but it's not quite right.

In the existing living room there is 5" pine board.

What to do, what to do?
Well, I am an art director and this is a design blog so can you guess?
That's right, draw boards on the floor with a Sharpie! Oh, I know what you're saying, but what could it hurt. It's just subflooring. And after a little stain and polyurethane what could happen?

That's right, beauty! Eat your heart out HGTV! And if you're an art director you might even force people to look at them in the "right" light.

So that was this week's project.

Next ceilings, painting and a whole lot of other crap. Welcome to my nightmare. At least I have an able bodied assistant.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crazy, sexy, cool!

Crazy, yes.
Sexy, maybe.
Cool, most definitely!

After a few short years of nothing particularly interesting to say my wife and I found a few projects, I think, could be fun to share. I hope you, dear reader, agree. At the very least you should get a few chuckles out of our insanity.

It begins with a small farm, includes the launch of a new brand and encompasses all the pitfalls, fun, highs and lows of the next few (hopefully 6-8) months of my rehab and advertising craziness. I hope you will find it interesting or at the very least distracting.

The Farm

Baroda, Michigan is a quaint little village on the west side of the state just a few miles in from Lake Michigan. Our project begins here. To paraphrase the title of a Matt Damon cinematic vehicle from a few years back, "We bought a farm!" Not a farm with livestock, but five acres of farmland with a little house. It sits on the "Wine Trail" of western Michigan.We will be raising bees at some point, but animals, besides dogs, may or may not be part of this little adventure.

We will be rehabbing a small house into a weekend respite and rental opportunity. I think the Three Stooges-esque  happenings in the weeks and months to come should provide some amusement. Remember every time I hit my thumb with a hammer an angel gets its wings.

The day we closed on the house we decided to rip up the carpeting and see what lay beneath. Might as well start with the floors and build up from there! Our four-legged assistant showed us his disdain for carpeting by relieving himself in one of the bedrooms. Not sure if he really hates carpet or was telling us this was a really shitty house to have purchased. Aw, what does he know!

There are 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom at this point. An unfinished basement and a ton of work, but this is where it gets fun. We have plans to update the kitchen, rework the floors and add a monster deck outside to sip wine and enjoy the countryside.

Beth, Sam and I have been planning for the last week or so and the work gets started tomorrow. If you're in the neighborhood shoot me a text or an email and if I'm there we'll share a beer and I'll put you to work!

In our next episode: A New Brand Begins (While we update the latest from the farm).