The 4-6 Weeks Project (Week Three)

I’m taking photographs of Eleanor and August each day until baby number three arrives, to document our last 4-6 weeks as a family of four. I first did this project to document our time as a family of three before August was born.

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August 29

First sick day from school for you, Eleanor, and you were pretty sad about it. You love school and really wanted to go. You spent the day drawing and resting, and of course seemed completely well after being so sick all night. And August, you met your new teacher today — the same teacher Eleanor had at your age!

August 30

Magna-Tiles. All day, every day. Grandma Helen got a set of these a couple of years ago for the both of you, and expanded on the collection with a transparent set last year for Christmas. You both love to create elaborate structures with them — apartments, jails, fences, hospitals…

August 31

We had some friends over with kids the same ages for a back to school celebration. You all dressed up as Ninja Turtles (yes, again) and went nuts on the inflatable bad guy. Eight kids in the house with toy weapons could have been a recipe for disaster, but everyone had a great time and made it through with no injuries. (Phew!)

September 1

The movie wasn’t one of your favorites (too scary at the end), but you both like the music from Little Shop of Horrors — especially the song about “people who live downtown, but don’t want to,” as Eleanor put it. Today, daddy found his old Audrey II bank, and you took turns feeding it coins. Still works, thirty years later!

September 2

Eleanor, you are lobbying hard for a “five-year-old pet,” and have been for a while. A hamster is probably in your near future, but you don’t know that yet. Today, you claimed that this toy centipede wants to be your classroom pet, and you’re hoping there will be a show-and-tell day so you can bring it for everyone to see!

September 3

Somersaults, jumping, and wrestling on the bed after dinner is a favorite activity around here. Daddy gets nervous, but mama kind of lets you two have at it (within reason!). Your antics, along with the uncomfortable state of being SO pregnant, have mama wishing for a king-sized bed these days.

September 4

First day of school for you, August! You went to nursery school last year too, but it was just two hours at a time, two days a week. Now you’re up to three hours, four times a week. You weren’t a big fan before, but we’re hoping you’ll enjoy it more now that you’re a little older.

Choosing Our Hardwood Flooring for the Hallway

When Brandon and I bought our Victorian, we knew that the flooring in the hallway on the second floor would need to be addressed eventually. There are a couple of soft spots with noticeable give, and our home inspector estimated that we could probably go five-or-so years before replacement/repair would be necessary. The floor hasn’t gotten any worse in our year of living here, but since we were opening up the back of the hallway and putting in new flooring, we thought we may as well choose new flooring for the entire hall now.

Hallway:  Old Floor

Hallway:  New Floor

Our contractor’s schedule is usually booked up pretty far in advance, but he was able to move our remodeling project up so that construction on the hallway and nursery could be completed before baby number three arrives. Putting in the new flooring throughout the entire hall isn’t as pressing as the rest of the project was though, so with the major work already done, we’ll have our guy back out in a few months to finish up once his schedule has been cleared. I don’t expect our flooring choice to be discontinued anytime in the immediate future, but just in case, we’re going to buy and store the rest of the wood needed to complete the hallway so that everything will match. There is a significant difference in the thickness between the new and old wood, but we’ll keep a runner over that transition for now so that nobody trips or stubs their toe.

Selecting the new flooring material was up to us, so that we could choose the type, style, and finish ourselves. I asked if he had a recommendation for where to look, and he said that he had been referring his customers to a relative newcomer, Floor & Decor. I wasn’t familiar with them before that day, but coincidentally, I had received an email that same morning about their fourth Chicagoland store set to open in Skokie on the 12th. They were interested in working together, and after visiting (and liking) the Lombard location per my contractor’s recommendation, the timing worked out perfectly to partner on our hallway project.

Floor & Decor

Bruce Hardwood Flooring, Oak Gunstock, at Floor & Decor

Brandon and I chose a prefinished wood floor for ease of installation, and we also picked up an underlayment to muffle sound. I was a little worried that the micro-beveled edges on the wood planks would bother me since I like the smooth mirror-like finish of flooring that has been finished in place, but the floor looks great. I didn’t want a jarring change down the hallway, so I chose a color and wood that was similar to what we already had throughout the house: Gunstock Oak. I also went with the skinny 2-1/4″ planks to match the original floor as closely as possible. The hardest choice to make was whether we wanted engineered or solid hardwood. Engineered wood floors cost less, and there are some great quality options out there, but the longevity of solid wood won us over. Hallways are high-traffic areas and solid wood can be refinished multiple times over the years if need be, and it felt like a more appropriate choice for the house.

Bruce Hardwood Flooring in Gunstock Oak, from Floor & Decor

The old flooring still needs to be replaced in the original part of the hallway of course, but it looks fantastic already. So exciting to see the hall being returned to its original state and configuration!

hr 644

Floor & Decor carries ceramic, stone, tile, wood, and laminate flooring, so be sure to check them out if you’re in the market. They offer free design consultations, and their showrooms are large enough that they often have the materials and tools you need in-stock and ready to take home. Floor & Decor already operates 44 stores across the country, and their new Skokie store will have events for the whole family this Friday and Saturday during their grand opening!

The Hallway! She is Being Painted!

Right. So, we hired painters to come in and do it for us.

I actually really like painting — I find it relaxing! But this pregnancy has been somewhat difficult and with the baby due later this month, I just could not do it myself. Brandon and our brother-in-law, Enrique, primed just the new portion of the hall on Labor Day, but we hadn’t been able to get any further with the project. It was becoming pretty clear that we weren’t going to be able to finish the job in a timely manner.

Priming the Hallway

The painters started on Friday, and they’re finishing up today, but it already looks pretty great after just the first coat. Behold our nearly smooth and straight walls and ceiling! (Yes, there’s some wonkiness. The house is old, yo.)

Hallway Being Painted

Hallway — Comfort Gray, Sherwin-Williams

The hallway, front stairway, and entryway are all getting the same color on the walls as our bedroom (Sherwin-Williams’ Comfort Gray), and a shade lighter on the ceiling (Sea Salt). It’s a pretty gray/blue/green color that plays really nicely with the wood throughout the house.

Still to do:

  • One more coat of paint each on the ceiling and on the walls.

  • Strip the window and door frames. We are considering just painting them brown as a short-term solution and then stripping them sometime down the line with there isn’t a pregnant lady (or a newborn) to worry about in the house.

  • Finish the floors. (I’m going to go into more details on the flooring in a post tomorrow — what we chose and why.)

  • Replace the three hallway lights with new fixtures so that they all match.

  • Replace the light switches with push-button switches. (I am inordinately excited about this change.)

  • Put the doorbell cover and outlet coverplates back on.

  • Maybe find new runners?

  • Find a storage piece to go in the hall (there’s a spot for something tall and shallow just to the left of where I was standing to take the hallway photo).

  • Hang some art? This isn’t exactly pressing. I’m kind of happy to admire our hallway as it is for a while. The window is visible down the hall again for the first time in decades! Natural light FTW!

  • Skim coat the walls and ceiling along the back stairway. Eventually, I’d love to have nice, smooth walls there painted to match, but that’s a project for another time. We’ve left the textured walls along the back stairs white for now.

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