before: master bedroom

I just realized today that I have had writer’s block about my house blog. The correct formula for a great story a la DIY and HGTV channels is a blah home dilemma, a hot designer holds your hand through the ideation phase, a small disaster (Ack! The cabinet doesn’t fit!), hot designer to the rescue, then cue in the big reveal. A sanctuary. Tears and hugs. Happy home owners.

Well, it doesn’t work like that. Bryce always asks me why I don’t freak out and jump up and down, squeal or cry when he hits a milestone, like the installation of the first cabinet. Poor baby. I am sorry. I do love you, but it’s not a lovely reveal, holding my hand guiding me into the kitchen eyes closed to uncover an expanse of finished cabinetry, fresh cut flowers and candles, although you are hotter than David Bromstad. That’s saying a lot.

The reality is that yes, one cabinet is installed, but it’s 10:24 PM and we have 13 more cabinets to install, drawer fronts, handles, appliances to install, sink, faucet, a decision on the countertops, paint, built-ins to be built for the fridge and pantry, as well as grout on the floors and sealer. No tears of joy on the first cabinet reveal. Rather, reality at the Harpole’s is more like rocking-myself-in-the-corner tears for taking on such a ridiculous project.

outside of house
Who thought this big of a project was a good idea????

So today my writer’s levee has burst and I am just going to blog it like it is. No big reveal. No dramatic before and after. No staged shots. This is a real project we’ve undertaken for the last 5 years. Well, 3 for me, Bryce lived in his trailer before he had a driveway and electricity. I came up 2 years later to the foundation and one and a half floors framed, albeit the second floor was a lake.

Our reality is nothing near HGTV.

master bedroom reality
Sad state of affairs

Typical nights at Casa de Harpole consist of exhaustedly plopping into bed with a movie or HGTV or Mad Men or True Blood. We either bring our dinner up, or just finished something quick and tasty, often from one of Giadia’s menus or Tyler’s, or if it’s a particularly rough night, 11-minute frozen gourmet thin crust pizza (we love California Kitchen). Then, we crack open a second beer for Bryce or my 2nd glass of boxed chardonnay. Wine du jur for me these days is Black Box when it’s on special at Island Thriftway but these days it’s running at $22.95, regularly on special at $18.95, so I am slumming it with Corbett Canyon at $9.99 (that’s $2.50 a bottle!). And yes, this particular photo reveals how sad our state of affairs are these days as my poor baby, Mr. Microbrew Master, Homebrew Hubby himself, must stoop so low as to finish the Miller and Bud Light’s left over from my sister’s visit. Oh the humanity! No Pacific Northwest India Pale Ale until next paycheck!!! That’s next TUESDAY!!!!

Yes, admittedly, a project this big, working full time and building in spare time, drives us to drink. We are tired. We just want TV and a bit of a buzz at the end of the day to waltz us into slumber so we can hit the grind again the next day. Otherwise we’d be grating our teeth to nubs worrying and fretting about how to get to occupancy and how the hell we are we going to finish round soffits 50 feet off the ground.

Square pegs …. how do we finish round soffits  50 feet above our heads?

So that’s our first reality shot. I would like to walk you through a few others of how we manage to live day by day. It’s not pretty, so I am inserting Jake in the shots so you don’t throw up on yourselves in disgust. How gruesome can a room photo be with a sweet fluffy puppy in the shot?

master bedroom reality2
Master Bedroom Before Shot

This is the master suite today. Complete with a puppy crate and a mattress sagging off the end of the frame because we refuse to spend over $15 on a box spring (donations cheerfully accepted).

But I must admit, it is a BIG improvement from this:

master bedroom reality3
Master bedroom in January 2010

master bedroom reality4

Just pass right through the studs to get to the toilet in the guest bathroom.

master bedroom reality5

Next stop, our bathroom construction zone.

master bedroom reality6

This shower shot has been the same for 6 months.

The only thing we can use in this room is the shower light/fan, the toilet and the toilet light/fan. I have a lovely moodboard for how I envision this bathroom in the future, but other projects took precedence.

master bathroom moodboardHonesty, I think it was the subway tile pattern. Straight lines. Not staggered. The first project to actually break Bryce. I think he still has some PTSD from making 1500 tiles line up straight and it will take him awhile before he touches the shower again so he focuses his energies elsewhere ….

For now, it sits as is. We shower in the guest shower. That is Wonderboard cement backer board lathered in RedGard. We have been showering in here as is since we started tiling the master bath, so forever, and it’s holding up very nicely! My guess is that our guests will be showering like this for years to come! And yes, that is painter’s tape covering the hole for the faucet.

master bedroom reality7
Guest Shower – Red Guard on cement board

So for now, I will focus my energies downstairs. We tiled in the half bath, and Bryce and his father just installed the door. Our first interior door!

The biggest lesson I am learning in building is that it’s really hard to keep a plan when you DIY. Energy level and necessity are the managers of project plans. When Bryce goes cross-eyed, the plan to have the master bedroom as the first room done goes out the window. When guest come over, we quickly install a sink in the guest bathroom. That’s how our projects come together, not by a plan.

Check out the “after” progress on our master bedroom.

Or more “before” progress.

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