Group 6 4 minutes Read

mid-january progress

Lauren Zerbey

January is tough. It’s rainy and gray and unfortunately, home remodeling doesn’t really kick the winter blues like a trip to Hawaii would. But we’ve pulled on our work pants once again, making a little progress and crossing things off the list.


The barn door track is painted and installed! We contemplated keeping the galvanized finish (which Kyle had actually cleaned up a bit), but decided instead to paint it with the same automotive primer that was used on the loft ladder. We chose stainless steel lag screws for the fasteners and left them unpainted since the paint would be scratched if we ever needed to undo or adjust them. (The shiny orb above is our door bell.)

It only took four months after painting the main floor to muster the motivation, but I finally did it. Two coats, six hours of painting.  I know, but there are a lot of corners, weird angles, and compromised head clearance (not to mention the challenges of white-on-white). It was not fun. Even you crazy people who like to paint would not like this.


Here’s a view looking the opposite direction showing the loft ladder in place. And no, the centerline of the ladder/light is not the same as the roof ridge. Even though we typically try to force our house into submission, when you’re working within an existing structure there is only so much wiggle room.


Hello down there! (The ladder treads are off and in the basement waiting to be finished.)

For the loft lighting, we chose a single wall sconce with a solid shade that would primarily provide light for people going up and down the ladder in the middle of the night (that’s why the switch is near the floor). This light is similar to the kitchen wall lights, although Resolute changed the design of the escutcheon plate and I now love this fixture even more. For the rest of the space, we’ll probably have a small table lamp on the opposite wall.

In addition to some finish electrical work, our last step is to select and install the flooring. Although we’re generally anti-carpet, it makes a lot of sense for this space. 1) It’s a dog-free (therefore, dog hair-free) zone. 2) The plywood subfloor isn’t smooth enough for a glue-down material and we really don’t want to mess with self-leveling compound again. 3) It’s supposed to be a cozy space and carpet is a good solution for that.

Our first thought was to go with Flor carpet tiles. Flor is a great company that makes attractive and responsible products and we’ve been happy with the tiles in our mudroom. So we ordered a bunch of samples and then narrowed it down to these three:

The two on the left are both from the “Love Ewe” line and are super soft. The one on the right is “Well Suited” and also comes in the gray color. You know I can’t get too crazy with color, so I thought it would be best to steer towards the neutral options and then do bolder colors for less permanent things. The first one is $7.43/SF while the latter is $4.46/SF. Of course I liked the more expensive one the best, but talked myself into the herringbone-esque pattern (which is pretty soft to the touch too).

So I took some measurements of the space, drafted it up in cad and laid out a grid of tiles (roughly 19″x19″ each) to see how many we would need. Then I did the math. Then I rechecked my math. Even with the cheaper tile and a 20% “designer” discount, it would still cost about $700 to carpet the space. That’s really way more than we wanted to spend for a room that we just kinda “threw in” after we started this project. I mean, $700 is a weekend in Palm Springs (always dangerous to compare remodeling costs to travel costs, but that’s where my mind is these days!). So we’re back to the drawing board in a sense and are now looking at getting a remnant from a roll of carpet, trying to spend about half of the Flor price. We’ll see.

When we finished the mudroom almost a year ago, we installed two Bach coat hooks to the left of the door. Not wanting the space to feel too cluttered, we thought we could get by with one double hook per person. Well, that didn’t work out. So we finally got around to ordering and installing two more hooks on the opposite side of the door. Much better!


Our big plans to build a custom storage bench were derailed by the Big Project of 2010. So we moved our IKEA Molger bench in as a temporary solution (it was originally bought for our old bathroom). But now, we kinda like it. Except for that basket. I know, it’s very un-Zerbey. We inherited it from somewhere and oddly enough it’s the only container we have that fits in the space (we use it to hold gloves, scarves, etc.). I’ve been on the hunt for something to replace it but no luck yet. So I don’t know…maybe the Molger bench could get tweaked? Did you see what Dan did with his?

So there’s a glimpse of what we’ve been up to. Kyle’s also been working on a steel and wood handrail for the basement stair and the first frame for the barn doors. Bang, bang bang…weld, weld, weld.