Archive for December, 2010

Learn From Our Mistake: Test For Radon When Buying A House!

Thank goodness we learned something from buying our first house and decided to pay a few hundred dollars for radon testing this time around. As part of our new home’s inspection, we paid a local radon company to conduct a multi-day test to ensure that dangerous levels of radon aren’t present (for any locals who are wondering who we used, we went with Radon Ease, because they don’t remediate, they only test- so there’s nothing in it for them to find radon).

Sure enough the readings came back above a 4… which means there were dangerous levels of radon present in the home – enough to call for professional remediation as the solution. But instead of that 2K investment falling on our shoulders, since we tested during inspection the sellers kindly agreed to fully remediate for us – and even did a follow up test to determine that the radon issue had been completely resolved. Talk about a money saver!

But let’s rewind to the good ol’ days when we learned our radon lesson the hard way. We opted not to pay the few hundred beans to have our first house tested during inspection, and just used a $15 test from Home Depot once we moved in. Horror of all horrors, our house was teeming with highly unsafe amounts of lung-cancer-causing radon (akin to smoking around five packs of cigarettes a day!) – which left us scrambling to pay thousands of dollars to remediate things without the help of the sellers (since we skipped that test option at inspection). It involved installing a semi-elaborate system in our crawl space that vents up through the house and out the roof to suck in and direct all of the naturally occurring radon from under our house through the pipe instead of letting it hang out in the inside air that we breathe. Tres annoying. But effective. Here’s more info on that debacle (and on radon testing and remediation in general).

Long story short, we considered it to be a (somewhat expensive) learning experience and we’re so glad we officially tested things this time around during our inspection period! The great new is that results came back suuuper low after mitigation (around .5, which is amazing – even lower than outside air). So to anyone living in Virginia (which is especially known for dangerous radon levels) or anywhere else with radon issues, we definitely recommend testing your house. Click here to see if your county lies in one of the red “danger zones” from the EPA’s map, pictured above. Even if it’s well past inspection or moving day, you can buy charcoal test kits at places like Lowe’s or Home Depot and it can save you (and your babies, pets, and family members) from inhaling the equivalent of a carton of cigarettes a day. Le gross.

Have any of you dealt with the house bummer that is radon? Let’s commiserate.

Map image courtesy of the EPA.

Psst- We went nursery crashing again over on BabyCenter. Click here to see that charming baby bedroom.



Mister Ed The Bed (Assembling Our Edland Bed From Ikea)

Last you saw our new bed Ed – aka, the Edland four-poster bed from Ikea – he looked like this (read more about how we chose him here).

He has since been assembled – and even slept on for one night. And thanks to the Skorva steel support beam (also from Ikea, which is mentioned as a must-have along with the bed in the “good to know” section) Ed can, in fact, hold the weight of 30 dead people (aka: our incredibly heavy mattress) plus the weight of two DIY enthusiasts, their beefy chihuahua named Hamburger, and their baby girl (when she’s in there for a morning snack).

Constructing the bed was a remarkably easy process, especially considering I defied Ikea’s instructions and did it all without a partner (she was on baby duty). But since all of my hands were occupied during the construction phase, I did very little in the way of photographing. Thankfully I can use the Ikea instruction booklet to help re-enact a few scenes.

Like this one, where I hollered “Honey, fetch me my screwdrivers!” –  to which I got a glare and an invitation to get them myself, since she was otherwise occupied with Clara.

Or this one where I took my partially constructed bed frame on a magic carpet ride. “A Whole New World” may or may not have been sung as we soared through the clouds.

And of course this is a perfect depiction of the moment when I called Ikea to place an order of Swedish meatballs only to learn that they don’t employ a fleet of food delivery people. Boo.

Ok, so none of those really happened. But I thought it sounded more interesting than the whole “then I put in another screw” play by play. So let’s just fast forward to the after:

Although I should clarify that I definitely got Sherry’s help when it came to wrangling our mattress up onto the frame, which almost killed us- but it’s done and we’re euphoric. It’s a whole lot better than the whole mattress-on-the-floor look that we were rocking since moving in:

Clearly we still have some work to do in the bedroom, but we’re really happy to have Ed as our starting point (especially since he ended our over-two-week marathon of sleeping on the floor).

We love the fact that we’re sleeping higher than we have for the last 4+ years since the Edland is a good foot or so higher than the Malm that we had (and loved) in our old house. But it’s still comfortable to climb in and out of for Sherry (short) and me (tall) so that’s a good thing. And have no fear, Burger can still get into bed – even without the help of the bench that we placed at the foot of the bed as our version of Doggie Steps. Burgmeister doesn’t even need it and instead prefers to take flying leaps to demonstrate his Rottweiler-like agility.

And even though we have plans to change out the fan for a less conflicting ceiling fixture someday, at least we still have enough clearance to use it if we really needed to. You know for some reason in the middle of winter. Seriously, how funny is that perfect little fan facilitating pocket of space up there? Although it might come in handy after we’ve painted the walls and want to ventilate everything and help it dry faster.

Speaking of painting, our next step in the bedroom will probably be to get some color on the walls (we’re thinking a gray-ish blue with some green undertones to work with our whole teal vision from this mood board of yore) – which should make our new white bed frame, er Ed, really stand out. We also want to get a new duvet (not only to change things up a bit, but also because something a little bigger will cover the bedsides more and result in fewer sleep fights over who has more of the covers). And we’ll happily be able to reuse our beloved existing West Elm duvet in the guest room once we get a full sized bed in there (it’s a full/queen sized duvet, but we always thought it was better suited to a full sized bed, which is exactly what we have planned for that room). Slowly but surely…

Psst- To anyone who missed our Nate Berkus appearance, it seems as though it’s going to rerun today (click here to see which channel and time it airs in your area). Why are we nervous all over again? Gah.