Friday, June 7, 2013


Alright. It's been another year and change since i posted on this blog. I can't believe that it's already been that long. And we are coming upon 1 year left on our 5 year plan with this home.
One of my goals this weekend is to come up with a small list of projects that I would like to get done this summer. 1st will be updating this blog more often and with the few little projects I tackled over the last year.
Stay tuned....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Catch up

I know, i know. It's been almost a year since my last post.
The roof is 98% finished. We still need flashing installed around the dormers (at least the asbestos shingles were removed last summer) and various ropes/roofing supplies removed. I will try to get some pictures shortly. It really does look MUCH better.

If you remember, Last summer we had the energy audit and received insulation in all of the exterior walls. I have to say that I never stop being amazed at how much it helped the house stay cool during the summer and warmer in the winter. We always assumed that the windows were the reason the house was cold/hot, turns out not to have been that big of an issue...

The outside of the house is still missing shingles about as high as I can reach with many paint swatches all over the place. I'm pretty sure that I am settled on a dark blue body with a sage green trim and possibly bronze window frames. I have been calling our home The Monster House most of the year. It's pretty sad.
I do have to say that the garden is looking SO MUCH better! So many flowers, it's really filling out. Oliver's preschool plant sale the past 2 years have really helped us acquire a lot of really great plants for not too much money. Unfortunately, our lovely lawn from last spring was destroyed during the roof installation. I really want to get new sod put down this year, but hesitate know that we will need to strip the rest of the siding. Maybe this fall we can put in new grass....

So not too many large projects have been accomplished. I have slowly knocked out little projects here and there, but with the boys it seems like the house falls apart faster than we can put it together...
One morning the boys decided to feed themselves breakfast. Cheerios and Marshmallows....
I tackled various organization projects. This is the upper part of our hall closet. I cleaned the whole thing out, painted the walls, shelves & doors. I even installed little crystal knobs. For the most part, this closet still looks like this...
I also turned our little bedroom closet into a mini walk in closet with the help of my dad. We installed 8" deep shelves to the right in a small nook and then I put in 2 short hanging rods to the left. Graham and I each have our own racks and a few shelves. On the back wall, I hung a scarf ring from Ikea. Maximum efficiency. I have all the stuff to do the same thing to Oliver's closet, I just haven't had the time or energy to tackle THAT project.

Oliver was having some difficulty with sleeping in his room the last few months, so in the fall I decided to rearrange his rooms and give it a new theme. I painted his bed bright red, added some pirate bedding that Opa bought him and moved the furniture all around. Unfortunately, it didn't really help with the sleep issue.
(side note: since adding a A/C unit/fan in his room a couple weeks ago, he has been doing really well with staying in his room almost all night. He still does crawl into our bed around dawn. A major improvement.)

So I have been thinking of goals for house projects this year, and I have come up with a little list:
- Refinish the living room/hallway floors
- Strip the rest of the exterior shingles
- Prep and paint the exterior
- Gravel the drive way
- Finish/repair the gate
- Build the mantle & install the TV over the fireplace (we have had all the materials since Thanksgiving of 2010!)
- Re-sod the back yard.
- Install Sun Room & Play room lights

- Finish the "built-in" shelving in the Living Room.
- Build the window seat and shelving on either side of the fireplace
- Create built ins in the Sun Room for coats and seasonal storage.
- Install shelving in the basement and finally get it clean/organized...
- Maybe, just maybe install new floors in the kitchen & dining room (though that will require a wall being taken down...
- a New kitchen! (i know this won't be anytime soon, but a girl can still dream!

Final picture: Last year, my planter boxes were a huge success. A little TOO successful! I'm trying a new lay out this year and am hoping that it will work out better. Here is a picture of some of our tomatoes and lettuces. I am trying a new system for the beans and peas this year. Now I just need to get them in the ground!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Playing with Paint

Since we now have missing shingles on the side of the house, this means we will be removing the rest of the siding this summer and painting the house. There are so many possibilites it will be hard to choose. I can't wait until we have the original siding exposed and I can paint some swatches on the house. Ou neighbors to the west will be painting their house this summer as well...i think i need to find out what colors they are going with. I want our houses to look nice next to each other but not be matchy matchy. 

Here is my current favorite color scheme:
What do you think?
Pretty much anything will be better than the mustard yellow shingles!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Room to Grow

Even though we haven't had much summer weather or Spring weather for that fact around here, We have still been getting a lot of work done on the outside of the house.
My Saturday Helper.
You can see to the left that  the grass beat the weed block fabric and came through with a vengeance. I did spray it with Roundup and it seems to be working. I will win.

The back yard is making a lot of progress. Flower beds are in, the grass is growing and the rain barrel has stopped the leaking in the basement. The plants are growing nicely and I can't wait for it to be grown in.

The latest project has been the addition of our raised beds in the neighbor's parking strip. My Mom and Step-Dad had some cedar cut and milled to build raised beds for their garden and lucky for me, had some wood left over. The boys had a great time helping Poppa Rick count screws and put together the boxes.
Last weekend, Dad and I filled 16 bags of pea gravel, laid down the weed blocks and spread the pea gravel. I also put him to work building me a smaller box just for cutting flowers out of some leftover fence boards and a piece of a hall closet the Graham tore out a few months ago. I love re-purposing! I planted all of my starts and a bunch of seeds. We are going to have so many sunflowers this summer and I am beyond excited.

Next up is the driveway area. I have 4 bags of gravel left to use along the fence. I am hoping that I can find the time tomorrow in our already packed day to get started on that project.
Until the next episode...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Free Weatherization: Update 1.0

Well, A LOT has happened on the County weatherization front. We had our energy audit earlier in the year and they determined that we were eligible for a new toilet, refrigerator and insulation. First was the new toilet. (sorry no pictures yet on that one).
Next was the fridge. The first time they tried to deliver it our nanny was here and it turned out that our upper cabinet had to be ripped out for it to fit. Unfortunately they didn't just leave it for us to rip out the cabinet and had to wait until Saturday 8am. It isn't a fancy fridge by any means, but it's clean, bright and easier to organize.
The old fridge. Who knows how old it was...we never moved it and I doubt the previous owners did either based on this:

This is the After picture from sweeping, and sweeping. Many of the tiles were just popping up. Luckily our new fridge is on wheels so I can pull it out, mop and paint the alcove.

Bright. Beautiful & organized. I am in love with the fact that we can fit the milk in the door at arm's reach. it's the little things...

Today the insulation guys showed up bright and early at 8:30 AM. They told me that they had to lay plastic and my flowers might not make it, but i didn't realize how bad it was going to be...more to come below with before and afters... 

Originally we thought they were only going to put insulation in our little attic space that is only accessible through our closet (finally meaning it was the perfect opportunity to get Hubby on board with my plan for the closet organization.) That will be another post...

After the guys showed up and Graham talked to them, we found out that they were asked to install insulation in a little attic closet space in my sewing room, in the basement where the outside walls meet the foundation AND best of all, the outside walls! AH-MAZ-ING! 

A couple of Early Spring photo of the front of the house.
One of Graham's co-workers is a General Contractor and they have been talking about using a dumpster he already has on another job to toss our shingles into. The insulation guys popped off the shingles where needed and we are super stoked to see how nice the original siding is underneath. These 2 pictures are the worst so far which is really great news.

The East side of the house.
So this means, within the next month or so, we will spend our weekends and days off removing the shingles and priming the exposed siding. I am hoping that we will be able to get the exterior painted by Fall. This is proof of how a project that is at the bottom of the list can sky rocket to the top. I for one am VERY excited about this project. Yes the front porch will need to be tackled at some point and most likely not this summer, and the windows all need to be replaced. BUT at least I can feel good when pulling in the driveway.

Ok, so back to my squashed plants. I am most sad about this lovely large hosta that I was just admiring yesterday as well as my hellebore. My flowers in the front yard were all spent, so that's good.
 The first year with only 1 cherry tree.
 Spring flowers in full bloom.
 The boys liked to run through the petals and call it snow. Oliver at one point even told me they came from the "Snow Tree"...
(another outisde project that should maybe get it's own post...)
My step-dad built up this Lovely rain barrel from a wine barrel that we picked up for $35 at Bethel Heights. (We also got a 1/2 barrel that will become Oliver's garden once a drainage whole is drilled into it.)

They only got about 1/2 done today and will return on Thursday to finish the job. Saturday we are getting 1 of 2 raised beds that will be put in our neighbor's parking strip. Yay!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Living Room - Before & After

Next in the line up is the Living Room. Looking through the pictures made me realize that I need to take some more pictures of how the living room looks right now. Things should be changing in the next couple of months (we've had the supplies since Thanksgiving...)

Here is what it looked like during our first walk through of the house.
 We were half hoping that he would leave the autographed Micky Mantle such luck.
To the right are the stairs and in the far corner a door to the hallway. This door was blocked so you couldn't open it.
 If you look closely, you can see where there used to be a wall. the previous owner patched with a piece of sheet rock. 1/2 of it is still there and the other half I cover with a blanket. Classy, i know. I keeps it real.
The living room the first day we got in the house. (after Graham already pulled out the carpets laying on the floor.Lucky for us, they weren't installed and kept the floors in relatively good state.)

 Primed and ready for paint. We masked the whole house and rented a spray gun to prime the whole house. History Lesson: The previous owner lived in the house for 25-30 years and was at least a pack a day smoker, in the house, every day, all day. EIW. We washed (and by we i mean Graham as I was home with the boys who were 23 months and 4 months old) with TSP. The walls were streaked with orange goo dripping down the  walls. Once all the walls we clean and dry, hubster sprayed it all. (except the bathroom, sunroom & mudroom) Then we had a painting/cleaning party!
 The ceiling fan. Can you see the dust and cigarette smoke residue on the shades?!
 My lovely grey walls.
 The ceilings are still primer white. I was going to paint them a pale grey, but my pale grey turned out to be too dark. Soooo, I have a patch of dark ceiling right by the other door (which no longer there after it fell off one day....) ah yes, ANOTHER project. Though really, with the kids it's better gone, just another door for baby's brother's fingers to be shut in...
This reminds me that I need to find pictures of the "new" light fixture we scored at one of the Rejuvenation factory sales. 
The original curtains that I made and was never 100% happy with....
And here are the Ikea curtains I bought a few months ago. I must take more photos tomorrow to give a better view and explanation of the changes to come.