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.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Energy Audit

At the end of 2009, I signed us up for an Energy Audit/program through the city. I received a letter a few months later telling me that we made the waiting list. Then I believe another telling me that the $ for that year had been exhausted and that we were on the list for 2010. December rolls around and we finally get a letter asking us about our electric/gas/etc bills are. We only have electric wall heaters and try to avoid using them as much as possible (problem is they kick on during the super cold winter nights anyway). We replaced the broken pellet stove with a new Hearthstone wood stove at Thanksgiving in 2009. Because our house is a sieve, we have been going through A LOT of wood & Bear bricks. Already almost 2 cords of wood and on our 2nd pallet of bricks for this winter!
Anyway....this morning was our energy audit. Now I can't remember if this is a grant to cover the costs of what the Auditor recommends OR a program the city has to offer the upgrades at low interest, long term plan. It turns out that we are eligible for a new refrigerator(!) toilet & insulation in the attic. Apparently he mentioned the water heater but didn't say anything about replacing it or insulating the ceiling of the basement (so much cold air comes up through the floor into the main part of the house). Unfortunately windows are not part of what they do (we are working on that on another front...)
Next step is a mock up or list maybe(?) of what can be done and what the following steps are. Maybe at that point we will understand what exactly the deal is.

Getting up to Speed.

( I have been trying to finish and post this since Friday night...I had some technical difficulties so hopefully I can get more posts added today.)

I think the best way to start off this blog is by posting the history of what we have done with our house since we purchased it in August 2009. I am thinking I will tackle each room every day until ALL the rooms are updated. Looking through all of the pictures I feel few things. 1. We have done A LOT in the 1 1/2 years we have had this home. 2. Inspired to finish a room/anxious to have at least 1 room done! 3. Amazed at how some rooms have already been changed since i first decorated.

I am hoping that this blog will help me get projects done even if they are "small" projects (we all know that in older homes there is no such thing as a SMALL project!)

Okay, to start, let's see the outside of the house...I am going to have to take some updated pictures of the front yard this weekend...

Sold sign & the Dodge.
 We replaced a window last spring.
This past winter, we learned how badly we were taken advantage of by Penguin Windows. WAY over charged. We gave in after a 3 1/2 hour house call sales pitch and the allure of only having to pay $25/month (which was never the case) This was one of our first lessons. We HATE paying more than we should and assumed that if a Penguin window was that much surely Milgard would be hundreds if not thousands more...We have now found a wonderful company, Classic Sash & Door, who will being doing the rest of our windows. This window will be the last to be replaced as we will keep it around as a reminder....more on the windows later.
The Trash pile. I think it got bigger before it got smaller...

Believe it or not, these pictures are from almost exactly 1 year ago! Interesting to see the difference in the weather. It was unusually warm and the daffodils were already blooming. This fence is still not 100% finished. We (meaning the hubby) need to put on the decorative gate boards and trim the post next to the house. This is one of the many projects that is 95% done.
This is another old picture from last spring/summer. the plants have grown in more, the drip system was installed and all of the mulch has been laid. I will aim to get new pictures this weekend to show how much it has changed since the plants were first put in.