Thursday, September 16, 2010

History of House!

Man oh, man... where has the time gone?  I am so sorry to have gone so long between posts, but for those of you dear readers that may not know, I am in law school which started back up pretty much where my last post left off, and so I have had little to no free time to get back to this blog.  I have thought about it and thought about it, but have just been too damn busy.  So, here I am!  I'm back!  And with many, many updates to report.  So let's go... 

For starters, we met with one of the previous owners of the house who lived here with his wife for 50 years... 50 years!  From 1950 to 2000... amazing.  It turns out that he was also on the historical society for our little town, and so he had gathered a bunch of information on the history of our property which he wanted to share with us.  SIDEBAR: this town really IS lovely, people still do things like stop by and offer to tell you about the history of your home.  I am charmed.  Anyway, he researched the deeds of the property back to 1767 for the property, and 1840 for the house.  Incredible.  We learned all kinds of things, like that it was previously divided into apartments, and that the garage in back was a fully functioning carriage house, complete with hay and horses, before it was converted into a mechanics garage and later an apartment as well.  I guess a house gets to do a lot of things when it is around as long as this one was.  When they bought this house in 1950, they paid $11,750.  Awesome.  The picture at the top of the post is roughly what the property looked like when they bought it.  We had a great visit and he left us with really cool old documents like his original checks to purchase the house and a bunch of other information about the town.  So lovely.  After we met with him, Tim found a  tool in the basement bilco doors that was apparently used to remove horse shoes... this house is awesome.

So, turning to updates, there are many!  We finally had a housewarming party to invite some friends over to see the place who haven't had a chance to come at other times.  A good time was had, and I took advantage of the house being spic and span to take some new pictures.  

 We finally got the guest room put together.  That is a new (to us) Ikea bed from Craigslist, the previously featured GIANT blackboard, and some family and friends pictures hung on the wall, since I figure family and friends will likely be the folks staying in that room.

We finished hanging some things on the wall in the living room and I replaced some dead plants with some nice alive ones (something I have to do periodically, because I am not responsive to my plants needs... oh bother)...

We did some additional decorating in our bedroom as well, finally getting some things hung on the walls to make it feel a little more lived in.  Lucho wanted to demonstrate that we allow dogs on our bed, and also to apologize that the bed was not better made in this photo... These are just scraps of fabric that I stretched over embroidery hoops... one even has a little embroidery on it by yours truly... 

Plus, I hung/framed some valentines that Tim and I have exchanged... one is from 2001! Wow.  

We put some old pieces of wooden trim above the windows in the hallway, but I couldn't get a great picture of it. 

The downstairs bathroom got a Deerhoof poster to jazz it up...

As well as this little skunk ashtray for necessary matches... There is actually a hole under his tail for you to place whatever you choose... flowers seemed appropriate.

And the entire place got a good cleaning, which we hadn't really had much opportunity to do since we moved because we have been so busy just shifting things around.  It really feels much more lived in to me know, and I am relieved in a way because I didn't want to get back to school and feel like everything was left undone.

Umm... I can't find a before picture, so just imagine holes here...


Tim has been busily handy-manning..? Man-handling? some projects... he patched the dining room ceiling where the plumbers had made holes for exploration... we have not had a bat in the house since... I'm sure it's no coincidence.

 He also finished repairing the damage to the living room floor, caused by the bank's irresponsible plumbers... and just a reminder of how these projects looked before, and how they look now.  Without Tim, these would have cost us a few thousand dollars to get accomplished.  Yay for Tim!

Also, the electrical work is now completed.  In the process, our electrician (Tim's stepdad) discovered that the groundhog that had been living under our kitchen had completely chewed up the wiring to our range and garbage disposal, so he replaced those wires as well.  Next up is the heating project, which I am sure I will document fully when it is underway.  Work will begin tomorrow, and ought to wrap up just when we are so chilly at night we can't take it anymore.  Yay!  

What else, what else... oh, here's a few flea market finds and some items that we have modified for maximum greatness!

I pledge to try to be a better blogger, but it's definitely going to be more sparse as school goes on.  Sorry... but keep the comments coming, I really love hearing from everybody!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Updates and Adventures

I am back from Rehoboth!  I was hosted there last weekend by some lovely friends and adorable children, and it was a great pre-school relaxation mission.  I was quickly thrown back into the madness of the work week, and so now I am finally looking back and recapping.  A quick shout out: my friend's daughters made me this... killer!

I never take you to the depths of the basement; it's not a stop regularly visited on our house tour.  However, I must show you that there are some very vital things happening... We are growing our electricity service!  Hooray!  It's pretty creepy down there, so I won't dawdle, but I think the big bad box is pretty impressive compared to what we had before...



POWER!  Back to the fun stuff... Tim made this, from an Idea I had from some other bloggy blog that I don't recall.  We collected the shoe forms and Tim stained the plank and voila:

We have finally begun hanging some artwork, including some of Tim's incredible paintings, like this...

And this...

And we had some awesome flea market scores.  There are now officially animals everywhere.  Quail in the kitchen? Yup!


We've actually decided that we have to get rid of some things or else stop bringing new things in... there may be a yard sale in our future, or maybe we will be selling some things at the flea instead of bringing them home.

But this lamp was a thrifty score for $5... how do you say no to that?  And, because I mentioned adventure, I don't want to leave you hanging...

This guy, pictured here wedged between the two panes of glass in the upstairs window, was cruising around the house when we got home from our friend's birthday party, and Tim gave him a good chase until he accidentally broke his bat catching net and we retreated... we gathered all of the animals (that are meant to live here) and spent the night in the movie room.  Fortunately the house has a million doors, which makes it easy to close off sections at a time.

The next morning, when we slowly emerged from our hidey place we found this guy between the windows.  We closed the main window and tilted the screen so the batman had no choice but to make his way outside, which he finally did the next night.  Never a dull moment.

Today, Tim and his friend kicked some butt on the hedges at the end of our property... they were in serious disrepair.  AND... while we had the help of said friend's pickup truck, this GIANT blackboard came home.  We had planned to put it in our guest room, so guests could write on it when visiting, but it's too big even for our high ceilings.  So, back to the drawing board (Oooooh, I couldn't resist...) 

I think it might end up in our dining room, some kinda way... or maybe the living room.  I still hope people will visit and draw on it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The After!

Finally, finally, finally... the office is finished.  Well, mostly.  

There's a ton of touch up to be completed, but at least the majority of the work is done and the stuff has been loaded in there...

I am so excited to have finished a room.  It is so good for my mental process!  There are so many unfinished things that I feel over-the-moon about having one thing done.  

And just a reminder of the {BEFORE}...

We also had a great visit with some out of town friends, which meant I got to get the guest room back in order.  And this stack of boxes... means I put away the last of the boxes!!!  Speaking of house guests, we have been having an on-going bat problem... we thought we had effectively excluded them from the living space, leaving them to circle the attic, but of course as soon as we had visitors, they returned.  One in the dining room and FOUR in the basement!  We have responded in kind by filling the attic with moth balls, which they apparently dislike, and we are running one of those sonic thingers, but I think we'll have to bite the bullet and go with an exterminator.  It's going to be crazy expensive, but I can't share my house with them.  I just can't do it.  Not to mention the moth ball smell is not really so great... if anyone else has ever successfully excluded bats, feel free to share your secrets!

We all went to the flea market, despite the crazy heat and it was well worth it... I got this great planter...

And Tim found this fantastic otter, which he re-mounted so nicely...

And this little number is a permit... yes, a real live electrical permit because we are having new wiring run to the first floor and a new main panel.  It's a lot of work, and fortunately Tim's step dad is helping us with it.  

And last, but certainly not least, you may recall the cute little settee that Tim brought home from the thrift store... here it is fully refurbished and painted.  Tim gave it new bottom support, added some trim, and then painted all of the non-fabric parts.  I really love it.  Here's a before and after...



And if you look really carefully, you may notice that the floor is not torn up beneath that seat, and that's because Tim is working on repairing it.  It is working out much better than either of us expected, and I'll give you some before and afters once its finished.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sneak Peak...

And it goes on and on and on... I keep plugging away at the office room, and it just keeps taking more time.  Here's a sneak preview, but I must say, I'm feeling very frustrated with the extra steps that are becoming necessary...

Every time I paint, the stupid tape is no good.  It is strong enough to pull away the paint, but not really effective enough to mask the way it should.  I have no idea how to combat this problem.  So, here again, I have to add a step to the process and go back over every edge that I've finished with a small brush and go over the white paint that has seeped through and the spots that the tape pulled away.  I'd love to hear any wisdom on this problem.  I've tried every type of tape and it always seems to be the same result.

That being said, I am tantalizingly close to being done.  I am motivated to be finished so I can clear out the guest room in time for our guests to arrive this weekend.  That's great motivation.  Tim's step dad is doing some electrical work for us and has said that he will need to take the paneling off one of the office walls, but I won't even get into that now.  I'm just going to stay optimistic that it won't wreck things in there... I can't wait to organize my books in color order!  Plus, I got this little gem of an over-the-door rack to add to the charm.  This weekend, I will have the final "after" pictures!  

I also finally finished the curtain to cover the utility closet in the kitchen, so now our mops and brooms are effectively masked.  I love Ikea fabric.  

I imagine that it will be the kind of thing that I will change from time to time to add some new color/pattern to the kitchen.  I'm also contemplating making a rug from some fabric and a drop-cloth and non-slip backing.  I saw a tutorial for it, and I'm a little skeptical, but I don't think I'll ever find the rug I'm after at a good price.  Here's the link for the DIY tutorial:

I'm a huge fan of the chevron that is everywhere, just as shown in the tutorial, but I also can't wait to go scrounge around the PA Fabric Outlet.  They have amazing fabrics, including a pretty extensive selection of upholstery fabrics, which might be a good choice since it is likely to be durable.  That being said, I'm not ruling out the 99-cent rolls, because they always give up some gems.  But I digress... stay tuned for this weekend, when I will reveal Tim's settee make-over and the final office pictures.  And please, please, if you have any advice on the paint/tape issue, so share it in the comments...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Returning to the outdoors...


So, despite the itch of poison ivy, I have returned to the outdoors.  I had to get a few things planted just to gussy up the front porch, and so I managed to get these few things together.  I also found a little plant-glamour for the patio, so now when we come and go from either the front or the back, the house looks just a little more lived-in.  

Tim did a ton of hedge-trimming too.  Take that poison ivy.  I'm not scared.  I may actually have poison ivy (or more accurately, the Prednasone the doctor prescribed) to thank for a never-ending burst of energy.  The plus side is getting some things accomplished... the down side is not sleeping at night.  This too shall pass.  For, now, I am trying to capitalize and get things done while the getting's good.  

The office is officially sealed and primed, and now I can start painting it BLACK... black like your soul, black hole sun, I see a white room and I want to paint it black... choose your own musical reference.  I am painting it black with a creamy gloss trim called "cotton balls".  I love color names.  

I am using "premium" paint for the first time, and so far I feel that the primer and ceiling paint have been well worth the money.  The Benjamin Moore ceiling paint I used was incredibly thick and it covered beautifully.  I may still have acoustic ceiling tiles, but at least they are now a beautiful, clean, gleaming white.  Much better.  I may get really motivated and start painting the black walls tonight... I am eager to get it done, because the trim will take forever... I'll let you know how it goes.  We have some other projects in the works as well, including Tim's amazing DIY floor repair, so I will report back this weekend with the update.  For now, I have to go do something so I don't start scratching!