Monday, April 13, 2015

Progress...a little at a time

Project blindness.  Is that even a thing? Spending every day surrounded by unfinished projects makes it all too easy to focus on what still needs to be done.  The trim around the doors?  Partially complete.  The floors?  A project for another year.  Replacing the ugly back door?  Hopefully sooner rather than later.

It is easy to forget where we started, with a couple random cabinets in an unfinished room. Just looking at that first picture, though, helps make those changes more evident.

Cabinets, countertops, and appliances were a good start, but it is the small details like the galvanized metal under the window, the exposed brick, and the jar light fixture that are my favorite elements, those touches that make the kitchen ours.
Unfinished? Yes, but it is certainly on its way, just like the rest of the house.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A wonderful surprise

Knowing that winter in Minnesota is lengthy and cold, we have spent much of our time working on outdoor projects this summer.  While I understand this is logical, I have been anxious to have a room "finished." It seems that every room needs something, regardless of how minor, from unfinished ceilings to missing trim.

When I walked into the house last night, after spending a couple of days in Iowa, I had zero expectations in terms of finished projects.  I was just happy to know Cait had done some laundry.  Simply intending to grab a couple of things before heading to the lake, I was shocked and thrilled to notice the chandelier hanging in the dining room and even more excited to see the faux tin ceiling that had been living in our guest bedroom project/tool closet installed.

Nick installed the ceiling and the light in a just a few hours, with the help of his parents, Zack, and Caitlyn.

While old house purists will certainly cringe, the tiles we chose are made of a lightweight plastic material and actually glued to the unfinished drywall on the ceiling.  The end product, however, looks polished and appropriate to the house.

We still need to add crown moulding, and I need to make curtains, but it feels much more finished now and helps me see the end result isn't so far away.

Some of our best memories have been made around the table, and now we have a place in this house to celebrate together.

And now, I have to get busy.  My kitchen needs a coat of paint (after a little bit more sanding) before I can post pictures of the tile backsplash which Nick (and his family) also finished while I was gone!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Finding a Happy Place

Living in a house while remodeling is certainly a test of patience, and all those who know me well know patience is not my greatest strength.  I become antsy waiting in line to check out at Target, let alone waiting to see an end to the millions of projects that need to be completed for the house to be "finished."

We have accomplished a good deal already, having finished the roof and the majority of exterior painting.  We have also completed a bunch of projects in the kitchen and survived a bit of a sewer fiasco (the city disconnected the sewer line to the house last year when redoing the street just north of the house, a little issue we discovered when the water table rose early this summer).

The picture above was taken last fall, and the one below was taken just last week.

During all of this chaos, however, I found myself looking for a happy place, a room that was at least almost done.  So, instead of doing something more useful, like fighting the ongoing battle with the weeds in the landscaping, I spent an afternoon playing in the butler's pantry, organizing and reorganizing the shelves.  A waste of time?  Probably for most people.  But, it made me feel better. It also gives me something to post on here.  Pictures of other projects will follow shortly, I promise.

So, welcome to my happy place.

It is a small start, but it is a start.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Many Hands Make Light Work

To Do:
finish the plumbing
remove radiators 
tile part of the kitchen
construct and hang kitchen cabinets
finish wallpaper removal
patch walls
tile the bathroom
install the new sink and faucet

Spring break is long past now, but it was more productive than we could have hoped.  Thanks in large part to all of the wonderful help we had over the course of the week, the house is starting to look much more like home. 

The Kitchen

The metal cabinet that came with the house certainly had personality, but it will be finding a home in our basement laundry room as a utility sink and storage. But after some serious cabinet construction time, the top cabinets are now on the wall.

Now that the uppers are hung, our goal is to get the base cabinets set in place next weekend, so we can order countertops.  I can't wait to get some paint on the walls, either.

Main Floor Bath
On first inspection this bathroom looked tolerable, but the closer we looked the more changes we realized were necessary.  The pinkish floor tiles needed to go, as well as the uneven bead board, and terrible sink/cabinet combo.  Now the bathroom looks clean, with a new tile floor and sink.  

Upstairs Bath
The room that underwent the greatest change was one we had not even intended to touch over break.  The upstairs bathroom was in rough shape.  It isn't done yet, but it has real walls and the floors are ready to tile. 

This is only a glimpse into all we accomplished over break, but none of this would have been possible without all of our fantastic help.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Because I Heart Books

We are a family of readers.  We read in the car and we have shelves full of our favorite books.  With a Tolkien quote over the double doors between the living room and dining room and Gatsby art on the dining room walls, it is clear books and reading hold a special place in our lives.

Recently Cardigan Way, a uplifting blog I follow, cosponsored a book exchange.  I always feel a little guilty buying new books for myself (as the collection of unread books on my to-read pile is alarming), so a book exchange was the perfect way to circumvent that whole book buying guilt and to share my book love with others. 

As we had just finished reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green as a family, I was super excited to send my book exchange partner a copy of Looking for Alaska, another John Green bestseller, and I was super excited to find this beauty in my mailbox.

Between packing and life, I haven't had time to start the book yet, but I am hopeful that sometime in the near future I will find some time to start this gem!

A huge thank you to Katie, from Cardigan Way, the other sponsors, and my book exchange buddy, Melissa.  The We Heart Books exchange was a great way to break the monotony of winter in Iowa.

And, just because I always love adding to my to-read list, do you have any other lit suggestions?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Perfect, but only in Canada

Lovely, isn't it?  Perhaps not everyone is shopping for  Shakespeare in the rug department, but when I stumbled on this beauty on Urban Barn I knew we needed it. I love the bard, I love the play, I even love the font.                
 The problem?  Urban Barn stores are limited to Canada, so it looks like, at least for now, it will have   to live on my Dream House board  unless, of course, you would like to drive to Canada to pick it up for me! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Black or Blue and White All Over

It is easy, for me, to focus on the interior colors and finishes, especially with banks of snow and subzero temperatures, but the outside of the house needs a good deal of attention, too.  Just as soon as the weather agrees, we need to replace the roof and repaint the house and trim.

While Nick and I easily agree on most of the finishes for the inside of the house, there has been more discussion about the potential exterior paint and shingle colors.  I struggle to visualize how a different colored roof might look. Enter Pixlar (a free web based application for those too cheap to buy Photoshop).

So, without further ado,here are a couple kindergarten art project-like rough renderings of some of the options.

Option one: white house with blue shingles

 Option two: white house with black or dark gray shingles

The black/dark gray is my first choice, but both are worth considering.  The plan is to repaint the house (in white) and to add color on the porch floor, porch steps, and front door.                          

With (at least?) 8-10 more weeks of winter weather to look forward to in Minnesota, we have a little bit of time to decide (and to find a bunch of people willing to help us shingle and paint for food and drink).  Volunteers?