Category Archives: home renovation

Room by Room: Dining Room + Kitchen

I think it’s safe to say that the kitchen (if you would even call it a kitchen- it was literally stripped bare with nothing but plumbing stubs and electric lines hanging from the ceiling) and the dining room were both the worst and most promising rooms in the house.  We love to cook, have large families, and after living in a 12 foot wide rowhouse, we have been dreaming of a huge island with lots of work surface that opened up onto a beautiful, large, chunky wood dining room table.  Since we had been ‘casually’ looking at real estate in some of our favorite neighborhoods, we had been finding that the kitchen spaces in most of these homes really wasn’t large.  Even those that were open to the dining rooms were not huge and it seemed that one space always suffered, either the kitchen was made larger (and in many cases, awkward due to strange renovation decisions) and therefore the dining room was shrunk, or the dining room was large and they would try and open it up to a small galley kitchen.

We started to resign ourselves to the idea that in order to get into one of the neighborhoods we were considering, we’d likely have to compromise in this ‘kitchen-dining room dream’, especially in our price-range.  And then we walked in to this house and saw this:

“Kitchen”

Dining Room – Hungry?

Now, you’re thinking, Holy WTF, get me out of there, this is not a kitchen, WTH is with these reds walls and hobbit hole doorway? (or something to that effect)  We stood there, smiles on our face, excitedly saying – HOLY SH#T – this is it!  No joke.  If she had any reservations about our ability to see past a foreclosure/damaged/vacant building’s first impression, I’m pretty sure our excitement about this kitchen and dining room space cleared that up for our Realtor!  (shout out to you Magan Drane – Baltimore’s premiere realtor!)  She was also probably a little worried that we were crazy (truly crazy) because after walking into a formal foyer, seeing a fireplace in the living room, and then seeing the size of the kitchen and dining room, I’m not sure she had ever seen two people more excited about a pile of broken bricks and plaster.

It always gets worse before it gets better, right? This was one of the most exciting days for us!

First things first, Naomi and I immediately turned to each other and said, ‘this wall- gone – and here, the biggest island you’ve ever seen!’  And that was exactly what we did…and it is glorious!  There was nothing in the spaces so they were quite literally blank canvases to work with.  We loved all the natural light in the dining room and, well, that’s about it.  What we found most challenging was the door to the backyard.  It was very awkwardly placed too close to the corner to be able to fit standard cabinets along the adjacent wall and also added an additional circulation path through the kitchen that would be used all the time coming in and out.  We had a similar condition in our rowhouse where the door to the backyard was in the corner of the kitchen and it was convenient to go in and out from, but always seemed to bring dirt into the kitchen, the tight space made it awkward to go in and out with the dog, and just generally interrupted the flow of people cooking having to go through.

We really wanted to open the house up to the yard more and that’s when it hit us – we could close the existing door in the kitchen, thereby giving us COMPLETE functional space with additional cabinets and counters and open up one of the existing pairs of windows in the dining room and put in some beautiful french door out to the yard!  Two birds, one stone and all sorts of opportunities!

Ok, ok, too many words!  Here’s what you’re really here to see, the photos!

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Yes – that is a 3.5 foot by 8 foot island and we love every inch of it!

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The kitchen is still not finished and honestly, I could probably write 100 posts talking about the kitchen and the design ideas/decisions that went into it (and maybe I will!) but I figured if we waited for it to be done-done, we’d never share it.  Our new kitchen includes every feature that we wanted in our ideal, ‘forever home’ kitchen AND we did it on a budget!  Here’s the quick run down:

Dining room:

New windows/french door (even though we really did LOVE the high, square set of windows) (Marvin)

Removed the separating wall

Refinished wood floors

Removed all the traditional moldings, repaired all the plaster work

New table (Pottery Barn) and chairs (Overstock and Joss&Main)

Area rug (RugsUSA)

Kitchen:

Cabinets (Wolf – solid wood, satin white) and hardware (oil rubbed bronze finish)

Counters (Caesarstone Quartz – London Grey)

Recessed lights (LOTS of them :-)) and 3 new pendants (West Elm) with Edison Bulbs

New windows (Marvin)

Appliances/ disposal/ wine fridge

Open shelves and Range hood (Ikea)

Refinished original floors! (These were a beautiful surprise – we didn’t think they would clean up this nicely)

Partial backsplash – Carbonized bamboo flooring (surplus from our flooring project in our old rowhouse – Yeah free!)

Re-used the bar height chairs from our old dining set at the island

You can see here that we did lose a little bit of space for the new HVAC duct lines that we put in. We had the contractor set them as close to the far wall as possible so they were out of the way. We also had them run the main trunk line as close to the ceiling next to the archway into the living room as possible. This way you can’t see it when you come in the house (from the foyer or living room). We really wanted the house to still feel like it has some of the charm of the 1930’s when it was built, but wanted the modern conveniences – Central air and an open kitchen – so we hid them as best we could.

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And, yes, our house is always this clean and yes, these were taken as we began decorating for the holidays so please enjoy the festive touches 🙂

The backsplash is not yet complete but these are the tiles we purchased for the remaining portion of the backsplash by the range:

It might be hard to tell in the photo, but the tiles are blue-grey (the crackled finish is more grey, the solid finish is more blue).  We’re planning on alternating each of the tiles vertically to give some dimension to the wall rather than using just one of the tiles on the entire wall.  Haven’t decided on a grout color yet- debating between white and grey. We also still have to paint the base of the island.  Originally we were going to paint it white to blend in with the rest of the cabinetry, but after settling in, we’re leaning more towards something a little more bold like the dark grey wall with the french doors.

I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to see what we decide!  More to come.

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1 Comment

December 22, 2013 · 2:44 am

Room by room: Living Room

As we approach the end of the year and, as such, our first anniversary owning our little urban home, it’s only fitting that we do a little room by room update as we head towards January 25th (our closing day- our official anniversary!).  Remember, we only moved in in May so we’ve spent the last few months really trying to make thing feel more like home and getting the last of the boxes unpacked as we prepared for the holidays.  It was our first year hosting a major holiday, Thanksgiving, with BOTH families in attendance.  It was a blast and we loved having everyone down in our neck of the woods, but more on that later!  Setting the deadline of Turkey Day, operation ‘make this place feel like home’ really kicked off.  Starting with the Living Room, here’s where we were at up until just before Thanksgiving:

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Here’s the run down of what we did:

Recessed Light

Ceiling Fan (oh, and actually had a ceiling installed)

Retained the original archways and patched/repaired all the plaster and trim-work

New windows

Refinished floors

New Curtains and rug – All the other furniture is from our little rowhouse (couch, arm chairs, TV console, etc.)

Still to do:

SOMETHING about that fireplace, beginning with making it function!

Finish painting all the trimwork!

You’ll notice that we did lose one of the corners to make way for the expanded coat-closet-turned-half-bath. But as you can see in the photo below, the windows are still, ‘almost’ centered in the wall with the bump out (on the left) and it still leave plenty of room for a future, larger sofa and endtable, so there was no great loss and we gained a great 1/2 bath on the first floor – win win!

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One thing that was missing was a place to put some of our, um, 10,000,000 books.  In our old house, we spent entirely too much time planning the use of every inch of space which led to the creation of lots of built-ins.  This house? Nada.  Not.one.shelf in the entire place.  And with boxes and boxes of books, we had to start planning for some book storage.  We have some larger ideas for a built-in entertainment/shelving system in the living room, but we are still evaluating exactly the size and location of that.  One thing we did notice as we settled in was with placement of the windows, fireplace, and door to the playroom/sunroom, there was a dead corner in the room.  (You can see the junk pile beginning on the right side of the sofa in the photo above!)  A dead corner plus a need for some book storage led to some very simple bookshelves.  They are not 100% done (there is clearly a need for some additional trim and molding) but they are doing the trick at the moment.

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Just some of the stacks of book boxes!

They marched right down and almost put themselves on the shelves!

(Don’t mind the mess beyond in the playroom – that’s the joy of having a dedicated space for toys, the living room gets to remain generally toy (mess) free!)

Building the shelves the same height at the fireplace also helped us try to make some sense of and balance the existing doorway.  We thought if we made them too tall, it would look funny and top heavy…and too short would look strange so close to the fireplace size.  In the end, we think they are a good addition to the room.  Until we build some others, these are jam-packed with books and albums in an attempt to empty as many boxes as possible, so please, don’t judge on the ‘stylizing’.  And yes, that is an enormous clock and yes, Naomi is in love with it.  I could do without it but N really wanted an oversize clock for the house – Ikea to the rescue!  Once she laid eyes on it, she had to have it and at less than half the price as come other clocks she’d been looking at, I said OK.

5 Comments

December 18, 2013 · 3:47 pm

Windows, windows in the walls…

…it’s just time you had to go!

“The windows aren’t that bad, I mean they’re original, but they have nice charm…” said naive us when we first moved in.  “We’ll get a few more years out of them before taking some time to phase their replacement.” Said us as we planned out the house renovations.  “Call the window guys and let’s just get an estimate so we can do some financial planning.”  Said us as we spent the summer fighting to open the 4 operable windows in the house every time there was nice weather.  “F-it, let’s just do them now… ALL OF THEM and be DONE with it they are so NASTY!”  We said to each other when the quote came in less than we were expecting.  And they can do it in 4 weeks?  Sign the contract!

Yes, we shuffled around some other projects and decided to get the windows done and we’re thrilled we did!  We had 3 windows replaced and french doors put in where a pair of windows were in the dining room, but the rest of the house- ALL ORIGINAL.  We were lucky if 1 window in each room opened and the rest of them were just jammed/painted shut.  The storm windows and screens didn’t do much to dress up the sloppy paint-job they had received in the past and the years of filth on both the inside and outside began to eat away at their ‘charm’ pretty quickly.

We were scheduled for the first week in October and the crew showed up on time and ready to go.  The house was built in 1929 and yes, there was lead paint so to begin, the crew sealed the windows from the inside and then removed the windows from the exterior.  We covered the items on the inside for some extra safety.

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Then the install began:

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You may notice that while the guys installed the new windows, I decided to do some landscaping and removed EVERYTHING that was left on the left side of the house. I think the neighbors were happy to see the last of the overgrowth removed!

All of the original wood was in great shape on the front windows- even had some great, simple bullnosing detail. We thought about leaving it exposed and painting it to match the others, but in the end, wanted to keep it uniform and simple and they wound up covering it back up.

Let that light shine in!

Now some before and afters:

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Don’t mind the white trim around the door and windows on the first floor, our first contractor used white flashing so we have to paint those to match the others.

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And a close up of the front:

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Do you see the difference?  I know, it’s difficult to see in the photos because the ‘befores’ don’t seem that bad far away, but in person, the change is crazy.  We went with Marvin Window’s ‘Integrity’ line with ‘Pebble Grey’ fiberglass finish on the exterior and painted white wood on the interior.  The fiberglass coat bound to the outside will make them super durable and the wood inside, even painted, has a great warmth.  We also changed the style of the windows.  The original windows were 6-over-6 divided light.  We opted for 6-over-1 with the replacement.  We wanted something a little different (seems like everyone does 6-over-6, especially with vinyl replacements) so although they may be a little more ‘craftsman bungalow’ than our little tudor revival, we liked the updated contemporary look they gave us.  We also made sure to spend a little more and have the upper glass be actual divided lights and not just one sheet of glass with mullions (dividers) applied to the inside and outside.  It’s not really noticeable in the photos, but when you’re up close to the windows in the house, the actual division between the glass makes a big difference.

We have long term plans to redo the sunroom/playroom with larger floor to ceiling windows, so we didn’t invest in replacing those (they are also the most ‘new’ windows probably but in around the 80’s).  We also kept the 2 windows in the stairwell because they are in OK shape and the square one at the base, although not operable at the moment, just looks nice!  The original diamond leaded glass next to the front door stayed because we are going to scrape and paint it to match the new, there was no way we were going to remove that one for a faux replacement.  And lastly, we also kept one of the side windows (in the master bedroom) because we ultimately want to put a second floor addition on the sunroom and that window would become the door into the addition from our bedroom, so, just avert your eyes for in the meantime.  It’s in pretty sad shape but we’re going to paint it out to match the new so it blends in until the addition happens.

Anyway, we love them and they were finished just in time for us to enjoy the fall weather.  They’ve also been great with the cold nights that have rolled in (no more drafts!) and the sound reduction is surprisingly noticeable too!

6 Comments

November 19, 2013 · 2:11 am

Knock, Knock…

… who’s there?  Not sure, but I’ll tell you who’s (or what’s) NOT there.  Let’s back up a little, shall we.  When we walked up to this house, we could barely find the front door behind the behemoth, overgrown, green monster.  Exhibit #1:

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Ok, so you might be thinking, “That’s not that bad.  It’s kind of nice to have a full shrub frame the front door.”  Maybe?  But then this happened, Exhibit #2:

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Yeah, that shrub grew 3 feet taller this summer.  We trimmed it twice and it just. kept. growing!  For some scale, you can see the size of a person (me) below holding G.

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That shrub also made it nearly impossible to walk around the house to the trash cans and back yard.  You actually had to walk on the grass just to get around it.  It’s size, inconvenience, and the fact that we really didn’t care for it all led to ‘someday we should remove it.  Hey, maybe we just transplant it to the side of the house for some instant impact?’  Well that day happened when it had been raining and I ran some trash out to the trash can and accidentally rubbed up against some of the branches and found myself soaked because all the leaves basically dumped water on me from head to toe as I tried to squeeze around it.

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That weekend was the time to say goodbye.

I figured it would take some muscle, but there seemed to be a decent amount of soil space at the base, so I grabbed the shovel and went on a mission.  Not without my little helper, of course:

No idea what expression is on our faces.

G thought she could handle it, so we let her take a few shots:

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What can I say?  She’s her father’s daughter. 🙂

Then the real work happened:

G was sure to supervise.

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You can see, transplanting this monster was a non-starter.  What we discovered was that the shrub was actually growing OVER the original concrete walkway to the side of the house.  Rather than trim the bush back, at some point, one of the previous owners simply poured another concrete walk next to the original one.  The only way this beast was coming out was to cut it back and spend 24 solid working hours using a shovel to VERY slowly, inch by inch dig out the root balls of the TWO adjacent shrubs.

Exhaustion and success after FINALLY getting the first root ball out!

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Milk Break while daddy starts on root ball #2!

After a her refreshing beverage, G had to get back into the action.  She wanted to show me the best way to remove the remaining surface roots:

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“Look, I can use two tools at once, why is this taking so long?”

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Digging, cursing, digging, sweating, sweating, cursing, cursing, sweating… and hours later, we finally had this:

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Do you not share in our excitement?!  Let’s show you a comparison:

Before

After!

Such an improvement, right?

Well after all that work, we decided it was playtime… (enter gratuitous photos or our little lady)…

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and garden… (seriously, her father’s daughter!)

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We’ve been busy around here and are working to get some updates out- new windows, unpacking, new deck, and some built in shelves to name a few.

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October 25, 2013 · 8:57 pm

…where the lists get made and the photos get displayed!

One of the very small projects we took on at our Port St. home was creating a message center.  It started out of necessity to find a creative way to hide the circuit panel box and electric meter which were oh-so-prominent in the kitchen by the back door.

Very old and blurry picture of the chalkboard cabinet we built to cover the electric meter and breaker box in our old home.

In writing this post we realized that we didn’t have any good photos of our message center on Port St. This was an iPhone picture of Anthony writing a message to the new owner of our house on our last day there, the day before we settled.

It definitely got lots of use!

One thing we learned from that project is that we LOVED it.  We decided that no matter where we ended up next, we needed a space just like it, and bigger if possible.  So when we embarked on the design of the entire kitchen, the message center was an actual item that we thought about and placed in the overall design.  Yup, we like to be THAT organized and we’re completely OK with it!  When laying out the floorplan, we wanted the center in a convenient spot, but a little hidden so that notes and clutter didn’t smack you in the face as you walked in.  The back wall of the entrance way from the foyer was perfect because it was out of sight as you walked in and because we were building out the pantry units, it would also be out of view from the dining room.  The spot was chosen!

first floor proposed copy

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We found that we really used the chalkboard for making grocery lists and found that we would like a little more cork board area to pin up coupons, invitations, photos, etc.  So as we debated back and forth on which parts should be chalk and which should be cork and do we split the large wall in half vertically or horizontally; ultimately, we decided to keep it simple.  If we made the large back wall all one material, we could then carry the line of the upper cabinet down on the side of the pantry and use the other material there.  Did you follow that?  Need a visual?  Ok, first we put up some trim (that we had extra in the basement) to fill the gap between the top cabinet and the wall.  Then we put a vertical piece that aligned with the edge of the upper cabinet down to the countertop.

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The large wall got the cork and the side wall got taped for chalkboard paint:

Do all the alignments make some sense now with this photo?  Our contractor thought we were crazy for wanting this cabinet mounted so high, but it all made sense in our head!

Then came the fun part:

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Really love Frog Tape for projects like this that need clean, crisp lines!

Two quick coats later and we had the beginnings of our message center.  But what would be put up?  We started with the collection of items that have been living on the counter since we moved them from our old home.  One big addition was the framed color swatch calendar that N gave me for Father’s Day (which she had commissioned by her sister- thanks Raq!)

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Before:

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After:

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The microwave cabinet now feels more balanced with the ‘command center’ in place! (don’t mind the clutter on the counter – in an attempt to get artwork and photos up around the house, we have nails, screws, a hammer, and screwdriver ready at a moment’s notice)

This whole project took about an hour to complete but now that it’s finished, the kitchen, as a whole, is feeling much more pulled together.  It’s great to finally be able to keep the grocery list in a central spot instead of on scraps of paper here and there.  It’s also great to be able to put up some of the photos and stuff that we get from friends and family.  It has gotten us even more excited to get the backsplash up.  Our white kitchen is VERY white right now and the idea we have for the backsplash will really help warm it up.  More to come on that (and hopefully soon!).  And because this message area has grown in size, Naomi thought it more appropriate to call it the ‘Cataldo Command Center’ (after reading another blog that referred to their similar area as the ‘command center’).  Yes, she was very excited about the new name.  I just smiled and nodded.

2 Comments

August 1, 2013 · 1:27 pm

A significant reason…

…that we put an offer in on this house was the layout.  It was, arguably, exactly what we were looking for (with one extra wall and a slightly smaller upstairs hall).  One of the things we began really wishing for in our old home was a foyer.  Sound silly?  Well, maybe.  But when you live in a 12 foot wide house and only have a 12’x12′ living area that also functions as a foyer and hallway, you too, might long for a true, defined, wide, entrance foyer.  You can make fun, I don’t mind.  When we walked into this house, in all it’s disarray, we both loved the foyer space and the stair and the window.  It was a great first impression to the rest of our tour that day.

First Impression.

A shell of it’s former self.

As work progressed on the house and the drywall began going up, the entrance space really started taking shape.  It has some great little details, the lower ceiling at the doorway with 4 inch reveals really defining the ‘entrance’ and the original arches into the living room really frame the stairs and window space.  Having two windows in the stairway really brighten everything up, especially the upstairs landing.

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When it came to paint color, we weren’t sure what we wanted.  Originally we thought a light green or yellow, but couldn’t find anything we really loved, especially since it had to look good on the first floor AND second floor of the house.  We painted the living and dining rooms a cool grey but wanted something a little warmer for the foyer space.  We tested two samples that looked promising  in the store, both in the tan/brown family – one with some yellow undertones, the other with some red undertones,  and after putting them on the wall, thought we had found a good balance of neutral and warm in one of them.  Out I went to purchase 2 gallons and the minute I got home, we both decided it was the very wrong color!  As the sun changed through the day, the yellow-ish one got very bad yellow and greenish.  The red-ish one- was too mauve and then dark brown.  Neither was good (I won’t tell you which one we have 2 gallons of now, just sitting in the basement!).

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We were back at square one.  We wanted this house to feel different from our previous home (which was tan, blue, and brown) but with nothing else jumping out at us, we went back to investigate a cooler color.  Something tan with some grey.  We found two colors that seemed to fit the bill, one a little darker than the other, so we bought the sample size and painted some more squares on the wall.  G even helped us out a little.  She LOVED ‘painteeeee-g’ and did not want to stop, ‘dippie-dippie’ the brush into the little can to create her masterpiece on the wall.

Gotta shake them first! (while smirking)

A little here, a little there…perfect!

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The choice was immediately clear- it was a no brainer for us.  Why had we not just gone with something more neutral sooner?  And, yup, it’s one of the same colors we used on our old house- no wonder it felt so comfortable!  Now the tedious part of cutting in and painting this large, multi-corner, multi-trimmed doorway, two-storey space began.

Quick snapshop of the progress at night.

It took a long time to finish this – basically only painted for an hour or two a few nights a week after G was asleep.  Most of the space was finished a few weeks ago, but cutting in the ceiling line of the stairwell required the 12′ extension ladder which made it nearly impossible to accomplish quickly after work when G was sleeping so it got pushed back until just last week when I left work and headed straight home with the sole mission to finish painting the stairwell.

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Here are some before and afters:

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We still, of course, need to paint the trim and doors, but that’s small potatoes compared to the rest of the space.   The door on the right is the original coat closet that we turned into a half bath.  Since we lost the coat closet function there, we want to build a custom cubby/bench/hook unit for the left side wall next to the front door.  In the meantime, we found this bench up in the attic from the previous owner and it works great.  We might paint it a bright, fun color just for kicks.

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We are also on the hunt for an entry table to go in the little nook by the stairs.  Currently Riese’s toy chest is there but something fun with a little lamp on it where we…ok, where ANTHONY,  can throw his keys and wallet down instead of on the TV console, or dining table, or kitchen island, or… you get the picture.

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We continued the same color down through the basement stairwell since it is now open to the hallway.  This helped make it feel like a continuation of the house and less like, ‘just the basement’.  (now we just need to finish the basement, itself, and paint the trim!)

Some artwork has gone up, but we still have ideas for more.  Our family photos found a new home between the two windows.

Layout before installation

Naomi’s original stained glass that once hung in the transom of our old home now hangs in the 2nd floor window.

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We love having them back up in the house and Gabby LOVES being able to say ‘hi’ to everyone as we go up and down.  They are also right at her eye level from the upstairs railing so she can stand there and point to everyone and practice their names.  This really makes it start to feel like home for us!

2 Comments

July 30, 2013 · 9:46 pm

well, what do we have here?

These?

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Oh, these are just our FINAL INSPECTION sign-offs!  FINALLY, after our ‘6-8 week, tops’ project as promised by our contractor turned into FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS, we are finally complete with all the work they were contracted to perform and our final inspections have passed.  If I heard one more time, ‘I just don’t understand, I’ve never had this happen before with so-and-so subcontractor?!?’ I was about to lose my sh#t!

We’ve spent the last few weeks trying to make the place feel more like home on the inside, and have been trying to make the outside, well, the best version of its current self.  We have big plans for the landscaping in both the front and the back, but need some time to really plan it all out before investing too much.  In an effort to increase our curb appeal, our first step was to try and finally get some grass to grow in the large hole in the front yard where a tree had been removed years before.

Disregard the huge crane on the lawn (don’t you have one of those too?! :P). You can see the large, barren wasteland right in front here with no grass to speak of.

This area had become the neighborhood’s largest dandelion patch and it was time for them to go.  Oh, and these were no ordinary dandelions, no no no, these were those that had thorns and fight back when you try to remove them! After carefully digging out each and every one of them, we threw down some grass seed, covered it with some grass clippings from the rest of the yard and watered.

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And waited.  And watered. And waited.  After about a week and a half with no action, I thought I had done something wrong.  Is it even possible to seed grass improperly!?  I was at a loss.  Just as I was about to give up, we saw these little guys!

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Ah-ha, success!!  I continued watering the patch every day and about once a week, I would go out there and carefully weed out all those darn thorny dandelions that insisted on coming back.  Just about a month later, the large hole is about 1/2 filled in and the rest still has some tiny seedlings plugging along.

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Going on vacation for 5 days without watering didn’t help the little guys and they got a little yellow.  I don’t think they’re dead, just moving a little slowly.  Still, an improvement over where we started.  For now we’ll leave it and see what happens, but in the fall we’ll do a more robust seeding of the entire front yard.  Hopefully that will give us a nice full lawn next spring!  A quick comparison of where we were a few months ago.

What we bought.

Where we are now!

(ps- the fact that these shots almost EXACTLY line up is a complete accident!)

This flower bed is a combo of found plants, new plants and recycled potted magnolia trees from the front of our old house (btw, they seem to love their new spot even more since they’re not baking between brick and asphalt!).

As for the back, we cleaned up the patio and the border planting area that we discovered with some new plants and some transplants from elsewhere in the yard.  We’ve found that the little bunny family living in our bamboo jungle sure likes to eat….everything we plant!  It’s very frustrating, but the littlest bunny is very cute and Gabby enjoys looking for him/her (?) everyday, so for now, they can stay although that bamboo jungle WILL be tamed at some point, perhaps in the fall.

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The two tables on the patio were left in our yard before we moved in and since we didn’t own an outdoor dining table, we figured we’d just go ahead and use it.  It needs to be refinished, but it’s a great size and solid wood, so we think it’s a win!  We only owned 2 outdoor dining chairs (that desperately need to be refinished…again) so as we were wandering through Target one day and saw these on clearance (50% off!) we snatched up 6 of them and had an instant patio set.

The rest of the yard just gets the weeds mowed (very little actual grass back there! ha) and we continue to dream big about what it will look like in the future.  You’ll also notice some new fence boards to the right.  We went ahead and installed new pickets over the gaps between the existing ones in an attempt to peacefully co-exist with our neighbor’s dog who doesn’t care for us in the least.  It has helped a bit in cutting down the constant barking at us and has allowed us to actually be in the backyard with Riese, without the two of them attacking one another. So it’s been a good mini-project that only required us to invest approximately $200 and a few hours of manual labor!

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Next up, we really need to get some stairs down from our new french doors to be able to really enjoy the yard for the rest of the season.  I’ve got some plans in mind so we’ll see what shakes out!  Oh, and look at this little guy who just popped up in our sideyard.

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I swear we didn’t plant it and didn’t throw any zucchini seeds out in the yard.  It just found its way to us! 🙂  I put a low barrier around it when it first popped up to keep the bunnies from eating it and it worked.  Let’s see what it produces for us this year.  Ironically, it’s in the exact spot where we want to put our vegetable garden next year.  Guess a vegetable garden in this location is meant to be!

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July 12, 2013 · 2:26 am