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Archive for the ‘Old House Renovations’ Category

We made some progress this weekend on our big project.  It doesn’t look like as much as it is, but at least we’re moving forward.  Mark spent yesterday finishing up the siding…even redoing some so it looked more even, which on our old, crooked house is quite a feat!  Then he caulked and painted the bottom half in preparation for building the deck…which he did today.  I helped where I could while the kids were napping, but I’ll get to what I got done in a minute.  Here’s a picture of the outside just an hour or 2 ago:

He still has to build the railings and the steps, but it’s nice just to have even this much done.  It makes getting in & out of the house a lot easier already.  Now he just has to finish the deck, finish caulking & painting the siding and fix all that nasty looking stuff around the roof line.  It has been slow-going, but it has also been hellishly hot, so I can’t complain really.

Somehow I managed to get all the laundry done yesterday morning, so I had a little more free weekend time than usual.  So I started painting the ceiling.  The ceiling is old beadboard, which makes a lovely ceiling.  What you should never do is paint a ceiling like that a dark color.

When we painted this room before, we wanted the ceiling to be blue.  Mark bought the paint & when I said “sky blue” this was his interpretation.  I wanted something a lot lighter, but whatever…we never should have painted the ceiling blue AT ALL, even if it was a much lighter shade than this.  In our quaint, old house it looks totally garish and ridiculous.  The bad part is, since it’s beadboard, you can’t just roll the paint on, especially if you’re trying to cover bright blue…it doesn’t get into all the little grooves…so you have to brush it on, which is a pain in the neck…literally.

I got the first coat on about half of the ceiling.  Ugh…it’s going to take awhile!  It’s amazing what a difference the white ceiling makes, though.  It completely transforms the room.  Of  course, walls and a floor would also completely transform this room, but we’re getting there.

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I live in a college town, and it’s back-to-school time.  Generally I don’t love this time of year, but this year I’m kind of enjoying watching the college kids.  Crap.  I just called them kids, which makes me old.  Awesome.  Anyway, working at city hall I see lots of college kids during the course of my workdays.  When I go anywhere in town right now I see lots of them.  For some reason this year it’s making me nostalgic.  I remember moving into the dorm at the beginning of my freshman year of college, moving into my first apartment at the beginning of my sophomore year, transferring to a new school in a different town at the beginning of my junior year.  It was so exciting, so new, and maybe just a little scary…every time.  It was such an optimistic time, though…it felt like the beginning of my “real” life.  Ha!  Wasn’t I clueless?  🙂  And these college kids are no different.  Last week I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart at lunchtime.  The parking lot was full…the store was packed, with college kids.  I could practically feel the excitement, optimism & enthusiasm oozing from them.  It made me think of just how carefree I was during my college days.  It was nothing to go to Wal-mart at 11:30am…or 11:30pm.  It didn’t matter, my responsibilities were so few.  Ahhhh…sometimes I miss that.  If I could only go back and SHAKE that girl that I was then…and tell her everything I know now…it would’ve been even better!  And speaking of responsibilities…

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Our big project is making very, veeeerrrrryyyyy slow progress.  Here’s a little progression of the work done on the outside.  The first picture was from 2 weeks ago, the 2nd from last weekend, the 3rd is from today…

As you can see, there is still some siding that isn’t done…none of the trim is done  & the eaves need fixed still…Oh and we still have to build the deck & stairs.

Inside is not very done at all…but just for fun, here’s a few comparison shots of the interior:

To the right is the window that went into Anna’s room…that’s gone now, which gives her a little more privacy & makes her room quieter & darker for naps/nighttime.

The most dramatic transformation (inside & out) and the whole reason for this project was to replace the door.  Not just replace, but reposition…here’s the interior before & after of that.  I really like the new placement and the new windows look so much nicer.

Here’s my floor currently:

Are you jealous?  It takes shabby chic to a whole new level!  We’re such trendsetters!!

Seriously…I’m hoping a real floor is in my near future because this crap is splintery!  And that’s all the update I have for now…fingers crossed there’s more progress within the next week!

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This weekend was the weekend of the big project.  The kids and I left right after work/daycare on Friday afternoon to travel 3 hours to my parents’ house.  The kids behaved much better than I expected and we made good time.  I had 2 very tired kids when we arrived, but Anna did her best to stay up as late as I would possibly let her.

I slept pretty poorly Friday night and William was up at the crack of dawn.  I was so tired, but I had so much that I wanted to do while I was there…not that I accomplished 1/2 of it.  I put the kids down for naps Saturday afternoon & left them with my parents while I went to run a few errands.  In the course of my errands, I did a lot of thinking…this happens when I’m in the car alone!  🙂  All I could think is the place where I grew up is no longer the place where I grew up.  The change is astonishing when I think about it.  The “progress” had started before I left almost 10 years ago, but it has since gone into overdrive.  Every time I go visit there is something new or different.  I miss the fields that used to line the roads between Hendersonville and Gallatin.  I miss the long stretch of road that didn’t have any traffic lights.  It’s long gone.  Everywhere you look now there is stuff.  It’s not that it’s bad stuff…just stores, restaurants, office buildings, etc…there’s just so much of it.

I suppose if I still lived there, maybe the change wouldn’t seem so drastic.  The contrast between the small town where I live now and the much bigger town where I was raised makes all the changes…all the stuff seem especially crazy.  It just feels so alien to me now.  I know the small town atmosphere I am so immersed in now makes this seem so much worse, but I just don’t like all the stuff, all the traffic, all the people.  It’s just so more, more, MORE!

Still, as much as I don’t like it, I’m drawn to it.  I miss the town where I grew up…I miss the city in general.  It’s still so much a part of me.  I guess I do know that, deep down, if I were to ever go back there on a permanent basis (not that I see that happening!), I would fall right back into the pace of city life.  I would even like it.  I would be fine.  Of course, then I would just miss the farm & the peacefulness of a more rural life.  The grass is always greener, isn’t it?

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In “big project” news…I now have a room with 4 new windows and a new, relocated door…I also have a sub-floor on the inside, but that’s about as far as it’s gotten.  The magnitude of this project is starting to freak me out, but if/when Mark gets his momentum back with this project, it’ll come together fairly quickly…or at least it will get to a point where I feel like I can help (aka- to a point where I can do work on the room while the kids are sleeping).  We still need to finish putting siding on the outside walls and drywall on the inside walls…the floor still needs to be installed.  Then we get to the fun part of finishing drywall (ick).  Soon enough we’ll be on to painting & that’s where I’ll be most comfortable helping.  Right now it just feels like it will never be done and the list of home improvement projects that needs done next is ever-growing.  Gotta love an old house!

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It’s been a busy long weekend here.  The kids have been alternating between very well behaved and complete heathens.  Not always at the same time.  That’s been fun.  William has enjoyed (or not) many time-outs and Anna has been threatened with time-out several times.  Thankfully, threatening is all I usually have to do with her…it works, at least temporarily.  The other thing that’s suddenly working for her is counting.  I have officially turned into my mother with this one.  “Anna!  ONE…” (She gives me a mischievous look), “TWO…” (She usually starts doing whatever she’s been asked to do).  If I actually get to three and take a step toward her she scrambles to do whatever she’s supposed to be doing.  Why does this work?  I don’t actually threaten her with any sort of punishment.  I don’t say, “if I get to three you’re going to time out” or anything…she just somehow instinctively knows that if I’m counting I must mean business.  What the heck?!  Kids are weird.

William couldn’t care less whether I’m counting or not…maybe he’ll catch on to that eventually.  I hope so because it’s almost kind of magic.  Much easier than listening to him scream through a timeout…he hasn’t caught on to that totally yet either.  There has been A LOT of, “William don’t throw that.  William!  DO. NOT. THROW. THAT!  William!  If you throw that you’re going to time out.”  He throws whatever it is about 75% of the time.  I guess 75% is progress from 100%, right?  Yesterday he pulled a whole handful of Anna’s hair out of her head.  I left the room, Anna started screaming, I run back in and her ponytail was all skewed on her head.  William had a big handful of hair and Anna was (rightfully) upset.  He went to timeout.  She got her ponytail re-done and after a little soothing from me she was ok.  Argh!  William is a terror lately.

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A quick recap of our weekend…Friday Anna had her last swimming lesson.  She loved getting a little pool time 4 afternoons as week.  She was already really comfortable with the water, so she didn’t need much (any) help with that.  She learned to paddle around using either a pool noodle type thing or a floaty ring.  By the last few days of lessons she was paddling around the pool (with one of the above floatation devices) without the instructor holding on to her at all.  She seemed a little resistant to the instructor letting go of her at first, but by the end she seemed to like it.

Saturday was a day of cleaning, grocery shopping and yard work.  Saturday night Mark and I had a date night.  We had a really good dinner at The Opera House and then a few drinks at The American Legion (OMG we miss The Pub!).  We were home by 10:30 and in bed not much later.  Man, we’re getting old!

Sunday we did more yard work and more housework.  We had some friends over for a little cookout.  The kids stayed up a little later than usual because our friends brought their daughter who is just a few weeks older than William.  They played in the sprinkler and had a good time.  We put William to bed an hour or so later than usual, but kept Anna up to watch some fireworks.  She was NOT a fan of the noise.  We were pretty surprised how freaked out she was by it…usually she’s so fearless.  Mark shot off a couple of things, but it was clear that Anna was just not having it, so we went ahead and put her to bed as well…about 2 hours later than usual.  She was ready to go.  We stayed up and sat around on the porch talking until 11ish before calling it a night ourselves.  We did a few more fireworks, but nothing spectacular.

Today Mark got up with the kids & I got to sleep in a little.  We did a little sidewalk chalk, we played briefly in the backyard, then the kids had snacks and went down for their naps.  Anna gave me a pretty hard time about naptime, but she went down eventually.  Mark and I rushed to the garden to do a little weeding & tie up the tomato plants that had started to sprawl everywhere.  We got most of it done…still some weeding left to do, but it was about to rain & we were hearing lots of thunder in the distance.  Mark managed to squeeze in a little more mowing & threw some fertilizer on the garden just before it started to rain.  The garden looks as good as it has ever looked.  Our corn probably get the award for most improved…we’ve never had much luck with it before, but it’s looking really nice this year.  We have 4 cantaloupes about  the size of softballs, so maybe they’ll be ready in a couple weeks.  We (finally) have tomatoes on our tomato plants, but they are still small and green.  I’m hoping we have better luck with those this year too…We never have much luck with our tomato plants for some reason.  We’ve gotten a few zucchini, one squash (just yesterday), a few jalapenos, maybe 1 poblano pepper and a TON of cucumbers.  Mark has made at least one batch of pickles.  We’re still waiting for the green beans and the watermelons.

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We’re in the process of preparing for a rather large renovation project.  It has needed done for a  very long time, but it’s kind of involved and I think Mark just wasn’t ready to tackle it until now.  I’ll post some after pictures once it’s complete, here are the before pics (excuse the mess on the indoor ones…this room has become kind of a catchall):

This is the back (or really the side) of our house.  That’s the main door that we use to come and go…

Facing the dining room…the interior window (why is that necessary?) to the right goes into Anna’s room:

The crappy door and windows (note the plastic sheeting over the windows and the exposed insulation that’s been stuffed next to the door – stylish, yes?):

The closed door here is William’s room.  See the square of wood screwed to the floor?  It’s covering a hole.

There are 5 doors off this room…the one to the left goes into a small hallway off of which leads to Anna’s room, our room and the bathroom.  You can just barely see the edge of the doorframe on the right…that one goes into our front foyer from which our bedroom is on the left, the living room is on the right and our front door is straight ahead.  Also…the blue ceiling?  That’s gotta go!

It has looked like crap for a long time.  The wood siding has gotten so old that it no longer holds paint and it’s starting to rot in places.  The wood all around the eaves needs replaced.  The door was not installed properly and we have trouble with it constantly.  We either have a hard time opening it (it sticks) or we have a hard time getting it to close all the way.  It’s a completely energy waster in the winter especially…cold air just pours in around the door.  There is very little insulation in the walls and NONE over the ceiling.  The wood floor on the inside is old and soft…so soft that when I walked across it one day (carrying William no less) it cracked below my feet and I looked back to see a nice hole.  The windows are about as energy efficient as the door.  Oh, and where the door is positioned is awful when it rains.  All the water from that side of the house (a rather large area) runs into that valley of the roof and comes down in the corner right by the door.  We can’t get gutters big enough to hold all that water…so it all just pours off the roof…right on to the steps in front of the door.  It’s awesome!  So…here’s the plan:

I’m leaving town for the weekend on the 22nd, with both kids.  I’m really heartbroken that I’m going to miss all this fun, but someone has to take care of the children, right?  😉  My brother-in-law has so kindly offered to help Mark with this rather large project…we have an electrician friend helping with the wiring and a couple of other friends that will help other random manual labor tasks.  Thank goodness for friends and for a really nice brother-in-law!  I promise to make a grocery run before I leave town so they will all be well fed and there will be plenty of beer for AFTER each work day is done.  🙂  Anyway, Mark and I will prep the room the week before.  I’ll take down anything hanging on the walls.  We’ll move the computer desk into the living room (which we’ve been planning to do anyway), we’ll take down our dining room table and move it to the shop (it needs some work anyway) and move the big rolltop desk that is the bane of my existence into the dining room.  The bookshelf may go in there too and then a piece or 2 will temporarily reside in our bedroom.  Mark will take all the door & window trim down along with all the (crappy…there’s that word again!) molding.  We’ll also get all the new wood siding painted and ready to go.  After the kids and I leave the house Friday morning, Mark will start tearing out the floor and walls.  Hopefully (ha!) they won’t run into any snags, but with an old house you just never know what you’re going to find when you start a project like this.  It’s going to take weeks to finish.  The plan of the one weekend (when my brother-in-law comes over) is to get one wall reframed (we’re moving the door to the middle of that wall…it’ll have a window on either side), the siding up and the subfloor and wood floor in place.  If they work really hard, they can hopefully get the drywall hung inside too.  Mark and I will have to work on finishing the drywall (and floor) later.  I don’t even want to think about how long it will be before we’re able to actually get it all painted and get the trim and moldings back in place and painted.   Oh, and there will be a small deck to build too…at least eventually…it will be just sort of a long landing to provide a little space between the steps and the door…Can you tell I’m excited?  And a bit terrified too?  I’m looking forward to documenting it all here…Anyone have suggestions for wall color?  I’m still on the fence.  I do want a color more so than a neutral…but I want to keep it light because our house is so dark overall.  At the moment the front-runner is a very pale icy blue aqua color.  Is that weird?  It just screams old house to me.  🙂

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