Archive for April, 2009

Spring has sprung

budsChange is in the air. Trees and shrubs are budding and the grass is greening. It’s time to rake the leaves to the curb, haul out the garden hoses, clean out the basement and put away the scarves and mittens.

It’s a time of renewal. It’s time to dig in the dirt and start a vegetable garden. I love the smell of wet soil. In the morning, I grab a cup of coffee and tip toe outside to survey the grounds to see what plants are popping out of the ground. It feels like I’m making a new discovery each time I see something new.

daffodil-2Because we moved into our house in May of last year, we are making new discoveries all the time.

These daffodils bloomed today for the first time after a few days of rain.

Change. It’s healthy.


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porch-envy-tribuneI want this porch…someday. I’ve had a case of serious porch envy ever since David’s mom sent this article our way. In the article, there are eerie similarities between this house and ours. …like they are both built in the late 1800’s, the horsehair plaster walls were cracking, the bay window was slumping, there was a bed in the parlor, a stove right outside the bathroom door, and more! I don’t know if our house originally had a porch… but seeing the before and after from this article… I know it’d look great!

elmwood-house2It was just meant to be! I can picture many relaxing afternoons watching the world go by from a wonderful porch.

Ahhh. Someday, I hope. Until then, I’ll be green with envy every time I walk by a house with a fabulous porch.

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bathroom beforeOur cute little 8th Street cottage had a dirty little secret… it was the bathroom. At a glance, the picture to the left doesn’t look that bad, right? When we took a closer look, we found that the sink cabinet was rotting, the floor boards were weak and water damage from the shower was wreaking havoc on the shower window and floor.

Bathroom mid remodelOf course, it gets worse before it gets better. We thought we might be able to re-use the hardwood floors, but realized that they were pretty rotten. We ended up relocating the washer/dryer (shown left) and gained room to realign the tub in it’s place. The new configuration allowed us to maximize the bathrooms potential.

bathroom afterThe results dazzle. We opted for clean lines and minimalistic fixtures. What you can’t see, is that the bathroom color comes in by the way of green tiles on the floor and in the shower. It really grounds the space. We had to spend a few extra dollars to move around the plumbing, but at the same time we upgraded to copper pipes throughout the entire house. So this little cottage is all-set for the next 50+ years!

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Sage green wallsOur 8th Street house went through a total transformation. The living room was once a horrible yellow color. Now, it feels light an airy. We refinished the hardwood floors, added radiator covers and furnished the place with cottage-appropriate pieces. I reupholstered the cushions on the bamboo furniture and made my own pillows.

missy-and-davidWe were quite pleased with the transformation. Even our black lab, Wyatt, enjoyed his time at the 8th Street house… especially being a 1/2 block from the bay. Each morning, I took Wyatt for a walk and was greeted by the stunning sunrise over East Bay.

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GardenThe 8th Street house was a clean slate as far as landscaping and gardening was concerned. The home had previously been a rental, so there were no flower surprises that popped up anywhere (as I had hoped.) I had to start from scratch and here are the results! This area between the driveway and the house was a thin strip of grass and weeds before. I went to local nurseries and bought plants on many whims- color, smell, sale prices… then I added mulch to prevent pesky weeds from popping up.

Front gardenIn the front garden, we painted the railing white and added plants- of course! This picture was taken at the end of the growing season, only the mums are blooming.

Front gardenThis garden was in the front yard. I planted veggies, flowers and bulbs.

Mailbox gardenWould a cottage-style house be complete without gardens galore? I think not. This mailbox garden was just the ticket.

Our homeOur little 8th Street cottage was adorable! This cute pic was snapped when my aunt came Up North to visit. Of course, Wyatt had to sneek his way into the shot. Hope you liked this little garden tour!

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011_11Ok…our kitchen was nothing to crow about when we bought the house. In fact, it needed some serious love. Because both David and I enjoy cooking, we really needed to make sure the kitchen was up to snuff.

workWe lived with various versions of the dreaded temporary kitchen during the remodel. Lucky for us- it was summertime and we were able to do a lot of grilling outside. work-5

We removed the linoleum flooring and put down natural slate tile (more on that later). As you can see in this picture, the large stone fireplace is the focal point. Because of the existing natural stone fireplace, it made the choice for slate tile a no-brainer.

const-5Let there be cookies, let there be baked ziti, let there be AN OVEN! And quite an appliance it is! We actually bought this Thermador dual-fuel convection range on eBay! Can you believe it? We got  it  for a steal!

march-12-003Isn’t she beautiful? We bought our kitchen cabinets, sink, fixtures, counter tops and island at IKEA. The nearest store is 250 miles from our house, so we came prepared with our measurements! We drove downstate, bought an entire kitchen and bathroom, loaded the truck, and drove back Up North in the same day. It was actually quite crazy. We rolled back into Traverse City at 4:00 a.m.

kitchen-008It was totally worth it. Everything seemed to work out great! We absolutely love the bank of glass cabinets. (We intentionally have a staggered cabinet placement for the flatscreen TV!)

kitchen-2And here is the final product! David cut the 12×12 tiles with a wet tile saw to make the backsplash. We also found a spice cabinet that looks great above the island.

We learned a lot on this kitchen overhaul. And now, it’s an inspiring place to cook a meal or read the morning paper. We LOVE it!

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Naturally Nutty Peanut ButterA few months ago, I made a scrumptious discovery in the grocery store aisle- Naturally Nutty peanut butter. It’s made locally, right here in Traverse City, Michigan!

Today, I was in need of some afternoon pick-me-up. I treated myself to some mocha peanut butter and paired it with graham crackers for a creamy snack while at the office.

The ingredients are all natural and enriched with flax seed and hemp seed to boost our daily omega fatty acids. There are at least 10 different flavors to try too!

With peanut butter options like this, the ole PBJ sandwich will never be the same! I can’t wait to try more flavors!

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