Archive for November, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! Our crockpot turkey meal (a completely new kitchen coming soon… with an oven!) will be shown off in all it’s glory under the new dining room chandelier that David installed. We like this brushed nickel model because of it’s simplicity. We also wanted to be able to enjoy the bay window without a large lamp hanging down. The understated elegance goes perfectly with our second-hand rosewood dining table.


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It’s all icing on the cake from here! Now that David is finishing up some of the baseboard and window trim projects (don’t get me wrong, we still have many painting hours ahead of us), it’s been extremely rewarding to see the house unfold. A living room rug really grounds the space and makes it feel warm and inviting. We looked endlessly for a rug that was both large enough and appeased our individual styles. We had never discussed the color red, but we both liked it…and it goes perfectly with my homemade pillows!

We haven’t yet painted the stairs or the banister, but we are strategically waiting until our downstairs kitchen is up and running. We need to remove a full-size refrigerator (how in the world did they get it up the stairs??) from the second story, so we won’t worry about the front steps until that major appliance leaves the building- for good!

Our front hall and view toward the kitchen has certainly come a long way…

…especially since it used to look like this:

Dontcha just love a good before and after?

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Part of the charm of an old house is, well… just that, it’s old. We really liked the character of the old doors and woodwork, so we put it in a safe place during the renovation and now David is re-hanging the 1880’s doors and window trim. How cool!

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As you can see, the old doors and trim have seen many layers of paint over the years. We thought about attempting to strip the paint to restore the original woodwork, but decided that we didn’t want to deal with the lead paint hazard and wanted a crisp white aesthetic in the house.

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Some boards were in better shape than others. David did have to buy a small plainer to work with the old doors and trim, but he was excited about adding to his tool collection.

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The french doors had cracked paint. We aren’t sure if the previous owners used crackle paint or how that happened. David has already sanded and filled the cracks. Repainting the old frenchies is still on the to-do list, but I’m sure that with one primer coat and two coats of paint no one will be the wiser of it’s previous state.

doors and trim

If you look closely, you can see that the marble window sills are back in place and you would never guess that the window trim was 100% recycled! Look’s pretty good!

The doors in the downstairs bedroom/office look like new. The old-fashioned hinges and handles add charm that is irreplaceable.

It’s starting to really feel like home.

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Lab pillow

When my mom and my aunts visited us in Traverse City, they were so appreciative of my tour guide skills that they all chipped in and bought me this lovely Black Labrador Retriever pillow! They bought it from a cute Front Street store called Stewart Zacks but you can also purchase this amazing pillow from Crate&Barrel! It blends in perfectly with our “fishnet” green colored walls, hickory floors and black leather couch.

Not only that, but I’ve had my eye on this wool pillow for some time… so when my mom gave me a Stewart Zacks bag to open… I just knew what was inside!

I love it and it looks great! Thanks.

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Halloween porch

Our porch looked downright inviting for Halloween this year. A few votive candles in paper lunch sacs welcomed trick-or-treaters to the door. Considering we only had around 15 kids last year compared with over a hundred this year, I think our welcoming porch might have had something to do with it.

I would have liked to have been able to add some more decorations and fun accessories, but with all of our spare $$ going into home improvement projects, there just isn’t anything left for decorations and the like. In due time, we’ll get there.


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We enjoy the constant and even heat from our radiators, but they were seriously in need of some major TLC.

First off, we needed to clean the radiators. There were years of dust bunnies built up in all of the nooks and crannies.
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I used two types of wire brushes and an old toothbrush.
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It was a lot of work especially considering that we have five radiators on the first floor… and we will have four more to do on the second floor.
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After the radiators were dusted, I washed them off with a wet rag. Once dry, I was ready to apply the spray paint.
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I used Rust-oleum unique hammered finish in a bronze color.
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Now they are in place, they look great and we have heat again! There were some cold days in October when the bathroom was in the 40’s. Brrrr. The new radiators look so good, we might not have to build radiator boxes for them like we did in our old house.
Radiator repainted

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Last week, I had an opportunity to attend the Mid America Trails and Greenways Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


It was a wonderful and inspiring trail conference that offered an opportunity for area trail and bike/ped advocates to get together and network, commiserate and learn from each other. I heard two very moving key-note addresses from Peter Forbes of Center for Whole Communities and Tim Blumenthal of Bikes Belong. Both speakers reminded me that the work we are doing is critically important and it offers a real connection to land and offers a sense of place that is sometimes lost in our new fast-paced electronic world. The connection to the land on our trails- it’s that connection- that shapes us as human beings, it recharges our body and soul and unites us with nature.


I recently was elected to the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance’s Board of Directors. I will start a 3-year term in January and hope to transfer some of the renewed inspiration and hope to make a difference on a state-level. While in Kalamazoo, I also attended a Kalamazoo History Walk that was led by a Michigan History professor from Western Michigan University. It was fascinating to learn about the rich history and former industries that framed Kalamazoo. Each historically significant downtown building was identified. Historical preservation efforts by the city should be applauded.

Kalamazoo mall

Above, the Kalamazoo Mall used to be closed to cars, but now it is open to one-lane of cars and 2 lanes of parking , but still retains the pedestrian-friendly elements that make it an attractive place to go for a window-shopping stroll.

Kalamazoo mural

Kalamazoo is rich in public art- in unexpected places and mediums. In the picture above a mural is painted on a condominium wall that is adjacent to the Kalamazoo mall.


The historian didn’t have too many nice things to say about the Kalamazoo Radisson where the conference was held. The hotel is quite fancy on the inside, but I’d have to agree that the building’s spires do kind of look like alien UFO spaceships.


Of course, what trip to Kalamazoo can be complete without a visit to Bells Brewery! (Unfortunately my camera was on stability mode and the pictures are fuzzy.)


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