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Downtown Traverse City was the place to be on New Year’s Eve. The Cherry T Ball Drop, a charity-based event for Goodwill Inn, is Traverse City’s version of New York City’s famed ball drop. Since the Traverse region is the cherry capital of the nation, our New Year’s Eve celebration included a giant cherry ball drop in the heart of downtown.

At the stroke of midnight, the crane holding the glowing cherry dropped it to the stage below. Then fireworks ensued in front of the stage while the crowd of an estimated 12,000 celebrated with friends and family.

2011 is shaping up to be a banner year. Our house is becoming very comfortable and this spring will mark our 3-year anniversary in this house. We have really transformed this former duplex into a warm, inviting cozy space. We are still planning a big upstairs renovation this spring and outdoor landscaping will take priority on the to-do list this summer. There’s a lot to look forward to in 2011. Cheers!

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We scored some authentic mid-century metal lawn chairs while walking Wyatt in the neighborhood this summer. They were in pretty rough shape, but it was nothing that a little DIY-ing couldn’t fix.
We sanded down the rusting/flaking painted surfaces and then rinsed the chairs off with the garden hose. After a quick towel dry, they were ready for paint. We opted for a mint green color as a throwback to the 1950’s era of the chairs. Going from a deep red color to a light green color required 3 coats of spray paint.Ta da! The finished product has been on display out front. We’ve spent countless hours sitting in the fabulous seats watching the world go by. We’re pretty proud of our garage sale finds especially considering that they go for $99 a piece these days!

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Please join us on a photo tour of our 1880’s victorian farmhouse. We’ve spent countless hours sprucing it up (read full-on renovation– new walls, floors, electrical and everything in between it seems). We still have more projects to tackle (like the downstairs bathroom), so there will be plenty more renovation posts to come. Enjoy!

Kitchen

Dining

Living

Main level bedroom

Hall

Master bedroom

Wyatt’s bedroom

Landing

Upstairs Bathroom

Front Yard

Porches

Back Yard

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Back in mid-June, we had a major thunderstorm and it rained like cats and dogs! Seriously. Flash flooding occurred all over Michigan and we had our own mini flash flood in our basement. The rain came on a Friday night after a super-busy week at work and I was less than thrilled to wake up to water and mud in the basement.   

Basement “trap door”

Yes, mud. It was like a huge mudslide came in through our basement’s “trap door,” as I like to call it. (Side note: According to someone who lived in our house in the 1940’s who dropped by two years ago when we first bought the house, he said that back room was the coal room and he and his brother used to shovel coal through that door. Interesting factoid.)   

Back to the basement flood/mudslide saga…  

The glass half full side of me said, “well, the basement was in need of a spring cleaning;” however, the so-tired-I-have-dark-bags-under-my-eyes, over-worked, cranky side of me said, “F—ing basement… I don’t have time for this. I hate this house!”   

"My Life" by Missy Luyk, a 3rd Grade Autobiography

As it turned out, the basement cleanup wasn’t all that bad despite a few setbacks. When moving all of the items out of the back room, I tweaked my back carrying a ridiculously heavy box of books. It reminded me that I still want to build a custom bookshelf upstairs, so we can finally unpack and have some books to read. (Hopefully, the bookshelf project will happen-someday.) The good news was that we had almost 100% of our boxes and storage items off the ground, which was a relief. However, there was one cardboard box that was, unfortunately, on the basement floor and suffered some water damage.   

An excerpt from "My Life"

It was the box that contained all of my keepsakes from growing up. We’re talking about scrapbooks, elementary school field day ribbons, student-of-the-month certificates, the Young Authors books that I wrote each year, trophies, my high school sports letters, a woodlot project binder and “My Life, An Autobiography” that I wrote in the 3rd grade. What a find!  

I took all of the artifacts out of the dripping wet cardboard box and set them out to dry with a fan. A few days later, I checked and all was salvageable. The 3rd grade autobiography is priceless. I ended it by writing…When I grow up I want to go to college. I want to go to Harvard. I think I’m going to live in the country. I plan on being a Director or Interior Decorator. I want to be a Director so I can be the boss. I also like to decorate. I want to live in a big house.  

As a third grader, I guess I had big ideas! Let’s see how I stack up so far in life…  

  • College- check! Go green! I’m a Michigan State University Resource Development alumni!
  • Harvard??- not a chance
  • Live in the country- Nope, livin’ in downtown TC, but we do have a view of the bay.
  • Director or Interior Decorator- Not there yet on the director, but I’m sure it will happen someday. And I guess you could say that I’m an interior decorator… for our own home remodel and furnishing.
  • Big house?- I think our 1900 sq ft house is big enough for me. 

Not bad! Thanks to my third grade teacher, Mrs. Vensus, for a wonderful project and trip down memory lane, even though it was due to a not-so-much-fun basement flood. 

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Cut flowers

It’s amazing how cut flowers make a home more cheery and warm. Whether the flowers are from a flowershop (like these beautiful stargazer lilies)…
…or from the backyard. Fresh flowers put a smile on my face each time I walk through the door. I guess it’s the simple things.

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Since we’ve been in home renovation-mode for 2 years now, it’s appropriate that the books on display in the living room reflect the home we’re trying to create.

We moved into this house over Memorial Day weekend 2 years ago. The first summer, we spent many hours working in the basement sealing the stone walls, painting the floor and deodorizing the strong cat smell. We spruced up the garage inside and out with new paint throughout, patched the cement floor and added shelving and peg board galore. After all, the garage would become “project central” once we started the real renovation. Next, we installed a picket fence and stained it white. David fixed up the many porches and we stained them white as well. We also started gutting the lower-level of the house and made more trips than I can count to Glen’s landfill. Lath and plaster accounts for a lot of mass!

When we bought our house, we (very naively) thought that we could complete a whole-house renovation in 8-months. Even though its now been 24-months since we’ve moved in, I am amazed at how much we’ve done and how much we’ve learned. This house has certainly seen a major transformation already. Even though our bathroom is still opened up to the studs, we are much closer to the lower-level being complete. We’ll take a break before tackling the upstairs, but it’s still on the list.

It’s nice to look back at the photo evolution of the house transformation and to review blog posts to see just how far we’ve come. Thanks for following.

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Last month, we were greeted with bursts of color. The forsythia bushes were in full bloom in early April. (Yes, you’ll notice that our building permit is still hanging in the front window. We hope it will be coming down by the end of the month. Keep your fingers crossed for us!)

The back yard garden will hopefully fill in with all of the transplanting I did last year. Along the fence, we still need to turn the barrel (that I painted the same color as the house) into a rain barrel.

The trillium plant, that I bought last year at the Grand Traverse Conservation District’s plant sale, looks fantastic among the myrtle. The grape hyacinth plants near the sidewalk are putting on quite the show right now. The lilac bushes and forget-me-nots are showing off. I still have several red tulips reaching for the sky and have noticed the bees searching for pollen in my blooming back yard.

Enjoy the garden tour. Things are slowly coming back to life.

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