Posts Tagged ‘Home Improvement’

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!




Main level bedroom


Master bedroom

Wyatt’s bedroom


Upstairs Bathroom

Front Yard


Back Yard

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Our downstairs bathroom is the final room on the lower-level in need of an overhaul. When we moved in, it was a mash of colors: pink, teal, yellow, white and brown linoleum. It looked like this:

After about 5 months living in the house, we decided to spruce the bathroom up with paint. It was a temporary fix, but made it much more livable. I painted the cabinets white, half the wall white and the upper half yellow. I painted the vanity white and left the radiator teal. The temporary fix looked like this:

The real bathroom renovation began unfolding this spring. David took down the lath and plaster walls, carted off the cabinet shelving around the shower and removed the flooring, radiator, vanity and toilet. Because the downstairs bathroom is also our only shower, we had to install a temporary plastic enclosure while the room was down to the studs (which it has been since April). The cast iron tub, which we love, had to be removed temporarily so that the floors could be leveled. We took showers at family member’s houses during the 7 days that the old floor was removed and a new subfloor was installed. It really made us appreciate the convenience of a shower, albeit a makeshift one.

So, the toilet and radiator have been on the side porch for months now as we piece this little room back together. Sorry neighbors.

Many of the timestaking and frustrating projects of the bathroom remodel has been behind the scenes work- the stuff that you won’t physically see when it’s all said and done (unless you like to check out people’s crawl spaces when you go on a home tour). David installed all new plumbing to the shower and vanity, moved the location of the toilet and subsequent plumbing, installed a ceiling vent/light (by spending a hot day in the attic and on the roof), and added a concrete footing to support the failed foundation in the basement crawl space. David also built a bathroom vanity from scratch (with the help of our cabinet-maker friend- Scott) and it also took a bit of time to get right.

So you’ll just have to wait for Bathroom Makeover II to see the bathroom transformation complete. We still have a long way to go… mudding and sanding the recently hung drywall, tiling the bathtub surround and floor, painting the walls and ceiling, installing custom shelving, picking out and installing new bathroom hardware, the list goes on and on…

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First off, it’s good to have perspective when showing off a good before-and-after-picture, and boy, do I have some perspective for you!? Obviously, we bought our home for it’s potential and could somehow see past the very dated interior. Looking back, I’m not sure I wear the same rose-colored glasses or would ever make the same mistake choice again.

Needless to say, we had our work cut out for us to transform the mudroom from a wood-paneled dark and dingy space into a clean, crisp and inviting room that would welcome us home from our daily chores.

Originally, we planned to keep the paneling, paint it a creamy white, and envisioned outfitting it with some kitschy cabin-like decor. Afterall, the mudroom space has been a super handy storage room along our 25-month (and counting) remodel– our kitchen appliances were happily stored there while our long-awaited kitchen was built, it served the utilitarian purpose of storing snow pants, coats, scarves and boots during our long Up North winters and has housed a rotating army of tools depending on what projects were going on.

Well…our 130-year-old house had other plans for us and keeping the mudroom paneling just wasn’t in the cards. Since the electrical panel was back there and we opted to install new wiring throughout the entire house, the paneling had to go. We ripped out the carpeting (some places two layers of carpet) and linoleum only to find that the floor was still sagging in spots. It turned out that a subfloor was put on top the original flooring which was almost completely rotted, as evidenced by hole down to the crawl space in the picture to the left. Yikes! Watch your step.

The more we dove into the problem, we realized the back of the house had settled quite a bit and we needed to raise the floor (up to three inches in places) to sync up to the other rooms. To level the floors, we sistered in new 2×6’s to the existing floor boards and leveled and re-leveled along the way. Then we put down sheets of 3/4-inch OSB plywood subfloor and were back on solid (and level) ground! Success.

By January 2009, we were installing the drywall throughout the lower-level of the house, including the mudroom. It was mudded and sanded in February and we primed and painted in March. We chose “sand between your toes” beige for the mudroom, kitchen and front hallway. In April, David installed the ceiling fans and recessed lighting throughout the lower level.

Then, the mudroom project took a backseat to installing and finishing Hickory hardwood floors, planting grass in the front and back yards, sprucing up our three porches with paint, building a little outdoor firepit patio, installing victorian-style baseboard, rehabbing six old dilapidated radiators, re-using old doors and trim, improving our front closet, and of course, working on our brand spankin’ new kitchen.

The mudroom actually became a “room” when the tile floor was installed. Because we live across the street from the beach, we chose a sand-colored tile for the mudroom and think it compliments the “sand between your toes” wall color perfectly.

There are still many to-do’s on the mudroom’s list, but we’re quite pleased with the results. The room is light, airy and welcoming.

Feast your eyes on this:

We still would like to add a bench where the red rug is, add shelving and hooks for coats behind the door, install a super swanky dogfood center for Wyatt and my dream is to add a washer and dryer where the couch is.

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Our downstairs den/office room was shaping up to become a cozy space to curl up and enjoy a book or magazine…

…until we began unpacking boxes and boxes of kitchen ware that have been stowed away in the basement for nearly two years.

Needless to say, there was quite the mess of boxes piling up in the living room. We had an overload of recyclables out by the curb for recycling day and were amazed that they took it all. It was huge. We had two giant stacks of broken down cardboard and bags and bags of crumpled up newspaper.

Unfortunately, we still haven’t moved all of those dishes into our new kitchen just yet, but we’re poised and ready to go when the kitchen is ready for it’s much anticipated debut.

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We’ve been busy lately with many house projects, so here is part II of the house progress report. Since the last report talked about moving a refrigerator down to the basement, I wanted to assure you that we still have food in the house. In fact, we are using the fridge in our new kitchen!

Even though we are not yet cooking downstairs and now have to carry our food up and down the stairs to prepare it (and then back downstairs to eat it at the dining room table) we are very excited to be using part of the new kitchen! Besides, it’s good excercise going up and down those stairs!

Speaking of the kitchen… there is tons of exciting progress to share! Drawers, doors, hardware and a microwave have been installed and it is all so very amazing!

The kitchen is not the only area where progress is happening… a while back, I wrote a post about re-using the old doors, trim and window sills.

We loved the old french doors that used to separate the front parlor from the living room. We kept the doors and re-hung them to serve as the entry into the study/guest bedroom. Now that the old frenchies have been repainted, you would never know that they used to have cracked paint and were in any other location in the house.

Of course, not everything can be all roses. Our downstairs bathroom looks like this! We gutted everything on the entire first floor EXCEPT for the bathroom (because it’s the only shower in the house).

David began dismantling the bathroom, so we can move the toilet, change out the vanity, remove the shelving around the shower, re-tile the shower and floors and add a second entry into the bathroom from the mudroom (we plan to tie the two spaces together by laying down the same floor tile throughout the mudroom and bathroom). We’re going to keep the cast iron tub. That baby’s a beast! The tub needs to be re-glazed when it’s all said and done, but a little re-glazing maintenance now and again is a small price to pay to keep that slab of iron outta the landfill (not to mention our aching backs!)

We plan to break down the bathroom a little at a time. We picked up a bathroom fan over the weekend and we’ll be amassing the array of supplies in the near future (think tile, backer board, medicine cabinet, sink, fixtures, recessed lights, towel bars, etc). Because once we pull the sink, toilet and demo the tiles around the tub- we’re out a shower space. We’ll be sure to have all our ducks in a row because no one likes going without a shower for too long or mooching showers off of friends for too long either. (Just a warning to all my friends nearby- we might come by to crash your shower sometime soon!)

Anyway… seems to be par for the course around here. We’re never without a project or two. Stay tuned…

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It’s been a while since my last post about kitchen progress, and things are really starting to shape up. Our cabinet friend, Scott, from Warden’s Point Woodworking has been hard at work on our custom kitchen cabinets.

The nook above the refrigerator is for a small flat screen TV. I’m sure I’ll be tuning in countless episodes on the Food Network and HGTV.

We decided to have Scott build an open shelf corner cabinet to go on the end of the upper cabinet over the peninsula. It will be a great spot for a plant or some kitschy knickknacks.

It’s unbelievable that we’ve been without a kitchen for so long. Thankfully, our house used to be a quasi-duplex and we do have a kitchen sink and refrigerator upstairs. However, we’ve only had a hot plate, toaster and microwave for cooking. It is pretty limiting for what you can whip up in the kitchen. I used to be quite the baker, but I’ve been without a stove since June 2008! I can’t wait to have a fully functioning kitchen! Maybe I’ll bake my famous cookies someday soon…

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