Spiffing things up

I think I am just going to turn this into a picture blog…hahaha.  I have lots of pictures to share, but nothing cute to say.  The last three months we have spiffed up a few rooms including updating Alex’s room. Taking him from toddler to little boy room. I also brought down an iron bed we had in the attic for Lillian. For some unknown reason, she has always hated her little twin size platform bed.  I got it because it was low to the ground and she could get in and out of it easily. Anyway, she loves her new full size “big girl bed”.


I updated the front porch by putting new plants in the boxes and making spring wreaths. I am not a pastel gal, so I used turquoise and brown/burlap (Thanks Steven for the suggestion!). I also made a wreath for the back porch.


Back Porch

Back Porch

I bought some gerbera daisies and impatiens a couple weeks back, but I didn’t pay attention to the weather and the late frost got them, so I had to toss them out and buy more.  I went to Fads and Frames and bought some gorgeous ferns! Fads and Frames, hands down, has the best plants in town. I also bought more daisies.  In the next few weeks, when it warms up enough, I am going to landscape the rest of the front yard. I can’t wait!


I went to Ikea a week or two back and bought a tall skinny cabinet for the bathroom. I have had trouble with storage in that tiny bathroom. This cabinet worked out great! It looks so clean and streamlined in there now.


I also bought 3 sets of curtains for my gables.  Sometimes I like to leave the lights on upstairs. At night, you can see into our messy attic. So, we put the curtains up last week. I think they make the window look a little more “finished”.


And…….that’s it!  I have called several paint contractors. Only one showed up to quote me. I got tired of scraping and painting, so I was going to hire someone to finish painting the last two back walls of the house. After receiving estimates between $15 and $20k, I decided that I am not that desperate. So, I put an airless paint sprayer in my cart at Home Depot and am going to put some scaffolding on reserve at the local tool rental place and get to work painting again.

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The absolute LAST two things we have to do on the house are: Paint the back walls and fix some of the bricks crumbling in a few areas around the skirt of the house. After calling 8 brick contractors over the past month, I actually had someone show up this morning!!!!  I was excited. Now, let’s see if he comes back with a bid. That is always the hardest part. Getting someone interested in your project.  So, I will be back to report whether or not that happens.  You can see the bricks in the above picture around the electrical box that I have stacked up to keep the cats out. I have about 5 places like this that need to be repaired. The man I talked to today is going to give me two quotes. 1) to fix the 5 brick holes; 2) to re-point ALL of the bricks around the entire perimeter of the house.

So, there is your little update on progress of the house.


Piecing together porch planters

My brother took the idea I had and he and Steven put together one of the front porch planters today. He cut the side slats first so I could stain and paint them. I bought 15×15 plastic plant pots to set into the planter. Here are a few pictures of us putting one together today. I still have to stain the top and feet. When I put the other three together I will take pictures and a tutorial on how we did it. Everything but the plastic liners was leftover stuff from other projects. I paid $24 for the liners at Home Depot. The side slats came from when we had to cut porch boards down to match the existing porch board size. The other pieces are left from misc. projects. The paints, stains and wood screws were leftover too.







***Update: sorry the pics are posted in reverse order. I am still trying to figure out the iPhone WordPress app. Anyway, here is our one finished planter installed on the front porch. It looked huge on the back porch, but it looks tiny on the front!






Porch Planters and Kitchen Cabinets

So, the upper kitchen cabinets are planned. I sketched what I wanted and measured the wall and Steven took that and measured again and calculated the amount of materials needed. Hopefully Thursday we will make our (weekly) trip to the home improvement store. To see my inspiration pics scroll down two posts for all the kitchen talk.

I found this book recently. I have had it for a while. I thought it was time to get it out and dust it off.

I want to take all of this:



And make something like this:




I want to put them:



Instead of plain wood, I have pulled some different color stains and semi transparent wood paint from other projects. I am trying to use what I have instead of it going in to a landfill somewhere. My idea is to stain or paint each piece of wood a different color.

***UPDATE: To see how they turned out, click here.

Here are my inspiration pics:

I hope to start them this weekend. If I do, I will post some updated pics on how it turned out. Wish me luck!






Milling the porch boards


So, we are ready to begin our porch work. Over the last six years, we have had several carpenters come by to look at our porch and give us a repair quote. Most of them I never heard from again. One, gave me a quote and he said he would not do it unless I let him sand and paint the porch also. I planned on sanding and painting the porch myself to save money and, besides, I like to paint. The other carpenter got a quote from a local mill for the boards, and it was a trillion dollars. I thought he was giving me a bill for the national debt. I could not believe it was so expensive to mill porch boards. Of course since they are 104 years old, no one carries the type of tongue and groove board we need.

So, my enterprising husband, decided to set up a jig and mill the boards himself. I have to say, he is a genius!

We are talking with a local carpenter who specializes in restoring old homes. If all goes well, he will replace the damaged boards beneath our columns in the next couple weeks.

I have a firm date from our roofer. He and another carpenter will be here Thanksgiving week to start the roof work and replace all the fascia boards. Very excited about that…also nervous at what they might find! That old asbestos roof has been there since the late 40s, early 50s.

In the mean time, we framed the new bathroom in the house and laid the backer board.  The plumbing is roughed in.  In the next couple days we are going to lay the floor so the plumber can come back and set the fixtures and put the vent stack in (through the roof).  Here is the oak desk I found at a flea market.  I distress painted it with Martha Stewart’s copper metallic paint and a black overlay.  I sealed the top of it.  How do you like my visualization help?  Lol.  I was trying to figure out how I wanted the sink and faucet to lay out.




I am waiting on some of the rough in work to be complete so I can do the finishing work.  I have tons of finishing, nitpicky things to do.  Things are heating back up over here in our old house.  Stay tuned for more developments!


Work to begin again….

So, my blog has been dormant for several months.  Yes, I know.  Instead of plying you with excuses and listing everything that has happened between now and then, I will spare you (because I hate reading other people’s excuses when they pick up their blog again) and just inform you that work is going to start up on our house August 29th!

In a nutshell, I filed to receive Louisiana Rehabilitation Tax Credits.  We have been approved and most of our work is lined up to commence and be finished by the end of the year.  August 29th, I have a foundation repair service coming to remove the rotted sill on the front corner of the house and back corner of the porch in the back.  Having these sills repaired will be the catalyst to our other rehab projects.  We could not repair the porch, columns, paint, etc., until the foundation was repaired. 

After the foundation repair, you shall see a new roof, paint and other small projects coming to fruition.  Needless to say, I am very excited!  So, forthcoming will be a post on Louisiana Rehabilitation Tax Credits how to apply and who is eligible and after that, I will be blogging and posting pictures of our progress.

Stay tuned….

The Bee Saga

If its not one thing its another….how many times have I said that opening a new post?  I was touch up painting Vivian’s room yesterday around 5:00 or so and I heard what I thought was a fly buzzing around the room.  I absently thought to myself that summer has finally arrived when a fly gets in the house and that I needed to go find the fly swatter.  I didn’t pay it much attention and kept painting.  Then, all of a sudden, it got louder and I thought I was hearing things or my ears were ringing until I looked right outside Vivian’s window.  I wish I had a picture!  It was a huge cloud of angry bees!  All I could do stare and call for Steven.  I stood there fixed when he arrived in the room and I pointed at the huge swarm outside the window.  Steven immediately went and found the phone book while I still stood and stared at the very strange phenomenon.  I am glad he was thinking!  I was transfixed watching the bees buzz.  Then they all landed on one of my new fascia boards in a big droopy group like a hive.  Steven could not find someone to come out and exterminate them, so he came back in the room and explained what happened.  He said they either lost their queen and are looking for a new place, or the queen moved and took up residence on our fascia board.

Since we couldn’t get anyone out last night, we went on to church.  Coming home, we looked up to see if they were still there, an lo and behold, this big cluster of bees were still sitting on the fascia board.  This morning, I woke up to clanging and a clatter.  The exterminator had arrived and Steven was out there watching.  When all the bees were cleared, a hole was discovered.  They had already created a hole in my NEW fascia board where the flashing met.  ARGH!  Why couldn’t they go chew on one of the rotted boards so we could replace it??  NO….they had to go and make a hole in my NEW fascia board where we had a sill replaced, along with the siding, fascia and flashing.

So, I have yet to go survey the damage.  I am too disgusted to even think about it.  Steven will have to cover it up with some ugly piece of wood for now so no other pests will get in it.  I might be able to talk him into painting it white before he puts it up so at least it will match until we replace the fascia board again….sigh….

I am so glad that it happened this week than when we were on vacation.  If it happened while we were on vacation, we would have come back to honey dripping through the roof…oh yuck…it would have been awful and the damage extensive.  I am so thankful that we noticed it!  I am so glad that I was standing there and saw them swarm. Otherwise, we may not have noticed for a while as we don’t usually go out to that side of the house.  So, there is a silver lining in everything. 

I am going to go pour another cup of coffee and go survey the damage.


***The exterminator came out and POOF they were gone…what was I worried about anyway?

Easter Sunday 2010

For I remember

it is Easter morn,

And life and love and peace

are all new born. 

~Alice Freeman Palmer

Front Steps BEFORE and AFTER

Whew…exhaling….I just washed off all of the oil base paint and am examining the blisters in my hand.  My back hurts, my neck is sore and I will probably smell like mineral spirits for two more days.  But, for all of my bellyaching, I am very proud of my front steps.  You can click here to see me pressure washing, stripping paint and cleaning the stairs.  And you can look below for the Ta-da pic of the stairs….



When it dries, it is supposed to look like a brown paper bag.  The color appears light in this photo.  I sure do hope it darkens some. This picture is after two coats of paint.  The paint color chip is Benjamin Moore’s ‘Waynesboro Taupe’, number 1544.

How it came to be:

What Vivian was doing while I worked…

Now, I am enjoying a big glass of iced tea and feeling quite good about my day’s work.  Off to the porch swing now to admire the view…


Working on the front stairs


Ouch…my aching neck.  I spent three hours this morning stripping, bristle brushing and scraping paint off of our front yard concrete stairs.  I pressure washed them twice.  Here are some pictures Vivian took of me…lol…I look like Cinderella.  The first picture is of the steps ready to paint.  I was able to get all of the blue paint off.  The blue paint that was on top was not concrete or exterior paint.  The reddish color you see was the original color of the stairs.  It is NOT coming off.  I liberally applied concrete paint stripper and it seems that there is still pigment staining the concrete.  I don’t think that is coming off.  Anyway, Thursday I apply a new paint color.  The guys at Joseph’s Paint on Bolton hooked me up with some good, durable, concrete/deck paint.  After it is all done, I will take pictures and post the color chip in case anyone is interested.

The dirt to the left is what I pressure washed off first....

What Were They Thinking: really bad old house ideas

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

So…I get up early this morning, 7:00 a.m. to be exact, excited that the carpenter was able to come by today and give me an estimate on porch work that needs to be done.  Everything was going well.  I showed Mike (our carpenter and friend), the porch boards that need to be replaced and the rotted column base that needed to be repaired.  He pointed out that the left corner of the porch was slightly sagging and that the column base was at an angle.  That made me curious.  So, I hopped off the porch to investigate.  Sure enough the column base that was rotted was a replacement so that meant work was done on the front corner of the porch.  I decided to pull off the fascia board and guess what I found…

front porch

Why would you do this on a corner?  It needs major support here…not a rig job.  This corner has a heavy column resting on it and water drains here.  Why in the world would you think that three pieces of junk wood would hold up over time?  Argh!  Off with their head!!!!!!!!!

front corner seal

Let’s examine the problem, shall we?


For the life of me, I cannot understand someone skimping on the repair job of something as important as a porch foundation.  It appears that the original beam (technically called a seal) had rotted.  We have had experience with this problem.  We had another place where the seal had rotted.  We had to have the house jacked up and a replacement put in.  It is not that big a deal and not as expensive as you would think.  In fact, if you have a little know how, you could buy a jack for $100 and do it yourself.

Needless to say, I was not excited in the least to find this kind of junk.  We have to repair this mess first before I can have the carpenter come back and replace porch boards.  I was looking forward to spending my holiday off next week sanding the porch so, when Mike was finished, I could prime and repaint the porch.  Now my plans have been foiled by a rotted piece of timber and a nitwit of a PO. (For all you non old house folks, PO means Previous Owner.  They are the ghosts that we old house folks blame every knuckleheaded idea on).  Argh!  This is just a typical occurrence though, for old house owners.  I laughed this morning (I mean, ya have to!  If not, you might go a little crazy!  CRAZY! Who you callin’ crazy?) and told my husband that this was not something listed on our home inspection report.  Oh well…what can ya do but fix it?  I guess you could track down the nut who either did this, or authorized someone to do it, and give them a good kick in the pants (or skirt).  That would make me feel better but, it ultimately would not solve the problem.  I wonder if one of the PO’s might log in one day and find my blog…..hmmm….I have this peabrained idea narrowed down to a couple of possible PO’s.  If you haven’t caught on yet, I am not too happy about finding this.  Anytime I think I have it bad, I head over to This Old House and look at the home inspection nightmare pictures.  Here are a few of my favorites. 

At least we did not find this:

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

Or this:

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

Yes folks, that is duct tape holding together a cracked support beam.

I think that the same guy who “reworked” my porch so nicely also did this:

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

My absolute favorite picture is where someone put a suitcase under a major support beam to hold up the porch.  For the life of me, I could not find it.  It was previously featured on TOH.  If you find it, let me know.  For more ideas for your lovely home, you can click here.

And lastly, my second favorite photo so far.  I guess it is because I can relate!

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House