Done!? Are we really?!

I hate to even make an announcement that we are finally finished, after 8 plus years of work (and lots of breaks in between :-D), because as our luck would have it, something big would break…perhaps a geyser in the yard? Or, a random safe falling from the sky making an obscene hole in the roof (hey, I’ve watched the road runner, it happens!). I also realize (cue shaking the head and wiping tears) that you are never *really* done when it comes to old house upkeep. So, maybe I can say that we are done…for now. Will that suffice?

I’ve had a lot of requests for updated pictures and more in depth before/after. In preparation for our appraisal tomorrow, I have cleaned the house and fixed quite a few cosmetic bo-bo’s (I am sure you will find quite a few more I didn’t fix), so I thought it a perfect time to take some 360 videos. Are you game? I will do some before/after photo blogs when I get around to it later this summer.

I only videoed the master bedroom, hall, living areas and kitchen. I’m not brave enough to show the kids’ rooms and who wants to see bathrooms? Coming up tomorrow will be porch and exterior tours. I thought it was fun (and a whole lot easier than taking pictures!) and I can also use it for insurance purposes should that Acme safe ever fall out the sky.

If you are new and would like to see some before pictures, you can search for “realtor walk through”, click on the name of the particular room you want to view in the cloud tag, or click on “before and after”. That should get you some really old photos to look at and compare how far we have come. Here is a post I did right after we updated our major systems (roof, plumbing, paint, mostly exterior projects).

I ordered the videos so that if you watch them in the order I posted them, you will feel that you are walking with me, or at least can make sense of the floor plan. Here you are! Tell me what you think!

PS: Note to all the perfectionists: ignore those cosmetic blemishes.

Note to old house purists: yes, I know I don’t have velvet curtains and Victorian tchotchkes. “Museum style” has never really been my thing.

Note to people who want paint colors: I will publish all paint colors in a future blog post when I do the final before/after pairings.

Did I cover it all? Leave a comment if not 🙂

Master Bedroom:

Small weird hall and the back of the Great Hall:

Front of the Great Hall, study, living room and dining room:


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.

???????? ????????

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.


Back Porch Finished

Remember this??????


It now looks like this!!!!!!!! TA DA!!!!!!!!!





The porch rail was built by Steven out of leftovers from the front porch boards that we cut down last year.  We have a pile of them!  I really like the pattern. The 4×4 posts were leftover from our fence project from almost 2 years ago.  We only bought the post anchors, the solar caps (which are really neat by the way) and the pocket hole jig to mount it.  Our back rail cost a grand total of….drumroll….$40!  Woot woot! The rail we took down was not the original rail and it was rotted in many places. Instead of trying to match the back porch to the front porch, we decided to update it and give it a more modern deck look.  I love it!

To see the evolution of the back porch, you can click here, after that it looked like this: click here

Kitchen finished

Here is what the kitchen looks like now. Ta-da! In a couple days, I’m going to put together a slideshow of the kitchen evolution from the realtor walk through 6 years ago to present.  Here is what we did in the first phase which included taking out cabinets and creating the laundry room.   Also, here is a link to all of the posts about the kitchen through the years if you would like to see them.



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!






Gearing up for a bathroom remodel

So, it is finally here!  We are putting our ducks in a row to gut and remodel our only, yes, I said ONLY bathroom in the entire house.  Since this house was built in 1907, the bathroom was an afterthought.  We have the original bathroom that you can access through a door on the porch (believe it or not, we do not use this one 🙂 ) 

original bathroom door on the back porch

original bathroom door on the back porch

and then you have a very small one on the inside built from the same room as the one on the porch.  We are going to take down the wall in between the porch bathroom and the inside bathroom and make it one large room.  At least, that is what we plan.  It seems that every time we get the sledge hammer out, we find something we were not expecting and then, we are delayed, or the project comes to a complete halt.  Hopefully, this is not the case with the bathroom.  I am tired of walking on plywood floors in there.

bathroom now

bathroom now

bathroom now 2

bathroom now 2

bathroom now 3

bathroom now 3

The plywood?  Let me tell you how that came about…  Shortly after we moved in, I was curious to see if the original wood floor was underneath the very ugly peel and stick tiles that lined the floor at that time.  So, I bought a crowbar and pulled them all up.  I found more peel and stick tiles, so, I pulled them up too!  By about that time, my husband came home and found me over my head in peel and stick tiles.   I guess he decided, if you can’t beat them, join ’em….  He grabbed the crowbar and helped me pull up the plywood.  What we found?  MORE peel and stick tiles.  Sheesh!  Under those peel and stick tiles was another subfloor of plywood and then the original floor.  The condition of the original floor was not bad, except around the tub.  Whoever the genius was who installed these multi layers of tiles and plywood, did not caulk around the tub.  So, all of the flooring around the tub was rotted.  I was wondering how in the world it was holding up my very heavy cast iron tub.  I imagined myself one day enjoying a nice bubble bath when all of a sudden CRASH and I am peering up through a five foot hole, visiting with the cats who live under my house.

We deliberated on several projects to move forward with this summer.  We decided on the bathroom in the hope that if we invest money there and, when that is complete, spruce up the kitchen, we may be able to get the bank to take a second look at our house.  As I said in previous posts, the appraiser told the bank that our house only has a 20 year life expectancy and that even after we complete the necessary repairs, our house would not appraise for enough to cover our loan.  Frustrating!  The main reason for this is, the bank made us tack on projects that we did not want.  But, they convinced us that it would make the appraisal value higher, thereby it pushed the contractor’s fee up to around $80k (in his pocket), plus the material costs.  What mainly frustrates me about this is, I don’t need a contractor to make the repairs to our house.  I need a roofing company, a plumber and a carpenter…the rest of the work we can do ourselves (we have pretty much done it already anyway).  This is our third house redo.  I guess the politics of the whole thing aggravate me.  To read more about it, visit some of my previous posts on the subject.

So, back to the subject at hand.  Here is a picture of my bathroom, and here are pictures of the fixtures, tub etc. that we will be adding to it.


Bathroom Tile

Bathroom Tile



Clawfoot tub from Lowes

Clawfoot tub from Lowes

Pedestal Sink

Pedestal Sink






Inspiration- love the mirror!

Inspiration- love the mirror!

Chandelier, for over the tub

Chandelier, for over the tub