Category Archives: 1920’s house

It’s too late to change your mind, you let loss be your guide…*

*Lyrics from High Road by Broken Bells. I’ve always liked them. I should listen to them more. So should you.

Front door. Lawn renovated in 2008, including new walkway, irrigation system and all new plants.

Big, BIG news, y’all: we’re selling our house! I’ve added a new section to the site – a house tour section – that has gobs of photos, and descriptions about all the sections of the house, and should force each and every one of you to pull out your checkbooks and start making offers. We also created a second site with large format photos (even more than are on this site) with a link to the MLS listing, and tons of information about the features of the home.

So, check out the new section, the new site, or the MLS listing for photos and information. Enjoy! xoxo

Keep your old and wasted words…*

*Lyrics from Lights Out, Words Gone by Bombay Bicycle Club from their album A Different Kind of Fix. I searched for artists that were similar to Local Natives (my fave), and this was one of the recommendations. I think I like them. Gotta keep listening to make sure.

BEFORE: Soot and smokey residue had collected after years of having an improperly lined chimney, and the mantle just looked tired.

No matter how many times I say it, it’s still true: new paint makes all the difference. When we had the floors in the house redone (during the Great Renovation), we were forced to freshen every inch of trim in the entire first floor with new paint. The only spot that I avoided – for at that time I was afraid of making a mistake – was the fireplace mantle. It had some smokey residue (from before we had the chimney rebuilt), and the old paint was yellower than the brand new, fresh, just-painted trim of the rest of the first read on…

And then, we can, do anything, we want…*

*Lyrics from something Anything We Want by Fiona Apple off her latest album. Only her fourth album in 16 years, I think it’s worth a listen. She’s an actual musical artist (unlike so many in the business of making and selling music), and you might like her work. Or you might not. I do. 

BEFORE: Recently, we took some exterior photos while the peonies were still in bloom. The side fence was then just raw, untreated wood left in its natural, weathered state.

Months ago, when we had our side porch and rear porch stairs redone it was too cold outside to finish coating the decking and new railings with exterior paint and stain. So we waited for the weather to warm up. Which it did. But then it rained. Like, a lot. For weeks and weeks, every time it would just about get dry enough to do something outside it would rain again. For enough days to warrant a dry-out period. So we waited. And waited some more.

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you think you can simply press rewind?…*

*Lyrics from You Must Be Out Of Your Mind by The Magnetic Fields from their 2010 album Realism. I’ve been spotifying again. I like it. Reminds me I’m overdue for a blog song mix post. Hmmm… first things first.

BEFORE: Embarrassed doesn't even begin to cover how I felt when I opened the garage. Frustrated, overwhelmed, annoyed, guilty, you name it.

May I just say what a relief it is to NOT have to look at that (above) anymore? As many of you may recall, we completed our major home makeover in the fall of 2010. And, as many of you also know, we ended up slowly redo-ing our family bath beginning in the winter (January) of 2011. And I trust that you know we redid our basement not that long ago. What you may not know is how hard it is to wrangle, corral, and otherwise lasso construction debris after so many major projects.

Here’s how it starts out: At first you think, ‘Hey, I’ll just move this stuff into the basement, you know, just to get it out of the way for now.’ Then, after you realize that you can’t keep whatever junk you have stored in the basement down there forever, you say, ‘Hey, let’s move that junk to the garage so it’ll be easier to get rid of it.’ Eventually, you forget about said stuff (or can ignore it easier), or you need to add new stuff to the ever-growing pile. What starts as a few sheets of plywood, some scraps of salvaged trim and old solid wood doors (saved aside because surely someone can use them) turns into a cast-iron bathtub filled with empty paint cans, unusable scraps of wood, and a heap of carpeting as big as your car. I’m actually not exaggerating – we had a tub, toilet, 800 sqft of carpet AND padding, a rusted old gas grill, so much wood debris I can’t even name it all, in addition to used furniture and leftover trash from construction, from moving (my mom) and from painting and masonry. Our garage was a total mess (for those of you who don’t mind the odd adult-rated curseword, it was a shithole).

read on…

Can I wait the hours, til they find me…*

*Lyrics from The Hours off the new Beach House album, Bloom. I find them to be both enchanting, depressing, and soothing, all at once. Have a listen to the album on spotify for a preview. Purchase if you like. I like. I purchase.

My favorite little photographer working on some spring shots of the house.

Let’s talk about social media. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Instagram (of the famed 1 BILLION dollar acquisition by Facebook). Blogging. Right, blogging. Neglecting blogging. Feeling bad about it. Overcompensating by taking Instagram pictures of stupid and repetitive things, but in a pretty way, of course (who doesn’t want to see dozens of pictures of random flower arrangements?). Updating Facebook statuses more frequently for the blog than actually blogging. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

Clearly, I’ve been busy. With family birthdays, including a darling tea party for my niece’s 9th birthday, a week long visit from my younger sister who’s poised to embark on a six-month stay in a foreign country, and all the requisite parties that we either attended or hosted, needless to say the blog fell off the to-do list fastest. But, I do have some projects so near completion that I’m sure to have a flurry of blog activity in no time. Some of these projects require dry and/or sunny outdoor conditions to complete. Hence the delay.

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My mind’s made up, I’m doin’ this, I’m doin’ this…*

*Lyrics from Coeur D’Alene by The Head and the Heart from their self-titled album. I found these guys tripping through the Related Artists category on Spotify. I love finding other artists that might match my mood on a particular day. This one fit me today: upbeat, friendly and decidedly happy.

Yes, I worked well into the night. Until midnight the first day. I was a woman possessed.

Have you ever had a project that you always wished you could do, but weren’t sure you could actually do it? That’s how I’ve felt about making curtains. I have always thought to myself, ‘hey, how hard could it be?’, while secretly knowing that it wasn’t exactly easy. Understanding fabric, learning how to successfully operate a sewing machine, measuring said fabric and cutting it straight – these are all things that have sat in my mind as road blocks, convincing me that maybe I should enlist some help before I start on my project. Of course, none of that stopped me from buying fabric, measuring (incorrectly) for panels, and letting all those materials sit, unused, in the house for over a year. That’s right, over a year waiting for me to get up the nerve to actually just do it already.

read on…

I was afraid, I’d eat your brains…*

*Lyrics from Conversation 16 by The National. Mostly because I feel like that’s how many times we’ve had conversations about plumbing inspections. Partly because any song that has lyrics about eating brains is cool in my book. A little bit because I dig his voice, and need something good to cling to right now.

Hire thee professionals with references, permits and licenses. Please. Do it for me.

Sigh. We just failed another plumbing inspection. All because we thought we could just switch out a sink and faucet and tub surround without going through the pesky process of hiring yet another plumbing crew. You see, we’ve had nothing but bad luck with our plumbing experiences. Every single thing we’ve paid to have installed has had to be redone, at least once. I’m not exaggerating, I’m not being hyperbolic – every. single. thing. Sighhhhhhh.

So, now, we’re stuck waiting for more plumbers, and paying to have things done thrice. And this time the original crew has to try to fix a rookie (read: idiot) mistake by a junior plumber (not from the original crew, and totally an idiot) who we mistakenly trusted (double rookie mistake, which in turn makes us idiots, too) to help us out and save us some time/money/hassle. Turns out that that one little shortcut has made the longest path through stress, turmoil and havoc. (Picture me clawing my own eyes out.)

So, please, I beg you. Learn from me. Do not hire friends of friends to ‘help you out’ – hire real plumbers who are accountable, who can be blamed officially by the city (and you) for any mistakes they make; pull the permits and suffer through the inevitable delays caused by waiting for interruptive inspections. Do not think that renovating will be easy – it is hard, never-ending, and hideously expensive (yet secretly totally rewarding). Redecorating, now there’s where the fun stuff happens. The rest, leave it to the pros, I’m serious.

At least our carpentry and electrical pros have been just that – experts, accountable, professional and dedicated to our satisfaction. I have to cling to that right now for fear that I might either explode or implode due to rage.

Wooo sahhh… wooo sahhh… xoxo

I want to show you what love’s all about…*

*Lyrics from Hungry Eyes from the movie Dirty Dancing. Partly this song is inspired by my previous post about the tree we planted for Bec, where I used another song from Dirty Dancing. Partly it works because I wish both she and Patrick Swayze were still here with us. Partly I couldn’t think of another song that could accompany a post about compost. Can you?

At the risk of boring you all to death with pictures of the yard, I have another update to share with you. And it’s even more boring: it’s the compost area. Ugh, I know, who cares? But, you might care since it looks so nice.

AFTER: There's now about an inch or two of crushed bluestone over most of the area 5' x 15' area.

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To the basement, people, to the basement, many surprises await you…*

*Lyrics from Two Door Cinema Club‘s song Undercover Martyn from their album Tourist History. I like to run to this album – it’s short (good for brief workouts) and peppy. Ok, I like to have private dance parties to this album, too. Don’t judge me.

Ok, ok, I know I owe you a big post. (Absence makes the heart grow fonder?) Well, feast your eyes on this before and after:

Basement BEFORE: knotty pine, shabby (not chic) carpet, dingy paint, peeling wallpaper.

Basement AFTER: new paint, new carpet, new baseboards make for a bright, fresh, inviting any-purpose space.

See? What did I tell you? When we first started our ‘let’s quickly do over the basement’ journey we had a wallpapered, stained-carpeted, knotty pine accented, dreary space. Not to mention (ok, I’ll mention it again, in case you missed it the first time) that after Brad rewired the whole house he had to make all these holes in the wallpapered walls (that turned out NOT to be so easy to patch). Anywho, long story short(er), we decided to paint, paint, recarpet, and paint some more. We aren’t 100% finished – there’s still the matter of switching out the outlets (from brown to white tamper-resistant), replacing the ceiling light covers, and moving the mechanical controls for the sprinkler system to the mechanicals room (which we never even thought of before now, that’s how little time we spent down there) – but for the photos, well, you’ll get the gist. Besides, eventually, once we get things a bit more styled up, I’ll update you. (You know I will, whether or not you like it.)

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Is this what I deserve, a mouthful of dirt?…*

*Lyrics from Say Something by Sucré off the album A Minor Bird. Horns, floaty voices, modern and nostalgic. You should always have a soundtrack to your own life. Or you can borrow mine. Either way, sing and dance your way through your life. You’ll be happier. I promise.

The vista from behind the tree looking toward the yard - we used to stand on this area of the yard to throw the ball, and just generally be with our girl.

Letting go of an idea is probably one of the hardest things to do. I learned that the hard way – the hard, embarrassing, crying in public for hours uncontrollably way – while I was in school taking an intensive 10-week Interior Design program at Suffolk University in Boston. I was living here, in Western Massachusetts, when I enrolled in the program. I was a married (still am, happily!), older student trying to embark on a (yet another) career change. Of course, mere days before I was to leave for mini-college-camp (I actually roomed with an undergrad, who, thankfully was mature, sweet and totally easy to share space with) my mom moved in with us due to some major health issues she was facing (she’s doing fine now, again, thankfully). So, in addition to the normal stress of the actual program, I had to live apart from my husband for 10 weeks (I came home on weekends), and live with (and care for) my mom who was (at that time) ailing, and recovering from some life-threatening health stuff. Needless to say, my emotions were running high, and I didn’t exactly come out of the experience unscathed.

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