Category Archives: exterior

You make it so good, you turn a woman around…*

*Lyrics from Aretha Franklin’s version of Something He Can Feel. I am in need of a little soul, and who better to sing it for me than Aretha. We’re on a first-name basis, have been since I was a child. Though, I suppose, every woman is (or should be). Sing it, Aretha. Ladies, let me see your hips swaying to the music. 

AFTER: The latest view from my kitchen. Vast improvement.

Well, first, I had planned on updating you with the status of the basement. But, well, the basement has more transformations to come, and the exterior, well, that’s pretty much complete. Of course there are more stages of finish to complete – filling holes, more staining, sealing, painting, caulking, etc. – but the overall effect is one of completion. Which is thrilling.

read on…

Time and light, I guess you are afraid of what everyone is made of…*

*Lyrics from St. Vincent‘s The Apocalypse Song from their album, Marry Me. I just love them, and since we’ve just lost an hour of darkness (or gained one in the morning) the refrain of this song was particularly poignant. And the Pandora station for her/them is amazing. If you’re into that sort of thing. Which obviously I am.

When we last met, this was how my kitchen entryway was looking.

Since I last updated you on the state of affairs at the ol’ (so happy) homestead soooo much has happened. And yet nothing has really changed. Sort of. Ok, so we changed our entryway decking and stairs, but the overall effect is the same. They’re still just stairs to get inside. I suppose it’s like wearing a grungy pair of pants to paint/stain/joint compound/generally be disgusting in and then changing into a nice pair of slacks. Still pants, but soooo much nicer to look at.

Ta-dah! Look at that! Red cedar decking, stained Burnt Hickory in Cabot exterior oil-based semi-solid stain.

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I used to love it, it used to be pretty…*

*Lyrics from Neptune City by Nicole Atkins. I heard this song on Pandora the other day and really liked her voice. Not sure how I feel about her more recent album yet, but I can confirm that her voice is attractive to me. Have a listen and let me know what you think.

DURING: Our plan is to redo the railings to match the other side of the house, use cedar to wrap all the pressure treated (i.e., ugly) lumber, and to replace the storm door that pretty much failed after our kitchen renovation.

Yeah, so, yeah. I’m a crap blogger. I mean, I hope you like what I post when I get around to it. But, I’ve been pretty unable to keep up lately. I have (what must be) a hundred half-finished projects sitting around the house, ones that I’m hopeful will be worth posting (I’m taking pictures as I go, but nothing is ready to share), but for now you’ll have to settle for some progress pictures of half done-i-tude.

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May your New Year dreams come true…*

*Lyrics from The Christmas Waltz as sung by Nancy Wilson. If you listen to this song in the right mood it’ll make you cry. Or maybe that’s just me.

A few days ago I stopped over at my mom’s house for a visit. As I walked up to her door I noticed she still had her autumnal bunch of purple corn on her front door (how gauche!). She said, ‘yes, yes, I know, I need a wreath.’ I looked around and sure enough everyone had a wreath on their door. (Full disclosure: there were a few doors with shamrocks on them, but I imagine that’s a year-round thing for them.) It seemed as if everyone was getting in the holiday spirit but my mom’s place was lagging behind. Well, that I simply could not abide.

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Long did I waste, long did I sleep…*

*Lyrics from 1,2,3’s Lonesome Boring Summer off their album New Heaven. They’re my new Local Natives. I’m so grooving on this sound right now. Hope you like them.

Autumn in New England can be spectacularly beautiful – bright, boldly colored leaves drift through the air as the trees molt into their naked winter selves, surrounded by warm sunshine-filled afternoons, followed by chilly evenings and early morning frosts. But it can also teeter toward the depressing… day after day the light slips away, darkening the already dulled landscape not yet illuminated by the cast of white snow that winter usually deposits and leaves there for month after month. Autumn slips into winter almost unnoticed as one holiday (Thanksgiving) is replaced by the almighty holiday of holidays (Christmas). And while I love a good fairy light (or twinkle light, or whatever you want to call them) I also love autumn, including the darkening, the hibernation-like feeling, beckoning a time of reflection and contemplation. Of course gratitude is also a focus of fall – gratitude for family and friends, for the life we lead, for the harvest, for the earth, for the process.

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Time after time you’ll hear me say that I’m so lucky to be loving you…*

*Lyrics from Chet Baker’s Time After Time. Not to be confused with Cindi Lauper’s Time After Time. That’s a whole different song.

We now take a break from our (ir)regularly scheduled, interiors focused blog posts to breathe, and thank the nature gods that our house survived the 8″ of heavy, wet snow that was dumped on us last weekend. That’s the weekend before Halloween. All plans I had to get pumpkins and mums during the weekend (since I’ve had nary a chance to do anything for my own house due to moving my mom into her condo), to carve up some scary scenes to light up in the lovely fall night to beckon small children to the door, to simply go grocery shopping (!) were dashed by lingering details that needed doing at my mom’s old place, and the enormous storm that left nearly everyone I know without power.

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A grown up woman should never fall so easily…*

*Lyrics from ABBA’s Lay All Your Love On Me. Because I was smitten from the get go. Not because I’m Swedish.

Ok, it’s been a while since my last post. That’s because this happened:

Sweet tender niece merely hours old.

See, I was all set to head to Mr and Mrs K’s for a day or two of tile work, electrical and plumbing finishing touches when my sister-in-law went into labor. Needless to say, nothing much mattered after that. Well, all except for her, her husband, and their new daughter (who is perfect, healthy and quite precious – and of course I’m not at all biased). So I missed those bits at the clients’ house. Don’t worry, though, I still have one more visit on the horizon – pictures will be coming.

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It’s a low, low road you’ve gotta roll down before you find your way…*

*Lyrics from Grace Potter & the Nocturnals’ Low Road from their self-titled album.

I’ve said it before, and it’s still true: there is something inspiring about having teams of people at your house doing work that always makes me want to do more things. After Candy and the ladies (and gents) of Ladies Landscaping came to refresh our yard we determined that if we were ever going to stain the fence, now would be the time. Before any more plantings get put to bed, before the weather turned, while we had the vicarious energy boost from the Ladies’ day and a half microburst of yard beautification. It was time, and we got to it.

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She’s like the wind, through my tree…*

*Lyrics from, well, if I have to tell you then you didn’t watch Dirty Dancing for three weeks straight when it played at the Calvin Theater in 1987. In which case, I can’t help you.

When we lost our beloved pup, Bec, we knew we wanted to bury her in the yard. It was where she was happiest, where she longed to be during all hours of the day, all times of the year, and where she took her last breath. She belongs to this place, if for no other reason than that she loved it, and we wanted her to remain here, even if we don’t. Of course I couldn’t stand the thought of actually digging a giant hole and chucking her into it, so we had her individually cremated. We also knew that we wanted to give her some sort of marked spot, so we’d know where she was, and be able to know she wouldn’t be accidentally dug up by any future owners. So we decided to plant a tree. A dogwood, because she was a dog, and one with pink blossoms because she was a girl. (My 8 year-old niece figured that rationale in seconds, so we knew it was the right choice.)

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I held my breath and said, “May I have the next one?”…*

We shall now break from our regularly interior-focused blog posts to dedicate one entirely to the bloom of the month: lilacs. *Lyrics from Polkadots and Moonbeams as sung by a young, and dashing Frank Sinatra.

Welcome to Lilacland indeed.

Every year, as the lilacs bloom, we who are lucky enough to be near them, inhale their sweet fragrance with appropriate hunger. Lilacs do not last long, but they are powerful, delicate and abundant while they do. Last year my older sister shared with me the location (and knowledge) of lilacland, and this year my younger sister decided to make the journey home just to visit this place. I believe she said it was worth the bus fare. It was even worth the inevitable allergy flare-up.

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