The Patio

Bill worked outside on this huge project most of last summer.  It was late in the season when he finished the project and it isn’t quite complete yet, as we still would like cover with topsoil and plant thyme.

We gathered about 4 pallets of stones a few years back from across the street for a mere 60 bucks.  Yeah, we scored.  A pallet of stone can be a few hundred dollars, depending on the type, so we really were grateful for our purchase.  With those, we planned all of these glorious ideas on whether to make stone walls, walks or a patio.  I think we have enough to do our whole yard.

To start a project like this, Bill had to dig out the sod, lay crushed stone or pea stone and tamp it down.  Then he fitted the larger stone and set it all in with sand.  It really took him most of the summer, but I think he enjoyed the process and we have a beautiful patio.

This spring, we planted red thyme and a few other goodies around the border for erosion.  Bill also added a few steps to the yard, so that Will would not be tempted to step through my new plants.  We still need to place topsoil between the stones and plant a creeping thyme or sage for erosion and appearance.  There will certainly be a followup post with better pictures to come once that is all complete.


And now. . . laundry

We didn’t expect to be doing the laundry room this summer.  In fact, it was long down the line on projects due to the fact that it is so utilitarian, and we really needed to finish the deep cosmetic projects we’ve started. . . like the hallway, dining room, front porch and upstairs bath, maybe the patio too.  But, when our washing machine passed away this early June, we knew it was time to do a quickie and put in a sink, along with painting, lighting and moving out the fridge.

The fridge was housed in part of the laundry room, as you can see from this side shot.  It blocked the window and had lighting attached to the back.  The hole in the bottom is due to a bored hound who was stuck in here one day.  The fridge was sort of wedged into the corner, but really in the kitchen, with an odd sheetrock job around it.  We tore it all out, much to the delight of our son and re-established that wall, along with electrical.  Bill is putting in ceiling lights and freshening up the plumbing so we can add a small sink and counter.  I could really use some cabinets and the whole room needed painting.

We had originally thought that putting in insulation would be ideal to keep the space warm because of pipes, but with little, time, we just went for it.  I primed everything with two coats and then painted all walls, woodwork and floor in 2 days.  Bill is going to put in a few shelves, rewire for ceiling lights and get the window in working order.

Boys tearing out the fridge wall and beginning the woodwork of putting in new sheetrock

Washer should arrive today!

Guest Room II

It has been a while.  Life has been full and rich this past year.  As Bill has started his new business, B2 Professional Coaching Services, I’ve taken on more painting work for Golden Paintworks, doing custom work, research and development in the commercial applications.  Will finished Kindergarten in the spring and is starting first grade this week.  We’ve been busy, and yet, we have still been working on the house.  So there have been a few too many neglected posts.  First, I wanted to catch you up on the Guest Room.

Finalized the guest room in the fall last year and had guests round the clock from September to December of 2016.  We put up a sheetrock ceiling, because fixing a cracked ceiling every 2 years is too much work, even for us.  Next, we smoothed out the walls with plaster, and taught Will how to do some of that work.  I feel blessed that Bill can do the work and teach our son in the process.

In process of putting up the ceiling
French Armoire

After painting everything, wood work, ceiling, walls and even the floor, we put in a new ceiling fan, crown molding and furnished it.  This furniture is from France; family friends brought it back to Missouri from Paris some years back for their daughter.  When she couldn’t use it, they offered it to us and we swept it up quickly.  I can’t imagine finding more perfect furniture for our house.  I’m not sure of the year of these pieces, but the side table has a pee pot chamber, and the mirror has some fingerprints imbedded, which I love.

French double bed

The room has been used quite a bit since we’ve finished, and we have plans for many more guests this fall.  It really is the best time of year to come visit us.  October here is stunning, perfect for pumpkin and apple picking and the leaves are more glorious than anywhere I’ve ever seen.  Let us know when you want to visit. 😉

Guest Room Part One

So, after a long writing hiatus, I’ll post briefly to let you know that we’ve started on our guest room.  It was my studio since we moved in, which I have adored.  The light in this room is stellar, although it is the smallest bedroom.  We’ve decided to make it the guest room, because it will be used the least and I could use more space for setting up long term painting projects.  We have the perfect furniture for it that we purchased from family friends in Missouri a few summers ago — turn- of- the -century Parisan bed and armoire with a mirrored front.

Since it took us a few weeks to know where to start on the house, we did several things all at once.  Removing the border and painting the closet in the small room was part of that.  So, the room looked quite distressed for several years, before we finally took the whole thing apart this July.

Removing border back in 2009

We’ll have several guests this coming fall, so we want to have the room in order in the next few weeks.  As of now, we’ve been able to finish the walls and they are waiting for paint.  Bill will put in crown moulding this coming weekend along with a new ceiling fan and electrical outlets.  We’ll debate on whether to refinish the floor right now or hold off till spring.  Since we want to do it like our room, the oil finish takes about 6 weeks to cure well and we don’t have that kind of time or weather.

Hopefully, I’ll post again before another year goes by. 😉

Studio setup in 2014

Porch Progress Part One

My back porch
My back porch

Bill and I have both been working on our porches this summer.  He has rebuilt and stained our front stairs, as well as started to jack up the front porch and repair some rotting wood.  Unfortunately in that process, we realized the need for some gutters along the front and more wood was rotten than we realized.  The front of our house gets very little sun, hence wet and mouldy patches of wood.  However, he built the stairs from cedar and finished them with a Sherwin Williams deck stain, which we don’t recommend.  We don’t know yet how it will hold up, but it dried extremely patchy and poorly.  (And we know paint.)

I don’t know what I’ll use on staining or finishing the back porch, but I can say that I am halfway finished stripping it.  I was hoping to be completely done at this point, but I have a small and rather busy young son.  So, we keep our weekends open when we can and shoot out for pumpkin purchases or trips to the park.

The back porch is rather small, but one of my favorite places.  We have a double rocker back there, and our yard is quiet and secluded.  I sit out there and watch Will swim in the summers or just dig in the sand.  Today he built a small house in our rock pile out there, and added all sorts of embellishments like duct tape and garden tools.  It looked like a rural ghetto.  But, I love that he is pretending.

I started by sanding the porch, and found that it is rather dusty.  A heat gun got me nowhere, so now I’m on to using a citrus based stripper and doing okay.  Going slowly, but thoroughly.   Once I’ve finished, I don’t know where I’ll start with color, but I’m thinking of painting the ceiling blue, as old homes used to explore to match the sunny skies.

Needs some work
Needs some work

Bill is on to other projects like gutting an organ and planning a stone wall, and a extra shower downstairs.  I’m lucky to have him, a man to work with and a great project partner.

Guitar “Room”

notice the plaster and lathe under Bill’s paneling

I’m not sure that I would label this a “room”, but since it is Bill’s territory, we’ll let him keep the title.  After Bill finished off the mudroom a few years ago, we had this empty closet like space above those stairs with a beautiful oval window.  It is really bigger than a normal size closet and the window makes it that much more glamourous.

Bill wants to use the space to store and play his guitars and equipment.  (Which will take it out of our bedroom and guest room closets.)  But, he is doing such a glamourous job on the space, that I’ll want to live in it.  The room had loads of huge wall cracks and holes where it appears someone tried to wire it for electricity.  So, Bill took the opportunity to put in two lights and three outlets and cover the walls with wood and plaster.  It will look as though it is lined with cherry paneling when he is finished.  I apologize for the quality and perspective of these photos.  The stairwell (now closet) is long and narrow and it is difficult to capture it at a decent angle.

Original servant's stair well with large cracks
Original servant’s stair well with large cracks

My job is to paint a large British flag for him to hang in there.  We’ll see when I have time to do that.  😉  I’m still stenciling our bedroom and re-upholstering a living room chair, which is a first.  I’m also planning on sanding and staining our back porch this summer and repainting our double rocker and possibly our glider.  Bill has a few other things on the summer docket, too, including rebuilding our porch stairs — front and back.  We are also ready to lay stone down the front sidewalk as the original blue slate is terribly cracked.  It is matter of prioritizing time and money, like most house projects.

In the meantime, I repainted an old cheap bookcase to unload some of our last boxes of books and Bill put in electrical outlets on our front porch for a ceiling fan over my porch bed.  We are always doing something.  😉

Almost the same angle as above, with Bill's plaster, paint and wood paneling
Almost the same angle as above, with Bill’s plaster, paint and wood paneling

Will’s Room

Okay, so it has only been forever since we’ve written.  I think Bill may have forgotten that we even have a blog.  And well, motherhood has taken over my life.  Will is busier than ever doing Legos, riding bikes and collecting HotWheels.  Really, he carries a basket of HotWheels from room to room and looks for them in every store we visit.  Thankfully for me, they are cheap and small.  On my end, storage is the big deal.  Storage of toys, mainly cars and legos has become an issue.  But, Bill solved it.

In the past 6 months or so, Bill has been spending his time working on Will’s loft bed.  We pulled the design from ideas and images on Pinterest and came up with what works for our house and room.  In the meantime, Will had been sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor.  Once the bed was finished and waxed, we moved it into his room and put it together.  Bill decided it wasn’t stable enough, so he built a back wall of shelves, for all the cars to make the whole thing more sturdy.  Now, all three of us could probably hang out up there with no issue.  As you can see from this, Bill is up there reading to Will.  Will loves it and we’ve moved on to the next projects.