Monthly Archives: November 2014

It’s Easier to Start Projects Than to Finish Them {and yes, we’re still painting stuff}

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So the last month has been super busy.  Mainly, we’ve realized that we have about a thousand different projects going on at the same time.  Starting a new thing is exciting and engaging.  Then, about halfway through, it turns into work!  The last few weeks, we’ve been trying to get focused on actually finishing some projects and getting them checked off the list.  Even though it’s mostly little stuff (and a LOT OF PAINTING), it’s amazing how much difference each little thing makes.

So where to start??

Well, the bedroom doors aren’t finished yet, but they are one step closer – door knobs!!

Glass knobs for less than $8/set!

Glass knobs for less than $8/set!

They’re just dummy knobs as the doors are actually held closed with the ball spring at the top of the doors.  Also, if the window panes look a little weird, it’s because they still have the factory plastic on them…  still going to paint those doors soon!

Close up of the knobs...  I'm actually quite enamored with them.

Close up of the knobs… I’m actually quite enamored with them.

The big project that is (more or less) finished is the new bedroom wall.  You may remember that we tore down a wall with the intention of rebuilding it in a different location.

Someday I'll learn to tidy first, then take pictures to post on the internet.

The original bedroom wall.  Side note: when we moved in, our bedroom had *three* entrances.  We’re down to two now…

Standing in the bedroom looking at the new dining area.

Standing in the bedroom looking at the new dining area.  You can see the closets on the right for orientation.

Drywall!!!

Drywall!!!

Pop hung the drywall a couple of weeks ago, which was pretty thrilling.  It is now the sturdiest wall in our house.

Of course, this meant more painting!

Of course, this meant more painting!

Besides painting the  new wall, I also had to paint the wall on the right.  Originally, it was part of the bedroom.  When I painted the new wall, I painted that one to match the lighter blue in the living area.

Bedroom closets or a pantry??

Bedroom closets or a pantry??

The old bedroom closets, which we’re planning to eventually paint white, are now turning into our main pantry area.  The doors to the left are pantry, and the section in the middle is being turned into a door, also with shelves inside.  The left side is now the coat closet (we just made that decision two days ago…  this place is in constant flux!).  We aren’t sure what we’re doing with the rather bedraggled drawers along the bottom.  I think that some of that area will probably be made into cubbies for shoes, but we may just fix up the drawers a bit and keep them.  Currently, I’m using them for spare linens and blankets.  Someday, I may actually have a linen closet for that kind of thing.

While the wall was an ongoing project, Tom has also been working on a fun project that he’s had in his head for quite some time – organizing the barn.  Our barn is super old, and actually (according to the unofficial town historian, an old guy who lives around the corner) stood originally where our house is now.  At some point, the barn got dragged down the hill and our beautiful trailer took its place.  Several years ago the previous owner had the barn sided with aluminum siding.  At that time, he also shored up some beams and that sort of thing.  Overall, it’s fairly sturdy, although the electric is 100% sketchy.  We are planning to rewire the whole thing next spring.  In the meantime, we turn off the fuse when we aren’t down there!

Anyway, it’s actually a pretty spacious barn, and it has a full loft, too.  Downstairs, Tom has set up a workshop area with space for both of the cars (as long as you plan ahead as to which one you want out of the barn first!).

Upstairs, we’ve created a rec room of sorts, and it’s actually come together way better than we imagined.  When Pop was a kid, he and his friends used to play basketball in the upstairs of the barn, and the old backboards were still there.  We decided to set up a half-court, and bought and installed a rim accordingly.

I have no idea where Pop got his ridiculously tall ladder.

I have no idea where Pop got his ridiculously tall ladder.

After we got the hoop up and realized it was awesome, we decided to add an old pool table that was in Pop’s garage.  It was originally Tom’s; actually, it was in his entry room when I first  met him.  When we got married, though, we had way too much furniture (a problem we still have, honestly), and the pool table was relegated to Pop’s.  Now it’s the perfect addition to the barn, except I don’t have a picture of it.

We put up a dart board, and I found some old sheets at Salvation Army to put over some indoor/outdoor furniture that Tom’s mom gave us a while back.  Finally, Pop found some old netting in his barn that we put along the sides to keep balls and darts from flying into the storage under the eaves.

Our new hang out spot.

Our new hang out spot.

This is before it was really cleaned up.  That yellow target is now set up in the left corner, surrounded by straw bales, for Tom’s archery practice.  I’m standing where the pool table is, and the dart board is to the left.  It’s pretty awesome, really.  Of course, the weather has turned bitterly cold, but before that we spent several evenings chillaxin in the barn.  Next year, we’re going to cut some of the siding away to make windows, because that loft gets H O T in the summer.

One big complaint I’ve had about this place is that we took out almost all the closets, so storage has been somewhat of a hassle for me.  We’ve slowly been building back in shelves and such, so it’s coming together.  Recently, I was super excited to get some shelves in our tiny weird back bathroom.  We’ve never used this half bath because the toilet leaks.  Eventually, that area will be combined with the actual bathroom and some of the laundry room to make one bathroom of awesomeness, but for now I’m super (SUPER) excited to get some shelves back there and start getting some stuff put away!

It's like a bathroom/hallway.  So weird.

It’s like a bathroom/hallway. So weird.  (The laundry room is behind me in this picture.)

But now it is a closet with shelves and I am SUPER happy!

But now it is a closet with shelves and I am SUPER happy!

Another project that’s taken a huge step forward – CURTAINS.  In the lower room, we have four huge windows – the ones on the ends are 7′ across, while the two facing the barn are 8′ across.  While the one end window is what technically faces the road, anyone driving up the road – and a lot of people do, because it’s a state route – can see in those two 8′ windows the whole way up the hill from the gas station.  Now that it’s dark at 2:00 in the afternoon (practically), we were really excited to get curtains up on those two windows.

Originally, we were going to try to put together dowel rods, but the longest we could find were exactly 8′, and we couldn’t come up with a good way to stick them together.  In the end, we went with conduit instead.  At about $4 for 10′, it was hard to beat the price.  Tom built some fancy shelves to hold them, and my grandma did an AMAZING job making the actual curtains.

Ta-da!

Here is one of the window shelf/curtain rod holders.

New curtains!!!

New curtains!!!

So excited!!

So excited!!

Because these windows open on the sides, it was really important to us to have a system wherein the curtains could fold tightly.  Thanks to Grandma’s expertise, she was able to design them perfectly.

She used a fabric called monks’ cloth, a sort of woven cotton.  I really love it because it’s light, yet heavy enough that people can’t see through it.  Plus, even though it’s plain, it’s not completely plain.

Close up of the fabric.

Close up of the fabric.

I’ve ordered curtains for the bedroom and laundry room.  All the windows in this house are weird sizes, but the four windows in those two rooms are at least all the same weird size, and all of them will work with kitchen curtains (they’re very short windows).  I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with the living room windows.  Grandma made the curtains for the two long end windows; hopefully we’ll get the curtain rods up this weekend for those.  There are five more windows on the upper level, plus two sets of French doors.  That’s a lot of curtains, and it’s a lot of curtains for weird sizes – short, fat windows that aren’t quite short enough to use the kitchen curtains I got for the bedroom.   Ah well, one problem at a time!

Tom’s still been working on the little tv corner in the bedroom.  It’s evolved quite a bit from the beginning, when it was a weird shelfy-closet thing.

Oh, look at those nice white walls!

Tom started by taking out the closet part in the top.

A working light switch, too!

A few weeks ago, Pop finished the back wall, complete with a working light switch and outlet!

Last weekend, Tom took out the drawers and angled the whole shelf.

Last weekend, Tom took out the drawers and angled the whole shelf.

Now there’s more room for me to walk past the corner of the bed.  Of course, the bottom is going to get painted white.  And yes, we had some Monty Python playing.

See how much skinnier it is??

See how much skinnier it is??

Finally, I’ve been realizing afresh the advantages to living on the subfloor.  Today, I was painting boards (for more shelves!) right inside my nice, warm house.  Fantastic.  😀

Yes, that's a real plant.  If it gets much bigger, I'm going to have to donate it to the Conservatory.

Yes, that’s a real plant. If it gets much bigger, I’m going to have to donate it to the Conservatory.

And the other day I was able to practice some possible designs for the stairs…  right on the floor.

My doodling sort of devolved...  and I'm still not sure what I'm doing on the stairs!

My doodling sort of devolved… and I’m still not sure what I’m doing on the stairs!

The stairs, which are in the top of that picture, are now white.  I painted them with glossy porch & floor paint in the same white that we’ve been painting all the trim.  We’ll see how it holds up.  I didn’t get a picture of them installed, but they are back in place and looking very nice in white.  I’m thinking about painting a design similar to the one that’s in red – the viney one in the middle of the picture there – but I’m not sure yet.

Well, that is plenty of updates for now!  Maybe I should try blogging more than once a month!  😀  Things really are coming along.  It’s so much fun to see things fall into place – and it’s also fun to be able to change things on the fly.  While it would be awesome to have a super nifty old house to restore, there’s a certain freedom that comes from fixing up something that it doesn’t really matter if it gets completely messed up!

Oh, oh, and I almost forgot – we got the hutch painted, too, and today I put dishes back in it, and I’ll leave you with this final picture of our little dining area which really is starting to look quite happy!

This area is so much better as a dining nook than a bedroom!

This area is so much better as a dining nook than a bedroom!

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