Tag Archives: paint

Life is Full of Circles {refinishing a cabinet}


In the house where I grew up, there was a small cabinet in the kitchen.  I think it may have come from my great-grandma’s house.  It was on wheels, even though it never really got moved around, and Mom stored baking supplies in it, and kept her bread maker on top of it.  Somehow, when I moved into this house, I ended up with that little cabinet.  And then, for Christmas last year, Mom gave me a bread maker – and guess where I put it!

When we redid the kitchen, I knew I wanted to keep this little cabinet around – preferably with the bread maker still on top – but it wasn’t really going to match at all.  Mom gave her blessing on refinishing it, as long as I took “before” pictures, and last fall I did just that.  This was a fast and easy project that really made a difference to the cabinet.

2015-11-08-1605-2The “before” picture shows you that this isn’t a real heirloom or anything like that.  But it’s sturdy and well-made.

2015-11-08-1708First of all, of course, came the sanding.  There wasn’t a very a heavy gloss on the cabinet, so the sanding wasn’t too intense.  I did decide that I wanted to use my blue knobs instead of reusing the hardware that was on it, so I had to putty in the holes and sand those down as well.

Next, I painted the whole cabinet with the same glossy white as the kitchen cabinets.  (Although I apparently didn’t take a picture of that stage.)  Even though I didn’t really need to (since I didn’t on other cupboards), I went ahead and painted the inside of the cabinet as well.  The inside had never been varnished or anything, and I wanted it to be easy to clean.  Nothing wipes out like a few layers of full-gloss paint!

2015-11-15-0841-3For the top, we had some leftover laminate from our countertops.  Tom glued it on.  The edges of the cabinet’s counter are square just like the counters in our kitchen, so the edges were no problem.

img_20160917_215232473So, in the end, I have a happy little cabinet that blends right in with the rest of the kitchen stuff, and is a perfect place for baking supplies – and my bread maker!  (And, apparently, a random lamp and some paint samples – multiple uses!)

All in all, a very satisfactory heirloom.


Little Things Make a Difference {Kitchen Bits}


So a LOT of projects around here get done slapdash.  There are just so many things to accomplish, that sometimes it’s easier to just do the bulk of the project and then jump to the next thing.  Slowly, we’ve been trying to keep ourselves focused and actually finish stuff – or at least get it a little closer!

While the bulk of the kitchen remodel happened last January/February, we are still doing random little things to make it better.  What’s amazing to me is how little details really do tighten everything up and improve the entire experience.

Last November, we hit several smaller parts of the kitchen that took it from looking half-finished to actually looking like we had gotten somewhere!

One of the  most basic items – knobs.  I lived without them for months and got along just fine.  Part of the problem was that I really had trouble finding something that I genuinely liked. And since knobs are weirdly expensive, I wanted to find something I really liked before I parted with the cash!  While I like our white cabinets a lot – and they definitely brighten up the kitchen – I was hoping to find something with just a touch of color for the knobs.

424887_15After scouring all the home improvement stores (Menard’s, Lowes, Home Depot) and coming up empty, I was one day randomly wandering through Hobby Lobby and realized – they have tons of knobs!  And that’s where I found the ones I love!  They are blue and not too tiny or too big, they’re ceramic, and just plain adorable.  I love them!  I waited until they were 50% off and bought a slew of them, as I wanted them not just in the main part of the kitchen, but also on the pantry doors, the hutch in the dining nook, and the other shelves that were going to be built/remodeled along the north wall.

All in all, I still really like these knobs, now that we’ve used them for almost a year.  However, that little ring is made of very sharp metal, and they easily bend out of shape.  That means that they catch easily on clothes, and I’ve even cut my finger on them!  So I’ve been taking the knobs apart, removing that ring, and then putting them back together.  The knobs aren’t quite as cute that way, but at least they aren’t endangering lives any more.

Before installing the knobs, I also wanted to put a final coat of paint on all the cabinets.  Some of them had only gotten one or two coats, and they really needed three.  Because we started with unfinished cupboards, they had also been a smidge rough.  I really ought to have sanded them before painting them initially, but, you know, water under the bridge.  Instead, I gently 220’d them before applying the final coat of paint – it really made a big difference.

Generally, when people install cabinets, the cabinets all face the same direction.  However, because our kitchen is an island, I decided that in order to fully utilize the “dead” corners, we would use corner cabinets – that face out.  It’s worked fabulously, but one thing I hadn’t thought about (although Tom had, of course, and had already mentally solved the issue) was that this mean that all of the toe-kick space didn’t line up.

2015-11-07-1005You can kind of see from the picture, although there is a random roll of paper towels in the way.  The bottom of the corner cabinets sticks out and isn’t flush with the lower bit of the forward-facing cabinets.  (Incidentally, aren’t those knobs lovely??)

In order to fix this, Tom decided just to eliminated the usual toe-kick space entirely by faceboarding everything flush with the front of the cabinets.

2015-11-08-1805Initially, it seemed a little weird, but after they were painted, the boards blended right in.  I haven’t noticed any difficulty in using the kitchen without that extra space for my toes.



2015-11-07-0857Knobs, fresh paint, some putty/sanding/painting on other trimwork, and tidying up the bottom of the cabinets all made a big difference.  We also put in a shelf that was in a little dead space near the sink (perfect for the toaster and other items that tend to clutter the counter), put some trim around the tile behind the stove, and Tom installed a homemade magazine rack on the outside of the island (pictured here with Waylon damage lol).

I also had another project – refinishing a cabinet that I had inherited from the house I grew up in – but I think that that will wait for the next post…

Until then!


Painting the Floor {now our house looks like a boat}


Cast your  minds back – way, way back.  Back into the mists of time – back to last summer when we had…  I hardly dare whisper the word for fear of bring the curse back upon us – fleas.  Before we moved into this house, if you will recall, we ended up tearing up all the carpets and painting our subfloor.

Isn't that so bright and cheery??

Ugh back before we took down that terrible wallpaper, too. 


At the time, we just used the same flat, white primer we had  been using to paint everything – and I do mean EVERYTHING – all the ceilings and walls were painted with this same stuff.  It really helped make the house cleaner and fresher and was totally the right move.

Okay, fast forward about eleven months and that paint – especially since it was flat paint – has definitely been through the mill.


At this point, I had already moved some furniture in preparation for painting the floor… the gate is to keep a very nosy Waylon OUT!

Not only was it super grungy, I may have, at various points in time, kind of sort of used it as a test pallet for some other painting experiments.

One day, I just got tired of the floor being so dirty and uncleanable.  After we got Waylon, it was even worse.  He frolics out in the side garden and gets super muddy, and then comes in and runs all over the place.  Thanks to our lack of nice flooring, it really isn’t a big deal (it’s also relieved a lot of housebreaking stress), but still…  who wants to have gross floors??  You can see in the picture how not-white the floor was starting to look.

I trekked off to Menard’s to see what my options were.  Tom was all for the cheap choice of just recoating it with the same white Kilz primer we had used for everything else before, but I was really over having flat paint on the floor.  It looks like it’s still going to be a while before we can afford to install the laminate flooring we have in mind for the main section of the house, so the subfloor is going to be with us for quite some time.  What with Waylon and general muddiness around here, I wanted something I could mop.  


I was able to find it in full gloss.

Dutch Boy sells a porch floor paint that you can have tinted in any color, or it comes in a few premixed colors, including a light grey.  Because I was in a hurry, I decided to just go with that premixed grey in a full gloss.  White and grey are our neutrals throughout the house, and the laminate we have (tentatively) picked out is a grey-brown, so I figured maybe the grey would give us an idea of how the future flooring would look.  (Yeah, no, it didn’t really do that.  Ah well.)

Because this isn’t our final flooring solution, I did this the quick and easy way – I didn’t move super heavy furniture.  Things like bookshelves stayed right where they were.  They got taped off and painted around.  Not like we’re going to rearrange furniture any time soon.  (When you have to move books every time you move furniture, you pretty quickly become content with the way your furniture already is.)


Ta-da! I love painting – such an immediate improvement!

The paint went down great, and I was super pleased with the way it turned out.  It definitely needed two coats, and probably could use a third if I ever get bored enough to do that.  However, I was impressed with how well it covered not only the white (” “) sections, but also all my crazy doodling in the middle of the floor.

I painted half the house on a Friday with the help of a visiting friend (yeah, don’t visit me on my days off or you, too, will be swept up into a project), and then Tom and I painted the rest a few days later.


So clean and happy!

The weirdest thing happened, though.  For some reason – and I can’t figure out why – painting the floors grey made me feel like I was on a boat!  I don’t know if it’s the high gloss, the color, or what, but I definitely feel like I am “swabbing” more than “mopping.”

However, when I am mopping, it’s super exciting because it actually works!  The floor cleans up really well, and since it’s been raining for about two weeks, that has really made a big difference.  I love it!

Also, I’ve been scavenging some rugs and that does help break up the shiny floor and make it a little less boat-like.  😀

Now we have carpeting in the lower room and the bedroom, and freshly painted floors in the laundry room and living room areas.  That leaves us with the weird fake-brick linoleum in the kitchen/dining/entry area – that’s what was under the carpeting when we pulled it up last summer.  Tom seems to think that we can scuff up that linoleum with the sander and then paint over that, too.  We have enough paint leftover that I  may give that a try soon.  I’ll keep you posted.

Chickens! {part II}


So did I mention that this chicken coop project was waaay more involved than I was planning for it to be?  This is a common pattern in our marriage:

  1. I think of an idea that I believe to be pretty simple in scope.
  2. Tom agrees with the idea and starts working on the project.
  3. Tom expands the project to be even bigger, sturdier, and awesomer than I would have ever imagined.
  4. Project gets very complicated and creates other, smaller satellite projects.
  5. Project is eventually completed and feel a little bit guilty because whatever I ended up with is totally awesome and took weeks.
  6. (Except I don’t really feel guilty because I am SO EXCITED about the thing!)

Anyway.  Point is, I just thought we should get a half-dozen hens and put them in a ramshackle lean-to.  But this was not to be!


I took a picture of this, but have literally no idea what was going on at the time.


As sequences continued to unwind, we came across this one: foundation issues.  I’m not going to lie, I actually don’t really know what was going on …  something something about untreated wood against the ground… something something something.  All I know is that it involved some digging, some treated lumber, and like a whole extra day of work.  But it’s awesome now!  😀


Is it cute or is it cute??


Window 2, facing the alley, from the inside. It has a screen over it, but no glass. Pop actually just found a window that will fit in there a couple days ago, so we should be finishing that up this week (maybe).

So, I have an actual thing about windows: I want them EVERYWHERE.  My little chicken coop has two of them, and I’m pretty stoked about that.


Here, it’s partially finished. The boards we used for the wall used to be part of that junky cabinet thing we tore out of the chicken area originally.

Meanwhile, back in the front of the barn – the chicken side of the barn is accessed by a sliding door that is very heavy and very awkward, and I wasn’t completely excited about having to lug it open and closed every time I needed in or out.  However, Tom is not the sort of guy who will let the door just stand open for all the world to see what is going on in there (because everyone wants to snatch stuff out of your chicken coop, obviously).  Our compromise occurred when Tom surprised me by building a super awesome door/gate thing.

Basically, it’s a half wall with a door to one side (another spare; thank you people who used to own this barn) and wire fencing above the half wall to keep out critters.  The whole thing swings open so we can still put the lawn mower or whatever in there if we want to.

I cannot emphasize enough how awesome this thing has made my life.  First off, it lets a really nice breeze blow straight through the barn.  Secondly, I don’t have to mess with that sliding door.  SO FABULOUS.  I love it.


We don’t have a lot of flat ground on our property, but the space behind the barn is relatively level.

We also began marking out where the fence would go and digging postholes.  This was another one of those instances where I am thinking minimally and Tom is thinking super sturdy.  You’ll see after a while the ridiculous awesomeness of this fence.


Pop is basically fearless when it comes to heights. Or anything, really.


Ta-da! Ready for a window!

So, remember earlier when I was saying that we were struck by how great it would be to have a window upstairs?  We went to the local ReStore and found a pair of windows that fit between the joists.  Pop framed out the one above the chicken area.

But wait, a pair of windows?  I thought we were only putting in one??  (HA!)


Window 2!

I mean, if you’re going to put in one, you may as well put in a second for balance, even if it involves removing extra sheets of siding that had nothing to do with your original project…  right??


You can also see the siding in the foreground, now cut to fit around all these crazy windows and doors.

After framing, the windows were reading for glass.  We paid $40 for a pair of windows in good working order with screens.  The ReStore is an awesome place for finding windows and doors.


Technically, we didn’t really need to paint the treated lumber posts anyway, but it looks nicer and will hold up longer.

Meanwhile, Tom’s posthole digging continued throughout the day.  I worked on painting the fence posts.  Tom really wanted them to be painted with an enamel paint.  Enamel is great for exterior projects, as it holds up much  better to being battered by the elements.  However, it can be a hassle to work with, as the consistency is much tackier than water-based acrylic, which is now most commonly used.  It also takes longer to dry (and wasn’t helped by some super humid weather).  By the time Tom was ready to stick the posts in the ground, only three sides of each post had been painted.  This did not deter him from putting them in the ground anyway.

Also, why is Tom using 4×4’s you may ask?  STURDY.


See how the boards get longer as they get closer to the ceiling??

Inside the barn, Tom used some more pallet wood to fill in a side wall (also backed with chicken wire for added protection from critters), as the barn is (surprise, surprise) not exactly square.

Tune in tomorrow for Part III.  (Q. Will we ever get to the stage where we actually insert chickens??)

Kitchen Renovation {so excite}


So, as you can see from the floor plan I posted the other day, the kitchen is basically in the center of the house.  You may remember that this house was originally a doublewide (and is now a “double and a half wide” as Tom says, thanks to the addition of the lower room).  According to Pop, who actually remembers the event, this house arrived folded up – tearing up the carpet has allowed us to see hinges that run the full length of the house from where the sides were folded up to the middle (there are also hinges along the walls and ceiling).  This meant that all of the plumbing and duct work for the original trailer had to run up the center of the home.  Hence, if you notice of the floor plan, the kitchen, furnace, and both bathrooms are along the middle of the house.

All that to say, our kitchen is in the middle of everything.  It’s a weird set-up, and several people have recommended moving the kitchen over a side of the house (the northeast corner would be the natural direction) and we really considered it.  But at the end of the day we decided to embrace the quirkiness (and avoid moving both water and gas lines) and make the kitchen the true center of the house.

The lines on the floor plan sort of show what’s going on.  You can see a faint line between the kitchen and the front room – that was a wall.  At the south end of that wall, running west, was another wall.  At the north end of the east wall was a counter (also running west), making a sort of u-shape of counters with walls on two sides.  The kitchen is in the center of the east counter.  The stove and refrigerator are both against the west wall.

This is the old southeast corner of the kitchen from the outside.

This is the old southeast corner of the kitchen from the outside.

Old view from the southwest corner.

Old view from the southwest corner.  You can see how narrow the workspace is inside the kitchen.

Old view from the north side of the kitchen, just inside the main door we use to go in and out of the house.

Old view from the north side of the kitchen, just inside the main door we use to go in and out of the house.

The walls made the kitchen feel small and weird and also dark.  Two people inside this kitchen was a definite challenge (and only worked if the two people really like each other).  The placement of the kitchen also meant that the front room was sort of dead space, as there wasn’t really enough room between the kitchen wall and the front doors for anything to happen.

And so, we decided to do what we do best around this house – take down some walls.

These walls were a bit more of a challenge.  We had quite a bit of electric to deal with, plus the exhaust pipe for the sink.  Luckily, we were able to play our favorite ace-in-the-hole:  Pop’s expertise.

Demolition began last weekend.

No cabinets!

No cabinets!

Some of a wall...

Some of a wall…

...no wall!

…no wall!

Yes, now we can see pretty much our whole house from almost anywhere in the house…  and it’s fantastic.

Next day, while we were at work, Pop worked on the lovely collection of wires hanging everywhere.  By the end of that day:



Besides knocking out the walls, we decided to expand the kitchen 24″ to the north by inserting another cabinet between the sink and the corner.  As you can see from the picture, in order to utilize the storage in the corners, I have those cabinets facing outside the kitchen instead of in.  A bit unconventional, but hey, welcome to our house.

At this point, I have to admit, the kitchen felt even weirder than it had felt before.  It really seemed like we just had a pile of cabinets sitting in the middle of the room for no reason, and we were a little nervous about the whole flow.  No time for second-guessing, though: onward!

The other big piece of the new kitchen was the decision to add a bar counter along the east side of the kitchen.  We’ve learned from long experience that people love to hang out in a kitchen.  Both our parents have breakfast bars in the kitchens, and they’re fantastic places to just sit – a lot of stuff is going on in the kitchen, and people like to be where the action – and snacks – are.


The kitchen feels way more legit with the bar counter in place.

We also needed posts to hide our electric and the exhaust pipe.  Adding the posts and the breakfast bar made the kitchen feel significantly more anchored and purposeful, and made us excited like whoa.

Mary Rose and I took an adventurous drive to Cincinnati to pick up the new bar stools on a great close-out deal!

Mary Rose and I took an adventurous drive to Cincinnati to pick up the new bar stools on a great close-out deal!

The next day was Friday, my day off.  We gave Pop the day off, too, and I spent the day catching up on life around the house.  All through the day, though, I couldn’t get over how much lighter the whole house is!


Every time I came out of the laundry room I got excited all over again!

Over the weekend, we made a lot of progress.

Assembling the bar stools turned into way more of a project than anyone expected...

Assembling the bar stools turned into way more of a project than anyone expected…

We ate our first meal at our very-incomplete breakfast bar!  (It's protected by one of Mom's seasonal vinyl tablecloths!)

We ate our first meal at our very-incomplete breakfast bar! (It’s protected by one of Mom’s seasonal vinyl tablecloths!)

Took time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather by walking down to take some last pictures of the big bridge - they started demolition last week!

Took time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather by walking down to take some last pictures of the big bridge – they started demolition last week!

I painted cabinets.  (We bought them unfinished on the cheap.)

I painted cabinets. (We bought them unfinished on the cheap.)

Tom worked on a new stand for the microwave.

Tom worked on a new stand for the microwave.

Pop worked on lights.

Pop worked on lights.

Originally, there was a florescent light in the kitchen, along with the small ceiling fan you can see above.  The ceiling fan is jammed against our weird drop in the ceiling, where it looks quite awkward and strange.  After living with 100% florescent lights in our last apartment, Tom and I really didn’t want any in our new house.  So, we replaced the center light with a new ceiling fan/light combo, and have two drop lights to put in on either side of the kitchen (you can see one of the new ones beside Pop in the picture – the other will replace the old ceiling fan).

Totally different view!

Totally different view from the north side now!

So spacious!

So spacious!

Things are really coming together, and we are super excited.  Hopefully my new sink will come in tonight.  Once it arrives, we can do the final plumbing and then set the cabinets permanently.  We are planning to put down laminate for the countertops ourselves – it’s on order, though, and won’t be here until the end of the month (which is why I borrowed an entire stack of Mom’s seasonal vinyl tablecloths!).

For now, I’m off to finish painting the rest of the cabinets – progress!


Updates {a lot can happen in six weeks}


Oh dear, six weeks?!  I’m really quite terrible at this blogging thing!  I always think I’m going to do better but…  well, life!

So, some of the highlights!

First off, the bedroom is more or less complete, at least until next year when we redo the entire back end of the house/bathroom/closet/laundry/utility area.  There is still a little trim that needs put up, but for now we’re calling it a win.  Since the last post, that mostly involved putting down carpet (utilizing our leftover carpet pad from the lower room!!), hanging curtains, painting the doors, putting up curtains in the doors, finishing the tv stand, and building/painting/installing the corner shelves by the bed.

The carpet was a HUGE improvement that I’m still excited about every day, especially since the bedroom floor tends to be FREEZING – the carpet has really helped insulate!

We've now used almost all of the super fluffy carpet padding.

We’ve now used almost all of the super fluffy carpet padding.


Carpet!!  And, incidentally – curtains!

As a sidenote, I still really, really love the blue we have in the bedroom.  It’s a little on the dark side, but it’s perfect for a cozy bedroom.

We finished painting and trimming out the corner tv stand, and it’s a total win, too.



And, finally, Tom built our awesome corner shelves to go beside the bed.

Under construction...

Under construction…

...and complete!

…and complete!

As you can sort of see from the picture, there are shelves facing the bed which we use as night stands, and then cabinet doors on the bottom for additional storage.  As always, Tom’s building skills are brilliant, as he constructed the entirety of these shelves out of – you guessed it – 2×4’s.  (Also, I have more detailed pictures of the construction process, so if anyone out there wants to actually legit know how these were built, just let me know!)

The final finishing touch (for now) for the bedroom was painting the bedroom doors and putting up curtains.  As you may recall, we ended up using narrow French doors for our weird-sized doorway, and they’re perfect.  I found some paisley curtains I love for a touch of whimsy.  At some point, I may get some tie-backs, too.

I legit love everything about my bedroom doors.

I legit love everything about my bedroom doors.

In the meantime, we also painted the bathroom (not pictured) pale blue, and finished painting the vanity and shelves in the bathroom white (of course).  We also took on the major project of painting the pantry doors (you know, the ones that used to be the bedroom closet doors back when our dining room was part of the bedroom?).  Those shutter doors are a hassle to paint no matter how you cut it.

The dining area looking pretty good overall, but with the pantry doors on the left needing some help...

The dining area looking pretty good overall, but with the pantry area on the left needing some help…

Sanded and ready for action!!

Sanded and ready for action!!

However, you’ll just have to believe me that the doors look great, because I apparently don’t have a picture of the finished project!

Over Christmas, we rearranged the lower room and built some more shelves, including a huge windowsill for plants.  The room is really flowing well now, and I’m pretty stoked.

Tom's crazy plant now has a home in the sun.  The window picture is the future home of my window seat!!

Tom’s crazy plant now has a home in the sun. The window picture is the future home of my window seat!!  And no, Agatha is not dead.  She just always looks like she’s been hit by a truck when she’s napping.

New shelves under the other window were built *entirely* out of leftover wood!

New shelves under the other window were built *entirely* out of leftover wood!

Loaded up with plants and oh-so happy.

Loaded up with plants and oh-so happy.

Tom also built what is possibly the cutest little table I've ever seen.

Tom also built what is possibly the cutest little table I’ve ever seen.

So those were the big project in November and December!!!

Today, we began tearing down the kitchen, but I’ll save that for the next post, which will hopefully be sooner than six weeks away!  I really do want to get into the groove of posting  more often, because I actually end up skipping all sorts of little fun odds and ends when I go so long between posts.

Next time, kitchen updates, and maybe even a picture of the finished pantry!!

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


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.



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.


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!