Tag Archives: remodel

#TBT

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So I know that I’ve done  a really poor job keeping up this blog – life, you know??  But I am currently working on a massive photograph-organizational project.  When that’s completed, I really do want to update this blog on all our progress, because we have been doing a LOT, including screening the front porch, planting a huge vegetable garden, putting up a new fence, putting down real flooring, etc.

But in the midst of sifting through hundreds of pictures, I came across these pictures, taken on June 8, 2014.  A lot has changed in two years, and sometimes it helps to remember the progress!

(Kitchen - from side door looking towards the "downstairs")

June 8, 2014

 

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June 9, 2016 

 

("Downstairs" - looking towards the "closet")

June 8, 2014

 

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June 9, 2016

 

(From the front room looking towards the rear)

June 8, 2014

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June 9, 2016

It’s hard to say which view has changed the most!

The last two years have been really intense, but we are making progress, and the back porch, the back corner/closet/laundry room/bathroom remodel, the windows, and the fireplace are the only big projects we have left.

All in all, things are coming together and this house is turning into a happy place (now that we’ve eliminated half the walls!).

Hopefully more detailed posts will come sometime soonish!

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SPRING!!! {no sense of restraint}

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Yes, so, as soon as it started getting warm around here, Tom and I forgot every single well-meaning resolution we had made concerning the importance of pacing ourselves with landscaping/planting gardens.  WE LOVE GARDEN CENTERS and we’ve planted an orchard and are working diligently to make the side garden happy as well.  There are just so many awesome things we can do outside that we can hardly wait to get into them!!!

HOWEVER, before we get into all that, an update on the kitchen!  Because it’s really finished now, except for some bits of trim here and there.  Pop  installed our new stove hood and redid the wall behind the oven and fridge, so everything looks super happy!

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So apparently I don’t have a good “before” picture of the fridge/oven wall (surprise, surprise), but you can see a bit of it here.  Basically, we had some ugly cabinets over the top of the fridge, plus a weird fake board thing above the cabinets that makes it look like it’s holding up the ceiling or doing something useful, except it’s not.

Behind the oven, which you can’t see from here, the wall was partially tiled with white squares, several of which were missing and/or had never been there to begin with.

The stove hood was stainless steel, old, ugly, and recirculated air (through a filter) rather than actually venting it out of the kitchen.  It also sounded like a jet engine when it was running.

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Day One involved, of course, demolition.  When we got home from work, the cabinets, tile, hood, and weird board were all missing.  It immediately felt like the kitchen was taller!

In case you’ve forgotten, this house has ludicrously low ceilings.  It boggles my mind  how so much of the stuff we’ve replaced were things like low-hanging lights or stuff up against the ceiling – things that made the house feel even more cave-like.

 

 

 

 

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By the end of Day Two, the paneling behind the refrigerator was up.  This is actually the same beadboard that we used on the backs of the cabinets and for the kickboard in front of the bar stools.  We thought about getting a sheet of regular paneling, which is what is on most of the walls, and then painting it the blue of the rest of the walls, but that all just seemed like a lot of hassle, especially when we already had the beadboard leftover!

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Day Three was the big change – the new hood was in!!  Even though the fan wasn’t connected yet, the lights worked and Pop had started to install the stone.  It’s the same as we used for the backsplash for the kitchen sink, and has a lot of grays, so it matches our color scheme really nicely.  We wanted something that would contrast since we have two white appliances and a white hood and one sheet of white paneling all right together.

 

 

 

 

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One of the reasons Tom chose this particular hood was  because it has two 40-watt bulbs.  80 extra watts of light in the kitchen really makes a big difference.  While we love having the kitchen in the center of the house, and while removing the walls has definitely lightened things up considerably, it can still be rather dim in there, especially on cloudy days.  I am very pro-lots-of-lights anyway.

This brought us to the end of the week.  On Saturday, Tom and I went to Cleveland to visit our new puppy – we’re getting a border collie in May!!  Super stoked!!

Along the way, we stopped at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  It was a very warm and pleasant day, and hiked about five miles to see Brandywine Falls.  (As an aside, you don’t have to hike five miles in order to see the falls…  they’re actually probably  200-yard walk from the parking lot. We just took a more scenic route.  :-D)

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Much of the park follows the route of the Ohio & Erie Canal; the old tow path is now a hiking/biking trail.  There are a couple of museums and whatnot as well – it’s a park I think we’ll try to visit again sometime.

I did find myself thinking that I wouldn’t want to be there during mosquito season, though.

 

 

 

 

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Brandwine Falls are pretty nifty, actually.  It’s hard to believe that you’re actually practically in Cleveland.

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When we got home, Pop was cleaning out the “other” side of the barn.  The left (main) side of the barn is the side I’ve posted pictures of before – concrete floor, and Tom’s work area.  The loft, which is slowly becoming a nifty rec room, is over the entire barn.  The Other Side is a long, narrow room that runs along the alley-side of the barn – basically, it’s only as wide as the doorway pictured.  This side has been full of random junk for many years.  Most of this stuff, including an old boat, actually belongs to Pop – the old owner of our house was letting him store stuff in there.

I’ve been really wanting chickens, though, and they’re going to go in the back of the barn.  We were thinking of waiting until next year for this project (let’s be honest, I think Tom was hoping that this project would be next year’s), but lo and behold, Pop was working like a man with a mission to get that thing cleaned out.  So that ended up being the rest of the weekend.

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There’s actually quite a lot of space without the boat!

The chickens are going to go in the back (Val used to keep them there, too, as you can see on the door!).  We’ll cut a doorway to the outside, where Tom is building a chicken run, put in some windows, and frame in a wall to keep the chickens towards the rear of the building.

Mom is getting chickens, too, so she and I ordered them together from Mt. Healthy.  You can purchase just one pullet of each breed from there, which was exactly what we wanted – who wants all their chickens to look the same??  I ordered eight and am SO EXCITED.

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While the guys were doing their thing, I was working on the side yard.  This is actually a middle-of-the-task picture.  When we moved in last year, this area was wall-to-wall shrubs.  We’ve cleaned out a lot of that, and are not down to a few hibiscus, a burning bush, and a hydrangea.

Last summer, we threw down a bunch of mulch, so I’ve actually been working on clearing that back out so we can plant a lot of stuff in here.  Some of the mulch will probably go back in this garden eventually, and the rest will get used for various other projects.

More on this side yard later…

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Even though the kitchen didn’t look a lot different when we got home from work the next day –  just a bit more stone – the biggest difference was in the unseen…  the fan actually vents out through the roof now!

(I’m cooking meatloaf as we speak…  and no smell of gas!  And I can’t even hear the fan running!  SO MUCH WINNING!)

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By Thursday, this project was in the bag!  Doesn’t the stone look amazing?!??!  I absolutely love it.  Of course, the ceiling still needs painted, and we’re going to run some trim between the stone and the wood, but overall the kitchen is now pretty well set, and I am a super happy camper!!!

 

So now we are up to this weekend, and a very busy weekend it has been!  Saturday was perfect weather in every way – topped out in the low 70’s, the sun was shining, a gentle breeze – just perfect.  We knew we wanted to be working out in it, so we hit up Lowe’s and Wilson’s Greenhouse in Newark first thing in the morning.

Back home, we set to work on the side garden yet again.  I continued to work on the mulch/weeding situation, while Tom began to work on setting a couple of small paths through the garden.

Even though this area is on the north side of our house, it’s actually in the sun most of the day.  So much of this garden will hopefully be herbs.  We’re also planning a small pond, and, where you can see the wooden platform in the next picture, a pump.  There’s an old cistern underneath the platform (actually, under about a third of the garden) that is probably there from the days when our barn sat where our house is.  At that time, the barn belonged to the huge brick house on the corner, and the roofs for both buildings drained into the cistern.

When the barn was moved, somehow someone ran the new downspouts from our house into that same cistern.  We’re planning to put in a hand pump and use the water for gardens and whatnot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The side garden has a lot of ground ivy, aka Creeping Charlie.  I spent a great deal of time digging out the roots yesterday, but I’ve no doubt that much of it will still return.

There have been a lot of challenges surrounding this little area.  In the lefthand side of the picture you can see a couple of evergreen shrubs.  These shrubs were basically the entire garden last year, with some hibiscus thrown in for fun.  At some point in this garden’s lifetime, someone thought it would be a good idea to put down some burlap fabric and then mulch over it.  This would have been find, except that was probably ten years ago, and now there is about 3″ of soil over top of the burlap.  We pulled out yards of it last year, and I’m still digging it out this year.  Good times, good times.

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Anyway.  So I really wanted a couple of narrow paths through the garden, both for practical use and aesthetic.  We didn’t have any spare brick laying around, but we did have these square pavers.  I think the previous owners must have gotten a good deal on these pavers, because they are all over the place.  As is, they are bit a larger than what I had in mind for the path (and they don’t do turns very well), but Tom was pretty confident that he could use a chisel and split them into individual bricks – and he did!

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Ta-da!  Aren’t they perfect??  To just hold one it’s obvious that it’s not a “real” brick, as they’re someone chipped/irregular along the edges, but in the pathway, with dirt between them, they flow very well and I am super stoked!!!!

And no, to answer your question, we did not install this walkway the “right” way.  No sand, no leveling…  Tom just raked away the loose stuff and stuck them down in there, and then tamped dirt back in between them.  We will probably have to go back and do it a bit better at a later date, but for now they’re there enough that I can plant around them and keep things moving in this area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gah, aren’t they perfect??  I love them!

Where the right-hand path ends is roughly where the little pond will someday end up, so it should tie in with whatever brick/stone ends up around that project.

Yay!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Our other big project this weekend – installing an orchard!  We bought four trees yesterday and four more today, and we still have room for two more!!

We really wanted to get them planted as it started raining this afternoon and is supposed to keep raining through tomorrow evening, and it’s always nice to give them a good soaking right off the bat.

Tom did most of the heavy work for this project (surprise, surprise), but I’m good at things like holding trees steady while dirt gets shoveled around them.

 

 

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With all this outdoor activity, I was kind of glad when the rain moved in so I could try to get it all caught up in my gardening journal.  I started this journal the first spring Tom and I were married (2011), which, incidentally, is the first spring I had my own gardens!  I keep the journal in a composition  book – they’re great for projects where you want to tape/glue things to the pages.  Because the pages are sewn together, you can really stuff the books full without them falling apart!

As you can see, I love to keep all the tags from all my plants and put them in the book.  This allows me to reference back to them so I can easily see which plants have died.  (Did I mention that I’m actually a terrible gardener??)

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For me, the easiest way is to rough out where things are going, number where stuff is planted, and then number the tags in the book.

Even though I’m the daughter of an engineer, I’m not super good at drawing stuff, but Dad has always told me that any drawing can be considered correct as long as I note that it is “not to scale.”  😀

(Note: the flower tags on this page match numbers for the side garden sketch, not the sketch above, just in case you were trying to put them together!)

Anyway, on the map, numbers 1-10 are our fruit trees (well, 7 and 10 are still just fruit tree slots).  12-17 are still in the planning stages, but will probably be various fruit shrubs (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), and hopefully some hazelnut bushes.  17 will probably be vegetable gardens (although I think we’re legit holding off on veggies until next year… so labor-intensive!), and I think we’re going to try to plant English walnuts behind the chicken yard (13, top of the page).

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For now, we’ve planted two pears, two plums, three apples, and one (self-pollinating) peach.  We’ll probably get one more peach and one more apple, but who knows??

We will see what takes…  Lowe’s has a one-year guarantee, and you can bet that this girl is saving her receipts!

 

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We got a few more things planted in the side garden before the rain as well, including this Japanese maple.  Tom really loves these (actually, he bought two, different varieties), so he was really excited about getting them into the landscape.

So that’s the big update – it’s been a busy couple of weeks, and we still have plenty in our heads we’re trying to get done!  I’ll try to keep everyone posted…

 

Kitchen Renovation {part II: the ongoing saga}

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When I posted on Monday, we had made a lot of progress in our attempt to completely remodel the entire kitchen, which included, as you may recall, knocking down two walls, replacing/expanding the current cabinet/counters, and adding a breakfast bar.

Pop has been hard at work this week, but it’s been that kind of progress that is a bit hard to see, because it’s those small, aggravating, time-consuming, painstaking details that have to happen before the interesting stuff can go.

On Monday, I was super stoked because my sink finally arrived!!!  I went with a white, one-basin sink and it is huge – 33″x 22″ x 9″.  I am so excited about this sink.  I love everything about it.  We also got a faucet with a tall swan neck, so there should be plenty of clearance.

Isn't it beautiful?!?

Isn’t it beautiful?!?

Of course, part of my excitement may be due to the fact that I am way over washing dishes in the bathroom.

A rather small sink for the purpose.

A rather small sink for the purpose.

Still, eye on the prize, right?  And the new kitchen + sink is going to be fantastic, so it’s well worth the temporary inconvenience.

Throughout the week, Pop worked on installing the sink’s vent pipe, leveling cabinets, and building the half-wall that both cabinets and the breakfast bar are attached to.  Yesterday, he finished leveling and installing the plywood base for our countertops.

The leveling process can be a bit challenging when your floors are quite wobbly.

The leveling process can be a bit challenging when your floors are quite wobbly.

Not only has he had to work around the natural slope of the floors due to it being an old house that has settled, we also have the fun of a giant floor hinge (which you can see to the bottom left) that runs right through the middle of the cabinet stack.  (The floor hinge, incidentally, is because this particular double-wide arrived folded up!)

Coming along!

Coming along!

By last night, though, all the cabinets and countertops were level and ready to go.

The big plan for the countertops is to cover them with counter laminate, which we bought in sheets from Menard’s.  Originally, that wasn’t supposed to arrive until next weekend, but it’s already here, which means it should get installed today!

Tom and Pop are already hard at work today, and hopefully by the end of the weekend I’ll have a lot more progress to report!

Kitchen Renovation {so excite}

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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:

Magic!

Magic!

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.

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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!

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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!