Monday, June 17, 2013

spring cleaning

I know, I has been a while.  We've been pretty busy these past few months shoveling out of a few blizzards, managing busy work schedules, chasing around and having deep conversations with our two year old and, oh, having baby #2!  Since we're all settled back into our "normal" routine and come out of winter hibernation, I figured I could update the blog again.

As much as I hate cleaning, I love me some spring cleaning!  We can open the windows and let the stale winter air escape...rugs and drapes are hung outside to gain new life...the sun beams into the house to help us find those last traces of dust and cobwebs....

And in order to really let our house air out, we decided to take the roof off.

Yep, we finally got around to that 2nd floor renovation that we have been plotting out since we moved in.  We had hoped to get the construction started (and completed) before baby #2 arrived but we were forced to hold off due to weather, scheduling, and budget issues.  Luckily having two bedrooms on the main floor has given us the space we needed for the first two years in the house.  Since becoming a family of four, the need for the additional space was more apparent than ever!

Our upstairs consists of a full bathroom and two bedrooms.  Despite the generous floor space, the bedrooms were very cramped thanks to the classic roof lines of our cape-style house.

The bathroom had previously been dormered out a bit but it didn't extend all the way to the edge of the house and the ceiling was still pretty low.

In order to maximize the spaces, we are raising the peak of our house by a foot or two.  Raising the peak willl give us almost 8' ceilings in the back have of the upstairs.  Yay for us tall people being able to stand somewhere other than the center of the room without ducking! The full dormer will extend to the back wall of the house giving us about 5 more feet in all rooms.  Here is a sketch to demonstrate the increase in living space that the reno will allow...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

we're still here!

Yes, we are still alive and kicking!  It has been a wonderfully hectic summer!  We've been on a home-projects-hiatus while our bank accounts recoup from the kitchen reno and other small updates we made earlier this year.  We are hoping to start (and finish) a big project over the course of the next month or three which will involve adding a full dormer to the back of our house.  (Hence the need to tighten our boot strings and save up some green!)  We currently have two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs that we don't use.  Our bedroom and James's bedroom are both downstairs so we have yet to need the upstairs space.  That will all change at the beginning of 2013 when we will welcome baby #2.  (Yep, we have been busy bulking up our bank accounts AND my uterus.)  I hope to share updates and pics of our 2nd floor addition as it moves along!

We haven't completely ignored the homestead this summer though.  Between work, weekend getaways, 3 months of morning sickness, a new nephew and niece, and chasing around a rambunxious toddler, we have chipped away at a few things:

  • We finally got the windows replaced in our kitchen.  Aside from building a window seat, new windows were one of the last things on our kitchen-reno-to-do-list.  I'll try to find some time to upload some pics but they really brighten up the kitchen!

  • After getting a few trees removed, we proceeded to tend to our yard.  I have to admit, it looks like complete crap at the moment.  Our front yard was recently attacked by grubs and we spent last weekend pulling up dead grass and what seemed to be an endless colony of crab grass and other miscellanous weeds.  Joe sprayed the yard down with some evil stuff to kill anything we may have missed and we will try to plant new grass seed this week.  Here's hoping we'll once again see plush green grass in the Spring!

  • Along with de-weeding a lot of our yard, we trimmed back some of the unruly shrubs and planted fall flowers and other perennials that were previously in big planters on our back deck.  Hopefully the mums bloom soon and start to fill out the spaces where we cut back the other shrubs!  We also removed the rotting window boxes that were in front of our kitchen windows and replaced them with cheap plastic ones - that are surprisingly not too tacky!  We might build our own next year but, for now, these will do the trick.

  • We also switched out the lighting in our hallway.  There was previosuly a horrifying gold boob light that was begging to be tossed in the garbage.  We replaced it with a simple track lighting system that brings light down the entire hallway, instead of just in front of the first bedroom door.  I also hung several large picture frames in the hallway that are accented by the adjustable lights.  I have yet to put actual pictures in the frames but, c'mon, one thing at a time!  I mostly have solo shots of James and as much as I love that kid, it might look kind of weird to have 6 huge prints of his mug lining our hallway.  We're not the Kardashians.  Maybe we'll get some family shots during the holidays - or maybe I'll just wait until the new baby arrives.  Actually, I'd prefer to wait until after the new baby arrives AND my face de-swells back to its normal puffiness before I get family pictures printed.

  • I purchased a leather club chair that was super discounted on  We put the chair in the awkward corner next to the door that leads to our back deck.  It's a weird transition space that joins our living room, dining room, and kitchen so it always felt a little bare.  I had planned on putting a desk in that corner but I think I like the simplicity of the chair.  Right now it is just paired with a throw blanket, a small area rug, and a large basket to hold magazines, blankets, toys, etc. but I'm on the look out for a small end table to add to the space.

  • More large frames were also added to this corner above the new leather chair.  No, those ones aren't all empty too!  Well, 2 out of 3 of them are.  I managed to fill one frame with a little 10-minute little craft project I did while watching the Patriots game last weekend.  In short, I cut a "K" out of a diaper box and wrapped it in some fabric I had leftover from our living room curtains.  Toss that in a frame and voila...

  • During those same 10 crafty minutes, I wrangled together a new wreath for our front door.  This was just a plain wreath that I got on sale from Michaels for $4.  I also grabbed a few leaves and berries for about $1 and popped them into the wreath.  No glue or anything needed.  Easy peasy.  I should add that I saw similar pre-made wreaths like this for over $30.  That's just silly.

I think that just about covers what has been going on with our house since my last update.  No major renovations to report (yet) but sometimes that's a good thing!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

open shelving bandwagon

Shelley over at the House of Smiths is talking about the open shelving craze.  Head over to their page to check out some gorgeous ideas!  We transformed our kitchen earlier this year and are loving our open shelving!  Here is a quick before and after that shows how it really opened up our kitchen...

You can find more pictures of our finished kitchen over in our source list post!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

tree removal.

Our "tree guys" came this morning and removed two large trees from our yard...

See, you can barely tell that monstrosity was ever even there!

The tree removed from our front yard makes a much bigger impact...

It really opens everything up and makes the front seem so much larger...and also draws more attention to the fact that we have a lot more landscaping to do before it looks acceptable!

They did an amazing job and left no sign that they were even here - expect for the pile of wood chips they left for us in the front yard to use as mulch.

I wasn't here while the trees were removed so I was a little scared to come home from work and see the results.  We are definitely happy and relieved that we don't have to worry about either tree crushing our house every time the wind blows!