Thursday, December 31, 2009

A little poetic license

'Twas the night before New Years
and from the roof to the door mats
Not a creature was stirring,
we exterminated the bats!

Three cans of Great Stuff were piled in a hill,
A sign more holes in the house had been filled.

The canoe was hung from the rafters with care,
in hopes a spring thaw would soon be here.

The Beechnuts were nestled snug in their beds,
while visions of a new sandbox danced in their heads.

So I laid down my hammer and Jeff quieted the chop-saw.
There will be more to do next year,
So, Happy New Year's to All!

We wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe new year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

One day early

Winter arrived a day earlier than the calendar said it would. We spent the day sledding and drinking hot chocolate.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2009

May I take your coat?

The mudroom is mostly finished!
Here's the before shot, to refresh your memory:

And here's the much improved, filled with conveniences, now with storage, after photos:

Jeff finished the bench this morning, and if you look closely, you will notice how out-of-level the floor is. The bench is 100% level, the floor slopes about 1.5 inches.

The walls were painted Sherwin William Shagreen and trim was painted with (leftover) Benjamin Moore Decorator's White.

The hooks came from Lowes and the cabinets are the Expedit and the bookshelves are the Besta from Ikea.

We aren't sure if we'll add another bench, or just put some spare chairs to use in the other space.
I want to add a clothes hanger for drying mittens and snowsuits, a mirror, and a key-holder, but for now, its usable and lit!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mudroom: Ready for paint

The mudroom walls have been plastered and a coat of primer applied. Ceinling was painted so we could finish the lights.

Now, for the paint. I read this article about the Best Green Paint but when we got the paint chip it seemed a little dark, so we're going with the color above it on the strip. Sherwin Williams Shagreen is the color we will be applying to the walls this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed that it works out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Guest Room, Before

Here's a "Before" photo of our tiny guest room.

I recently rotated the bed to have the head under the window and the foot toward the door, which has opened the room up. Previously the head was against the wall on the right. Its amazing how a simple thing like a 90 degree rotation of large furniture can change a room.

I want the room to look like this, minus the twin beds:
photo from Domino magazine

The room needs a headboard, new curtains and wall sconces. Little Green Notebook posted an interesting tutorial for roman shades, reusing the old metal blinds installed by the previous owners.

It also needs some new furniture. I have plans for a bedside table with outlets so guests can charge their cell phones, and a small dresser with space underneath for suitcases. I am hoping to find something existing among the stuff in our basement that can be reused.

And, a new coat of paint is obviously in order. I hope to get this room in order before Christmas, when we have family coming to visit. Once again, I learn that I don't do anything without a deadline!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mudroom Update

The wall hangers came and hung the walls. This photo is from the back of the basement, looking toward the walk-out. Jeff hooked up all the recessed lighting and did the framing and strapping before he ran out of energy and called in a pro to put up the wall board.
Now its really, really time to design the mudroom.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Autumn in New England

Here's a photo of our house taken today. You can see the Copper Beech above back of the house. I have to admit, I won the battle this year and the heat was turned on about a week ago. You can see winter is on its way.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 19, 2009

In over your head, Part 2

We met with the realtor to view the house down the street.

First Floor bathroom had a burst pipe recently and it was patched. We had to do the same thing in our house.Gross old bathrooms in desperate need of updating

Nice tall ceilings, pumpkin pine flooring, large moldings:
Reading nook with arched windows
Large windows with lots of light.

What I didn't get photos of: Extensive water damage, termite damage, leaking pipes with rust and corrosion, and the icing on the cake: a bulging leaning foundation.

So. I guess that's that. We'd be in over our heads.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to tell when you'd be in over your head?

There is a house for sale a few doors down. We've had our eye on the house because 1) we're suckers for houses that look like they need love and 2)It has lot that's double the size of ours.

This house has a lovely double tombstone door and it looks inviting enough from across the street.

But when you notice plants growing up and out the side

The sagging porches

with the bees flying from a hole in the siding

The snow fence left over from the garage/barn that imploded last winter during a heavy snowstorm

It makes you think twice.

The yard, currently overgrown and not level, has potential. I hate to say the house is a knock-down but I highly doubt there would be much worth saving, since I know there is at least 1 window that's been busted for over 3 years and its been a rental for more than 5 years.

I am waiting for a return call from the realtor, hoping a tour will push me off the fence. I'm just not sure which side of the fence I'll be happy to land on!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Come to the light...

I have been searching for the perfect set of wall sconces to flank the bed in the guest room and the search was over when I saw these from 1st dibs posted on Maison21.

I wonder how you turn them on?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Be our guest, be our guest

The Smallest-Guest-Room-In-The-World needs a makeover. This room has gorgeous pumpkin pine floors, which only appear in 1 other room in the house, but the room is so small I feel pangs of guilt every time I make someone stay in there. If it had a new coat of paint and some atmosphere, I wouldn't feel so badly about treating my house guests like sardines.

I looked through old Domino Magazines for inspiration.

Do you think its true that a bold color would make it feel larger? I think a dark blue like this would make people sleep better, but I'm not sure it would really feel any larger.

I love the gray upholstered headboard and the nail-head trim that is everywhere now. This blue on the wall seems cheerful too.
I love these twin beds in gray with the matching curtain, but I don't know about the Bone White paint on the walls. It just looks dingy to me.

I'll post a "before" picture as soon as I find one that isn't too hideous.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What a strapping guy!

The strapping is up on the basement ceiling and the lights have been temporarily placed. Yes, we know they're upside down, we just want to make sure we have enough lights in the right areas.

Its almost time to really design the mudroom area of the basement. Time to figure out Google Sketchup...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fancy New Heat Pipes!

When adding new walls to the mudroom, we had to re-route the heat pipes to be inside new the walls. I'm sure the proximity of the heating pipes to the outside walls are part of our heat problems anyway.

To do this we used PEX piping (orange pipes in the above photo) and to avoid having to buy the 100$ crimping tool, we used SHARKBITE push fittings.

We also use the WATTS push fittings since SHARKBITE doesn't have a 45 degree.
after it was all hooked up, we fired up the boiler. Of course, the pipes didn't get hot. We needed to bleed the system first.

About 20 - 5 gallon buckets later, the air was purged from the system and the water ( and heat ) was flowing. Don't worry though, Jeff promptly shut off the heat and it will remain off until Novemeber.

Next up: Strapping the Ceiling! Will the fun ever stop?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The spoils from Brimfield

Brimfield is filled with stuff. Good stuff, crappy stuff, and sometimes stuff I'm actually looking for that I'm willing to buy from someone who was really nice.

I went to Brimfield in May and scored this cabinet on my way out of J&J's field after a "Maybe just 1 more pass down this aisle".

I spoke with the man and his wife who were selling it for quite a while, and I think they gave me a good deal, and he helped me load it into the truck.

I didn't have the guts to pull an Eddie Ross and paint the whole thing. But I did like the way this looked:

So I just painted the inside with BM Decorators White in a Semi-gloss leftover from the kitchen paint job.

And moved it up to the little nook in the living room. I love the height it adds to the room, photos of which will be coming any month now.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A man's vacation home is his castle

This is the Castle on Sebec Lake in Maine. When we visit our friends there, the kids love boating past it. Everyone is looking for a glimpse of either Cinderella or Malificent, and it really makes you wonder what life would be like if one were royalty.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dogtown Commons

We took advantage of the sunny weather in July to walk/picnic at Dogtown Commons near Gloucester, MA. Dogtown is an abandoned settlement on Cape Ann that dates back to the 1730s. We had a great day checking out the wisdom from Mr. Babson carved into the boulders, and I recommend reading The Last Days of Dogtown, by Anita Diamant.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mud Room progress

Jeff has been tackling this project in his spare time, and I wanted to share some of the progress as he turns the basement into a finished mudroom.

We started with the cold room, which was insulated with Icyene last spring.

Jeff then framed out this wall.

That's as far as we've gotten.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mud Room

Our house is missing a foyer. No mudroom, no coatroom, no "keep the detritus contained" room.
We are sick of tripping over the pile of shoes that accumulate, even though we have a nice shoe rack, and we determined we needed a mudroom. Looking to the walk-out (or in our case, walk-in) basement, we found a place to build a mud room.

The goals are simple:
1. Look stunning
2. While containing all our clutter

Here's where I looked for inspiration.

I like the varying heights of the shelves, good for the vertically-challenged in our house:

The retractable closeline in this photo is brilliant. Perfect for snowpants and mittens after sledding or raincoats after playing in the monsoon:

I like the upper cabinets here to keep everything out of sight. Since our basement has a low ceiling, this is out, but I can still dream...
This is pretty much what I want to end up with:
An open locker for everyone with a bench for sitting while you slip on your shoes, and an open hole for the inevitable pile of shoes. All this while looking good!
All photos from

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer o' Fun!

We bought the Beechnuts a swingset for their upcoming birthdays, and to prepare for its delivery, we had to make a level spot in our tiny, sloping yard.

Jeff dug the trenches and used the laser-level to create a platform out of 4x4's.

I ordered the mulch and then did the research in true "Ready, Fire, Aim" fashion, and discovered some people bed their playground areas with pea gravel. Yes. Rocks. Doesn't that seem mean? Our kids are accident prone so even though we are surrounded by termites, I felt that the mulch might reduce the number of hours spent pinning down a crying child to apply neosporin and band-aids. (Sorry Dad, I went with the wood mulch.)

Swingset installed! Begin Summer o' Fun!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Baking for 1

The newest Beechnut has turned 1! To celebrate, I baked a rainbow cake just for the birthday girl. I'm sure Martha Stewart would fail me on the final presentation, but all the children at the party approved of the cake!

The cake recipe came from this site, found through Tastespotting. It was pretty simple to make and the kids went nuts when they saw the inside. I also made cupcakes using the same method and they were pretty popular.

Happy Birthday, Beechnut2! We love you!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Before & After: Dining Room

The kitchen remodel has caused an avalanche. A big slow avalanche that takes 12 months to make any real progress. The red paint in the Dining Room was giving me anxiety when compared with the new beige-y paint in the kitchen.

Here is the "Before" Dining Room in the least flattering photo I could find:

When I realized the Beechnuts and I had plans to be away for a few days, I bought the primer and paint for Jeff to tackle the painting in our absence. As soon as we left, Jeff stared at the paint cans, reached for the phone, and booked a painter to do the work.

The blue-gray of C2 Melodic makes the room feel much larger and airy, which is exactly the feeling I wanted. I hadn't realized how the former red paint was so overwhelming until it was gone.

We moved the map to be centered with the room, not the section of wall. Now it is centered with the chandelier and the dining room table.

The buffet came from our friend's parents who didn't want it anymore.

I unpacked some long-forgotten china and silver.

I bought the fabric for the chairs in the Pottery Barn Bettina fabric to match the curtains (bought on sale).

I think the rug should be different, but I'll live with it for now.
A painting on-loan from my sister in London gets a more prominent position in the house.

I love the pattern in the curtains and chairs, I think it makes the table that once belonged to my grandmother feel young. Well, younger!


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