things are progressing nicely here in the land of porch renovations. we have a rhythm going; one that is mostly prime, sand, and repeat. its not the glamorous part, but its the part that pays off most when the real paint goes down. but we’ve slogged it out and its time to to paint our porch floor and trim a lovely new shade. (oh and put down the new quarter round trim, a step we would love to forget;) but first some pics from the previous weekend…
a word on oil paint, its just the grossest. we opted for an oil based exterior primer so that we would have a really durable base but golly i hated every second of it. since we would be sanding after every coat we opted to for cheap-o brushes and rollers that we could just throw away once we were done. a decision that i do not regret and highly recommend. in happier painting news, we finished the front door!!! I’ll save the big reveal for later but you get a taste of it below. the purple turned out amazing (this pic does not do it justice!!) and we are now planning on accessorizing our door a bit to make even more regal.
the clock really is ticking to wrap things up. soon enough it will be too cold out to paint and we will not spend the winter with just a primed porch. we will not! (i think that should be our new mantra)
we actually started to really work on our porch makeover at the end of august. you would think that we were replacing something structural or expanding the space since we’re still working on it but no, mostly we’ve been going to weddings and drinking a bunch. it happens, we’ve all been there. and in reality our focus on the front porch began way back in the beginning of the year. my parents gifted us with these new house numbers last christmas and when went to remove the old numbers we were forced to face how badly the whole thing needed a paint job. we also though it was time to remove the security door, and man that left some major areas in the trim that needed to fixed… it was clearly time to redo the porch. we’re kicking things off with the pics from a few months ago and we will post part 2 next week (who knows this may even be a 3 parter)
once we got the security door off (trickier than it seems, which i am guessing is what one wants in that sort of thing) the next thing we did was to start scraping and sanding the paint off of the trim around the door. this took longer than we would have liked but there were many ancient layers under there. next, i chiseled out the major gouges in the door so that they would be even and ready to be patched with new wood. once that was done (and we attacked the many screw holes in the trim with filler) it was time to move onto the actual door. the wood door behind the security door was perfectly fine and perfectly boring. i mean we have a white house, we don’t have any use for a boring door. so we started talking color and we knew we wanted to go bold. we tossed around a few options but we landed in the wonderful world of purple. there is so many ways to go with that color but landed on a shade with a lot of blue in the base. (though it may not have ended up blue enough for nick) we can’t wait to reveal the progress on that in our next post.
next we got down to the business of sanding down the porch floor, and by we, i mean nick. we rented a drum sander for the day (we used it in our bedroom too, more on that coming soon) and got to it. besides the fact they are very heavy and not fun to carry up our front step, drum sanders are super fast and effective. later we decided to rip out the quarter round trim around the baseboards, it was in really rough shape and not worth saving. this weekend we were finally able to get a first coat of primer on floor and baseboards. i can’t wait to share the next batch of pictures of where things stand now, believe me a purple door is worth waiting for.
oh hey there, its been 3 months since we have posted here. how did that happen? we know that there is nothing more boring than people yammering on about how busy they are but its just the truth. i wish it was that we are just too busy making progress on that house to even stop to blog about it, but that’s not exactly case. we have been getting little things done here and there but sadly its our work schedules that are getting in the way of all the fun. we do have some pictures of the finished (!) breakfast nook to share with you. as with most projects it was those little final touches that seem to drag on forever and this was no exception. this project took far longer to complete than we ever could have imagined, but it was well worth the wait. we haven’t had the opportunity to host series of fabulous brunches for four yet, but we talk about it all the time.
reinstalling the windows and the window trim in the nook had a wow factor that we hadn’t anticipated. striping the windows followed by priming, staining, painting, replacing broken window panes, glazing said window panes, etc. was a bear of a project. we started to wonder whether or not all this effort was even worth it for two dumb windows. we were wrong, it was completely worth it. the only problem now is that all of the other windows in our house look like crap by comparison. hopefully we will remember all things that we learned in the process so that future window restorations will happen more efficiently, once were are silly enough to think its a good idea again.
getting the banquette panels to fit just right and then trim them out was also project that required a lot of our patience. i think i took the one on the right out four times to shave just a little more off until it was perfect-ish, after that we were in the home stretch and i can definitely say that we won’t be staining anymore wood for a while. what will be doing? painting- again! we are excited to start making some headway on our bedroom which will have us painting the walls and the trim. we have amassed quite a few furniture painting projects too, including a coffee table, side table, dresser, and a night stand (i don’t even want to think about all of the upholstery projects). there are also plans for sanding and painting our front porch and entryway (where the hell have the last six months gone?)
so wish us luck as we try to get back on course. we’ve already started on a post that updates the all of the non breakfast nook things we have been sneaking in here and there this summer. we will see you back here very very soon, for reals.
we’ve made it a whole year in this house. no one has died, there have only been a few tears or things thrown, and we can honestly say that this house is now a whole lot nicer than it was when we moved in. and of course we celebrated this with some champagne because we like excuses to drink champagne around this house.
we a made push the weekend before last to finish some things up around here before the year mark passed. one of those things was finally ridding the house of the gross carpets including our bedroom.(this is very last pile of carpet that will ever grace our front porch) as you may remember we kept them around to protect the floors while painting and speckling, getting rid of them has made a huge difference. the last coat of Benjamin Moore’s Wickham Gray went on and then up came the carpets! the resulting change from just one week earlier was startling. it has taken a week for us to feel like we even recognize our own hallway. (side note- color changing ceiling paint is amazing!) i couldn’t find a great before photo of the hallway (who would of thought we would need one) but the one below is a good enough to reminder of where we started with this project. there were still a few little details to finish up over the last week and a few more to go. we had to clean months worth of crap off of the lights, we still need a little touch up around the ceiling and radiator, plus a good polishing of all of the wood trim. nick can’t wait to start sanding down the floors in the hallway but i have put the kibosh on this until the nook is done. nothing else happens until the nook is finished and we should be crossing the finish line on that as you read this. that will be our next post no matter what!
so what do we have lined up for this year? well the list goes something like this: our bedroom is the next big indoor project in and that will be followed by the guest room. outside we will be sanding down both porches and repainting them. nick’s dad wants to cover the wood built in benches on the front porch that we exposed with a veneer of teak. exterior trim around the house and windows needs to be scraped and repainted. we have sweet talked my dad into putting installing a ceiling fan on our sun porch (we’re going to try to talk him into fixing up the lighting situation out there too). and planting, lots of new plants to start fresh after last spring’s excavation of the landscaping. hooray for the beginning of year two!!!
we have a deadline looming. In exactly two weeks we will have officially been in this house for one year. we will feel good about that no matter what but we feel great about it if the $#@!-ing hallway and the lovely breakfast nook are finished. these are both possibilities and we’re working hard to make it happen. where do things stand? well the hallway…its close. the walls and ceiling are completely patched and sanded. we are just about finished cleaning the paint off of the trim and then touching it up with stain. and after that its just priming, painting and ripping up the carpet, AKA the finish line. (until nick decides to sand the hallway floors, but that is his problem 😉 oh and the nook, our beautiful nook. it has become the incubator for future projects and it will all be worth it in a few weeks. this has become the first room where we have refinished the floors and the original trim. and now we are restoring the windows. the sash cords were broken and one of the windows had a sticker on it that was never coming off plus what’s the point of refinishing every bit of wood in the room but not the windows? after the windows go back in we still need to do some tinkering with the backs of the banquettes and reinstall the rest of the trim. 14 days to go and two big projects 90% done. we can do it ! (hopefully!)
winter is just not a great season for anything but binge watching TV (is everyone else watching The Great British Baking Show???) but we’re still trying to get a few things done around here and mostly its been little things. the kitchen has been a major recipient. we have added a chalkboard wall, a shelf above the radiator for cookbooks (and a christmas cactus that is looking a little sad actually), we wallpapered a wall of the pantry and spiffed up a vintage clock from my grandmother’s house. our kitchen is is our main target the next time a big power ball jackpot rolls around but in the meantime these changes have livened up the place a bit.
my dad came back around again in january to replace some more lights and switches for us. this time we placed the pendants in two of the closets, these were the original fixtures and my dad was super worried about them being a fire risk. they are not the sexiest new lights in our house but they function and my dad will sleep better at night. the pantry also got a new light that’s got a lot more visual interest. we ran out of time for a slightly odd desire i have, an outlet in the pantry. why an outlet in the pantry? because that is where i want to keep our new microwave. we intentionally picked out the smallest one on the market but i still think it takes up too much real estate on the counter. much to my happiness dad says this outlet is possible so hopefully we’ll tackle it in the spring.
other little bits and bobs- we added some support to the lovely marble shelf that nick’s mom gifted us with in the bathroom (it’s really classed up the joint). we’ve been on a bit organizing tear some many new little boxes have been purchased. and nick has taken on radiators as his new passion project. it began with us wanting to give a fresh coat of paint to the radiator in the nook and that result made the rest of the radiators look shabby and so it goes. he did one more in the dining room but i have vetoed the painting of anymore until it is warm enough to keep the windows open. in fact until we can keep the windows open we are going to try to continue lots and lots more little things!
we’re happily winding down the renovation of our breakfast nook and we’ll share the finale of that soon-ish. in the mean time i thought i would share our journey in figuring out what the hell to do with the back of our banquettes. when we moved in the banquettes were backed with a plastic-y material that was glued to the walls and was meant to simulate embossed wood. we knew that any makeover we endeavored in the nook would include replacing that crap with something awesome, but what? the first thought was wainscoting and then we thought we would try and find some real embossed wood (we failed) and then we came back to wainscoting. then we thought about upholstery but scrapped that knowing we wanted to do some bold wallpaper in that room (we may still do cushions for the benches). then we came back to wainscoting again and then it finally occurred to us while standing inside of lowes that we could use the paneling stock to create a patterned panels instead of just vertical.
we initially thought we would do a herringbone pattern but once we laid it out on the floor we realized that the tongue and groove of the individual slats would prevent the pattern from lining up perfectly. so we adjusted things slightly and realized that we could avoid that issue if we went with a chevron pattern instead. with the help of a trusty chop saw we got to work cutting down all of the panels and then figuring out to actually attach them to the sheets of plywood. the question was how to clamp down all of the pieces and how to do it without shifting the pattern?
the answer was painters tape and weights (and a paint can or two) it went basically like this: get an entire row of panels line up, tape them in place, flip the section over and apply the wood glue to the back, shift the section into place and then use hand weights, weight plates, or whatever you can get your hands on to evenly weigh things down. and then repeat, repeat, repeat. all of this moved along quickly enough with only one real hiccup. there turned out to be a roque package of wood that had a different sheen to it which of course i did not notice until it had been glued down and i had take a crow bar to the thing to fix it.
when all the cutting and gluing was done nick took over the project and began staining the finished panels and then polyurethaned them. i intentionally made the finished panels bigger than necessary so that once the benches are put back into place we can measure and cut them down to a custom fit. we are really pleased with how they have turned out so far and we are chomping at the bit to get the nook done to see the final product. in our heads this all going to come together beautifully, we shall see!
happy new year everyone! i started working on this post many weeks ago but the holiday craziness kept it on the back burner all this time. i look forward to writing more regular posts now that we’re here in the new year. so anyway, when my dad was finally done volunteering with young theater enthusiasts for the fall season he was free to go back to volunteering for us. we took full advantage of his freed up schedule and attacked the pile of light fixtures we had amassed. the to do list for this visit included new lights for the front porch, the breakfast nook, and three in the hallways as well as a new door bell and a timer for the porch light. we started with the porch light which we were so excited to finally see in action. we had a really hard time finding the one that felt just right but one day we were at salvage arts (inside community forklift) looked up and there it was.
the light was slightly over budget but we knew that it was the perfect choice and that nothing else would live up to this antique fixture. we were so so happy at the prospect of having a functional porch light again (the crapola one that came with house was broken) but we also though it would be nice to have it on a timer so when we got home at night it was already on for us. not even my dad was not sure if such a timer existed but we found one at home depot that fits right into the switch plate. (side note- this did become a bit of a debacle. there are two different models of the same brand of indoor timers at home depot. it appears on the box that the only difference between the two is that the more expensive one has a back-lit display. well it turns out that the cheaper model which we bought only works with incandescent and the more expensive one powers CFLs and LEDs. so when it did not work initially it was quite frustrating. i couldn’t figure out what the problem was until i read through the comments on the home depot product page. once we put in an incandescent bulb into the fixture it worked perfectly.)
we moved onto the doorbell next (another item that had not been working since since we moved in) we thought that we needed a new button and bell but we replaced the button and much to our surprise the original door bell to the house still worked! it needed some special spray to lubricate electrical devices to get it working properly but now the tone is lovely. we are so happy to be able to preserve this original feature to the house (i need to fabricate a new brass cover for it though, the original is no longer).
and then it was on to the new light fixture for the breakfast nook (an update on that project is coming soon!) we found this one at CB2 and it had been sitting there in the box waiting for this day for a while. this guy was easier to assemble than we thought and the installation was pretty easy breezy too. since installing the light it has gotten real dusty due to the all the work in that room. i am looking forward to getting it back to how it looked that day once we are done in there. the best part is there now one less brass chandelier in our house. progress!
all that was left then was the three new pendant lights from ikea. they were pretty tricky to photograph after they were installed so i also included a product image for these guys. when we moved in there was nothing but ugly glass/brass flush mount fixtures that were very blah. these pendant lights are likely closer to the original look of the house and do our high ceilings great justice. and that’s, that for this post. my dad is due back in a week to help us out with even more lights! lucky guy!
i first began this post weeks ago. thanksgiving has finally giving me a break long enough from the jewelry bench to get back to it, so happy thanksgiving! and we have begun the renovation of our breakfast nook. nick’s parents came down a month ago to help us get things started and generally turn the house into a dust monster. within minutes of his arrival jim had begun taking apart the built-ins so that they could be refinished.
one friend saw a picture on facebook and was a little concerned that maybe we were just getting rid of the original built-ins, trust me we aren’t those type of people. they are safely in pieces in our basement awaiting one more round of sanding along with our baseboards. removing the benches meant we could also finally remove the gross old plastic backing behind them. i think it was originally meant to give the appearance of embossed wood but, well, i doubt it ever looked that great. we whipped out the scrapers and discovered that our plans to wallpaper the room are not the first! we found a strip of old floral wallpaper that was probably very pretty when it was new.
once everything was removed the rest was sanded down to smooth out the walls. and speaking of the walls, they got pretty ripped up when the benches were removed and we discovered a damaged section under the table so we needed to some major repair work there. the new areas still need a bit more sanding but overall that task is finished. once complete we will prime the walls with a wallpaper primer. i am working away on new panels for the backs of the benches (post coming soon on that) and my dad installed a new light fixture in the nook (another forth coming post) so our to-do list is dwindling down. the majors items left are the installation of the beautiful new wallpaper and the built-ins and the baseboards. once they are in place they will need to be stained and poly-ed. we are very anxious to get this room finished (and hopefully before the end of the year) we miss our nook and look forward to enjoying the new and improved room!
Oh man do i wish we were heading into spring instead of winter right now but at least the front of our yard is. a few weekends ago we started on the next faze of turning what was a weedy wasteland and some poorly planned beds into a perennial garden. just as a refresher, when we moved in the front of our house “featured” two bricked in beds that were set in concrete and partly filled with bearded irises (great!) a half empty area (blah) and an ugly bush with a case of bagworms (gross!). soon after we moved in the bush was dug out and the now two empty spots were filled with annuals just to make it look a little less sad.
but now that the annuals were done for it was time to start digging and planning. we ordered a whole mess of bulbs (blues allium, white fringed tulips, and pink daffodils) and a few roots (pink peony, and oriental poppies) and got started. first i began digging up the irises which had become way too over crowded in the current beds and saved some of them to replant. then nick got the pleasure of pulling out the brick and concrete border which was as heavy and awkward to remove as it sounds. after that was done nick got to move on to the always thrilling task of using a tiller to break up all the weeds and soil that was left behind. then we raked and spread some topsoil to even things out.
we ran of daylight (and energy) so i had to wait a couple of days before I could get to work replanting the irises and planting the new bulbs . man, i did not realize that planting 75 bulbs at once would be so taxing. but we’re glad to have made some more progress in this area and can’t wait to get this coming winter over with so we can enjoy all of the new flowers. we still have a ways to go before this part of the landscaping becomes the wild yet elegant flower garden in our minds but here’s to baby steps!