Thursday, April 26, 2012

Top 5 Rules of Renovating

Top 5 Rules of Renovating:

1. Be prepared.  This isn't just a good Boy Scout motto folks.  Around here, it's known as the renovating motto.  If you plan on renovating, ESPECIALLY a house over 100 years old, prepare yourself.  You will see things that will absolutely blow your mind.

Like the middle "beam" of our roof that is supporting our entire house.

2. Don't panic.  You will most likely reach a point where your mind is screaming "STOPPPP!!!" or "WHAT ON EARTH HAVE I DONE?"  Do not panic.  Have faith in your vision.

 3. Find a contractor you trust.  There's a good chance you're not going to know the first thing about removing a roof.  Or whatever you are doing.  Knowing your contractor is not going to lead you astray or take the longest route to the end product is a good feeling.

4.  Remember you have to WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE.  I keep reminding myself that if I take a picture of Jennifer Aniston into the beauty salon and ask them to make me look like her, they will say "oh suuuurrreee I can do that."  Then I leave still looking like me.  Just with hair slightly similar to a style she once had....

5.  Double your budget just to be safe.  The joy of renovating is that you will most likely run into problems as you peel each layer away.  Like a rotten porch that is just casually leaning against your house waiting for your children to take one good swing on the porch swing and just give out.

I'm reminding myself of all these rules this week as we prepare for Walk-Man's birthday party!  It's a baseball party and we are ready for a fun weekend.  There are dumpsters at baseball fields, right?  At least we'll give everyone a good authentic experience....  :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Here we go!

Sorry for the poor quality of the iPhone pictures!! We are busy as bees, but I wanted to share a picture of our own little stairway to Heaven!  

Construction is in full swing!

I really really really hope it doesn't rain.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh, what a week!

Sorry about taking last week off and not posting!! It was eventful to say the least!  The other kiddo I watch was on vacation with his family all week, so we used the time to run errands and do stuff away from home since I normally can't leave the house!  (Not enough room in my car!!)  On Wednesday, Walker went to the cardiologist for a check up after a 4 month stretch!  I was very nervous to say the least!!  But, he got a GREAT report, and was cleared for another 6 months!!! WOOHOO!!!  Nothing better than a good report from the cardiologist!!  Except for maybe not having to see a cardiologist in the first place....THAT would indeed be better.  But, alas, my baby is healthy and that is what we focus on.  As luck would have it, we only got 1 day to celebrate the good news before we were back at the doctor again.  Only this time it wasn't for Walker!  Miss Audrey was "accidentally" jumping on the couch Thursday evening after dinner when I heard her scream.  I ran in and she was holding her wrist and crying pretty bad.  It looked ok, and wasn't bruised or swollen.  She could move it and wiggle her fingers.  She was very clingy and tired and just wanted to go to sleep.  A couple hours later, she was still crying in between dozing off.  I knew she was hurt and called my mom to come watch Walker.  We took her to urgent care and would you believe that poor baby broke BOTH bones in her wrist!!??!  It was just pitiful!! She was pretty upset, but they let me hold her on my lap during the X-rays which helped a lot.  They put her in a splint and the next morning we were off to the Orthopedic for a cast.  

In her splint the night it happened.

Looking extra pitiful in her new cast.  She can turn this face on in no time flat.  She's definitely mastered the "feel bad for me and buy me ice-cream" face.

Saturday we took the kids to Toy Story 3 on ice and had a great time!  It was nice to treat our girl to something extra fun so we could forget about the big ol' hard cast that she keeps asking me politely to take off.

In other news, the backside of our house is almost completely done as far as the roof goes! Dad is roofin' like a pro!  As I type, my head is already pounding a bit from the constant banging of a sledge hammer upstairs as they knock the walls out through the roof making way for the dormer!  Ahhhh, the sweet sounds of construction!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Powder Room

Hellllooo!  (I always hear Mrs. Doubtfire in that high pitched voice when I type that "Hellllooo!!!")  Ok, moving on.  I hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend!  I apologize for the lack of posts-it always takes me several days to recover after a holiday for some reason!  Our roofing project is underway and it is looking GREAT!!  It is really amazing what a new roof does for the look of your home!  My dad and his helper have been hard at work since Monday and after watching them for a few minutes here and there, I can once again say I am glad I am not involved in this project!! They are exhausted by the end of the day and I can't blame them.  I don't think I'd last more than an hour up there.  The dormer project starts today!! The contractor should be here in about an hour!  He was supposed to start a couple weeks ago, but he got held up at another job and we wanted to wait for this specific guy.  The windows should be done in another few weeks!!  I have been taking pictures of what I can without getting in the way, and I'll share those in another post.  Today, I wanted to show you our 1/2 bath, or the "Powder Room" as we say in this house.  My mom always called it the powder room growing up, so that has stuck.  This house had 2 bathrooms when we bought it, but as we were reworking Audrey's bath under the staircase, I realized how much wasted space we were going to have under the steps!  I considered a linen closet, but decided I would rather have a 1/2 bath.  Maybe it was because we had so many random people in and out doing construction, but I just wasn't thrilled at the thought of everyone having to go in our room or Audrey's room to use the bathroom.  I like the idea of a "guest bath."  I'm going to say "oh, it wasn't hard at all!!! It was SO easy!  Absolute breeze!"  But, you can probably guess how much I had to do with it.... :)  In all honesty, we just had a hole cut out and then the framer threw up some short little walls.  Since it is under the staircase, the ceiling is a low, slanted ceiling, but we were able to get it high enough that it is comfortable and everyone fits! :)  Here are a few pictures!

 My mom and I found this vanity at a consignment store before the bathroom was even framed!  We loved it and thought it was perfect, so we bought it and prayed the whole way home it would fit in there since the store wouldn't take it back! Haha!  It sat in her living room for a few weeks before the room was done and we could move it in!  Like a glove!!  (Ace Ventura, anyone?)

So that's our itty bitty powder room.  1/2 bath.  Guest bath.  Hall bath.  Do you have one?  What do you call it???

Friday, April 6, 2012

Our Dining Room

Well I told ya our dining room looks a little different now since we added our beloved Craig's List hutch, so here is how it looks today!  I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!!

Couldn't get my little buddy to stay out of the pictures! :)  He kept crawling back over to that chair!

This is the little hallway beside our dining room

Notice the 2 columns I told you about yesterday.  They had to be there to bear the weight of the walls since we took so many walls down!

As you can see, I don't like too much on the walls.  I've never been someone who likes a ton of stuff everywhere when it comes to decorating.  Just simple, meaningful pieces.  We love our great state, and just adore these plates.

Ben and I bought this picture of Charleston when we were down visiting for the weekend several years ago.  Who knew Charleston would come to be such a meaningful place for our family!  (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can read about Walker here.  We've spent quite a bit of time in Charleston over the last year!)

Love this piece.  My mom got it for us when we bought this house.  Ignore how things are just thrown around on top!

Can't wait til I have babies lined up down this bench......  :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ok, I got the feeling some of you didn't care for my April Fools Day post??  Heehee!!  As I said before, we are not going ANYWHERE!!  I thought I would finally show you our dining room today!  But first, a little tour of the dining area when we bought the house! I've had a few people tell me they would love to renovate but don't really know where to start or how to go about changing the rooms around.  You can honestly do just about anything you want, as long as you always keep in mind which walls are "load bearing" walls.  You don't want to just go knockin on something that is holding up your ceiling if you get my drift.  As far as the layout of our house, we did most of our "room changes" in the back of the house where the kitchen/dining room/laundry/sunroom are.  Ben and I both like open floor plans more than lots of smaller closed off rooms.  Chances are, if you buy an old house, you're going to get lots of rooms, rather than big open spaces.  Some of you may love that.  I personally like to be able to see my little rug-rats from where ever I may be standing! :)  
Here is the dining room when we bought the house.  The room with the windows is the sunroom, and the kitchen is directly on the other side of the fireplace wall.  We knew immediately we would take these 2 walls down.  Both of the walls you see in this picture are gone.  We saved the glass doors (we used them in the study!) and saved the mantel as well.  I may make a headboard out of it one day.

This is the other side of the dining room before if you are standing in the sunroom.  That little room with the concrete floor is now my master bathroom!  We took both of these walls down too.  The door beside the fireplace went to the kitchen.

Here's Ben and his buddies doing some of the demolition.  Keep in mind we checked with a framer first so be sure it was ok to take the walls down!! We knew we were going to need a couple columns to bear the weight after we took the walls down.  The thick wooden beam you see in the right of this picture is the beginning of a column!  Behind all of the sheetrock in the house were walls of wood paneling.  Made it extra hard to get the walls down!

Sorry for the quality of some of the pictures.  Half of them are cell phone pictures!

Notice the floors as well!  There was a brick fireplace in the dining room that went all the way up through the roof!!  My dad and a couple other guys had to stand at the top of the chimney and knock them down, brick by brick.  They were absolutely filthy!!  That led to a giant hole in the floor, and then uneven floors.  The guys spent days breaking all that concrete and scraping layer after layer of floor until we had somewhat level floors!

Here's a better picture of the hole from the fireplace.

Things are starting to open up!!

Here are a couple TERRIBLE pictures of the chimney removal.  That hole goes all the way up people!!!

After all the demolition was done, the floor was rebuilt to be nice and strong.  This is how it looked when we moved in!  Again, the vertical wooden beam is now a nice column.

Here is a shot of the other column.  We had to put one on each side of the dining room, where we removed the walls.  The framed wall you see behind it is the new wall separating our bathroom from the dining room hall.

Finally, the walls were sanded and patched, the ceilings were scraped, smoothed, and painted, and we eventually got floors!!  Then came the fun part of painting the walls and decorating!  The dining room was the first room I put together.  The first week we moved in was absolutely crazy.  We had no floors, no countertops, no sink or any kitchen appliances, and a very dusty house!!  I was so excited to get in the house, I didn't even care!!  Every morning, Ben got up and went to work, and I would put on my tennis shoes and junky clothes and get to work.  I unpacked and cleaned for hours and hours and hours.  I finally cleared the dining room and had my dad paint the wall behind the table our accent color.  We set up the table and I decorated the best I could with the accessories that had been unpacked.  I think the dining room is such an important room in the house.  (Or the kitchen-I just mean where ever your family eats dinner.)  I grew up eating family dinners together around the table every night, and we are keeping with that tradition in this home.  Here is an old picture of the dining room.

Our table came from Southeastern Salvage and was a Christmas gift from my parents.  It's one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the entire house.  I searched lots and lots of furniture stores looking for the perfect table for my family.  I had a vision of what I wanted in my head...and this was it!  I love the distressed wood and how imperfect it is.  It sounds crazy, but I actually got excited when I was wiping the table one day and saw the very first scratch that we had somehow put across the top.  I LOVE old tables that you can just look at and FEEL the history in them from years and years of family dinners, with kiddos packed around it, and dishes being passed.  I wanted a table that will last forever.  When I'm old and gray and see all the scratches and dents, the memories will flood my mind and make me remember the most important moments spent with my family.  Couches, beds, and dressers will be replaced over the years, but not this table.  This is where we share our day with each other and hold hands to thank God for the food that sits in front of us.  Audrey gets so excited for our family dinners that she won't even eat if Ben is late getting home.  She makes us all wait until daddy can be home to eat "all together."  The chairs actually came from a different store!  I hated the ones that were with the table, and didn't buy them!  These came from World Market, and were just what I had in mind!  I got the farmhouse bench there as well.  I knew I wanted a bench from the time I saw the table!

The blue walls are Sherwin Williams "Rain" and the accent wall is "Sandtrap."  It is a close match to my kitchen cabinets, which are directly across the room from the wall.

My light came from Modern Lighting, and was one of the last light fixtures I chose.  It is in our favorite finish, Oil Rubbed Bronze. (Actually, I think the light store called it "Kentucky Bronze," but it's the same as oil rubbed or venetian bronze.  Same color, lots of names.)

So that's our dining room!  We spend lots and lots of time in here, and I'm so happy with how open it all turned out.  Things actually look a bit different in there today, as we have added the hutch and changed the decorations a bit.  But, since this post is a million years long, I'll save those pictures for tomorrow!  Thanks for looking!