Wednesday, March 30, 2011

after photos: Bedroom 2

Better late than never, right? Here it is! Bedroom 2 after the first layer wrapped up last summer (!). There are a handful of remaining items on the to do list in here. A knob for the closet door might be nice, for instance. And we're still planning on ordering a snazzy new light fixture from Rejuvenation. The proper size of the light has been the big debate. I'll show you when we finally put one in, though!

Here's the view (above) as you first enter the room.

Then, scanning around the room clockwise. That one outlet cover is white because it's the one that will definitely be covered by a bed/crib. The rest are chrome.

The mirrored closet door is on the wall opposite the window. I really love that door.

I'm keeping this side of the door white, while the other side (hall side) will be black like the others. I just didn't want the strong black element in this room. This will be the nursery... eventually. That other white cover is a phone jack plate. Those didn't come in chrome :( But I think it will be covered in the long run by a rocking chair, anyway.

And back to the window - full circle!

This room is very light, bright, and tidy. I wish I could say that for the whole house, but, you know how that goes. I'm envisioning the nursery mostly white & neutral with pops of very bright, rainbowy colors. Cheerful and restful all at once.

For now, though, this room is a temporary bedroom for SweetP (age 10) and Shug (8.5). They're in here until we finish the first layer in the master bedroom and then in they're permanent bedroom (Bedroom 4). For now, Sam and I are packed into Bedroom 4 so we can get the master underway. Did ya catch all that? I told you we're shuffled around more than a herd of cattle around here!

It's all good, though. Hopefully, we'll wrap it all up before Baby (aka Peep) arrives in late September/ early October. Our babies sleep in a bassinet in our room until they sleep through the night or get to be around 3 months, anyway, so there will be time to get a nursery ready, even if it's not technically ready beforehand. In the next few months, we need to turn our attention to the master bedroom. And making this room a nice "temporary" bedroom for the girls. It's looking like they'll be here for at least another 5-6 months.

Thanks for all your super sweet comments, guys. They're always so fun to read :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

two big, exciting, wonderful announcements

Remember back before I decided to take my bloggy break? The bathroom plans we were making? Well, after much deliberation, it became sufficiently clear to us that Sam just was not going to have the time to remodel the bathroom this winter. Or this spring. We did some calculations and figured it would take 10 to 12 Friday night/ all day Saturday combos to get anywhere near done, and that was if he worked every single Saturday, all day long. Which, as you probably know, doesn't happen very easily. We do actually have things we do on Saturdays now and then besides house stuff.

Anyway, the long and short of it is we have excellent news for you. We've decided to hire out the work for the children's bathroom. "T", a gentleman from another area church, estimates he'll get the work done in about 10 or so days. He's done work for quite a few of our friends before, and his price was soooo good. Done deal, friends. Done deal! :)

I'm excited. Like, really excited. I have a bathtub, pedestal sink, toilet, and several smaller boxes of things like lighting, sink fixtures, etc. all waiting in the garage right now. Pumped! And, today...check it out :)

Crazy stuff, huh? They did all of that today while Sam was at work! He did come home at lunch to check a few things with them and to make sure a few bases were covered, but I'm so glad this whole project is off his shoulders. It seems like it will be nice for him to enjoy something new in the house without the stress and strain of DIY, for once. We can't afford to hire T for everything, but this project is certainly worth it!

The other big project I have to share with you will take much longer to complete. We're thinking at least another 5 and 1/2 months. It's by far our favorite kind, though. Here's a pic!

Our estimated completion date is September 27th :)

More soon!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

the woods - early spring 2011

Today, the high is supposed to reach all of 40 degrees. Hard to take when last weekend it was well into the 60s. But, such is life in the spring around here. It's a contant volley between the end of one season and the beginning of the next.

Last weekend was gorgeous, though. Saturday, especially, was just so lovely. It was just a tiny bit wet from recent rains, but not sopping. The perfect day to burn all of the bramble that had been drying out since Sam cut it down last fall.

And, happily, we've finally gotten to the point with this property that the children can play back here without fear of being impaled on rebarb or getting tangled in the masses and masses of age of old huneysuckle. (ooooooh, that honeysuckle!)

As an added bonus, the recent rain had left a decent amount of water in the "creek". So, it was a work day, but it was a play day, too. That's nice :)

I've tried to give you all an idea of our cuh-razy topography before, but it's sort of difficult to explain in words. Well, unless you use words like, "precipice", "hazardous", and "perilous".

Just kidding. It's not really that bad. It does have some pretty serious inclines and declines, though. Do you like my little drawing? On the left you have my depiction of the picture before this drawing - the cliff that leads from the backyard to the flat portion of the woods. The flat part is pretty big, really, but the kids think the incline going back up into the woods, after the "creek" (which is only there when we've had precipitation), is the best part.

These two squirrels are on the flat part of the woods in this photo. The creek is directly behind them and you can see the bottom of the trunk of the large tree I drew (Cottonwood) in the background. Yes, it's surrounded by honeysuckle. Does that help you orient yourself? Well, if you went up the incline that begins just after the creek and just to the right of that honeysuckle, you'd wind up gaining height rather quickly. After a short walk...

... you'd get to SweetP's lookout/house.

Here's the view from the edge of her little home. This gives a good idea of how up and down everything is. On a side note, our kids are relatively used to being outdoors and have a good sense of what is and is not dangerous. They (generally) aren't ones to try to jump from a height like this or anything too risky. That being said, this photo also makes it look a bit steeper than it actually is. If they jumped or fell, they could potentially break an arm or something, but the most injury they'd likely encounter would be some bruises & cuts. A little danger isn't always a bad thing. It can help kids develop good judgement and a clearer understanding of consequences. So far so good, though.

From the same location at SweetP's lookout/house, you can see that our neighbors to the south have their lots almost completely cleared and turned to lawn. I think this must have been the way their homes were graded when they were built (?). At any rate, ours is one of the wildest lots ;)

But, it's coming along. It's coming along. We aren't planning on clearing it into a lawn or anything. We just want it cleaned up a bit so the space can be used and enjoyed to the fullest :) When we first moved in, you couldn't even see down here from the house. Or get down here without a machete.

Okay, no one used a machete, but the undergrowth was thick.

We've got to stay on it all spring to keep it from taking over, again, though. It's really a good thing that we got this headstart. Two points for us. Maybe even more.

Have a great weekend, y'all. I think I might just have to make the most of the cold and make one last batch of hot cocoa. Maybe if we start to embrace Old Man Winter, his cantankerous old self will try to spite us and leave.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Second Year In Review

Well, hi there, everyone :) We're officially back from what turned out to be a rather lengthy blog break. Three months! It was needed, though, and it was in all ways a good thing. I'm so excited to see that we haven't lost anyone from our little list of blog subscribers. Thanks so much for hanging in there and being patient with us. It means a lot to know you guys are still around.

So, March 2011. This month marks the two year anniversary of our first house project. We've lived here for two years and three months, now, but the projects didn't begin right away when we moved in. At that time, we still had the mortgage for our previous house in addition to this new one, and there was zero spare cash to delve into paint, trim, and all that good stuff. But, you'd better believe that as soon as we signed off on the sale of our previous house, we were right in there. The first item on our massive "to do" list was getting rid of the pumpkin pie colored paint in the dark, depressing kitchen. That was March 2009.

The first year was a complete whirlwind of frenzied activity. I recapped it last March here, if you're interested.

The second year? Well, the second year has pretty much been the antithesis of the first year. It started out as more of the same and then, halfway in, kind of fizzled. But, it was sort of purposeful fizzle. Does that make any sense? Well, let's just take a look at the year in review, and I think you'll see what I mean.

We had been going non-stop from March 2009 to January 2010, and decided to take a break in the last part of January and all of February. Funny, I hadn't realized that I took a blog break last February, too. Huh. Interesting. Anyway, when the sun began to peek back out in March, we were ready to get on with business. We started work in Bedroom 3 (which, currently, is Punkin & Little Dude's bedroom). This room has had a number of different bed configurations over the last 2 years. At first it was for all 3 girls while one of the bedrooms served as a sitting room to house the furniture that had to move out of the family room so we could redo the carpet. You know those little hand-held brain teaser games that have 8 tiny tiles that you slide around in 9 spaces trying to get them to make a picture or line up or something? That's exactly what living in this house is like. Slide one thing here, slide another there, always working toward that finished picture.

Here's the bedroom "before", back when all 3 girls were spleeping there. We had just removed the hollow, fake wood bi-fold doors from the closet.

And here's the same room, at this point just for Punkin and Little Dude, as we wrapped up the first layer in mid-April (Sam working after a dislocated shoulder, too!).

We kind of kept piddling around with this room all year long. Someday, when it's even remotely clean, I'll share updated photos. You can also read all of the Bedroom 3 posts here.

Around this same time, I posted an "ugly Craigslist bench"
before & after...

And added some fun fabric to troubleshoot problem drawers in Shug & SweetP's room.

After finishing up the foundational work in Bedroom 3, we moved right on to Bedroom 2 during the second half of April. This bedroom serves as the "extra" bedroom. It's the empty space on the brainteaser game - it gets shifted into and out of regularly. Here's the "before"...

And empty...

The single most important thing we did in this room was enlarging and replacing the window in December 2010...

From there, we started completing the rest of the first layer. Sam worked on this room throughout the remainder of April and on through to... July?! Yes, friends, July. And even then, I apparently never managed to post official after shots. I'll fix that soon, though. For now, here's one that gives you a good idea of the finished paint and trim.

And just in case you're interested, here are all of the posts on Bedroom 2.

That sums up March through July. Well, except that we welcomed
my new little niece in June :) She lives just half a mile away, so we got to see her lots. What a blessing she is!

Projects took a backseat to living life in the moment. We enjoyed the new baby and pretty much spent every spare moment at the pool we belong to. Many days. Many hours each of those days. We weren't even thinking about the house. It was so great. After nearly 15 months of concentrated effort, it was like a project summer vacay. By the way, I never say "vacay" in real life, why did I type that? Weirdo. But the rest was sooooo nice. And that continued until Labor Day. We said goodbye to some dear Air Force friends, then (we're not AF, but we have a thing for making AF peeps our bestest friends and then sending them off 2-3 years later, sniff) and got started on the new school year.

I didn't post at all in October as homeschooling was in full gear and we were all adjusting to the new schedule. We did, however, start painting our dining room chairs under the blogger radar and also installed some shelving from IKEA to help corral the massive amounts of crap educational resources that accumulate when you teach at home. But, the shelves fell out. See?

Sam secured the wall and reinstalled the shelves. I'm happy to say they're still up months later.

The chairs, however, are still not finished.

We've been using these folding chairs for, what? Like, five months now?

By the time November rolled around, we weren't really wanting to start up another project right before the holidays, but we did think it might be a good time to start replacing the old furniture in the living room and maybe shop around for an area rug. Not at all "first layer" activities, but that room is our primary living space, and it needed done. Sam practically punched the couch everytime he tried to sit in it. The time had come. So, in November and December we scoured the 'net for living room inspiration and I came up with this design board.

And, here's the living room as of this week.

In uploading the photos for this post, I was struck by how cohesive all of the "after" shots are looking together. The rooms are all actually beginning to flow with one another and not look so random and disjointed. We still have a long way to go, for certain, but it's encouraging none the less.

So, that's it! The second year in review :) This week officially marks the beginning of the third full year of projects. There's this little saying in perennial gardening that says, "Sleep, Creep, Leap". This just means that the first year you plant, you can't really expect much. The plants need time to settle in and get their roots down. The second year, you see some progress, albeit slow. But, by the third year, a solid garden will really boom with noticeably larger, fuller, bloomier plants. So far, I'd say that adage has held fairly true in regard to the house, too. If it continues, this coming year will be the year we see a big "leap". Wouldn't that be awesome?

Thanks so much for sticking with us during our long break, guys. It meant a lot to see that we didn't lose any of you. We'd love to hear from you!