This morning I was standing in Wal-Mart looking at fall decorating ideas. I love to decorate for the seasons but have been desperately trying to downsize in all aspects of my life. I stood with a new table-cloth for fall in one hand and an apple cinnamon scented candle in the other while I looked at a pumpkin table decorations with votive candles on the shelf. I decided to place them back on the shelves and head home with about $35 still in my pocket.
When I got home I had an email in my inbox from a blog that I have followed the past couple of months”The Year of Less” . I clicked on today’s blog http://theyearofless.blogspot.com and it was so appropriate for my dilemma for decorating. She was talking about looking at things in her home in light of whether Ma Ingalls (The Little House on the Prairie) would have the item in her home. I loved her perspective in the blog. Keep it simple!
This is what I came up with for decorating my table for the fall.
They are all items that I already own. I picked the Hydrangea from my bush and placed them in a flowering can that I have had for some time and placed them on top of a doily that a friend gave me for a birthday a few years ago.
I don’t plan on over doing the decorating this year. I plan to keep it simple and natural if possible using things I already own or in a new way to make them seem new to me.
Tags: "fall decorating", "little house on the prairie", "Ma Ingalls", "seasonal decorations", "The Year of Less", "watering can", doily, Hydrangea, photography, simplify
It’s been over two months since I lasted posted on the blog. Life happens, especially in Minnesota in the summer. It seems that everyone tries to cram everything into the twelve weeks of summer. We have been busy with life, work and “The Project” Throw in a few weddings, birthday parties, reunions and we are already back to shortened days and cooler temperatures much sooner than expected. My to do list still has too many items left on it.
Below are some before and after pictures from our project. It has been fun seeing it take shape. There is still much to do both inside and out. There have been a few bumps in the road and distractions along the way so progress on our part as been slow. The carpenters working on the project have been awesome.
I hope to get back to posting more often. I had to put the camera down for a few months after breaking my collar-bone the end of June after tipping my motorcycle. It has slowed me down a bit but I am finally back to having some strength back in my right arm. The good news is my left arm is getting so much stronger since I’ve had to use it instead of the right.
Hope summer is treating all of you well. Jeanne
Tags: "DIY projects", architecture, bungalow, flipping, home improvement, Minnesota, photography, projects, small town living, summer, Unfinished Projects
This evening I was a bit disappointed that I got back from town so late. I wanted to take some pictures of the progress at the house. It was already past sunset. I decided to stop anyway and try to take a couple of shots because there was a very bright moon tonight.
I found my way in the dark to the door and walked in the dark up the stairs to take this shot. The upstairs is basically gone except for a short wall on the east and the west and some larger walls left on the north and the south.
If the mosquitoes weren’t so bad this evening I might have considered getting a couple of sleeping bags and sleeping out under the stars tonight.
Here are a couple of shots of the guys removing the rafters today.
Tomorrow should be an exciting day as we see the roof lines starting to take shape.
Tags: "DIY projects", "home improvement projects", "Upsala, architecture, bungalow, carpenters, photography, remodeling, Unfinished Projects
It’s been about two months since we finalized the purchase of our project home in Upsala. Since that time my husband and I have done a lot of small and big projects. We have been busy building new stairways, removing old stairways and entirely gutting the upstairs down to the studs in preparation for this day.
This is the old stairway that we removed from the center of the home. It was ladder-like in its steepness. We are leaving the door on this end to make a new closet area. The back half of the old stairwell will have drawers in the bottom half and on the top of the drawers will be a place to leave your keys and other miscellaneous items as you enter the back door.
New stairway located on the North wall of home. The photo below shows our plans for the stairway. The basement stairs are directly below the upper stairs. Both the upstairs and basement can be accessed from the garage. We also opened a wall from the kitchen to this new entry way. Improving the overall flow of the house.
We spent a lot of time measuring and mapping out the new location of the stairs before we cut any openings and started building the stairs. We measured and remeasured to make sure we had enough room. Its hard to picture but this old bedroom has become an entryway with stairs to go up or down and out to the garage and out to the backyard. We added another bedroom upstairs to compensate for the loss of one of the two main floor bedrooms.
We gutted the upstairs to get ready for the carpenters to come and add dormers and windows to the second floor. There was very little usable space upstairs due to the low ceiling height and the stairway cutting the space in half due to its location in the center of the home.
The new upstairs will contain a Master Suite complete with walk-in closet, bathroom and office or sitting area at the top of the stairs.
Today our carpenters arrived to start putting our dreams for the property into reality. Yesterday we finalized the color choices and the floor plans.
I love watching the trucks arrive, unloading the lumber and the smell of freshly cut wood. I had a hard time concentrating at work today know that things were happening just up the hill but not within my sight. At lunchtime we joined the carpenters on the front lawn for lunch. They all sat in their lawn chairs with their coolers sitting in front of them and we with our sandwiches and coffee from the convenience store in town. It was a wonderful place to eat lunch today admiring the work that they had accomplished this morning.
It might not look like much of a change so far but here it is. They changed the roof line on the garage and framed for the new part of the roof with the car port. I’m excited to see the roof on the house opened up next week and see all the new roof lines, windows and shingles upstairs. The new upstairs will have much more room and light than before we started as well as additional bathroom in the home.
The plan with the garage was to change the present lean to style attached garage to a hip roof. The garage door opening in the background will be moved one stud space to the left and the windows to the top panel and grids placed in the glass. We are working on plans to make the garage door look more like a set of carriage doors rather than a conventional door.
Tags: "diy project", "Upsala, architecture, blogging, bungalow, carpenters, hiproof, home improvement, photography, remodeling, stairways, Unfinished Projects
One of the main projects besides replacing the roof is moving the stairways to a better location. It is currently in the center of the house and has very steep, narrow steps.
For the past week or two as we refine our plans for the house a new vocabulary has crept into my life. It revolves around the building of stairs.
Who would have thought that there could be so many words that had to do with stairs. There are the usual words like treads or steps. That I understood, but add stringers, risers, winders, walk line, rise and run, landings, and that is just the beginning. Add to the list newel post, rails, balusters, bullnose, etc.
Tonight we spent our usual evening with our grandson while our daughter attends a college night class. Tonight’s entertainment was the home improvement center where we picked out the supplies we will need to start building the new stairs in the house this week.
Our grandson learned the fine art of picking out the best wood for the project and eagerly helped load it onto the cart. It was a late evening but well worth getting what we needed so we can get right to work on Thursday.
Tags: "stairs", "unfinished project", "Upsala, "work in progress", home improvement, photography, vocabulary."diy project"
This week is decision time. As you can tell this house needs some help. We will be replacing the shingles, soffit, and fascia. The entire home will be repainted and we will wrap the cement chimney to give it more character.
When I first looked at this home I knew I wanted to do something different with the colors. The starkness of the white with the cedar color is just not very inviting especially when you see the white on the garage as well.
My first choice would be a medium gray with white trim and a black roof. To me it says neat and maybe a little stately. The problem with this choice is that the home just to the left is painted exactly this way. You can see just a bit of it in the photo above.
My second choice would be something green tones with cream trim and dark roof. The only problem with the greens are on either side of the home two doors down in either direction are green homes, different greens. Adding a third green to the mix might just be too much.
My third choice is maintaining the front color of the house and painting the rest of it to match the front color with almond accents and a black roof. It would tie all of the house together and we wouldn’t have to worry about the fascia or soffit fading over time if it were painted almond. I think is would still have a stately look to it.
So many of the homes on Main Street are painted white, light gray or almond that I want to stay away from those colors. There are also two different blue homes in the near vicinity so I don’t think blues are in the running either.
So many choices… so little time. Am I putting way too much thought in to this? We need to pick out colors this week. Open for suggestions.
Tags: "309 Chronicles", "color Choices", "diy project", "Fools Rush In", "work in progress", bungalow. "Upsala Minnesota", home improvement, photography, Unfinished Projects
This afternoon after working our “day jobs” my husband and I headed to 309 S. Main Street to continue our work that we must get done before the carpenters come to work on installing the dormer and replacing the roof, etc.
We made a lot of progress in the three short hours we worked. Dean worked on cutting the hole for the new stairway from the second floor down to the first floor.
We started with a clean home…….
At the end of our three hours he had the hole cut for the new stair location. I love when a plan comes together and no one gets hurt.
I spent the afternoon removing sheet rock and insulation in the other half of the upstairs. The goal is to have the upstairs gutted to the studs and ready for the carpenters as soon as possible.
My favorite part of the afternoon was finding a picture of Queen Elizabeth tacked inside the roof rafters. I would love to know the story behind the picture.
Tags: "309 Chronicles", "diy project", "Fools Rush In", "work in progress", bungalow. "Upsala Minnesota", home improvement, photography, Unfinished Projects
Life is an adventure. This our latest.
We purchased this home on March 20, 2012. Our intention is to fix it up and rent it or sell it.
As you can see it needs some help. We hope that what we do with it will improve its curb appeal, square footage and the overall flow of the interior.
The great part about this home is the fact that even though it was built in 1947 it was well kept and CLEAN!
This past week we have met with the carpenters about replacing the roof, adding a dormer, and changing the roof line on the garage. Everywhere we go we look at homes as we drive by trying to get an idea for a color scheme for the exterior. We are narrowing it down.
This week on Wednesday evening while Dean was at a school board meeting I began demo on the upstairs. We are taking it down to the rafters and studs upstairs. I removed 1960 style paneling from the walls and the insulation. Itchy, itchy, itchy. The shower felt great when I got home.
Last evening we continued work upstairs. One of the major improvements we are making is moving the interior stairway to the upstairs. It is presently a widow maker. Very steep, narrow stairs. Dean began pulling up floorboards for the location of the new stairway.
We’re excited about the project and hope that we don’t end up on one of the home improvement shows like “Over Your Head”. I will be posting more pictures of our project.
Tags: "309 Chronicles", "Upsala, bungalow, home improvement, Minnesota, photography
After spending most of my treasured day off from work peeling, scraping and scrubbing a border off my kitchen walls to make way for new paint and wallpaper I was reminded of a remark my husband has made often that goes something like “If it weren’t for women, men would be still be hunting for their dinner, cooking it over an open fire and living in a cave.”
I put the border in my kitchen nearly twenty years ago and it definitely needs some updating but after I complete the projects I always start looking at what needs it next. We extensively remodeled and added to our home when we purchased it in 1992. The time has come when many things need updating and I’m thinking a smaller home with less to do sounds pretty good.
Most days of the week we don’t use a third of our home. It has been a great home for raising our four kids but now that they are all moved out the upstairs three bedrooms and 2 bathrooms go unused. A couple of years ago we finished off a family room in the basement which doesn’t get used either. We planned well, looking forward to our empty nest years, by placing everything we would need on the first floor but having all the extra space to heat, cool and clean leaves me thinking a lot about how it could be better used.
That one room cave is sounding pretty cozy with an open campfire and no walls to scrub.
Tags: "living simply", "wallpaper border removal", caves, home improvement, updating
Tonight my husband and I went to help our oldest son with his latest home improvement project. He is finishing his basement into a family room, bedroom and bathroom. We are helping with the bedroom and bathroom.
On our way to his home we stopped at Home Depot to pick up some sheet rock, 2 X 4’s and a bathtub/shower combination for his bathroom. We managed to get in all in the pickup truck and secured for the last half hour to his home. He doesn’t own a pick up truck so we have hauled whatever he can’t fit in his Impala with the seats folded down. I’m amazed at what he can fit in his car.
After arriving at his home we unloaded the truck and decided it was time to tackle carrying the bathtub into the house. His home is a split level entry so we went in the front door and started down the steps to the basement. My husband was at the bottom and my son and I at the top.
We made it through the front door with the beast but soon realized that we would have to change our plan of attack so it was back outside to turn the tub a different way and then back inside to try it again. We had to lift it high over the railing and head down the stairs.
We got to the bottom and got stuck. Back up the stairs to remove the hand railing to give us more room. Did I mention that the tub was made of fiber glass and by now we were itchy and had cuts on our hands from the fiber glass? Not fun.
Before we could remove the hand railing we set the tub down on the stairs only to wedge my son’s foot into a spot under the tub that we were having difficulty removing it from. He felt a little claustrophobic. We got it out and the railing off.
Back down the stairs with the tub. At the bottom of the stairs we needed to turn the tub 45 degrees to the left. Not enough room so we had to remove the packing feet from the tub. Still not enough room. My husband had to remove two studs from the wall at the bottom of the steps and the sheet rock from those spaces to negotiate the turn. We thought we were done with demolition last weekend.
After tonight we are taking tomorrow off from home improvement to take Dad’s sailboat out of the lake for the season. There may be large quantities of wine involved after tonight’s wrestling match. Then it will be back at home improvement on Saturday and Sunday. I hope we survive and his home.
Tags: bathtubs, family, home improvement, humor, remodeling, wrestling