RSS

Category Archives: Unfinished Projects

Moonlight Al Fresco

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.

Image

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.

Image

Image

Tomorrow should be an exciting day as we see the roof lines starting to take shape.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Cavalry Has Arrived

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: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A New Vocabulary

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: , , , , , ,

What Would You Choose?

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: , , , , , , , ,

Fools Rush In…

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

 

Image

 

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: , , , , ,

Wrestling Bathtubs and Other Remodeling Moves

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: , , , , ,

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Each and every year since we moved into our home in 1993 I have tried to find the perfect place to hang the Christmas stockings.  Some years I hung them on the open stairway in the livingroom.  I’ve hung them on the front of the TV stand.  I’ve tried to hang them from the frame of the window in the living room but haven’t been happy with any place.

I’ve looked at the space around our little stove in the porch where we put up the Christmas tree each year and decided it would be the perfect place.  This is the before picture.

Last Sunday I started my project.  Tonight I finished it and hung the stockings.  This is the after picture.

I came home from work at 7:30 pm and planned on making Swedish Meatballs after work and freezing them.  I gathered my ingredients and went to the refrigerator to take out the ground beef and ground pork and realized that half of the beef that I purchased was gone.  By this time the grocery store in our small town was closed.  There are no 24 hour grocery stores here.  If I wanted to go buy more beef it would mean a drive of 25 miles one way to buy some.  It would have to wait until tomorrow.

I called my daughters to see if they had used  the beef and their response was “Possibly”.  They had made Sloppy Joes with the beef.  They were on the road to another town and said they would pick up some more.  They didn’t get home until 10:30pm so tomorrow it is for the meatballs.  So much for trying to do things ahead of time.

This afternoon when I drove into town to transfer titles I found some more curious cows.   Just thought I’d share.

As I drove past this road ditch I noticed that the branches growing in the ditch had a white frosty look to them as I drove by.  I stopped at decided to take a picture.  As I got closer I realized that there was ice on the branches that gave them the white look.

I hope that as you are preparing for Christmas you will find to take time to observe the beauty around you.

 
 

Tags: , ,

No Assembly Required

No Assembly Required

As Christmas Eve approaches I can’t help but think of past Christmas Eves.  As I young child I can remember laying in my bed upstairs on Christmas Eve and hearing my parents busy downstairs.  I never knew what they were up to until Christmas morning but I could hear them until late into the evening.  My Mom and Dad were usually busy assembling something for under the tree or putting on the finishing touches on something they had made.

My Mom and Dad have always made a gift for one of us six kids and worked very late into the night to put on the finishing touches.  After I was grown and had children,  I got a glimpse of what their Christmas Eves were like. 

We spent Christmas eve with my husband’s family in our town and then loaded up our kids usually around 10 pm and drove 2 hours to my Mom and Dad’s home in the Twin Cities.  We would carry our sleeping children into Mom and Dad’s house and put them to bed.

One year when we arrived my Dad was putting the finishing touches on this toy that he made for our son Curt.

The few years later when we arrived at Mom and Dad’s on Christmas Eve Dad was putting the final coat of varnish on this forklift that he made for our second son Matt.

Five years later Dad was painting this on a doll cradle that he made for my daughter Anna.  He checked out books from the library to teach himself how to paint the elaborate design on the cradle.

The most elaborate project that Mom and Dad worked on together was a Barbie doll house for our daughter Christy.  It was a replica of a house that we moved into when I was twelve.  It was a Dutch Colonial and beautiful.  Dad and my brother built the doll house and did all the exterior finishing.  Mom made all the furniture and the interior decorating.  I don’t have a picture tonight because that would require me to go into the attic with help and bring it in to photograph.  I plan on doing an individual post on the doll house at a later date.  I went to bed that evening at 3 am and the three of them were still working on it at that point.

Over the years my husband and I have spent time working various Christmas Eve projects.   One year my husband decided to make a go-cart out of plumbing pipes and fittings.

One year I sewed sweatshirts for all the nieces and nephews made of Disney character fabric.  Another year I made wooden nativity blocks for all the nieces, nephews and our kids.  Eleven sets in all.

For many years my Christmas Eves involved finishing quilts.  I made a baby quilt and presented the parents with a quilt at Christmas if they had a baby born that year.  One year I made a quilt for my brother for Christmas.  Another year I made a quilt for my mother-in-law that year I was still hemming it minutes before we went to their home for Christmas Eve dinner.

The latest Christmas Eve project was about eight years ago when we gave our oldest daughter a drum set for Christmas.  She was in the percussion section in band.  The drum set came in boxes and had to be assembled.  It wasn’t that difficult but there were many pieces.  I couldn’t start bringing in boxes until all of our kids went to bed.  At that time they were night owls.  The boys were in college and the girls were 15 and 13 and had Christmas wrapping to do so it was after 1 am before I could start assembling.  It was almost 3:30 am before I was finished. 

This is the first year I think I will make it to bed at a decent hour.  No homemade gifts this year except a scarf that is almost finished.  Something seems out-of-place, not having a last-minute project.  There is still time to start one to carry on the family tradition….

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Shooting at the Whole Flock

 

Credit photo blamcast.net

Shooting at the whole flock is a favorite expression of my husband.  It is not because he is an avid hunter.  He uses it to describe his feeling of being overwhelmed with too many projects on his list.  Today I can sympathize with shooting at the whole flock.

I have a day at home with my grandson.  I’m trying not to squander it with a little more than two weeks until Christmas.  There is decorating to do but before that is done I really should clean.  There is the never-ending pile of laundry to deal with and bathrooms that need cleaning.

There is that box of papers piled high on my dresser that I cleared off the counter in the kitchen the day before Thanksgiving that I need to sort through to make sure there are no bills in there that need to be paid.

And what am I doing instead of any of the above.  I’m typing a blog post.  Just where are my priorities.  Okay in my defense at this time I have a load in the washing machine, one in the dryer, the dishwasher ‘ ready for the next load and I put away yesterdays laundry and most importantly I played ball with Jack and did a puzzle or two with him.

My constant battle is to keep Jack away from my sewing machines.  It seems they are a constant fascination beyond any of the toys in the livingroom.  Believe me he is not lacking for toys since he is the first nephew, our first grandchild, and the first great-grandchild on both sides of the family. 

I thought naïvely that this year if I would just bake one type of cookies for Christmas each day for a couple of weeks I would have no problem getting them done.  At this point in time there are none baked.  Maybe this afternoon I could one batch done while Jack is sleeping but wait that is when I planned on cleaning the bathrooms.

As my daughter left for college this morning she hinted that it sure would be great to have lasagna for supper.  If that is to happen it means a trip to the grocery store and time to prepare.  Maybe I could do that before Jack naps or scrap the entire idea of lasagna and opt for something I have all the ingredients in the house for like a big pot of chili.  Sounds like a plan.  Lasagna tomorrow instead.

My dryer just dinged…Another load to  fold.  Another load to start.  Time to go shoot at the whole flock.

 

Tags: ,