Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hit the Floor!

This is a very long story. Before we renovated this house, the back porch was horrible and covered in carpet. When we started the renovation, one of the first things to be done was to tear up the back porch so we could fix the foundation of the kitchen and porch. With the porch torn off, the area easily turned into a midden. For a long time, it looked like this:
Oy vey! Then there was a very dark day where my dear friend Sara passed away. Suddenly we needed to host a wake for 100 people with 24 hours notice. The husband managed to cobble together a porch floor and a set of porch steps in record time. The guests smoked and drank the night away on the "temporary" floor. Somehow, three years later we were still sitting around on the "temporary" floor. Here's a pic of ladies' night on the old plywood.
It even looked pretty nice for a while, but it was just plywood.
Finally, we saved up and bought some beautiful tongue and groove flooring. It was time to get it on the house! As the preggo, I didn't do a lot of work on this one. As always, it wouldn't have gotten done without the help of all of our unbelievably helpful and amazing friends.

First step, lovingly prime every single board on both sides. This took most of the day on a Saturday.  We managed to get a little night crew action going on, where we actually put down the floor.

The best part about tongue-in-groove is the fasteners are completely hidden. I tried to take some how-to pics. First, drill a pilot hole, at a roughly 45 degree angle through the tongue, positioned over the stud.
The nails go in to the tongue at a 45 degree angle over the stud.
Then the husband uses a nail set (a pointy thing that drives the nail in flush) to drive the nail in flush (duh) and then it's ready for the next board to slide over.
Ta-da! The husband uses a hammer block to fit the next board on, and the process repeats.
The scene looked like this for most of the night:
Our friends are the best!

In the morning, we had this!
Yippee! It's not a great picture, but with a little styling afterwards:
Be still, my heart! We couldn't put the porch floor down this summer because we were too busy sitting on it, so I can't WAIT for our first spring cocktail hour out there when the weather warms up. Check out that list!
  • Finish stripping front window
  • Finish trim in bedroom
  • Paint trim in bedroom
  • Finish unfinished side in pass-through
  • Do something with the nasty floor in pass-through
  • Make dining room functional
  • Get porch floor down
  • Paint the house
  • Make curtains for bedroom and bedroom door
  • Touch up paint in kitchen and bedroom

Friday, November 29, 2013

All the News That's Fit to Print!

I'm back! I promise I have a really good reason for being gone so long. It looks something like this:
Yep! A new addition to our family, due March 1. 

So I apologize for the break, but it's been crazy around here! On a good note for this blog, we have been doing some serious nesting! I made a pre-baby list and it looks something like this: 
  • Finish stripping front window
  • Finish trim in bedroom
  • Paint trim in bedroom
  • Finish unfinished side in pass-through
  • Get porch floor down
  • Paint the house
  • Make curtains for bedroom and bedroom door
  • Touch up paint in kitchen and bedroom
Check it out, we have some major progress! Last time y'all saw the exterior of the house, it looked something like this:
The back of the house, new siding and shingles, but unpainted. For the front of the house:
Well, this photo is a little dark, but true to life! I called this color "Cellblock 9". The bushes are overgrown but truly the color is depressing. The sideporch view:
Oh sexy, Cellblock Grey on top of Primer Grey. 

So, we finally found a painter and picked a color. (In the interest of complete honesty, we picked out a color, had two entire sides of the house painted, HATED it, picked a new color and had it repainted. Home renovation isn't for the faint of heart.) Without further ado...

Yes, we chose blue. Hamilton Blue by Benjamin Moore, Sugar Cookie for the trim. I know blue is kinda safe, but we tried to choose a non-pastel blue to go as bold as possible.

The front of the house BEFORE:
Cell block gone! Yay!

Side porch BEFORE:
Side porch after!
Most notable in this photo is probably the Victorian shingles up above. Yes, they're original (112 years young!) and Cellblock Grey really wasn't doing anything for them. The new shingles on the back of the house got the same treatment.

We're SO happy with the color. The blue is perfect, not too bright but not boring. Not depressing! No more Cellblock! I love the way the trim works with the blue. This photo is a little blown out but isn't it sweet?
It is AMAZING what a new paint job can do for a house. It makes me happy every single time I walk up the front steps. Both the husband and I are happy to get it buttoned up before winter and it just feels like such a huge thing to cross off the list.

Here we go:
  • Finish stripping front window
  • Finish trim in bedroom
  • Paint trim in bedroom
  • Finish unfinished side in pass-through
  • Do something with the nasty floor in pass-through
  • Make dining room functional
  • Get porch floor down
  • Paint the house
  • Make curtains for bedroom and bedroom door
  • Touch up paint in kitchen and bedroom 
(I also did the touch-up paint but I won't bore you with the photos!)  Onwards to the next thing on the list! Yippee!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Garden Progress!

Well, summer is definitely here!  The garden has been going in fits and spurts and I've been too busy to report.  But here it is, in all the I'm-still-an-intermediate-at-this-aren't-I glory.

My favorite development so far is that my fabulous husband hung the vintage fountain that I lugged home from my vacay in North Carolina.  This this a beaut and it looks just exactly as wonderful as I hoped it would!  I had fantasies of using it as an ice bucket for parties, so of course the hubby made all my dreams come true.

Squee!  So happy.

The roses actually grew!  I planted four bare root roses and they all grew.  The Nicole rose got the worst spot in the yard, but is somehow flourishing!
They look beautiful as cut flowers too, my favorite way to arrange them is just a couple in a tea cup!
The Peace rose was the last to bloom, but it made some gorgeous blooms and is now in its second set of blossoms of the year.
Look at that color.  I feel like such a pro.  I don't have any great pics of the Joseph's Coat or the Dreams Come True yet, but they have each made some blooms.  The Joseph's Coat seems to wimp out against the heat, but the Dreams Come True reminds me of my grandmother.  Petite, controlled and well-organized blossoms only!

The front bed had some ups and downs.  The snapdragons grew HUGE and luscious:
Huge.  Everyone said they were the largest snapdragons they had ever seen.  The front bed shaped up nicely in spring.  The snapdragons did exactly what I had hoped the hollyhock seeds would do (#fail, not a single one came up), and covered up the fence nicely.  Edging closer to my english-garden-cottage ideal, non? 
Nicole rose back there in the corner, snapdragons, purple love-in-a-mist, blue delphinium and white alyssum.  But as summer wore on, I wanted to let the snapdragons self-seed, but they got yellowish and reedy.  What to do??  I'm now attempting some mid-summer additions to help camoflage.
Added a dahlia in front of Nicole, and I don't know what these colorful annuals are, but they're gorgeous.  Got them at the QFC while shopping for dinner and I could only carry two, but clearly I need more!  Go mystery plants, go! 
Also, the hollyhock that I made my husband drag back from Whidbey Island for me is looking beautiful.  Double hollyhocks in the palest peach.  So pretty!
Yum.  Don't stop now, hollyhocks.
They're like ballerinas made into flowers!

I've really been crossing my fingers for some dahlias and so far we have two!
We have two more starting to bloom, a pompom style purple one and one that I hope will turn into a giant peachy-yellow one.  I'm practically getting out my pompoms to cheer them on.

Lastly, but most importantly, we grew some of the absolute harbingers of summer:
I KNOW.  Shut up.  I grew that in dirt.  It grew while I was away on business and when I came home my husband brought it to me in one of our sterling silver nut dishes.  (Because we are the oldest young people I know and we own stuff like that.)  But look at that photo.  Yay for July and all the good things that come out of gardens.  Including moments like this:
 Thanks garden!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Peonies of Amazingness

Holy cats, Batman!  Peonies have invaded my little corner of the earth and I couldn't be happier if I were twins.  I'm going to bore you to death with the following photos.  Just sit back and let the pale pink fabulousness wash over you.

I GREW that.  In dirt!

In the evening:

And in the morning:

The bed is resplendent in these beauties:

The one below is my favorite.  It was from root stock from the peonies used at our wedding.  It's called True Love, naturally.

Squee!  I'm like a proud parent.

The entire garden is looking charming and peaceful in the evenings:

And even after rain they are so beautiful.

It's just some grass and some blue chairs:
But it's home.

Hope you're all finding beauty in your corners of the world.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spring Slides into Summer

This is the blog post where I should be talking about the garden but probably I'll wind up talking about how amazing one's social life can be when it is nice out!

Minor improvements have been happening all over the garden.  Like this schlubby patch of weeds underneath this ancient honeysuckle vine:

Added some compost and some low plants and voila:
 A slightly less schlubby bed. 

And these rosemary topiaries in their uggo red and green pots from Christmas?
Finally transferred those guys into some real pots!
(Ignore the porch flotsam, it was a long weekend of working hard.)  I realize this is incremental progress, but that's how it seems to roll with the garden tasks. 

While I'm definitely learning to appreciate gardening for gardening's sake, I still mostly do it for moments like this one:
A lovely spring evening.  Or this one:
 A great dinner with hilarious friends.

We've been enjoying spring all over the city, not just in our backyard.  There's not a lot to report on the homefront because we've been busy making pictures like these happen:
Croquet in the park! 

And the ever popular Madras Monday:
Complete with gin and tonics... in the park!  (Only minorly illegal!)
This month feeling very lucky to live in such a beautiful city.  Raise your glasses to spring into summer!