If you ever come to visit, please compliment my dentil moulding…

Because I worked my hiney off this weekend trying to make it look fabulous.

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A Little Trim

On Monday night, we took advantage of having the lift again.  This time to do a little (or a lot) of trimming to the giant hackberry tree in the backyard. Our dads were back again to help, one of them running the lift and another up with Lance and the chainsaw.

Benefits of this trimming are : 1) limbs can’t fall onto our house, 2) squirrels can’t jump onto our roof (and find a way into our attic) 3) more sun will shine on our yard and grow more grass.

By using our contractor’s lift and doing it ourselves, we estimate this 3 hour job saved us about $1000.  Worth it!  (Especially since I was inside eating spaghetti most of the time).
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Thoughts on Painting a Victorian Home

This weekend the sun was shining and so more hay had to be made.  Our contractor left us his lift, and so we really needed to take advantage of free use of such an expensive piece of equipment…. this means we had to tackle the dormer window.  I have been looking at the paint on this window from inside my bedroom for a year now… the paint was so loose that it looked like you could just blow it away.

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One of 4 colonades

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In order to get up to work on this dormer, as far as I can tell, a lift is required.  This is a new experience for me, andI have to say it made me feel pretty hard-core.  It seemed so strange to be eye-to-eye with the piece of our house that I had only been able to admire from afar.  Once up there, the task at hand seemed even…bigger… overwhelming… intimidating….scary… all of these things.

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Scraping the peak. Lance said that as soon as we started, a squirrel ran out the hole to the left. Your days are numbered squirrel- the roof gets fixed next week!

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My poor dad. He just moved to town last summer and has volunteered countless hours to me and my crazy house. I am thankful for the memories we are making together.

Yesterday my dad and I scraped and scraped and scraped.  Uncovering bare wood that has been under paint for 126 years is kind of thrilling.  It makes me think about who cut the boards, who chose the design, who painted them the first time… all that mushy stuff.

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The scraped dormer. Of course when I went back up today to prime, I was able to get a bunch more off. I think this would go on forever, so I was happy to put the primer on and call it done.

Mostly I thought of the other families before us who painted this beast of a house.  How did they do it?  Did they do it themselves?  How did they reach ALL of the dental molding???  Were they scared up there too?

Today, the weather was less than ideal for painting, but the according to my primer can, it can be used as long as it is 35 degrees, and it was 41.  And we have the lift.  For free.  So up I went again.  Stocking hat, gloves, wool socks, can of primer and a podcast of the “Splendid Table.” Up on the lift and up close and personal with the dormer.  I got it all done in about 2 hours, but that was just slapping on primer over bare wood- no need to stay in the lines or anything.  How long is it going to take me to actually paint all SEVEN colors up there?  What have I gotten myself into???

It is an odd feeling to tackle a project that is so big, so different from any other project, so important.  It is challenging me physically, mentally (i don’t love heights),  and when I feel like having a tantrum over the enormity of the whole thing, emotionally.  Bottom line: it needs to be done right 1) So that I am happy with it 2) as a gift to our neighborhood- yes, Main Avenue- the 7-colored palate is for YOU! 3) so that it LASTS AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.  This is the most important reason.  By the time this project needs to happen again, I hope to have 3 sets of braces paid off and at least 2 kids through college!  Then, hopefully, I can watch the painters up on that lift, remember the good-old-days scraping the peak with my dad, and then write out a check.

The Sun is Shining… Time To Make Some Hay

Just when it looked like we could take a deep breath and fiddle around with the finishing touches of the bathroom project, Spring decided to show up a little early.

Our contractor called.  Time to start on our exterior project- new cedar shake siding!  This was exciting, very good news… except that the warmth was only going to last for a finite time, and we had 152 8-foot pieces of cedar shake siding to prime (both sides) and paint (one side).  Thats (152 x 3) x 8 feet boards= 3,648 feet of siding to paint in 3.5 days.  And we had children to feed and a business to run besides.  With the help of our dads and chocolate cake for supper, we got it done on time. The first side of the house has new siding and it looks absolutely wonderful.  So clean!  So shiny!  We will have to paint the trim boards another time, but we have plenty of motivation now.

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Checkerboard

Our floors are finished and they are fabulous.

When it came to choosing flooring for the bathroom, the criteria were

1) Affordable/Cheap

2) Had a timeless appearance (We don’t want to be sick of it in 5 years.  We’d like to love it for 50!)

I love the vintage hexagonal tile, but because our bathroom is rather large, that’s a lot of grout lines to keep clean, and at $5-$6/ square foot, was more than we were hoping to spend.

I really didn’t want to do a modern- look… any modern tile that I would like would either not fit the era of the house, or be way too expensive.  After a little head-scratching, it hit me:  a checkerboard floor.

Checkerboard floors have been around for a loooooong time, so it fit that criteria.(http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/quick-history-checkerboard-flo-136019)

It also allowed us to use generic, solid black and white, 12″ tile, which we ordered from the American Olean “Urban Tones” collection from Lowes for $3.47/ sq foot.  We paid $400 in tile.

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The other thing we treated ourselves to was to heat the tile.  The bathroom has 3 exterior walls and is super cold during our long winters.  We knew that even thought it would be a bit of a splurge, it was a luxury that we would really appreciate on a daily basis.  We were able to order the heat coils online at 60% off, and paid about $500.  So if you factor in grout and mortar, the floor cost ~$1000.

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We have a jam packed weekend, but my husband was able to install the toilet this morning so, I think that means the bathroom is officially “open for business”  🙂

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