Work Day

No, this isn’t a bathroom reveal post.  I appologize, but we are having an outlet cover issue over here, and there is no way I am going to reveal my after pictures with a missing outlet cover.  The issue is that the space between the tile and the bottom of the medicine cabinet is too narrow for a standard outlet cover.  If anyone out there has any advice to offer, please do!

We have been having way too much fun this month.  Traveling, family reunions, ice cream trips, lake days, concerts in the park, trips to the movies… all bad news, I tell you!  We have not had a “productive” day in what seems like forever.  This is all tongue in cheek (sort of).  We are raising 3 kids in this house, and summertime is a special time not only for restoring a Victorian house, but also for being a kid.  And so, we have been busy with the business of merrymaking.

Until today.

We had nothing scheduled!  So we had the kids sleep at Grandma’s house to allow us to be productive at the crack of dawn.  That was my plan.  My husband slept till 7 cuz he’s a slacker.

Today’s work was not at all glamerous or fancy.  It was a day of good old fashioned sweaty manual labor.

Job #1:  Weed/ cut down trees in the “nook” (AKA place I like to pretend does not exist).  It is a little cut out part of the house that is cut off from our back yard by a fence and can only be reached by a narrow walkway along the side of our house.  And was filled with boulders, volunteer trees, weeds, rotted wood, and trash.  This is why I like to pretend it does not exist.  But today was the day I had to deal with it.

Before:  20150725-202616.jpg

After:  20150725-202528.jpg

You may notice the collapsed retaining wall.  This in not on our to-do list, because it is not our wall.  The owners of the wall are at odds with us as to when/if it will be fixed.  Fun times!

Job #2:  Clear out weeds along the fence.  I did not take a before picture of the weeds/trees along the fence in the front yard.  I did take a picture of a little suprise found amongst them:


My naughty chicken has been escaping the back yard to lay ELEVEN eggs in this nice little nest!

Speaking of chickens, we got two new Buff Orpingtons this week:


Anyways, under all of the weeds/trees was a pile of about 30 quartzite boulders that we did not need.  Craiglist to the rescue!  They were gone in an hour.


After:  20150725-202538.jpg

Better.. still ugly and in need of attention, but better.

Job #3:  More scraping


This is back in the “nook.”  The last area of siding that needs painting.  My goal is to get this painted by the end of the week.

We worked 12 solid hours, pausing only to deal with a fun backed up floor drain in the basement!  15 minutes and $100 later, all was well down there 😦

Those were my jobs.  My husband was busy with a job of his own… at long last we are getting ready to pour new cement steps!!!

Thanks to youtube and google images, he learned how to do something new today:


Bathroom Aspirations

As with any major home remodeling progect since 2010, my bathroom remodel began with Pinterest.  Searches for “victorian bathroom” resulted in much eye candy.  Here are the pictures that proved most inspirational:



 My favorite is the last one.  Absolute  perfection in my book.


After taking stock of my Pinterest board, it was pretty clear that we’d be going with black and white, subway tile, checkerboard floor and vintage fixtures.

The other part of the equation (and most important were our goals for how the room would function.  Here are the goals we had:

1) It had to be done on a budget (no-brainer for us).  We would reuse the tub, find a free vintage farmhouse sink, and another vintage sink on Craigslist.  Tile had to be cheap (but also look amazing). We would do nearly all the work ourselves.

2) It had to be functional for our family of five.  Lance (Mr 6’3″) wanted a shower big and tall enough for him.  He was D.O.N.E. with the shower curtain surrounding the clawfoot tub situation.  We wanted to have 2 sinks so that more than one person could be grooming at one time.  The ultimate goal is for us to live in this house forever, and so it our one and only full bathroom really needed to accomodate us to the max.

3) Laundry Room. The bathroom had to fit a washer and dryer.  I kind of wish we didn’t have to ugly up the room with it, but we really needed to.  Why?  We really wanted to use the room on the mainfloor that had housed the laundry room as a powder room (DIY project, coming Winter 2016).  By making this room the powder room, this allows me to remove the toilet from my butlers pantry (toilet + food prep= BAD idea).  I can’t wait to reclaim the butlers pantry area for what it was origianally intended for (DIY project #2- coming 2016).  What about the basement?  Again, my 6’3″ hubby put his foot down.  He has to practically crawl down the basement stairs to avoid hitting his head and so he was not up for keeping the laundry room down there.  So you see, I had no choice but to move an ugly washer dryer (budget, remember?) up into my beautiful black and white bathroom.

4) I had to LOVE it (cuz we aren’t going through this again!).  No trends in this room.  Bathrooms are way to expensive for trends.  Strictly classic design.  That was my goal.  You’ll have to let me know how I did after next week’s post.

The Bathroom… a look back

When our house was built 126 years ago, the present day bathroom never existed.  It would have been a 5th bedroom, and  a large one at that.  The double outhouse out back would have been all they had.


Goodbye outhouse! In this case, one is glad that walls cannot talk.

A picture of the bathroom when we bought the house 18 months ago:


I’m not sure when an indoor bathroom was added and goodness knows I’d love to know what it looked like.  The bedroom at the extreme west of our house juts out on its own; 3 of 4 sides have exterior walls.  It is COLD in the winter and HOT in the summer.  It is also very large; not sure exactly how big but about as big as the master bedroom.  The bedrooms of our 3 kids are tiny compared to the bathroom.  It also has 2 closets!  Claire’s room- the previous nursery or maid’s room, doesn’t have one at all!  In many ways, it would have made sense to make her room the bathroom, and leave the large bedroom alone.  We would have appreciated having a large bedroom with so much closet space.

On the other hand, having such a large bathroom presented great opportunities to capitalize on the space and make use of it for our family of 5 (3 of us being female!).  More about that in a later post.

Within the huge library of photos that were shared with me covering over 50 years, there were several of the bathroom.

An early shot from the 50s/60s:


Of note: pink walls, cute baby, sink in the same place I’m sure it has always been.

And several from an AMAZING 70s redo!!!

bathroom 70s

Coordinating walpaper, curtains and tub decals, blue carpet and and a macramé plant holder. This 70’s bathroom was the real deal!


bathroom sink

Check out the giant gilded mirror, artwork, and gold baby angels on the wall!

I have to admit when I first saw these pictures, I was a little floored.  But they actually tell me how much Mrs Ristesund loved this house and how well she cared for it.  I know that she too, sat on the couch after her little ones were tucked away and planned out every detail of how she was going to make her home shine.  Her attention to detail in decorating reveals that she cared deeply about her home.  I am amazed by her!  And also so glad the blue carpet was gone when we moved in!!!

In the 90s, the bathroom underwent another makeover… this one was considerably toned down:


This photo from 2006 shows the bathroom pretty much how we found it; except for floor-to-ceiling turquoise walls. Perfectly servicable, but so much unused space. And one really small sink.

Now… enter me… my couch and Pinterest late at night… stay tuned 😉

To begin….

a project is sometimes the very hardest part.

Next up on my to-do list is the front porch floor. The longtime owner of this house used to paint it every year. I’m sure it has been 10 years since it got such attention. The paint is falling off and the wood is bowed. It should actually be replaced, but we have no time for such things. Maybe in a few years.

For now the plan is to scrape it, clean it, prime it and paint it. As it is now, it is really detracting from the street view of the house. I can’t wait to see the finished project. I have a feeling it will make a huge difference.