Friday, December 30, 2011

Hello all! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! We sure did- Russell's mom came down for Christmas Eve Eve. Then we had a very Berry Christmas Eve dinner (oyster stew and raw fish: you know, typical Christmas stuff. If you're Swedish.) followed by a very relaxed Christmas day, followed by the annual trip to Memphis where we manage to see alllll of Russell's family in about 2 days! It's been fun :)

But all of these relatives reminded me: I need to update the blog! So here's what we're going to do: I'm going to update you, one room at a time, so you can see where we are now in the renovation. Today's room: The dining room.

When we first moved in, the dining room was Apartment 1's (our side) living room. That's what the former owners used it for and we did the same. Here's a picture of the first day we saw the house:

So, as you can see, it's a living room. Here are some pictures once we moved in: as you'll see, I didn't take any shots of the living room without people. are some friends watching a Vols game. Oh, and a gratuitous cat shot.

So, just fyi, below the chair rail, the walls consist of paint, over wallpaper, over wood paneling, over plaster. :) Isn't that fun. On top, it's just plaster, except for the wall behind the couch. It's drywall and also hiding a fireplace. And the couch is hiding a nasty spot on the floor where the hearth for said fireplace used to be before some sweet "remuddler" ripped it out.

So, after we'd relocated all "living room" stuff to our new family room in the back of the house, this room became (drum roll please!) the dining room!

Woohoo! Big difference, eh? So, what we did:
1. Bought a dining table, chairs, and bench off Craigslist. The table and bench are handmade.
2. Painted the lower half of the room with glossy white paint.
3. Used molding to create a "board and batten" look-- p.s. this was reaaaaaalllly easy. And not too expensive- like, under $100 for paint and molding. I highly recommend this project. Also, everyone else in the blogosphere has done it, so here's a link to someone who explains it better then I can :)
4. Took down the ceiling fan and replaced it with an ikea light fixture my mom had sitting in a closet. Gotta love free stuff.

Here are more pictures:

Someday we'll open that drywall wall up again, restore the fireplace and hearth, and add some (hopefully reclaimed) built ins. Someday.

Everyone we see asks the same question: "Are you done with the renovation yet?". Then they seem a bit disconcerted when I burst into maniacal laughter and exclaim "DONE??!! Hahahaha we'll NEVER BE DONE". We've come up with a better answer that's kinda a combination of "Yes, all the major components of the 1st reno are done" and "We still have a "to do" list from here to the moon." But we both know that this whole "owning a hundred (and eight) year old house is a marathon, not a race. There will always be projects! Good thing we're enjoying ourselves!! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Answers from my students: Christmas Edition

This doesn't have anything to do with our house, but it makes me giggle so I thought I'd share.

I teach middle school chorus. Throughout the year, I give my students various written activities and their answers are always.....interesting. Occasionally I pass on the really fantastic ones to my family through email. Here is the latest group. I like to call them "Chorus Answers: Christmas Edition"

The children were assessing their latest concert using a rubric. (Is my evaluator reading this? The word "rubric" alone should be a 3 at least!) On the back, they were supposed to write a brief synopsis of our performance. Here are some of the highlights:

"We should be loweder so they can hear us and try to speit the words out."
"I really like all the songs, but I prefer if we song a song (yes, that's what she wrote) that we all were fermeler (yep....) like Firework by Katy Perry (if you are "fermeler" with this song,you know that this is a HORRIBLE IDEA)
"I did not like "Bless you all" because it was SO STUPID." (thanks!)
"I love the way you teach, Mrs. Mcurrdy!" (Aw.....that's not my name, but whatever). And I love the cloth you wear!!! (Ah yes, my formal "concert" loin cloth. I love it too)
"I think we did great and even my mom said we were perfesionals" (Yes, I'm sure your mom is super qualified to make the call on who is "perfesional")
"I think we did a good job even though I didn't like the last song very well, or the 1st or 2nd songs" (We sang 3 songs total.)
"I love you Mrs. Mikcury. Sorry I cant spell your name" (I miss the days of being a Berry! Everyone could spell that)
"The first concert was pretty good but my cheeks were full of happiness when we sung "Bless you all"' (Uh, what? Drugs are bad. Also, in true middle school fashion, on the back of her paper this kid wrote "I HATE THIS SCHOOL.")
"I think that I did horrible at the conserts. I didn't sing loud or open my mouth. I messed with the people around me." (Why would you admit this to your teacher??? I didn't know any of that until you WROTE IT DOWN AND HANDED IT IN TO ME.)

And my absolute favorites:
1. "I don't see what the song "What you gonna call your pretty little baby" has to do with Christmas."
2. "What you going to call your pritty little baby- I don't know how that would fit in with Christmas unless it was talking about the birth of jesuse."
I see how that could be confusing. Here is the text to this piece "What you gonna call your pretty little baby? Born, born in Bethlehem. Sweet little baby, born in a manger. Born, born in Bethlehem."
Now, help me remember, who was that baby born in Bethlehem? The one in a manger? Shoot, it's on the tip of my tongue....

Also, select spellings of the word "concert" (which, incidentally, was written on this worksheet at LEAST 10 times)


We sang a piece called "Somewhere in my Memory" by John Williams. Here are some unique spellings of "Memory"

And my personal fave.......mammary. Ah, "Somewhere in my Mammary", my favorite Christmas tune.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bloggin' ain't easy.

Okay people, I've picked up on your subtle hints that maybe I should update this thing! :) The "I really enjoyed reading the blog" and "How's the house coming? Haven't seen any new pictures lately..." What can I say, I'm good at starting projects. Finishing, not so much. As you're about to see....

So, the house is going well, despite one major setback: Our heat pump died. The house actually has 2 separate HVAC systems: one for the former "front apartment" and one for the "back apartment". The "front apartment" system is the dead one. The "back apartment" system still works, but only pumps heat out of 2 vents. So we have 2 working vents in the entire house. When I got up on Sunday morning, it was 49 DEGREES in the house. Yeah.

So we've been a bit delayed whilst (like that use of whilst??) getting quotes for a new system. But there have been some major milestones! Like.....

The sink! Our big, beautiful farmhouse sink is in :) And by big, I mean HUGE. This girl is large. And I love her. Also in this picture, check out the cabinet full of Pyrex! For those who don't know, I'm slightly obsessed with vintage Pyrex. I started collecting this past spring and I love it!

Okay, next big change:

The dishwasher! And it works!!! If you've ever lived without one, you know how AMAZING it is to be able to clean up after dinner in, oh, 10 minutes as opposed to 45. LOVE IT.
Also on this side you can see the roman shade. Long story short, I priced out custom made roman shades and was APPALLED. They are crazy expensive. So I'd kinda given up hope. But last weekend was half off weekend at Goodwill. That's right, I'm SO CHEAP, I not only shop the Goodwill, I hit it on the half off weekend. Lo and behold, 2 roman shades were sitting in the back corner of the Oak Ridge goodwill. Now, they're not my favorite fabric, but you know what? They're close. Close enough! And for a total of $5.00 and a couple hours hemming, they'll do the trick until we can save up for "custom shades".

Alright, this is Russell's favorite part of the new kitchen:

The stove :) Russell and our neighbor hooked up the gas line last Saturday (without blowing the house up!) and we had our first "new kitchen" meal last night. Needless to say, Russell's in love. Like, literally, he was giddy with joy.

Here are a few random shots- the hole where the fridge will go (once the floors are finished), the pantries, and a shot from the living room, looking into the kitchen.

And here are some bathroom shots, for those who keep asking what the vanity/sink combo turned out like:

Hopefully in the next couple weeks I'll have some sweet pictures of our finished heart pine floors and our.....heat pump? K, maybe no pictures of the heat pump...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kitchen sneak peek!

So, um, no big deal, but... THE KITCHEN CABINETS ARE INSTALLED!!!!!!

We're a little excited.

Here's a sneak peek! More to come!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My built-in has a first name....

it's "S-C-A-R-Y!"
So, the waiting game continues over here (cabinets AND stove on the 22 of September! Woot!), so in the meantime, small project numero dos: the family room "built in".

One of the challenges of our old house is that it's been converted to apartments many times over, and in that process, has been stripped of some of its character. Some of the moldings are not original, and if they are, they're painted white. And there are no built ins, which would have been super uncommon for the time period when our house was built. I'm sure, at some point, this house had some awesome built in cabinets or cupboards. But alas,they're gone.

But have you heard the term "fake it til you make it"? Well, that's what we're doing with an old closet in the family room. Basically, it's a closet with no door. Here are a couple of "before" shots. The first is after we'd painted the family room blue (it was yellow). The second is just a perspective shot,from the hallway, through the studs, into the family room, so you can get a feel for where this closet is in the house.

So, I wanted to beef up the "closet" and give it more of a "built in" feel for a couple of reasons. First: it's cooler and more period appropriate that way.
Second: we need a place to put our components for the TV.

Third: good excuse to use the miter saw. I heart mitering.

Okay, so here's how I did it!
Step One: Clean up the old shelves.

This was the scary part, because as you can see, the inside of the closet is black like DEATH. Who the heck knows what's lurking in those corners?? Sidenote: last night, I found a huuuuuuuge spider in our bedroom. That's right, our BEDROOM. Like, where I sleep. Correction: where I used to sleep...

Step Two: Patch holes

Step Three: Add big chunky trim to the front of the shelves.

This not only gives the illusion of big chunky shelves, it will also makes a little lip which will stop future TV paraphanalia from slipping off.

Step Four: Prime EVERYTHING :)

Step Five: Paint the shelves and new-fangled molding a nice semi-gloss white.

I chose to paint the back and side walls of the closet the same color as the family room walls to create a more unified appearance. Dude, that sentence was so "design-y". I'm souding pretty legit right now :)

Step Six: Step back. Admire your product. Maybe play some "I'm Awesome" music, like "Dreamweaver" or "D*mn it feels good to be a gangsta", from OfficeSpace.
I mean, whatevs.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Been thinkin' about my doorbell, when ya gonna ring it?

It's a waiting game over here at McCurdy house. Waiting for cabinets, that is. They're set to ship sometime between the 19th and the 27th (how's that for a wide delivery window?), so until then, we're knocking out some smaller projects. The first: the doorbell.

(from the outside)

(from the inside)

Our front door has a potentially AWESOME doorbell. It's a "twist" doorbell, with a key that goes through a hole in the middle of the door and turns some dials on the other side, creating a super retro "brrrrrrrrrrring!". Except that there's no key. It's been missing since day 1.

And I've looked allllll over these here interwebs to no avail. It seemed there was only one option: buy a new doorbell. This saddened my little restoration loving heart, because again, we didn't buy this place to take out original stuff and replace it with new. But, it was the only option that ended in a satisfying "brrrrrrrrring!", so.....sold.

I ordered this doorbell: The "Woodworth Twist" from Signature Hardware. It arrived yesterday and at 10 pm, I was outside, hammering and drilling this baby on. The end result could not be captured in pictures, so here it is: our video debut. Yikes.

Mother of pearl, I sound like a chipmunk. I'd like to apologize to anyone who's ever had to hear me speak for long periods of time, like....every student I've ever taught. Holy cow.

Well, hopefully you got the gist there, despite my nasal drone. New doorbell = awesome. Oh, and the cats are TERRIFIED of it, so..... double awesome.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

2 updates in 2 days??

This can't be possible, right?? Well, this update doesn't really count, because it's going to be mostly pictures. I realized our blog was created to keep our friends and family updated on the house progress, but there really aren't that many house pictures. So, this post will be looooooooots of 'em :) Starting with "before" pictures.

Next we have some "during" shots

And I can't call these "after" shots, because that implies some finality that just doesn't exist, so let's call 'em "during....but later" shots: