Quick Kitchen Update

So the kitchen isn’t done but it’s VERY close to being done.  We were able to move back in shortly before Christmas but they still have some finishing touches to do in the kitchen & still have to complete the fireplace – they haven’t even started it but rumor has it the millwork guys are going to be here on Friday & the rest of the work will be done, done next week.  We shall see. IMG_1059_Fotor_Collage

So far I’m really happy with how everything came out.  I love how open the kitchen is the rest of the house now.  I’ll be thrilled when the fireplace is done & I can unpack the rest of the boxes.


Bring on the Demo

Today we started construction.  I’m so excited for the finish product but am scared the next 6-8 weeks are going to be a bit hellish.  We have to be completely out of the main floor until everything is done.  So we’ve set-up a makeshift kitchen in the laundry room/family room downstairs, the 2nd bathroom upstairs has become our mudroom/coat closet, and our room now is a living room.IMG_0587_Fotor_Collage

Tomorrow they will be moving the fridge downstairs to the laundry room.  London is a little perplexed about having to eat in the laundry room.
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Dad Visits & Deck: Before & After

Remember what our backyard looked we first moved it? Ya, I didn’t really remember either. I still can’t figure out what they were thinking with this landscaping. Seriously, there was no back yard. Maybe that’s it – they didn’t like to mow the lawn…?20130530-083731.jpgIt’s come a longggg way but still seems to have a long ways to go. Slow & steady. Patience is in my development plan.

Super lucky for us, my dad came out to rebuild our deck a couple of weekends ago. Pete & I had spent the weekends leading up to his visit ripping up the old deck. The shape of the deck was not very user-friendly. We didn’t seem to have enough space to have a table or even chairs. Not sure what the design logic was. And Pete won the job of removing the dead, rotting skunk that was under the part of the deck we didn’t replace. The smell alone was making me sick, he said he almost vomited when disposing of the vermin (don’t have a picture, I actually had to leave the house when this operation was underway).20130530-083721.jpgDad arrived on Friday night. We gave him Friday night off (well kinda, he had to review my project plans & figure out what additional supplies would be needed) but got straight to work on Saturday morning. Turns out whoever build the original deck must have lost their level & tape measure. We couldn’t figure out their logic, pretty much there wasn’t any which made things a little interesting. Thankfully, Dad was able to go with it.

After a few trips to the lumberyard & hardware store, we were able to get started (Dad spent about 5 minutes trying to use our Skill Saw before realizing that it wasn’t going to cut it for the job – no pun intended – lucky me, he got me a new one for my birthday!!). It took us most of the morning to “reshape” the deck foundation. I use the term “we” loosely, as Pete & I were strictly following directions. 20130515-073251.jpg

After lunch, we started adding boards. Dad & I had a pretty good system going, he was measuring & cutting & I was doing the drilling (Pete had the afternoon off). The deck started to feel more “real” as more boards are added. By the end of the day we had the majority of the boards down. I was pretty impressed with our progress.20130515-073220.jpg

Day One: Before & After20130530-083233.jpgSunday morning Dad was up at the crack of dawn designing the deck railing. By the time we got up, he had the whole thing sketched out. It was too cold to start working so we went out to get the railing supplies. When we got back it had warmed up a hair & we were able to finish getting the boards down. Already looking good!!20130515-073311.jpgNext we started putting up the railing. I was getting more excited as each section was complete. By the time we took a lunch break, we were almost done with the railing. Looking amazing!20130515-073304.jpgWhen we were done with the railing, we had a couple of boards left, so Dad got fancy, split the boards & added a second board to the bottom of the railing – giving it a much more finished look. You can’t tell in the picture but I promise it looks good.

Can you believe how good this looks?! We are so incredibly happy with how it came out (so are our neighbors!). Thanks Dad for all the work!!!


You can kind of see some of the landscaping work Pete did in this picture.  He dug several HUGE rocks out of the yard & planted some grass.  You can see that he’s pond is no longer but I’m pretty confident that we will get much more use out of the deck than we ever got out of the pond. 

Once the lattice is up & we have patio furiture, well be good to go!  Maybe this weekend!

Before & After: Shed

It is a well-known fact that a coat of paint can transform a room…or a shed. And a transformation was exactly what this shed needed.


Last weekend I pulled out the paint supplies & got to work removing this eyesore from our backyard. During the painting process I realized that a new door was also in order (truth is I really didn’t want to put the filthy, beat-up door back on the freshly painted shed). So I built this door to kind of match the style of the shed. It’s made of tongue & grove boards (I talked the guy at Home Depot into giving me a 50% discount since the boards were broken on one end) & ended up costing me about $9. Over the course of last week & this week I was able to finish this project up.


I was looking at pictures of sheds & really liked the ones with windows. Of course, I wasn’t going to (don’t know how) install windows (plus the inside of the shed is still gross). Then I came across a shed or two with faux windows & that was the winning ticket. I really can’t decided if looks a little too…I don’t know old ladyish or if I like it. No question that it beats what it was but I’m not sure if I got a little carried away with the window boxes…

In other backyard news, we’re super impressed with how well the grass is coming in back there. I had to replant in a couple spots this weekend but overall it’s looking good. And..anyone notice that little fire pit on the right? Ya, we built that yesterday. I’ll post better pictures & the full story later this week

Backyard Progress

So I’m happy to report that we made SERIOUS progress in the backyard last week/weekend.

We called a landscaper to get a quote for the removal of all the vines & I thought it was extremely reasonable & worth paying – ripping up groundcover/vines is not really the most fun (they do our neighbors lawn, so they evaluated & quoted us a price based on scoping from the neighbor’s yard). They were supposed to come last Wednesday. I got home from work & nothing had been done. So I called & they assured me that someone had been there to “weed the flower beds”. I assured them that was not what I wanted done & even that hadn’t been done. They had someone there bright & early Thursday morning that I could show what I wanted to have done. Of course, when they saw how annoying the work was, they almost tripled the quote…so I ended up doing it myself which in hindsight wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated.

By Saturday mid-morning, I had ripped out all the vines & we were ready to rent a tiller. We smartened up this time & rented one that was drastically easier to handle & had the whole area tilled in a jiffy (not sure if Pete would agree that it was a jiffy but comparably speaking, it was like night & day). Then I raked it & raked it & raked some more, making sure I got as much of the crap out as possible. Put a little (14 bags) top soil down, raked again, then, to quote our other landscaper “seeded the $h!t out of it”. Covered it with straw & watered. And have been watering everyday since.


It’s a little depressing that the “then” pictures look better than the “now” pictures. That was also in the spring before the groundcover area became seriously overgrown. I think by next spring, we’ll be much happier with how things are looking. Next up…paint that eyesore of a shed.

Weekend Happenings

I’m sure everyone can agree that the weekends are never long enough. At our house they fly by. I wish I had a finished project to post. I don’t. We did do a lot of work this weekend, whether or not one can actually tell is a different story…

We are getting there with our backyard. Pete even said yesterday, “wow, this has the potential to look really nice”. I love when we hit this point in a project, that is when Pete goes from being a skeptic to a believer – it’s a magical moment for me. Luckily he had it this weekend because we’re far from done with the yard but at least now he’s on board with all the labor equity we’re putting into it. And I say we because although I thought (told him) this was my project & he didn’t have to help – I changed my tune on Saturday morning when I started tilling. The machine was HEAVY & not easy to handle – we tag teamed & managed to get about ½ the lawn done during our 2 hour rental. I don’t think our bodies could handle much more.

Sunday I racked, leveled, & seeded the area we finished. That one little sentence took a couple hours.  *Notice the evidence a little visitor left on our deck*We went to Home Depot to get lumber for the mantel I’m going to build in the basement & 2 trips later ended up at home with the stuff to build a dry bar in the basement. Funny how that happens. So I spent Sunday afternoon staining the cabinets & mantel pieces. You can see the garage is a bit of a disaster area.

We did find time on Saturday afternoon to head to the Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park. I didn’t buy anything but did get some great ideas which will probably be popping up on the blog sometime in the future.

Done & Done – 2nd Armchair

Finally! I finished up the second chair a couple of weeks ago but haven’t got around to posting (is it really September!?! Craziness) the final product. As requested by a loyal reader, I’m working on a post that breaks down how I tackled this project. Hopefully that will be done before the end of the year. Well here’s the chair(s); it might look familiar.When I bought these I was thinking of trying to sell them when I was done…but I think I like them too much. Although it’s hardly ever used, I love this little area in our house.