Monday, October 23, 2006

Swab the deck,

and other home maintenance.

We really like the idea of a deck. We just don’t like the deck that came with our house. But, when you’re gutting the inside, you really value any livable space – even with uneven stairs, odd railings and mismatched wood. Given that we’ll need to keep the deck for a couple of years while we make the inside our own, we thought we’d take some steps to maintain it. Really, not a novel thought… but, like so many other things, it never occurred to the former owners.

My family came to town for my cousin’s wedding (congrats Kim and Jay!). Really, the deck and this visit have something in common – just give me a minute.

So my family was in town for the wedding. My mom extended her trip to help us with a project. So many projects and a volunteer – I was beside myself with ideas. Because the weather was nice and because the deck looked so bad, the deck seemed like a good two-day job.

Ha. It took two days just to power wash it. But that’s what my mom and I did while Michael went to work. We worked so hard on it– my mom even power washed her toe – ouch!

Then there was the staining. My mom helped pick the color – mission brown, but she was already safely back in Missouri (bandaged toe and all) by the time we were ready to stain. Even though Michael had thought the deck was a lost cause, even he was excited by how much better it looked clean. Two weeks of after work staining got us to this.

Just in time for winter… Argh!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Smells like Christmas...

…and sounds like power tools.

I know it’s a bit early for Christmas (except for in retail). But, around our house, it smells like Christmas. Michael and I spent the weekend cutting down and trimming evergreen trees. We have a line of trees between our house and our neighbors. They aren’t pretty, but they serve as a natural privacy fence.

Ahh, much better. I guess we all need a trim now and then.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


We had some family visit a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time hosting, and even though the house wasn’t yet up for visitors, we were. I know people must be horrified (perhaps too strong a word… at least stunned, or surprised) when they walk in the house – walls are half down, you can see through from room to room, wires dangle from walls and the ceiling, everything is mismatched. My uncle, though, saw what we saw when we first walked through the house last October – potential.

Seeing the house through his eyes gave us renewed energy for the project that we have ahead of us. In fact, I think it inspired us to be even more ambitious… if that’s possible.

Thanks, Bill!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

If these walls could talk.

Most days Michael and I decide what to do on the house. We have plenty of projects to keep us busy, but the weather plays a part. On a nice day, like today, we wanted to work outside. On rainy days, much better to do work indoors.

But then, there are some days when the house decides. This weekend, our work was dictated by the house. Let me explain:

Thursday night we had wicked storms come through Maryland. There was lots of wind and heavy rain for a quick, but violent, storm. Then the house let us know what we’d do over the weekend by dripping. Between the two additions of the house (between the living room and the dining room), we had a light, but steady drip. We tore out some of the ceiling to be sure the water wouldn’t reach our light fixture (it’s my least favorite light fixture, but…). The little bit that's hanging is what we tore into Thursday night.

So today, Sunday, we took out the ceiling where the two rooms join, and then some more for good measure. It was a mess, but a mess we’ve become accustomed to. There’s nothing like dry wall dust in your eyes, mouth and nose to make you feel like a proud homeowner. Michael said that tearing the wall down was much easier than trying to get the wallpaper off. I guess my work on removing the wallpaper was a bit premature.

I know there was a time that a drip indoors would have really caused concern. I’m sure it would for most people, but Michael and I just figure it’s another opportunity. We really didn’t like the roofline above the room where we had the drip and now we have a reason to explore different options.

Our house keeps asking for lots of big changes… For now, Michael and I are happy to oblige.