Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Extreme home makeover

Now that winter is officially here (in my book that is when it first snows, which was Nov. 10th, ugh), I think it's time for a little retrospective, if you will. This all began in February.

A little bit of before, and a little bit of after:
Original back of house

Not done, but getting close.
This is the best photo of the original east side of the house that I could find.
New east side
Kitchen window.
Best I could find of the west side of the house. At least you get an idea of what things were like up-close-and-personal.

New west side of house.

Original front of the house. This pick was taken when we were house trolling, before we even bought it. See the For Sale sign in the bottom right corner?

New front! The door and the white brick still need to be painted, but everything else is finished! Tim had the honor of painting the last pieces of siding at the very top.
The only full house pic that we have. We've come a loooooong way.

Did this all really just happen? Although there are several small outside projects we still hope to finish before old man winter completely settles in, I feel confident saying we are halfway through our project.  Ok, maybe more like 45%, but who's crunching numbers anyways?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You know you've gone granola when...

...you start making your own granola.

Over the last year I've had several requests for the granola recipe I use. It's not my own and it's nothing fancy. BUT--store-bought and home-made granola can be expensive, so I went out searching for the most bare bones recipe I could find. And if you make your own vanilla extract, it can be even cheaper.

Sunset Hill Granola
8 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
4 t. vanilla extract
1 t. salt
2 c. nuts (if you have them around. I use extra oats when I don't. The cheapest options are walnuts or peanuts, but it tastes real daggone good with chopped almonds).

Stir brown sugar with 1/2 cup of water and microwave until brown sugar dissolves. Add the vanilla extract to the sugar mixture and stir. In a large bowl, pour mixture onto oats and nuts and stir. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread granola evenly on each sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hr. Let cool before storing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

God Bless the Indian Summer


What a whirlwind of a last two weeks. A LOT has gotten done that we totally did not expect to get done. Why? One reason is that the Totally Crazy People Willing to Travel to Bloomington to Help Us With Our House list has grown to include another offender: Weston.

This guy just shows up to our house with a) a positive attitude, b) a week's worth of free time (which was originally only a weekend but was VOLUNTARILY extended to a week--double crazy), and c) carpentry and painting skillz and BAM! We got ourselves some major progress on our house.

Will's parents have also assumed the title of REPEAT OFFENDERs on my list.Will's dad spent a rainy, nasty day helping Will clean up our trashy yard and Peggy came up another day and painted the front of our house until after the sun went down (she used a light, don't worry).

Wanna see what we've been up to?

Weston and Will working on the siding on the front of the house

1st coat of paint on the front of the house.

front door w/ painted siding.
Oh--and I think I forgot to mention a while back that we successfully chose a trim color together. I've had mixed feelings about it since it's been up, but have decided that I officially really love it. It makes me think of our house as old (rather than modern-old, which I think it would have felt like if we had just gone with plain white, if that makes sense), and it reminds me of butter. Who doesn't like thinking about butter every time they walk into their house???
trim color: Benjamin Moore HC-6 Windham Cream

kitchen window
This is our new crawlspace door. Tim and Guff couldn't quite get a handle on how to make it at first, but they eventually figured it out.

The guys also cleaned up our junk-yard yard, taking 2500 lbs. to the dump in one day. Sorry, no pic. I figured words could speak for themselves on this one.

With winter right around the corner, we only have a few things left to do. BUT--even if we don't get to them, that's ok, because the house is technically winter-ready at this point.

Thanks friends and family for all your help this last week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Parents Weekend

Will's parents came up for the day yesterday to help with the house. Could I ask for better in-laws??

To do list for the day: upstairs windows, painting, trim, and working on the shingles for the front porch roof.

Getting ready to install the windows.

2 in.

3's a charm.

With trim. Except for the two middle pieces. Those will be finished later. Also--trim installed around the windows and doors downstairs.

Thanks Marge Flowers for the lapless 2nd coat!

Father-son bonding.
Thanks guys for the help!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Paint ball


No one ever told me that the hardest thing I'd ever encounter in married life would be choosing a paint color, together. Sickness or health, poverty or wealth...cake. Paint? A whole other ballgame as far as I'm concerned.

So our old siding was a creamy yellow-y color. First hitch in this whole one-flesh, one-color debacle was learning that Will had always "hated" what I considered to be the most attractive part of our somewhat dingy-looking exterior. Yellow-y creamy color=out.

So we tried a bunch of other yellows. And we hated them all. Paint hyperbole was everywhere:

Will: "I can't think of a single nice thing to say about either of those colors."

Colleen: "That reminds me of some putrid yellow vomit from 1970."

Yellow was going to break us. So, we said goodbye and moved on to green. Decided not to go green. Moved on and arrived at what had always secretly been my dream color...

(drum roll)

Blue!!!! (or, more specifically, Benjamin Moore HC [Historical Color]-136 Waterbury Green)

Dear Mom: Please don't be disappointed. I know you really wanted us to stick with yellow. So did we. But after taking a long, hard look at our priorities, we decided to keep the marriage and ditch the yellow. We're feeling blue, and we couldn't be happier about it. 

Our favorite thing about this color is that it reminds us of the cottage we stayed in on the beach in South Haven, MI (ok, so we stayed in the brown cabin behind the pretty blue cottage house, but that's a minor detail). It just makes us want to relax, slow down, and enjoy where we are. Which we'll get to after this whole house remodel thing.

In other remodeling news, Duke finally buried this thing (i.e. electrical line):
And now we have this nice, jump-out-of-the-top window-during-a-fire-worry-free-because-there-is-no-electrical-line-in-your-way wall:

Oh, and remember our roofless porch?

Now we have this:

We're pretty stoked with our new front porch roof (and the new front door and last replacement window on the left). It looks like this from underneath, and will eventually be covered with stained beaded board:

Ahh, progress. Thank the Lord.

Next up: Upstairs windows, lots of painting (and choosing a trim color, God help us!), more siding, and gutters.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Diamond in the roof

We finally began work on rebuilding the front of our house. With all the demolition we had to get through first, it kind of felt like we would never get here. But here we are.

I think I've mentioned this before, but we are fairly certain that our house was built in the 1930s and originally served the purpose of providing four individual apartments for men who worked the quarrys that used to be down the hillside. Throughout the demolition phase of the project our suspicions were confirmed after finding exterior doorways to the two rooms that didn't already have them.

The diamond frame above is also likely original to our home and was covered for who-knows-how-long behind the roof above our front porch. Unfortunately, we couldn't keep it because of building code (I guess that modern safety sensibilities require a window large enough to jump out of if there is a fire?). So, goodbye diamond window frame, hello triple windows.

This is the front of the house above the porch, getting ready to be framed in:
Wheaton friends Alex and Caroline were down for the weekend, and offered their help with the project. Again...who are these people who like to spend their weekends off laboring with us?

And this one goes to the Reds!
Before finishing the upstairs we were able to replace another window. Just one more to go after this one:

Will, Kevin and Alex worked hard:

Peppered with typical boy antics:
Work site safety 101: Do not have finger on trigger while pointing nail gun at friend.
Tim stopped by and offered some nuggets of wisdom:

But at the end of the day, we had ourselves a framed exterior wall upstairs:
Up close.

Far away.
Unlike last Saturday, spirits were high by the end of the day. The weather was great, friends were around, and Liverpool beat Arsenal. What more could you ask for?

Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm so exsided!

...and we're back.

Last week we both took some time off to get work done on the house before the madness of public education swings into full gear.

Siding. I can't believe it, but we've actually started putting it up. We are using James Hardie fiber cement siding. This stuff is pretty weird and awesome all at once.
Will nailing up the first piece.
Tim and Will making some progress on the west wall.
Pretty much done!
The color is just the unpainted color...it will eventually be yellow.

We almost finished siding on the east wall, but decided to call it quits with only two pieces left to go. Sometimes preserving your sanity trumps checking something off the to-do list.
Making some progress....
All finished. Well, except those two boards.
You probably noticed that the front of our house is looking just a tad bit out of sorts. The last major part of demolition that we have to do is the front, which is probably also the most difficult. Thankfully, we had some help from our good friend Seth Rowe. The whole time he was helping out I was wondering to myself what would compel a person who is on vacation to work on a toxic demolition project for fun. I quickly found out that Seth really just wanted to break things, i.e. our window.

He's trying to act all innocent about it, but we all know that Seth Rowe is nothing but a violent window-breaking monster*. Thankfully our victimization was minimized by the fact that the window is being replaced anyways.

Onward and upward. The Rose bros. trudged on with insulation and OSB...

Josiah and Will took down the rest of the upper siding...

...and at the end of it all I forced everyone to smile so I could take a picture:
Don't look too closely at their actual expressions.

I have to admit. Morale was low by the end of the work day. Maybe one of the lowest yet. But we were able to accomplish quite a bit over the course of 6 days, mostly thanks to Will, Charlie and the help of Sunset Hillbillies and other good friends (God bless you Seth and Rob). We are no where near being finished, but I think we are starting to get a vision for what we have to look forward to living in and sharing with others.

At bat: electricity, prepping the front for siding, siding the back wall, and framing in the upstairs.

*Seth Rowe--you and your wife are actually pretty awesome. You can break our (old) windows anytime if it means getting you back to Bloomington.