Archive for the ‘House’ Category

I love (no…need) a challenge

February 4th, 2011 , Posted in House, Indianapolis Photographer, my family, Personal

My sister and I were talking recently and decided we kind of like a little excitement in our lives. Not family catastrophe kind of drama or course, but we both love a good challenge that keeps us busy. Life is boring without trying to tackle something that isn’t easily done.

I had a love-hate relationship with my last house. I loved the challenge of making a dated, historic house work for our family without ruining it’s character. However, I didn’t care so much for the amount of time it took away from my kids and the expense of all the not so creative repairs.

In spite of the work involved when we first started house hunting last spring we (really, I) wanted a big, beautiful, old house with land in the country. One that didn’t need anything other then cosmetic work, had all new pipes, completely updated electric, was well insulated, fairly easy to heat, in the right community. LOL! Even if we added a few hundred thousand to our budget those houses were nearly non-existent. After realizing we weren’t going to get that, Damian convinced me to give a new house a chance. And by new, I mean built within the last couple of decades. Afterall, we have 4 children and  caring for them is a full time job. We decided we would rather have more time to enjoy our children while they are little and not spend these years fixing up another fixer upper.  The more I thought about it the more it seemed liked the right choice.

So we found an 11 year old house we liked, put an offer on it, it was accepted and we were thrilled. We got an offer on our house about the same time and set a date to close. However, the deal fell through on the new house after the owner refused to negotiate on an item that made the house uninsurable. We were a little concerned at this point because we were due to move out of our home in 3 weeks! We set up a day to house hunt with our awesome realtor, Leigh Turner, and prayed we would find the perfect home.

I made a list of every available house I liked, combined it with the ones Leigh had found, and we started early in the morning. By dinner time we had seen 7-8 houses and were panicking because we didn’t fall in LOVE with any. We had one house left to see and when we pulled up I was hopeful. It was in the country, it was oh, so quiet there.  A gorgeous drive, fields all around, the few neighbors there were also had large lots so no development would ever be built there. Yet it was near shopping and not a bad drive for D to get to work. The house was totally what Damian wanted-a big brick home. I prefer a more country style house, but I had to admit it was pretty. As we toured the house it was obvious this was the perfect home for us. Plenty of bedrooms for our brood, a big kitchen, perfect open floor plan for parties, wood floors where we wanted them, nice finishes and a pool. Plus tons of land, a large barn with horse stalls and an office.

So fast forward to now. We’ve moved in, the house is amazing and I have to pinch myself to believe it’s ours. This down market allowed us to buy a house that 5 years ago would have been out of our reach. God is good and we are so very blessed.

So what is the challenge you ask? Why did I buy a new home when I like projects? Well, we have plenty of projects, but instead of gutting rooms these projects are the kind I love. Adding the cosmetic touches that will make this house an amazing home. Some wainscoting, crown molding, building a gazebo, a deck, granite in the kitchen, making the cabinets more “custom”, painting, decorating, replacing the lights, maybe a pool house, flower beds, a kitchen garden, adding a chicken coop, sandbox…etc. And the main challenge is making this traditional American home fit my vintage-shabby chic-with touch of modern thrown in-style.

Here is the house before we moved in. Stay tuned for updated pictures as I work my way through the house.

Wow, it looks so bare compared to now, lol.

it’s project time

January 28th, 2011 , Posted in House, Personal

Things are finally slowing down enough for me to begin to decorate the house. Moving in just days before Thanksgiving, rushing on to Christmas and New Years, then Damian’s surgery and recovery that ate up the first 2 weeks of this month…well, there has been little time to devote to decorating.

Thankfully it’s the time of year that nothing seems to happen (which I WELCOME after the craziness of fall and holidays). The down time of February and March lets me focus on the backlog of projects that always seems to build up.  Just a few item on my list;

choose paint paint colors for 15 rooms and then paint

hang all of my pictures and other wall decorations

paint furniture that needs painting

FINALLY decorate Lilly’s room

plan the garden

make pillows

buy chicks

…and the list keeps going.

I’m trying to tackle one thing on my looong list each day, even if it’s a small item. I’m focusing on Lilly’s room and the downstairs playroom this week. I’ll post about those rooms soon!

In the meantime, how about a clue that I am obsessed with color? I have a whole drawer full (big 4 foot drawer) of paint chips that I’ve collected over the years plus a box that I still need to go through . Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Ellen Kennon, Farrow and Ball, all the big box store brands, literally thousands of paint chips. And I’m so glad I kept them all. I found a beautiful turquoise in a discontinued Martha Stewart line for Sherwin Williams. My favorite green is no longer available in a paint chip from Sherwin William and while I found a color with the same name elsewhere, it was not the same shade. Although the the store still has the formula to make the paint, the chips are long gone. Except for in my drawer, hehe!

Here are some of the paint chips…I only put the colors I’m liking now in the drawer.

My never ending search for the perfect turquoise. I’ve found some beauties along the way!

Oh, how I love warm colors!

More of our home

September 16th, 2010 , Posted in House, Personal

A few people asked me to share more of my home so here are some photos of our family room. You should have seen the before of this room. It was beautifully decorated for the 70’s with a dash of victorian thrown in. We lived with it for years partly due to the lack of funds to remodel and partly because my grandpa worked so hard to get it the way it was. I loved my grandpa and as a kid would spend hours following him around his garden. I would listen to him talk about all of his plants and could never get enough of his homegrown strawberries. I planted my vegetable garden in the exact spot that he had his and that soil is amazing. He must have worked some magic because almost anything will grow back there.

Anyways, tangent done. All of that just to say it’s just hard to remove things that you know a beloved family member slaved over. But eventually we decided we needed to bring the house up to date and the remodeling/restoring began about 4 years ago.

Family room before

Family room after

A weekend we won’t soon forget

September 14th, 2010 , Posted in House, my family, Personal

I should change the name of this blog to “My Comically Insane (but good) Life With 4 Kids And An Old House”. OMG. This weekend was nuts. So we had an open house this weekend. Great, we want to get the house sold, an open house sounds like a good idea, maybe it will generate some interest. So, two weeks ago we schedule it for this weekend and plan on getting some final little projects done around the house. No biggie.

Well, Friday night D comes up from the basement saying he thinks our house knows we want to sell it and is breaking so that we stay put. Apparently there is a small leak in a pipe near the furnace, but it isn’t too bad. We talk about it and decide we’ll fix it after the open house since it’s pretty minor and can probably wait. Sigh…one more thing to fix, but at least it isn’t that big.

Saturday D goes back down to put some things in the basement, comes up and says the leak is worse and we’ll have to fix it before the open house. Eek! I’m not horribly worried at this point, after-all he did run new plumbing to bathroom remodels and did a great job there. I do know he’s a perfectionist so this could take a while, but better to have it fixed. So around 12pm he heads down to start working on the pipe. I’m upstairs cleaning the house (you know the, “company clean”), planning to run to the grocery for flowers and drinks to set out, thinking I’ll blow our open house visitors away with my pretty, staged, spotless house. All of a sudden I hear banging…not all that unusual when we have to work on the pipes in this house, but I just get this feeling of, uh-oh, this is going to be much bigger then we thought. After a while I hear “shoot!”.  Hehe. You know where this is going.

Sure enough, D comes up and says the pipe is old and there is no easy way to get it off and his efforts to un-twist and bang the thing off failed. And it seems, made the leak worse. At this point I freak out. Knowing how long it takes him to fix plumbing I realize there is no way he’ll get this done before the open house and still have time to mow and help clean.  Even though I’m sure he could eventually fix it (with a 1/2 a dozen runs to Lowes for parts) we know we don’t have the time. So we call a plumber. The first time we’ve given in and paid someone to fix a pipe for us. Blech.

Three hours later the plumber arrives and before he starts, gives us the warning that the pipes are old (yup, we know that) and the connecting pipes could break as he starts to work on them (yup, we’ve figured that out before too). He asks are we sure we don’t want to just re-pipe the whole basement? Umm…maybe another time? So he gets started. The connecting pipe does break. Great. He fixes that, another connecting pipe cracks. And another. Oops-there goes an elbow thingy. Let me just sign my savings account over now. He fixes a pipe and a leak springs up a foot down the line. He’s chasing leaks across the basement. SEVEN hours later, it’s nearly midnight, most of the basement is re-piped and we still don’t have water because the pump switch cracked with all the banging and no store that sells pump switches is open at 12am. Wal-Mart, you might consider carrying a 30-50 psi pump pressure switch with low pressure cut-off. I’m sure they would sell like hotcakes.

We decide there is nothing to do but call it a night and try to finish in the morning. The house is as clean as it could get without water. Which isn’t clean at all. Think a day’s worth of dirty dishes piled up, wet plumber tracks all over the kitchen, bathrooms waiting to be cleaned and more. Open house in less than 14 hours.

We’re up bright and early Sunday morning which would normally mean heading to church, but today we’re all stinky and dirty due to our lack of showers and our house is still a mess. So church is not happening for us today. I rush out to Lowes and get there as the doors open, grab the pump switch from the shelf and race home. Fortunately this part of the repair went smoothly and by 10:30am we have running water again! Unfortunately the yard still needs mowed and the house needs cleaned. Open house in 3.5 hours. It normally takes us 3-4 hours to mow our nearly 1 acre yard (we have a gazillion trees so it takes a while) so you can imagine the panic that ensues. I run around the house, taking breaks to feed and change Lilly, D mows at breakneck speed and we race against the clock. 20 minutes before the realtor is due to arrive D races into the shower, I’m running the kids (AKA pack mules at this point) around putting things away while setting up the flowers, setting drinks out and loading up the diaper bag. 10 minutes ’till 2:00 we rush out of the driveway and pass the realtor on our road. Haha! D’s hair isn’t done, Bella and Garrett haven’t had showers and we’re all starving. But we did it! The house is sparkling, calm music playing, flowers in vases, drinks out for the visitors, and all of the house info is laid out neatly. Whew! If only they knew the insanity that had taken place only minutes before.

Since we were hadn’t had lunch we head to a restaurant, park and start to unload looking forward to relaxing while we watch the Colt’s game. All of a sudden Christian yells “oh no!” In rush to get out of the house in time, he ran out to the van barefoot and now has no shoes. Of course. All we can do at this point is laugh!

It all worked out okay and was a great day in the end. We went to my sister’s and had delicious homemade pizza, watched the Colts lose (boohoo) and relaxed. The open house was busy and there is some interest from a couple of the families that came through. Yay! And the good in this whole fiasco is that we have new pipes in the house and it was SO nice to go back to a house that looks like a model home. And with 4 kids and a dog I expect that model home look to last, oh, about 30 minutes. : -)

And for a picture…here’s one of my house. As much work as restoring a 120+ year old house has been, I’ll miss this place terribly when we leave.