Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

…and while the main bathroom renovation wasn’t as expansive, some days it certainly felt that way! A year and half is what it took to finish this renovation, almost to the day. Demo day was March 2, 2019; we finished (except punchlist stuff) on August 30, 2020. I had days I feared that it would never be finished. Granted, I did the majority of the work myself with the help of family and friends. And, the work had to be squeezed in between my day job business trips with several of those being multiple weeks on the west coast and many familial obligations keeping me and/or my help away from the house. The work was extensive. The tub and vanity were swapped in the layout and the door was shifted to accommodate the new configuration. We replaced the swinging door with a pocket door. As the boyfriend often does, he calmed my mind a bit by reminding me that actual time spent working on the room was closer to two months. That made me feel a little better – somewhat. And, I am overjoyed with how this room looks. While not a true restoration, I feel good about reintroducing Folk Victorian aesthetics back to the room. But let’s start back at the beginning….

I started researching Victorian bathroom features and finishes that I wanted to use. Fun fact: Thomas Crapper, famed Victorian plumber, did not invent the first toilet nor is the term “crap” attributable to him! Here are three sites that I found useful:

The History of the LavatoryVictorian Bathroom Design and Victorian Bathrooms: A History Lesson

I started, as I usually do, with picking my finishes. I already knew what art print I wanted to use and it became kismit when I found the old original wallpaper behind the studs.

And, then there was my tile, color, and finish palette. I wanted the tile above the wainscot in the tub surround to disappear and blend into the adjacent wall color. Subway tile and hexagon marble are consistent to the Victorian aesthetic and always a timeless classic. I always like a bathroom to feel sanitary and clean so white fixtures are a must. I also like to use a brushed nickel finish to help hide fingerprints between cleaning. I happily discovered in one of my books, Turn-of-the-Century House Designs with Floor Plans, Elevations, and Interior Details of 24 Residences by William T. Comstock, which was first published by the author in New York in 1893 (the year my house was built) under the title Suburban and Country Homes, that the description for Plates XXVIII. and XXIX. includes this statement: “The plumbing is of the best; all pipes and fixtures in bathroom are nickel-plated.” So, it’s only the best for my home! 🙂 And, quality-wise, Kohler is my go-to manufacturer. I used Kingston Brass faucets in this renovation because of their period appropriateness and, so far, they seem sturdy and quality at a reasonable price. (Word of warning, however, Kingston Brass’s installation instructions are not the best so be prepared and have the tech support number ready in case you need to call for help.) While I opted for real marble floors and accent tile, I decided to go with solid white Quartz for the horizontal surfaces; I felt that it gave it a porcelain look while providing modern maintenance convenience.

tile and paint scheme

Tile and color palette

I also created drawings and elevations so I could follow them (and show the resident ghosts so they wouldn’t get upset at the work ;-)). (Studio M Designs LLC is my referral based interior design and decorating business but my day job is a commercial construction project manager.) You’ll notice when you see the after photos that there were a few modifications from the original plan. For example, I originally planned to install a toiletry niche at the tub, but instead, decided to build a full length horizontal ledge above the chair rail that basically disappears with the tile but provides more storage space.

Main Bath Elevations

Back in the 1980s, the homeowner at the time stripped a lot of original features and charm from the house. This room had been one of the victims of that act. So, I decided it would make the most sense to start from scratch in the room.

Because of the size of the room overall (it’s approximately only 6 foot x 10 foot), I could not fit a tub and separate shower and because the width of a clawfoot is not conducive to comfortably showering, i.e. one hits one’s elbows against the shower curtain, I decided to use a drop-in tub with wood surround. And, there is historic reference for it. I found these images while doing my research.

I also toured the mansion at local Batsto Village which included a wood surround tub in its bathroom similar to the bottom left picture. Again, because the room is small, I worried that a vertical wood shower surround (or a shower curtain) would further create a claustrophobic feel to the room. So, I started looking for historic Victorian tub-shower combinations for inspiration. I found these images.

It seemed that the majority of Victorian tub-shower combinations, had shower enclosures that only covered a portion of the overall tub. After seeing those, and staying true to my desire to honor the history but also bring the house into the 21st century, I decided to go with a hinged glass door that did not enclose the entire tub with an exposed shower system.

20200830_180729

Before I share the before and after photos, I’ll share what I spent on this project:

Demo Labor*……………………………………………………………………………………………$  375

Carpentry and Drywall (including vanity and tub surround)……………$1,469

Paint and Tile and Stone Surfaces (I did the install myself)……………….$2,078

Plumbing (fixtures and rough-in**)………………………………………………………$1,840

Electrical***…………………………………………………………………………………………….. $  305

Art and Accessories including glass panel……………………………………………$1,272

Grand Total………………………………………………………………………………$7,692

* I hired professionals to perform the demolition because of asbestos concerns.
**A good girlfriend of mine did my plumbing rough-in for me and I traded a dumpster-retrieved clawfoot tub for the work.
***My brother is a certified electrician and did any of the electrical wiring that needed to be done. This represents the cost of material and fixtures.

Without further ado, here are the before and after pictures….

Slowly but surely, I’m returning the Folk Victorian character to this house and making it my home in the process. I can easily visualize the potential and can’t wait to implement the plan for the rest of the home. It truly is a rehabilitation of love. Ironically, this bathroom is the main hall bath and not the owner’s suite bath so it’ll be mostly my guests who use it. But, it is the only bathroom with a tub (for now), so I claim it as my spa retreat!

Making Good First Impressions

It’s always good to make a good first impression and the first half of 2020 saw two improvements to the public face of the farm. One was planned, i.e. budgeted; the other was not but timing is everything and, therefore, determined it prudent to use credit. In both cases, I hired out the work because I recognize when something is beyond my skill set or would otherwise necessitate an astrological alignment of resources – mostly labor related – that does not come easily.

The first improvement was the rear fence. When I bought the property, there was an old, falling over, split-rail fence with turkey wire attached. Because, as I’ve shared before, the orientation of my property has my rear property line tight against the sidewalk of the development behind me, and I have dogs, I felt the need to put up a privacy fence. The boyfriend and I simply added 2×4’s and pickets to the existing fence until I could afford a proper, permanent fence. This year was the year. Sussman Enterprises did the demolition and install in mid April and Gentile Painting, LLC stained it last week. I’ve used both contractors in the past and will use them in the future; I  have nothing but high accolades for them both. I chose a semi-transparent stain to give it a rustic look in a finish aptly names ‘Ancient Oak.’ Here are the before and after photos:

The second improvement was unplanned but a happy coincidence. One day in January, I was working from home due to a nasty intestinal bug. A red pick-up truck pulled up to the house and honked their horn. Somewhat annoyed, I walked outside to find out what was going on. The guy in the truck said he was worried about dogs. After I told him that the dogs were in the house, he proceeded to tell me that he was doing a big paving job around the corner and was looking for somewhere that could use the recycled asphalt and noticed my driveway. He wanted to know if I’d be interested in them laying a new driveway for me. (Truth be told, my driveway was in bad shape. There were a lot of spots that were going to need to be repaired but I hadn’t planned to do anything beyond filling them.) After some discussion and negotiation, we agreed on a price that was close to what it would have cost to replace the gravel but recycled asphalt is a much better product, hardening to a solid surface under the sun. Plus, I feel good about it being an environmentally responsible option. And, they agreed to remove the center grass strip which I had wanted to do for a long while. It was a win-win situation; they could use the recycled asphalt and not have to haul it back to their yard and I got a new driveway. That company is J. H. Paving LLC and they did a great job. They just finished this weekend because after the initial work turned out so well, I asked them to come back out and widen the drive a couple more feet. Here are some before (from when I moved in) and after photos:

I still have a lot of overgrowth to clean up and landscaping to do along the driveway but it has made such a difference and I’m overjoyed by the unplanned but needed improvement. And, at some point, I may seal coat both the new recycled asphalt and the regular asphalt by the house.

I feel good about how the property looks now whether from the development behind me or from the street out front. I’m sure my neighbors feel the same. 😉 Still lots to do but now I’m returning my focus to indoors for the rest of 2020. Stay tuned!

Spring 2020 Adventures in Apiculture

Adventures in the Apiary

We had a lot of excitement in the apiary this spring….in the way of swarms. Because we had such a warm winter, the bees are all 3 weeks ahead of their normal schedule. It would seem my girls became overcrowded and decided to abandon the hive.

2020 Parent Swarm

Parent Swarm

And, then a few days later, a virgin queen took off with a bunch of bees too…

2020 Cast Swarm

Finally, we had a mating swarm.

2020 Mating Swarm

Mating Swarm

It seems that we now have a mated queen and the colony looks robust. We just have to maintain the hive and ensure the girls have room to expand. And, maybe, honey in August!

 

 

Updated Floor Plans

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog – over a year. It’s not for lack of work. Plenty is getting done. And, I hope that I’ll be able to share the latest projects with you all shortly.

In the meantime, I’ve tweaked the final master plans a bit and updated the Floor Plans page. These modifications create a better flow and reflect 21st century lifestyle while at the same time bringing the house more closely in line with the homes surrounding my property.

Dear Farmhouse, THIS is your future!

20180908_111509

The first of the permanent renovations is finished! And I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m working from the top to bottom, back to front so the first room that got the permanent renovation was the back guest bedroom, henceforth known as the Water Room.

The Plan

Before we go too far, I want to address the elephant in the room. Yes, those are vinyl replacement windows. Gasp! I can hear the restoration folks aghast in horror! Hear me out. First, the windows in the 1893 portion and the windows in the 1907 portion (where this bedroom is) did not match. None of them had the original storm windows. Trying to find original wood windows at an architectural salvage place – if I could even find them –  would have broken the budget. Second, I never said that this was a restoration. If you revisit the About page, you’ll see that I coined the term renstoration to indicate that the house is being renovated with an eye and reverence to the period aesthetic. Finally, I believe that the builders would have always used the most efficient and most current materials available to them. The vinyl replacement windows meet all three of those criteria – value, aesthetic, and efficiency. Perhaps, in the future, I’ll be able to afford wood reproduction windows. Moving on…..

I started by settling on a theme. I used some prints I had stored away of Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’ plus a print I had reframed of Cezanne’s ‘The Bathers.’ Obviously, the theme for the room is water. I also already had the duvet set and that provided my color base. Here was the color scheme:

Color Scheme

The ceilings had that terrible 80s trend of popcorn. I scraped all that off and repainted the ceiling in a bright white. I found, during that process, that at some point in the past (probably during the misguided mid-80s renovation), the three exterior plaster walls were replaced with drywall but the walls did not meet the ceiling. Whoever did the renovation decided to cover the rather large gap with a cheap wood crown molding. I had planned to remove the crown but since the gap was so large, I just replaced the crown with a selection that replicated a plaster molding.

Then there were the floors. All of the floors, while in good condition, were painted a dark brown. When I started this project, I tried sanding them and stripping them. In both cases, the paint was so ingrained, that it did not come off. I resigned myself to leaving the painted floor until I could afford to install new floors throughout. Then, in the eleventh hour as the boyfriend and I were planing down the door, we tried the power planer on the floor….

Planed Floor

Seven hours of planing, another seven hours of edge striping and sanding with 40 grit, and three coats of sealer resulted in this:

A lot of time and $65 for the sealer and the results are AMAZING!

This room is the smallest in the house (besides the bathrooms) and it had a closet that was obviously an afterthought. The closet was 12 inches deep meaning that hanging clothes in it was extremely limited. So, I decided to turn the closet into a built-in dresser. This was my inspiration:

In an effort to be cost effective, I used four Rast dressers from IKEA and applied trim to them. Then I painted the whole thing out white. Here’s the progress of the built-in:

Built In Progress 1           Built In Progress 2

And, here’s the finished product:

20180908_112711

And, finally, I addressed some of the details. The door hinges had obviously been painted over more times that I could even imagine. I stripped them and refinished them in a matte black. The details of the Victorian hinge really pop now.

And, because the original window and door casings had been cut in half because of limited space and completely removed on the first floor, I took the opportunity to change the window and door casings to a simple one-by design.

New window trim

The Budget

I had originally budgeted about $3,500 to complete this room. The biggest expense was the windows which were just over $1,100. Next was the cost to reupholster the chair and ottoman and the cost to remove the construction debris (my township won’t collect construction debris).

The actual final cost ended up at $4,267. The increases resulted from a few factors:

  • the blinds I originally selected were discontinued so I had to choose a new blind; the new blind was more expensive
  • I originally planned on using just two dressers in the built-in but once I started building it, found it was too low and added two additional dressers
  • added floor finish
  • overspent on accessories (but it’s all so pretty 🙂)

The breakdown is as follows:

Woodwork (including dressers)………….$566

Windows…………………………………………….$1,155

Drywall……………………………………………………$91

Paint & Floor Finish……………………………..$119

Linens……………………………………………………$152

Furnishings (including reupholstery)…$873

Art & Accessories………………………………….$547

Electrical & Fixtures…………………………….$207

Miscellaneous Expenses (eg. trash)…….$557

Before and After Photos

I am overjoyed with how well this room turned out. It’s pretty much how I envisioned it since I developed the plan in my head. It’s definitely the prettiest room in the house now. I can’t wait to move on to the next renovation….

The Roof is Done!

As promised, as items get checked off the house to-do list, I’ll share the progress. This one is big! The roof is done!

20180312_150643

That felt good!

There’s really not much to say about this project since I happily turned the actual work over to professionals. After getting several proposals, I ended up using Emmons Roofing and Siding from Williamstown, NJ. They had a great price and excellent reputation. Their work was very professional and the crew was extremely diligent and conscientious with the clean up. They finished the job over a week ago and I haven’t found a single nail or loose piece of shingle laying around anywhere. I’d highly recommend them to anyone looking to have their roof done.

Here are the photos….

20180305_093707

There were 2 sheets of plywood sheathing that needed to be replaced. After 125 years, two sheets ain’t bad!

20180305_172954

And, then there was this surprise. Under two layers of shingles on the bay window bump out and the gable end eave overhangs were cedar shake shingles! I have no idea why anyone would have covered that up but they were no longer in a salvageable condition. BUT…knowing the house did have shake shingles as an original feature provided inspiration for a future project. Stay tuned! 🙂

It’s such a relief to have this off “the list.” And, it looks amazing! I’m a very happy homeowner right now!

Happy 125th Birthday!

100_1295

I realized yesterday that this year marks the 125th birthday of my home! It seems sort of fitting for many reasons. The first of which is that this is my 5th year in ownership of the home and property; although I prefer to say that I’m simply the caretaker of the land. Second, after last year’s upheavals, I feel like 2018 in general is going to be a year of renewal and restarts. And, finally, this year will start the renovations that will be included in the final version of Oak Haven Farm as I sense it should be.

First, A Personal Note

I want to share what has happened since I last shared progress and what is coming. But, first, I want to share a personal note. As I told you at he end of 2016, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer, a glioblastoma to be precise. Essentially, that diagnosis was terminal. The prognosis for a glioblastoma is 12 to 18 months. Dad survived 12 months and 2 weeks. He passed on June 6, 2017.  His treatment stopped working and he went into hospice in January of last year and succumbed six months later. As sad and heart-wrenching as those circumstances were, the family also welcomed a new family member last year. My nephew was born in March. And, we found out that there will be a second little human added to the clan this August. At the end of the year, we all focused on mom. Due to financial constraints, she had to sell their home and moved here to the farm with me. Adjusting to a new place in a different state is difficult and, at her stage in life, I’m sure all the change must be overwhelming. I’m happy to say she’s settling in nicely and getting more and more comfortable with the local roads and stores. And, 2017’s parting gift to me? A diagnosis of discoid lupus! I’m still waiting for a few more tests and appointments which could lead to a systemic lupus diagnosis but for now, we know it’s definitely discoid lupus. I share all this because I wanted you all to know why I haven’t been keeping up with the blog but also because I believe when you talk about things and expose them to the light of day, it takes away their power and gives you control. I will not be defined by these circumstances. I will persist and live my life vibrantly despite them. So, on to more pleasant things….

Progress Made

Way back when I started this blog, I showed you all the hex sign prototype I developed for the farm. I finally got the actual sign painted and installed.

Sign

My boyfriend gifted me a concrete floor in my garage for the 2016 holidays. Yeah, some girls want jewelry, I was overjoyed with a concrete floor! 😉 It was an amazing surprise to return home to after a business trip. He and his friends did a fabulous job….

 

 

I got the white slatwall from a local store that was being demolished. It wasn’t quite dumpster diving, more like dumpster stalking. I also finally got the second overhead garage door installed.

Right Garage Door

And, the boyfriend created a new opening and built a door for rear access to the garage. I still need to paint it but I ran out of time when temperatures were acceptable. I dug out and installed a paver landing.

 

 

And, I finished the intermediate master bath renovations. I have MUCH bigger plans for the master bath but for now, these updates will keep me somewhat soothed while I’m using that bathroom.

 

 

And, finally, after some reassessment of my needs and what makes sense, I’ve updated the master plans. Instead of a single two story rear addition, I now feel like a symmetrical second two story rear addition makes more sense. It fits the Folk Victorian aesthetic and it makes for logistical sense to have the laundry and mudroom immediately next to the garage access. The actual work will be a little while down the road but having the plan gives me a direction to head in. I also tweaked the site plan.

 

 

Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done and because I’m not independently wealthy, resources have to be carefully committed. This renstoration is not going to be a sprint; it’s more of a marathon. But, this is my forever home, so taking the time and finances to do things right is important. That brings me to what IS getting done….

2018 Upcoming Work

I have committed resources – financial and time/effort – to several items on my master plan list this year. I’ll share photos as each is completed.

First and foremost, the house is finally getting a new roof! It was past time and I had been nervous the most about this one thing since I moved in. I finally have enough money set aside to be able to get that done. Had we not had the nor’easter move through this past week, it would already be done. Alas, old man winter had other thoughts. That work is rescheduled for Monday now.

Second, I started some work in the back bedroom last summer. Mostly scraping popcorn ceiling as a cathartic process after dad passed. But, this year, that room will be completed.

Third, I can’t yet afford to renovate the kitchen (besides I have a phasing plan that very specifically maps that work to after the additions get done) but I’m really feeling like I want to put my OCD skills to work in the pantry. I can dress that up and make it an organizer’s dream.

Finally, outside, I enlisted the boyfriend to build me a second, matching door for the garage where the existing side swinging door is rotted and falling apart. I also need to power wash the house siding again. I invested in a power washer when the deck had to be repaired in 2016. And, while I’m at it, I’m going to try to clean up my existing Bilco doors. I originally planned to remove them completely and create a well (which is shown on the master site plan) but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the basement doors would be more period and aesthetic appropriate. However, the existing set leak like a sieve in heavy rain. So I need to power wash them, reseal and/or add weatherstripping to them, and check the concrete curb they sit on for cracks, etc. A good coat of black paint then to finish them off.

Forging Forward

So that’s the plan – for this year and moving forward. I know that I have the right plan because I can literally “see” the updates and rooms now. But, I realize that not everyone can. In the meantime, I thought I’d share my previous handiwork (did the majority of the work myself with the help of the boyfriend and brother) with you all from when I renovated my first house to give you a taste of what’s to come. Enjoy!

Transformation of My First House

Summer Shape Up

Once again (there seems to be a pattern here), my renstoration plans were derailed somewhat by a combination of life events and the necessities an old house presents.

On a personal note, my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer in May so we were sent scrambling trying to absorb that news and establish a plan for treatment and surviving. I’m happy to report that dad finished his radiation and initial chemo protocol on September 2nd and he’s doing well. That scenario is going to continue to be a day-by-day situation and the family appreciates any and all prayers and good thoughts.

On the house front, the old deck boards started collapsing right in front of the patio door. So, my attention had to be redirected to repairing that. The deck is not part of the permanent master plan but need trumps want sometimes. Since, I was making the repairs on the deck, I decided that I would update the front porch and add in some of the permanent accessories.

The first step was to take up the old boards to figure out why they were collapsing.

What we discovered was that the joist hangers for the first four joists were completely corroded/rotted away. The good news was that the joists were still in good shape so we could reuse them. The boards were too far gone though so they needed to be replaced along with 8 new joist hangers. Then I gave the whole thing a good cleaning and power wash.

While the deck cleaner and power wash made a huge improvement by itself, I decided to paint the deck with Olympic restore because the remaining boards were not in the best condition. I also decided to paint the railing. Here’s the finished product after the paint was completed.

20160803_182105

The other changes made as part of the deck project was changing the lights, updating the door trim, replacing the PVC pipe railing with a wood railing, and painting the skirting. I also decided that the adjacent stone patio needed an infusion of love. So I added some of the permanent accessories like a hammock, the new outdoor dining chairs, and the string lights, all of which will remain beyond the temporary fixes.

As far as the front porch, the update was fairly basic. I removed the lattice as railing and installed new spindles and then painted the railing and skirting and stained the floor and stair treads. I also added beadboard to the ceiling and changed the lights.

Here’s how the costs broke down:

Railing Paint…………………………………..$110.94

Skirting Paint………………………………….$54.50

Front Porch – $186.68

New Spindles…………………………………..$44.22

New Post Caps where missing………………$8.52

Ceiling Beadboard……………………………..$59.91

New Lights………………………………………$37.05

Stain………………………………………………$36.98

Deck and Patio – $1,828.52

New Floor Boards……………………………….$69.65

New Railing………………………………………$36.74

Deck Cleaner…………………………………… $16.98

Floor Paint………………………………………$134.96

New Door Trim…………………………………..$53.91

Base Molding Paint………………………………$15.48

New Lights & Mounting Blocks………………$43.46

Solar Railing Lights……………………………..$23.98

Electrical Outlets………………………………..$104.59

Cable for String Lights…………………………..$59.13

String Lights………………………………………$71.95

New Patio Dining Chairs……………………….$706.14

New Outdoor Fireplace & Mat………………….$185.03

All in, that totals $2,180.64 but if I take the permanent items out of the total, I spent $723.30 to update the porch and deck, both of which will be removed during the master renovations. I did most of the labor myself with the help of my boyfriend for the heavy lifting and my brother for the electrical items. I’m still focused on not spending money on items that won’t be part of the final renovations so that’s not too bad considering the deck work was more a necessity than something I wanted to do this year.

Without further ado, the finished product…..

Post Script to 2015

As I’ve noted before, I’m trying hard not to spend any unnecessary monies on renovations always keeping my eye on the “master plan.” But, I also want to be comfortable in my home until I have the resources to actually implement the “master plan.” That being said, some (what I’m calling) intermediate updates are occurring. Most of what I did in 2015 included these intermediate updates. I tallied up the receipts and can share what the 2015 aesthetic renovations cost….

Kitchen/Dining – $3,066*

*Some of that total includes the appliances which may or may not be reused in the “master plan” depending on their condition by the time I’m able to do that work. Plus, the dishwasher necessitated being changed since the existing one was non-functional. And, the existing range was so filthy that even after a full day of scrubbing, it didn’t come clean; I wouldn’t have prepared my dogs’ food with it. So, if I take those costs out of the total since they were really more need than want, the kitchen/dining update cost $1,166. Here’s the breakdown:

Subfloor Leveling……………………………$30

Flooring………………………………………$393 (also includes the half bath and entry area)

Floor Transition Trim……………………….$16

Cabinet Paint…………………………………$30

Wall Paint……………………………………..$30

Spray Paint for Cabinet Hardware…………$8

Beadboard Backsplash……………………..$20

Countertop………………………………….$200

Island & Microwave Cabinet Countertop…$0 (barter item)

Island Top Stain………………………………$12

Soffit Molding………………………………..$80

Dining Light Fixture…………………………$79

Island Light Fixture………………………….$85

Floor Heat Registers (Cast Iron)…………..$63

Trash/Recycling Center…………………….$120

Refrigerator……………………………………..$0 (hand-me-down from parents)

Range…………………………………………$1,100

Hood……………………………………………$200

Dishwasher……………………………………$600

Parlor/Library – $381

Paint……………………………………………..$30

Bookshelves……………………………………$90

Light Fixture………………………………….$250

Entry Flooring………………………….w/kitchen

Floor Transition Trim………………………….$11

Half Bath – $401

Paint………………………………………………$12

Drywall for Ceiling………………………………$0 (picked up scraps from another project)

Ceiling Molding…………………………………$25

Flooring…………………………………..w/kitchen

Toilet……………………………………………….$7 (used existing main bath toilet but needed a new wax ring)

Faucet…………………………………………….$90

Cabinet Hardware……………………………….$13

Light Fixture……………………………………..$93

Exhaust Fan………………………………………$48

Accessories………………………………………..$99 (includes TP holder, towel ring, towel tray, trash can, tissue box cover, toilet brush, and soap dish)

My boyfriend, brother, sister-in-law, and I did the labor so the dollar value for labor was $0. All in, that totals just under $4,000 to update four rooms including the kitchen. And, if I take the costs of the appliances out the equation because of their need rather than want, the total comes down to $1,948. Not too bad!

How Time Flies…

2015 seems to have been a blur! I realize that I haven’t posted here in over a year. It’s not for lack of progress but I just had a really full plate last year. The first third of the year found me, my significant other, brother, and sister-in-law helping mom and dad downsize and get settled into their retirement home. That took my time and resources away from the farm for that duration but the rest of the year was pretty productive.

The garden was expanded by one large bed which included prolific eggplant plants, beans, snap peas and sunflowers.Garden 2015

The kitchen soffit was expanded so that it follows the cabinetry. Trim was added to make it more aesthetically pleasing. soffit progress

I finally finished painting out the kitchen cabinets. And, the parlor, dining room and kitchen all got a fresh coat of neutral paint. All of the rooms got new light fixtures. I also installed a floor in the kitchen, dining room and half bath. I ultimately want wood, but for now, a wood-look vinyl plank floor will do. Kitchen Floor Progress

I also removed the concealed spline ceiling and replaced it with drywall in the half bath. The door swing was changed so that the door now swings into the bathroom instead of out into the parlor. The mustard yellow toilet was removed. A piece of inside corner trim was added to the existing 1 x 4 crown to give it a little more character. The light fixture and all the hardware was updated from the dated polished brass to oil rubbed bronze.CAM00842

Then, in the fall this year, I decided to host a Halloween Garden Party and Haunted House (with the help of my brother and sister-in-law who have done one for years). We used the garage as the haunted house by adding black painted plywood partitions to create scenes of horror. These partitions were easily erected and taken down after the party. The porch also got a Halloween ambiance.Halloween Porch

Unfortunately, also in the fall, the furnace finally gave up its ghost and I had to replace it. At least the late fall was warmer than usual but I know that the icy winds of winter will be approaching soon. Now I’m set!New Furnace

Anyway, to give you the full perspective of my progress, here are the before and after (for now) photos:

CAM00844

New Flooring at Entry (so wet shoes aren’t directly on carpet)

library 02

Parlor Before

CAM00840

Parlor After

100_1237

Half Bath Before

CAM00841

Half Bath After

100_1248

Dining Room Before

CAM00651

Dining Room After

100_1199

Kitchen Before

CAM00836

Kitchen After