Thursday, February 27, 2014

House Renovations--Before and After

I've  always loved this house...
It had a kind of living, breathing spirit to it that drew me in from the minute I saw it..

We knew from the beginning, though, that changes needed to happen to accommodate our growing family...

...And so about five years ago, we began our renovation process by making our garage into a living room...

and added this...
(this little bump out was the only thing added...the rest was the garage space reworked)

Here is the entry way view right when you walk into the house...
This is what it looks like when you're standing in the mud room...

Here is the entry way view right when you walk into the house...

From the mudroom/entryway looking in...

Living Room
(A bit of a splurge was had on the floors because we wanted to make them match the rest of the house...)
I found a company in New Hampshire that makes them (Carlisle) who were delightful to work with...
We chose random width, old growth, eastern white pine with hand cut nails...

Since the basement of our house is not usable living space, we needed another place to go when our kids had friends or we just needed to not all be on top of each other....

That glass door leads into the potting room...

AKA--(favorite room in the house!)...
I love that it gives me access to the garden, and that we can see the new chicks or ducklings (if we have them) just by peeking in from the door off of the living room...

I always joke that the neighbors must think we are devil worshippers since when we raise baby birds, there is always a red glow that shines from the heat lamp that can be seen from the street.

This was the very first picture I took of the kitchen...(and sadly, the only angle) grrrr
(notice the carpet, dark wood, and hideous windmill wallpaper)

Phase 2--
 we ripped off the wallpaper, pulled up the carpet and painted the floors with porch paint, and painted the cabinets.  I enjoyed the fact that I could get to the front porch via the door, but it took up a chunk of space, so when we finally redid the kitchen, that feature was removed and a cabinet was put in it's place.

By opening up the wall and putting a transom over the new doorway, the entire space felt unified and so much larger...What a pleasure it is to be able to converse with people and actually see their faces now, whereas before, there was always a wall dividing the conversation since there was really no where for them to sit if I was working in the kitchen...

Here is just another view from the dining room into the kitchen....
I never get tired of my blue plates..
It always makes for a more productive flea market outing when you have an idea in your head of something that you collect.  Collecting blue plates has been a favorite thing to look for as they are easily spotted from a distance.  I love that each one has a story!

                              I was super excited to get this farmsink (Shaws) and faucet (Rohl)...

This is a better shot of the door that led out onto the front porch.  We can still access the front porch, but from the door in our front hallway.

Notice what a difference removing most of the wall  between the dining room and kitchen made?
(this photo makes the kitchen look 10 times bigger than it is)

I chose quartz for my countertops...While there wasn't much of a savings by choosing quartz over granite,  the fact that I can put a flaming hot pan right on the countertop without a hot pad was what sold me.  I was leaning towards marble, but found this white quartz to be a more practical  choice...

Notice the cabinet is where the door used to be...

Hallway that leads to laundry room and garage...


Phase 2--
This was what it looked like after we did the living room addition.


This door used to lead out into the garage...

This is now the hallway that leads to the new living room

Dining Room fireplace


someone had a field day with the stenciling!




Family Room


Family Room--Before--

(the perfect little nook for a game table/chairs)

I've been wanting to document these changes for the longest time now...
I've been frustrated that I've been so lame with blogging.  It always feels good when I know I've been able to get a memory/or event down in print...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five for Friday

1.   Brian and I were invited to a pancake breakfast this morning to honor the kids who got nominated for the Boomerang Award.  (It's a local program that recognizes and honors youth in the community for exemplifying and living by one of 9 Developmental Assets).  Reilly was nominated for the month of November!

She was chosen for the category of Interpersonal Competence--Young person has empathy, sensitivity and friendship skills.  Young person cares about and is aware of other people's feelings.

Her teacher nominated her after being impressed by how she befriended a girl who had just moved into the school.  

We are super proud of this girl!

2.   It's hard to believe that about a month ago, I was actually excited to hear that we were expecting a huge snowstorm.  I'm officially DONE with winter!  This has been Philadelphia's 3rd worst winter ever on record.
The above picture is a perfect depiction of the SNIRT that is currently covering the streets.

3.   I am a floral snob. There!  I said it!   I guess working at Black-eyed Susan for a few years will do that to a person!  I went into Michaels today and couldn't resist taking a picture of the wreath debacles on display.  I can't imagine someone actually paying $50+ for one of the these bad boys!

4.   And speaking of bad boys...
For mutual last Tuesday, the activity was for each kid to dress up as one of their ancestors and come prepared to tell the story...(It's amazing what a little electrical tape and mascara can do for one's image!)

Brian's great great great grandfather, Christian Monson, was the son of a jailer in Norway.  He was in charge of feeding the prisoners each day.  One day, the mormon missionaries were thrown in prison for teaching "lies".  As he fed the missionaries each day, they talked to him about the mormon teachings.  He began to gain a testimony about the things they were teaching him.  He wished to be baptized, but the missionaries were the only ones who held the authority to do so in that area.  One night, he snuck into his dad's office, took the key to the missionaries' cell.  They snuck down to a nearby fjord where he was baptized in the icy waters.  
They returned to the jail where he locked the missionaries up again so his father would not know. 
A few weeks later, he confessed this to his father who was so angry with his son that he disowned him.

5.   Is it just me, or is he almost edible?  I mean, seriously!  I could just spread his deliciousness onto a cracker!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ellie's Half Birthday Surprise!

  Ellie's birthday is in July, which sadly, always means she gets the shaft for parties...
For the past month or so, she's been hankering for a "half birthday" party (one where she gets to take a treat into school and gets to invite a few of her friends over).

 I coordinated with my sister, Katie, to drive up last Saturday from Butler (6 hours away) with my niece, Josie, for a surprise visit.  

And what a surprise it was, too!  Ellie had NO idea and was caught off guard and THRILLED when she saw Josie walk into the living room.

Katie and I took Ellie, Josie and two of Ellie's friends (Megan and Tori) to Willowgrove Mall to the Cheescake Factory...The ride in the elevator was a thrill in it of itself for them!

While we were waiting, the girls danced around in this open square. I didn't try to put the kabosh on the high octane activity level since I figured it was better to burn off the energy here rather than in the restaurant.   It makes me tired just looking at this picture!  

Ellie loves Build A was her request...(On a side note--what a racket!  I have to contain my irritation at the highway robbery-ish-ness of it all)
We sure didn't have to twist any of the other girls' arms into going...they all were super excited!

Having Josie sleep over was an added bonus!  It was the best birthdays ever for her...
We're thankful to Aunt Katie and Josie for braving the elements to make this day so special for Ellie...

Quote of the week, by Jake...
"Aunt Katie, you drove 6 hours just to go to Build A Bear?"

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mother Nature's Fury

This old cedar tree, that once served as a fort for the kids, protection for the chickens in both shade and coverage from hawks, a popsicle eating place, a cool hangout spot on a hot summer day, a pretty back drop for the shade garden in our yard and the location for last year's Christmas card photo...

...became this with last night's horrendous ice storm...

It completely split apart

 The loss of a tree always makes me so sad.  Seeing the tree like this just makes my heart hurt!

Here's the view looking back from the stream and duck pen

We lost about 40 percent of the branches from our white pine trees in the front yard

What a blow this was! The schools have been closed due to power outages.  They've turned one of the middle schools into a shelter.  Brian went to work this morning and said that almost every yard has a tree or major branch down.

We're expecting another snow storm to come in this weekend.
Argghhh....I've never been more anxious for spring to arrive!