Thursday, June 28, 2012

Before Shots

Today I'm posting a few (!) "before" shots of the house. These pictures were specifically taken because I plan to have "after" pictures depicting changes we've made. Now, I'm not expecting a spot on HGTV with the changes we're making, but I think what I have in mind will make a dramatic difference, so I think it will be fun for you to see just how different.

I'm not going to give away what exactly we're planning to do in any of the spaces, as I'd like it to be a surprise AND I'd hate for something to turn out completely different than stated here (that silly designer in me). One thing I will say for the entire house, however, is that we're planning to make each and every space kid-friendly (save, of course, our bedroom). We want our kids, at every age, to feel comfortable being kids here. That doesn't mean, however, that aesthetics should be compromised, so it will be my job henceforth to make the two (kid-friendly and aesthetically pleasing) work together.

First, the entry:

This wonderful little space under the stairs will be perfect for coats and shoes. To finally have an entry (albeit, small) will be a welcome change. And it WILL be organized and efficient!! I'm so tired of seeing coats, shoes, hats and bags strewn about, I can't even tell you.

The main living space:

The back wall of the living room will be home to bookshelves, up to the tile on the floor (of course; we wouldn't be putting shelves/books behind the wood stove). Hubby has a cool plan for this, and I really, REALLY hope it works out the way he's planning it. It's gonna kick ass. The bottom portion of the book shelf system will be for the kids' toys and books.

The dining area:

This is going to be a hardworking space. We will, of course, eat our meals here at the family table, but there will also be a kids table/chairs, the old family hutch and a play kitchen. My recent discovery of my love for Montessori has given rise to a need to organize spaces, especially this one, to be kid-friendly. Montessori methods stress independence in young children, so I need to not only make our spaces fun, but also easily accessible for the kids. Right now, that means Charlotte for the most part. Will explain and describe in more detail in the "after" photos.

Oh, and that nice big wall that has the stairs behind it? That's going to be pretty rad. Just wait!

Ah, the kitchen:

It's cute, yet a little sad. We don't have the money to replace anything right now, but eventually we'd like to rip out everything (except, maybe, the pantry shelves) and start over. The layout is good, though. And, for now, just a few updates, and I think they'll make a big difference visually.

The door from kitchen to back porch:

The back porch:

We're calling it The Studio. It's where arts and crafts will happen. It's also where the laundry will happen. And the pooping (of the feline variety) will happen (unfortunately). There's a surprising amount of space here, though, and it's insulated/heated/carpeted, so it will be a year-round creative space. Looking forward to having a space to do these things and leave the mess if needed until another time. Just close the door!

The bathroom:

This is truly the saddest room in the house. I really hope a coat of paint and a few finishing touches will help until we can afford more. It's the only bathroom in the house, ugh. So, it needs to be efficient and easy to keep clean. Wish me luck here!

Our bedroom:

It's the smallest of the three bedrooms, but we're okay with that. Anything that needs doing in here happens on the bed, so what more space do you need than space enough for a bed? But, checkout that closet! Yep, that's a closet, with a window!!

The stairwell:

A stairwell is NOT just a stairwell! I'm hoping to find wood under that carpet, and that the carpet isn't too difficult to tear out. Can you believe this place was a rental and didn't have a handrail on the wall??!!

Charlotte's room:

I'm..I mean, Charlotte and I are going to have so much fun with her room!! She finally settled on a paint color (after going back and forth, several times, between black (yep), turquoise and pink; bet you can't guess what color...), and she went with mama to pick up all the paint today (ca-ching - ouch!).

Harper's room:

Not going to do much in here until Harper is older and can be involved in the process. For now, white walls and a Montessori approach to placement and decoration. Pretty simple.

So nice for each kid to have their own room! And plenty of space in each, with ample closets. Some day, quite a ways down the road, we may remodel a little bit upstairs to make space for (at a minimum) a second toilette and sink. Harper's room is bigger, so we'll probably break into his room mostly.

Oh, and the backyard:

The patio kicks ass already, in my opinion, with the flagstones already in place. We have visions of spending a lot of time here, whether hanging out with friends having a good meal, or just the two of us after the kids are in bed. Right next to the house we plan an outdoor kitchen for canning in the Summer (have you ever canned in the Summer, in the kitchen, in a non-air-conditioned house? try it sometime...). The garden and raspberry patch need work, and a lot of it!. But, hey, we have a garden plot and raspberries! And two apple trees! And a cherry tree! Who is complaining?! And, that little space next to the house? Kids' garden. I'm really excited for that one (for the kids' sake, of course).

Well, that's it, I think. We may do some things to the front of the house, too, at some point. And it's my plan to make the front yard edible as well, preferably with herbs (at least, mostly).

I feel like this will be so much hard work, yet so much fun! I also feel like a lot of what we're doing now is intermediary. As in, we're doing what we can with what we've got, and eventually even these things may be changed, and in a few years things will be just the way we want them. I'm so, so, so happy to finally have a home in which to do this! I'm over the moon:)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Making it home

On my other blog, I (sporadically) post about topics of interest to me as a professional maker of things.

Naturally, a house is the end-all-be-all of project muses for someone like me. A Twitter friend said "Get ready for the projects to start lining up!" and my response was, simply, "I've had the projects for a long time; I just needed a house!"

So, here are the things that *I* will be working on in the early days of prehabitation:

  • Ventilated catbox- I've wanted this since the first time a cat took a dump in my home. I have a fairly elaborate scheme in mind; I was hoping to piggyback onto the dryer vent but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. It turns out to be somewhat difficult to engineer a system in which: 1. the dryer doesn't blow hot air into the catbox; 2. the catbox doesn't blow stank into the dryer; and 3. fire hazards are minimized. Oh well.
  • Bookshelves- my one remaining hoarding behavior (at least, until I have a garage again; we'll see how THAT goes) is books. I buy them compulsively, which is not unreasonable since I read two or three a week, or more. I always buy used, and strive for bargains- the Boulder Public Library has a small used books shop (honor system only) where paperbacks are $0.25. At any rate, we're planning a fairly elaborate bookshelf modeled after, well, a bunch of them out there on the interwebs. It'll also give us a place for our records and record player. Finally.
  • Yard work- already. There's a big raspberry patch in the backyard that needs love- lots of it. It hasn't been maintained in quite some time by the look of it, so I'll have to go in and excise the non-raspberry plants, the old growth, and all the debris, so the new shoots can get their grow on for the rest of the summer, and then I'll have to put in some supports to hold them up.
  • Electrical work- there are a few places where light switches don't do anything, and a few light fixtures missing, and a few that don't turn on when the most likely switch is flipped. I'll have to sort that out while there's nothing in the way.
  • WTF pipes- in the sunroom, there is a pipe that comes up from the mini-basement (where the furnace and water heater are) and one that comes down from the second floor, where nothing in particular is, and they both just...stop. I need to figure out what they are and if they can be removed.
As I work on these projects I'll post action shots and results. Maybe someone else will benefit from my work, and maybe a fun story will come from some of them.
We did it. We actually did it. We bought a house. We are officially "grown up"!

Joking, of course, because I don't believe that you have to own a house to be a grown up. Buying a house for us is, however, a lot of things. It's stability. It's watching our children learn, create, play, and grow in the same space for years, making memories. It's being part of a community for the long haul. It's very nearly cheaper than renting. Seriously. That's not important. Well, okay, it kind of is. Most importantly, though, now we are free. Free to dream. Free to gather. Free to make love. Free to go out into the world and have a safe place to return to. Free to keep chickens (should we decide to). All with very little restraint.

This is the first of many installments in which we will showcase our adventure in home ownership. We are planning many, many things for our new home (of course; as if a designer and an engineer could just let things "be", eh?). Here is where we will reveal the end result of our efforts, as well as the processes, the hardships and the joys.

Following this first post, I plan to share some before shots. Before painting and cleaning, installation and moving in. Before we get our fingers on it. Before the blood, sweat and tears, as it were. For now, a customary picture of the family in front of the house.

(a little background: the house was built in 1910; it's a tiny Victorian, without too much (any?) of the original character left, which kind of breaks my heart, but also gives us permission to do some things we wouldn't do if we had unpainted woodwork and hexagon tiles in the bathroom, for instance, so that's exciting; it's a three bedroom, approximately 1200 square feet; it's in the city of Longmont, CO - just minutes from Boulder)

Please follow along with us. We promise to make it worth it!!