Saturday, June 11, 2011

Home | Flora

We have so many beautiful flowers right now that are blooming. These were all already here when we moved in. I did not actually do the work to grow these, I am just basking in the glory that is my new yard!


Bleeding Heart



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Return of the Prince

A good friend of mine once told me that she thought of my cat, Carl, as a prince. She said there was something about the way he walks and acts that reminds her of a prince. At first, I thought she was out of her mind (sorry, you know who you are, haha!), but then I started to realize that she was kinda right. He is a beautiful cat, yet definitely upholds an air of prince-like-snobbery about him. He is oh-so-sassy and demanding. And spoiled. He IS a prince. My prince.

For those of you that don't know, Carl has been living somewhere else for the past 7 months. Shortly after we moved into our apartment, we got a note on our door saying that he was being a nuisance to some of our neighbors and that we are not allowed to let our cat outside of our apartment. Though this was an perfectly fair request, we just couldn't comply. Carl is totally unhappy when he has to be indoors for more than 8 hrs, let alone 8 months until we got a house. So after trying to keep him inside for a few weeks and realizing that it just wasn't going to work, we made other arrangements. Aaron's parents, Matt & Joy, graciously offered to take him in temporarily until we found a place of our own.

It was hard to let him go (for half a year!), but I was very thankful that we had someone to take care of him for us. And, his temporary home was quite a vacation for him - he had several acres in the country to roam/hunt on, which he loves.

When they came up this weekend to help us work on the house, they also brought Carl with them. He is home. And somewhat cranky - we have to keep him inside for at least a week before we can let him out again since cats get disoriented when they move locations. I am happy. Ellie is oblivious that there is a cat somewhere in the house. She will figure it out soon.

Here are a few pictures from a homecoming photoshoot with my somewhat-camera-shy-yet-sassy cat:

Carl always blinks when I have the flash on

"Stop. Taking. Pictures."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Home | Bye Bye Bathroom

On our first real weekend working at the house, we had two goals:

1) Paint as many rooms as possible before we start moving in furniture.
2) Get the water turned on.

Our house has not been lived in for 2.5 years, meaning the water has not been turned on for 2.5 years, and the house has been through TWO winters with cold, empty pipes. The house was winterized by the bank at some point, but we weren't able to turn on the water for our inspection so this was our biggest uncertainty left.

The weekend rolled around and it was time to test it out. My parents were here helping for the weekend, which was such a blessing. Had my Dad not been here when all hell the pipes broke, Aaron and I wouldn't have known what to do - we would have either had to hire a plumber (and probably would have funded his child's college education) OR we probably would have just given up/laid on the floor and cried.

When we first went to turn on the water, we were stupidly optimistic: "It looks like the previous owners really took care of this place, and the bank did have it winterized so we should be OK". I'm realizing that saying or even thinking something like that is just asking for trouble. We had a few people scattered throughout the house to listen and watch for rushing water. Almost immediately after the valve was first turned on, several of us were shouting "STOP! TURN IT OFF" from our various lookout spots.

The most horrifying moment was when I stood in the doorway of our guest bedroom on the first floor and watched copious amounts of water rushing through fresh cracks in the ceiling. (OK, this might be a tad dramatic for how much water was actually coming through, but ANY amount of water coming through the ceiling is quite alarming!) I kind of wish I had a picture of this, but again, it was horrifying. My first thought was definitely not "I should be documenting this".

We would later find out that there were SIX burst pipes scattered amongst the plumbing in the upstairs bathroom. As the day progressed, we (Dad & Aaron) found & fixed said broken pipes by tearing out sections of the bathroom. And the optimism faded. Every time a pipe was fixed, we would anxiously turn the water on again. And every time, our hopefulness was crushed by a newly-discovered leak that was just a little further down the pipe.

The offending pipes

Demolition, no more tub

There is a bathtub in our bedroom!

So that's the story of our unplanned bathroom demolition. It took a full day of pipe-fixin', water-testin', and installin' things (can you tell that I didn't do any of the work?), but we eventually had working, not-leaking pipes. And a brand-spankin' new water heater + kitchen sink installed. And one less bathroom. But it's alright because we had planned to re-do that bathroom at some point since it was pretty outdated and lacked a shower. Now, we are just bumping up the timeline on that renovation by a few years! The good news is that we will get to make our bathroom exactly how we want it :) yay for the silver-lining.

BTW - Our theory is that all of this happened because the plumbers who winterized the pipes way back when didn't put enough anti-freeze in the pipes to last TWO winters. In their defense, it's probably not that common for a foreclosure to sit on the market for quite that long.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Home | Paint

Wow, has it really been 2 weeks since I last posted anything?! WE'VE BEEN BUSY! Sorry, will be better now that we have internet in the new house (where we spend all of our free time lately) and things are starting to get settled :)

Last weekend, my Mom and I tackled the new house like painting fiends. We got through 4 rooms over 4 days!

It took me SO long to actually pick out colors, but here's what we ended up going with. We did end up going with Behr paint for all the rooms, and at Home Depot they just matched the paint to the Martha Living colors! So great! I didn't know that until after I had spent a good 30 min trying to find the Behr colors closest to the ones I already decided on. Doh!

So here are the before & after pictures of a few of the rooms. First, our bright and spacious dining room got the "Lemongrass" color:

The living room got "Ice Folly'd":

The office got "Fledgling", in stripes! Any The Lettered Cottage readers recognize my inspiration for this room? :)

I don't have a before picture of the master bedroom (shame on me!), but here is the after of the walls in "Silver Screen":

This house is starting to feel like ours now. I would say it seems like it's about 25% our home.

We've been working again all this weekend and this time Aaron's parents came up to help us. We've been making a lot of progress, and I will share more pictures soon. I know some people (ahem, Sarah) are anxious to see how it's all coming along! :)
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