Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a White Beach House. . .

As a girl highly influenced by the changing of the season, I tend to want to redecorate when the weather changes.  Whichever season is setting in is my favorite. In the summer I want nothing more than to run away to a the beach, spending my days with my feet in the sand, sun on my face, and my nights nestled in a cedar shake clad beach cottage with windows flung open to let the breeze drift through.  Pale shades of creamy white with accent shades of sky blue and sea glass turquoise would fill the interior.  I picture myself reading a book on a cozy window seat while light, gauzy, sheer curtains waft in the breeze and an icy drink in a mason jar sits close at hand with beads of moisture condensing on the glass and a straw propped jauntily on the rim.  Ahhhh, summer.

Then autumn sets in and I'm filled with giddiness as the leaves turns a thousand brilliant shades and the comforting scent of wood smoke mixes with the crisp fresh air.  I bundle up in sweaters and scarves and dream of cable knit throw blankets and crackling fires and hot cocoa.  Chocolate browns and pumpkin orange and aged cream. . .

But fall, my true favorite, never lasts long enough.  And winter rain sets in, only broken by the festive cheeriness of holiday cheer; white and red and silver and glass and evergreen fill my home.  And of course the whispering of anticipation, cheerfulness and good will, and the secret hope for snow.

Finally, spring arrives in bursts of color; white and pink and yellow. . . bursts of happiness and unbidden smiles and peeks of sunshine.  I want to throw open my window and fill turquoise mason jars with pink flowering plum blossoms and full, white peonies and pale, fragrant lilacs. . .

Every season is distinct.

So you see, it was a little strange to find myself headed for the coast on a gray and misty autumn morning, driving past fields of spent corn and forests of fiery autumn splendor, listening to Christmas music. . . on my way to tour a few beach houses.

It was all mixed up.

But somehow we'd strung together the best of all the seasons, and once at the beach the sun was peeking through. And no matter how you slice it, the first house we saw screamed summer.  It was enough to make me giddy, no matter the season. . .


























Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Million Ways to Spend Your Money. . .

Our house, the day we first looked at it in '07

Have you ever noticed that there are infinite ways to spend your money? And often we find ourselves spending on things we need instead of want.  If we are really lucky, we get things we need AND want.  Like our decision this year to hire a yard guy.  The final push occurred when Rob and I were sitting on the rockers on our front porch, just back from a run, enjoying the breeze in early spring, when some of our neighbors strolled past. They clearly did not see us on the porch and went about pointing out particularly shabby sections of our yard and whispering about our lack of maintenance.  I didn't really hold it against them.  It was a shabby eyesore.  And I LIKE yard work.  But despite our hard work in other areas of our lives, the ones that were showing didn't speak well of us. Because there are also only so many hours in a day to spend, and the yard was suffering from low priority. So we hired a yard guy for a surprisingly small amount of money.  Now our lawn stays mowed, our shrubs stay trimmed, and our weeds--well, what weeds?!  Well worth the money.

But I had higher hopes for the yard this year than merely being mowed and edged (though it is a VAST improvement already--I am sure the neighbors will agree!).  I planned to add a archway to the side lane for the kids to use when running to the neighbors, replace a few dead shrubs, and plant a cutting garden in my barren side yard.  If I allowed myself to dream a little, I contemplated putting in a stone patio under the pergola off the back porch.  It looked lovely. . . if only in my mind's eye.

If you look past the stained paint, you can see the grassy area under the pergola section, of which I speak.

As summer got under way, however, it became apparent that our house was in need of a paint job.  The trim paint was thin and peeling in a few places, and the lovely buttery cream body paint was stained and tired.  Dreams of my lovely landscaping dwindled and died. 

After contemplating painting it ourselves, we decided to leave it to the pros and hire someone--and while this may sound like a growing trend. . . well it has been.  We, the-do-it-ALL-yourself-family, have discovered that we can get a lot more done if we occasionally hire some of the work out. 


(I even hired a housekeeper. . .once.  I realized it took me a day of cleaning to get ready for the house keeper. Weird.)

We learned day one of pressure washing that while paint may trump flowers and arbors, roof trumps all. Apparently pretty flowers and fresh paint don't mean a lot if your roof is leaking.  And we were in dire need of a new roof.  So the paint got scratched.  And the next week of sun turned into a tear off and re-roof fiasco which included three hours of rain in the less than 24 hour period when the roof was completely torn off.  Awesome.  Having the pitter patter of rain tease you awake is annoying enough in July--it is particularly irksome when you are indecently exposed overhead.  

And despite "hiring" someone, we still managed to be a large part of the tear off process--Rob even found himself on the roof a couple days.  See little Rob up there, helping paper after the rain cleared?

But now that it is done, we couldn't be more pleased with the outcome.  Our green shutters have gone black and our brown roof has gone charcoal.  I like it.

Maybe next year I will get to landscape. . . or paint my house. . . or maybe something else will crop up and take the cake.  

For now I am just going to sit back and enjoy the fruits of "our" labors.

Just ignore the gap in the wayward front "hedge" I am attempting to grow in front of the porch--that dead bush will be replaced soon--maybe even this year!  Or maybe all the free cash we can scratch up will clothe the girls for school. . .

Monday, May 2, 2011

On the Road to Better

It is often said that things get worse before they get better. . . I think that applies to the progress at the rental.  Of course, things actually are better, but you can't really see that.  The whole house has new electrical and some leaks and drywall issues and the basement have all been improved upon.  But the random passerby might not appreciate how far this house has come in the last three weeks.  They might think the new owners are crazy.  They might be right!

During (we got a little farther than this on the paint)


During (after tile, before refinishing)

Helper #1

Helper #2

Of course, we are not nearly done yet.  Things will indeed look better soon.  Just as soon as the paint scheme comes together, among other things--like new carpet and light fixtures.

But no one can argue that the yard has improved.  Too bad I didn't take a before and after of the back yard.  It was pushing three feet in spots!  Of course, that is an after that will have to happen every week.

To be continued. . .

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Take Two

It seems this little home and garden blog has been a bit hijacked by my House of White blog.  And now this space is getting lonely while all my projects get their moment of glory over there.  But with spring finally starting to make an appearance around here, I have yard and garden projects that will be getting their reveal right here.  And if all goes according to plan, in another month or so, construction on my new shop/garden shed will commence (I can't wait!).  

PLUS, in case the last reno wasn't enough, we have closed on another rental property.  This one is super cute with lots of potential, though we probably won't do as much work on it as the last one.  I have a few ideas though, so we shall see.  Here she is:

She needs a little help in the paint department.  It isn't in bad shape, but I'm not digging the color combo--at least not the darker blue trim.

Let's step into the large airy living room. . .

The green tile will be removed, or at least covered with some molding.  I am loving all those windows!

Under all the carpet are hardwoods--this bedroom floor is painted blue instead of carpeted, and though I would love to rip all the carpet out and refinish the floors, or even paint all of them, we will likely just carpet it all up.  

The bathroom is large and bright, though the pink will go--and perhaps some white tile and bead board will make an appearance.  

The kitchen doesn't need as much work as the last one, and the yellow paint make it so cheerful.  

I love all the charm this place has, even down to the glass door knobs. 

I also love the flowering plum trees and camellia bush in the front yard.   And the park at the end of the street. 

Over the next month we will whip this little lady in to shape and show you what we can make of her.