Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 Projects In Review

There's nothing like looking at the things that were accomplished last year to get one's procrastinating rear end into gear for facing a new year.  So, this is a little pictorial review of where we started and what we accomplished last year.  Later I'll post our first project for this year that we started yesterday.

The most significant accomplishment of last year is the overhaul of the second parlor.  Later, I'll post what we did in there under the "Restoration of a Queen" series.

This is the second parlor on the night before our wedding.  I had brought a load of extra furniture out when I put my house on the market, so that and some of Donnie's extras furnished the room temporarily.  After all, someone might want to sit down.

When my house sold everything else made the "big move".  In the end, this was the parlor right before we started work on it:

After 6 months of work, this is the end result.  What I find interesting is that it a single room can have so many looks and moods-all of them individual-and not necessarily any of them unattractive while still remaining the same 4 walls.

So, that was 1 project completed.

The second project that made me happy was the removal of gazebo.  Yeah, it's cool to have a gazebo, but this one was out of scale, not very attractive, and did I mention that it wasn't concreted in and had termites and wood root at the legs which resulted in the drunken tilt it had developed.  I don't need a gazebo that bad.

Back yard in full bloom, May 6, 2006
(My sister in law, Becki with Micah, Hannah & Kyle after our wedding)

So, away it went and a little later in the spring, another unsightly section of the warren of buildings we call the shop got the sledge.

The view from the deck when we came out for our first look at the place almost 4 years ago:

This is what it was when we started last winter.  Nice, eh?

The same view today (literally):

Our much adored neighbors fenced in their back yard.  In the process, our "fence" had to be removed as it snaked and weaved in and out of their property.  Oh, break my heart!  Their fence makes our place look good!  The removal of the greenhouse is next on the list.

Probably the next great improvement was some rearranging of some dirt in the south side yard.  The previous owner must have loved gardening and planting and while that overgrown blooming look may be charming, it was impossible to mow.  We spent most of our first year here cleaning up the yard.   There were raised beds, railroad ties, landscape timbers, and bricks everywhere.  Here's a look at the south side yard in bloom before we worked on it.


I'm hoping all the bulbs I dug up will make it until I can get them replanted.  I like a golf course lawn with controlled planting areas, so I plan to replant many of the bulbs and share a good deal of them with others.  There are more bulbs here than one lot can really handle especially since they've propagated significantly.

As you can see in the last picture, there are tools on the left.  Most of this work I did myself while Donnie worked on the porch.  I did ask for assistance with the removal of the roof of the gazebo and outbuilding though.  It gave him a break from the porch. : )

The last thing I think we did-and this is still a work in progress, was the resizing of the deck.  The previous owner loved to build and plant, but maintenance didn't appear to be in his vocabulary, so everything he built needs to go, but we're kinda using the deck, so the whole crooked, buckling thing couldn't go-but half of it could!  So, one day while Donnie wasn't looking, I knocked it back to the size it was the last time they added onto it-which was 3 times at least.

Deck Day 1-February 2006

Before "Hurricane Bella"

While the deck is still a work in progress, its function and stability is much improved.  Donnie rebuilt pretty much the whole thing using the old wood (since we're planning to turn this area into a covered porch so this is temporary for a few years), widened the stairs from the drive and added a nice wide set of stairs to access the lawn and removed the weird existing stairs.  I'm happy because I don't have to walk a half a mile around the thing to get to the other side of it because now it aligns with the sidewalks.  Yippee.

So, other than the other digging, scraping, and painting, that's what got done this year.  Doesn't seem like much, but it sure did take forever!

Oh!  And I almost forgot!  Donnie's bath got a little face lift.  It was just a tad more "pop" than we could handle.

Benjamin Moore's Prescott Green & Oatmeal

 Now to get back to work on the things that are on this years agenda! : )


  1. Hi Christine:

    Oh my goodness girlfriend, do you ever rest?

    You are so talented at putting a room together. Wow!

    The parlors are seriously beautiful.

    Have you ever had your house photographed for a magazine? I think its time!

    Your blogsite is a keen inspiration for me and others.

    I have questions and I hope you don't mind me asking:

    1. How many sets living room furniture do you have?

    2. Are some re-upholstered pieces(from one photo to the next)?

    3. Do you do your own re-upholstering?

    I always have fun looking at your website.

    Happy New Years to you and Don,

    Mrs. D

  2. Thanks Linda!

    No. No magazine fame here. Not holding my breath on that, just making rooms that we find comfortable and attractive to our taste. We have a lot of fun planning out the details to make them overall feasible with the passage of the century and the stuff that has to go in them without being stricktly puritan.

    We're seating addicts, thus the abundance of places to sit. Each picture of the parlor has an entirely different set of seating in them. In the first shot, I had moved my mom's sofa and loveseat out here to clear off my back porch when I put my house on the market. I'd like to have them reupholstered someday as they are probably the best quality seating in the house. I just haven't found the right fabric for them and am not sure what room they will eventually end up in. They're French reproductions from mid-century sometime. At the moment, they're in my little parlor/sewing room upstairs. Can't bring myself to give up the feather and down.

    The set in the second shot was a new set that I bought in the mid 90s. I had decided I wasn't buying furniture for the living room until the right set came along and as I walked into one of my favorite furniture shops one day, there it sat-exactly what I'd been searching for. It seems that it was a special order and the people who ordered it went missing or something, so they sold it to me instead. Funny how things work out. I was planning for it to stay in the finished parlor but we found the blue ones (which weren't blue at the time) with the unpainted wood carvings, so our friends the next street over have it in their old house now and it's perfect there.

    The blue set-which will be staying in this room-we happened upon when one of our favorite antique stores was having an outdoor sale. It was totally by accident, but was the style of the white but with wood trim and since it was badly in need of upholstering, it was the perfect opportunity to introduce a color to the seating in that room. We picked up the sofa and loveseat for 40 bucks! We did have them reupholstered, but had the guy that does everyone's upholstery around here do those 2 pieces. The chair with the footstool we got at an estate sale for $8. I thought I'd try my hand at learning to reupholster a full chair, so I did that one. I figured if I totally screwed it up we could always send it off to the guy that did the rest. If I ruined the chair, well, it was only 8 bucks. I got a thorough education on that chair as the entire thing needed a rework-wood, strapping, springs, you name it, but now I know how a chair is made from the inside out. Wish I'd taken pictures of the entire process so I could share it with anyone wanting to know, but alas, I only have them up top a certain point.

    The purple/burgundy settee is one of Donnie's pieces that he had just gotten back from the upholsterer right before we moved here. He didn't know he would be moving when he sent it off. How fast things can change! We considered having it reupholstered again in the blue for the overall tranquility of a monochromatic effect, but its color difference adds an element of imperfection to the room that I think is wonderful. Truthfully, if the rest of the furniture were upholstered in the wine fabric it would make a beautiful room too-one with a different mood, but a wonderful alternative just the same.

    So that's the story on the 8 million chairs. Need some? We dragged several to the attic over the weekend.

    Happy New Year to you as well! Looks like you've got a good start on making it a productive one.