Dining room – good lord, it’s all coming together

At long, long last – I am happy to report that we have a real dining room, with a ceiling and everything. Here’s the story in pictures (because who wants to read?):

First there was priming and ceiling painting. Dave was not amused.



Doesn’t it look so fresh and clean?


So 2 coats of primer and a freshly painted ceiling later, this happened. It’s sort of a greenish-gray-beigey color. It’s a weird color. But it works. And look! A lighting fixture!

dr_process_almost2 dr_prep_almostdone

So finally, we got to take the furniture out of the library and put it where it belonged…


Even Spike approved.


And we got it all done in time for a dinner party the first weekend in December, when it looked like we lived in a real house and not a construction site:

dr_dinnerpty1214_2 dr_dinnerpty1214_3

(Do you like the very sophisticated trash barricade system in the kitchen, next to the fridge? Beagle + trash = creative if not the prettiest solution. We used to have a stainless steel pedal trash bin, but he figured out how to open it. Despite his best efforts to play dumb, we are on to him.)


So that puts the dining room at about 85% done. We still want to refinish and hang a shelf under the glass block window, and of course there is nothing hanging on the walls anywhere in the house, which should probably be addressed at some point. But it’s a nice change to have a room that feels pretty finished for once.


Dining Room Saga, Pt. XXIII@$()W)($

The dining room has been a source of extreme frustration. Not going to lie. (Well, I probably couldn’t lie if I wanted to, come to think of it.)

We went from this:


To this uneven mess:


You can’t really tell in this photo, but the drywall closest to the windows in the center actually hangs about 1/2″ below the rest. It was really bad. We lived like this for about 4 months, because although we contacted the original contractor about fixing it, he declined to respond. Then it was August (birthday!!) and not much got done. We interviewed drywall guys in early September, and chose one to hire, but he was going out of town and couldn’t start until the end of the month. Which was fine; I mean, at this point we hadn’t had a dining room ceiling since what, February?

But when he was done… I might be a little in love with the drywall man. Actually, he’s a handy man, and I think we’ll be hiring him again before too long. But I digress. Behold:


Perfect, smooth ceiling. Glorious.

What we did on our summer vacation, part 4

Last part. I think. We’re in August, which is the best month because that is my birthday month. Best. Month.

So what did we do in August? Not a whole lot (sensing a theme here?). It finally got a little warmer in August (although nothing like normal), so we slowed down on work upstairs, and started planning work for the fall. We got quotes from drywallers, had the gutters cleaned, started looking for arborists, and spent a week celebrating my birthday.

Here we are on our way to Cedar Point (or maybe Put-in-Bay), where Sarah and I jointly celebrated turning an undisclosed number:


There was also one last trip to Hot Doug’s.



But in terms of the house, this was probably the most exciting thing:



We are awningless! At least in the front. The one over the back door is staying, since it’s nice to have when you’re coming in that way in the rain. But the amount of difference it makes in the living room is astounding. It is sooooo much brighter in there. Sadly that means you can really see all the cracks in the walls. But that’s a project for the winter.

What we did on our summer vacation, part 3

So. June/July. Not a lot happened, housewise. We were busy having fun. Thanks to anniversary presents, we bought some outdoor furniture, and subsequently spent a lot of time outdoors.

We did a little improvement out front, taking out the weird, giant root that was right in front of the house, with a little impromptu help from the neighbors:


Turns out it was a giant hunk of cedar root. That must have been some tree.

I took off on a solo trip to Two Rivers, Wisconsin, to take a class in letterpress printing at the Hamilton Type Museum. I stayed at a B&B that’s about the same vintage as our house, so I spent some time inspecting their plaster and woodwork. (verdict: their woodwork was in better shape, but the plaster was comparably cracked.)


From my class – playing with wood type and experimenting with gradient ink


When I got home, Karl came to visit. He and Dave fenced in the garden (not that it helped. Total harvest: 3 zucchini, 0 tomatoes. I officially hate squirrels.)


And Spike and I spent lots of weekend mornings sipping coffee and enjoying a little early morning sun on the deck.


We had a brunch with friends on a perfect sunny day:


And Tony and I took a day off to go to Milwaukee and see a Kandinsky exhibition up there. (Although this is actually a (fuzzy) Calder mobile.)


And all summer long we were surprised at what came out of the ground, like these grand purple irises:


You can see why we didn’t get much done inside.

What we did on our summer vacation, part 2

We did have some fun. For example, we purchased about 1/3 of a pig, and together with friends, got to watch it be butchered to our specifications.  (Shout out to Paulie’s Pasture and Butcher and Larder for raising and butchering some seriously delicious pig.)

(Vegetarians, avert your eyes)


So this brings us to late May/early June, when we started working on the downstairs bathroom. We’d been going back and forth forever trying to decide on what color to paint the walls. We had been thinking a light green, to match some of the detail in the decorative border tiles, but it’s a really tricky color and nothing we could find was quite right. We probably could have had something mixed at Sherwin Williams based on a Pantone swatch, but honestly, we finally admitted that it actually looked pretty good with white. Aaaaaand we happen to have a *lot* of white paint. Like 4+ gallons. So white it would be.

First, we had to do some destruction. Because: florescent light over the sink. WHO DOES THAT?


The window and woodwork around it were trashed, too, so those would at the very least need to be sanded and painted to prevent further damage. At this point, we’re going for cosmetic updates in here, because down the line most of this will have to be ripped out and replaced (sob). (Well, not sob about the sink. That thing’s ugly. We call it the pregnant sink, because in profile it looks like the bottom half of a pregnant belly with legs.)

First order of business was to patch the holes left by the electrician, make some new exciting holes where that fixture over the sink is, and rip out the caulk (because it was GROSS. And it didn’t seal anymore, but mostly it was gross).

Caulk removal still life:


And here’s the sink area without the stupid light fixture, after Dave patched the original location and moved the wiring up and  centered over the medicine cabinet:


We wanted something simple and inexpensive to replace the light fixture over the sink, but after weeks of searching, we still hadn’t found anything that we both liked. So when we stumbled on this at the Habitat ReStore, I thought I could make it work:


Do you see the price tag? $3. Seriously. At that price, I was willing to experiment. So we picked up a couple of globes that were kind of cool looking and figured if nothing else, this $5 placeholder (well, $15 if you count the paint) would tide us over until we found something we liked better.

Here’s how the whole thing came out:


The globes look really brown here, for some reason. But they’re actually just a little creamier than the rest of the fixture.


And there’s the new fan in the ceiling, and freshly painted window which looks about 1000% better than it did. We took out the shower head, you’ll notice, since we don’t use the bath/shower down here. The fixtures for turning on the shower/bath water have seen better days, too, and we may replace those. It will have to wait until we hire the plumber to install this beauty, though, which we picked up at a demolition warehouse sale:


It’s a vintage Kohler sink, complete with original Delta faucet and spigots. We’re looking for some sink legs to make sure it will be totally stable (read: I can’t accidentally pull it off the wall while leaning on it). Sink legs are surprisingly expensive, though. (Seriously. Google chrome sink legs. It’s kinda nuts.) We might go a diy route with the legs, as well. Still considering our options, since we’ve slated the plumber/sink for after the new year, and we’ve got some time.

I still haven’t found the outlet cover for next to the sink. We might have to just go buy one of those, because it’s been MIA for a couple of months. How do you lose an outlet cover??

What we did on our summer vacation, part 1

We slowed our pace a little over the summer; after almost a year, we’re getting tired of the constant projects. (Not that the list of projects is getting any shorter, mind you…) But here’s a few shots of summer at Lelandhouse.

First up for summer was moving the master bedroom from the front of the house to the back room. We’ve been calling it the white bedroom, because once we scrubbed, primed, and painted the room white, nothing else happened in there. It’s much better situated for a window air conditioner than the front room (where it would be directly over our heads), so I wanted to be in there in plenty of time before the real heat of summer hit. Little did I know that this summer would be a surprisingly pleasant, cool one!

So, I was using the white bedroom as my sort-of office/storage room:


This was because it still had holes in the walls from both the plumbing incident that lead to the the dining room ceiling debacle and holes from the electrician (cleverly hidden from view by 50 tons of crap, above).

So first order of business was to move all that…. stuff. We’ll call it stuff… to the smallest bedroom, and set up my desk space in there. Because once the yellow bedroom was empty(ish), we would begin working on the plaster in that room. So, stage two:


This is just the beginning; the boxes now completely block the window, and I have about 6 square feet of space to get to the desk.

Once we got the boxes out, the white bedroom got much bigger. Or at least easier to work in:


It took about a month of plastering and sanding and plastering and sanding and plastering and sanding to get the room in shape. I have pictures of some of the process, but it mostly looks like you’re staring at a slightly lumpy white wall. Not so exciting. So let’s go to the exciting part: moving in the furniture and hanging the beside lights:


Much better, yes?

About a month after we moved ourselves into the white bedroom, we figured we should probably finish up the flooring in the dressing room, which is through the doorway at the far right of the above image. There had been a slight issue with math, as you may recall. (i.e. I do not excel at math, and had made a slight miscalculation in the number of carpet tiles we had on hand vs what we actually needed). Ebay to the rescue, with some Shaw carpet tiles that blend in with the ones we already had. So we went from this (please pardon fuzzy cell phone photo):


to this:


muuuuuch better. There’s more in there now, but I don’t think I’ve taken any pictures of it yet. This is where I do all the ironing and hang clothes to dry, ostensibly so it’s easy to put them away once ironed/dried. ha. Well, it’s a theory, anyway.