Posts Tagged 'home improvement'

Great Room-BEFORE pics

I know, I know…all I ever give you guys is Before pictures, never any Afters. But here’s the thing…Everyone expects before pics to look bad. I am not a great photographer, so my after pics never make anything look as good as it feels.


I’m so excited about this new project, Zach’s most ambitious yet. He tore down the wall between the dining room and second parlor in order to make a great room!


In doing so, he came across a LOT of foolish, dangerous mistakes made by previous homeowners, including THREE joists in a row that have been cut almost entirely through to accomodate sewer pipes. Can you guess what sits atop two of these two-thirds-gone joists?…That’s right, the bathtub. *Shudder*.

So, he had to build a weight-bearing wall to fix this problem. When it was built, it looked so much like a chimney that we have decided to put a mantel and gas fireplace there, and hang some artwork or a nice mirror over it. Can you picture it?


He’ll enclose part of the shaft as a cold-air return to vent the upstairs . Those big silver vents run heat/ac to the second floor bedrooms and future attic playroom. The left-hand side will be a cleverly concealed,  tall, narrow closet.

We’ll be closing a narrow door on the opposite wall:


and raising an archway of a bigger doorway:


Which means moving all the switches so that they make sense with the new orientation.

Zach found an old stovepipe chimney, and we’re still toying with the idea of putting a wood-burning stove into that taped off front parlor. Maybe we’d be going a little overkill with the romance of Fire, there. But we probably will at least leave some of that brick exposed and do something artsy. I’ll keep you posted.


Can I tell you how happy I am to have a husband who can do all this stuff? And DOES IT! Despite my ridiculous whining about living in construction dust. The man is a saint. A talented SAINT.

Kitchen Makeover–Before Pics


Big changes going on at the Moses Homestead. As usual. Zach is always undertaking a new improvement project and making our house better. Now, it’s time for a temporary kitchen re-do. Our eventual goal is to move the kitchen into a different room entirely. When we have an extra $7,000 in our pocket. For now, though, Zach will sand off the ghastly frosting texture that’s on the walls, we’ll repaint the cupboards and newly smoothed walls, and put on some pretty new knobs and pulls we found on sale at Lowe’s.



Getting these walls smooth is a huge job. We know because so far Zach has gotten rid of the frosting (huge globs of joint compound in peaks like a fluffy  cake) in 6 other rooms! If you’ve ever been to a Chinese bakery with fake cakes, you might be able to picture how dust and greasy cobwebs cling to the contours of our walls.

For the next two weeks, most of the contents of the kitchen will be housed in the dining room, and I will be doing some less-than-gourmet cooking on this single hotplate on the tabletop.


(This photo arrangement makes me feel so british, with my hotplate and my teakettle and tea assortment close at hand)

Before sanding the walls, Zach drew this family portrait, inspired by a great post on Apartment Therapy. We did notice how nice a formal moulding would look over this doorway.


New New Craft Room

I know I told you that I was getting a new craft room, but that plan has changed for the better. Since our roommates moved out, Zach decided to give the east bedroom over to my “craft crap.” This post by Zach shows the deplorable state of the room when we bought the house, and then after remodeling when it was empty and pretty. Here are some photos of nearly all of my stuff moved into its new home (taken this morning before sunrise!).

Will somebody please come help me organize this stuff?! I did go to the dollar store and buy some plastic bins for sorting fabrics by color. I’ll need triple what I bought, though, and more to sort all my tools of the trade.

I’m thinking big. Like bins for straight knitting needles or circular, Felting needles and foam, roving, carding combs, a Big box for all my Koigu,
bins for orphan blocks and pre-cut strips and bindings, stacking inboxes for origami papers and iron-on transfers, mason jars for beads and buttons. And someday I’ll have two tables, a tall one for fabric cutting and one for sewing.

Dumb Caulk

I just can’t stop laughing at this dumb ad I found in Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

“NO, I can’t talk now, I have a very important meeting and then dinner guests tonight, and my housekeeper just quit so I’ll have to wash dishes myself! Luckily, there may be just enough time to re-caulk the bathroom sink. ..Thank GOD for caulk singles!!”

P.S. Zach insists that only prudes pronounce the “L” in caulk, and wants you to know how proud he is of the “caulk-job” he just did on the front window molding.

new craft room-BEFORE pics

I haven’t been this excited about a home improvement project since…EVER. I have never had my very own sew-craft-studio!!

Zach is putting such thought into this room for me! It is a small, south-facing room with a low ceiling and a bank of windows. The room was a later addition to our 1896 house, added on to our added-on kitchen!. An old stove pipe sticks down into the room. That will have stay for a while, at least until we can afford to re-roof the addition. The worn concrete floor will be scrubbed and painted a glossy chocolate brown (paint left over from the dining room floor).

Earlier this winter Zach moved the clothes dryer out of that space and nearer to the washer (this required diverting and lengthening the gas line to suit the new spot). He also ripped out an ugly, rickety, poorly built wall that was made of planks laid horizontally.

Underneath the old sheetrock he found an original cedar shake exterior wall. We are planning to leave the shakes exposed and paint them shiny white.

We salvaged a white, pre-fab shelving system from my brother’s closets, which Zach will mount against the east wall. That’s where I’ll pile my HUGE stash of fabrics, sorted by color of course. I’ll also have room for baskets of yarn, roving from KnitSonya, WIPs, and dozens of jelly jars holding notions. Under the windows he will build a fabric-cutting table with deep shelves underneath for big rubbermaid storage space.

I lack the ability to put these into a panaramic view, but perhaps you get the idea:

The west wall will be built soon and will have that door you see on the floor. Against the inside of that wall, Zach will build a sewing machine table. This room is actually tiny, so we’re trying to figure out the absolute necessities and best possible design. Of concern is where I will fit a fold-down ironing board.

My favorite feature? Sunshine…even on a cloudy day. This room has true, clear, gorgeous light!

Please send me your suggestions for SMALL studio/sewing spaces!

Grilled pineapple

Grilling pineapple

One of the many wonderful improvements Zach has made to our house is a BIG brick-ringed firepit in the backyard. We sat out a few nights ago eating grilled flank steak with tortillas and panella cheese. For dessert we grilled up some pineapple slices. So sweet!

Pineapple served