Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Holy Haircuts Batman!

Here's a before and after for you.....

This is the house, viewed from across the street, before we bought it (ignore the motorcycle driving by).

Yesterday the tree guys came and here's the house today....

Yikes! We like it a lot. The tree guys were amazing. We had actually just planned on a trim job of the big tree (some limbs were overhanging the house) with a Full Monty in the spring, but we all got caught up in the frenzy of the thing and let them cut it all now. I had consistently felt those trees should go, but a old photo of the house convinced us. The huge evergreens used to be pruned back as a hedge which looked quite nice - framed the house, etc. But they were obviously let go.

Interestingly, the house feels less close to the road than it did when all the trees were there. Some spatial-perception thing. And it doesn't change the noise level that much. We will do somethings to make it private - the first thing will be curtains! And the biggest bonus: the light is 100% improved in the front rooms. They were a bit murky before, now they're full of light.

Friday, September 18, 2009


The front porch

Here's the problem with the pictures: I don't have many. I think about taking them, then I forget and then I don't have them. Ooops. But here's what I have from "before." I took these to fill some holes from the listing photos on one of our walk-throughs, so they're not sweeping, but they are a little something (until you come to visit!)

This is the library - Murray is sitting there as I write this. We'll probably keep the red for the forseeable future.

The formal living room. This photo is towards the library. Doesn't do the room justice. Did I mention the previous owners were artists and the walls were packed with art when they lived here? They had some lovely stuff - which is all gone now.

A length-wise shot of the kitchen. The far end is the "family room" (added on in 2003) where we spend a lot of time. I'd like Craig to work his magic with an idea I have to renovate the kitchen and, among other goals, make it more family friendly.

I want to contact the real estate people and get the listing photos (including one of the Yellow dining room) so if that happens I'll post them.

Tomorrow (or the next day....) I'll go through and take some present day photos and post them. That will be fun. You'll get to see my little models too!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Life lessons

Poison Ivy sucks - it ate up my arms! I'm on the mend, but was quite freaked out a week ago. It was like a voracious skin-eating monster. And it itched! Badly. I still itch, but I'm slathering myself in moisturizer (I have bottles and tubes all over the house) whenever I can. Murray says it's a rite of passage here. Yuck. I don't do rites. I didn't do it in college and I sure don't want to do it now that I'm 37, mother of 2 and trying to move into a home. But everyone seems to get/have gotten it - and has sympathy and good advice for me. Which is nice.

As an additional mood booster, I finished painting the dining room today. The previous owners had it painted a rather aggressive, intense yellow. I wanted to tone it down but Murray wanted to keep it yellow. So I first painted it a "breakfast nook yellow" but that did not work for us. Now it's a "warm oatmeal" (these are my own descriptors - the paint names are so nonsensical) which we both like quite a bit. My new hero is the paint guy at the local paint store. He's a freaking genius. I will bake him cookies.

The dining room was my side in the (unofficial) "Jen versus the professional painter" throw down. Vito, the Italian painter, didn't come today and our bedroom and hall are still uninhabitable so I think I win. However, it wasn't a true contest because I assigned him the wallpapered bit which I had no intention of tackling and he's obviously doing the right things to it. By "obviously" I mean the wall paper is off, and the walls are ready to paint. Vito is great, and I'm sure he's very good at what he does, but I can't understand what he's saying. So I just smile and nod. And it's all good.

The house is s-l-o-w-l-y coming along. I closed the doors to the formal living room to give myself some peace of mind. That room doesn't exist for me until I get the rest of the house more livable. Well, it exists on my graph paper. Due to my total inability to visualize scale or how things will look in a room, I've drawn all my rooms out on graph paper so I can sketch out whatever I'm contemplating and see how it fits. It seems obsessive, but it's really just common sense - I'm compensating for a weakness. Those of you who can visualize scale and designs in your heads, lucky you.

Now I'm going to bed, to dream of lighting issues and color schemes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Return to cyberspace

We got our internet back today! Woohoo! I'm up late on an internet binge. It's been somewhat good to have it out of the house, but I do have a long list of things to look up (how to strip wallpaper, products to relieve poison ivy, etc). Tonight, however, like a drunken sailor on shore leave, I'm not doing anything productive - just reading my favorite blogs, checking out facebook and shopping on ebay! I need to go to bed before I buy something. 

Our new house continues to rule my life. Thankfully we're past the panic level of chaos and into the simply messy and annoying chaos. Every day we chip away at it. Someday we'll have it put together, but no one should hold their breath for that day.

On a more important note, the NYT Magazine on Sunday was amazing. It was dedicated to women around the world - an issue that's very dear to my heart - and the headline story was written by Nicholas Kristoff (journalist who has consistently brought attention to the tragedy in Darfur and other painful, "I'd like to ignore it" issues) and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn (who I don't know much about but plan to find out about - hurrah for the internet!). It puts niggling issues like "should I get a neutral or red rug for the living room?" into perspective.

Now, for humor, here's a classic Natalie story: Friday morning, I come home from work 10 minutes before she goes to the bus stop to find Murray cracking up at a stormy looking little kindergartener. I guess I just missed her wailing, "School gets more and more boring every day! It is so boring I am not going to wear my colorful dresses to school any more. I am only going to wear black." 
That is the ultimate insult in Natalie's world. You can't get worse than black. I hope we don't have 13 years of mornings like this ahead of us!

That's all for tonight. If anyone still reads this blog I'll have more for you later.