Thursday, May 24, 2012

The House that Jack built.

Well I don't know for sure if his name was Jack.  His last name might have been Nielson.  A man, Somebody Nielson came by a few weeks ago and said this was the house his grandfather lived in (and I think built).  He confirmed that the floor in the living room is indeed the original flooring--I'll have to get a better picture because the craftsmanship is beautiful.  This grandson that stopped by (old enough to be 10 or 15 years my parents' senior) enjoyed seeing the house again.  Then just last week when we were finishing the screws on the deck and cutting open windows another old resident came by.  She was tickled to see that someone was fixing up the place.  Her mom bought it from my husband's grandpa (who bought it and flipped it some 20 years ago).  People from all over town have commented on it.  I'm sure glad to see that our hard work is appreciated by the community.  I'd love to get the stories these walls could tell. (Let's be honest- I mostly want the HAPPY stories these walls could tell).  The first man, Somebody Nielson (I could even be wrong on the last name) said he remembers sitting on the porch as a boy eating peaches.  That's exactly what I want for our boys.  And maybe to learn a few handyman skills by the time they graduate high school too. 

So here's a whole grip of pictures (a "grip" just for you Christie). The whole of what we have so far.  I'll try to explain as we go.  Let's take a trip and see the progress shall we? 

First stop on our tour: The beginning.  As close to a BEFORE picture as we have (other than on the appraisal) In this picture the porch and 3 of the 5 posts have been demolished.  
 This is all of the rotted porch wood. Ew. Sadly the pile is still there- we're hoping to make a dump run soon.  The idea of burning it all down slowly is overwhelming with all the other projects on the to do list. .  So a few trips and a few dollars and it'll be gone- well you know- landfill gone. 
 Here is the monster bush in stage one of removal.  Again sorry I don't have more BEFORE shots because this baby was MASSIVE! (You can see it in the far left of the first picture). 
 Growing up and over the rafters. Sean had to use a chainsaw to get the last of it out.  I'm sure it was planted with good intentions but left unattended for so long it took matters into its own hands.  Better believe we'll be keeping an eye on the remains (just in case it decides to come back Goosebumps style and strangle us in our sleep).  
Next is the Porch.  We had to rebuild the porch due to the rotting and unsafe nature of the previous porch. So here is is. Joists first. All those rocks are from the pillars we knocked down. (I say "we" like I helped.  I mostly brought food and kept the kids somewhat out of their hair as the menfolk worked.)

 Charlie was keeping Grandpa company for a little while.  He had to come with mama after the photo shoot so he didn't decide to help. 
 Bah BAAAAH! It's so purrrrdy. 
 See the partial monster bush- that's as high as I could reach with the loppers by myself. 
 Notice the clever engineering here. The wire mesh nailed to the porch and held down by rocks is to keep critters from deciding that under our porch is a good place to live/eat/sleep/take a dump etc.  There was a massive, old pile of, excrement under the old porch by the front door.  Nothing says "Welcome to our home" like cat poo right? EW. That stuff is TOXIC.  And beyond nasty.  So hopefully this and the rocky terrain will discourage any further animals from residing or otherwise visiting our porch.   
 Ooooh more pretty. 
 This is called a picture frame layout. 

 And here we have a Nasty Door.  All the doors, windows, walls, pretty much everything looked like this:
 A little elbow grease and pine sol later:
 Left: Before---Right: After
 The whole house will need multiple cleanings and repairs before painting. (The whole interior will at least get a good cleaning and a coat of paint before we move in.  Some areas will get new walls.) Speaking of painting:
 We had to paint the exterior as a condition of financing. 

 Ian likes wearing my safety glasses.  Looks pretty good in them too. 

 Now back to the interior for just a minute.  There are beautiful french doors between the living room and dining room.  They were previously (I don't know how long ago) painted over.  I mean the GLASS was painted- not just the wood.  Not so exciting.  Pintrest to the rescue. 
 I found THIS on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a try. 
 Worked like a charm and didn't gas us all out.  Now obviously it is still a chemical and I did it when the kids were not there but I feel a lot better about it being less fumes than regular paint stripper. 
 (I don't have a final shot of the doors but I did in fact do BOTH doors- not just one.) 

 Now for the most recent pictures:
 Exterior paint: Check. 
 New Porch: Check. 
 Paperwork in and updated: Check. 
Mortgage: Approved. 

It's ours. 

I got the utilities switched and the mail key this week.  

I didn't think it would FEEL different with paperwork done.  But it does.  And I love it.  It makes me silly emotional.  And all the love and hard work and countless hours of help and service given by family and friends.  It's enough to make a girl cry. Today when I stopped by there were shelves magically in my living room.  Dropped off by the magical Shelf Fairy (though he probably wouldn't appreciate the title Fairy...but what do you call sneaky-man-faries? Santa? Shelf Elf? um no thanks. Gnomes are known for taking things--Laundry Gnomes and me out folks- what do I call this magic?) Whatever you call him I call myself blessed and grateful.

Hopefully this weekend the carpet will disappear.  

Do you think the Laundry Gnomes will help us? 

Maybe we should bribe them with socks.


  1. How about "shelf wizard"?

    The porch is lovely and it's looking lovely and those french doors? I die.

    I'm so happy for you!

  2. Ah Sister I love you. That house looks beautiful! Good luck with the carpet! Hopefully I'll do laundry in the next couple days so if I can catch a Gnome or two I'll be sure to send 'em your way.

    1. Please do but make sure you pack snacks in with him or he'll probably just escape for fear of starvation seeing as we live soooooo far away. Just sayin'.

  3. LOVE the porch! LOVE! And what a fun home! Makes me want to come see you and check it out. And yes, paperwork feels good, surprisingly so! Enjoy every stinkin' minute and I really hope the monster bush doesn't attack you in the night.

    1. Just pencil us in for your family vacation next summer. Plus Ben and Charlie will need to get to know each other.

  4. Call him your Lucky Leprechaun. I love the Happy Blue House with magically delicious shelves and disappearing carpet. You are transforming the house into Your Home and the memory-making has begun. I get pretty emotional about it, too. So proud of you guys.

  5. Wow! You guys have done so much! Its looking great!

  6. I LOVE that porch design! Well done :) I MIGHT steal that idea in the future..... :) All that hard work is REALLY paying off! Good job!

    1. How does the saying go? Emulation is the highest form of flattery...something like that. I don't consider it stealing- it's using a really awesome idea. Why do you think I blog hop?

  7. Its looking good. I cant wait to see it all in person next weekend! Ian looks so big! How are our babies getting so old? It seems like yesterday you were helping me paint a bedroom blue cause i was so huge and pregnant. But the same time so much longer than four years ago!

  8. Wow Maggie! It sounds like the whole town is excited for you to move in and I can see why. You guys have done so much work. It looks amazing! I love those floors, french doors, and porch. Congratulations!

  9. FREAKIN AWESOME! We did miss seeing the entire original floor from the original owner dude. It truly looks amazing! Carpet Gnomes usually leave do do...I'm just sayin'.

  10. What a cute house! And that porch is gorgeous. I want to sit on it and eat a wedge of watermelon. :)

    You should post more house remodel photos. Seeing other people's hard work is inspiring. Maybe I will vacuum today...

  11. The house is looking so good. Every time I drive by I do a double take. I do not think there is anyone in town who has not noticed. Your family was the right match for this house.