You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

The rugs I really really would love to put in… (in the blue or the brown, either would be swell…)

The rugs I will probably get, since you can hose them off in the yard… because, really? I think that’s a feature I’d like to have in all my household furnishings.

Is there anything I love MORE than books? No. But an excellent bookshelf is right up there on the list.

Toybox love…

I deeply love and want this, to help define and divide our new living area. And to write loving messages to my adorable family. Like “PICK UP YOUR $&*#@ TOYS, YOU MONKEYS.”

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The painters finished up on Friday, and I’m beyond thrilled. The entrance hall is next. Almost all of the paper is stripped in there already. The walls need to be scrubbed clean, and some pretty bad holes need to be repaired. Then we’ll add the picture rail, although I lay in bed last night wondering how we were going to fit the picture rail in around the weird little slanty thingy in the ceiling…. anyhoo. I’ll get a new shade for the hall light to match the Colonial Revival-ness of the house, and replace the tacky 1980s shade that the previous owners put in. Then we’ll give the dining room the same treatment: strip, scrub, patch, paint.

We hope to have everything done before the end of February. And by everything, we mean rugs down, furniture moved, windows covered, new lighting, art hung… everything.

I am so looking forward to starting the new year in our new rooms! Happy New Year everybody!

Here is how the front room looks after one coat of primer. The painters came the Friday before Christmas and after only one day, the difference is amazing. It’s so bright and fresh in there. I can’t wait to see it finished.



Because of our ongoing remodel, we didn’t do a whole lot of holiday decorating this year. We barely got a (borrowed) tree up in time for Santa, and kept the ornaments simple and non-breakable, because of Anthony’s appetite for destruction. In fact, all of our decorating was limited to the family room, but I am so proud of our little tree and our handmade ornaments and vintage touches. To me it was simple, festive, and sentimental, and even in the midst of the remodel debris and paint fumes, it has probably been my favorite Christmas decorating endeavor to date. It was fun making our little ornaments together, and I look forward to doing it all again next year. Click pictures to enlarge…

Here is our little tree, decorated with the paper chain Rosie and I made, and some of our paper ornaments. We would sit and make a couple new ornaments every night and add them to the tree. I placed the tree on my great-grandmother’s walnut gateleg table so Anthony couldn’t reach it. I used an antique French linen mangle cloth that normally serves as a tablecloth as a tree skirt.


On the mantel I had pre-lit fake garland, studded with pine cones from the yard. I put a few crystal bowls up there and filled them with more lights and vintage glass ornaments that were my grandma’s and my mom’s. Very pretty at night.

This was the special kind of ornament we created for this year. I’m not sure how many we ended up doing. I used eight or ten shades of card stock, some paper sample swatches from work, a few Christmas cards we got in the mail, and some uncoated paper catalogs.



I hung a wreath at each large window in the family room, decorated with only a plaid ribbon and a sprinkling of tiny vintage ornaments. They used to be in my grandma’s advent calendar. I wish I knew what happened to the calendar and how I only wound up with the little doo-dads. I also hung a wreath in the bathroom window, over the, ahem, toilet. I decorated it with a plaid bow and vintage horse show ribbons.

And that is the extent of our holiday decorating for 2007. Next year, it’s Katie bar the door….!

What is this, my third or fourth attempt at maintaining a blog? I smell a New Year’s Resolution…

So! We recently made the decision to, how can I put this, reinterpret our home’s floor plan. For the past two years we’ve been living in only half of our house, while the other half sat untouched and mostly unused. Tony has never been a fan of the formal living room and formal dining room, because, let’s face it, we’re not exactly the formal entertaining type right now. I have never been a fan of the formal living and dining room because they are astonishingly ugly… mint green trim and this really heinous, ancient yellow-green striped wall paper. We have no idea how old the wallpaper is, the people we bought the house from claimed it was there when they bought it in 1981-ish. Early investigations showed that there was a solid blue paper, even more ancient and heinous, underneath that.

Early in November we decided we would switch everything all around, eliminating the formal rooms and taking advantage of the space we have in a way that would suit our lifestyle better. We decided we’d make the old formal dining room into our TV room (even though I’ve always thought that seeing a TV first thing when you walk in the front door is sort of tacky). Adjacent to that on the other side of the front hall is the old formal living room, which we are turning into… the informal no-TV living room. We don’t know what to call this room, the den maybe? Anyhow, it’ll be the room for books, puzzles, quiet toys, art projects and general kid things. And we’ll take all our dining room furniture and put it into what is currently the TV room. Since our kitchen has counter seating (ugh) instead of room for a table and chairs, we really miss having family meals at a table, so this room will serve that purpose.

Well, when we came to this decision, we were so excited and inspired, we wanted to start right away. Which we did, starting with the formal living room. And that is why our house looks like a construction site for Christmas this year. If only we had had this Big Idea a few weeks earlier, we might have had one totally awesome fully remodeled room done by now. Ha! Not so much.

So, this is what we did. First thing, we had to strip all the wallpaper. It came off one layer at a time. The stripey stuff came down super easy. All I had to do was flick up a seam with my fingernail and one whole strip would pull off intact, right up to the ceiling. So satisfying. Next was the blue paper, which was weird. Not much like wallpaper at all, as we know it. It was very thick and brown and pulpy, just like a heavy brown paper bag. I guess that’s what wallpaper was like at the turn of the century, I really don’t know. So it didn’t peel off, really. You could kind of flake off bigger pieces, but to get it all off we had to soak it with boiling hot water (DIF = scam) and then scrape it off with a scraper. Once that was all off, we had to scrub the bare plaster to get off all the old glue and teeny paper bits left behind. Very time consuming, but also satisfying. We weren’t sure that the plaster would be in nice enough shape to paint, but it actually looked pretty good. After the scrubbing, Tony went around the room and patched all the holes and cracks and skim coated some yucky parts.

This whole process took about five weeks, with some unfortunate down time while the entire family caught some truly horrendous cold virus. Today the painters are starting to prime and paint, yay! After this room is done, we’ll move on to the center hall, and then the old dining room, and then maybe do something new to the floor in the TV room before we switch it into the new dining room. We are so excited, we’ve promised each other to stay on top of it until it’s finished, and I’ll blog the progress the whole way. WHEEE! Now for the good part… the pictures. Click to enlarge.

Here is the center hall the way it looked when we moved in. The door to the left is the formal living room, to the right is the dining room.

Here is the front window of the formal living room. I ask you, have you ever seen a more sickly shade of green?

This is the fireplace in the formal living room, although it’s only ornamental. There is nothing behind that brass plate. We lurrrrve the white tile.

Here are the walls being stripped. There is still some blue paper in the top left, over the door. Rosie is “cleaning.”

Here you can see where we’ve started scrubbing off the old glue and ick. We also discovered this writing under the blue paper, up near the ceiling.In these shots you can also see that we discovered the outline of the old picture rail that used to be on the walls, about a foot or 18 inches from the ceiling. We are replacing that.


Our ladders were not quite tall enough for me to get to the very top of the wall, and my parents nicely loaned us their scaffolding thingy. While I died from a cold, Tony climbed up and finished the last of the glue-scrubbing.

The other night my dad brought over some of his awesome tools and cut the picture molding, while Tony and my brother attached it to the wall with this air gun thingy, yet another awesome tool of Dad’s. (thanks Billy!)