Wednesday, June 16, 2010

House updates

Here is a taste of the "everything and nothing" that I promised a few days ago. My husband and I bought our first home a year ago February. Like most naive young couples (ha) we bought a fixer upper since the housing market in Vermont is ridiculous and the same amount of money that could by a small palace other parts of the country will get you a very tiny house that is not an hour away from civilization. All of this to say, after a year of searching, we were very pleased to become first time home owners a little over a year ago. This post is to update you on the improvements that we have made in this short year....Working on our house has been the most fun ever!!! What an exciting, bonding couple activity. (-:

This was the Dining Room before. HATE wood paneling. I knew that this had to go. However, the task of taking it down (as well as the ceiling) and hanging drywall was a HUGE project and took much longer than I anticipated. But, after much hard work, the room now looks totally different....

Before I show you the new and improved DR, I wanted to show you our new permanent fixture. This is very loud (esp on the hardwood floors) and is running all of the time- creating oxygen out of room air for Addison. Wherever we carry her around the house, the tubes coming out of her nose can be traced back to this machine. (Can I just say, I find it extremely ironic that we have spend the last year replacing all of our appliances with energy efficient, star rated appliances, and now we run this machine 24/7 and our electric bill is through the roof....just saying-ironic.)

The purple wall was what used to be wood paneling. I love the two-toned room look.

The new and improved DR. (Yes, my husband is amazingly talented....I mostly watched, designed....and painted....)

Our next project includes the wall to the right being knocked down and redoing the kitchen (which is on the other side of that wall).....very much looking forward to this!

This was the Living Room when we bought the house. Once again, HATE the wood paneling sooooo much. I finally ran out of patience waiting for Aaron to replace it with drywall, and painted over it...
New LR....yes, we also replaced all of the windows in the house....

If you notice that the fireplace is increasingly more dirty....I will explain at the bottom of this post...

This was the front of the house before:



Back of the house before:

So that is what we have spent the last year doing....So looking forward to making even further improvements!!!!

OK- here is the fireplace story....

I was about 27 weeks pregnant and had been in the hospital several times for contractions and such. My doctor thought it would be a good idea for me to take at least a day off of work and "bedrest" the contractions away...So, I was the obedient patient (of course). I was resting on my couch, trying to relax when I got an email from one of my students who was supposed to be in my class right then- he emailed me while the sub was teaching. I immediately started worrying about what was happening in my absence...not relaxed at all. I decided that since it was a crisp fall day, I should light a fire in the fireplace- that would calm me down. Before my husband left to go shooting with a friend, I had asked him if he would leave the damper open for me since I struggle being able to see it. I got the fire going very quickly. I sat back on the couch, very pleased with my efforts and continued the act of relaxing. While sitting there, I noticed that the house was getting a big smoky. Hmmmm, I went over to the fireplace, fiddled with a few things (thinking I had fixed it) and then decided to try out a fake log that I had found on sale for $ .75. I sat back on my couch to resume bedrest. A few minutes later, I opened my eyes and noticed that not only was the room filling with smoke (even though I had opened all of the doors and windows and started the fan), the room was filling with incredibly black smoke that obscured furniture and snaked its way throughout the entire house. I began to panic. I knew that perhaps the wind had blown the damper back shut, but I couldn't find it. The fire in the fireplace was roaring, crackling, and HUGE. I couldn't get ahold of Aaron, my father-in-law, our contractor (who had the day off) or anyone I knew that was nearby that could come help me. Just then, I looked at my fireplace and saw the black smoke was billowing out and staining my white marble fireplace. The fire was beginning to rage out of control. What to do? I did what any pregnant, bedresting woman would do- I called 911. I live on a rather busy street, and our driveway was full of the contractors' trucks (this was while we were having the siding, windows and doors replaced). So, when the town sent four fire engines, one ambulance and a police car, there was no where for them to park but on the busy road- completely stopping traffic. The firemen filled my house while I was on the front lawn crying hysterically...meanwhile traffic was stopped right outside my house and there was a line of 50 cars with the occupants all staring at me with a morbid fascination. Yeah, the bedrest was VERY successful....Anyway, I'm glad that it took so many firemen to come OPEN THE DAMPER, but I honestly didn't know what else to do. They also checked the chimney to make sure I hadn't started a chimney fire and blew a lot of smoke out of my house with a huge fan.....My husband finally made it home and I was soooooo upset....Once I was finally back on my (no longer white) couch, my phone rang. It was my OB. They just wanted to let me know that the test that they ran the day before came back positive for a high likelyhood of early deliver. (fetal fibronectin) The nurse said- you should be resting....I replied back that yes, I was on bedrest all day. I tried so hard.
I have spent considerable time cleaning my fireplace, and have made great progress, but still can't remove the last of the soot stain. It bugs me. Anyone else deal with this who could give me some cleaning tips????


  1. The house looks great...even since I saw it last! I'd love to help you with the fireplace, but we have a gas fireplace, which is wonderfully soot free. Although, I miss the smell of a wood-burning fire!

  2. Ha ha, what a day that must have been, too funny! I LOVE your house by the way, great improvments! Looks beautiful!

  3. Have you tried the Mr. Clean Eraser? It's always worked great for me but I haven't tried it on soot...Your house looks great!

  4. i have tried mr. clean. also- marble cleaner, windex, fingernail polish remover....just soap and water...the problem is that the surface isn't is hard to clean down into the crevices. i am stumped.

  5. You poor girl. That's so mortifying!
    I'd give it a shot with a bleach/ water solution - no more than 50% bleach - and spray it into the crevices with a windex type spray bottle. My mom has a wet vac that she always uses to get the moisture back out of the crevices - but it seems to me that between blotting with a cloth and evaporating it should dry out ok on its own.

    Also, your house looks AMAZING! I enjoyed this post. We're moving into our first house next month, and your two-toned look gave me some great ideas!

  6. AND good for you for making our day with the adorable Addison shot. She's a doll. Have you heard back from the pediatrician on the oxygen thing?


Thanks for reading about my Everything and Nothing. I would love to hear from you!