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We’ve got walls!

August 28, 2010

I’m sitting in the car with matt, our photobooth in our trailer behind us, on our way to a wedding. Now that I’m on the iPhone bandwagon, I couldn’t help but use this time to announce our glorious sheet rock! The following pictures were taken on my phone so I’m not sure how well they will appear on the good old fashioned web. Hope you enjoy them anyways.

Getting caught up

August 8, 2010

If you were worried that a wall fell on top of us and we were swallowed by our house, we’re sorry! It’s been a crazy summer. Here are a few things that have been keeping us busy:

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PLUS all the house projects. Prepare to be amazed:

• We’ve done lots and lots of yardwork, with even MORE new flora discoveries

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• Michael & Matt started powerwashing the commercial building (and some of the house, before they realized that was a bad idea)

• I repointed the exterior brick where the mortar had fallen out over the years (or where some if it had been accidentally power-washed out… oops!)

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• Michael used a chainsaw to excavate the front of our house

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• Matt & Michael put up a new fence!

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• Matt started digging out this tree stump

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• We all worked on the 2 guest bedrooms, skim-coating and priming the walls

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• Michael finished framing the section of the house that had been gutted:

Master bedroom…
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Master bathroom (the room Matt is exiting)…
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Kitchen (including the island!)…
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And the downstairs bathroom & hall…
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• Matt & Michael insulated this portion of the house

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I helped…
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• We had to move over one of the kitchen windows so there would be room for light switches by the door

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• All plumbing and electric in this section of the house is complete (and PASSED inspection-wohoo!!)

• We started converting this bureau (free at a tag sale!) into a sink unit for the master bathroom

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• Our first 2 new windows were purchased and installed. They had to be smaller so we could put up a counter under the kitchen window, and a washer & dryer under the bathroom window. We also filled in the other back kitchen window so there would be room for cabinets.

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• Michael punched a hole through the brick wall so we could install the dryer vent

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• We drank lots of beer

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That’s probably not everything, but a blog post can only be so long! Thanks if you’re still keeping up, and stop by if you want some free wood!

DIY or DIE

April 22, 2010

Paulette vs. Basement Rubble

When we went to Matt’s brother’s house over the weekend to help clear out buckets of dirt, rocks & debris from his basement, I used my own bucket-carrying method because I didn’t want to hurt my back:

-Squat down

-Grab the bucket handle with one hand and the bottom of the bucket with the other

-Hoist the bucket onto your thigh

-Stand up

-Get a good grip with both hands along the bottom of the bucket

-Lift and carry it in front of you.

This did help my back a little, but as you can see, my thighs suffered the consequences.

I also had my own method for carrying huge rocks:

1. Get down in the dirt (legs spread, knees bent, ass in the air)

2. Grab at the rock, awkwardly wrapping your arms every which way until you catch the right angle to lift it a few inches

3. Grab some more to lift another few inches

4. Drop the rock

5. Repeat steps 1-3

6. Do a high-speed waddle across the basement as far as you can until you drop it again.

Oh, and make sure you do it all while wearing a short-sleeved shirt. Here are the lovely results of THAT technique:

I really got into it. I think I was some kind of farmer or laborer in a previous life, because I’ve always enjoyed tough work in the fresh air. But apparently I should be wearing a hockey suit when I do it.

I would ask about ways to make the bruises heal faster, but pretty soon there will probably be more in their place. I think I’m destined to look like an old banana until these renovations slow down!

Baby Bump!

April 16, 2010

Sorry it’s been so long! Juggling the house, our photoshoots, our jobs and our family events has been keeping us super busy. We do have LOTS of fun new updates on the house…. but first I just have to share with you my recent maternity shoot. I met Loren in yoga teacher training and was so thrilled with the opportunity to capture this for her.

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Shine a light…

March 27, 2010

We know at this point a lot of you might think we’re professional real estate developers. Well, we’re actually photographers. To prove it, we’re posting some shots from a recent shoot we had with a model from Boston named Ondi.

The focus of the shoot was using long exposure/light painting techniques. For a few of the images we changed the tone in post production, but all the lighting was done in-camera, with exposures between 3 and 12 seconds using flashlights and lightbulbs. Fun, right?

daffodils & destruction

March 22, 2010

With rain-soaked shoes & socks every day (for what seemed liked ages), I thought our monsoon-like weather would never end! I was hearing about people all over New England pumping water out of their basements, getting stuck in traffic due to floods, or worse. Technically, our property is on a flood plane. And guess who’s got 2 roofs that need repair?

If you guessed us, you were right. I definitely wondered how things would go this weekend with a hint of apprehension.

But, alas, the natural disaster gods were on our side!! The sun came out. We had a gorgeous Saturday to work with, and found zero flooding. We were even greeted by a few ambitious flowers poking their yellow heads out from the vines, leaves, and rubble!

My thumbs have matching blisters from raking layers and layers of dead leaves (and other stuff) off the front yard. Crystal (my sister-in-law) and I went at it for a few hours and to my delight, unearthed gardens of flowers and bushes someone cared about long (long) ago. She passed on a valuable lesson for first-time home buyers, one that she learned the hard way: don’t cut out your plants until you know what they are! In a few weeks, everything should be flowering and more identifiable. Then we’ll play the “what to keep” game.

Here is one of my adorable gardens:

Don’t laugh. It looked a lot worse before!

These cute white flowers are all around the house. My Nan informed me that they’re called snowdrops:

Maybe you can guess what the rest of them are. From a small tree near the porch:

Thorny bush, quite a few of them surrounding the house (roses?):

Funny yellow thing:

We have an army of these:

Are they more daffodils?

The previous owners of the house invited every wild animal to pop in,  have a bite of something, and make himself at home. At least that’s the message they sent out with a daily supply of day-old donuts on the porch (don’t ask). Now that WE’RE in the neighborhood, most of the animals will have to find their own place to eat, sleep, and do.. other things.

Birds will be an exception, specifically the woodpeckers. When I opened the trunk to grab some tools, I saw that Matt had already picked up some of this, so I put it out in the birdfeeder:

It’s not just woodpecker food. It’s “HI-ENERGY” woodpecker food. Does that mean they’ll sing more? Fly higher? Peck faster? Not sure whether it’s a good thing to share property with hyper woodpeckers, but anyway, maybe you’ll get to meet them soon.

Had enough of the pretty flowers and birdies? Feast your eyes on this:

More demolition! Woop woop! As I mentioned in my previous post with the floor plan, we got some serious destruction done in the master suite last week. We rolled in around 11:30 after a late breakfast, to find that Griz had been there since 7 chipping away at these walls!

This is that tiny sliver of a bathroom we decided to take out and use as more bedroom space:

First comes the plaster, then comes the lath. Take it all down and put it in the bath.

Next step: getting it all down the stairs and out to the dumpster.

We also got the roof repair on the house started this weekend. We had sent a bunch of pictures in to a slate roofing company, because we really had no idea how bad it was. We were anticipating the need to replace it entirely. Slate is quite interesting. It can last 200 years, and certain types will change color over time as a part of the natural aging process, but this does not indicate that the condition is suffering. You can read more about it here. The verdict: ours is actually in great shape, and it’s probably Vermont “Semi-Weathering Gray.” It needs a few fixes here & there, but we get to keep it!

So we hired a guy to replace a few tiles and take off the top of our back chimney while he was up there:

It’s the one that starts on the second floor in our bathroom, so we don’t plan on using it for anything. I’m hoping we can recycle the brick to build a fire pit in the back yard 🙂

Happy spring!

I got plans

March 17, 2010

Last weekend I took more measurements and updated the floor plans. Don’t be fooled, I’m not that organized..  just in love with Photoshop and fascinated by my house. I made them to scale, each grid line representing 1 foot.

I even made a key:

Here is the downstairs!

There’s a closet under the main stairway, which is why you see a door there.

The door opposite that one (on the east side , “front” of the house) was originally the main entrance, but when that street became busy route 5 and the driveway on the south side was added, the back porch became the main entryway.

The “secret room” off the parlor just stopped being a secret. Matt has laid claim to it, and keeps it locked with it’s skeleton key. As long as his plans for it don’t involve a gimp, I’ll let him have his fun.

The workshop, or as Matt would call it, “Man-cave,” is on a lower level than the rest of the house. Right now, it just has cement floors and isn’t really heated, so it feels like a barn or a garage. Plans for this room involve a big-screen and a bar.

Upstairs:

There’s a shared closet under the attic stairs, which is why you see the 2 doors on the north side.

We’ve decided to make the upstairs “kitchen” (now gutted–the same room where I found that mystery chimney) and the back bedroom the master suite. The walls in this area were the worst.. cracked beyond repair and very poorly insulated, so we were going to take them all down anyways. Here’s a close-up:

I don’t think we’re 100% settled on how we will configure it. We’re definitely taking out that tiny back bathroom and moving it to where the kitchen was. This will open up more space in the master bedroom, and give us a much bigger master bath. We’ve gone through a few different ideas…

This was our original plan:

But I thought it was silly to have a closet that was SO big and with windows facing the lovely back yard. So we came up with this idea:

(I am just now realizing that I somewhow deleted the door leading into the bedroom from the back stairway.. oops!)

And then, when Denise (Matt’s mom) visited over the weekend to check out all the destruction, she suggested plan C:

Now bear in mind, we haven’t decided whether we’re keeping the chimney. It could be a cool design element since the brick is in really nice shape… or it could just get in the way. If we tear it down, I have to admit I’ll be holding my breath before we see what’s inside. It could be a dead body. It could be a big pile of cash…

it could be a bunch of leaves.