The weekend before our disaster at our new house Wendy and I spent very lovely Valentine's Day with friends at the very same house. It's amazing what a week can do to your general outlook.

While it was a bitterly cold Valentine's Day, and we couldn't really enjoy being outside, we figured a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of work and crowds might be the best way to celebrate the day. Our plan was simple, celebrate with a delicious home cooked meal and some company from good friends.

Beyond the bitter cold, there was also a pretty ridiculous wind storm. Sustained winds of 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 65. The wind was howling all night, so much so that when we woke up on Sunday morning the wind had blown the tide out so far that we could walk on icy ground all of the way out to the end of our pier.

We were able to see some really interesting things out in the water, including things we'll need to fish out once things thaw out a bit in the spring, as well as a neighboring dock that looks like it could use some TLC.


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Comments 20

Boy last week really sucked. Alex and I had insanely crazy and stressful work weeks, and the only thing that was keeping us at all sane was the promise of a weekend at the new house. We looked forward to a couple days away, resting, relaxing, and of course DIY-ing. We were excited to devote a good chunk of time to the work in the living room, and were feeling excited about romping in the snow with Lulu and watching a movie or two on demand. Sounds like a pretty great weekend plan, don't you think?

After a long Friday we arrived at the new house around 9:00 pm on Friday night. We got a late start because we wanted to let traffic die down a bit, and I wanted to check in on one of my listings to ensure the heat was on and my clients' (who have moved out of state) pipes hadn't frozen over the previous very cold days. After seeing all was working as it should at their home, we were on our way out of town, making the drive to the new house.

As we drove further from Alexandria, we noticed temperatures dropping steadily, and the car's thermometer read a mere 5 degrees when we pulled in the driveway at the new house. We remarked on the frigid temperatures, and took a moment in the chilly night air to pause and admire how bright and plentiful the stars were. As we unpacked the car we briefly talked about how great it will be to sit around the fire pit this spring with friends, and take in the view of the night sky away from all the city lights. 

When walking in the side door of the house near the newly refreshed bathroom, our common entry point to the home, my first thought upon entering was how darn cold it was in the house. Not just an I'm-cold-because-I-just-came-inside cold, but instead the I-can-see-my-breath-inside kind of cold. As Alex walked in behind me, I said to him, "Should we be worried that I don't hear the boiler running?" He wasn't immediately concerned, but went into the utility room to investigate. 

Much to our horror, we quickly realized that we were dealing with a serious situation. The boiler was not only not running, but the temperature gauge was pegged at zero instead of it's normal 170-180 degrees. Alex flicked the switch once or twice to see if he could get it to reset, but then his eyes fell on something terrible. Just below a shutoff valve was a large split in the copper and a trickle of ice.


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Comments 36

We've already reached a point in our new house where our over zealous preservationist ways have begun to impact our projects.

It's no real surprise in a house that's over 100 years old, but by the time we started the removal of the weird partial wall in the living room we already knew we had an issue on our hands. The walls of the room appeared to be in decent shape, appeared to be drywall, but also appeared to hold a secret.

At first glance you probably wouldn't think twice about the walls, assuming someone has simply pulled down the old plaster and put up drywall. Such as life in an old house. It's sad, but it happens more than it should.

But upon closer inspection we noticed something odd. The door and window casings throughout the room seemed to be very thin. These are 100 year old mouldings that should be at least 3/4 if not one inch thick, but we could only see 1/4 to 1/2 inch in front of the drywall.


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Comments 16

A few weeks ago we reported on our efforts to remove the odd half wall in the living/entry area in our new house.

As much as I wanted to take on this major structural renovation work on my own, I knew the effort necessary and that it was likely best to let the pros handle this work.

With that in mind, we reached out to several construction companies and found one we clicked with to do the work. We worked with them to define the scope of work and where their responsibilities would end. Ultimately, we wanted them to tackle the wall removal and structural beam install, and we'd handle the rest. We even did a little of the demo ourselves.

The best part of hiring things out is the speed at which things happen. What might have taken me and several friends a week of planning, buying, hauling, demo, and work, would only take them two days of effort.


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Comments 11

As Alex mentioned in his post on piling caps, we're a little all over the place with our DIY focus right now. We have a list of projects going on simultaneously, and it seems we're having a hard time checking any of them off the list as fully completed. The makeover of our new home's downstairs bathroom is one of these projects.

To quickly recap where we are on the bathroom, the weekend we bought the house, my mom and I had the floral wallpaper down (yay!) but in removing it, a lot of the drywall paper came off too (boo!). Over a several week period, Alex painstakingly skimmed the ceiling and walls to give us a good, smooth surface for our new paint job

The wall color, Benjamin Moore's Wales Gray, and ceiling color, Benjamin Moore's Silver Crest, both went up without issue and we're really happy with the results. The trim color, on the other hand, Sherwin Williams Alabaster, was a total miss. The color is too yellow and the sheen feels really chalky, not the smooth and shiny finish we're after. We're in the process of selecting a new option, with a lot of great input from commenters, and will later repaint the trim.

That brings us to today's post.

For weeks I drove around with the shower curtain and paint samples in the trunk of our car so that if I found something I thought might work for our room, I had these important pieces in hand to do the necessary comparisons. I also started online shopping (or more accurately, aimless web wandering) for well priced options to incorporate into the space. I was on the hunt for lighting, window treatments, and accessories, but the hunt was going slow.

One of the items I knew we had to address was the window coverings. The bent metal ivory blinds were beyond saving for the space, and the floral valance isn't my taste, so into the Habitat ReStore donation pile it went. 


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Comments 21
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