If you're a fan of the renovating and decorating television show genre you're likely well aware of the Waco, Texas husband and wife duo, Chip and Joanna Gaines, from HGTV's Fixer Upper.

There have been a handful of shows over the years that really speak to us via our love of renovating old homes, and Fixer Upper is just that. They're always looking for great ways to take something old and tired, and attempting to turn it into something that is old and beautiful by embracing the traditional elements of the buildings and embellishing them with modern and often reclaimed approaches. This isn't a "gut and rebuild new" show, it's one that tries to honor the elements of antique structures that make the homes they're renovating unique and special. Couple that with the fact that Joanna's designs are right up our alley, and Chip is that traditionally likable goofy guy, and it's a recipe for a show that we can really get behind.

Our second home is one of these special homes with layers upon layers of antique features that really makes it special. While many original elements of the home have been covered or removed in one way or another over the years, it retains original molding, doors, floors, and much of the original fabric hidden behind layers of drywall applied in the early 1990s. 

We filled you in on our progress in removing drywall from our living room to expose and restore the plaster walls beneath. That project had to take a little break while we worked on getting the plumbing and HVAC up and running, but we're getting back at it now that things are almost done with the big utilities. However, before we get to wall patching and plaster restoration, we had to figure out what we would do about the large section of missing wall above the fireplace...

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Comments 10

Though progress has been slow, we've got ourselves the makings of a pre-sorted hidden laundry hamper.

Until now, we've kept all of our to be washed laundry in a large metal and fabric hamper that we bought back in 2000 shortly after we moved to DC. Since then we've thrown all of our dirty clothes into it in a heap. And since we renovated our bedroom and started our bathroom project, that hamper has been tucked behind the bedroom door, almost as if it was trying to hide away because it knows its days are numbered.

That old hamper has served us well, but we've wanted a better solution for quite some time. For our new hamper, our hopes are clear. 

As you may remember, we've been building two custom cabinets on either side of our master bathroom vanity. While these will look like somewhat traditional tall cabinets that offer a bunch of extra storage, our plan from the beginning was to use the lower cabinet area to serve as our laundry hampers.

I'm responsible for the laundry in our home, and I have four different types of loads when I do laundry. Whites, warm colors, cold colors, and delicate colds that hang dry. If you'll notice, the two cabinets we're building have four large lower cabinet openings that just happen to be the perfect number for our load types. 

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Comments 14

Remember last fall when we started work on the downstairs bathroom? You know, the one with the floral wallpaper, floral border, floral curtains, and shiny brass fixtures? Allow me jog your memory. 

Here's a look into the bathroom from the office the day we bought the house:

And here was the stunning view looking forward from the toilet:

We spent a couple months, a fair amount of elbow grease, and not a lot of money ripping out all traces of the flowers, installing new lights, skim coating and painting the walls, adding accessories, and generally completing a quick and easy makeover that transformed it into a space we could live with for quite some time.

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Comments 21

So we're completely exhausted.

No really, both of us, just completely exhausted. I know a lot of people say it a lot, but we're running on fumes.

Lately work has been absolutely crazy for both Wendy and me. I'm talking 80-100 hour weeks crazy. Couple that with the extremely stressful endeavor of trying to oversee a major overhaul to our plumbing and HVAC at our house that we're not able to live at (because it has no functional plumbing or HVAC), and you've got a great recipe for periodic neurotic meltdowns, mild adult temper tantrums, and copious amounts of wine and ice cream.

Let me start by saying, as much as this may sound like complaining, I'm not complaining at all. Work may be crazy for us, but it's also very challenging (in a good way), and we're both doing something we enjoy quite a bit. Really, you can't beat that with a stick. And the repair process to our house? Well, we keep reminding ourselves that this whole effort is manic and stressful, but it's temporary and will leave us in a much better position for the future. Before we know it we'll be enjoying our house and looking back on these first months in our house where we had to make it work.

All that being said, we've not had nearly the time we need to write blog posts to keep you all updated on our progress. Sorry for the slow updates on our projects. There's so much happening that I want so badly to write all about, but there are not enough hours in the day, and that makes me a sad panda.

But enough about the craziness. I want to get you all caught up on the progress of it all. While I wish we had tons of time for blog posts to break down every little detail of the work, let's face it, that would be boring for almost everyone. Instead we'll give you a quick overall progress breakdown between the tears we're wiping away and wine we're pounding.

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Comments 2

Last week I experienced something for the first time in my history of DIY -- The scrap yard cash out.

Over the years we've adventured to garbage dumps, salvage yards, antique stores, yard sales, dumpster dives, and countless old houses, all in the name of projects. But until last week, I'd not yet ventured out to a full fledged scrap yard. 

We have a bit of a mixed relationship with the scrap yard. On one hand, when someone stole our copper downspout from the side of our house, we cursed the scrap yard for enabling the degenerate to get cold hard cash for their thievery. But on the other hand, now that we have a lot of legitimate junk, we'll be able to get cold hard cash for all of our hard work. Oh the dilemmas we face.

As a major part of our work in our new house we've been tearing a lot of old busted stuff out of the house. Lots of stuff.

The freeze wrecked plumbing and baseboard radiators in every single room. It meant ruptured pipes, cracked valves, broken joints, and damaged fixtures.

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Comments 15
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