while waiting


While we are waiting for the gray stucco to “cure”, I decided it might be a good idea to finish a little project I started back in April!  Life just happened, as it does, and my painting project stalled.  How did it get to be July anyways?

We’ve had this little vintage “telephone cabinet” for over a decade.  Back in the day, a rotary phone would be placed on top and the phone book, etc. placed on the open shelf.  The drawers were for miscellaneous doo-dads I suppose.  This piece has been a sheet music cabinet for us, an awkward bedside table, and most recently has sat in our entryway.  As most folks know, its just nice to have a surface in the entryway so there is a place for packages, a guest’s purse, etc.  Or flowers are always nice too. Continue reading

our English Tudor remodel: waiting


The stucco crew finished applying the initial gray layer yesterday and now all we are doing is waiting.  Waiting for the gray to “cure”. It should take about a week, maybe less, so stay tuned for our next and even more exciting stage…color!   In the meantime, we’ll be addressing more minor projects…..

our English Tudor remodel: stucco part 1


When we arrived home from our trip earlier this week, it was a kick to see the house partially covered in styrofoam and “chicken wire” as well as the initial gray stucco layer. Besides eliminating the house’s perforated state (as I mentioned before, it had lots of holes!), the main design idea behind the remodel is to eliminate the older traditional Tudor aesthetic and replace it with a more contemporary look that still hints at the Tudor style.  One way we are hopefully accomplishing this is through stucco bumpouts with a “cottage” look that will frame the windows as well as with the larger bumpouts that will run horizontally along the exterior walls.  There won’t be any vertical bumpouts since those just come across as too traditional. Continue reading

our English Tudor remodel: doors and windows


Before leaving for the Midwest for about a week for our oldest Sprout’s baseball tournament, the guys installed the new French door in the dining area as well as the new windows for the garage.  All are by Milgard and energy efficient.  When the previous owners had the windows replaced a few years back, they never got around to the garage windows.  My guess is that this was due to the budget.  Anyways, now the old brown trimmed 1980s windows are finally gone and the new ones match the others as closely as possible.  They’re just standard white trimmed windows due to the others being white.  If we were installing new windows throughout the house, I would’ve selected a different color but projects are always about budget and compromise!

The amount of natural light these new additions allow make a huge difference.  The garage, while still an enormous mess, seems bigger.  And since the side of the door facing into the dining area is still primed (no color yet!), the room seems bigger.  Its an amazing visual difference between it and the old wooden door.  The primed side isn’t too bad and we will probably leave it as is until we decide what to do with the dining area millwork sometime down the road.  The other side of the door is “tweed” and coordinates with the metal soffit and fascia.  The great thing is that it won’t need to be painted!  Low maintenance is definitely key in this busy family home.

We also love the new oiled bronzed hardware as it seems to go better with the English Tudor style.  We’re gradually changing our metal finishes in the house from cheap looking 1980s “brass” to a mix of the oiled bronze and antique brass.  When done well, mixing metals can make a home look more customized.  I’m crossing my fingers that we will successfully pull this off in time!

updating our ugly 80’s powder room

this is the best “before” photo I have (I’m terrible about taking photos since I often just spontaneously jump into a project!)  Check out the groovy oak toilet seat too!

Our powder room lies  nestled in the walk through laundry area off of our garage.  With three Sprouts, you can imagine how frequently this wee bathroom is accessed!  We have aspirations to paint it just to freshen it up, but recently we jumped at the opportunity to have the fixtures replaced (have I mentioned that I have the most awesome father-in-law ever?).  Continue reading

cool kid murals on our (exterior!) walls

Harry Potter on the walls

I’ve always been a fan of open ended play for our Sprouts.  Kids really are happier when left with their imaginations and a few “unformed” items (think sticks, rocks, cardboard boxes, etc.) with which to create rather than “formed” playthings created by adults. Despite the best of adult intentions, these leave less room for imaginative play for the kiddo because the formed plaything, based on an adult’s imagination, guides the child’s play instead of the child being the one driving the bus.  Does that make sense?   This is why we have never, for example, erected things like wooden play castles in our yards (we’ve moved a lot) when the Sprouts were younger.  Of course, the “formed” items gain companies millions of dollars so they are everywhere and the marketers know how to grab a child’s attention so that they think they want that latest toy or gadget.   The fun doesn’t usually last for long though.  In addition, as parents, most of us think that we want things that look Pinterest worthy.  Cardboard boxes and the like don’t necessarily make the cut.

Along those lines, sidewalk chalk is a great and inexpensive “unformed” tool for kids.  Our Sprouts are a bit older now, but my two youngest still tend to enjoy creating with chalk if we give them time and space.  They had a blast yesterday drawing on the walls of the house (stucco starts next week!) and on the deck!  Below are some of their perfectly imperfect creations.

The metal trim is going up slowly but surely.  Its a tedious process because the pieces have to be carefully cut and applied.  The great thing is that we won’t ever have to paint the trim again and the metal won’t react to our extreme variations in temperature throughout the year like wood does.  I’m really pleased with the color as its more neutralized.  The old trim was brown with a good amount of red in it, which made the house look even more dated since reds aren’t really in fashion these days.    The crew is also tackling the rotten parts of the white fiber board, hacking off the bad parts and replacing them with plywood to prep for the stucco guys next week.

our English Tudor remodel: prep work


Embarking on an exterior remodel is a lot like painting a room in that the tedious prep work is what seems to take the most time.  Its not exactly what you’d call the glamorous side of the project!  The crew has been meticulously pulling off our gutters and the old rotting boards at our roof line and applying fresh new wood so that the metal for the soffit and fascia will have a solid surface to which it can adhere.  They’ve been braving temps in the high 90s as well as the cold front that came through (and along it the 55-60 mph winds).  Work actually ceased when the high winds came through because the area at the back of the house is like a tunnel and it was too dangerous for them to be up on the ladders working. Continue reading