Light It Up

So it's been a few months since we've last posted. Despite the lack of posting on the blog, there has actually been work happening here at Irvington Bungalow. The work has not been happening all that quickly but it has been productive. Unfortunately (for blogging purposes) the work has been finishing up some loose ends (not literally speaking, of course) on the electrical project, which doesn't make for exciting blogging pictures. I guess I could post a pic of a wired outlet but honestly, who wants that?
Needless to say it has been more than exciting to have our pick of light switches and outlets to choose from. And to finally coil up those lovely orange power extension cords is really exciting! We still have a few more outlets to tackle but other than that everything is working. The most exciting part? We finally have our lights in the living room up and running!!

The picture below is of the recessed lights that we installed over the fireplace mantel.
The picture below is the same recessed lights but they are on this time. We decided to have a dimmer switch with these. They are so GREAT! We love them and are just what we envisioned 2 1/2 years ago when we moved in and saw this living room. (Uh, pay no attention to the patch jobs on the wall...we're ready to prime and then paint it is just a question of when now).

Below are the lights we installed opposite wall of the recessed lights in the living room. They are pendants that resemble the light we have in our dining room. These have a dimmer as well. Eventually the walls will be painted and then shelves will be hung on the wall below the pendants. We'll put family pictures on the shelves and this will also be a sitting area.

Close-up of the pendants in the living room.

Other work that's been going on: The ceilings in the living room and dining rooms have been repainted and hopefully won't need that again for a looooong time. We also installed a recessed light at the bottom of the basement stairs where there will one day be a landing once the basement is finished and the new stairs are built. No picture to share because it is just not a great picture (yet) but one day it will be! Rewired the dining room light and will rewire and reinstall the living room ceiling fan soon. And, finally, Chad has been working on the fence that will eventually be installed in the back yard.


Outdoor Light and Wire Removal

This shot is similar to what the back of the garage looked like when we moved in a little over two years ago. About a month after we moved in we bought a new light to replace the one you see in the picture to the left. Also note in this picture the wires that are attached to the garage - they were connected to the house and provied electricity to the garage.

In the picture below you can see the wires have been removed and the new light is installed.

Here is a close up of the light turned off...

...and turned on (at Irvington Bungalow we like you to get the full effect). We're pretty excited about the new light and the wire removal - like I've said before - it's the small things. These may not be a huge difference except to those that look at the back yard everyday, uh, probably only Chad and I. :) Posted by Picasa

New Paint in Bathroom

For the past few weekends I've been working on painting the bathroom. This is something I've wanted to do since we've moved in but I had to finish removing the wallpaper and subsequent nasty glue first. So painting the bath was my reward to myself. This is most likely a temporary fix as we'll remodel the bath when we do the kitchen as well. But for now we decided to paint the bathroom yellow to sort-of round out the pastel color theme going on in there. The color turned out a bit brighter than I had envisioned but I still think it looks tons better than the wallpaper that was there from the POs.

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Butcher Block

A while back I talked about wanting a butcher block one day when we remodel our kitchen. I had found a picture of a small one that could fit in a corner or on the end of a kitchen island. Well...ask and you shall receive, right?
A few weekends ago Chad and I went to visit our super cool friends and their a-dar-able retro house they just bought. My friend, Tiffany, said she read on the blog about the butcher block and she had one that she didn't have a need for anymore - so she gave it to us! So nice! I love it. It is the size I wanted but it is so thick, which I happen to like. To the left is the little table it came with. It was painted a red color but I painted it black and distressed it.
This is a perfect fix for our small counterspace until we can have the kitchen remodeled. We decided to just put the microwave on top of it now in the breakfast nook but we plan on trying to incorporate it in our future kitchen. Thanks Tiffany!!

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Paint Color Help

Does anyone have any suggestions for a green paint color?

Last December I posted about how we (or I) can't seem to choose a color for the living room. Our living room is fairly large but our woodwork is stained a very dark mahogany color. And the wordwork is about four (or maybe a little more) inches wide for the baseboards, crown molding, and the window casings not to mention the fireplace mantle. So I am afraid that if a color is too dark we'll feel like we're sitting in a dungeon no matter how big the room is. This is the room we are in the most so I want it to be cozy and homey.
The dining room color we are trying to match is a deep yellow/gold/orange color. It is American Tradition (Lowe's) called Homestead Resort Accent Gold. If you look it up on their virtual painter thing on their site, it looks nothing like it does on the wall. Nothing. On the site (of course, it does depend on the monitor, bla bla bla) it looks like a dark tan color.
Has anyone else noticed that when you paint on a plaster wall the color is drastically different than what it appears on the paint chip? I've painted many times on drywall and there usually is only a very slight color difference - hardly noticeable. But on our walls, the color looks very different. Maybe it is the lighting in our living room as well.
While I am soliciting opinions and suggestions, if anyone suggests Ruskin Room Green I'll scream. I sometimes peruse American Bungalow forums from time to time and this question of paint colors comes up often. It appears that everyone uses the same colors from the Sherwin Williams historic pres series. While I do really like that color it is WAY too dark for this room.
I'm looking for a rich green color that has slight yellow or green undertones. I'm not suggesting it be light like a pastel - just something where I won't feel like I'm sitting in a cave.
Any suggestions? (can you tell I'm desperate for a paint color?!!) :)


Recent Outings, Part 1

Last weekend my mom and I took a somewhat spontaneous trip to Madison, Indiana. It is about an hour to an hour and a half southeast of Indianapolis. It is an historic town along the Ohio River. It had been a long time since I had visited but I do really like this place. It has a historic main street with tons of anique and specialty shops. Very fun.

The picture to the left is a local, natural/organic grocery store in a restored old building. I wish we had something like this near our house!

This house was across the street from the grocery store. I just liked it. It is hard to tell if it is original or if there have been additions to it. Probably additions but they did a pretty good job in my opinion!
This is a restored and painted business of some sort.
This is a guest house! Can you believe it? This house and guest house were so nice and very close to the river. Posted by Picasa

Recent Outings, Part 2

A few weekends ago I went to a local dairy farm called Traders Point Creamery. LOVE this place. They are organic and have free range chickens. Their cows are grass fed and allowed to graze. AND they have the best ice cream. Seriously. If you are planning a visit to Indianapolis you should check this place out!

Aren't these signs great?

This is the outside of the remodeled barn that keeps the shop where you can buy their products and the cafe, shown in the picture below. Love what they've done with the place!
Free range chickens. Why did the chicken cross the road????

At the end of this weekend, I'll post about the work we've been doing lately on the house. Still no great before and after pics but we've been making some progress - which feels pretty good!
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You Might Live In A Fixer-Upper If...

  • You have had a piece of drywall sitting in your dining room for so long that you forget it is there and assume that it is part of your decorating scheme;
  • You subscribe or watch TOH regularly and can refer to the cast members by their first names;
  • The most exciting thing about your summer vacation is that you have new electrical and have your choice of which fabulous switch or outlet to use (who needs vacations anyways??);
  • You have a playlist on your iPod called "Workin' On The House";
  • When you go to an upscale shopping center you get a headache from all the pristine, perfume laden customers and you long to be back at Lowe's or HD where you actually feel more comfortable now (and this reality is sad and a total 180 from your former, pre fixer-upper self);
  • You consider going up and down the ladder a good form of exercise;
  • Not only is the piece of drywall part of your current decor, so are ladders, hammers, extension cords, drills, etc.;
  • People have stopped asking what you did over the weekend because they now know that the answer is usually: 'Oh, you know, we worked on the house.'
  • You have a thin layer of plaster dust over everything;
  • Due to a current project your microwave is sitting on the kitchen floor and instead of finishing the project asap and returning the microwave to its home, you just use it on the floor;
  • Sipping coffee and reading the latest on houseblogs has become part of your morning routine;
  • You traded in your sport car for a truck;
  • Collecting paint chips and scrutinizing the difference between "soft pumpkin" and "pumpkin cream" have become your new passions;
  • You have accidentally ordered a "sconce" instead of a "scone" at your local Starbucks (yes, I actually did this);
  • Sometimes you lay awake at night thinking about what to write for your next home improvement blog entry.


Weekend Sightings

Due to some seen and some unforseen circumstances, no work was accomplished this weekend. Not a single thing. However, we did go visit family in Tell City, Indiana which is about three hours south of Indianapolis. There is a small town next to Tell City on the Ohio River called Cannelton, Indiana. While visiting I fell in love with this old house. Chad says we have a sickness. I feel the same way about old, dilapitated buildings as I do about labrador retrievers that need to be adopted. I wish I could take them all and make them feel loved - the houses and the dogs.

Anyways, I am digressing, as per usual. For some reason I just really liked this old house. It looks as if it is starting to fall apart but it is owned by a church next door so maybe they are going to do something about it.

These two pics are of a catholic church in Cannelton. I just thought it was neat and reminiscent of some of the old churches in Europe. The whole town reminded me of a town on the east coast or in Europe because most of the buildings were built in the mid to late 1800s. It is rare to find buildings that old in the mid-west. Not a house-related post but just some things I thought were interesting.....  Posted by Picasa


The Thin Line

According to B Mack, we had until August 12 to meet the deadline of posting again on this thing in under two months. Here I am, August 8! That's four days ahead of schedule. Love my time management skills. :) So I'm sure you've all heard the saying "There's a thin line between love and hate." I never really understood what it meant until this summer. However, this quip describes exactly how I feel about this house. On which side of the line I stand varies and depends on several factors: what the project is we're working on, how far away that damn light at the end of the tunnel really is, my mood, whether or not I've eaten, how sweaty I am from removing glue, how much plaster has chipped away, etc. etc. etc. The list could go on and on.

I should go ahead and put this out there. I'm not really a "do-it-yourself" type of gal. Even though I've always wanted an old house and I would never ever have a house built or live in a new house, I'm just really not into doing everything myself. Maybe I'm lazy and just don't like the work. Once the project is completed or near completion I do like being able to smile proudly and say: "Yes, it's true. We did it all ourselves. It took a long time but it was WORTH it." haha....However, during the project I'm not so friendly or happy about what is going on. When we bought the house, I mistakenly thought we would actually contract out some of these projects. I had no idea how many projects there would be. I had no idea that my husband actually likes to do every single thing himself. I had no idea how much projects cost. But I'm in it now and the only thing I can do is cringe, complain, and get to work. (I paint a pretty picture of myself, don't I?)

Anyways, I'm talking too much about me. On to the house and what the hell we've been up to and what side of the line I'm on now (uh, that's kinda still talking about me, huh?) We are actually back in the house after a month-long stay with Chad's dad and his wife. This was supposed to be a week-long stay. However, the project ended up taking longer than expected....but what can I say? It was WORTH it! During the month stay I'd have to say that I was on the "hate" side of the line. And not because I didn't enjoy staying with his dad and wife. In fact, I probably enjoyed it too much. (We can't thank them enough for letting us stay with them for so long). Their house is brand new and big. They have soft water. And cable. And a tub/shower that actually drains correctly. And a toilet that flushes correctly. And counter space in the kitchen. Hell - they have space in the kitchen. And a dishwasher. Oh and they had electricity. Which is exactly what we didn't have and why we were even staying with them.

The reason why I was on the hate side of the line is because everything in our house was/is unorganized and taking longer than expected. The house was a MESS, I was living out of my car. I almost wanted to put the damn thing up for sale. However, we're back. With new electricity. No more knob and tube. No more extension cords. No more power strips or searching for outlets. No more sparks and no more worries. Better yet, this means we're moving on. This project has sucked up over a year of our lives. Time to get to fixing those walls and ceilings so we can paint and get the floors re-finished. So right now, even though there is still about ten years worth of work to be done on this house, I'm on the love side of the line. Check back tomorrow, or in five minutes, and see where I am then.
The pic to the left is the before picture of the space where the old light switch in our bedroom used to be.

Below is the brand new switch. Nice, uh? Okay, maybe it doesn't seem like much to "normal house" people but to us this is a HUGE improvement. Are there any "normal house" people reading this anyways??

This is an example of all the fixtures we put in the bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom. Don't get crazy - these are totally temporary. We needed something very cheap but that would work. We are now moving on to fixing each room one by one - including ceilings, walls, etc. Once we finish that we will replace these ugly (but working!) fixtures with ceiling fans in the bedrooms. The kitchen and bath lights will stay this way until the remodel.

Below is our ceiling in the future office room. It didn't look like this two weeks ago. Actually, this part of the plaster ceiling was probably the worst in the whole house. It was loose and we knew it would come down once we got to it. However, it had different plans. We were finishing up a day's work when all of a sudden we heard a loud crash. Chad said: What was that? I looked down the hall and saw some dust flutering out of the room and said: I think it was the ceiling. It fell. It was all funny at the time. I guess since we knew it was bad, it just wasn't that big of a deal.

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Prep for the Wiring

So as I was in the kitchen rewarding Shelby, our dog, with a treat - in part for her successful "speaking" when prompted but also for helping me procrastinate on my paper just a little longer, I heard a noise. Like boards clapping together. So I looked out a window and this is what I saw:

This pile came from our attic where Chad is tearing out the finished from the words "finished attic." I mean, this is a necessity for our re-wiring that I have been fighting, not that the finished attic was nice or anything but certainly nicer than not finished. However, it has to be done so that's how it goes, right? Here is what the attic looked like this morning and what it looks like as of this afternoon:

The paneling has come off (whatever - it was hideous anyways), the carpet is gone (um, it was ugly but now I feel bad that it is going to be in a landfill - along with the paneling - and I won't be able to go up there barefoot as comfortably now) and the ceiling tiles are gone. I complain too much - I should look at this as progress because now we can wire for the fans and lights in the bedrooms which means we're closer to the floors being done and then painting the walls.

Don't you love how everything in old houses is connected to some other project?


Soapstone Obsession

Now that I have a *little* extra time on my hands, I am beginning to think (dream) about our future kitchen. I have successfully quite thinking about the kitchen at all. I don't think about the one we have now because it sucks - ugly, no room, ugly, no dishwasher, ugly, no icemaker, uh...did i mention ugly? And I've successfully not entertained any thoughts about the future kitchen for awhile because, well, it depresses me. But recently I've started thinking about what the future holds for our ugly, tiny kitchen. Right now I'm obsessing about soapstone countertops. Okay, the kitchen isn't happening any time soon (surprise, surprise), however, does anyone have experience with soapstone countertops? Just curious.
Aren't the countertops just so...beautiful? It reminds me of science class. Not that I really liked science class or anything.

(Photo from: http://www.vermontsoapstone.com/soapstone_ctexamples.asp)

The other thing I've recently been thinking about is a butcher block area. Even with the eventual demolition of a wall in our kitchen nook area to make the kitchen bigger we will not have enough room for an island or anything like that. So I was thinking a butcher block corner. Like this:

(Photo from: http://www.cottageliving.com/cottage/homes/article/0,21135,1139078,00.html)

Kind of cool, uh? Okay, enough dreaming...I'm starting to get depressed. :)


Door Shades

Here are the shades for our front and side doors that Chad's mom made for us. I was finally able to upload the photo. Like I said, we ordered the fabric from the company we bought our roman shades from so it matches completely. We were going to try to coordinate some fabric, however, we just couldn't find anything we really liked. The shades for the doors are great - a little light still gets in and we can sort-of see outside but finally no one can peer in on us! Yeah! Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday weekend!


Shopping.....the "Sanford and Son" way

Okay, let me first start off by saying hello to our two lovely readers out there. I have been fond of reading many different blogs over the last couple of years, but I always found it to be a tad bit intimidating to get on here and do "my thing". However, I have decided to put my fears aside and brave out into this new medium so please beer, errr, bear with me.
I am never one for a lack of things to talk about, but I thought that I would take things slow and chat about one of my more endearing qualities my wife loves to tell everyone about......the fact that I am cheap. I prefer frugal or that I cautious with my money, but I suppose cheap will work.
Being infected with the "cheap gene", I am always trying to get things for a better deal. I will hold out purchasing costly petro for our vehicles in the hopes that it will go down a penny as I am out and about running errands or what have you. So the other morning I was out testing one of our vehicles (which I had fixed the night before) to make sure it was going to be okay for Carmen to drive to her summer internship. Remember, I am cheap and not an auto mechanic by trade, hence the reason for the test drive. While I was out, I passed by a house which had four doors that were being set aside for the weekly trash pick up which was to occur later this same morning. I finished my test drive with everything being in order and running smoothly and switched out Carmen's auto for my truck. This is what I was able to bring back home:

a fine swinging butler's door lacking the butler

a "fixed" door with the same profile as well as a cute model

and a pair of somewhat matching mauve colored doors, only varying in height

So, as you may have guessed, this little shopping venture did not cost us a dime! And not only did I gain four doors for free (which arguably I might not have any immediate use for) but I also saved some fine looking doors from being tossed away like most politicians should be these days. But that is for another blog on another day.

In the meantime, bear with me as I learn how to use this blogger program. If you are lucky, it won't take me as long as it took me to learn CAD oh so many years ago. And feel free to share any hints or lessons as I am always interested in learning some shortcuts.

Something's Brewing in Irvington

We received our newest issue of This Old House magazine the other day. I thumbed through it and ran across this question in the Paperwork section of the magazine:
"Five years ago, I bought a great old house in a neighborhood on the verge of a turnaround. But the tide hasn't turned yet, and I'm wondering whether to sell the house or hold out a little longer. Is there any way to predict an upswing?"
I'm not going to write the entire response (and I can't link to the question because the new issue isn't on their site yet). It basically said there really is no sure-fire way to tell but a homeowner can study his or her neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods. For example, take note of other home renovations in progress, test scores at the local schools, the status of area crime rates, and check to see whether or not the neighborhood might qualify as a designated historic district. In addition, the homeowner can do his or her part by maintaining the curb appeal of their home.
But what I found to be most interesting is the quote that was bolded and set out to the side of the answer. This is what it said:
"Always buy where there's a Starbucks moving in. It's a sure sign that things are improving."
I actually laughed out loud when I read this quote. Part of it was out of excitement and part of it is because of the issues that have been playing out in Irvington over the past few months. For those of you that aren't familiar with Irvington, it is a historic neighborhood that has been basically stable for a long time. Like most urban neighborhoods, however, it has seen its share of commercial disinvestment and plagued by some homes that have fallen into disrepair. My husband and I bought our house despite these facts because we loved the neighborhood. And also because the status of the area allowed us to be able to afford much more home than if we followed everyone else in the city and moved to the north side. It was announced last November that Starbucks wanted to move into the historic commercial district of Irvington. There has been some going back and forth about the plans (both building and site) as the area has recently been designated a local historic district which means there are certain design guidelines, setbacks, etc. to follow. Neighbors seem to be divided, many want Starbucks to come into the neighborhood exactly for the reason quoted above. However, other neighbors believe that the historic designation should be taken seriously and we should not be so willing to lay down just because a Starbucks wants to come into the area.
I myself am on the fence on this issue. Chad and I are putting a lot of money and sweat equity into this house and we would actually like to live here forever. Of course, we want to see an improved commercial district, raised property values, and the respect from the rest of the city that this neighborhood deserves. However, am I worried that these things won't happen if Starbucks doesn't move in? No. Am I stressing over where I'm going to get my next spiced pumpkin latte? No way. (I can name seven starbucks within a ten minute drive from my house and a nice local coffee shop as well.) Would I like to see Starbucks move into Irvington? OF COURSE. I happen to love Starbucks and have spent a small fortune there. I do think we need to compromise with them and the developer but I don't think we need to be lenient on the historic designation rules or the fact that the development needs to really fit into the fabric that is already in place. If we break the rules now, who will be next?


What's Happenin'

What has been happenin' here at Irvington Bungalow these past few weeks...read on, my house friends.
It's been awhile since my last post. Things have been hectic the past few weeks. The semester finally ended but that came with a lot of work before hand. Then I went to Florida for about a week with my father. We went to Pensacola and Sarasota. We drove which is somewhat of a shock to my system given the fact that my father flies commercial planes for a living...but whatever. It was nice to spend quality time with him. Um, here is a picture of my dad. I stopped to admire the little tiles that together spelled (obviously) the word "hungry" on either side of the doorway of what appeared to be an old soda fountain shop but is now a bar/pub in downtown Pensacola. For some reason by dad felt the need to do this. So I took a picture.

(play dead...or starving)

Before I left and while I was gone Chad was busy finishing up a project that has taken up about a year so far. A big thank you to Jim and Dick for helping us out.

(Chad and his dad, Jim, working on a new outlet in the office before I left).

When I returned Chad's mom and her husband, Dick, were here. Dick helped Chad on some house stuff and Chad's mom was here to visit and present us with our curtains. As you may remember we had roman shades installed a few months ago. We have two wood and glass doors that needed coverings as well. Because we are picky and we didn't want something that would be banging against our precious :) wood doors every time we opened and closed the door, we decided to go with something similar to what was already there but with a different material. We ended up buying material that our blinds are made out of from the company where we ordered our blinds. Chad's mom sews (she is so so good) and she made our door coverings. They are wonderful and just what we wanted! Finally we can see out a little bit but people can't see in. What a good feeling. Okay I've tried to upload a picture of the curtains about five times but blogger isn't uploading it for some reason. I'll try to add it later.

Well, my iPod is done charging which means I have to stop procrastinating and get to work on the house. Damn.