cottage living design assistant

does any one else get stuck on cottage living's design assistant for a looooong time looking for house ideas? i used to have this picture above saved somewhere and i couldn't find it so i had to get back on their site to find it again. i am in LOVE with those painted wood floors and the beadboard walls & ceilings. this is what i would like our attic to look like when it is finished. i am going to refuse to have carpet installed. a major reason we cleaned out the attic is for improved indoor air quality. the last thing i want is all the chemicals used to make carpet seeping into my nostrils.
so then of course i started looking at kitchen pictures. i love this kitchen....well, not so much the mint-green cabinets. that color just doesn't do it for me but i adore the style of the cabinets and the 3x6 matte subs. and seriously? who doesn't love schoolhouse style lighting?

below is another picture of painted wood floors. i'm kind-of obsessed with the idea of having checkered flooring somewhere in the house as well as painted wood floors somewhere.

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attic when we moved in ~ 2004

i didn't think we had any pics of what our attic looked like when we moved in. but i foud some! they are beeeee-autiful. see the nasty carpet and the paneling? gross.

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attic fun, days 2, 3 & 4

days two & three

pretty much more of the same on days two and three - just slowly removing the insulation from each cavity between the joists. the picture below is the entire north side of the attic behind the knee walls all finished.

day 4

day four was our final day off from work. we were really hoping to get all the insulation out by this day but unfortunately we did not. i think had we not tried to use that damn machine we would've accomplished our goal. oh well, you live & learn, right?

the picture below is the attic looking west, end of day 4. all cleaned out except for the middle section under the flooring. so, technically, there is probably another day of work ahead of us. ripping out the floor and then doing the same with the insulation under there. after that we're going to shop-vac the small stuff left behind.

cleaned out drop ceiling, end of day 4. this is interesting - under here is the pantry that is original to the house. ~
our final load at the dump. how cool is that trailer?

here is the load. disgusting. also - doesn't look like much, that's a whole days worth of work right there! of course, the insulation is compacted. i feel badly that we had to take this stuff to the dump because i do consider myself an environmentally conscious person. if you have a problem with this let me know, present your case and i'll gladly go ahead and defend our actions. otherwise, i'll just let it go. :)

so our next steps? finish taking out the old insulation, shop-vac and then contact the guys who foamed in the insulation last time. remember this?

attic fun, day 1

day one
during day one we removed all the batting, some of the larger pieces of paneling and wood that were just sitting around from previous demolition efforts and sucked up some of the wool & cellulose as was shown in the previous post. here are some pics of what the attic looked like after day one's work was completed.

attic from far end looking east, day one. you can see the closet framing & insulation batting are gone! really opens the space. ~

attic looking west, day one. batting removed from knee walls and ceiling. ~

now this is what we had to contend with. you can see the joists along the floor. we had to remove all that insulation by hand. good times. ~

below is the same space as the picture directly above just from a different angle. you can see what it looks like once we removed the insulation between the joists. you can also see where i gave up at the end of day one (the left hand side, i was supposed to go all the way to the planks in the middle of the room). i just couldn't take it the dirt, heat or dust any longer. ~

attic fun during memorial day weekend, the beginning

the beginning
every now and then for about a year and a half we've been demolishing the finished interior of our attic. it was finished by the son of the POs probably sometime in the 60s. there was gross mustard/tan colored carpet, wood paneling and a closet. there was also lots of insulation, which oridnarily is a good thing. chad began to deconstruct the attic when we updated the electrical work almost two years ago. ever since then the dust problem in our house went from somewhat annoying to down right disgusting - making me question the air quality in the house. so we decided to gut the "finished" part of the attic, take out all of the old insulation, have the foam insulation installed and eventually finish the attic off as a master suite. (after we figure out how to build permanent stairs to the attic, of course). the following posts chronicles our fun four days of removing the insulation in the attic.

we rented a trailer and a machine that blows in insulation. the thought was to try to reverse the machine so we could pump out the old insulation (wool & cellulose) into the trailer. ~

attic looking west, the beginning ~

attic looking east from far end, day 1. the wall with the batting insulation is the closet that separated the two "rooms" in the attic. the part we're standing in taking the picture was never finished. check out the light in the right hand corner. that is the orignal dining room light. ~

attic looking east from other side of closet, the beginning. this room was the finished room. the paneling and carpet were mostly long gone. ~

first we removed all the batting insulation you see along the walls. it was also installed along the "ceiling". this actually took a lot longer than i had anticipated. this day was nice outside but fairly hot inside at one point reading 90 degrees. later in the day we began to remove the wool & cellulose insulation in between the ceiling (the house ceiling, the attic floor) joists. this proved to be a not fun job and using the system with the hose didn't turn out as we had anticipated. this is because we couldn't actually use the hose to suck up the insulation, we were hoping to figure out a way to do this but it just wasn't there. so we had to carry loads of the insulation down the pull-down attic stairs and then dump it into the machine that sucked it through the hose out into the trailer. this ended up taking way too long and was SUPER messy. plus things would get stuck in the hose occasionally. we lost an entire hour because a tiny old metal tobacco tin got stuck and cause a back-up.

below is a picture of chad dumping a load of insulation into the machine on day one. by day two we figured out that this system was a complete waste of time and nixed using the machine. instead we just carried our loads to the trailer and dumped. much easier, much faster, much smarter. ~


community supported agriculture in irvington

i am so excited because this year we've decided to participate in a community supported agriculture (CSA) right here in our neighborhood. last year i wrote my graduate thesis on how CSAs can contribute to revitalization in urban and rural areas. (uh, if you're interested in reading a 100+ page paper on this topic just let me know. i'm sure my in-box will fill right up.)

researching this paper i learned so much about the "evils" of our corporate food system, from seeds to distribution of the produce. even buying organics isn't the best way to go - buying as much local produce from near-by (hopefully independently owned) farms is a much better way to contribute positively to the environment and your local economy. the local economy is a vital but often overlooked element of the environmental argument.

omg. sorry about the tangent on my soapbox.

my point is this: YEAH!! we got our first pick-up today. albeit very small since it is so early in the season and it has been a bit cool lately. how fun is it to walk up to some one's house in your neighborhood and walk away with fresh produce from a near-by farm? i love it.

this time we got: potatoes, eggs, asparagus, mint, chives and popcorn. i hear by mid-summer i'll have so much food i won't know what to do with it. thank God that i know a lot of vegetarians to share the goods with later.

ps: please note the great basket. got it as a gift for Christmas and it is coming in handy now!
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i *heart* this barn

one of my dreams is to have an old barn and convert it into a house. there was a TOH article not too long ago with pictures of barns that people had converted into homes. what a great idea. lots of open space and design possibilities. not to mention the environmental impact - how much "greener" can you get than to use an old building for a new use?

this is a barn that is available through an organization that i've mentioned before on this blog - Historic Landmarks. i really love this barn and would like to get it. ehhh...pretty sure it is not in the budget right now, though. enjoy the pics and dreaming about the possibilities!

check out this old door. how fab is it? ~

inside / open area ~loft space # 1 ~loft space #2 ~isn't it just great?


plant this !

unless you count trees and new grass we've done little landscaping since we've moved into the house almost four years ago. this year some of that is changing. chad has been reworking his landscape plans and ordered several types of plants from a couple of online nurseries. this is what he accomplished today. we actually started on the side of the house where people hardly see except for our next door neighbors. i'm sure they are very happy about the improvements though. MUCH better than weeds, don't you think?

flats before planting ~

yard before planting ~ ~ yard after planting
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May is Preservation Month

Bush Stadium, built in 1931, was one of the greatest minor league parks in the nation.
When the Indianapolis Indians moved downtown to Victory Field in 1996,
the stadium was left empty. This was added to the 10 Most Endangered List
released a few days ago by Historic Landmarks Foundation.

May is Preservation Month! Today we attended a lecture sponsored by the Historic Landmarks Foundation. The lecture was led by the Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. She talked about some of the historic neighborhoods in New Orleans, how her organization and the National Historic Trust have teamed to help reduce the number of demolished homes in the aftermath of Katrina. She also discussed the importance of historic preservation planning before a disaster occurs. An important part of her group's mission at this point is advocating and educating homeowners about the pros of rehabilitating their home instead of tearing down and building new. This is something that many people could use a lesson on in many cities around the country (in my humble opinion).

Open up this link for some great before and after pictures of cute shotgun homes in New Orleans. And be sure to check out your local preservation office for special lectures and/or classes to celebrate Preservation Month!

P.S. The lecture included a complimentary dinner from Yats. omg. If you ever visit Indy be sure to make it to this restaurant. It is quick, cheap, local and so freakin' tasty.


real simple ~ renovation handbook

apparently the magazine Real Simple is jumping on the renovation bandwagon with a series of articles related to "sprucing up your home." the first is an article about cabinets and countertops for baths and kitchens. some of the advice is probably old hat for us house renovators (ha, ha) but on the third page of the online article (here) there is a great breakdown of the different materials available, price comparisons and some of the pros & cons.

i think i'm still voting for soapstone countertops for our future kitchen but the paper composite look cool too.