Home Improvement

Renovation Station

So we randomly started a major renovation of our house. It is sort of how we work. I dream and plot and dream some more about what I want to do in our house, then we start one small project and BAM, it explodes into an entire renovation. It’s how we started our basement reno and our bathroom reno. And it’s how we started our current reno.

I just wanted to open a wall a teensy bit. Eventually we’d redo our hardwood floors, paint our cabinets, get a new stove and do a tiled backsplash. But right now, I just wanted to open the wall. You see, my step dad is SUPER handy and is moving soon. So I wanted to cash in on his handy man skills while he wasn’t crazy busy pimping out his new house. So a few weekends ago we took this:

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And this:

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… and destroyed it!

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Knocking down walls = SO MUCH FUN and so cathartic. Have a bad day at work? Punch a hammer through a wall and tell me it doesn’t make you feel better.

For this project we needed to remove drywall, cut out studs, relocate cable, redo trim, repair drywall and patch giant holes in the wall. We also smoothed out part of our ceiling that had gotten a little wonky.

Here’s a semi-finished shot of the space:

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It’s really nice to be able to see into our dining room. It took us quite a while to get used to it. I think we were both silently worried we might have made a mistake, but it is wonderful!

We have so much more space to walk around our table, which means instead of squishing in four people at a dinner, we can comfortably have six people in that space.

Here’s another almost-finished shot from the other side.

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You can see the whole kitchen from here now! It makes the space feel GIANT.

I don’t want to spoil some of the other progress we’ve made in the house in the past month with the more complete version of the wall project, but trust me…. it’s looking sharp.

I will share one sneak peak of what else this mini reno inspired:

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Check out those hardwoods, baby! You can pretty much guess what that means we are doing with the rest of the house… but I’ll save more photos until next time.

Huge shout out to my step dad John — we couldn’t have done all of the drywalling and mudding without you. Thanks for all of the help!

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Garden

It’s good to be outside again

I’ve been spending so much time outside lately and it is just lovely. The hubby and I have been working hard to get our yard in shape for spring. It’s been a challenge for a lot of reasons. First, BGE destroyed a part of our yard fixing a leak in our gas pipe. And then there’s the added challenge of the 8-foot-wide circle in the yard where a well used to be. Oh, and out of pure laziness, we didn’t rake the leaves well this past fall. So we’ve had lots to take care of.

We spent last weekend tackling the front yard and my garden area.

First, I cleared out backs and bags of leaves, weeds and general crap that had accumulated in my garden area from last year. When I had filled several yard waste bags and was ready to call it quits, I was instead inspired to attempt to remove the stump from my garden. We’d cut down the small tree in my garden last year and gotten the stump as small as we could, but it has always driven me nuts that I was losing that space where I could be growing more tomatoes!

After an hour and a half of hard work (digging, pick-axing, kicking, prodding, etc.), Brian and I actually got the stump out! I joked that we should start our own stump removal company. Yeah, right.

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See? No more stump! I just gained an extra 4 feet in my garden!

Once we were done with this, we filled in the hole with dirt and I promptly fenced off the garden from my evil dog. Remmy isn’t a huge digger, but he can’t resist large spans of dirt.

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There are still a few sections in my smaller gardens that I need to work on, but I am so happy to have this part complete!

The next day we started on our front yard. We decided it was a great idea to hand till up the circle where the well used to be. Two hours, eight yard waste bags and two sore backs later, we finished. Then Brian bought top soil and planted grass seed in the circle and in the patches of soil where BGE left its mark. They said they’d come out and fix the lawn, but at this rate it will be winter again before they come back out.

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I must just have that itch to be outside and do yard work, so I figured I’d take advantage of myself and this sudden inspiration to improve our yard. Last night I spent two hours raking our old leaves and clearing out large branches from the back of our yard.

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I raked everything behind our shed so it can compost down over time. Our yard looks infinitely better and my wrists are infinitely more sore. Ugh.

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It was worth it though. The yard still has a way to go and we still need to figure out what we are doing with some parts, but it has sure come a long way in just a week.

What lawn projects have you guys tackled this spring? Each year I get more and more into gardening. Who knows what else we’ll tackle this weekend!