Monday Musing

After a quiet weekend, Monday is back with the sounds of hammering, sawing, and drilling.  Before I left this morning, our crew was moving furniture out of the breakfast nook, so I knew that could be where we might see some progress today. We haven’t had any power in that room for a couple of weeks, so I am excited!

When I returned home this afternoon, I could see that they had been busy working. The dining room now houses our kitchen table and has a makeshift light.  The breakfast nook and the sun room are covered in plastic.

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The kitchen is apparently off limits according to this not so very subtle sign.


Lead paint is part of occupying an old home, and our crew takes this very seriously. I am thinking we might be eating out tonight!

There may have been an absence of power tools humming on the weekend, but that didn’t mean there was an absence of work.  Project wallpaper removal was in full swing, and we are happy to say the psychedelic stripes are no more!

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One room down, many, many more to go…


In the Zone

We did move into this house with the understanding that we needed to get some critical work done. When we bought the house, we knew the first order of business would be to replace the electrical in order to meet insurance requirements and safety standards. Yes, all the electrical. Goodbye knob and tube, hello up to code standard wiring.

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Although much of that work is behind the scenes, it affects every part of the house and those who are in it. We have been in the house for a couple of weeks, so I thought I would give you a glimpse of living in the zone (construction zone that is) where we are living under a constant layer of fine dust (cutting through plaster has a way of doing that).

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Being at work all day we never know what to expect when we come home. We’re never quite sure what lights will work and what lights won’t or where a new hole in the wall or ceiling might appear. It wasn’t my favorite week when the dishwasher circuit was off. But, it was a day of awesomeness when I found out they had hooked up the washer and dryer !!

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To be honest, I don’t think anyone has enjoyed the no air conditioning holding pattern we have been in especially on those days when it has been over 100 F.  When we first moved in (108 F), the air conditioning had been disconnected due to electrical work.  Then after deciding to replace some asbestos-lined ducts, it’s been out of commission well into this latest heat wave (101 F today). At least we have a back up “swamp” cooler that provides some relief when the temps drop a bit (e.g. late evening). Good news though – tomorrow we should return to the land of the breeze and the home of the cool.

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With all this hole cutting, soon to be wall patching and painting, and floor refinishing going on, we can’t get too settled.  With most of our furniture in the garage, our boxes in storage, and our utility room/office not ready yet, we are are not completely unpacked.  During the first couple of weeks, we didn’t have access to our bedrooms (floor refinishing going on), so we slept downstairs in the sunroom and library.  Everything needs to remain in the middle of the rooms, so walls can be accessed for ongoing work.  As the electrical work moves upstairs, we may be moving back downstairs – that’s still to be determined.IMG_6268-1

Well, there is no lack of adventure while living in the zone.  We have front row seats to the progress going on around us.  We are also blessed to have the amazing crew from Dovetail Remodeling ( who we see bright and early every morning. Steve, Jim, Josh, and Justin work hard each day trying to figure out this old house and its many mysteries.  They are becoming very familiar with its nooks, crannies, and many construction idiosyncrasies.  This house has, in a very short period, thrown its share of construction curve balls, but the guys have risen to the occasion every time and haven’t struck out yet!

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Outdoor Spaces

We have spent a lot of time in these outdoor spaces over the past couple of weeks or so – trimming, cutting, shaping, pruning, picking… (our gardener, Emiliano Lopez has helped too). We have identified two grapefruit trees, an orange tree, and a small kumquat tree.  A happy find for citrus lovers.

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Phil has already made a claim on a large patch beside the garage which he has designated project “raised garden”.   Visions of tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, squash, potatoes, snow peas, carrots, and hot peppers are dancing in his head.


This interesting water feature is on its way out – eventually.  We are envisioning a cozy fire pit with comfy chairs here instead.  Lots of dreaming and planning …

Pond? Fountain?

When we are not trimming, cutting, shaping, pruning, or picking, the backyard has proven to provide a spot of relaxation and quiet.  We have taken some time to soak in and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

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The large trees house a melodious chorus of enthusiastic birds who never seem to tire of singing. We even have our own forest-like corner in the front yard. And, every 15 minutes we are treated to the chiming bells of St. Therese which is a block away.

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If you’re in the neighborhood, come by and sit awhile!


Cat Capers


Moving can be stressful, especially for cats. The car ride alone is enough to make you regret owning cats.

I put a frightened but curious Percy in the bathroom next to the library and shut the door to go get him some water and a litter box for the night. Bijoux was hiding out in the room next to the garage. Everything was calming down after a stressful car ride.

Continue reading “Cat Capers”

Doors Galore

This house not only has a lot of walls, it also has many, many doors: solid wood doors, doors with windows, interior double French doors, exterior double French doors, an interior single French door, a swinging door, thick folding doors…  By the numbers, there are seven exterior doors (three regular doors and four double French doors). That includes the standard front door and basic back door (both red, by the way).

Interior doors total 20! That makes 27 exterior and interior doors!! Talk about a lot of hinges!  Four of the interior doors are double French doors and there is one single French door.

The swinging door from the kitchen is a fun one – think restaurant-style.


The windowed door from the back porch to the kitchen and the basement door are full of character as well.  Each of the three panels of the heavy folding doors separating the living room from the dining room are approximately 2.5 inches thick.  When folded together, they are almost nine inches thick. This reflects the thickness of the door moulding on that interior wall.

Of course, with all of these doors, a variety of door knobs can be found.  I love the old fashioned glass ones!

Now if we can just keep these doors and knobs functional in order to preserve all that character!

Wild about wallpaper

There are a lot of walls in this old house.  And, a lot of these walls are covered in wallpaper.  The collection is quite eclectic really.   Some of the designs are more vintage while others are well,  just plain loud.

These are on the bold end of the design spectrum:

More subtle:

Moving towards vintage:

And, what I believe is the most vintage of all:

At first, I thought this pattern was “way over the top” crazy; however, it has grown on me a bit.  I would love to know how old it is.  We had to peel some off the wall, and it has a wood product backing which makes it extremely stiff and it’s almost 1/4 inch thick.

Many of the other designs will be replaced with paint due to the fact that some of them just don’t suit the character of the house.   Mostly, they will be going because we need to redo the entire electrical system, and there will be a lot of wall penetrations throughout the house.  So, I have a handy wallpaper stripping crew that will be hard at work this summer. Stay tuned.

A week ago 

Well exactly one week ago, we made the big move. Of course it was only 108F. In June. Seriously?? Yes, it was HOT! 
From one home to another…

moving trucks arrive
Because we are having floors redone, we are unable to move anything upstairs…makeshift closets.
Now which box had what?
one temporary bedroom aka library
2nd temporary bedroom aka sun room (complete with an extra roll of tp)

We survived the heat and are getting used to living without air conditioning while electrical work is being done. Fortunately temperatures are a bit cooler this week!