Monday, January 26, 2015

A brand new coat (of paint)

We moved into our current house a little over 5 years ago. Time sure has flown by! The house was built sometime between 1889 and 1895 (I haven't been able to pinpoint the exact year yet). Basically, it's a really old house! Luckily all of the previous owners (or at least the ones in the last four or five decades) took really good care of it. It's bones are still sturdy and it has a lot of unique features. 

One of the things I fell in love with when we first looked at the home was the front entry & stairway. It's tall, airy and has a cool arch over part of it. I had never seen an arch like this in a home before: 

I also fell in love with staircase (three sets of stairs w/two landings) and the old windows & window seat. Here are some photos I took of the stairway the very first time we looked at the house:

The wallpaper was beige with cream stripes running vertically. It was 'fine' but was getting kind of grungy & starting to peel in lots of places. When we bought the house we knew that someday we'd want to remove it.

The wallpaper also carried into the upstairs hallway: 

So.....five years later we had the wallpaper removed! Although we like to attempt doing home-y things ourselves, we decided to hire a painting contractor to do it for us. It cost a bit more money to hire it out BUT it saved us our sanity, which made it worth it :) With the kids keeping me 100% occupied during the week and with us wanting to enjoy our weekends as a family, it would have taken us forever just to remove the wallpaper! Plus, with the paper being 2 1/2 stories high, I'm pretty sure Matt or I would have ended up in the hospital at some point it time...

It took two weeks for two guys to removed the wallpaper, remove the layer of paste (which turned out to be an old clay-type paste), fix the plaster wherever it needed fixing, prime the ceilings and walls, and then add two layers of paint.

It was a bit frustrating at times whenever I wanted to go upstairs with the kiddos during the day (with drop cloths & paints & stuff everywhere). And we had to skip naps for a few days because I didn't want the kids in their bedrooms along with paint fumes. But we made do.

Also -- picking out the paint colors was so hard! I wanted to do some funky colors (that's my artist brain talking) but I promised Matt I wouldn't go too crazy. Also, since the carpeting is a dark navy blue (not our style, but we're keeping it for a while yet) we had to pick some colors that 'go' with the carpeting.

Why are we keeping the dark navy carpeting you ask? a) Liam is up and down the stairs all day long, and Chloe is attempting to crawl up them now, so we feel the carpeting is much safer. If we remove the carpet and the wood's exposed, we're afraid the kids will be slipping and sliding all over the place. b) Our crazy annoying and spoiled cats are not declawed and pretty much destroy anything soft in our house. I cannot imagine putting new carpeting in and having the cats decimate the carpets the first day we have it. So....the carpet stays for now. It's not our style, but it's fine for now :)

Or maybe we should get rid of the cats instead...
Oops, did I say that out loud?

Here are some before and after photos of the project. The "befores" are actually during the wallpaper/paste removal process and the "afters" are the finished product:

Landing at the top of the stairs

On the left side -- this is the original wall color. If it had not been patched over the years we would have seriously
considered keeping it the raw color. But there was just too much patchwork over the years.

Part of our front entry.

Tons of wall space.



The local painting contractor we used was Schoen's Painting and Decorating. We would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a painter. They were friendly, professional, tidy and reasonable. Thanks Phil, Jake and Chris for helping us restore part of our home for years to come!

And here are the paint colors we used:

Bottom half of chair rail and front entry: Sherwin-Williams Balanced Beige
Upper walls and hallway walls: Sherwin-Williams Pewter Tray (at 75%)
Ceiling: Sherwin-Williams Extra White in Matte
Crown, base and trim: Sherwin-Williams Extra White in Semi Gloss

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Take a look, it's in a book

At Christmastime we received a sweet assortment of books as gifts. Each of the four of us were gifted at least a couple of books. Chloe got some picture books, Liam some good interactive ones, and Matt and I got some that were/and were not on our wish lists. I thought I'd share them with you since most of us do like books, right?


We used to lend this one from the library when Liam was little. But it's way nicer having a copy of our own (without all of the germs, random teeth marks and dried snot blobs from other kids).

I had never seen this one before Chloe got it. It's a bunch
of little peas doing random stuff. It's a cutie.

 I am in love with this book. And so is Liam. It's just so cool.

One of these days I want to break out our tubes of real paint and let Liam "follow along" with
everything that happens in the book. Fun!

 Liam and Chloe

Every year (this is the third year) Matt's mom gets one of these recordable books for the kid(dos).
It's fun to get them out each year at Christmastime & let the kids 'listen to Nana' read a book.


This is the giant version of this book. Liam loves it.

Did anyone else get this one this year? It's on the best seller list. 
In case you didn't know -- the guy from The Office (B.J.Novak) created it. 

 Liam digs these paint with water books. I dig them too. They are SO easy to whip out
as an activity + they're not too messy to clean up.


Matt's cousin custom-made a family cookbook for Matt and other family members.
The recipes are all from his grandma/grandpa that are no longer with us, so this
is a pretty sweet sentimental gift that Matt will have forever.

This was on Matt's wish list.

I'm so glad that my hubby likes to cook...

I got him this one. We're hoping to expand our canning skills this coming summer/fall.
This book should be helpful with that.

No need to explain this one.


I had this book on my list. I can't wait to read it! Have your heard of this one?
A lady goes an entire year without looking in a mirror! I think it'll be an
interesting read.

This one was also on my wish list :) I've lent this one from the library four times already,
so I thought it'd be nice to just have a copy of my own. It's a great book to have if you have
an old home. It can tell you a lot about the history of your home & also teaches
you how to expand your research.

Well...that's that! We've already read the kids books about a hundred times, and Matt has glanced at his cook books. Someday I'll get to reading my books. I'll add them to my stack of 'books to read.'

Maybe I should get off this darn computer and read instead. Oh wait....I hear Chloe crying and Liam just woke up....never mind!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Photos from Christmas 2014 - Round 2

A few days ago I posted some photos of Christmas 2014 - Round 1.
Here's Round 2...

Christmas with Matt's immediate & extended family, at Matt's parents' house:

Chloe and her aunt Becky.

Chloe's first Christmas :)

Liam opening a gift of Do-A-Dot markers.

Liam hanging out with his Great Grandma Dorothea.

Christmas Eve with my mom, at her house:

Christmas Day morning at our home:
Liam couldn't wait to see if Santa brought him something.

Chloe slept in for a change so Liam had to wait for her to 
wake up before he could open his gifts.

Pretty typical I think -- a baby loving the bows more than the actual gifts :)

I look tired.

Christmas Day afternoon with my mom's family, at my aunt Ginger's house:

Chloe and her great-aunt Shelley.

My niece Caroline helping Liam open a gift from her.

My family, minus Nate/Nici/Bella/Rylan/Hudson (who were at home sick).
Liam was practicing his winking skills in this photo.

Post-Christmas Day, celebrating with my family at my mom's house:

Where's Tim?

Lucky little girl.

My nephew Hudson asleep on my niece Caroline.

Best. Photo. Ever.

The next morning. My mom with all of her grand kids. 
(sorry mom, I promised no pajama photo, but I just HAD to)

Love you all,