Outdated house updates

The last time I was blogging regularly, we talked about my house. It was new-to-me then, not so new anymore, but I do have some (now kinda outdated) updated house photos to share.

In August, I had a house blessing, which is something done in the Episcopal church to, quite literally, bless a new home. My kids were with their dad for two weeks and I spent that time cleaning the hell out of the house before my priest came to bless the hell out of it.

The kids came back the day before the blessing and I made them leave their luggage in the car so they didn’t mess the house up. (You think I’m kidding, I’m totally serious.)


It was the first time we had guests – and that many of them – in the house and I was nervous, but Episcopalians know how to party and everything turned out just fine.

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Here are a few photos my friend Marianne took. Those sandwiches look delicious right about now. Also? I miss summer. And wine. And my house being this clean.


I don’t have a photo readily available, but we had communion in my living room and that was awesome. I mean, how cool is that?

Okay, house photos.

These were all (mostly) shot in early August and some things have changed since then, but here we go.


The dog crate has been relocated several times. I’d LOVE to have an end table that’d fit there that had a (wire) dog crate enclosed. A few months ago, I actually found the PERFECT end table for $15 on a local swap group!


There’s nothing on the inside, even after two months, and, of course, plenty of junk on top. I think this may become our arts & crafts storage space because I have to clear the current space, which is the bottom drawer in the wardrobe in my room, for the baby’s things. (Freakin’ babies.)


This summer, my mom sewed some new curtains and recovered the piano bench and one of the chairs. The chair was also reupholstered to go with the new curtains. I loved it before, though, admittedly, it needed a good cleaning, but now it’s almost too adorable to sit in.


Anyway, continuing.

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(My son felt like being in the way in every single photo. Just ignore him.)

And the dining room …


I bought the buffet before I moved in and it went from my bathroom, into the hallway and finally into the dining room. I should have put it here to begin with. I love it here and, since it’s actually made for this space, it’s a lot more functional here than in the bathroom.

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I’ve been collecting the milk glass vases for awhile, just picking them up in shops when they’re $2 or less and even painting clear vases white. The watermelon painted on the saw blade is one my late grandmother painted; the hot pink watermelon flesh goes perfectly with the hot pink in the curtains, which was a happy accident. I never knew where to put it until then; it’s been sitting in a box for more than a decade, but it’s perfect here and is my favorite thing in the room. I can see it from my place on the couch and it always makes me smile.


And now, the kitchen where normal moms cook and do the dishes.


You should see it right this minute. It’s embarrassing.


I just HAD to have that Keurig for my office at work, then I moved it home when I realized it made more sense to have it here where I am the only coffee drinker. I can bum coffee off of the company at work, duh. And you know what? I don’t drink coffee at home. Sometimes tea, but I use the kettle. Basically, it’s a really quick way for my kids to get hot water for cocoa.

(Which reminds me: Have you SEEN the things they make for baby care these days? There’s a Keurig-like contraption where you fill one compartment with powdered formula and the other with water, then hit go and it mixes and heats your formula. Um, I guess that beats the old days – 13 years ago – when we thought we were good to have a plastic container that allowed you to carry pre-measured powdered formula around with you. I guess the days of scooping formula and dropping it into a bottle of water and shaking furiously are over? And no, I don’t want one.)


Have I ever showed you my pantry? It’s that long cabinet on the far right of that bank of cabinets. Old homes are not known for their storage capabilities. My freezer also barely holds two boxes of popsicles.

10563027_10154455796205046_853995236318411048_nAn adorable look at the counter I loved when I bought the house. It’s metal and, possibly, original. It holds cookbooks, framed recipes and whatever else we decide to drop there. It doesn’t actually work as a functional space for adults of average height (I’m 5’5″).

Next up: The girls’ room. Again, it looks nothing like this at the moment. We found vinyl wall clings in the new colors in their room, so those are all over the place, and the letters didn’t last long. I need to rehang them, but we were putting them up at the VERY LAST MINUTE as guests were arriving for the party.


It’s a cute room when it’s clean. I wish it were bigger, though. God help me if this baby is a girl.


If I had an unlimited source of money, I think I’d actually blow out the wall on the right in this photo (below) and utilize the closet space behind it (which really isn’t much) for a little more room. I have this all figured out (Mom, because I know your eyebrows are raised and you’re wondering where I’m going with this): If the other end of this hallway was closed in and the bathroom door moved into the west hall, then the existing north hall would make a decent closet for them. It’d actually be larger than they currently have. But, alas, money doesn’t grow on trees and I don’t have the Property Brothers at my beck and call. (Is all of that worth it for only a small closet’s worth of space?)


This is the north hall from the girls’ doorway, looking south to the west hall.


And the north hall from the opposite doorway. On the left are the doors for the hall bath and the girls’ closet, which was originally a utility closet, I guess.


A renovation to this bathroom was going to be my 2015 tax refund project, but that’s not happening for awhile. The four of us share my master bath and this one is only used when the dogs drink from the toilet. The tub is old, old, old and so is the plumbing to it, which is hidden behind a tiled space. It’s a mess. In 2014, I had about $10k and five months worth of plumbing issues with this house (for reals), but I ADORE my plumbers. Anyway, I’d LOVE to have them come back and re-plumb this dude so I can take the old tub out and put a shower in. We need more than one functioning place to clean our bodies (or, we would really, really like it, especially considering I’m paying to heat and cool this room). Of course, if I could work out the aforementioned reconfiguring of the girls’ room and hallway, I’d also reconfig this space a little bit, shifting the shower 90 degrees (to where the sink is) OR make it a Jack & Jill bathroom with a door from the girls’ room too.

Some advice I’ll give you if you’re considering buying a fixer upper? Live in it for awhile to get the best idea of what you’ll need to do. I’m so glad we did everything we did before, but I really, really wish we could have worked this bathroom out.


While we’re here, go ahead and make a pit stop. I know this is getting long. I’ll grab you some snacks from the fridge (cold pizza, you’re welcome).

This is the west hall from its intersection with the north hall. I framed a ton of things to actually have photos on the wall. On the left are my school photos from kindergarten to graduation, then pictures of the kids and I in kindergarten or pre-k, and on the right are the kids’ first day of school collages.


This is a bookshelf I inherited with the house. I love the things on it! On the top shelf, on the left, is my grandfather’s camera from World War II (yes!) and a couple of his old textbooks; the star is made from the barbed wire fencing at my great-great grandparents’, my immigrant ancestors, farm (where my great aunt still lives); then we have photos of the kids, including one of them with their great-grandmother and their second cousins on their dad’s side (that was a surprise for them, I printed all of these while the were visiting their dad’s side of the family in Alabama and the Carolinas). On the second shelf are genealogy books – with tons of photos – that my aunt made and more photos, including the kids and I with my grandmother (their great-grandmother) that was taken last summer when we visited. The other shelves have miscellaneous things, like my books and baby bonnet and the announcement I put in the paper when my baby brother was commissioned a year ago. All of these things? Not baby proof, but nice to look at.


My son’s room? Next.


His was a neglected room that had zero decor, minus the rug, curtains and duvet cover, so while they were gone I bought and built a bookcase, found some lime green wire baskets ($5 at the Dolla Gentral!), and framed posters and photos for him.


He was super excited to see everything when he came back. He’s a huge fan of orange and green if you couldn’t tell. And oh, the drum he got for Christmas in 2013 is now used on the regular – he’s in band too (Jaiden plays flute) and plays the snare drum. There’s also a guitar in that corner. Lessons eventually.


I also hung this accordian-folded set of knobs or whatever (what do you call these things?) for all of his hoodies and put up cork boards for his drawings.


The kid also likes anchors, which was the original inspiration for this room, so I hung those for him and framed pictures of him hanging out with his dad while he was gone (God bless Facebook photos and photo printers, right?).

Still with me? We’re almost done. Yay.


The final bedroom of this mansion …


(I really needed to have the HDR setting enabled here, because this is just horrible, but you get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit, okay?) When I last shared photos of this room, there were no curtains, I was using a cover-less duvet and there were boxes lining the left side of the room. I finally cleared those out right before the party (13 months after moving day).

I took a trip (when you live an hour away, it’s a trip) to Target for Minecraft junk for my son’s room (found nothing, by the way) and ended up buying my comforter and the girls’ comforters. I can’t remember at this point if the curtains came first or the comforter, but they happily go together and pick up colors from my rug and chair. (Big ups, Echo Day.) I kept the teal sheets and tossed the peach pillow from the couch in with the mix (because, hello peach on the floral pillow). Boom, done. Instant big girl room.


The desk was an afterthought and is actually a vanity I inherited with the house (just like the Pottery Barn wardrobe below). I was listing it on Facebook to be sold when I realized I could take the large round mirror off of it and make it useful in the room. I didn’t have a desk and this works for now (but will likely be moved elsewhere as this is where the crib will likely go.

Here’s the before:


It sat like this in my room for 13 months before I did anything with it. I can’t remember the original plan, but I know it was moved into my room when the floors were being sanded and never moved an inch before it became a desk.

Here is the (immediate) after (the now-after is atrocious):


The large painting is another of my Grandma Lois’s pieces (and so is the one on the upper right). I think it’s at least as old as I am. The rust color never worked for me before this configuration, but it pulls some of the rust color from the rug to this side of the room. The other things hanging range from my tassel from high school to photos of my kids and to a group photo with my (drunken) co-workers after our first banquet last July. On the desk are regular desk things: pictures of my kids from July 4 at my grandmother’s, hard drive, a picture of my brothers and I from my high school graduation, a framed print from Urban Outfitters and a dried purple hydrangea from my parents’ backyard. Printer. Files. Et cetera. Like you do.

I moved my frame wall and chair. The wardrobe doors are actually closed here, but they never are in real life. The TV’s back there. This will hold baby clothes. And still a TV, unless I get crazy and decide to mount it to the wall as I planned to do originally (which is why there’s an outlet five feet up).


Opposite the wardrobe. There’s still nothing hanging on this wall and nothing covering that box spring.


This is a more accurate depiction of the colors in the room, taken at the house blessing.


One last room …


I don’t think I’ve ever shared photos of the master bath here, so this is a first.


Behind the teal-y curtain is my closet/laundry room. You don’t get a peek because it was piled high with junk from other rooms.


And blurry, but whatev. I need to do something else on this wall because its size dwarfs the 24×36 canvas and the shelf. Also, I killed that orchid months ago. It was a clearance buy at Kroger, but this girl isn’t good at keeping even the simplest plants alive (though I’ve managed to keep a $1 itty bitty baby cactus alive for well over a year now).



Over the summer the windows were replaced and shame on you for not noticing.


Oh blue skies and green grass, I miss you! (This also reminds me that in May, with the huge help of one of my mom’s co-workers, we landscaped the front yard. My mom still had reno leftovers hanging around, so she returned all of that and used the money to buy the plants, soil and whatever else we needed; I think we came out of pocket $25.)

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Energy efficiency, and having the ability to actually OPEN the windows, is an amazing thing, friends. We had a mild summer, so the windows were open a lot. Unfortunately, two months after thousands of dollars in new windows were installed, I found out my son is allergic to almost every tree and pollen and grass known to man and we have to keep the windows closed, but the house is warmer so far this winter (except when it gets into single digits, which rarely happens in the South, but has happened two winters in a row).

One more thing. Last June we had a really bad storm with straight-line winds that affected the historic district where I live. One of my next-door neighbor’s two century-old oak trees came down and knocked out power to our road and our town’s square for several days.


It took two crews five hours just to cut through the tree.

The photo below ran on the front page of the paper that week. It’s not often the editor finds breaking news in her own front yard. I’m just glad the thing didn’t fall on my house.

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And after all of that excitement, I went into my backyard to check on MY trees and found half of a hackberry tree (the neighbor’s, but it sits right on the line) on my house. It damaged my roof and my fence. We had to have tree trimmers come out and take it down. Talk about a mess!


The first half of the year wasn’t kind to my house, starting with the plumbing problems in January. I can’t even remember everything that happened, but we had to have new lines run inside and under the house and then from the house to the street (which took MONTHS) before finding a clog in the main. The city had just repaved our road in November 2013 and it wasn’t even spring yet when they had to tear it up to run a new line on their side.

My front yard was good and torn up for quite awhile because after the new sewer lines were run, the city ran new gas lines and cut the water line, so that had to be replaced too.


Things quieted down in May, then early June brought the storm and the tree on the house. Thankfully, the rest of 2014 was kinder.

Since this summer the stork will be bringing a baby and huge bills, no big projects are planned except for some switcheroos in my bedroom. One of these days I want some sort of patio out back with a pergola, but that will have to sit on the waiting list, gathering inspiration from Pinterest, for quite awhile.

3 thoughts on “Outdated house updates

  1. Kathy Chamberlin
    January 15, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    You have BLOWN me away this afternoon reading your last two posts !! A BABY !! I’m still trying to compose myself, and wanted to send you mucho congratulations and say how thrilled I am for you. Oh, my GOSH. Guess I better let this sink in for a few days. You really are such an inspiration. You always remain so calm and seem so together; never thrown by all of life’s little surprises and challenges.

    I can’t wait to stay updated on things as they progress. You’ve done a fantatic job with the house, too.

    Wow. Congratulations!

  2. Ro
    January 18, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Congrats on everything! I ended up with another baby after Raphael. He was 8 at the time. It’s crazy doing it all over again.
    And I love your house. So cute. What’s the square footage?

    1. Echo
      January 18, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      I see her looking all cute on Instagram. lol.

      It’s just under 1600 SF.