Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Landscaping Diaries

Yard work is not at the top of my favorite projects. I like instant gratification. That's not to say that when the fiancĂ© edged the yard there WASN'T instant gratification (because, there was!), but filling in and growing grass? yawn. Also, double yawn when you're me and horrible at watering regularly. I go in spurts, and apparently vegetation doesn't respond well to that. Just ask the plethora of dead plants sprawled about my house. BUT! We've come a LONG way out there so let's take a look back at the last two years of work, because you care about the state of my landscape? Right? OK GOOD.



When I moved in there was a nice clothes line (with gas powered lamp!) that just HAD to go ASAPies because modern technology invented a mechanical DRYER. Also, remnants of a past tree circle loomed and took FOREVER to be successfully filled in.



Now it's a beautiful fall oasis - we added brick siding, a planter wall, and some HOSTAAAS (which are currently dying because FALL, not me.).

If you turn around towards the house, a few years ago you'd see THIS:


I think my favorite project out here was removing the 'brow' because SO MUCH light came into the dining room. See that green shrubbery above? ALL LIES.


Dead. I gave them a chance (pruned them) to grow into their full potential. But when no signs of life existed I started pulling them out, and planted ALL THE HOSTAS.




Speaking of dead shrubs...


Behind the garage there were some MORE, but these were HORRIBLE to get out. It took me an entire weekend to trim them back, and then a few hours for my father and I to break our backs cutting, pulling and cursing them out. BUT ALAS. They gone.


(post planting)


We planted a row of, you guessed it, HOSTAS, and called it a day.

The FRONT of the house hasn't seen as much change over the past 2 years.


We added a flag, because AMERICA. And some planters. Edged the walkway and...that's IT! I actually really like the profile of the front yard so, we good.


BUT, my landscaping crew did NOT like this front yard tree. You see, the pine tree was being over run by about 10 million smaller trees. It was like a mini-forest. He started pulling everything out before the blogger in me could take a photo. Here it is complementary of Google maps:


It's super hard to see, but basically the bottom portion is a lie, and is just another tree going rouge. Also, the neighbor kids kept throwing their cigs/beer cans in there, so THAT had to stop...


 See that little stump? Still need to get rid of that, but, took 2 weekends and about 8 lawn care bags to get everything under there (ONE entire bag was full of pine needles ALONE). Still a ways to go to get this looking OCD perfect, but a good start.





Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Enjoying fall + A surprise Bday Cele

Fall is my favorite time of year, I LOVE the leaves turning, brisk air and nights spent by the bonfire. So OF COURSE when my family decided to have my sister's birthday cele up in Duluth, we HAD to go on a hike. Fingers were crossed for above average temps (which we got!) and boots were taken out of storage. It turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL day.





We hiked Hartley park up to Rock knob point. The hike took us about 30-45 minutes, so it's a nice quick walk through the woods. Dodging mountain bikers and runners we made it up the hill, and glad we did, because there was a little surprise at the top!









Some friends and family came together for a little 30th birthday party surprise for my sister! She's turning THIRTY and what better reason to get everyone together to PARTY! We stayed at the top for a bit, taking photos and overlooking the BEAUTIFUL scenery, because OMG hello lake superior. 










After a bit we started to make our way back to the cabin, BECAUSE we needed to ready ourselves for a little PARTY BUS action. WOOF, it took me ALL of Sunday to recover, but SO worth it. Here's some shots before we headed out :)








Thanks to everyone who came and made the day SO special for the Birthday girl. AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE! love you :)




Thursday, October 8, 2015

Storage Room Update


Now that the kitchen is complete, the main floor of the house is basically done. We have a few touchups/trim painting to tackle this winter but other than that, the big stuff is done and looking to be more apart of this century. SO, what's next? THE BASEMENT. This basement has SO MUCH potential it's redonk. I've been hemming and hawing for the last year and a half with WHAT to do down here. Add a bedroom? Add a bath/master suite? Rip everything out and make a HUGE living room with theater!? I had a contractor come over to talk about moving the bathroom (long story, basically the electrical panel is in there, which isn't to code). SO I started drawing up plans for that...THEN I had a realtor friend come over and take a look. IS the investment there? What would be the biggest bang for my buck in the base? I mentioned all my ideas to him, and his favorite? A simple update to the space.  *cue my happy dance*

YOU SEE, although I think ALL of these renovation ideas would look amaze and be SUPER fun, I don't want to put that in my house if the investment isn't there, this isn't my FOREVAH house ya know. He went on to mention that the demographic that will look at my house won't see that as a benefit over the kitchen/upstairs renovation I did - and I don't want to fall into a higher selling point than my neighborhood can handle.

 ANYWAYS, all that to say, this basement renovation will be a basement-lite version. No walls will come down, just making the space pretty and livable. Capisce?!

So, today, let's talk about the FIRST room in the basement to see a facelift...here are the photos from my first walk through. This room is in the center of the basement sandwiched between a living room space and the workroom:



The stairs you see lead up to the main floor/kitchen area. Loving the variety of flooring here...


A little door leading to the basement living room area. So. Many. Cabinets.


Behind me is the workroom. So basically this room is set up perfectly to hold my PLETHORA of craft supplies (which are currently sprawled about the house). The built ins/pegboarded walls are going to be great to store it all. The concrete walls need a freshcoat of paint. The floors COULD be replaced...BUT that's like 99% Asbestos tile and actually in pretty good condition. I'm hoping a good scrub makes it shine a bit more?! *wishful thinking*.

This past year this room was a dumping ground for the first 6 months of it's life, then I organized it into a storage room. I've since thrown half of the pile out to clear the space for it's new function.



Here's what it looked like before I got my paws on it:






I know what you're thinking - the photos are so beautiful and of great quality! JK, all iphone photos until I replace my camera lens #firstworldproblems.

SO, once I cleared everything out I wiped all the surfaces  with TSP. Who KNOWS what kinda grime was on the walls but I was fairly certain paint would not stick. I cleaned out my TSP bucket about 4 times and each time it was a steady shade of brown, groooooooossssssssssssss. 

After the TSP I slopped on a coat of primer for some extra credit. Then Paint. I wanted the room to be light and bright since it's basically a cave in the middle of the basement. So White White White/GREY!





I wanted to add a little DIMENSION between the walls and peg boards so I went with a light grey for the concrete walls and white for the peg boards. OH and the floors! I used a DE-GREASER, you know, something not known to clean floors? But after trying every other cleaner in the cabinet I whipped that out and OMG IT WORKED SO WELL. I mean they are STILL a tan faux-rock moment, but they're BETTER.



Now is the fun part - organizing ALL THE THINGS.