“Finishing” the kitchen

The kitchen is finally together! Everything that I hated about it when I moved in is now gone forever, and I’m very happy about that. The appliances older than me, the laminate counters, the blue floral wallpaper, the dark wood, the sun bleached and peeling linoleum floor. Let’s take a moment of silence to remember the past.

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The counter tops and replacing the tile backsplash were the last two major hurdles in the kitchen. Through the whole process, as soon as one project would be finished, everything else would look even shittier by comparison. It was finally time to get it all “done” once and for all. This kitchen gets a lot of action, and it’s really hard to cook in a construction zone. Now that there are no more big projects to get done in here, I no longer have to stress about making coffee in the laundry room, or going to the diner for every meal.

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The reason I’m calling this “finished” instead of finished is that the backsplash behind the stove and hood is still not done yet. For now it just has a piece of cement backer board up to cover the damaged wall from the tile demo. I actually don’t mind how it looks as-is. It kinda goes with the countertops. Obviously it will be tiled over and finished off, but I’m in no rush, and am still debating over tile choices. There’s also some little touch up paint spots to be done, but nothing that would really disrupt use of the kitchen, and nothing that’s crying out as hideous anymore.10389679_10205279438254601_3495290950865964672_n10624695_10205279439654636_3412310410330428571_n

So there it is, in all it’s glory. Now on to the next major project…..

Summer Wrap up

Godamnit I suck at blogging regularly. Not a single post since being in Detroit… A whole slew of things happened this summer. Here’s a recap of some of them.

Newest and most exciting is the NEW CAR. Yup. Got a Land Rover LR2. The mom-car ’02 Camry has been retired and upgraded for 4 wheel drive and heated seats. This winter will be a lot more comfortable. So. Excited.

IMG_4485.JPGMost of the changes in the house over the summer have been pretty small. Most of them have taken place in the kitchen, including the new floor, new white sink and new faucet. Still have to get to the counter tops, the back splash and a few touch up spots of paint.IMG_4346.JPG

IMG_3820.JPGFew changes to the outside of the house too. New house numbers and a new light on the front porch. Much better. Lots of landscaping too, but I dont have many pics of that. IMG_4335.JPGA little before and after. I think the old light still had a price tag from a garage sale on it. Gross.IMG_4132.JPGAlso, we’ve got a small angel that likes to hang out on the front porch now. He likes to eat the bird seed left out for him. He takes naps in the sun. Let’s just hope he doesn’t move into the attic for the winter, because then I will have to end him.IMG_4332.JPGThe half bath was finally “finished”. If you remember, there was horrible blue formica surrounding the sink, a huge mirror, horrible light fixture, wall paper etc. This has actually been pretty finished since x-mas, but missing the details like the trim. I also installed a new door so the old plastic accordion door is gone! Will post some pics of that later. IMG_4216.JPGEqual opportunity nudity. Everyone needs a little T&A in a bathroom. IMG_4030.JPGThe brick in the nook got painted. It was really ugly and dirty and is really weird and porus. It’s not nice like the brick on the front of the fireplace. Looks much better now that it’s white. Also added a new (trash-picked!) chair. It’s rattan and has mid-century lines. SOMEONE put a pillow on it. IMG_4509.PNG

Work has been INSANE, which is both great and exhausting. I feel like I missed the whole summer. I didn’t get to a beach once, and I missed a lot of weekends at the house. But someone’s got to pay the billz.

I went to Paris and London. This is my “Hi Mom” pic. *Side note, I really should get that dent on my forehead botoxed out.

IMG_3857.JPGI made it snow in August in Connecticut. IMG_4469.JPGI made friends with a horse named biscuit. IMG_4284.JPG

Other fun things, the Dutchess County Fair happened. And a bear met a bear. IMG_4294.JPG

I just kept thinking about how pretty these cows would be as rugs. That’s horrible right? I bet they’re delicious too. IMG_4303.JPG

On a rare weekend that I was stuck in the city, I saw the Jeff Koons show at the Whitney. It was pretty amazing. Someone I know needs to buy this piece and put it in the middle of a circular driveway in front of their mansion, probably in Miami, but maybe in Bel Air. It would be super cunty, in the most amazing way.
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Lindsey, Darin and Marshall came up for a weekend. It was great to see them, and we went on a killer hike with an amazing view.
IMG_4244.JPGBest part of the summer so far has been all the back yard dinners with some pretty amazing people, and some mediocre ones too. IMG_4198-0

Maybe there will be some new posts soon. Who knows!

Let the Landscaping Begin!

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As we wait for spring to fully reveal exactly what’s growing around The Hill House, we’ve also begun filling in some of blanks around the yard. After countless trips to Lowe’s, I think we are finally getting somewhere!

Tackling “Low Light Landscaping”

One challenge is that much of the property is shrouded by trees and we’ve had to look into low light and shade friendly plants and shrubs. Hostas, Elephant Ears and ferns seem to do best and also get along well together.

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Eroding those Erosion Issues

After removing an ugly green wire fence that separated the yard from a rather steep hill leading to the woods, we had to come up with something that both provided a separation barrier as well a root network that would keep the hill, well, together. Creeping Jenny and English Ivy is what’s we went with. Let’s hope they stick. Literally.

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Oh Deer!

So we live in the woods – which means anything we plant basically will become a salad for deer and bunnies. After much research we discovered that nothing is truly deer “proof” but certain plants are resistant to a point. If they are hungry, they will eat anything.

We nixed cedar – which deer love and went with evergreen and spruces for the front of the house. Weeping spruces and dwarf mugi pines added some height and much needed texture to the front porch, and also sit in one of the only full-sun spots on the property.

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Azalea bushes provide a pop of color – and who knew they were actually evergreens? Euonymus and Blue Rug Juniper will also provide some year-round eye candy that will hopefully stay off of Bambi’s menu.

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When it came to an herb garden (below) we chose strong smelling and tasting herbs because they apparently aren’t favorites of deer and rabbits. Thyme, cilantro, rosemary, sage, mint, lavender and catnip are what we went with. We will have to see what survives the deer taste test and what doesn’t however.

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Stay tuned for updates. What worked, and what didn’t. As well as what the heck has yet to be identified – or even revealed – around the property.

8 Things You Didn’t Know About The Hill House

1. We have no idea when it was built. All papers say the 1960s but the home inspector said it was probably built in the 1940s. I guess a trip to the county clerk’s office is in order. 20140501-144905.jpg

2. It was originally a brick house. The house was sided with wood at some point. The garage on the other hand, is the opposite – a wooden structure that was covered in brick and made to look like a carriage house. Confused now?20140501-145148.jpg

3. It backs up to this creek. ‘Nuff said.20140501-145338.jpg

4. It once used to be part of St. Ann’s Church.  With the house serving as the rectory (we think). Dilapidated outbuildings dot the property, including an old chicken coop, and cellar built into the hill that used to hold the sacramental wine for the church. Super creepy.20140501-181249.jpg

5. The Master bedroom and kitchen are additions These two rooms were actually porches and turned into the rooms they were today probably around the same time the exterior brick was covered in wood (to match the additions). We think that the original kitchen was either in the small nook ( where there was once a wood stove) or in the area that now serves as the laundry room. Confused again?20140501-182108.jpg

6. It has these beautiful floors. I mean why on earth would someone cover these floors with deep pile baby blue wall to wall carpeting? That’s what we had to rip up. Which means we had to touch it. Yuck. 20140501-182310.jpg

7. The interior windows and doorways are trimmed in Red Oak. Can you say ka-ching?20140501-182120.jpg

8. There’s blue stone everywhere along the property.
The area surrounding the Sawkill Creek was known for its blue stone quarries back in the day. Looking forward to reclaiming as much of the stone as we can for outdoor borders, walkways and raised beds and maybe even a wall – or 6.20140501-182322.jpg