Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The master bedroom!

The final stop on the trip through the upstairs is the master bedroom. This sunny room looks out over the street and our lovely sycamore tree. The closet is surprisingly big (especially for a house in Haddonfield) and we should have plenty of room for our furniture.
Hawthorne Bedroom 1a

The room has three windows which let in a lot of sunlight. The previous owner has very nice window treatments custom made for these windows. Unfortunately, they were the same design as the floral wallpaper that covered the whole room... bummer for us. We thought about reupholstering them, but it will be easier just to get new ones when the time comes.
Hawthorne Bedroom 1

Step one (like in the rest of the house) was to get the wallpaper off. Once it came down, we found some pretty cool stuff underneath! This is a signature from the person who put the walls up... in 1927!

We were kinda bummed to be painting over it, since it is really a piece of history in this home. Its hard to imagine that these walls have been up for almost a century. Also, under the wallpaper was some more "signage" - this time from 1990 when the wallpaper went up. My favorite part is the reference to Total Recall as a movie of the year. Gotta love Arnold...

Just a few cracks are showing, but other than that, the walls were in pretty decent shape, which was impressive to say the least!

Its always hard to download my new pictures during the week, but as soon as I have time, I will post some more pictures from this past weekend!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The lovely bathroom...

Well - it *was* certainly very "sunny"

A whole yellow and black motif... complete with wallpaper (or course...)
Hawthorne Bath 1a

We took inventory with what we could salvage in the bathroom and decided that the cast-iron tub would be all we could save... so out with the rest!

The wallpaper luckily came off a little easier... when you tearing all the walls out...

Oh yeah... all the walls.

Will this ever get clean?? (We're counting on it...)

Floors too! Now it looks like a scene from a Saw movie...

Thanks to a new vanity we had to rework the plumbing. We numbered the floorboards so we could put them back down.

Once all the tile came up (while using a chipping gun, which was awesome), we decided that we wanted to stabilize everything. Once again, since we were doing all this work, we wanted to do it right. So, we put down a thick piece of plywood over the whole floor, followed by a light-weight cement board.

Now, in the process putting up some mold-resistent drywall and we are finally starting to have *some* walls. Still no toilet... but walls are a start...

More to come as we show the deconstruction of our new home!

Who needs floors?!

Not us!

This weekend's "fun" included tearing up the floors in the kitchen... b/c hey... why not?! They were uneven in a couple places, and we decided that since we were putting down all new floors, we might as well do it right. Break out the crowbars!

Turr-ble quality

We took out the 2 joists that were right below the area that was sagging and replaces them with new 2x8's. Put some 3/4" Plywood down, and presto... a new "even" subfloor!

Also on the menu for this weekend was running heating into the new addition and putting in a new support beam for the kitchen - pictures to come soon (in the cramped 4 ft crawl space!). Since I'm kind of a "noob" at this who renovation thing, sometimes my jobs include this (preparing screws):
My job..

But, hey - I'm not complaining - I'm happy with how much I'm learning. All-in-all a productive weekend. As we backtrack in the next few posts and show you more "before" and "progress" pictures, you can understand why its such a relief to start putting the house back together... Now if only we had a bathroom... *teaser*

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Happy Weekend

I just love Saturday mornings. The smell of coffee brewing, cats purring at my feet, sun softly filtering in through the windows, the chaos of the workweek temporarily forgotten, and the entire weekend fresh & open to so many possibilities.

Then someone's car alarm goes off outside, my husband clangs around his breakfast dishes & the cats start screaming at me to be fed. Oh well, it was bliss while it lasted, right?

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Any decorating plans on your to-do lists? Chris is on his way over to the house with my dad and some friends to rip up the old kitchen floor (wait 'til you see those pics... coming in a separate post soon!), add heating ducts to the new addition, and lay some new pipes for our kitchen sink.

Since the drywall guys finished yesterday (I am so excited to see how those plaster walls have transformed!), I'm planning on going shopping with my mom to pick out paint colors. I just have to decide on the perfect color of paint for every single room in my house that seamlessly coordinates with my decor and flows from room to room. No pressure, right?

I've bookmarked some images of my favorite paint colors for inspiration this weekend.

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

Benjamin Moore Shaker Beige

Benjamin Moore Jade Garden

Benjamin Moore Vintage Charm

Hold tight for the rest of our renovation pics! More to come soon. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tile in a bedroom?

Sure why not?!
Hawthorne Bedroom 2

That said, when all is said and done, this room will be very nice to have. We love the vintage look of all the rooms - especially the doorknobs (weird, I know)

As you can see, we have not done anything with this room yet, but we have "big" plans! Besides using it as another bedroom, the plan is to use it for a second TV viewing area (because we watch, and have time for, so much TV!).

Once the walls are done, we are going to take up the tile and put down some carpet - at least thats the plan! We'll see...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who likes red shag carpeting?

We do, apparently....

This is the third bedroom in our lovely new home.

It was definitely a "boys" room at some point (judging by the pull-up bar - only redeeming quality???).

But oh yes... red shag carpet and faux wood panelling couldn't keep us away.

Funny enough this was the only room in the house without wallpaper. We toyed around with keeping the panelling and just repainting it... but in the end, it all came down...

This is a shop vac... we use it. A lot.

Much, much more to come! We can't wait to share all the fun that we have have been having! This is only the beginning....

*******Updated "before" picture courtesy of our agent :)
Hawthorne Bedroom 3

Monday, February 20, 2012


Here is a slideshow that our AMAZING Real Estate Agent, Elisa Dewees put together for us. Shows a lot of the "before" pictures of the house. We are also going to be posting some more high-res pictures soon... Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

About this Blog

Hi! We’re so happy to have you join us as we write the next chapter in our sunny little home’s book. 

We purchased our first home in January 2012 after spending the first two years of our newlywed lives in a brand new maintenance-free apartment. Every little leak, chip, rattle, or gurgle was attended to by our landlord. (Oh, let’s not even talk about the time the toilet sprang a leak and it was a holiday weekend.) Needless to say, buying a house has been eye-opening and we have a lot to learn along the way. Luckily, we both love a good challenge!

Our home is 85-years-young with good bones – and lots of floral wallpaper – located on a tree-lined street in a quintessential historic small town in suburban New Jersey whose claim to fame is the discovery of the first dinosaur skeleton (rawr!). The previous owners lived there since 1955 and had quite a penchant for yellow & blue.

The house is a small but comfortable starter home, a 3 BR/1 B colonial built in 1927. It needs a pretty big facelift to join the 21st century, yet despite the knob and tube wiring, cracked plaster walls, oil heating tank, asbestos walls, tiny kitchen, and wallpapered ceiling, this house has managed to charm its way into our hearts for good. 

Standing underneath the sycamore on the front lawn, time nearly stops. You become transported to a bygone era – a quieter, simpler life – and you notice a smile playing at the corner of your lips as your heartbeat slows a beat and you breathe in the fresh air and sunshine. As you turn your gaze to the wide front porch, your mind wanders to all the memories created there over the past 85 years.  And at that moment, you realize that you are now meant to create those memories. So really, what’s a little crumbled plaster anyway?

None of this would be possible, of course, without the help of our family & friends. As clueless as we may be, we are so lucky to have an army of help backing us up every step of the way.  Of course, all this “free” help comes with a hefty pricetag some days (oh how the f-bomb flies!), but it sure makes for funny stories along the way.

This blog was created as a way to document this crazy project from the beginning and to remind ourselves where we came from and where we’re going. We will make mistakes. We will get discouraged.  We won’t always stay on track. We won’t always know the answers (far from it). We will spend every single Saturday waiting in impossibly long lines at Home Depot. We will eat out of our crockpot in the basement for 2 long kitchen-less months. 

But we will also fall in love a little more every day with this house.  We will learn patience.  We will spend more time with our families. We will transform these four walls with our own hands. We will create our own memories.  Most importantly, we’ll be doing it together. And, hopefully, we’ll also have a really gorgeous kitchen to show for it when all is said and done too!