Monday, March 9, 2009

Metamorphosis Monday

Join our hostess Susan, from Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday. It is a fun way to share a Monday!

For my first Metamorphosis Monday I am showing you a project that took up the better part of almost a year of my life-our addition. I am thinking about this big change in my life because I am doing laundry today in my laundry room which was formerly my back porch! When we first purchased this house in 1986, we could see the hidden potential in it. It had last been updated in the mid 1900’s. The back room was an addition the original owners added about 1917. We wanted this addition to look as if it had always been a part of the house. So like the second addition added in 1917, our addition also shifted slightly to the left.

It encompassed 880 square feet, giving us a family room, master bedroom & bath, a laundry room and full downstairs bath. Our original third upstairs bedroom, we converted into a walk-in closet and office. Planning for the project began in June of 2005. We met with the contractor and architect in June and were scheduled to begin in July. We ran into easement problems, had to have a hearing and didn’t break ground until September of 2005. We finished construction in May of 2006 and the house painting went on through the summer. It took us another year to finally get the backyard back in place. We had some water issues because of the new elevation, so my husband added a truck-load of crushed stone & French drains so the basement didn’t keep filling with water every time it rained.

The first two shots are of our home bfore the addition.

This is the framing of the family room.

We had a lot of issues with rain and then snow in the beginning of construction. Digging the foundation kept being postponed because of torrential downpours. One morning we woke up to an unexpected snowstorm and the family room was not yet under roof. There was about three inches of snow inside we had to shovel out and they quickly covered the roofline in plastic.

The windows for the family room arrived without framing. Thankfully we had a carpenter who was able to make the framing for them. The doors being over 100 years old did not come together perfectly and required more adjusting. We scouted the internet for weeks trying to find the right size hinges & lock set. The downstairs fireplace didn’t set flush against the wall so that required some last minute adjusting. We forgot to figure in the placement of the holes for the upstairs sink and purchased a sink that was too large for the cabinet. Since we were playing the part of the painting contractor, it was up to use to patch and fill all the nail holes, prime all the walls and woodwork and do the finish painting. That was how we spent every evening.

We used old pieces whenever possible. The addition sports stained glass windows in the family room, laundry room, closet, master bedroom & master bath. All the windows that face our neighbor’s house are stained glass, giving us lots of privacy without sacrificing the light. We spent months scouring flea markets, antique shops, & salvage companies for just the right pieces. The internet was another valuable source for hardware, fixtures, & plumbing supplies. We used original molding from the house in the master bath. The ceiling fixture once hung in the original dining room. The sink cabinet in the master bath was a Victorian dresser we had altered to use as our sink base.

Our new side garden & back yard!

The painters adding new color to the attic window. We didn't paint the outside of the house ourselves-this time!

It is literally our dream come true and a vision we had in our heads for nineteen years. I think it is our largest metamorphosis!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

From Lemons Come Lemonade

From Lemons Come Lemonade-nothing can ring more true than the birth of Hydrangea Row. It is a small gardenscape on the east side of our house that borders our neighbors. It used to be half-dead hedge, which my husband hacked out and planted lush, green grass. It made a lovely little path around the side of our house & we planted some old fashioned perennials up against the house. We bordered the garden with landscape timbers. Our two kittens used to love to walk on them like a balance beam.

I was moving craft supplies around the basement and notice a nasty-looking brown liquid seeping from the foundation. It had not been raining recently and there was no snow-melt. A quick phone call to the plumber solved the mystery of the brown gunk-it was a crack in the sewer pipe-which turned out to be the original terra cotta pipe of indeterminate age. They arrived the next day with a Bobcat and proceed to dig up my lovely yard and garden. It is February, but the temps were above freezing so I dug out all my plants to relocate after the plumbers were through.

My lush green “carpet” is now nothing but mud. But when life gives you lemons…as the saying goes. I called my friend who had just moved into her grandmother’s house. Her husband had just dug up & thrown out all the hydrangeas her grandmother had planted because they were all highly allergic to poison ivy and it tended to co-habit with the hydrangeas. They were all laying, bare-root, in a pile waiting for trash day. I lugged them all home-and the rest is history!

Day Dreaming of Spring

It is cold & blustery-(as Winnie the Pooh would say) here today. It in turn has been sunny, snowy & even hailed! I am day dreaming about Spring & how I will plant my garden this year. Last year my color scheme was coral & apple green. Sweet Potato Vine has become a favorite of mine-especially that shocking apple green color. I also like all the variations of Coleus on the market. I have found some interesting begonias as well. They are more exotic & tropical looking that your average wax variety. I also like to use Patio Fuchsia. As we have lots of shade its temperament is perfect for us. Here is a sampling of my garden in the past. Remember it started out as a tangle of ivy.