The End of an Era

After living in and perfecting our first house for eight years, we found a new fixer upper that stole our hearts.  Our first house will always be our first house love, but we’re officially back to owning one house.  It’s a little sad,  but we’re so happy in the mountain house.  Even more so, we’re happy the buyers are happy in our old home.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane with a reverse before and after picture tour.

Living room before, recently opened to the kitchen:

After our move out:

Dining room before:

An empty after:

Kitchen, just after finishing a complete gut and remodel:

And after the after:

Guest bedroom before:

Now ready to house a cute little girl:

Main bathroom before:

After, emptied out:

Boys’ bedroom before:

And now, ready for the new owner’s stuff:

Master bedroom before:

And after, complete with the custom-made bed built (our buyer bought it from us):

Master bedroom before:


When Ben bought this house, the basement was completely unfinished.  Here it is after finishing it while I was pregnant with Everett:

And two years later:

My office, stocked and ready for work:

Now sad and empty, but ready to work for someone else:

The basement bathroom before:

We never did finish the steam shower under the stairs, but that can be a project for the new owner:

Laundry room and Ben’s reloading office before:

And after we moved everything out, including the washer and dryer:

The small basement bedroom as we had it just before moving:

And after moving:

The large basement bedroom pulled double duty, acting as both a bedroom and a storage room before:

When emptied, it feels even bigger:

Seeing the house empty is especially strange to me because I’ve never seen it this way.  Ben bought the house a couple years before we met, so he had already moved in.  If we’re in this house again, we’ll be visitors.  We’ve become friendly with our buyer, and we’d love to see how the house evolves over time.

Have you been a house after selling it?  Was it odd, or cool?  Did the new owner make any changes?

P.S.  To see true before and afters, check our Our First House page.

You Say Suspenseful I Say Fenceful

After this post, a lovely reader asked if we could write-up a quick post about our fence and how we made it.  Always happy to answer questions, here it is.

The fence is made up of 4 inch by 4 inch by 8 foot long posts and 2 inch by 6 inch by 16 foot long lumber from Home Depot.  Ben measured eight feet apart, used a post hole digger to make a 4 foot deep hole.  He did this for each post, 22 total on our property.  After setting each post, leaving it 4 feet above ground, we attached the 2 by 6 horizontals.  These are about 4 inches apart, for a total of five high.

We staggered the seams to keep the fence as strong as possible.  The gate took longer to finish because Ben couldn’t find strong hinges.  But, with the impending closing date looming, we knew it had to happen, sooner than later.  Ben bought a set of hinges and a latch at Home Depot.

To build the gate, Ben cut a 2 by 4 to the match the height of the horizontals.  Then, he screwed five 2 by 6 pieces, keeping the gate square as he went.

On either side of the gate we have a 4 inch square post and a 2 by 4, which is actually part of the gate.

Luckily, the hinges are perfect for the 2 by 6, so Ben installed one at the top and another on the bottom to hold the gate in place.

To protect the fence and keep it looking spiffy, we use Behr’s Solid Color Wood Stain, just like the rest of the fence.  So, that’s the simple fence we have and how to make one yourself.

Previously, we had a chain link fence, which Houdini, I mean Jack escaped from regularly.  We’re happy to report she hasn’t been able to get out of this one.  Also, this style fence can work for smaller dogs by adding 2 by 2 pieces between the 2 by 6s.

What style of fence do you have?  Why did you choose it?  To keep kids and pets in?  To keep neighbors out?

All the Fixings

Now that we’ve sold our house, we’re working on it again.  Nothing major, just small projects we want to finish up.  Adding fascia to the exterior.

Installing and staining window trim.

As you can see, Ben had a little help(er) for this project.  I went into the house to get a paint brush for Ben, came back out, but didn’t see V.  Ben asked if he went in with me.  Then V popped up from the window well.  Scared the crap out of me!

One of the things we promised to finish was the fence on the ends of the house.  Ben didn’t finish the south end when he worked on the rest of the fence because the old posts were cemented in.  Finally, he had a reason to tackle this.  Simple enough, and I stained it to match.

Here’s what the north side looked like last summer.  The fence is done, but we lacked a real gate.

That’s done now.

So much better.  Jack approves, too.

For the past two years the French doors in my office have been without door handles.  We recently replaced a few handles for locking levers in the basement, so Ben retrofitted the old handles to work for the office.  He just removed the plungers and we’re good to go.

See the gaping hole below?

Here it is today, complete with closet doors.

Ben still has to cut a trim piece to hide the track, but we’re getting there.

We’ve done all this, but I have yet to pack a single box to actually move.  I’m afraid it will jinx the closing (our situation is slightly different than usual).  So, keep your fingers crossed everything goes smoothly and we’ll update you as soon as we can!

The Color of Spring

Despite this winter being remarkably nice and tame, I’m excited spring is here.  Small signs are popping up, quite literally, all around.  Before planting rose bushes in the front bed, I had an assortment of bulbs and perennials.  Each year, one rogue tulip shows up.

All of our fruit trees made it through the winter, too.  It’s interesting how different trees and leaves look, even as buds.  Tight clusters on the cherry trees.

Larger leaves on the pear trees.

The Italian plum trees are the slowest to leaf out.  Look at the small flower-like bunches on our maple trees.

To me, this is the color of spring.  Bright, fresh, and new; not the dark green of summer.

Bleeding hearts are starting to sprout buds, with bright green leaves.

I’m enjoying it while I can, because this fresh spring doesn’t last long.  And, we won’t live at this house for another spring.

How is spring in your area?  Already in full bloom?  Just starting like it is here?  What’s your favorite element of spring?  Fresh flowers?  Warmer weather?  Fresh green leaves?

Thread House Numbers

I don’t know what I did before Pinterest.  So many fantastic ideas in one place, I finally have a motivation to get things done.  I have Pinterest and Young House Love to thank for today’s post inspiration.  YHL offered up a Pinterest challenge, so I thought I’d take part.  What did I make?  Thread house numbers, inspired by this pin.  We have house numbers on our mailbox, but we’ve been told they’re hard to see.  To remedy that situation in a stylish, non-traditional way, I thought a DIY thread project was in order.

To start, I painted a scrap piece of MDF and created a template in Photoshop.  If you don’t have Photoshop, you could print large numbers and make dots with a pen to mark the nail holes.

Then, gather tons of one inch nails and pound them in.  Here’s a tip: to keep the nails the same depth, use a 1/2 inch piece of scrap lumber to pound against.  Here’s another tip: if you are terrible at pounding a nail in straight, try this around your husband.  If he’s anything like mine, he’ll get annoyed with your stupidity struggling and help finish pounding nails for you, at a much quicker rate, too.

Because the nails I used were white, the hammering scuffed up the surface.

With the nails in place, spray paint your MDF and nails for a crisp white look.  This is what happens when your three-year old steals your camera.  Apparently my spray painting is pretty interesting to Vincent and Jack.

Now, use a heavy-duty thread to wrap around.  If you’re keeping this inside, plain thread would probably work.  Start by cutting a long piece, tying one end to a nail and working from nail to nail in a criss-cross pattern.  I waited to wrap the edges until I had filled in the center.

Once wrapped, tie the loose end around another nail.  I wrapped several numbers and propped the board up to see if they showed up well.  I decided to add a second layer to darken the numbers.  It helped to make an even more random cross pattern to fill any gaps.

Much better.  It was time to hang my masterpiece.  I attached a picture hook to the back.  To keep the numbers from getting damaged, I placed several 3/4 inch thick pieces around the edges while hammering.  A three-inch wood screw holds tightly against the house.

I like the interest the depth adds.

The price wasn’t bad, either.  We had all the supplies on hand, making this project completely free.  MDF from our basement trim, white paint leftover, thick thread from Ben’s leather sewing machine and tons of nails left from the previous owners.