1, 2, test, test…is this thing on?
5 weeks without an update? I know. What happened?! Well, fortunately and unfortunately just about everything!
I knew that if our timeline got pushed to this time of year things would be crazy. The fall is a really busy time for our family. Just my job alone has required pulling off 4 major events in the last 5 weeks with one of our biggest is coming up at the end of October. Add the renovation demands, a short but sweet visit to New York with my brother, getting ready for a new baby/maternity leave and the start of college football season (remember, we do live in Alabama) and it’s been like….WHAAAT?!
So, our apologies for no blog updates recently! I’ve been trying to keep up with Instagram at least so hopefully you know sort of where we stand.
When we last left Reno 1432 we had decided on exterior paint, were working on interior colors and waiting on most everything else. Well everything else is starting to fall into place and when things start moving, they move fast!
Shortly after our last post…actually like an hour after our last post…our antique front doors were installed and are just beautiful! We are so pleased with how they turned out. Talk about adding some curb appeal! The custom glass I worked with a local designer on will be installed soon, but for now, they are boarded up again since they aren’t stained yet or weather resistant. I did manage to snap this picture before they nailed the boards back in place.
The next week, all the new windows were delivered and installed. If you’d asked me at the start if I would ever get that excited about windows, I would have laughed, but after realizing how much of the budget windows represent and seeing the difference they made…I’m not laughing any more. I’m giving praise hands. They look SO MUCH better, and all the moving parts work!
There are few more custom windows (with the diamond panes) we are waiting on for the kitchen and the master bath that will be here soon and that I'm really eager to see. That's one of those choices we went with our gut on and are keeping our fingers crossed that it doesn't look ridiculous.
Michael and I took a spontaneous overnight jaunt to Dalton, Georgia to pick out our counter tops!! Every man involved in the project says, "Whatever you do, don't get marble." Every woman I've asked says, "Get marble. No question." I know it's high maintenance. I get that it will scratch, stain, fade, prove difficult to clean, harbor germs and sprout arms and legs and take us all hostage one day. I know. But IT'S SO STINKING PRETTY, Y'ALL. I'm prepared to accept all the aforementioned terms and just be a little not-so-practical here.
I went in with an open mind. I gave the engineered stuff a chance. It just isn't for me. What I love about marble is the beauty of the movement. It looks so natural and you can tell where every mineral deposit has been made for hundreds of years. Each slab is truly a work of art and THAT'S what we wanted. So that's what we got. We did end up choosing a semi dark granite for the master bath, but went with Arabescato Venato marble in a honed finish for the kitchen, a breathtaking polished remnant of the same for the powder room vanity and honed Carrara (duh) for the girls' bathroom. I am so pumped and even more pumped about the great service we got from Saul at Kitchen & Bath Center. Saul, you are my new BFFL.
Let’s see…what else…oh, the exterior paint is finished and the garage doors are hung and working. Super cool to see that side of the house pretty much finished!
Brickwork is something we’ve been counting on making a big difference in several areas. As you might remember, we inherited a really large pile of antique wood-molded brick that matches the house and we really wanted to put it to good use. There were some small projects using the brick that needed attention, like some steps going into the garage and framing out some of the new windows and doors that weren’t exactly the same size as what was removed. But there are also some pretty big projects that require some expert brick masonry.
One of those is resurfacing the only fireplace in the house. Michael and I both like a regular old log burning fireplace and the original fireplace had an iron insert. So one day we decided just to take it out, and when we did…ugh…it was a mess. Of course. Nothing is ever as it seems with a reno!!! Turns out, this was just a brick hole in the wall posing as a fireplace. The brick isn’t rated for fire (whatever that means), there was no damper in the flue, and under the insert was just a gaping hole to the dirt underneath the house. The mantle that I was hoping to reuse apparently had too much termite damage and pretty much fell apart the last time Michael moved it.
We made the call that since the fireplace is the focal point of the family room it’s something we are going to invest in to get done right. Our mason and builders came up with a great plan for the whole fireplace area, but it’s not exactly the easy fix we were hoping for. Hopefully it will be a show stopper when all is said and done.
Seriously my favorite thing that’s happened since our last update is the new brick sidewalk!! It was laid while we were in New York and we (ah-hem, I) almost messed it all up. It was late Friday night and we were eating at this fabulous Greek place in Astoria when I looked at Michael and said, “Did I tell anybody I wanted the sidewalk in herringbone?”
Sidenote: Michael has been carrying this reno on his shoulders. He is the one who works with our builders on a daily basis when I don’t have the time, even though his job is more demanding than mine. He works like a maniac every spare second he has and when you ask Alice who is working on her house she screams, "Daddy fix my new house!" All I’ve done is pick out some paint and tile. He is seriously the best and I’m so glad he’s on top of things when I can’t be.
Anyway, his answer to my question is, “Don’t think so.” So, first thing Monday morning we semi-frantically call the brick folks and they’ve just started on the sidewalk. It wasn’t too much to redo, so they did and I’m so glad we caught them in time. The result is simply perfect. It adds such stately charm to the front of the home and they did a fantastic job bringing my vision to life. It’ll only get better with time, too. The head brick-guy (that’s his official title) said that people will be walking on this sidewalk 100 years from now. Hopefully it'll take a walker pretty well, because I plan on that person being me.
Also while we were gone last week, the hardwood floors were installed and again - couldn’t be happier with them. When we first sat down to talk about the project, REAL hardwood flooring (I’m talking site-finished, sand-in-place wood) was really important to us. Although we knew that piece of the puzzle, we talked for what seemed like months about what type of wood to get. We really loved the idea of antique heart pine look because it’s so imperfectly perfect and has loads of character. But the more research we did and after talking to others who had it we learned that pine is a pretty soft wood, so I became immensely concerned that our lifestyle (in a nutshell: two large dogs) would give the heart pine a little too much character. Plus, heart pine's color is naturally more red than I wanted. So after considering other options, we landed on white oak which should stand up to the pups a little better than pine. To give it the character we were “loosing” we ordered the boards in three different widths - 2.75”, 3.75” and 5” - and decided to mix them up so it wouldn’t look so…new.
Renovating is so interesting - especially in an older home - because we want everything to BE new, but just not LOOK new which can be a challenge. I hope we’re at least on the right track!
All weekend, Michael has been working with a Bobcat to dig a 3 feet deep ditch in the backyard so we can bury the electric/cable wires underground. He also cleared out the entire area behind the swing which was literally the same size as our entire yard at our previous home. We won't know what to do with all this yard! And talk about saving some money - this was a great place to do it. I know Michael was upset having to drive around this cool piece of heavy machinery all weekend, but I think he got over it quickly. ;) A little dirt to fill in some spots and the back yard should be ready for planting grass!
Those are the highlights and I’ll post some photos to the photo journal of all the fun progress. I’m going to do better keeping everything updated. From the way things are moving, if I wait 5 more weeks to post we may have a finished house…
That’s my optimism talking, but never hurts to dream!
About the author:
Andrea is an Alabama girl with a love for travel, tea and books. She is mommy to daughters, Alice and Eleanor, and wife to Michael. Together they are tackling a fixer-upper to make it their home for years to come.