Tuesday, May 31, 2011

House Tour Wrap Up

I want to thank everyone who took the time to stop by during my House Tour weeks.  Your comments were so kind and encouraging.  It wasn't my original intention, but the whole month of May seemed to have a house theme.  I started with my series on home stewardship.  And, that inspired me to do the house tour.

This has really ended up being such a growing experience for me.  I've mentioned here before that I struggle with contentment.  It seems that I am surrounded by everyone who has 'bigger, better, more'.   But, instead of focusing on what we don't have, this past month has reminded me of what we do have...a home full of history and love.

I shared with you that my neighbor Marla (daughter-in-law of Dan & Dora - the orginal builders & owners of our home) had taken a look at the blog & enjoyed seeing pictures of the house.  I believe she also passed the blog info on to some other relatives.  I received a comment here on the blog from one of Dan & Dora's grandchildren and I also received an e-mail from one.  This meant so much to me.  It has helped me feel connected to our home's history and has renewed contact with extended relatives (Dan & Dora's grandchildren would be my husband's second cousins).

To finish off my house tour, I thought I show you some outside shots.  I know I promised to show you our computer room (a downstairs room that Dan & Dora had used as their bedroom).  But, it has become my collect-all room.  My plan is to do a future post where I show you a before & after clean-up of that room.

Wow!  I don't think I realized how overgrown our yard looks from the front.  I do believe it's time to cut some things down.

 This is the side we usually approach our house from.  The house is actually covered in a faux brick shingle.  We plan to take that off and cover the house in siding, but first we need to put replacement windows in the downstairs.  (We did the upstairs windows a few years ago)

Can you see the metal contraption?  Can anyone guess what it is?

View from our back deck

Another view from part of the back yard.  The fields and the barn you see behind our property is part of the farm that John's grandparents originally owned (and where John's dad grew up).  Another family now owns it.

Looking to the right when standing in the backyard.  This was originally the business that Dan & Dora owned.  That's why it's right next to our house.  The building is actually a good bit bigger than you can see in this picture.  And, while it's not family owned anymore, the business is still running.

If you still didn't figure out what that metal contraption was, here's another hint.
It's a clothes line!  It's hard to tell in these pics, but the line stretches from one corner of our yard all the way to the top corner of the building next to us.  This is a typical type of clothes line used by Old Order Mennonite and Amish in our area.  I've often thought we should fix it and use it (the line it'self is metal and quite rusted...we'd have the replace the line) but we've never done that.  And, I can't quite bring myself to take it down either.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Finally Got Girls!

Well, I keep promising more of my house tour and I keep making you guys wait.  Actually there's not a whole lot more to show.  I will show you my computer room & I'd like to show you a couple outside shots of our little house.  But, I can't do that quite yet.

This week has gotten crazy!  We are busy and I've had very little time to blog.  Yet, I feel like if I don't write at least 2 posts a week I'm slacking off too much.  (When did blogging become an assignment in my mind?)

Anyway one of the things that has kept me busy is that I am watching 2 little girls for 2 days!  They are the daughters of dear friends of ours and our boys have pretty much been growing up with them.  They are 6 and 4...very close in age to our middle 2 boys.

I picked them up yesterday around noon and I have them until about dinnertime tonight!  We had a sleepover last night!  I set up cots that we use for camping in the big boys room for them to sleep on.  We had a full house!  And 6 very excited children!

So, that's what I'm up to.  I'll be back for real next week!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm Back! 6 People in a 3 bedroom house

I'm back and I'm continuing house tour week(s)!  It's just been busy busy around here, so I had to put my house tour on hold for a few days.  Mondays are always a catch up day for us.  I'm amazed how my house can be basically picked up on Friday afternoon, but by Monday morning it looks like a herd of elephants came through!  And, then on Tuesday I had the pleasure of watching my dear 8 month old nephew, Evan.

So, before I jump into the next part of my tour, I have to share a neat story with you.  On Saturday there were yard sales up the road from us.  We decided to talk a walk up the road to go check them out.  My neighbor Marla was having one too & I had a chance to talk to her for a bit.  Marla is married to Wes and he is the son of Dan & Dora, the couple that built our house.  Wes and his 8 other siblings grew up in what is now our house. 

 Marla told me that she was enjoying my house tour.  At first I was surprised because I didn't realize she looked at my blog.  But, I was just tickled that she had stopped by the blog and was able to see more of what had been her in-law's house.  And, while Marla has been to our house since we've been living here, she hadn't seen the upstairs or the bathroom that we put in.  So, that was new for her.

Also, Marla & Wes' niece (if I'm remembering this correctly?), one of Dan & Dora's grandchildren was also at the yard sale.  She was interested in seeing what the house looked like after all these years.  And, I believe she also stopped by my blog when she learned about it.  Here is a comment I received...

"Wonderful improvements! I spent many hours as a child visiting my grandparents in this house, so I have many memories, and you've kept so much of the original look that all those memories pleasantly come back!"

It is so neat to realize that our home has history and holds wonderful memories for another family.  It really helps me to appreciate our home and work even harder to create good memories here for our own family.

Ok - on to the bedrooms.  Whenever I feel like we are in tight quarters in our home, I remind myself that Dan and Dora raised 9 children in this house!  Of course we took one of the upstairs bedrooms and turned it into a bathroom, but still...if they could make it work, so can we!

(Disclaimer:  I realized I was never going to get my rooms 'perfect' for this tour.  While they are more picked up than usual, what you see is what you get at our house.)

The Little Boy's Room

This is Charlie & Joseph's room.  This was one room upstairs where we laid down carpet over the hard wood.  It's just nice for a nursery I think.

The crib has been in constant use since our first son was born almost 8 years ago!

I mentioned that we had to add the closets upstairs.  There were none.  There used to be hooks on the walls for any clothes that needed to be hung.  And, I guess they kept everything else in wardrobes.

Even though this closet it in a boy's room, it is filled with my clothes.  Also, here's my attempt at organizing/rotating the toys.

The Big Boy's Room

Wyatt and Edison's room.  Notice the air hockey table.  I bought this at a yard sale last year for $5.  It was a great deal but it takes up so much space (and we're short on space).  I moved it up to their room recently.  It had been in residence in our computer room/office for the longest time.  Oh, and the shoe rack under the table is my attempt at space saving.

Bunk beds are great for boys!

The other side of the room.  There are hardwood floors in this room, but I found a large area rug at a yard sale for about $3 many years ago and the softer surface makes it a bit easier for the boys to play on the floor.

The unfinished closet in their room.  Why is is unfinished?  If you notice the metal shaft there, that is some material that is supposed to be part of the (unfinished) forced hot air heating system.  The upstairs was unheated.  The downstairs has radiators heated by our coal/wood furnace.  

One of my frustrations is figuring out where to go with everything until  the closet is finished.  There are 2 tall dressers in this room and both are stuffed with clothes.  I'd love to be able to eliminate one of the dressers.

The Master Bedroom

Folks on HouseHunters would be appalled.  The 'master' isn't really much larger than the other bedrooms & doesn't have it's own bathroom. (Gasp!  Horrors!)  But it's our room & we like it!

Our bedframe I bought probably 15 years ago when I was still a single woman.  It was a floor model on clearance for $90!  Our bedroom suit is the same one my parents bought for me when I was a teenager.  And, they bought it used!  It's sturdy, well-built, and has classic styling.  The only thing I might do is someday refinish everything with fresh stain or paint & get some new hardware.

My chair is covered in bags full of clothes for Goodwill and some other clothes thrown on top that I need to hang up.  Sorry.  The small (unfinished) closet space behind the chair was supposed to be a built in bookcase for me.  But, it's another part that is on hold until the upstairs heating is finished.  Right now my husband hangs his uniforms, motorcyle racing leathers, etc. in there.

The finished closet in our room is only large enough for my husband's stuff (which is why my clothes are hanging in the nursery closet).

The other side of our room.  The doorway goes to the attic.  Who knows?  Maybe someday we could turn the attic into a 'master suite'.  Just dreamin....

Original hardwood floors.  Yay!

This cedar chest sits at the foot of our bed.  And, it's very special to me because it was the cedar chest my grandfather gave to my grandmother as an engagement gift almost 70 years ago.

Thanks for stopping by.  Tomorrow I'll share my computer (junk) room. :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Calling American Pickers

I'm taking a little break from my home tour today, but I will resume it next week.  My youngest son has been feverish and cranky the last 2 days, so I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the next area of our house.  Tune it for more next week!

Have you ever seen the show American Pickers?  It's one of our favorites!  It's one that John and I can both enjoy.  In it two guys, the pickers, travel around the country looking for unusual, interesting, or rare antique items.  The people they go to are what some might consider hoarders.  Usually they are older men who have been collecting stuff for decades and have filled barns, sheds, and other outbuildings with their treasures.  The pickers 'go on a pick' and get permission to hunt through these items and then negotiate prices on things they'd like to buy.

Well, let's just say that we have a barn that the American Pickers would probably enjoy rummaging through.  Actually, it's not our barn.  It belongs to my in-laws.  But, it is right beside our house and we do store some things in there too.

This barn houses almost everything imaginable - old tractors, tractor parts, old engines, bicycles, lawn mowers, about 3 old motorcycles, an old 1960's Pinto (my father-in-law's first car), old tools, miscellaneous household items, furniture, etc. etc.  There's really too much to list.  And, frankly I don't think anyone is really sure what all is in there!  Also, the barn is in serious disrepair and it falling apart in places.

It's got American Pickers written all over it.

The other day my father-in-law needed to make some room for some engines he had recently purchased.  He decided to clear out part of an area in the bottom part of the barn.  The boys were excited as he pulled out 'treasure' after 'treasure'. They loaded up a tractor wagon & a small trailer with junk and scrap metal.  And, of course I had to take pictures.  

I thought I'd share some with you.  Keep in mind this is a small portion of what was in one small section of the barn.  It might give you some idea of what the whole barn looks like.

This is the section they were working on POST-cleanup!

I had to include a picture of my father-in-law, a truly sweet man!  Some people say he looks like George W. Bush.  Do you see a resemblance?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Home Tour - The Living Areas

Welcome to Day 3 of my home tour!  Yesterday I believe I said I would show you our bedroom areas today, but actually I'm going to show you our living areas.  The reason?  Well, those areas were somewhat tidy yesterday and I got pictures taken of them while they were so.  Our bedroom areas right now...not so tidy.  

Anyhow, welcome to our living areas!  There are a lot of pictures.  I tried to show you as many angles as I could.  A video probably would have been more effective.  But, I figured we'd go this route.  Keep in mind this is a tiny old farmhouse still in fixer upper status.  Here goes...

Our home actually has 3 door across the front that could be used as entrances.  We use 2 of them regularly.  This is the view from middle entrance that takes you directly into the dining/kitchen area (the biggest area/ most open area of our house)

If you turn right after coming in that middle entrance there is a doorway leading into our (small) living room.  This is the view from the doorway.

Standing inside the living room looking toward the right.  I do love my orginal, built-in corner cupboard.

Standing inside the living room looking toward the left at our entertainment unit.  I got this beauty off of Craigslist for a really sweet deal!  It's actually probably too large for our living room.  But, I like it anyway.  To the left of the unit is another door that leads to the front porch outside.  We do not use this entrance at all.  But, my husband tells me that originally this room would have been the 'parlor' and when the girls of the house had young men come to visit they would enter & exit via the parlor doorway and visit in the parlor.

Standing in the living room doorway looking out toward the dining area/kitchen.  You will see almost straight ahead another doorway.  That goes out to a sunroom/enclosed porch area.  Right now it works as a mudroom/daddy equipment room/dog's room.  I don't actually show a picture of that room (because it's really messy).  But,  one of the entrances to the house (that my husband uses most often) is at the front of that room.

Looking from the sunroom doorway toward the dining room.  You can see the middle entrance and the doorway to the living room.

Standing in the sunroom doorway looking at the other end of the room.  You can see more doorways (I often say this is the house of doors).  Starting at the right of the picture is a doorway that leads to 2 more doors...one to the basement and one to the computer room/junk room (which I will show another day on the house tour).  Immediately to the left of the desk is the doorway leading to our stairs going upstairs.  And, right to the left of that is the door to our downstairs bathroom.

Looking from the dining area into the kitchen.  That divider wall/ countertop is something my husband added.  Originally this room was completely open.  We put it in for additional cabinet/counter space.  In retrospect I almost wish we had left it open and used more of a floating island space.  

Standing at the desk area looking into our kitchen.  The refrigerator used to be where the desk and cupboard was.  But, I got tired of the refrigerator being the first thing you saw when coming into the house.  So we moved it out into another part of the sunroom.  Notice that the cabinets on the left do not match the cabinets on the right.  When my husband added that wall/counterspace we were pretty poor, so we used cabinets (probably circa 1970) that had been given to us for free.  When we redo our floors this summer I would really like to paint/distress my cabinets too.  Oh, and the doorway leading out to the area with the fridge actually has pocket doors.  Kinda a cool feature if they didn't stick every time I tried to open or close them.

A closer look at the refrigerator area.  The dresser beside it used to be a changing table in the nursery.  Now I use it to store the boys' games.

The entire sunroom area is completely undone.  The walls are still as they originally looked when we bought the house.  And, it's unheated, so it's freezing in the winter.  Plus there are corners at each end of the sunroom that are starting to rot out and need fixed.  Anyway, straight ahead is another pocket door that when you open goes into the other portion of the sunroom that I didn't show you.  Also, it's hard to tell in this pic, but beside the fridge where the mop is hanging there is a small broom closet.  The ONLY closet downstairs and the ONLY original closet in the house.  We added closets to the upstairs bedroom.

Looking the opposite direction is the door that leads out to our deck.   This is one of the doors the boys frequently go in and out.  It's not entirely convenient when I am trying to cook or work in the kitchen.

The last picture is looking through the kitchen the opposite way.

There you have it.  Our main living spaces.  There really are a lot of doors, right? And, it's tight.  Especially when we want to entertain.  But, for now, it works.

Ok - tomorrow I will do the bedrooms for real!

(P.S. - I've forgotten to mention that I would get a kick out of having a tour of your house!  If you decide to play along and do a home tour post, please leave me a comment so I know to come and take a look.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Finished Project - Upstairs Bathroom

Yesterday I showed you a project in our house that is still very much in the works.  I will keep you posted on what kind of progress we make with those stairs.

Today I'm going to switch gears and show you one project that is actually complete - our upstairs bathroom.

Originally our house had 4 bedrooms upstairs but no upstairs bath.  The one and only bathroom was dowstairs and that only had a shower stall with no tub.  (Interesting side note - that downstairs bathroom was actually an addition to the house.  It wasn't until the original owners of this house got older and needed the convenience of an indoor toilet that it was added.  Prior to that, their only 'bathroom' was an outhouse.  So, I guess we were lucky to have any bathroom at all!)

We decided to turn the smallest of the upstairs bedrooms into a bathroom.  Yes.  We lost a bedroom (which at this point with 4 boys it might be nice to have another bedroom) but we decided the benefits of the upstairs bathroom outweighed the loss of the bedroom.  Plus, I was pregnant with our first son at the time we began the bathroom project and I can well remember lugging my pregnant body up and down the stairs in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.  I was more than ready to have one upstairs!

Anyway, with no further ado.  Here is our upstairs bathroom....

Looking in from the doorway.  There's our big soaker tub.  The funny thing is I thought I'd relax in that big soaker tub all the time, and I almost never do.  But, we can fit many boys in a one time for their baths!

Looking to the left of the bathroom

Looking to the other side.  The vanity was actually a Re-Store (benefits Habitat for Humanity) purchase.  You can also see my full hamper in the corner.  And, I recently discovered a great use for a clothes tree my grandfather made.  It makes a great place to hang towels (I often re-use towels for the boys instead of washing the towels after each bath)!  So much better than picking them up off bedroom floors!

 The exposed beams used to be part of the attic floor.  You can tell we only had one child at the time we did this project because we went all out!  We extended the ceiling all the way up to what had been the attic ceiling.

My only regret with this project is that we chose not to put a shower stall into this bathroom.  Since my husband and I primarily takes showers as opposed to baths we still run to the downstairs bathroom for that purpose.

Come visit me tomorrow when I show you our bedrooms.

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