The Great Clean Out

Okay, brace yourselves. You’re about to get the grand tour of the interior of our house…

Not only does our nest need to be updated, but the house was never completely cleaned out before it was abandoned. So we had our work cut out for us to muddle through the clutter and separate anything of value from the trash. Luckily, we had many helpers! Matthew’s Mom, Dad and youngest sister Rebecca, plus my parents, The Harpers, and our good friend RJ showed up to lend a hand with the remaining yard clean up and relocate everything inside the house deemed “throw away” to Big Red, our giant dumpster.

Before we venture inside let’s talk about taming the jungle that’s grown up around the house. Saturday, with the help of our family and friends, we implemented Phase II of the exterior make over. We like to call it a “close shave” of the landscaping…don’t worry, we plan to let a lot of it grow back, but to make room to repair the cedar shakes, we had to really give the chainsaw a work out!

Yard Clean-up:

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Pretty big difference, huh?

Are you ready for the inside tour?  Here goes:

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Okay, so at this point, you’re probably thinking “WHOA—they have lost their cotton-pickin’ minds!” but don’t doubt us yet… it’s really hard to see the forest for the trees with all the “stuff” everywhere. We promise, there’s a really special house under there.

There were even a few “Keepers” found among the mess and we’re excited to eventually incorporate these items into the finished product.

"Keeper" Pile

“Keeper” Pile

We are counting our blessings after an extremely productive day and owe a huge thank you to our families and friends who came to get their hands dirty! With all we accomplished and all the hazards involved, we made it through the day with very little excitement…but there were a few little hiccups!

A Newton who shall not be named was enthusiastically sweeping and put the broom handle right through the window!

Gotta watch those broom handles!

Gotta watch those broom handles!

Chainsaw Scare! My dad (who is a very experienced chainsaw operator!) accidentally touched the slowing chainsaw blade to his leg and it ripped through his jeans leaving what was basically a deep scratch in his thigh. Amazingly lucky!

Too close for comfort! Yikes!

Too close for comfort! Yikes!

…and since that made three Hurt Harpers, we had to document!

The Three Hurt Harpers.

The Three Hurt Harpers.

Lauren had hand surgery, Richard cut his leg, and Jennifer has a broken wrist! It might be safe to say that the Newtons carried most of the weight this time.

Eggs of Wisdom:

  • No matter what you get yourself into, family will jump right in – without question – to help you succeed (and we have two of the very best!).
  • Construction Dumpsters are not really as big as they look…we overflowed that bad boy.
  • You can never have too many pairs of gloves. (Work gloves, rubber gloves, garden gloves…do I sound like Bubba Gump, yet?)

Big Red


Big Red

For those of you who don’t know, Matthew’s childhood nickname was “Red”.  So, it’s only fitting that this big crimson creature was delivered to us today, on the eve before our big clean up day! Not sure if we can fill it up, but we’re sure going to try.

P.S. Just for fun, here’s a childhood picture of Matthew a.k.a. Little Red:


Little “Red”


Two Newtons and a Chainsaw.

Before: Front Yard/Exterior

Before: Front Yard/Exterior

Okay, so maybe we have a little pent-up excitement? Just as fast as we could get our clothes changed after closing, Matthew and I were in the yard taming the jungle that has grown up around the house in the 4+ years it stood vacant. It’s amazing what you can do in a couple of hours with a chainsaw, weed eater and clippers, but we still have a ways to go.
Gas cans at the ready! We have our work cut out for us.

photoP.S.  I had minor hand surgery on Monday (which made signing the closing papers fun!), so Matthew is pretty much a one-man-band at the moment.  Thankfully, I can pick up a few sticks and small branches with “the good hand”.  The good news is that we have reinforcements coming to help us this weekend!

Closing Day!

No turning back now, y’all!
Wednesday, September 24th will forever be a day of victory for the Newtons. Seriously, if you’ve ever dealt with a short sale situation, distressed mortgage holding companies, delaying an Order of Demolition, and a complicated family estate, then you understand.

It took so long to get to the closing table and we have so many people to thank, but she’s finally ours…ain’t she a beaut?

Aberdeen House - The Newton Nest

Now the REAL work begins!

The walk that started it all…

2011-04-30 15.44.31-1

Miss Pepper gets all the credit for discovering our house on Aberdeen Drive! She’s pretty much the Christopher Columbus of dogs…

One sunny afternoon last  September, our sweet, yet opinionated pek-a-poo pup Miss Pepper was feeling cooped up and demanded asked politely to go for a walk around the block. Matthew and I gladly took her for a stroll and along the way we noticed a house on one of our favorite streets that looked a little…well…mysterious. To put things nicely, it was obvious that no one was living there, or had been for quite some time. So, while Miss Pep marked her future territory, Matthew and Lauren wondered aloud to each other, “what’s the deal with that place?”

After a quick Google-powered recon mission and search of the tax records, we came up with a few bits and pieces and a mailing address. So, we wrote a good old-fashioned letter to the owner. A few days later, Matthew got a call from the executor of the estate and so it began……..

We don’t want to bore you with all the crazy details. So, to make a long story short, we went back and forth for more than a year with many false hopes and set-backs, all the while begging the city of Greenville not to tear it down. But, 386 days later and *ta-da* here we are!

Eggs of Wisdom:

  • Never underestimate the power of a personal letter.
  • If you want something, and you’re willing to work hard enough for it…it just might happen!

Meet the Newtons!


Hi, we’re the Newtons! Matthew, Lauren and Miss Pepper.

The Newton Nest is set to chronicle the good, the bad and the ugly of our new “project” — renovating a 1940s Cape Cod that has stood vacant for 4+ years and is in need of some serious TLC. (Testing for Lice and Cockroaches? Truly Left to Cave-in? Wait, no…Tender Love and Care! OR was it Testing our Love and Commitment?) Any way you look at it, we are in for an interesting first year of marriage as we build our nest.