Halloween on Aberdeen

HAPPY HALLOWEEN
from Aberdeen!

The Newtons trying to meet some of our neighbors. (Judging by her expression, Miss Pepper must have seen a shockingly awesome costume walk by as this photo was snapped.)

The Newtons trying to meet some of our neighbors. (Judging by her expression, Miss Pepper must have seen a shockingly awesome costume walk by as this photo was snapped.)

Our first neighborhood event! One of the many reasons we love our Nest is that it’s located on a wonderful street with lots of great families and a group of neighbors who organize fun, street-wide activities. Halloween is the first of these activities we have been able to be a part of, so we decided to take this opportunity to meet more of our neighbors by participating in the Halloween festivities. And, of course, we couldn’t leave Miss Pepper out of the trick-or-treat fun, so she joined us as a Candy [Pepper] Corn.

Our little Candy PepperCorn.

Our little Candy PepperCorn.

P.S. Isn’t it fitting that our first official holiday as Aberdeeners is Halloween?? I mean, hands-down, we have the spookiest house on the street. 😉

...a little spooky, but we still love it! ;)

…a little spooky, but we still love it! 😉

The sky is falling!

Chicken Little:  “Oh, help! The sky is falling!”
Henny Penny:   “How do you know?”
Chicken Little:  “I saw it with  my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!”

If Chicken Little thought the world was coming to an end after a little acorn landed on his head, he and Henny Penny would have lost their minds in our house this weekend! Saturday’s major task was knocking the plaster off the ceilings. And yes, a lot of it fell on our heads.

It’s bad enough to have the plaster falling in your face, but we got the added surprise of loose insulation raining down upon us. There’s no way to spin it, this was a dirty, itchy, no good, very bad job. However, unlike Chicken Little, we know this isn’t a sign that the world is coming to an end, but more like a beacon of hope to know this dirtiest of jobs done and behind us!

We were again lucky to have lots of volunteers for demo day number two—Matthew’s sister Rebecca, my parents, my sister Emily, and our friend Skyler all came to help. Plus, we hired a local handyman named Doug to help with the really tough stuff.

Here’s a recap of all our dusty, dirty fun:

Matthew makin' it rain.

Matthew makin’ it rain.

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Loose insulation everywhere!

It's a dirty, dusty job, but somebody's gotta do it!

It’s a dirty, dusty job, but somebody’s gotta do it!

demo pics

Wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load to fill up Big Red…again!

We haven't scared Rebecca away yet!

We haven’t scared Rebecca away yet!

Even though my mom was down a hand, she went to town pulling nails out of the studs. A broken arm can't slow her down!

Even though my mom was down a hand, she went to town pulling nails out of the studs. A broken arm can’t slow her down!

My dad, the forester, came to help with a special wood project. ;)

My dad, the forester, came to help with a special wood project. 😉

My sister, Emily, is stylish as always with purple earplugs that perfectly matched her sweatshirt.

My sister, Emily, is stylish as always with sassy purple earplugs to coordinate with her sweatshirt.

Sisters that demo together, stay together.

Sisters that demo together, stay together. (We missed you, Rebecca!!)

Sledgehammer Sisters. #thoseharperwomen

Sledgehammer Sisters. #thoseharperwomen

Skyler joins the demo party!

Skyler joins the demo party!

Making progress!

Making progress!

Hammer down! (This actually happened twice!!!)

Hammer down! (This actually happened twice!!!)

Finished!

Finished!

IMG_0077

Another busy day... another full dumpster.

Another busy day… another full dumpster.

Behind linoleum floor number one…

If you’ve ever thought it was a good idea to glue linoleum tiles over beautiful hardwood floors, you may want to skip this post because you are officially on our naughty list!

Clearly the linoleum must go, so Matthew and I decided to test the waters and see what was lurking under those popular squares of a bygone era. Whaddyah know? There’s beautiful hardwood floor under there! In both the kitchen and the butler’s pantry, the previous owners had pasted over the original hardwoods… and it was no easy task to chisel our way down to the good stuff. Matthew and I spent the better part of two days chipping away at the tiles with scrapers and a rubber mallet, but it was worth it!!

Our test patch strikes wood!

Our test patch strikes wood!

Sir Chips-a-Lot

Sir Chips-a-Lot

Scraper-Roo

Scraper-Roo

Almost done!

Almost done!

Success!

Success!

Roll that beautiful floor footage!

Roll that beautiful floor footage!

As we were scraping along, we wondered to ourselves, “what exactly is linoleum, anyway?” So, naturally, we Googled it. In case you’re wondering, too, here’s the scoop according to Wikipedia:

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 10.15.21 PM

Funny thing – you’ll notice that the use of the word ‘linoleum’ grew exponentially in the late 1940s/early 1950s… back when our little nest was just a teenager. Maybe the linoleum was just an awkward phase. 😉

Excuse me, your studs are showing…

That’s right! Our studs are on full display, so try not to stare.

After our permit was approved, we slapped that baby up in the window and went to town with hammers, crowbars, and a lot of elbow grease. And, thankfully, we had a couple of volunteers, too! Matthew’s sisters, April and Rebecca rolled up their sleeves, donned dust masks and spent the entire day working with us on Saturday. Hours of hammering and one huge dust cloud later, we had exposed the bones of our little Nest!

Here’s a recap of our Demo Day:

Demo time!

Demo time!

Goodbye kitchen cabinets...

Goodbye kitchen cabinets…

The nastiest job of all... old carpet removal.

The nastiest job of all… old carpet removal.

Then linoleum floor tiles had to be scraped up!

Then linoleum floor tiles had to be scraped up!

Saving the cabinet hardware before the hammers begin.

Saving the cabinet hardware before the hammers begin.

Watch out! It's hammer time.

Watch out! It’s hammer time.

Making some progress.

Making some progress.

Real women swing sledgehammers (while kicking their leg up in an awkward demo dance move).

Real women swing sledgehammers (while kicking their leg up in an awkward demo dance move).

Taking a break in the bathtub.

Taking a break in the bathtub.

Clean up in bedroom three!

Clean up in bedroom three!

Dining room demo. April is meticulous!

Dining room demo. April is meticulous!

Removing ceiling tiles and  faux wood paneling in the family room.

Removing ceiling tiles and faux wood paneling in the family room.

Attic gold! Matthew found a beautiful vaulted ceiling after removing the old, yucky acoustic tiles in the family room. Jackpot!

Attic gold! Matthew found a beautiful vaulted ceiling after removing the old, yucky acoustic tiles in the family room. Jackpot!

Peek-a-boo!

Peek-a-boo!

Cleanup continues.

Cleanup continues.

Bin load #1,978. These ladies we troopers!

Bin load #1,978. These ladies were troopers!

Big Red is full again!

Big Red is full again!

Post-demo Kitchen.

Mid-demo Kitchen.

photo 1

Whoa! No more plaster in the dining room.

Lots of studs showing!

Lots of studs showing!

The dust cloud...a.k.a. the reason we wore masks!

The dust cloud…a.k.a. the reason we wore masks!

The Newtons -- happy after a hard day of work!

The Newtons — happy after a hard day of work!

Demo by the Digits:

  • 3 ladies and 1 dude
  • 6 hours of hard work
  • 2 sledgehammers
  • 2 crowbars
  • 1 rubber mallet
  • 4 sets of gloves
  • 8 earplugs
  • 4 respirator masks
  • Approximately 1 million (we stopped counting) bin loads full of plaster and insulation taken to the dumpster
  • 1 giant red dumpster – FULL
  • 1 big ol’ cloud of dust
  • ZERO injuries!

All in all, it adds up to a greatly productive day.

Best Laid Plans

Broken wrist and all, my mom Jennifer has managed to (with the help of my sister Emily and me) measure every inch of the house and map out its footprint to-scale on graph paper. I can’t tell you how cool it is to look at a “blue print” of the layout. She also helped us come up with a few creative solutions to modify the floor plan and maximize key spaces like the Master Suite and Kitchen.

You’ve seen a lot of pictures so far, but a bird’s eye view gives you a much better sense of the flow of the house. Check out the floor plan as it is now:

The Newton Nest - Existing Floor Plan

Here’s our rough plan for modifications:

The Newton Nest - Renovations Floor Plan

Okay, labeled on the floor plan above are our seven basic modifications to the floor plan. Here’s the logic behind each one:

  1. Add a small powder room off the formal living room, just inside the office.
    The biggest reason for doing this is to balance the house a little better…it just makes sense to have a bathroom on the side of the house where most of our living and entertaining will happen! (This, of course, is something we consider a splurge, so it will be the first to be cut if our budget gets tight. So y’all don’t get too attached to this one yet!)
  2. Remove the wall separating the kitchen from the family room.
    Bigger kitchen + creating one large living/entertaining space? Um, duh! This was a no-brainer.
  3. Add a wall inside the butler’s pantry to create a laundry room.
    We are relocating the existing laundry room to make better use of the master bedroom/bathroom space. But don’t you worry, we are not totally doing away with that adorable butler’s pantry!
  4. Close off doorway to create a foyer
    This teeny little change is responsible for BIG improvements! Not only does it create a welcoming little foyer instead of looking down a hallway of bedroom doors when you enter the house, but closing off this access point allows us to completely reconfigure the hallway and incorporate some of that space into our master bathroom and add a pretty substantial closet (ahem, for the lady of the house).
  5. Reroute the hallway through the existing laundry space and bedroom three’s closet.
    Again, this allows us to add a large closet to the master, plus it helps shorten a long, awkward hallway with more doors than a freshman dormitory (that all currently hit one another if open at the same time). Believe me, this is a really good thing.
  6. Close off access to the smaller closet in the master and open it up from bedroom three.
    While it goes against every bone in my body to remove a closet, this is essential because we are routing the new hallway right through the existing closet for bedroom three. Switching one of the two small master closets to bedroom three in order to get an extra large master closet? Call my broker; that’s a fair trade!
  7. Close off direct access from bedroom two into hall bathroom.
    Again, this is a case of superfluous doors. We’re nixing this one so the only access will be from the hall, no doors will hit each other, and it frees up a little more space inside the bathroom itself… plus, no one wants to sit down on the throne and then think to themselves, “did I lock both of those doors?”

So, there ya go—a bird’s eye view of our little Nest!  😉

Good News Travels Fast

The word is out—lots of Nest Neighbors are stopping by to peep at our progress.

Way before she was ours, the little Cape Cod on the corner was a constant topic of conversation in the Aberdeen ‘hood. So, naturally, now that we have made some obvious progress, curious neighbors are coming out of the woodwork. It’s wonderful!

Matthew and I were a little gun shy at first because for years the house was a neighborhood eyesore and many of our neighbors (understandably) wanted the house to be demolished by the city, but the response to our effort to redeem its reputation has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve had high fives, pats on the back, (delicious!) cookie deliveries, and many welcoming faces stop by to say “we’re glad you’re here.” The very best of the well-wishes so far came one evening this week when I was sweeping the front steps… a young girl zipped by on her bicycle and yelled up to me, “you’re doing a great job!” Made. My. Day.

Thanks to each and every person who has stopped by to encourage us!

To everyone else, a few wise words from Thumper:

Kiss These Walls Goodbye

Whew—there was a house under there!
Let’s do the grand tour again minus all the junk.

formal LR

Formal Living Room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Butler's Pantry

Butler’s Pantry

Dining Room

Dining Room

Family Room

Family Room

Office

Office

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Guest Bedroom 1

Guest Bedroom 1

Guest Bedroom 2

Guest Bedroom 2

Finished Attic Space / Second Floor

Finished Attic Space / Second Floor

If you can’t see the potential yet, check back with us in about six months…the rest of you may keep reading 🙂

We plan to make only minimal structural changes, but before we can really start the renovation, all the plaster must go. We’ve made this decision for multiple reasons: the house needs to be rewired, replumbed and reinsulated, so obviously we would have to punch a lot of holes in the walls to accomplish those things, the plaster is not in perfect condition as it is, and sheetrock is preferable for hanging artwork, etc. later in the game. Saving the plaster would be more trouble than it’s worth.

We’ve got our stash of sledgehammers polished and ready…
As soon as we get our permit from the city, all demo will break loose! We plan to try to save all the beautiful woodwork (floors, built-in bookcases, molding and trim work), but the plaster is history. So take one last look—soon we will kiss these walls goodbye and say hello to all the studs underneath (wink, wink).