Materials are here and framing is underway. Big things are happening at The Newton Nest…stay tuned!
Give it the juice!
Ladies and gentlemen, we have POWER!
We made the decision early on not to have electricity turned on in the house until we have it completely rewired. We came to this conclusion because we felt like the luxury of immediate electricity was more of a hazard than a benefit considering that the house was wired more than 70 years ago AND it stood vacant for nearly 5 years. After tearing the walls down to the studs and seeing the wiring for ourselves, it’s obvious we made the right choice. The wiring was not only outdated, but in terrible shape with frayed, exposed wires and loads of dust waiting for a spark. The perfect storm for a fiery goodbye. Yikes!
So, our solution is a temporary power source in the yard from which we will run extension cords to give us power for lights, tools, etc.
We owe a HUGE thanks to our brother-in-law, Jamie, for installing our temporary power pole! And an unenthusiastic thumbs up to Duke Power for taking more than three weeks to come out and give it the juice. Anyhoo, we’re ready to use some power tools!
Come and see how good she looks! I forced Matthew to help me run extension cords to every room on the front of the house so we could plug in lamps and see our nest aglow.
The Chartreuse Thumb
The recipe for instant curb appeal?
Grass seed, rain, sunshine, and a Newton with a green thumb!
Growing grass seems like it should be low on the totem pole considering the state of our abode, but we feel strongly about continuing to improve our curb appeal, for our sake and our neighbors’! Enter one bag of Winter Rye grass seed and a little help from Mother Nature. And, voila! Our lawn was born.
The devil really is in the details.
It’s a tedious job, but somebody’s gotta do it!
The sledgehammer swingin’ is over and now we are left with the nitty gritty detail work around “the edges” of each room. This is the last of the demo work that must be done before our builder can bring in the framer and really get the renovation phase going.
I suppose we brought this headache on ourselves by attempting to save the trim work, but we think it will be worth it to keep a few of the original details intact.
While tackling the detail work, Matthew took on one of our toughest “muscle” projects – master bathroom tile removal! Oh sure, those little square subway tiles look like they’ll chip right off, but what you can’t see is the two and a half inches of concrete behind them! Wowzer! This project – by far – took the most muscle power. Good thing Matthew’s got the guns for the job!
Next step is getting electricity to the house so we can use power tools to speed up this detail work and run a shop vac to help with clean up. We have been waiting for more than two weeks now, so wish us luck…and if you happen to know someone at Duke Power who can bump us up on the list, we wouldn’t be upset if you made a call 😉
Halloween on Aberdeen
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.
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. 😉
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:
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!!
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:
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 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.
Houston, our permit is a GO!
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:
Here’s our rough plan for modifications:
Okay, labeled on the floor plan above are our seven basic modifications to the floor plan. Here’s the logic behind each one:
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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!
- 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).
- 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.
- 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!
- 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! 😉