Going Gray!

Hooray — we’ve gone gray! 

No, I’m not talking about our hair color beginning to fade as a result of nearly eight months of home renovation (although, the lone long-locked Newton has noticed a few new silver strands). We have finally said goodbye to the patchwork shingles and painted the exterior of our house! We settled on a medium gray color for the cedar shakes and then called in reinforcements to help with the transformation.

The slightly more senior Mr. and Mrs. Newton (Matthew’s parents) joined the painting party and we were able to prime and paint the exterior of our little nest in two weekends’ time. Not too shabby for a bunch of amateurs—well, three amateurs and our fearless leader, Matthew’s father, Wayne, who owned his own paint contracting business for 30+ years… as the sole professional on site, he kept the rest of us from messing anything up! Painting all those shakes was no easy task and start-to-finish it took us a month of weekends if you count the prep work too, but we were strutting around with grins of accomplishment when it was all done!

We began by prepping the exterior (a lot more work than I thought!):


Taping off the windows!


Puttying all the little nail holes!


Caulking windows!


Double caulking!


Triple caulking!


Rooftop refreshment 😉

Here we go! Check out the power of a coat of paint:


Shaking up the paint! (My staring totally helped…)


Primer coat is on!


Mr. Newton – head painter in charge – spraying more primer.


Two Newtons and a dormer.


Three Newtons and a dormer. 🙂


All primed and ready for the final coat!


Revving up the sprayer for the final coat!


Matthew and his Momma taking a little break.


Final coat of gray is on; ready to start painting all the trim along the roof!




Trim is looking crisp and white!




Oops! We almost forgot the garage…


Goodbye, basketball goal!

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Hello, Bat who was hiding underneath the goal. (Sorry little guy!)






All done!


Hello, gorgeous gray! All that hard work paid off… we are really digging our Nest’s new look.




Many, many thanks to the Newtons for helping us with such a big job – we couldn’t have done it without them!!!

A few Eggs of Wisdom…

  • It’s true, many hands make light work.
  • Happy music and time with family makes even the hardest jobs more fun.
  • If you have a choice between rolling/brushing paint and using one of those handy sprayers, choose the sprayer every time! 😉

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:

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?)

The walk that started it all…

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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!