Projects, Projects, Projects!

Unemployment has been great to me!  Perhaps I am enjoying it a little too much and thus the lack of motivation to look for a job.  I’ve been keeping myself busy this summer with a trip to Colorado, accompanying our youth group on a trip to New Orleans, helping with VBS at church and many, many, projects around the house.

Trip to Colorado with good friends – I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time!

Dining room chairs – Before

Dining room chairs after!

We celebrated our first anniversary!  Our anniversary date started as a picnic and then it started to rain.  We moved it to our porch and the rain became a tornado warning with no power.  So… we spent the rest of the evening sitting on old chairs in the basement with no power.  The candles are sitting on top of the de-humidifier.

Our living room is now complete (and no longer has folding camp chairs in place of the sofa)

And SURPRISE!  It’s also a bed. (Which we didn’t order, but have decided is very nice to have)

The whole crew in New Orleans

Our backyard.

We have spent an abundance of time enjoying the porch!
I painted our front door.  Once I can find a long enough ladder, the shutters will be next!

And, this week I re-grouted our bathroom floor. 

Even though I still have some clean-up to do, it is looking much better!
And, in the midst of all of this, I’ve even found some time to do a little knitting…

A friend of mine had a baby in May and she asked me to knit her daughter a baby cocoon for their newborn photos.  Isn’t she precious?  I think she deserves her own post.  I am excited to meet her next week!
Gosh, I love days like these!

Before and After

The last month or so has been FULL.  Grant graduated with his Master’s, we said goodbye to our RA staff for the summer, I finished my job at the school, we moved out of our apartment (which has been my home for the last 4 years) and into our house, and we enjoyed the company of Grant’s parents and my mom who each came to visit for 2 weeks (and who helped us SO much with all of the moving, settling-in and projects around the house).  Phew!

We have worked on so many projects in the house I don’t think I could count them all!  I have tried to take some before and after shots of some of them (and even some in-progress pictures) and thought i’d share a few.  There will be more to come as we finish unpacking and deciding where we want to put everything!

Before: VERY old “matching Maytag’s”

After: Beautiful NEW washer and dryer.
Before: Dirty, old doors with dirty, old doorknobs.  

We wanted to try to polish the doorknobs (they were brass plated), but it was impossible to get 60+ years of guck off of them.  So we painted them too!

After: Clean and pretty white doors (that now match the rest of the woodwork in the house) and black door knobs.

Before: Corner cabinets in the dining room and old light fixture.
(Some people seem very upset that we took these cabinets out so we feel the need to explain!  🙂  They looked great, but didn’t hold much and were also pretty flimsy and poorly made.  They also covered up the vents for the room.)
I received a phone call one morning telling us that the dumpster was going to be removed later that day.  We asked if it could be delayed and my mom and I decided that that day would be demo-day.  We took out the corner cabinets and the ceiling on our porch (pictures below).

Sorry… I had to include this.  This was inside the dirty, dirty vent that was covered from the cabinet.  Eew!  That alone almost made taking the cabinet out worth it!
After: New light fixture (that was a wedding gift), room for our china cabinet and two corners!  The room surprisingly seems much bigger now!

We also hemmed the curtains in the house so they are no longer 20″ too long!
Before: The musty, damp ceiling tiles in the screened-in porch.

While we were taking this down, several old Christmas cards and other strange things fell out of the ceiling.

After: Open rafters.  Eventually we will paint them (and the inside of the porch).
Like I said, there are even more projects that we have been working on so I’ll post more pictures soon!  

It’s improving

Just a few update pictures of the work on the house!  The back stairs will be rebuilt on Monday.

Grant’s parents arrived yesterday and are staying in the house!  Check-outs are happening as I type and I have ONE paper left to complete and Grant’s graduation is on Saturday.

Construction: Things get worse before they get better!

This is what the outside of our house looks like today:

There was some damage to the brick above the basement door and below our front door that we knew about before we bought the house.  Since we bought the house in the dead of winter, we decided to wait till spring to get that fixed.
Another bonus of waiting until spring is that we figured out where water was coming into our basement and we’re able to get both things fixed at once!  My fingers are crossed that this might mean that our basement will actually be dry (with the exception of any major laundry mishaps like I had yesterday…)
Even though these pictures were taken with my cell phone, they show pretty clearly the destruction of our driveway and back yard.  They tell us that the work will only take a couple of days which is great, especially since Grant’s parents arrive tomorrow or Thursday and we move NEXT WEEK!
In other news…
Grant is GRADUATING on Saturday with his MA in Christian Formation & Ministry and I am officially a permanent resident in the United States!   
That’s right, my GREEN CARD application was approved!
Grant and I got up early yesterday to go to Chicago for our interview with the immigration people.  It was quick and painless.  We had a very nice officer interviewing us, she looked through my file (which was at least 4″ thick), asked me what Grant’s birthday was and if I had ever met his parents.  She also looked through our wedding photos (and subsequently took a few for the file that showed that we had guests at our wedding and that we were happy).  Other tips we learned: they like facebook photos that are printed that have dates on them, the fact that we had 175 people at our wedding, and that we own property together.
For all of you Canadian’s out there who think you’ve lost me to the States, I am still holding out hope that we’ll move back to Canada some day (something Grant needs very little convincing of).  In the mean time, this is great news because it means that I can get a job so we can keep living in this beautiful house!

Home Improvement Continued…

I looked through our RE/MAX folder that the realtor gave us and I found some before shots of the basement.  The picture quality is terrible (and is a photo of a colour copy), but will give everyone an idea of what the basement looked like before!

This is the wall next to the stairs.  It made for a very narrow hallway to the laundry area and the back door of the basement.
This room was behind that set of book shelves.  Complete with shelving, a de-humidifier and a sump pump.

The Laundry area.  I thought the tile looked cool, until we discovered that it was a vinyl panel on the wall.  The cabinet has become part of the work space in the garage.  Oh, and UNDER the cabinet and the walls we found some great linoleum tile.  I feel like an archaeologist at times in our house as we discover layers of things and try to figure out the reason why things are the way they are.  The house is quirky and we love it!

And again, the after shots.  You can sort of see on the floor where the walls used to be (in an ‘L’ shape)

Now we can see through this area all the way to the back door!  The basement is definitely not beautiful, but will hopefully be functional!

Home Improvement

I have realized that I am not very good at taking the before photos because I get so excited about a project that I just jump right in!  I thought I’d share some of the work that we’ve done on our house over the last few weeks.  It is so nice to be able to get things ready at a slow pace before we move in at the beginning of May.
Before: Lacy Curtains.  We had these all over the first floor of the house.  The previous owners had also found some creative ways to hang curtains using pipe and nails.  Needless to say, they’ve all come down.
After: The curtains from our apartment have made their way over to the house.  They are still in need of hemming but I haven’t quite had the motivation to do that yet.
Our bedroom upstairs got curtains as well.

Before: Where there was once snow… 

After: …there are now daffodils beginning to grow.

Before: In the basement we’ve torn out some things including part of this wall.

And there used to be two full walls dividing a work/storage area and the laundry area.  Now it is one big room.

And I hung the first pictures on the wall in the kitchen.

And you can see the colour I am thinking about painting the kitchen on the left hand side.

Outside the weeds are growing!  This past week things have sprung up that we had no idea existed.  We’ve also decided that weeds must actually be the BEST plants since they can survive almost anything and flourish almost anywhere.  They are growing faster than we can keep up with, but this view through the porch makes the yard look nicer than it really is.  🙂 

This was my project this morning.  Since no one has lived in this house for well over a year, things are pretty overgrown.  I found all of these bricks under the grass and dirt in the flower beds, so I thought I’d use them too.  It took me a few hours to clean up, but we are ready for planting in a few spots.
And this is the view from the second floor.  The yard is not finished yet, but you can see where I dug started to define the flower beds again around the garage.  We’ve bought seeds to start planting some flowers and veggies.

I’ll work on taking more before photos in upcoming projects.  We have many ideas, we’re just needing to find the time to do them in.

The Inaugural Event

I learned something today.  I love our house even more when it is filled with people… especially some of my favourite people!

Thank you RA’s for all you to do to love and serve others.  We love you and it was a privilege to host all of you for our first meal in our new house!

The large table in the middle of the living room

And what dinner party wouldn’t be complete without a full kitchen?

It’s OURS!

We’re officially homeowners!  On Tuesday afternoon (after many trips to the bank, FedEx, the Post Office and even more phone calls) Grant and I took possession of a house here in Wheaton.  Even though I have a key, I still feel like I am trespassing on someone else’s property.

I won’t bore you with all of the details, rather I want to share with you the amazing gift that this house is!  On Tuesday we went to our closing, expecting it to be stressful and anxiety-producing and it was anything but.   The previous owners were missionaries in Africa for the first part of their marriage and moved to Wheaton when the husband was hired as a professor.  They lived in the house for almost 40 years.  According to their daughter, all of his students had dinner in their home and they were always inviting others in.  We are excited to own a house that has a legacy of hospitality.  We’re excited to share the gift of this space with others.

We’ve had many requests to post photos of the inside.  I wanted to wait until we were “done” moving in, but I just couldn’t possibly wait until May to share this with you.  Most of these are from the realtor, but I have added a few of our own too.  Here it is:

The front of the house
As soon as you walk through the front door you see the stairs up the middle.  The living room is on the left, the dining room is on the right.
Living Room
Doors through the living room to the screened in porch.  (It was warm and breezy here yesterday – I realized that I might actually love this porch!)
Living room again
The Kitchen
The dining room.  (Sadly, the corner cabinets will not be there long.  We have a china cabinet that probably won’t fit if we leave them.)
The upstairs bathroom.
The downstairs bathroom.  (If you think it looks tiny, you are correct!)
The porch – obviously this picture was not taken in February!
The back of the house.  The garage is on the left.
The living room this morning. The only thing we have is our folding chairs and an abundance of candles. The light coming through the windows is my favourite part of the house.
The Master bedroom.  Note the giant ceiling fan which will not make it through the weekend.  (Unfortunately, this picture makes the bed look huge and the room look small.  Neither are true, it’s just a hard angle to get a good picture.)
Second Bedroom.  This will be the library/office.
Guest Room.  We have the bed frame and the mattress will come soon!
The view through the kitchen door.
As most of you know, we currently live in a residence hall.  We’ll continue to live here until the end of May when my 4 years as a GRA will (sadly) come to an end.  We’re going to slowly move things over, mostly to get everything out of storage.  We’ll also get to host a few guests as Grant’s parents are coming for his graduation in May and my mom is going to come for a few weeks to help us fix the place up.  It doesn’t need a ton of work, but we have a few projects that we’d love her help with!
So that’s it!  We have plenty of space so if you’re ever coming through Chicago or Wheaton, you’ll have a place to stay.  And (of course), I’ll post more pictures as we settle in.

the house as it is today….covered in snow

We went for a walk to our new house today while it was snowing and saw (for the first time) the SOLD sign!  Grant’s expression says it all.

Our house!  (and all the snow we’re going to have to start shoveling soon)
Also note: the hat and cowl I made for myself over Christmas.

Back at Fischer.  Part of the walk was so I could test my new (waterproof) boots!

(almost) Homeowners

Yep, you read that right.  Grant and I will officially own this house in just a couple of weeks!
Us owning a house might come as a surprise to many since we live in a residence hall and have been dreaming about moving west or (in my case) back to Canada for a long time.  But, my time in the residence hall will come to an end this spring and Grant has taken a job as a youth minister that he loves and wants to stay in and I still have some work to do before I finish my Clinical Psychology degree.  SO, it looks like we might stay in Wheaton a while and this house is making an already good decision (to stay) that much sweeter.
More details and photos to follow… especially once we have the key!