Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Few updates

The exterior of the house is looking better and better. Our front walkway (bluestone) was laid about a week ago, I've planted some of the herb seeds in the front beds and outlined them with little stones for now so I could see where I planted what.
Our driveway was paved yesterday and you can see the faint hue of Green grass(!!!) that's germinated on the front lawn. Dear husband and I were up at 5:45 am to make sure we got the obligatory 20 minutes of watering before the 93 degree heat hits today. In this photo I'm holding up the mailbox and house numbers so Anthony can put those on today. I love the way our house looks this time of day- the morning light is so pretty.

Moving inside, our sign arrived today! M. picked it out to go in the large empty space above the doorway from the living room into the dining/kitchen area. We had tried to find an authentic antique or handmade sign, but the options were just too pricey.... if we find something perfect someday we can swap it out, but I actually really love how this looks in person:It'll be hung here:

It's great too because the black lettering picks up the armoire, the wood planks are so similar to our coffee table top and the turquoise picks up a bit of the chair!

Anthony was working at the house today. He stained the top of the desk and will be back today to put poly on it. It's pretty- almost the same color as the floor. The stain is Very stinky though and the catch 22 is when we open the windows we smell the freshly paved driveway!

Anthony also put hooks in the cubbie off the garage. (the missing one will go on today). I am SO thrilled with this cubbie area. Love love love the beadboard.

I have some gardening photos from the weekend to upload in the next day or so and have been doing some more thinking on the direction of this blog.... I struggle with how to balance where we've come from (getting back on our feet post fire) with our "new" life (being home!).... I have a couple ideas which I'll share when they are more solid. Anyway, having not been able to post for so many days, I'm happy to be back!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sick computer

Our home computer is sick... and we cannot log onto the internet. Funny to have a weekend without internet access. On the one hand it was sort of refreshing, but I did miss posting (and checking on my favorite blogs). Spent the whole weekend working on garden stuff so I have sunburned shoulders and photos to post once our computer is better. Stay tuned.... xo Julia

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New dawn

When my parents came for Easter they brought us a house warming present-- a climbing rose called "New Dawn". They hadn't realized the name-- but it's wonderfully fitting.

New Dawn is a prolific bloomer, reportedly pretty pest/disease resistant and is a very pale pink color. Since the inception of the trellis on the deck, I've pictured growing climbing roses up- so I was thrilled. It became apparent, however, that the placement of the two AC units made the area not so ideal for the roses. Also, planting them in the ground would mean they would have a LONG climb. Window boxes seemed the perfect solution!

I went to the Farm at Green Village-- which, I've decided is one of my favorite places in the Entire world-- and they had exactly what I'd envisioned. White boxes made of recycled plastic which means they will be as resilient as the rest of our deck. Thing is, they were NOT cheap.... I bought one, asked about their return policy, and hastily signed the credit card receipt while distracting myself with the gorgeous organic perennial display.

Dear husband had to take me to the hardware store to buy a properly sized drill bit (3/8") so I could drill the drainage holes... (thank you! my very first drill bit all my own!)
Then I had to mount the brackets to the deck... (Thanks again to the cordless drill my in-laws loaned to us for move in!) ... and finally I mounted the box! Looks great! Next step was planing the climbing rose.
Here we are, the New Dawn climbing rose in her box and me, looking proud! I had dear husband come out to take a look and he gave me the go-ahead to just buy two more boxes. His words were, "While we're still hemorrhaging money from the construction, why don't you just go ahead and buy them."

One box will go in between the two air conditioning boxes and the other will go right next to the one I've already installed. I'd like to get one more climbing rose and a couple of clematis to climb with them.

(This photo also shows the holly bush I planted today. It seems that our landscaper missed one- thinking it was a goner maybe. I think it stands a fighting chance, so I threw it in the ground. Worse case, I'm digging it up again next year... but fingers crossed it'll take.)

Here's New Dawn roses along with clematis... pretty combination, right?

The good news is that with the amount of money I spent at the farm this weekend, I got some "Farm dollars" good for my next purchase. I think that more than justifies a trip next weekend and I'll have to remember to bring my camera... it truly is a heaven-on-earth place that I could get lost in for days!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


whew. I just got chills looking at the last posting alongside the photo of our 'old' house.... I'm struck by how similar they are and what comfort that brings, but it's also this bizarre reminder of how long ago that 'before' seems.

Once we're a bit more complete, I'll need to post a completed exterior photo on the sidebar. With that thought, I'm realizing I'm soon going to have to re-envision just what this blog is going to be. I'm beyond relieved to be closing the chapter of "rebuilding our house and our lives, post fire" but where will that leave my little blog....?

exterior updates

What a difference it makes to have shutters on the windows above the garage. Now I'm anxious to have the front door painted!
They've also seeded the lawn. It smells a bit like a farm near our house-- the good farm smell of wet hay. The lovely mulching job on the beds around the house was done by none other than dear husband during his spring break last week. Both the seed/hay option and the self-mulching were ways to trim down our budget as we come to the end of this job... but neither, I think, sacrificed quality.
Here's a view from the back (pre-seeding) but you can see how the deck has been finished with the lattice-work privacy screen on the left-hand side. We also have the grill set up- which we bought with credit card points! The downside was we had to assemble it ourselves which took hours struggling with bad directions-- but I'm proud to say husband and wife worked brilliantly together and the grill actually works! ;)
...and last night I snapped this photo of our deck furniture. I can't wait for it to warm up so we can have dinners outside. They have yet to build a bit more support into the lattice work. My parents gave us a "New Dawn" climbing rose for easter which I'm thrilled about because my idea has always been to grow some climbing roses (perhaps along with clematis) up the lattice work.

There is a strong possibility that our backsplash installation begins today.... so stay tuned!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

How to make a house feel like home...

This was a big weekend. We invited our builders and their families over for dinner to celebrate being (almost!) done and then my parents came for Easter. This meant that we had to get the house looking the best it could.

We made up all the beds.. which warmed up all of the bedrooms.

We hung the curtains and one of our prints in the music room.

Fresh flowers around the house make ALL the difference.

Look at how lovely one of our Janet Hill paintings looks framed and hanging in our dining room.

But a house really starts feeling like home when it's filled with friends and laughter...

.... and kids running around the kitchen island in their PJs after dinner...

... and a few days later, Mom, with a glass of champagne and an Easter bunny, toasting to all we've been though, how far we've come, and that we're home.
... and dear husband looking relaxed. That's the best way to make a house feel like home!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shutters and Settling in

In addition to the lights- they hung one pair of shutters and installed the little corbel detail under the front overhang. I LOVE how finished it's starting to look/feel.

Initially the electricians had installed these standard-issue plastic doorbells. We went to restoration hardware and for $8 bought this lovely one which really finishes off the front entrance. Due to the texture of the stucco, it didn't fit flush, so they put a little bit of azek trim behind it.... it's kind of pretty the way it frames it.

So imagination is still definitely needed here. Picture a painted front door, some door numbers, shutters on the windows above the garage, a bluestone front walk and of course some greener landscaping (minus the orange cone, extension cords etc.)....


Switching gears completely, i couldn't resist snapping some photos of our kitty cats making themselves at home over the weekend. Here's Zin looking out the sliding doors off the dining room. I just love the way the sun streams in.

Here he's contemplating jumping onto the built in... (This was the built in that was done in order to cover the pipe that stuck out above the window. They did such a wonderful job with it, the molding details are incredible.)
This photos' awfully dark, but this is Zin checking out my seedlings in the window sill. (You can see some of the deck railing- actually the stairs going off the deck- through the window)

Yep, they are cute little baby seedlings right now.. but not for you to eat, Zin!
Meanwhile Caelyn, found a lovely bit of sunshine on the coffee table to curl up in.

let there be light!

Apologies for not posting in over a week. Truth be it known, I've been a little out of sorts because work slowed down so much after we moved in. Our builders made such a big push to get us in on March first... but then the past number of weeks there hasn't been so much change and there's still alot left unfinished. We were getting antsy. I'm not a fan of clutter so the unpacked boxes are driving me nuts.

But today the electricians came back and installed our light fixtures... and wow what a difference. It's like getting all dressed up to go out... and THEN putting on your fanciest earrings. That metaphor might work most especially given the sparklies that adorn many of our fixtures. Here's a little tour.

The front hallway. What I call a bell-jar light from Hinkley lighting.Our master bathroom. The sconces are from Restoration hardware and the chandelier is ABC from a store in town.

I'm so happy with our chandeliers in the kitchen. They need to be lowered but they are exactly what I envisioned. This photo really doesn't do them justice....
This is the chandelier in the blue bedroom. Again, apologies for the terrible photo.
Upstairs hall light (Same as the downstairs hall). We agonized a bit over these hall lights but I am Thrilled with how they look....

The chandelier in the yellow bedroom. Dear husband picked this one out all on his own. How can I say no.... my only thing is to change out the candles to white... but it's a really pretty fixture.
I'm amazed at how transformative these lighting fixtures are. I was just starting to worry that our home had a bit of that 'new construction' feel... but the chandeliers instantly warm it up and give all the rooms a bit of old world flare. What I can't adequately capture in these photos too is the romance each room has (even the hallway!) due to the fact that they are all on dimmers.....
...on that note, I'm signing off to interrupt my personal chef (aka dear husband) with a kiss.... A husband that cooks + fancy chandeliers in the kitchen... ooo lala. Which reminds me I need to work on window treatments for this room ;)