Friday, March 31, 2017

Cobbler House Update

The Cobbler House is marching on! We're still putting our money on May 5th (ish) for the move-in date, but as we have found out these last two years, the surprises in home renovation are endless. But here's some teasers as we get closer and closer to the home plate.

 "Funny" story about these stairs. When we first pulled off the layers of carpet that were on the original stairs, we discovered that they were in *pristine* condition. We had seven cast iron bath tubs that had to be removed from this house, one of which was dropped down the stairs, all the way to the bottom.

And so, now we have new stairs. 
And I can't wait to see my newel post.
It's coming next week.
(We think.) 

 This is our front room, to the right of the stairs. We exposed the brick and that's about all that's original. One day I'll do a good "before and after" post, when it's all done. 
We went with white oak floors with a clear finish. It's as close as we could get to the original floors in our last house that we loved so much. Oh, and that chevron. I die.
Looking back at the front door and the door that goes into the music room...
Those glass transoms just went in yesterday.
And the risk-taking room. 
The music room, painted top to bottom in high gloss Hague Blue from Farrow and Ball. 
Boom baby.
(This is where the bright yellow couch will live).

There's a pocket door in the music room that leads into the "kids space" which is connected to the kitchen. This brilliant idea came from my friend Emily, who was telling me how much she wished she had a separate space for kids to do homework that was still close to the heart of the home. We just happened to have a little bit of space off the kitchen that made that dream come true. 
Dining room. This is just past the front room and the kitchen is to the left.
We are keeping this original tile which is not my favorite but is growing on me. We will be adding a cream colored crackle glaze tile to the floor and re-build the mantle (because it was accidentally thrown out. That's okay, we weren't married to it and I'm pretty sure it was not original...)
Kitchen is the next big step. (This view is from the dining room). The cabinet doors are about two weeks away because we ended up changing our minds on the stain color. And we are so glad we did. And you know what we ended up trying to match? The color of the oak wood frame of our front room window.
We chose quarter-sawn oak for our lower cabinets because that scarring just SINGS. I love it.
(This is a peninsula where we will have bar stools for the kids. Other side is the kids space/HW room, and then the music room.)
(End of the peninsula. And yes, there are TWO more globes going above this with the other one, but they accidentally got packed into one of the pods).

We met our contractor, Jose Gonzalez, about eleven years ago, right after David and I got married. We were flipping houses in Sugar House and Jose was our cabinet guy. He proved himself time and time again and was the only contractor we kept in touch with over the years. Now that Jose is a general contractor, he was having someone else design and build our kitchen since he had too much on his plate. Then that contractor quit, and Jose took over. And it's details like this, that makes him SO good at what he does.

We had nothing to do with this. He just surprises us.
(We told him we're hanging a picture of him above our fireplace. )

 And perhaps the room I am most excited about (besides the laundry) is the pantry. Never had one. And this porthole window in the door is the cherry on top.

Pocket doors between the kitchen and the dining room (this is the view from the kitchen side). This idea came from my friend Lisa last year when we were walking through the house when it was stripped down to studs and I was trying to imagine sitting at the dining room table and realized I would have a direct view of my kitchen sink. The old tracks were still in this vicinity so we're kind of close to what it used to be...

 From the dining room side. 
Here's David opening and closing the soft-close drawers--his favorite thing--and telling me how he is going to surprise me with stenciled leaves on our upper cabinets, an ode to our very first kitchen in Sugar House (that was also painted a poop brown color and smelled like weed.)
Our kitchen sink was brought in today. I'm worried it's too small though...

Off the kitchen is our mudroom, completely inspired by Studio Mcgee's Midway House mudroom.
The kids claiming their lockers (minus Hazel, who later claimed Charlotte's spot).
The laundry room. AKA, my special place.
On our honeymoon, we bought this hand-painted sink for our future house...
And here she is! Finally out of a box.
Off the mudroom are stairs down to the basement and my most favorite door of all time that leads to the back yard. And that transom! That was all David. It makes rainbows on the stairs.
 Backing up to the front of the house, this is the second story landing and stairs that lead up to the attic. These are actually covered in carpet now!

 I see a sled, balanced at the top of those stairs and heading straight out the front door...
Master bed is on the left and David's office is on the right.
Also on the right is Edison's bedroom and bathroom. This is the day Edison got carpet. 
David's office/library.
Master bedroom closet, or where David will sleep when he's naughty. 
Master bathroom pictures coming soon...

The attic! All four girls will be sharing this space. They each have a closet for privacy, but otherwise they will be all up in each other's business. 

Girls' bathroom. The sink isn't installed yet and the floors are still covered so more pictures will come soon.
That's it for now. Thanks for your excitement and encouragement throughout this process. Can't wait to have you all come see this house in person.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book List for Spring Cleaning

For those of you who actually do "spring cleaning," I bow to you AND I have a list of really good reads for you to listen to while you clean. Do you use Audible?? It's brought my reading game back to life after years of just not having time to read a real book, sitting down. I listen to books while I do the dishes, while I fold laundry, tidy up, etc. etc. I even took a bath this morning instead of a shower, just so I could squeeze out another chapter before I got to business.

So here's the list. These are mostly fiction and recent reads in my queue on Audible. I will do a separate post on my favorite non-fiction, which is mostly parenting books...

1. Kate Morton.
I read them all in a matter of weeks. Her diction is inspiring and would give me a running list of words to look up and try to start using during the day...those few times I converse with adults. Her characters are real and intriguing and stay with you. Her plots keep you hanging on until the very end. I would start with the Secret Keeper, then read the Lake House. Your house will sparkle once you get your hands on these books.

2. Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd's writing fills me up. There are times I have to pause and just let the words sink in, they are so so good. The Invention of Wings is a historical fiction about two sisters and their pioneering roles in the abolition and women's rights movements. AND the narrator on Audible is phenomenal. The main character, Sarah, has a stutter, and it is read so perfectly. It moved me.

 And just in case you haven't read it, Secret Life of Bees is her masterpiece, in my opinion. She's just an author you can trust. She will take you on a journey every time.

3. A Thousand Miles to Freedom
See, sometimes I read non-fiction. I love Eunsun's voice, her strength, her optimism and honesty. Her story should be read by all.


I didn't love it in the beginning, but then I got drawn right in. You will soon see that I am always drawn in to World Ward II historical fiction. Gets me every time.

5. All the Light We Cannot See
You've probably heard of this one because it's a must read. I will admit, I had to start it twice because it took a while to get into, but once you're in the water, this one will change you. His writing is incredible--a whole different level. Absolutely magnificent.

6. Girl on the Train
Wow. This was my first "thriller"-- like, ever. There's the F word a bit and other stuff that's not for the faint-hearted, but it kept me guessing the entire time. I have yet to find another like it, because most thrillers like this tend to have sex or other inappropriate schtuff in it too. 
But I still recommend this one.

7. The Kitchen House
Also not for the light-hearted but WOW. I loved it. I haven't read her second book yet, which is a sequel to this one. Great character development.

8. America's First Daughter
LOVED this book. I loved learning more about Thomas Jefferson and his family. The two female authors draw almost all of their material from letters that Jefferson wrote, practically every day of his life. It's beautiful.

9. From Sand and Ash
This book was romantic, historically accurate and informative, and the narration is like a drug (makes me wish I was Italian). It's about a jewish woman who falls in love with a Catholic Priest. 
Love, family, loyalty, humanity. It's all here.
However, I was SO embarrassed when I went to see what other books Amy Harmon has written--because really her writing was so good--and saw that she's pretty much a romance novelist. My husband could not stop laughing at me when I read one of her first novels out loud: 
Prom Night in Purgatory. 

10. Elizabeth Smart: My Story
This sure isn't an easy one to read, but there was an underlying strength and power throughout the entire story that left me feeling so inspired. She is such an example of optimism and courage.

Ok, now YOUR turn. Send me some good reads!!

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Shark Party

Edison is five--FIVE! In our family, when our kids turn five, we offer them a choice between $100 or a party. If they choose the party, they have to stay within the $100 budget and plan it themselves (With mom's help. Mom also has to follow the $100 budget which is very hard to do.)

 For his invitations, we used these shark squirters we found on Amazon. We rolled up the invitation and put them in its mouth. Here's what the invite said:

"Edison is turning FIVE, (we hope you survive...)
It's YOU we invite to stay for a BITE.
(Hold the shark close to your eyes and SQUEEZE tight for a surprise.)

There were two little guys that legitimately squirted themselves directly in the face, to Edison's delight.
Most of what we used for the party we found on Amazon. Love that Amazon.
Edison chose red velvet cake because it looked like BLOOOOOD. 
I used a new vanilla buttercream recipe I found from Cake by Courtney that made my husband want to marry me TWICE. It was so good.
Little Lottie helped me decorate with the blue and white beads.

 My lovely mother-in-law came to my rescue and made this watermelon shark that was a hit. Also, there was only ONE Ken doll in all of Walmart and he now belongs to Edison. He didn't care much about that.

 Fish 'n' chips. Ha!
 Gummy sharks. Simply irresistible for both old and young.

 Goodie bags were pretty simple and the kids LOVED the shark tooth necklaces.
 I had my older girls hide these leftover sharks all over our backyard over at our house so we could walk the kids over and play outside. Did I mention that this entire party was taking place in our 3rd floor 800 square foot apartment? 

 It felt so good outside, I just kept making up more games to keep us outside. I put Hazel on the spot and asked her to work her hula hoop magic.

 Little bit of "Fish, fish, shark..." Then charades, then Shark freeze tag...

 His sister ended up blowing it out for him just before he did. She said she was only trying to help.

 Proof that you can still throw a big party in a tiny space. I love these parties and over the years I've really learned a lot. I've learned to not take everything out on my husband when things go wrong, I've learned to relax and take less pictures and play more. I've bought more and made less, and today I found myself at the bottom of a dog pile of all these little boys and thought, "THIS. This is why it's worth the work."

A special thank you to Vicki, for helping out in countless ways and just for being there.
Happy Birthday sweet boy of mine.
I love you forever.
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