Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to build a patio. (Instead of the laundry room)

Last week I was actually up past 9pm. Now I know that for most people that is not a huge feat but for me it nothing short of a small miracle. Since I couldn't sleep I thought I would look at facebook on my phone. As I scrolled down, here is what a friend posted:

"I have a free hot tub for whoever wants it. Just come and get it. Paid $9000 for it in 2005. Needs about $1,500 in some repairs but works just needs some parts replaced. No time for it anymore. Kids are growing up and I travel and it's taking up deck space. I will help u load it. 6 person, 600 gal."

WHAT?!?!?!?! A FREE HOT TUB???????? HOLY SHIT!!!!!! 

How fast can you type, "I will take it"?????? I messaged him............... He messaged back............... I went to look at it........... I said I will take it.............. and that is how I got a free hot tub!!!!!!!!! 

We agreed to meet on Sunday but when I called Bic he said his boys weren't home and then we agreed to meet Monday instead, which turned out to be a good idea because as it turns out it takes 1 adult male, 4 big teenage boys, and 3 girls to move a huge hot tub. 

I have to show you a few pictures of Bic and Diane's gorgeous Victorian home. This house was moved here from another location and it is breath taking. If you think that the outside is beautiful then you would fall in love with the inside. (I didn't have enough guts to ask to take interior pics.)  I love the double porches and on the front (and the back). And check out the gingerbread detail on those porches! What is there to not love about this.

My daughter is going to "dog sit" for them while they are on vacation. I am so jealous that she gets to stay here for a week. They are paying her! Crap, I would have paid them to stay there and keep those puppies company! 

Bic and Diane's Victorian- Front View

Side view

Porch Detail

Here is the hot tub on the trailer awaiting its new home!

Here is were I was planning on putting the new hot tub. It would fit perfectly between the two dilapidated stairs. Yes that is a female peacock in the picture.

Making progress! This is how you get stuff done on the farm! Bring in your friend John Deere! I worked on this a couple of hours and was pretty happy with the results.

Here is the what it looked like at the end of the day.Yep, that is a male peacock there now....and the random farm cat that has to be in every outside picture.

One of the things that we did have to do before we finished the laundry room was take out a fenced in part of our yard and move it (and the dogs) elsewhere because we I have to take an exterior door out. and put up siding over the OSB/TYVEK patch on the house. So while I was working on the area where the hot tub was going, Big L was working on taking out the existing fencing. That area looked so good when he was done, I decided (after working on the other spot all after noon) the I want the hot tub over there! Yeah I know. Dumb, huh? But Big L and I decided that this would be a really cool place for and big patio area. So guess that is our next project. I will be praying to Little Baby Jesus for the sanity to finish this house and in the meantime I will be thanking him for this beautiful sunset looking off the back of our, ever so crappy, deck.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday~ no DIY but just a little historic eye candy.

Not going to lie.  Work and the nice weather has sucked me in, not the mention baby goats! Spring has sprung and it makes really hard to stay in side.  And did I mention baby goats??? Look at this and tell me that this wouldn't make want to be in the barn........all the TIME! So when one of my girlfriends came down I felt it was only proper to take some time and play with these little fellas!

All babies need a nap!

Mack and Immelio

Mack in the Hat!

Now for some house stuff! Her are some aerial shots of my farm in 1976.The barn on the right is no longer there due to a barn fire about 10-15 years ago. The lady who I bought the from lost her show horses in it and was quite a tragedy. Especially since it was rumored that it was arson. I love looking at these.

The big white barn on the right is the barn that is no longer there.

A different angle and the dirt road seen in the bottom of this picture use to go to the back of the property but is no longer there. 

A different angle. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Excuses, distractions, and getting things done.

Reasons I have not done the laundry room:

Excuse #1

I had visitors last week so I wanted it to look presentable and not like I was in the middle of a major renovation. I didn't tear up anything that needed any cleaning and I vowed as soon as the visit was done I was going to get started back on the laundry room. 

Excuse #2

Then this week the  weather has been beautiful here in Illinois. Like 75 and sunny...............EVERYDAY!. Well that put me in the mood for doing farm work and not remodeling. I will say that the whole time I am outside I feel guilty about not getting the laundry room finished. 

Excuse #3

Saturday there was a local farm implement auction that I felt that I must attend because I obviously needed a hay rack, manure spreader, and a bunch of other crap. While I was out at auction I told my daughter that I should be home working on the laundry room.

The New Dawn~ Excuses be Gone!

When I got up Sunday I decided that it was D-day!!!!!!!! So I am committed to working on the laundry room EVERYDAY!!! (read again: EVERYDAY) until those pair of Whirlpools find their way into the new finished room! I am going to say it again.................EVERYDAY!!! All the work outside is going to have to wait.

Sunday morning I got going on yet more demo. When is it going to end? I don't know. At first I was going to try to keep the clapboard and incorporate it in the design of the room. The more I looked at it the more I was against it. One reason was it the amount of "stuff" I found behind the boards I have already removed. Like walnut shells and old wasp mud nests. And dirt. And more dirt. And even more dirt! I have really bonded with the Shop Vac. So it is out with the old and not so ready for the new but I am getting there. If I keep my goals I should be posting on here daily.

 Here is yesterday:

Starting with a semi clean room

Tearing out stuff.

Taking out interior window. Take a look at the boards that were the side of the house. Holy crap.

Getting the clapboard out, and walnut shells and wasp nest.............................

No more door frame! 

I worked about 4 hours on this. That is what it took to fill up a pick up truck box full of scrap. I have been taking all the building scraps to work because I have to dumpsters there.  I have resisted getting a roll-off because I have visions of it being there forever killing the grass but I am really thinking that this is a must to help expedite the demo progress. Still thinking on it. I wouldn't want to get too excited. 

So my goal today is to get the door taken out and set some foundation blocks in. Should be interesting since I have never done that before!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Past meets the Present

If you seen the previous post you know I am working on putting together a little history on the house. I have contacted family members that have live in my wonderful OLD farmhouse and the thing I am just blown away by is how helpful everyone has been. I made plans for the family who's father (Rene') and mother (Elizabeth)  owned the house from 1944  to 1988 to come for a visit this past Sunday. I woke up that morning like a five year old on Christmas day expecting a new bike. I was so excited to meet the family that lived and raised their five kids and grand kids here. I tried not to have too many expectations because that will get you in trouble every time. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to make the place as presentable as it can be in the middle of a major renovation. My son insisted that they probably wouldn't care how clean the place was and as it turned out, he was right.

The first car pulled up around 11am.  It was Mary Ellen, her husband Jack, daughters Vickie and Teri. Mary Ellen was one of the children that grew up in the house in the 40's. I welcomed them and they were all smiles looking around the farm. We headed out to the barn where they "visited" with the goats, chickens and peacocks. Lot's of pictures were taken. Then Virginia and her daughter Linda showed up. Virginia, age 81, also was one of the five children that grew up here. It was her daughter, Linda's 60th birthday and she was the oldest grandchild of Rene' and Elizabeth. As we toured the farm, I got to hear stories of family. Mostly funny and light hearted. One of Linda, when she was 2 or 3 years old, who was thought to have fallen down the well, causing panic, only to be found later coming out of the barn with her uncle. I got to hear about a barn that was here and has since burned down and about a windmill that is no longer here. Stories about Rene' being  a carpenter and I personally can see touch everywhere in this house. I didn't know Rene' personally but I do feel like I know him after pulling the 10,000 nails the he put in.

I showed them the house and everyone liked the work I was doing and agreed that the  "open floor plan" looked great. There was a fireplace that is now gone and been replaced by a wood stove. (I am putting a fireplace back in) The kitchen cabinets that Rene' built are still there.........solid as a rock. There is an upstairs bedroom everyone thought was creepy and the lady I bought the house from, called the "death room"  I am not sure what to think about that. There must be some sort of negative energy in that room because I tend to avoid that room also.

But over all the visit was AWESOME and they are a wonderful, happy family.  They brought pictures and as soon as I am able to figure out how to digitally remaster I will be posting them. They were so grateful that I have invited them to visit because all their childhood memories are here with this house including Rene's passing in the house in 1977. A big thank you to the family for the love and energy they brought to the house and our visit Sunday.

Rene' left me a message to find on the inside of the living room wall!
Rene' Jan 2 1953

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Sneak Peak into the Past.

When I moved to my farm I was planning on tearing down the house so I never gave much thought to the history of the house. But now that I have decided to keep the house and renovate it, I think about the life this house has had all the time. I wonder who lived here? What did they do for a living? Was anyone born here? Did anyone pass here? It has actually has moved me to start doing the research necessary to find out my homes history and I am slowly putting the pieces together.

When I bought my house the owner told me that the house was built in 1886 and looking at the construction I believe that is pretty close the being right. So I guess that is where my timeline starts.

Next, I went to visit my neighbor, Christie, who is in her 40's but she grew up on my road and her parents used to own the better part of the land. I knocked on her door and explained that I was looking for history on the house. She invited me in and told me to have a seat and picked up the phone and called her mom to see if she remembered anything about the house. Her mother said, no, but you need to talk to Alice who's family bought the house in 1944. Alice and Christie's mom are still good friends and she had Alice's phone number. I got the number and I was on my way.

That evening I called Alice , who lives in Wyoming, and here is how that conversation when,

ME: Hello, Is this Alice?


ME: I live in the house your parents used to own and you grew up in and I was wondering if you could give me a little history on it.

ALICE: ..........................................................*silence*................................

ME: Alice, are you still there?

ALICE: You mean the house is still there?

ME: Yes, and I am renovating it.

ALICE: Oh my! That is wonderful! I will help you with whatever I can but you need to talk to my sister Virginia, she is 81 and she has a really good memory.

So I chatted with Alice for about 30 minutes and she agreed to try find some old pictures and anything that would help.

I called her sister Virginia who lives here locally and here is how that conversation went:

ME: Hello, Is this Virginia?


ME: I live in the house your parents used to own and you grew up in and I was wondering if you could give me a little history on it. I got your number from your sister Alice.

VIRGINIA: You live in my parents old farm house?

ME: Yes and I am looking for some history and pictures, anything you have I would appreciate.

VIRGINIA: Of course I will help anyway I can. I will talk to my brother Gene and my other sister Mary
and see what they have. But you really need to talk to Mary R. Here family is owed the house before my parents did. Hang on, I have her number here.

ME: You are welcome to come out and see the farm.............................

So guess who is coming Sunday for a visit ?????????  Virginia and her daughter! And they are bringing pictures and newspaper clippings.

So this is just a teaser. I have so much more to share but it will have to wait....................

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Clean up.....Make a mess.....Clean up.....Make a mess....

DIY comes in two categories. 

The first is SEXY. Sexy is doing something that looks like you have done something in the end. Sexy is putting in lighting.......... painting and drywall...........putting up trim..... building furniture

UNSEXY DIY IS: DEMO. I hate it. H-A-T-E  I-T!!!!  And running electrical (Romex cost an arm and leg and it is behind wall where you can't see it.) And Plumbing (Copper pipe also cost an arm and leg and it is behind wall where you can't see it.)

PART 1- What I did two weekends ago.......

It may have seen like I was MIA for awhile but I have been doing stuff around here and it is all unsexy DIY It included cleaning up more dust and dirt that I swear I have never seen the likes of. It also involved ripping up the carpeting which is totally unsexy and just sucks.

 I had to get my house from looking like this:

To looking closer to normal like this:

So you get out some tools like this:

Recruit one happy and willing 16 year old, that you remind daily how you gave him life, to help you rip out the FINAL CARPETING!!!! 

Only to find these beauties under the carpeting but remember this is half the room because on the other side of the walls we took out are a super crappy floor.

Part 2- What I did this weekend

Now that the stairs are and the house is kinda back to normal, I figured that it was time to get started back on the laundry room. That is really what started this whole mess right? So to recap, her is the "mud room" back in October :

Mudroom in October

Access to basement:

Here is what it looked like after I tore out the exterior wall and put in the new windows and I got the bright idea of moving the basement steps so I could enlarge the laundry room even more. It was starting to be a black hole for junk in a short time.

See the basement steps? They turn and go to the left where the door is.

Beginning demo, got the bench out and part of the wall here. Notice you can't see a full sized door yet just a green wall. 

"Hey mom, where is the recip saw?"

Big L found the recip saw. GOD-HELP-ME!

AND OUR DEMO IS COMPETE! (Well about 80% anyway) Even the window got taken out today!

 Yes that is a hidden door! It used to be the entrance to the living room and there is a closet that is going to be there now. That is what I worked on yesterday. I gutted it and took out around six black bags of lathe and plaster. Super fun.

So that is it in a nut shell and I still don't have it all done yet. I have been working on the house and I have very little to show for the hours I have put in. There is something discouraging about working your ass off for something to look worse when you get done with it. I guess it does help to scroll through the pics above so maybe I will go back and do that a dozen times now.