Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

I'm giving myself the week off from blogging, but will be back next Monday to share before and after photos of our backyard. Have a great week everyone!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Festival of Historic Houses

Thanks to all your encouragement, you'll be proud to know that I did get up the nerve last night to knock on the door of the house I love so much to ask about their paint colors. Unfortunately, there was nobody home. I promise to go back though, or better yet, I'll make Chris do it.

Since we're on the subject of house stalking, if you are local to the Providence, RI area, you won't want to miss the Festival of Historic Houses the weekend of June 2nd and 3rd. It promises to be an interesting tour this year: Saturday is the traditional single family home tour; and Sunday is a tour of condos and lofts in Providence's historic Jewelry District.
For more information, click here.
Maybe I'll see you there!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

House Stalker

I've been stalking this house in my neighborhood because of its exterior paint color. I'll drive out of my way just to admire it. I've driven friends and family members by it to show it off. It is charcoal grayish green awesomeness with cream trim and I love it.
George P. Landow
Do I dare knock on the door and ask the owners for the name of the paint colors?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Getting Dirty

Picking up where we left off, Chris and I were anxious to get started on our makeshift patio using the pavers we found in our side yard last weekend.

Now, I don't recommend that anyone use this post as a tutorial for laying a patio. We didn't take the time to do it right, meaning that we didn't dig down, level the space out, lay gravel and sand, etc, etc, etc. Rather we had some found materials, a free weekend day, and a spot in our yard that wasn't being used for anything but growing weeds. So why not make it look a little prettier?

The first thing we did was to purchase about $50 in additional pavers. We dug up a bunch last weekend, but knew it wasn't going to be enough to cover the amount of area we wanted to cover. Then Chris pulled up the layer of sod & roots that remained after he mowed it down last weekend.
Then he dry fitted the stones.
That's about the time I walked over to tell him they were too close.
 So we spread them out a little to cover more area.
 Then we "planted" them. No real method or science here. Just a lot of digging in the dirt and heavy lifting.
 Here are the pavers all settled in. We hosed the area down because the water helped the dirt settle into all the nooks and crannies.
Our next task will be to plant grass or another ground cover between the cracks.
It looks pretty good, I have to say, but here's the bottom line:
Is it level? Nope.
Will the pavers pop out of place over time? Probably.
Are we going to be able to stop weeds from growing in between the pavers? Nope.

Does the side of our house look better than it did before?
Heck yeah :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grass and Stone

Unearthing the patio stones from our side yard last weekend has sparked our interest in using them to lay a very rustic patio.
I've always loved the look of pavers with grass or ground cover growing between them.
Design Sponge
Better Homes & Gardens
House Beautiful
Better Homes & Gardens
My favorite thing about patios like these is that they look like they've been there forever. They look carefree and relaxed...exactly the way I want to feel when I'm outside enjoying it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Backyard Discovery

Hope all moms enjoyed a fantastic Mother's Day (especially our own!).
Chris and I had the pleasure of hosting our friends, Jaime, Marisela and their daughter, for the weekend who were visiting from California.  We took advantage of the perfect weather and enjoyed Mother's Day brunch in our in-progress backyard.
 After we said good-bye to our friends, Chris and I picked up where we left off last week and made a little more progress in the backyard.
Now our neighbor's garage is no longer growing trees from its gutter.
 Chris also mowed down the area on the side of our house. We were curious to see if it might be a good spot to put our patio table.
Wait, what's this?
It looks like a flagstone paver...
It is! and we found many more!
I bet we could use them to do something pretty cool back here...

Friday, May 11, 2012

It Takes a Village

Last Friday, my little brother and his wife welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Ella Reese to the world. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, so even before Baby Ella arrived Auntie Carrie and Uncle Chris were helping out.

My sister in law, Kirsten, already had a beautiful bedroom set that was handed down from her grandmother that she wanted to use in the baby's room. The problem? It was painted mismatched colors and overall not looking very "baby girlish".

So I prepped
And I painted
While Chris and my brother put the crib together.
Then we went home and left Kirsten to do all the finishing touches. A few days later she emailed me "after" photos. 

Another bureau looks perfectly at home in this little niche. 
This photo of Ella's closest cracked me up because it came with the caption, "organized like Aunt Carrie". Clearly Kirsten hasn't been snooping in my closets because mine are NOT this organized! 
Kirsten made the personalized name art with scrapbook paper and wooden letters from a craft store. It was easy to do in a pre-matted four photo frame.

Isn't it a sweet nursery?
I think little Ella is going to feel very much at home here.

Congratulations Chris and Kirsten!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Before moving to Hazard Ave, I used to check the real estate listings in our area every single day to see what was new to the market. Not necessarily because we were seriously looking for a new house, but because I was interested in seeing what else was out there.
As it turns out, one spring morning two years ago I saw a fixer upper in a neighborhood we loved, saw that it was in our price range, and made an appointment "just to check it out".
As they say, the rest is history.
I don't check the listings as often anymore, but can't help but get excited about all the new activity this time of year. I especially love when the houses that you've long admired from the street finally go up for sale so you can see what they look like inside (and quite frankly, how much $$$ their asking).

If I were in the market for a new home (with an unlimited budget), I'd be all over this Boston town home. Available for $2,195,000. See complete listing here.
I could be convinced to move into this NYC town home too.
If I had $6,495,000.
See listing here.

I'd buy this one in San Francisco just for the charming garden patio. Offered at $1,995,000 available here.

But this one is more my speed. A $849,000 fixer-upper in nice San Francisco neighborhood. Listing here.

Can't you see the potential?

Monday, May 7, 2012

That Was Easy

Notice anything different? 
I'll refresh your memory. This was the view in our backyard last week.
As luck would have it, our sweet old lady neighbor had her house repainted
One day last week her painter rang our doorbell and asked if he could use our backyard to paint her garage. 
He told me that he wouldn't have been able to get back there with the metal fence in the way. It was good timing that Chris and I took the fence down when we did! 

You may have also noticed that the metal fence posts are gone too. It turns out that our solution for removing them was way easier than we had anticipated. After we took the fence down, we had rolls of discarded metal fencing that we didn't know what to do with. In a stroke of brilliance, I searched Craigslist for "scrap metal" in the farm and garden services category and found someone offering to pick up scrap metal for free. 
I called the guy and he showed up 15 minutes later, loaded his truck up with our trash, and turned to leave. Almost as an afterthought, he pointed to the metal posts and asked if he could take those too. 
He borrowed Chris's Sawsall, loaded it up with a metal cutting blade, and proceeded to take down the poles. He had them both out in less than 5 minutes.

"Oh", I thought to myself, "That was easy."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wheels in Motion

You've heard me say before that we have some major plans for the exterior of our house this summer. The mansard roof needs replacing, the siding needs repainting, and we need to take care of some not-so-fun stuff like a new porch railing and gutters.
If there's any money left in the budget we'd love to install some outdoor landscape lighting.

Careful not to lean against this railing or you'll fall right into the flower bed!
Our house looks haunted, we know.
 Even though we're not going to do any of the labor ourselves, that doesn't mean there's not a lot of planning and coordination involved on our part. We need to line up the roofer to replace the roof and the gutters then have the front porch railing fixed before we can have the house painted. If possible, it would be nice to get this done within a span of a few weeks instead of dragging it out all summer long. The challenge is to ensure that all contractors can be available when we want them to be.

Right now Chris and I are in the process of confirming the roofing estimate we got last summer and getting bids on paint contractors.
And, of course, saving, saving, saving. If only this stuff came for free!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Newport Neighborhood Home Tour

This past Sunday Chris and I attended the Newport Neighborhood Home tour and it did not disappoint. There was a strict no photo policy, so I'm going to have to get creative in sharing some of the homes with you all...
My favorite was the Gray Craig estate. During the tour Chris overheard some people saying the home was previously owned by Nicolas Cage. Come again???
So you know I had to Google it when we got home. According to the Providence Business News, Cage purchased it for $15,700,000 in 2007 and sold it for $6,200,000 last year. Ouch.
Here are some images from the real estate listing (view more here).
The decor looks much different today (and in my opinion, more tasteful. Sorry Nick).

Moving on to Chepstow, a mansion owned and maintained by the Newport Preservation Society. It, and all its furnishings, were bequeathed to the Preservation Society in 1986. Today it looks much the same as it did in 1986--lots of florals, antiques, & ruffles. More info available here.
Lastly, here's one more house on the tour that I'm able to find interior images of online.
 If you like this one, you are in luck because it's for sale. Asking price is $3,350,000. (See listing here).

Did anyone who lives locally attend the tour?

Thank you to Roselle McConnell, Co-Chair of the Neighborhood of Newport House Tour for providing passes to Chris and I. We hope to see you next year!
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