Monday, October 30, 2006

Lyra Helene #1

We were in Austin Grill, and the sunlight coming in the window behind Lyra really showed off her crazy wispy hair and I had to get some photos. I think the smiles between clicks of the shutter were better than what I actually caught on 'film', but you can still tell she is pretty cute. Posted by Picasa

Lyra Helene #2

Lyra, aka "Binky" was looking at Cathleen when this was taken. It may not show up on the blog photo, but in the original you can just make out her ~hazel eyes. We are not certain what color they are, except not brown and not blue. Posted by Picasa

Reno Update Photo 1

This is taken looking north from the kitchen to the dining room. The horizontal plywood in the far bottom of the photo is an attempt at cat proofing the black plastic which separates the part of the house under construction from the front section where we are living. The cats broke through the plastic very quickly. Since this photo was taken we have put up more plywood to keep the cats from going under the plastic then over the wood. Posted by Picasa

Reno Update Photo 2

It may seem like we have a lot of photos that look the same, but there really is progress. This is taken looking south from the dining room to the kitchen through the new arches. Both these rooms are built on a concrete slab, and the trench running down the middle of the photo is the result of several days of jackhammer work. The trench will accomodate new electrical conduit and plumbing. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Week Three - Still more progress!

Both arches are framed and the jack hammered area is for a new electrical conduit to the kitchen. Because of the noise, I haven't been around much during the week. Because my cellphone is a piece of you-know-what, I haven't even been able to return phone calls, so I apologize to all of you who are wondering why I haven't called back. But I will call soon now that I got my phone to recharge.

I went fixture hunting this week. I wish I'd sent Bill. That kind of shopping is not so fun for me. Went to Nuevo Mundo and, as usual, that was great! I also went to Target, Marshall's, Lowe's and the grocery store. Then I took Lyra and myself out to a nice lunch. This staying out of the house during the day is going to end up costing me a lot of money! Posted by Picasa
Eva is standing in the doorway of the newly framed powder room. This was previously a full bath. I was embarrassed at how many full baths we had. Notice that Eva has my double jointed elbows. Bet they love that in ballet class. Posted by Picasa
The framing is up and this window is going to be filled in. There wll be cabinets here with shelves for our cookbooks and cooking magazines. The window to the right will be moved over and made larger. Posted by Picasa
Another load of trash. I think there will be a dumpster on Monday. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I am standing in the kitchen and looking out towards the dining room. Josh's crew from Old Dominion Trim Specialists started the framing work this past week. There will be another arch in the doorway just behind where Bill is standing. It looks like there used to be a transom above thata old doorway there. It must have been filled in a very long time ago because it was filled in with lath and plaster. That toilet there on the left is waiting to be thrown away. There will be a built-in desk and file area on the left and a powder room on the right.

I hadn't realized until I took this picture just how much more open the kitchen would feel with this wider taller doorway. The old and smaller doorways really make for an Alice-In-Wonderland effect.

That big piece of wood to Bill's right is holding up the ceiling until they frame in the wall for the powder room. I will surely have more to show at the end of next week. Posted by Picasa
This was the kitchen. You can see that previous owners had painted it a red-orange color with a gold ceiling. There were a couple of rooms in our house with that color scheme when we moved in. Then, when they redid the kitchen in the 80s, they added those metal joists and lowered the ceiling a bit.

You can see a bit of the arched doorway leading into the kitchen (newly framed!).

That back wall there is going to change dramatically. The window on the right, a/c unit and radiator are all going away. The door is moving over to the right. And the window on the left is going to move over and be larger.

We hope we will be able to keep the cats in the house while all this work is being done on the back wall. Even though the black plastic doorway in the dining room now has a 4 foot piece of plywood nailed to it, KC managed to climb over and sneak out the old kitty door. Fortunately, the old kitty door is also going away! And we will have to make that plywood barrier higher. Posted by Picasa

Room with a View

This is what our garden looks like now. Lots of trash has been removed but not all of it. There is a lot of lumber here for the framing work. And a portapotty. And if you look very carefully at the bottom of the picture, you can see where they've started pulling up the bricks from the patio. Posted by Picasa

Eva and Kaspar

We make fairly regular dinner plans to go out to Austin Grill with Kaspar and his mom and sister. Kaspar and Eva really like each other! Posted by Picasa

Here's Looking at You!

It's blurry but I still like it! At 9 months and 3 weeks, Lyra finally has her first tooth. Maybe there are two in there, I do not know. She will not let me look. I had been wondering if her driver's license picture would look just like this one. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 13, 2006

Day 2 - Demolition!

Look at all this trash in the garden! This part of the renovation is always so exciting. There's lots of noise, movement, big piles of stuff. It provides instant gratification. Posted by Picasa
This doorway is going to be 5 feet wide so the dining room will be a little more connected with the kitchen. Posted by Picasa
There used to be all kinds of kitchen cabinets here. The whole space looks so big without any appliances or cabinets. Posted by Picasa
We will have the kitchen sink until a temporary one can be installed in the dining room. But what I am discovering is that it may actually be easier to use an upstairs bathroom sink.

The zippered door between the construction area and the rest of the house is cumbersome to use with an armload of dishes. That wouldn't be so bad except the cats are OBSESSED with exploring back here, especially last night when they could feel the cool air blown in from this window. I had to shut the window and let them satisfy their curiosity else I do believe they would have torn apart the plastic wall. But letting the cats back here means they will bring dust and dirt back into the rest of the house.

So, it may end up being easier just to leave the zipper closed and rinse dishes up stairs. We'll see if I still think so after the weekend....stay tuned. Posted by Picasa
The bathroom is gutted except for the toilet which can't come out until the Porta-John is put in the garden. I didn't know until now that the bathroom used to be that red-orange color. The library was that color when we moved in and the kitchen was that color some time in the past. I like that color but do not think I would have wanted to be so comopletely surrounded by it in my home.

Look at the DUST! I haven't been able to wear my contacts all week and I think it is because of all the dust stirred up and created by all the demo work. I will be glad when it settles down. Posted by Picasa
This was the old pantry/coat closet. Pretty color, isn't it? We are putting a built-in desk in this space and it will be very nice to have the light from this window. It was a shame to have it shut up in the closet. Posted by Picasa
Here is the dining room. The black plastic has a zipper in it so we can get in here without having to go outside and around back. The door to my office is walled off. That is our range there wrapped in black plastic. We hope this room will be beautiful and elegant in 3 or 4 months but it is hard to imagine that right now! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

House Renovation Progress, Sort of...

Today was our contractor's first day here to start our project. There are a couple of "before" pictures below. Somehow, I got the kitchen cleaned out. Pablo and Miguel moved the large kitchen sideboard into my front hall so I could put our food and dishes on it. The refrigerator is now in the living room.

I tried to heat up leftovers for dinner but when I ran the microwave, the circuit with the refrigerator on it went out. The front hall circuit did too but I'm not sure why. Since Lyra was screaming (she was hungry too) and I didn't want to try moving the microwave around the room to test different outlets. So, here are the kids eating cereal for dinner. Will wasn't really as happy about that as he looks in the picture.

Tomorrow is another day! Posted by Picasa
The movers have already been here and left. Can you tell? I CAN'T! Where am I going to put all this stuff? Posted by Picasa
We moved a lot of furniture out of the house so we would have room to still live here while remodeling our kitchen, bathroom and dining room. The kids cannot believe how much space we have now that the dining room table is gone. Posted by Picasa
We are getting ready to do a big renovation on the first floor. The renovation includes our kitchen, downstairs bathroom, dining room and refinishing the floors in the living room and library. We put a lot of stuff in storage. The pack and move effort has been a source of great fascination for the cats. They've checked out every box but that didn't stop our crock pot and dustbuster from accidentally getting packed and sent away just when we need them most! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Caldwell, Ross and Will spent a great deal of time creating this model of Courasant from the billions of Legos owned by both households. I wish I knew how to photograph these things to do them justice. Posted by Picasa