Jul 29 2012

It has to get worse before it gets better





What was going to be a fairly simple carpet installation in the den has turned into “project creep.”  More later, as this develops…

Feb 5 2012

Nursery Updates

Well, we have had a lot of progress on the nursery lately. Mainly because of this guy:


Marc William, born January 3

He came three weeks early, and the nursery was decidedly not finished yet. But Kelly got a bunch done in the two weeks he was home, and now my parents are in town and my father has been helping with the room as well. Here’s what we have done so far:

  • Finished scraping the window trim
  • Primed and painted the window trim
  • Caulked and sealed the window panes (72 in the room in all!)
  • Painted the room the bright cheery yellow color (it needed few coats)
  • Ripped up the carpet
  • Sanded the (in great condition!) floors
  • Stained and polyed the floors to a wonderful color and shine
  • …And Kelly is currently working on priming and painting the baseboards (including fixing some damaged baseboards) and installing the quarter round

Scraping the window trim

Lovely joinery in the old windows

Window trim got primed and painted

We tested three different shades of yellow before going for the lightest one.

Kelly had lots of help with the windows. Here, my parents are helping scrape paint off the glass panes.

Ripping up the carpet

We found the floors in such good shape!

The sanding finished

Staining his way out the door

The floors stained. We went with a lighter "pecan" shade.

Two coats of stain, two coats of poly later...

Shiny shiny floors...

Sep 13 2011

New Project!

I know, I know, we haven’t even finished up a bunch of old projects, much less blogged about the progress we’ve made – on the stairs, on the driveway gate… However, this project is very important and has a strict due date for finishing!

That’s right – a due date.

Baby Kellen

Baby Kellen will make his appearance on or about January 22, 2012, so we’ve got a nursery to create!

We have decided to turn the office/craft room into the nursery – it’s adjacent to the master bedroom through a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, so it really is the perfect spot for it. There’s no way I’m giving you all any pictures of the room in its current state (dumping ground for storage and a mess with office stuff and craft stuff), but here are some pictures from before we moved in:

Back bedroom
(We’ve got some work to do on the windows and window trim, that’s for sure…)

Back bedroom
(Looking towards the bathroom through to the master bedroom)

Back bedroom closet
(The biggest closet in the house and cute little shelf area from where there once was a chimney)

I’ll go into detail in a further post about what exactly we are going to have to get done in this room (newsflash: it’s a LOT!) but here are two pictures for you to contemplate in the meantime.

Hopeful floorplan

Colors, fabrics and inspiration board

This color scheme is so happy and bright, and I chose it even before we knew we are having a boy. I think it works just as well for girls.

More to follow…

Jun 10 2011

Our Den

This post is our entry into the Making it Lovely Social Space Makeover Contest.

When we were looking at houses, we knew that one of the things high on our priority list was a house that would be a good place to entertain. We love to throw parties – dinner parties, Halloween parties, random come-over-for-some-XBox parties, etc. When we first saw this house, we loved the way the house seemed to draw you in – from the front porch to the living room, through the dining room and then down into the den. It was a very welcoming layout. And being open and hospitable to friends, guests, (and sometimes even strangers) is important to how we want to live our lives.

We love our den. It’s a cozy space, where we often curl up as a family, watching movies, eating dinner (more often there than in the dining room these days it seems…). Jack and Kelly play on the Xbox in there, or surf random YouTube videos. It’s the one place in the house that we want to keep carpeted (though we desperately want to change out the carpeting for some newer, plusher stuff…) We love the architectural features from where the old outside back porch used to be. We love our big red sectional, which was one of the pieces we bought when we got our homebuyer’s tax credit.

What we don’t love about the space is this: it needs to be recarpeted, like I mentioned; it needs paint and some electrical work (there are some random wires sticking out of the ceiling); our storage is flimsy particle board bookcases and we’d love to have something built-in with some closed-storage options; the chairs are some randoms we had inherited from previous apartments and family friends. Dreaming down the road, we’d love to have french doors instead of the sliding ones that go out to the back yard. We’d also love to be able to somehow tap the main house’s AC and heat so that we don’t swelter in the summer and freeze in the winter. (Kelly has a few ideas about how to make that happen…)

Anyway, since we’ve got a whole huge house to eventually renovate (and not a lot of cash to make it happen) we’d love to be able to win the makeover contest being offered by Nicole at the Making it Lovely blog. Here’s a video of our space and a few pictures.

Our Den – our Social Space from Ellen Filgo on Vimeo.

May 5 2011

Floor Plans

Some of our blog readers have been in the house (even slept in the guest room), some may have seen the house tour video we made a year ago, but I just realized lately that some of my readers might have no clue how our house is laid out. So for all you readers who are wondering, I drew up some house floor plans recently (using floorplanner.com). Just as an FYI, these are so not to scale, though the proportions are fairly good:

The first floor

Major things we’d like to do on the first floor:

  • renovate the kitchen from top to bottom
  • as a part of the kitchen reno, move the washer and dryer upstairs
  • the den needs a lot of work, including electrical and insulation, new carpet and some fresh paint
  • strip and stain the built-ins in the butler’s pantry
  • tear out and re-fit the pantry with better shelving
  • new drywall and flooring in the back hallway off of the kitchen
  • Pull up carpet in front hallway and install new a floor (the one place in the house that the hardwood is in horrific shape…)
  • finish fixing the trim in the living room
  • de-popcorn-ify all the ceilings that have it (this also goes for 2nd floor)
  • possibly board & batten walls in the dining room?
  • re-caulk and paint and finish windows (this also goes for 2nd floor)
  • other things I’m probably forgetting

The second floor

Major things we’d like to do on the second floor:

  • Pull up carpet and refinish the hardwood floors
  • Paint all rooms, fix trim etc.
  • Turn the hall closet into usable space for stackable washer and dryer
  • Renovate both bathrooms with new tile and fixtures
  • Create built in storage in office/craft room (which will hopefully turn into a nursery soon)
  • De-texturize Jack’s bedroom walls
  • Have I mentioned the windows yet? Do you see how many windows there are in this house? That project alone will take forever… *sigh*

Oh, and of course, finish the stair project! Could our list get any longer? I really don’t think so… This doesn’t even include the outdoor projects (i.e. the jungle that is our backyard and the almost ramshackle-y two story shed that needs fixing up.) We seem to have been focusing a lot of attention on the outside – particularly the front yard – lately, but that’s just because it’s prime gardening season around these parts. However, another outdoor project got shoved to the front of our to-do list recently, so you can look forward to Kelly posting about building a driveway gate – whenever he finishes it!

By the way, if you’re a new(ish) reader of our blog, don’t be shy, say hi! What kind of projects do you have on your list?

Mar 19 2010

Our House’s Name

letter H letter O nantUcket metal type letter s letter E

Lowercase Letter O on Peeling Plywood (Takoma Park, MD) letter F

letter K letter E letter L letter L letter E letter N

Made with Spell with flickr. In case you didn’t know, when we were dating we fairly quickly became known as Kellen. We think we pull a combined name off better than some celebrities…

Nov 30 2009

It’s officially ours!

We closed this afternoon after a last minute revision for a broken heater. Kelly is excited to get over there tonight to start ripping up the quarter round in the living and dining rooms so that refinishing the hardwood floors can get underway. We were thrilled to discover on a visit to the house last week (showing it off to family over Thanksgiving) that there are hardwood floors all throughout the upstairs of the house, underneath the carpet. When our budget allows, we’ll rip up carpet and refinish those floors as well.

We’re looking to move in the week before Christmas…

Bought the house!

Nov 23 2009

Welcome to “Building Our Nest”

Last fall when Kelly and I were first dating, we had a discussion about our desires someday to renovate a house.  The fact that we both loved older houses that had a history and character was one more “Check!” on our long list of why we were falling in love with each other.  Kelly sent me a text once that said “the thought of building a nest with you is so exciting” and since that time we’ve talked about some day finding and renovating our nest.

Flash forward to a little more than a year later.  We’ve now been married for 6 months (today! exactly!) and in a week we are going to close on our nest – a 1916 colonial with craftsman influences in the Sanger Heights neighborhood of Waco, Texas.  It’s a fixer-upper with tons of charm.  This blog will be our way of documenting our progress of renovating our house together. We can’t wait to start building our nest.

Pictures of our soon-to-be house!