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I know – it’s Tuesday.  I said I was going to post some videos yesterday…but you should all know better than that by now, shouldn’t you?  *sigh*

The truth is – apparently I’m an idiot.  At least when it comes to the functions of our camcorder.  First, I got a new computer last year.  And apparently I didn’t install the software for the camcorder on it when I installed the rest of the software.  I’ve now resolved that problem.  However, it appears I can’t actually pull video off the disk unless I finalize said disk.  (I think this is really really stupid by the way – this disk only has 4 tap routines on it and roughly 20 minutes of record time left.  That’s enough for 5 more recitals!  What if I don’t WANT to finalize the disk yet?!?)  In order to finalize the disk, I have to have the cable that plugs the dang thing into the wall.  Which is sitting at home on the entertainment center.  So sorry – you don’t get any video again today.

Being the generous person I am however, I will show you some pictures.  And some links.  And to make the hubby happy (who said the other day “Our blog isn’t even about the house anymore.”), here’re some of the fruits of our labor:


Here’s the dining room.  The bottom color is actually rather creamy.  It’s called Cooper Melon I believe – more on that in a bit.  The top is still white in the photo however, I painted that last night.  At around 8 pm.  Did I mention we headed straight to painting following work?  By the time I had finished, all I wanted was a big ol’ brownie.  The reason?  The top two feet of the wall are now coated in a color titled “chocolate truffle”.  It was literally like slathering chocolate frosting all over the wall.  It goes on the color of a good Ghiradelli milk chocolate and dries the color of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory dark chocolate truffle.  I had to remind myself not to lick the beater roller.  It was too dark by the time I was done to get a decent pic – and I was too hungry and tired.  I’ll try to grab one tonite.

Here we have…


One very wacky boy who has repurposed his Easter basket.  See?  I’m raising him to recycle already! (I think he looks a bit like these guys.)

But really.  We painted a lot more than just the dining room this weekend.


This is a shot of the upper part of the foyer.  This was our task for  (Yes we spent Mother’s Day painting – what a treat!)  It’s painted in Ancient Scroll, a bit of a chameleon color.  Depending on the light it may look more yellow, green, or tan.  I love it.  This color is also going all down the hallway in the 2nd floor as well as for the ceiling of the kitchen/living and all over the mudroom.  I wanted a bit of continuity to the space since it’s so open.  I know I took some great pictures of Josh precariously perched to paint over the stairs…but I must have deleted them darn it!  Once again, OSHA would have been mortified.

I enjoy painting.  Really!  I like how for a pretty inexpensive price tag you can totally change the feel of a room.  The only thing I don’t like?  Ceilings.  Oy my aching neck.  And shoulders.  And back.  And fingers.  And shins (the Boy has commandeered the tall ladder as his own, meaning when he’s around I stand on the 4′ ladder. The top of said ladder I lean against for balance – and it nails me right in the shins.  They are both bruised.  But it’s better than fighting a two year old who constantly climbs up behind me.  Or in front of me.)  All the ceilings have now been painted on the first floor.  I’m trying to block out all that second floor space that still needs to be done.

I think I annoyed the Lowe’s guys mightily when I chose my paint colors.  (And not just because I walked in on a Friday around 5 and ordered 27 gallons of custom tinted paint.)  I don’t pick my paint color by what brand of paint I intend to use.  Primarily because – I never know what brand I’ll use.  New and greener stuff comes around every day.  And I’m also not willing to spend 3 hours trying to match up this brand to that when every major paint house has custom color matching.  Also – I’ve been collecting paint chips for years.  I’ve stashed away 2 large manilla envelopes stuffed to the gills with paint chips.  Some of them are discontinued.  See that color match thing again.

When I was searching for paint colors for the house I knew I wanted all of them to be from a similar color family.  I also knew we prefer browns and greens and oranges and reds to grays and blues and purples.  While perusing paint chips at Lowe’s, I found a line I immediately fell in love with:  the Valspar National Trust Colors.  This site stinks by the way.  It’s great for showing you color schemes, but you’ve gotta search for the information on their partnership.  So here, let me give it to you easy-peasy:

“Celebrate America’s vibrant heritage with our exclusive palette of historic colors. These authentic colors are documented exclusively by Valspar from historic sites across the country. Bring a part of our nation’s history into your home with colors from some of America’s most beautiful places.Valspar will donate a portion of all paint sales to the National Trust, helping people save places that matter to them.”

I feel bad that I totally gipped the Trust out of some money, but Olympic zero VOC paint was cheaper and received better reviews than the Valspar version. *shrug*  I’d give you the names of all the colors I chose that fall in this category, but my paint chips are out at the house.  I’ll put it on my to do list for tomorrow.

And now, the bit for which you’ve all been waiting (you have, haven’t you?)…


Beginner’s tap – totally horrid costumes.  The song?  Wild Wild West by Will Smith (wicky-waa-waa, wicky-wicky-waa…)  Yes, we’re supposed to be saloon girls.


Advanced Class – Mercy by Duffy.  Truly, this is my favorite dance we’ve done.

The theme this year was “A Night At the Movies” – Wild West is obvious.  We were a bit lucky with Mercy.  We started working on this dance in October, while recital theme isn’t chosen/announced until around Christmas.  We all loved the dance and the song – but from a movie?  Hey whaddya know, it’s in the trailer for the movie “The Women“.  They let it slide for us.  Miracle of miracles. (You can see the trailer here if it piques your curiosity.  Come on – did you see the cast?  Meg Ryan, Annette Benning, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, Candice Bergin, AND Princess Leia Carrie Fisher?  It’s on my Netflix Queue – note to hubby, no I won’t make you watch it with me.  Unless you want to.)

That’s all folks.  Here’s hoping I can get some video loaded tomorrow.  Maybe.  Grrr.

The guys have started putting the shingles on the roof.  I’d post a picture, but, uh, you can’t really see them in any of the ones I took.  Black tar paper + black shingles = not so great photos.  *shrug*  Once they get to the porch roof I’ll be able to get a better shot.  In the meantime, we’re looking at a few days of this:


(Sorry Abe and Teddy – those trees sure are pesky back in the employee parking lot.  And no, that’s not static or crap on my window.  It’s snow coming down like crazy.

Brrr!  Fortunately, the guys started putting the windows in last week.


They’ve got all the ones on the first floor done, and half the second floor as well.  Here’s the new view of the kitchen:


(Can you tell this is my favorite part of the house?  No? Hmm…I’ll have to work on that.)

We’ve also already remodeled a bathroom.  When the guys finished framing up all the walls, we took one look at it and said, uh, there’s no way that’s going to work out.  The first floor bath contained both a standard full bath plus the laundry room.  It looked pretty good on paper, providing a separation to the laundry so it could be “hidden”.  But when the walls went up, it amounted to the washer and dryer being shoved in the space of a closet with hardly room to turn around betwixt the two (there’s a window in that wall, so each faced the center of the “closet” area – get it?).  So we made the executive decision to ditch the shower that was in the bathroom, ditch the wall separating the laundry, put them where the shower was and open the whole thing up.

Oh yeah, one little tidbit of note?  THIS WAS (nearly) MY PLAN IN THE BEGINNING!  (And then my hubby and the builder talked me out of it.)  See, I was right as usual.  *smirk*  The original plan still had a full bath in it, but that had to get changed when we needed space for the chase for the duct work.  The idea began with a picture I clipped out of some magazine, although I can’t remember which one and I can’t find it online.  Since my files are at home you’re out of luck.  But it was bright and sunny and had rollered barn-type doors in front of the washer & dryer to hide them away.  It was sleek and a bit funky and totally our style.

The whole point of the story of remodeling the bath amounts to us saving a bit of money by getting rid of the shower, but a total pain in the gluteus maximus because we’d already bought the durn thing.  So Saturday we hauled it back into the Big City to return it.  While there we also picked up the Congoleum flooring for that bath and the mudroom since a local shop was having a phenomenal sale on the stuff.  I’m pretty sure it’s this pattern.  It should look like slate but also match the hardwood flooring that’s going in.

Josh went out to the property yesterday amidst all the snow.  The guys have put the stairs into the basement.  We also found out they’re going to have to tear out and re-do the stairs to the second floor.  I guess the first guys didn’t put ’em in at the right height or something (I admit I wasn’t paying total attention to what the exact story was).  The front door and french doors are also waiting to be installed.  I’m hoping those go in soon just because I can’t wait to see them *in*.

Hopefully the weather is breaking and it’ll be warm enough soon to get back out and take pictures without major frostbite!

(I think my ‘80s roots are showing – thank you, Chicago.)

We’ve gathered inspiration for our home from a wide variety of sources. I’ve been big on hitting the Parade of Homes tour the last few years. Of course, I never cared about the “average” houses. Oh no. If I was shucking out the bucks I was going to see how the other half lived. I love it when the doc’s in the area put their multi-million dollar homes up for show. My camera gets a real workout on those tours (sometimes just for the sheer ridiculousness of the excess). I also have 3 accordion files worth of stuff I’ve ripped out of magazines over the last ten years – BHG, Martha, Real Simple, etc. etc. (I know – what am I ever going to do with 3 files worth, eh? Recycle most of ‘em I expect. What I thought was “awesome” ten years ago I probably hate today.)

But MY biggest influence for this house? The heart of this home for me? The one thing I refused to compromise (much) on? That’s all A.B.

That’d be Alton Brown. Well…not him in and of himself exactly, but his kitchen. I’ve been a fan of Good Eats from the very beginning of the show. He combines my love of cooking with my engineer’s desire for science. And he’s so durn kooky what with the puppets and all. (If you’ve never seen this show, go now. Set your tivo, dvr, or vcr. You must watch it at least once. It’s the show that redeems Food Network for all that is Rachel Ray and her ridiculous “EVOO” crap.)

During the early seasons of Good Eats, AB’s kitchen was, well, “ew”. The show has always been designed to feel as if you’re sitting at his kitchen counter watching and learning as he cooks. And originally it was all about the science and hardly any measurements were given with the recipes. As the show developed a following (can you say cult? I knew you could.) the money rolled in and AB got a new set of digs. And I knew the minute I saw it, I wanted it.

When Josh and I started dreaming up our dream home, this was at the top of my list. “I want AB’s kitchen.” I tivo’d numerous episodes with good shots of the kitchen. (Thinking I’d later pull them up and take some pics of the screen if I couldn’t find anything else.) I scoured the internet to find out what I could. I knew the original was the producer’s actual home (I was a year or so late to get in on the ebay auction for the house). I knew since then they’d moved into a studio for filming. I was fortunate enough to find an article from Home Magazine that featured the Good Eats kitchen. Floor plan and all.

One quick look and I knew I’d have to make some compromises. Because a roughly 30’ wide kitchen was probably a bit of overkill for your average American family. (Ignore that scale they slapped on there – it’s not even close to accurate.) And shortening the plan meant I’d lose some of the options. As much as I loved loved loved those double wall ovens, shortening the width of the kitchen meant they’d have to be stacked right next to the fridge (besides the fact that I’d need to win the lottery to afford them). And I liked that bit of counter between. I also had to let go of the built in desk in exchange for some pantry space. And the 7’ long detachable island also got the ax (ouch).

But I was keeping what I really liked. An efficient open space. Hardly any upper cabinets and lots of drawers under the counters. A built in banquette for every day meals. An open plan to the living room. A whole wall of windows. I did keep most of the island – although I’m still trying to work out the whole angle bit. And instead of the double wall ovens (*sob*) we put a slide in range at the island and a cabinet for a microwave where the ovens went.

I also never did find any information on what the REST of the house looked like. I searched, I emailed, I made phone calls. Nothing. So if you’re out there reading this Good Eats people…thanks for nothing. J