Friday, September 3, 2010

1 year anniversary!

One year ago today James and I:

(A long time ago in Puerto Rico when life was simple...)

... closed on our house in Clintondale, NY.

So much  has happened and I am about to recap it all. 

Our BIG HUGE task right in the door was to install 16 new Marvin windows. It was already in the works and we had added that expense to the cost of the house. Most of the windows were only storms and one was just a garbage bag. 

New windows just in time for winter. This old lady is drafty enough without real ones so that was a smart move on these homo (wner) s' part. High five James!

Inside, the dining room was our number one priority. It was a doggy pee stinking hellhole to put it mildly. 

And this corner proved to be our first BIG challenge.

A piece of carpet left under the radiator. We tugged and pulled and puked and got it. All in the first 24 hours of homeownership. 

And to move things along. Here's the sweet afters:

No more pee corner and no more chewed off windowsills.

Table, chairs, rug and sofa are on loan from Rosemary. The white buffet is from IKEA. The shade is from Country Curtains. The paint color is Ralph Lauren: Polo Green in 2 different finishes.

Only wish I could hook you up with a virtual scratch and sniff before and after. 

Living room and dining room are joined together and we decided that if those 2 rooms got fixed up we would have enough living space to be happy once the pastry shop got torn out. They were also relatively easy to make nice. A little paint and a lotta love and whammo - homey.

So.... we stripped 3 layers of wall paper...

James tackled the knots on the ski cabin wall. We painted the bricks of the fireplace white and spray painted the doors black.

We took a break around thanksgiving and made nice for a feast.

And then we ripped it all out again to finish the floor.

The couch is from Rowe and Rosemary! The chairs are from Raymour and Flanagan. The hearth and side table are on loan from Rosemary. The coffee table is Salvation army and the rug is Lowes. Shades from country curtains. Floor lamp from IKEA. The walls are painted in Benjamin Moore: decorator white and all the trim including the wood panel wall are Benjamin Moore: dove white. The floor was sanded and stained white and then covered in a flat polyurethane. All that's left is a new rug and some art work on the walls. 

On Halloween we carved pumpkins and sat all night with a giant bowl of candy waiting for trick or treaters that never showed. But our pumpkins sure were nice.

And then it was christmas!

We spent 2 1/2 glorious weeks up here and got much done. The living room was all apart and cozy-time took place in the pastry shop.

Named so because both owners are dreamers. And one dreams of making fluffy, tasty pastries for all of Clintondale to enjoy.....


Where was I?

Oh. Yes. The blue room/long room/pastry shop/music studio is a gorgeous room that could become many things and it hosted our tree at christmas and a party on New Years. 

But after that it didn't stand a chance against Bigg Jimmy's Demolition Dang Up!

C'MON. Who gave this guy a sledgehammer?

Shortly thereafter we were introduced to the J's and since then it's been hard to keep up.

Gutting. Vapor barriers. Concrete support. New frame for the floor. Check.

Subfloor and steel beam to support upstairs bathroom.


This is where we are today. Our dear pastry shop is the tool shed and Grand Central Station for contractors and electricians and others. Next - we insulate and sheetrock. Half of the room we be our new mudroom and half will be James' office.

Now for the upstairs... The first time we looked at the house in February 2009 "the green room" was inhabited only by a large rodent in a cage. And smelled there of. When we moved in we realized it was the most finished room in the house... Lucky us.

We started referring to it as the dead zone. We would go up there once a month, sigh, pull up a couple of floor tiles and leave. But one day the devil got into BIGG JIMMY again and things would never be the same.

This is going to become our master suite. We could only do so much demo and soon the J's took over.

No more drop ceiling. No more green. Just space and clean slates. Again, this is up to date and we are soon ready to call the insulation guys to come and spray. And then the sheetrock guys to come and sheet rock. Our goal is to get her done by christmas.

We moved right in to our temporary bedroom in September. We call it the bay window room and once the upstairs is done it will become MY office/future screening cave/additional guest room. So very little has been done to it in the past year, and once the bed moves we might give it a paint job but that's it.

The four poster bed is on loan from Rosemary and the dresser is James'. The mirror was aquired through a recent neighborly transaction, Chris got a radiator and we got this. Fits nice!

This is blogging central! The desk is from salvation army and is all the space I need.

As far as kitchen and bathroom go we have only done small improvements. Enough to be able to call it ours. Our 5 year plan includes a major renovation on both these spaces, so we only have to live with these rooms temporarily. Buuuuuut - that said - some things just HADDA GO. 

Can't really explain why these squiggly edges make me so angry. Our contractor Scott put them through a router and planed the faux country right outta them!

So from this...

To that...

Yup. That's MY kitchen.

Bathroom underwent some minor changes in the first few months.

This is the shape it was in when James and I stepped in with scrapers held high.

Walls and ceiling painted but that pink... What to do about that PINK!?!? Rosemary said: PAINT IT!

And paint it we did. Crazy toxic epoxy paint. So horrible to work with that we only got half the bathroom done, but this winter we are gearing up to finish it.

In the spring we abandoned most inside projects and started focusing on fixing the outside. It's a very large paint job and we are chugging along. This weekend I scraped and sanded 2 windows. 

Hey! There I am!

The side that has gone through the most changes is the south side. 

The changes are subtle but make all the difference!

Other highlights of this past year include a crazy snow storm that brought me back to winters of my childhood and taught us a little something about country living. It knocked our power out and gave the trees a rough shake about.

A visit from my folks in the spring!

Full of Jambalaya on the patio by the Azalea in bloom. 

At the annual Ukrainian festival in Kerhonkson. About to devour some BEIGE food.

There was a lot of playtime but some work also got done. We built this bench under the sugar maple out of found stones.

And also - being able to follow along as the Gunk Haus has gotten ready to open its doors.

This must have been taken in the early spring. Now there are happy OPEN signs everywhere! What a great place and what a great thing for Clintondale!

This is our house. And next time you see it it will have some green spots and a white porch.

This spring brought us many great surprises in the yard. We realized we had inherited some beautiful greenery!

Four Azalea bushes in varying colors.

A pink Dogwood


Star Magnolia

Oh. And this. KNOT so beautiful...

And a Maple Ave Gazette post wouldn't be complete without some bird watching. We inherited a bird feeder from the previous owner and more out of scatterbrainedness than interest we ended up leaving it in place. And I can't believe how much enjoyment we have gotten out of it. We started with one feeder and last we counted we have 8 different dining experiences for our winged friends. It's like a dang food court around here. 

So you want some highlights? Oh, alright...

It started this fall and winter with Cardinals and Juncos mostly.

Every once in a while a very shy lonely tufted titmouse...

The opposite describes these bullies!

Along came the Robins...

And the occasional woodpecker.

Red bellied woodpecker.

Downy woodpecker.

Then spring arrived and we hung finch sacks and humming bird feeders. 

With outstanding results!

And of course I have to sign off with my favorite sunset snap of the year.

But I can't pick just one so here's some more nature porn. 

Here's to another year of great changes and more lessons in country living!


  1. Happy Anniversary, Linda and James!! I have enjoyed reading about and seeing the changes to my former residence. Dirk @ the Gunk Haus informed me of your blog in June, and I have followed your progress. You both have done a lot of hard work, and I am glad that you are enjoying your home and its surroundings. The photos are great, and I'm glad that you have the support and love from family and friends. With my best wishes to you both and continued enjoyment in your endeavors.

  2. WOW. Very Inspiring. We can do it too - I'm sure we can.......

  3. It is a great story..........and such a fitting comment with good wishes
    from your former owner. So many happy years ahead in this ' getting
    wonderful house.'...........Rosemary

  4. GRATTIS! Vilket första-år! Och vad spännande att förra ägaren läser... eller inte? ;-) Om det har gått så här bra redan nu - vad kan då år 2 ha i sitt sköte? Ska bli kul att se bilderna om ytterligare ett år. Fast jag ser gärna bilder däremellan. SÅ KLART. KRAMAR!

  5. Underbart. Vilken underbar läsning. Jag är superglad att få se hur ni bor. Att få läsa och se bilder, allt och alla på än gång. Många kramar Anna

  6. Thank you all for stopping in and reading! I love hearing your comments and encouraging words. We love this place to pieces and are eager to start year 2 and to see what it may hold!

  7. I so enjoy reading the tales of Big Pink! Having just moved to another ghetto-central apartment in Brooklyn, your stories remind me that there are other, better places to enjoy besides the city. Your property in Clintondale is a little piece of heaven!

  8. What a great job you guys did! I grew up in this house. Enjoyed the blog and your photography. Very happy to see this! Best wishes, Andrew Minard