Renovations Large and Small

It seems like it’s been years that we’ve been working on the exterior of our house, but it is finally finished!

dark blue house

I painted the light blue swing and the white planter boxes. Everything else was done by professionals.

My husband’s family built this house in the 1970s, doing most of the work themselves.  They built it on pilings, like a beach house.  It started out with a kitchen, living area, 2 bedrooms, and a large porch.  Over the years it got closed in and more rooms were added.

By the time we moved in in 2009, it was not in the best shape.  Over the years we have painted the exterior once, and put in all new windows, new floors, new ceilings, new stairways indoors and out.  We replaced the small upstairs kitchen with a good-sized one downstairs.  We renovated barns and sheds, added solar panels (which in our case did not live up to the hype), and replaced the deck with recycled wood composite (which has lived up to its promise).  I have written about some of those projects here and here.  I even wrote some lyrics about all these projects.

So this year it was time to put on new siding, and we went with fiber cement siding rather than wood.  Previously the boards in the siding ran vertically; I worried that the new horizontal siding would make the house look short and squatty, but it was fine. We didn’t really have an idea of what color we would go with, but fortunately our neighbors built a new house, and we both loved the color they chose, so we just went with that.

one house through the decades

One house, 1975 to present.

This year, we also added small window in the kitchen. The outdoor stairway we had put up in 2009 was already crumbling, and it would have blocked the view out that window, so my husband added a few feet onto our little balcony, and moved the stairway over as he rebuilt it.

one house, renovated over a decade

Top left: the house when we moved in, top right: painted and with new windows but old deck, bottom left: new deck, bottom right: new siding and paint, and a new stairway. Ten years can make a lot of difference.

So it looks great and I am very happy!

On a much more manageable scale, I also revamped an old trunk.

Antique shops are a great resource for decorating ideas — one idea I saw was setting up an old trunk vertically, and partially opened, to display collectibles.  I had an old trunk full of yarns, but the lining was really shredded.

old trunk and teddy bear

The paper lining of this old trunk was shredding.

I measured the sides and cut cardboard panels from shipping boxes, padded them with old batting scraps, and wrapped some coordinating samples of furnishing fabrics around them.  Then I just wedged them back into place. Doubled cardboard worked best.

newly lined trunk

I used five coordinated samples.

fabric and yarn basket

A close-up of the fabrics.

trunk with collectibles

The renovated trunk.

Some braid around the edges would look really nice, but I haven’t gotten to that yet.  I am just glad to get these furnishing fabrics out where I can enjoy them every day. I think they make a nice backdrop for the handwoven teddy bear and African basket.