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Living the Wild Life

Living the Wild Life

September 17, 2006

This weekend I got a door in my kitchen.

I know it is exciting. The thing with home renovation on a budget is that everything happend is stages. Small small stages that seem to take forever to get from one to the next. Rob and I frequently wonder what people do on the weekends who don’t have a billion and one projects lined up to fill the entire 48 hours. We hope to find out one day soon. Really really hope.

Our family room/breakfast room/kitchen renovation has been ongoing since we bought the house three years ago. Have you any idea how much entire new kitchens cost? We didn’t either before we bought this house. But now we know they cost approximately the GNP of a mid sized country. And for someone who doesn’t even enjoy cooking, I know far more about drawer glides, the benefits of full overlay cabinet doors versus the more period appropriate inset design, pot fillers, dish warmers, appliance lay out, and why I can not possibly live without some ridiculously high priced gadget, than I think should be allowed.

And still? We are months and months and MONTHS away from even being at the point where we can order new kitchen cabinets. But each little project gets us closer.

This is what our breakfast room looked like about a year into the project.


It is barely recognizable even to us. That wall right in front of you there with the world’s smallest washer and dryer is no longer there. The kitchen beyond that wall hasn’t changed much.

Then about a year and a half into the project we were here:


Where the door and window are located to the right in the photo is now this (if you were looking in the opposite direction):

Banquet seats

Saturday morning I had this:

In the morning there was a window

Saturday afternoon I had this:

Almost a working door

By saturday night I had a completely working door with out any holes to the outside. And also a doorknob I put on myself. It was actually quite the pain in the ass as it came with all these extra pieces that I had no idea what to do with. At least I assume they were extra since I didn’t use them and the door seems to be working fine. I didn’t take a picture of the completed installation. And even though I am sitting less than 20 ft away from it right now, I am too lazy to get up and take one. You can use your imagination. It’s a door.

This is exciting because this is the side of the house where we park. Hopefully we will have steps soon too so we I don’t have to just look 3 feet up in the air at the door longingly. Apparently I am the only one whith weak scrawny arms that can’t hoist my own body weight up. Or have to yell at the kids to stop jumping out because they can’t shut the door behind them when they do. And the mosquitos seem to be experiencing something of a rebirth this weekend.

I frequently am asked what the kids are doing when we we are busy with all the home renovations.

Playing with saw blades

They busy themselves with sharp objects and tools.

Posted by Chris @ 10:55 pm  

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  1. kate says:

    The renovations are incredible. I love the breakfast room. The built in benches are awesome well worth the thumb injury for you atleast.

  2. Jen says:

    We always amaze ourselves with what we will “overlook” regarding to what our children are playing with while we are trying to do our home repairs and renovations. We still keep saws and power tools out of their hands, but other than that, if it keeps them occupied for 10 minutes at a time, it’s ok with me.

    We also try to involve our eldest (4 yrs old) by giving her some small part of the project to complete. Generally, I have to paint over her area or untie 50 knots from the mini-blinds cord, but she never notices.

  3. CaliforniaGrammy says:

    Beautiful job. A door will be nice to have finally! But now, unless you plan to use a little stool (yeah, right), the steps must be next on the agenda? The benches with the storage space underneath is a great idea! Just beautiful!

  4. bec says:

    I was going to say something empathetic about how our three kids have proved you’re never too young to make a mess with a power drill, but I can’t because I’ve been struck with what fresh hell it must be to Not Enjoy Cooking when you have seven children.

    Yours in awe.

  5. Debbie says:

    How did you live like that wihtout getting stressedout??? The thought of renovations fills me with wayward depression. You know… more than normal….

    Ooh and Ahh at the house and jelous *sigh*

  6. siobhan says:

    Our little one loves screws, he lived in our wardrobe for 14 months, while we built him his bedroom! Our eldest got his very own cordless drill for his 5th Birthday. The joys of renovating & having tools lying around!

  7. Cathy C says:

    Cool job! The transformation is amazing. We’ve been in our house about a year, and we have so much to do, too. But we figure we’ll be here for at least another 29, so we’re pacing ourselves.

  8. Brigitte says:

    Gee, won’t all that white in the kitchen really show the blood spatter when the kids are done playing? Ha ha, I’m always amazed at what I let my daughter play with too, if it keeps her happy, just not knives (not that mine are ever actually sharp anyways, but still).

  9. peepnroosmom says:

    Your house will be gorgeous when it’s done. Just the parts you have shown us are beautiful. Keep posting pics so I can drool over your house some more. *sigh*

  10. Nicki says:

    I have to say it is really nice to read how long it takes you to finish a project. I know don’t feel so bad about the bathroom project that may take a few more months, or the fact that a year later and we still don’t have all the trim up in my daughter’s room. It does however put me off starting the kitchen. I really think that might be the last room we do. I can’t wait to see your finished kitchen/family/breakfast room.

  11. Jean says:

    I sympathize. We have lived without plumbing and electricity for brief periods in our renovation. One summer we had no windows, no stairs down to the only working bathroom and only one working sink (for a family of nine). And I remember the door issue well. For awhile we had to climb a step ladder and then crawl through a window opening in the future living room to get in the house.

    Hang in there. The memories will be good someday.

  12. Six Monkey Jungle says:

    Um, that is really dangerous. You shouldn’t let him use those sharp objects (KIDDING - I just had to beat the moron -I mean well-meaning - poster who will inevitably comment). You know, my neighbors do all their home reno projects while they are gone at work, at one time through hired help. I want to smash them in their heads with a jealousy-ladder. My house still doesn’t have window treatments a year after moving in! Your house looks fantastic!!!!!!!

  13. Jennifer says:

    I love your house. Seriously. I. Love. It. Every picture makes me love it more. Totally worth the thumb.

    But whatever, that is so not the world’s smallest washing machine in the picture. The world’s smallest washer was the one I used to have when we lived in the world’s smallest one bedroom apartment. I had the world’s smallest washer and NO DRYER. It sucked.

    Anyway, did I mention that I love the white the kitchen? Really. I do.

  14. The Lazy Organizer says:

    I can also relate. It took us five years to finish the basement in our last house. We’ve been in our new house for 6 months and we’re still waving to the neighbors as they drive by. From the view from our toilet that is.

  15. Novaks8 says:

    I have a question.

    Where did you live before the big “yellow” house?

    How large was the former house and all that.

    Hard to imagine you anywhere else!

  16. Erika says:

    wow, my dh and I need to get motivated… Our new door and windows (which are in) arent trimmed out yet and you can see outside by looking around the window… lol altho a word to the wise, dont use spray insulation with a 2yr old watching.. I ended up having to cut alot of her hair :( did you know it doesnt wash out? Its like crazy clue! (really, it was on her face, eyebrows, and hands…) sigh we had to wait for it to dry then peel it off in intervals :D That’ll teach her.. rotflmao who am I kidding, no it won’t. but it will teach my dh… ugh no it won’t.
    Love your kitchen thus far, that bench is soooo awesome!

  17. jody2ms says:

    Excellent job Rob!

    We are in the midst of finishing our kitchen as well. Plaster, backsplashes, and paint..oh my!

  18. geminishadow says:

    wow…it looks great….we haven’t even begun redoing our kitchen, I know its going to be a long expensive project. We’ve lived here two years now, and only got the upstairs liveable last month. Its sure nice to live in the upstairs part, and the babys room is the nicest room in the whole place, isn’t she lucky. If you ever find out what it is people do, who don’t have a 1001 projects to do on the weekends let me know cause I fear I will never know!

  19. Jordana says:

    Congratulations on the door! Hooray for progress.

  20. Beth says:

    OMG, I installed that EXACT SAME door this weekend.
    And was it a pain in the butt. But oh how I am pleased with it.
    I also had the strange million extra pieces to the doorknob, and decided that people who write doorknob instructions are sadists. I fared much better when I threw them away.

  21. Playdate Susan says:

    I am envious of your door. The door to my back porch is currently hanging at a 45 degree angle, which makes it impossible to open.

    My solution, however, is to sell the house and buy one that someone else has renovated. Because I am laaaaazy like that.

    (And, as always, smooch Miles for me. Then point him toward the steak knives. Or power tools! They’re fun too.)

  22. Wendy says:

    You are a stronger woman than I. I could never go through renovations for that long. A week was too long for me to be without my kitchen. I will gladly skip things to get it over quicker. When we did our kitchen, I talk the husband out of new cabinets, because the thought of my kitchen being totally ripped up was too scary. I have a little regret over that, but I soothe myself with one day refinishing the cabinets, paying someone, of course.

    I admire anyone whose tackles home renovations on their own. We would rather go into major debt and have contractors do it. However, that brings a whole nother world of problems. You can never win.

    To answer your question: you brave overcrowded public places with a cranky 4 yr, non-sleeping 7 mos old, a depressed husband (his b-day was this weekend and didnt get to do what he wanted…Boo! Hoo!) and a woman who is ready to run screaming from them all. Oh and to top it off it was raining all day.

  23. emily says:

    i am loving those benches! they look great! so is the wall gone and the world’s smallest washer and dryer? you deserve the BIGGEST washer and dryer, so it’s easier to get all that laundry done!! :)

  24. Chris says:

    I love it when you post pictures of your house. Especially of the bench. I think I am in love with your bench. And your stained glass windows.

    We recently started our kitchen redo. Like you, it will be in stages. Stages that most likely drag out until the end of time. Who knew that kitchen cabinets required a second mortgage? Since we pay as we go along, it looks like our cabinets will be taking a back seat for awhile. Right now we are exposing the original pine floors in there.

    If you ever get curious I just started another blog about our house. http://deputyswifebighouse.blogspot.com/

    Stop by and see the constant chaos we are in.

  25. Allanna says:

    I am in awe. It looks beautiful! You and Rob have worked so hard and it’s paid off so well!

    If I ever can afford a house, I’m going to try and channel your expertise and mad skillz at fixing it up to be beautiful and wonderful.

    (My dad’s girlfriend would totally agree with you about the doorknobs.)

  26. liz says:


  27. madre-terra says:

    Love the renovation pictures. And your still happily married…that’s a feat!!! My husband designed and built our geodesic dome. One day he was in the dome doing some work and our then toddler, Xan, came in and was talking to him. He was chatting away with her with his back to her. When he turned around she was standing on top of a 12 ft. ladder chatting away. Oh, yeah his heart skipped a beat as he chatted away back while he climbed up that ladder to get her down.
    We are still building, still trying to mind the girls…..oy!

  28. momslo says:

    I love everything that you guys are doing to that big beautiful house of yours- and I love the way you are staying true to it’s traditional roots! I Also love all your colors-as I’m a big color HO from way back.

    Have you ever considered using so Marmoleom in any of the rooms? I have in my crafted /mud and pantry and laundry and I’ve used it in past bathrooms- I LOVE it! durable and natural.

  29. merry mama says:

    I wish I had summit’ better to say en Grats. Having a door is nice…esp. when the 22 month old is obsessed with saying the word…

  30. Kristie says:

    You know what I love in the photo of the baby entertaining himself with the sharp objects? The cabinet lock that is displayed in the background. It’s never the blatantly obvious things that are dangerous ….. and as long as you keep the crap under the cabinet locked up (er, wait. is that only at my house???) he will be fine! :)

  31. Daisy says:

    I like the last picture the best! He looks completely engrossed in “helping” build the room.

  32. Maddy says:

    LMAO …. I have done the reno thing, omg how many weekends, late night and lots and lots of dollars were spent. The end result is wonderful and so rewarding.

    Doesn’t everyone’s children play with sharp objects?

  33. Kristi says:

    Well, it all looks great. And though I am jealous of your work and the results and think about how great it would be to live in a beautiful, old, renovated home like yours, I understand your feelings on your latest post. I would definitely need to live near the hustle and bustle of life, though to balance it with a bit of country. Perhaps you could lift that big ole house and move it! That should cost, what? The GNP of a few countries?

  34. InterstellarLass says:

    Next week my kitchen project will begin. It will start with the jack-hammering up of some of my floor to fix a sewer leak. Perfect excuse for a new floor. But the new floor will make the cabinets look shabby. And the counters. And the ugly flourescent lights just make everything look UGLY.

  35. Notes from the Trenches » and now it is monday says:

    [...] So this (link) was last weekend. [...]