Baby M’s Room

I was going to wait until Baby M’s room was completely done, but I could not wait any longer.  James wanted to put hardwood floors in the nursery because it would be cleaner with two hairy dogs in the house.  I finally agreed after much hesitation.  We bought unfinished circle sawn fir to match the wood in the living room.  We had pulled up the carpet in the nursery and threw it out.  We did have somebody put the wood floors in the nursery, James nor I have ever done that before–so we thought we would let the professionals do it this time and we would hover over them to watch how they did it.  James parents arrived just in time from Sunny Northern California to help James stain the floor. I would have helped but was not allowed to because, well, I am pregnant and should not be around the fumes.

IMG952015110595180227957Unfinished Circle Sawn Fir in our baby’s nursery!

James and his dad worked for two full days on finishing the floor. They carefully sanded the wood planks, vacuumed all the dust up, stained the floor–two coats, and then put the finish on.

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I must admit, this is one job I was happy to hand over to James and his dad. The fumes from the stain were horrible, even with the fan out the window and the nursery room door closed.

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Then came the finishing coat.  That stunk pretty bad as well, however it did seal in the rest of the smells.  If I am not mistaken, James dad put two coats of the finish on and it did not take too long for it to dry.  We got the baseboards back on, touched up the walls, and painted the ceiling white. (The ceiling was the same color as the walls before this).

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Floors are done! I will not show you the rest of the room yet because we have not completed it.  But the floor looks nice doesn’t it?  I was not a fan of the wood at first because it seemed cold and not baby friendly–however I have since changed my mind and can not wait to bring our little girl home to her wonderful room!

Minor Changes

When the husband is gone, the wife will play.  Or redecorate…

While James is gone to North Dakota, Wyoming, or where ever his work may take him I find myself getting quite bored.  Apparently I am not very good at entertaining myself–or talking to myself.  The dogs are great listeners, but sadly they do not respond as I wish they would.  So this time around I decided to get some things accomplished.  Some needed changes, some changes just because it was time.

Last weekend my father in law and husband stained the hard wood floors and painted the ceiling in the baby’s room.  (More on that to come in future posts).  I was waiting rather impatiently to move our little girls clothes, toys, and blankets into her new room.  Turns out today was the day! Check out this adorable closet!

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Sneak peak of the new floor.

You have to admit, it is quite cute!  I love the little clothes hung up.  I can not wait to put my little girl in those clothes.  I would like to thank, once again, my extended family for all of the wonderful clothes, books, toys, and blankets for my daughter.  They are doing a great job of filling her closet and will keep my little girl nice and warm when she arrives in February.

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This outfit is from my sister–cute corduroy overalls and a warm sweater for my future 3 month old.

After this project was done, it was onto the next.  Any guesses of what that may be?  Let me tell you!  I changed the shower curtain in our spare bathroom–to be baby bathroom.  I have been looking for the perfect shower curtain that will brighten up the small, windowless bathroom.  After a good month of looking, I finally found one that is perfect. It has the same colors as the baby’s room but the pattern is more appropriate for a bathroom.  It also won’t scare anybody away who uses the bathroom because it is not screaming BABY.

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Before                                     After

I think it brightens up the bathroom quite nicely.  I am going to buy some navy towels for this bathroom, but for the time being I do not think the cranberry color is terrible.  I know James mayb be a little bummed that his woodsy themed house is slowly changing, but no worries, I am not taking EVERYTHING woodsy away.  I am not able to anyways–there is a moose and deer carved into our fireplace and front door; the whole foundation of our house is rather woodsy.  James has a bedroom downstairs that he decorated and the bar area downstairs is woodsy–see compromise.  I am just balancing out the woodsy-ness with some good old country style.

The last project was really just a relocation.  After we took everything out of the guest bedroom, I also removed my (only) handmade curtain in the house and put it into James office.  This curtain also happens to be the only curtain in the house because it took FOREVER for me to sew, even with my sewing machine.

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I think the curtain is quite fitting for this room if I do say so myself.  I do fully plan on making a curtain for the baby’s room, I will keep you updated on the progress.

Grandmas Things

My house just got a face lift with new paint (see the previous post) and I can not think of a better way to add charm to my house than to add more antiques!! My grandparents recently sold their city house and moved out to their lake house full time–I think that this move was exciting but very overwhelming and sad because my grandparents designed, built, and lived in their city house for over 50 years.  When they decided that they were moving, their three kids and nine grand-kids were able to go through their house and let them know what we would like.  I must admit, I am glad that I was not the one who decided who got what, I can only imagine how many names were on certain pieces of furniture/antiques.  But somehow it all worked out.

I loved most of the furniture in my grandparents house, however I already live in a fully furnished house, therefore, I had to pick and choose the most sentimental or interesting pieces.  I was quite pleased with the items I ended up with and they look great in my house!  I don’t even think James minds what we ended up with, plus, he knows my obsession with old things.

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Dry Sink

I have always loved dry sinks! I was so excited when this lovely piece of furniture showed up at the house! it looks great, is in great condition, and adds so much to our spare bedroom upstairs!

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Cherry Basket on the left (Gray and blue) and two lanterns on the right. I have had my eye on these three things for a long time. They were hanging around my grandparents house for as long as I can remember.  There were four lanterns, but my sister got two and I got two.  Sharing right?

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These two beauties were lights in my grandparents downstairs bathroom, I absolutely love these!  They are old oil lamps that my grandpa added electricity to way back when they built the house. I had originally thought I wanted them to be lights, however when I walked past this area on the way downstairs I could not pass it up! They fit perfectly there!

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The mirror is also from a bathroom and the potty chair…I really adore this piece of furniture.  It has a hole in the seat that can be covered up when it was not being used. There is a door on the backside of the chair to take the tray out each morning.  Now, I know that since it has been in my grandparents possession it has not been used as a potty chair, just a chair.  So nobody has used it as such for over 50 years, but I can not promise that it has NEVER been used. There is a handwritten note on the bottom side of the seat cover that reads:

“Hannah J. Bowen
From Mother
Aug. 7th 1892”

The fact that it probably had been used as a potty chair in 1892 and possibly up until my grandparents got a hold of it might gross some people out.  However I think it is fascinating! I love the thought that this chair has been floating around the US (maybe world) for about 120 years.  Can you imagine how many people have touched this chair (or sat on it); I think it is very neat to think about the history of this chair.  If this chair could talk, imagine the stories it would have!

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This light came from my grandpas office at their house.  I adore this, it is an old jug that has been transformed into a light.  This is the smaller of the two that they had. The larger lamp accidentally got left at my sisters house while they were packing all my things up to be brought out here.  The larger lamp will get out to Southwest Montana eventually.  I was also given a very old side table, however that is also still in my parents possession.  My mom did not want it to get ruined on the way out here, but part of me thinks that my mom did not want to give it up yet–which is ok, as long as it gets into my hands eventually.  This particular side table came out to the Midwest from New England a long, LONG time ago, so I can understand why they want to be careful with it.  Another item that I am particularly fond of is a bakers table that was in my grandparents basement.  That has not made the trek out to Montana yet either. It is rather large and needs to be redone, so I will refurbish it and find the perfect spot for it eventually.

Extra Hands

My mom came out to visit last Wednesday and stayed for just over a week, my dad had planned on coming last Friday but the weather was miserable and he was not able to fly out here until Monday afternoon.  Both my parents flew back Thursday morning–is it time for you guys to come back here yet?! We had planned to stain the trim on the outside of our house while my parents were in town, however the weather had other ideas. It has been raining for the past 2 weeks, non-stop.  So staining was thrown out the window, we do however, have a color picked out for when it stops raining and our house dries up again.

I have been wanting to repaint the inside of my house for a while now, it wasn’t that the color was bad, but it made the house seem very dark and woodsy.  James only recently decided that the house should be painted, maybe because I kept bothering him about it?  But in reality, he was tired of the green as well.  I was pushing for Sherwin Williams Antique White, James wanted Whole Wheat, also by Sherwin Williams.  Whole wheat is a nice color, we have that in the basement and bedrooms, but I wanted something a little lighter for the main level of the house.  James must have been on a painting frame of mind because last Saturday he decided that we should paint the inside of our house if we can not paint the outside.  So we looked at colors for a few hours and we compromised on the color between Antique White and Whole Wheat– Believable Buff.  My mom measured the wall square feet and we figured out how many gallons we would need, turned out to be 5-6 gallons.  On Sunday morning my mom, myself, and James went to go get paint, the paint lady asked if we would like a sample of paint first.  Now, normal people would say yes; it is a logical thing to do, sample the paint on the wall to make sure you like it, right?!  Well, turns out that is not how James and I roll.  We just wanted a 5 gallon bucket of paint.  I think my mom was either A) Totally impressed that both James and I were on the same page or B) Thought we were totally insane for buying $170 worth of paint without testing it first because she looked a little shocked.  Either way, we jumped right in, no turning back now!

We got back home, pushed the dogs out the dog door and locked them outside (it was not raining at that point) and started to tape the trim, doors, and windows.  James must have pulled the short straw because he was volunteered to paint along the ceiling.  He was the first person to put the paint to the wall.  I could tell he was panicking a little bit because he was very quiet.  I asked if he liked the color because we had already bought it or because he actually liked it; he could not decide which “like” it was.  I told him not to compare the green color with the cream color because it was a HUGE color difference.  I must admit, The cream color did not look that light until it was right next to the green, at that point I was happy we did not get the Antique White.

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The first thing James painted was in the corner on top of the closet, the anticipation was killing when while he was painting and I was not able to see the color because I was holding the ladder.

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See? Big color difference.  I can understand why he was a little nervous when he first started to paint,  I on the other hand loved the color instantly!  The three of us painted the entire living room on Sunday.  Monday my mom trimmed the kitchen and eating area and then picked my dad up from the airport.  On Tuesday, my mom, dad, and myself painted the entire kitchen and eating area, along with the downstairs hallway, and one coat of paint up the stairs and the hallway.  We needed two coats of paint to cover up the green.  Wednesday my parents finished painting the upstairs hallway and then took my dogs for a hike.  Mom, Dad, seriously, when are you coming back? We get our house painted and get the dogs walked!  In all seriousness though, James and I really do appreciate all the work my parents put into painting our house! It really does look marvelous!

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Before.

Again, not a bad color, but it is a very trendy color and I like the classic look better.  The lights needed to be on all the time and I was not too crazy about all the dark furniture and all the wood in the house.

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After.

Now the wood pops and I love it, the dark furniture looks great against the cream color, and the light walls reflect the light and we do not need to have the lights on all the time!  I am so extremely pleased with the color and the way it turned out!  I would also like to brag for one moment, we did not get paint on any of the trim, ceiling, cabinets, or doors!  Once the entire house was painted I asked James if he liked the color. This time he said yes, he likes the color and he is happy we went with a lighter color, it makes the house look bigger. I think he really liked how the wood looked against the color.  My mom was also thrilled with the color choice, she said that our house looks more Vail-like than Montana-like now.  In case you are not aware what “Vail Like” looks like, it is more of a classic look.

Ok, so now, the projects for the summer are:

  • Stain the trim on the house
  • Paint the inside of the house
  • Dig up and replant the dead trees in the front yard
  • Do something about the grass in the backyard.

Who would like to help us with these projects?  Don’t everybody raise your hand at once!

Backyard Patio

My husband and myself have been working on a particular project for over a year now. Yes, it is true, our backyard patio is turning into a never ending patio project.  Granted, our patio does look great, but honestly, I am quite done with it myself.  I would like to add ONE more thing, and then it would be a masterpiece, but priorities!  For the time being it does look great, maybe next year we will finish it off.

Last summer James thought that we needed to extended our small concrete patio and we wanted a sturdy fire pit that would not burn though itself (like our cheap one had from Lowes).  We mapped out what we wanted to do and went to the local store to get the materials.  Before we went to the store, we decided that we wanted a slate patio (gasp! I know, its expensive, but it was a small space and James knew the guy, so we got the contractors discount.  PLUS, we took the reject pile of slate, the colors that did not match perfectly or the awkwardly shaped stones–cha-ching! Another discount!).

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Notice the rickety fire pit? And yes, the dogs thought they needed to help as well.
Please disregard the gross looking grass in our backyard. That is a whole other disaster that will need to be dealt with eventually.

I should mention this project last April was done in the cold(ish), cloudy, rainy weather.  We cut up and pulled up the sod. Which was extremely easy in most spots since the grass was pretty much dead.  The landscapers put the sod right on top of clay and large rocks, with very little soil.  The roots of the grass were brown and fuzzy.  So the sod lifted up like old carpet without any glue on it after we got it started.  After we removed the sod we (and we I mean James) removed some of the clay while I chiseled the massive rocks out of our way.

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We then put down pea gravel on top of the dug out clay.  (For those of you who have done this sort of thing before, Yes, I know and I will get back to that.)  We put all the slate pieces out on the grass and I looked at them for a long time to see how my puzzle could be put together–because we got the pieces that nobody else wanted due to color or shape.  We finally started to place our slate onto our patio outline. We made an outside border and worked our way in.  For the second time, Yes, I am NOW aware that is NOT how you place slate, but at the time it seemed like a good idea if we wanted a clean line on the outside.

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We also outlined our “square” fire pit, which turns out was not square.  It turns out that it is a lot harder to get randomly cut stone to make a perfect square.

Yes, it was drizzling the whole time we were doing this, but it made the slate pieces look very vibrant!  After 3 hours of moving slate into place and then moving it again because the last piece did not fit properly, they got very, VERY heavy!  But we finally placed all the pieces and poured the rest of the pea gravel between the slate.

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Not too shabby for two people who have never done this before!

Well, let me get back to my first “Yes, duh” moment.  We did dig down about 2 inches to put the pea gravel down and thought that it would be enough. TA-DA! it was not.  While the pea gravel is small, turns out it is not small enough and the stones moved just slightly when you stepped onto them.  That was not satisfactory for James.  Me? I was so tired and sick of the two day (ALL DAY) project that I really did not care at the moment.  So we started to REMOVE all the stone and attempted to put them onto the yard in the same place that they were in the patio.  I say attempted, because once again, the way our minds work failed us and we did not work in unison. Communication, right?  Well we did decide that we were going to place the stones in the same order as they were in the patio. What we did not discuss was how to place them.  One of us flipped the pieces and one did not. And of course we did not notice that until we removed them all.  TOO LATE.

After we dysfunctionally removed the slate from the pea gravel we shoveled all the pea gravel back into the wheel barrel.  James then dug down two more inches into the clay, while I once again chiseled out more big rocks–some probably 5 pounds.  After that was done, we (covered in mud from head to toe–literally) went back to the home and garden landscaping store and bought some sand.  We put the sand down, I leveled it out and made quite an impressive sand garden design.  Then, we started to once again put the slate back down onto the sand. We pretty much started over from scratch and once again, we put the outline of the patio in before we started to work our way inward. Because the outside stones were easier to see with their flat edges…right?  Then we put the pea gravel back into the cracks of the stone and DONE! (for the second time)

I should mention that an uneven stone or a stone that moved when it was stepped on was not acceptable.  So if that happened, we lifted it up and rearranged the sand until it was satisfactory.  So if you think about it, without allowing the stones to settle at all (yet again, another “yes, duh” moment), we lifted up EVERY stone yet another time and made sure that it was level and did not move.  (Ding Ding! Third time placing them!)

Ok, that was last April.  And the patio was a hit all summer!  It was very nice to have the extra space to hang out in without migrating to the grass.  By the time we were done with the patio neither one of us really cared what the fire pit actually looked like.  So last weekend we decided it was time to retire the decrepit fire pit and get a new one.  We measured out our fire pit, at which point we realized how “un-square like” our fire pit actually is.  James looked at me like “Well, whats another time to lift up the stones and put them down making sure our fire pit is square?”  My response? “Its fine, lets wing it.”

We did our weekend tradition and went to Lowes/Home Depot to get our fire pit materials and came back home.  We decided on rock like concrete stones (which weighed a ton) and we had to carry them one by one or two by by for James into the backyard.  James always lets me figure out the cosmetic side of the project, because I want the different color stones to flow.  You can’t have two of the same color next to each other right?  I put them down and realized how miserable our not so square fire pit was going to be–but I kept it to myself since I was not going to redo the slate patio for a forth time in less than 1 year.  James did notice that some of the slate right next to the fire pit was uneven compared to the next one. So he started to lift up the slate and dig some of the sand out to make them level.  Ok, yes, I can go with that, we don’t want our fire pit to be wobbly. But then he decided that quite a few of them were uneven from the freeze and thaw of winter.(James, go for it, I will stand inside watching you while drinking some wine.)

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This is the stone we got for our fire pit.

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James wanted a fire pit that looked like this. I thought why not? It is cheaper (minus two big rocks) and honestly I am not sure we could actually fit two more stones in there without having the top row stick out from the bottom one. Why? Really, the only reason I could think of is because we did not start off with a square and I just made it as square as I could.

Looks pretty nice huh?  Maddie (the golden retriever) has a ball in her mouth, she is not getting sick.

Now, the last thing that needs to be added before it is a masterpiece, you ask?  I would like to put a wood deck over the concrete patio and extend it to the side of the house so that our picnic table can sit on the deck instead of landscape rock. It hurts if you walk on it barefoot.  Plus, I think the transition from the wood deck to the slate patio will look a little better than concrete to slate. But again, that is not a priority.

A Tool Bench and Coffee Tables

Honestly, this happened awhile ago, but I thought I would still share it will you. Last winter James decided that he needed a tool bench in the garage.  Yes, it made since considering we were using a piece of plywood and two random things holding it up on either side.  It was pretty pathetic and the table was sagging in the middle.  So in the middle of the winter we decided that it was a good time to build a tool bench, in our VERY chilly garage (because last winter we ACTUALLY had a winter).

This was our first pretty big DIY project (besides our garden beds–I will post those once we plant the garden this spring).  While we were trying to figure out what it should look like, James and I learned quickly that we have EXTREMELY different ways to describe the exact.same.thing.  It took us a good 45 minutes, including some bickering back and forth, to figure out that we were talking about the same design.  James is very into the dimensions and numbers when it comes to building and I draw a picture so that I can see what is going on and how we were going to put the tool bench together.

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This makes perfect sense to me, James had no idea what I was doing.
Like I said, after 45 minutes we figured it out and all he had to do was put his dimensions in the drawing.

We did our weekly weekend trip to Homedepot or Lowes and got all the wood and screws to build our tool bench.  We built it in the garage with our heater going full speed. Brinks and Maddie wandered around the garage the whole time we were building it and I’m sure they thought that they were a great help!

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See, our tool bench looked just like my picture above!

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The peg board was my brilliant idea!

 The sagging tool bench is no longer!! It still looks pretty good, a year later. We do, however, have quite a few more fishing poles, fly poles, and ice fishing poles hanging above our tool bench.  The other day I was looking at our tool bench and thought that we should add a shelf under the bench to get the things that are under there off of the floor, James thought otherwise.  We will see what happens.

We also made all but one of the coffee tables in our house.  This past summer we were wandering around some antique shops trying to figure out what type of table we should put around our L-couch in the basement.  I went to all five antique shops (multiple times, because I did not want to miss anything) over a span of a week and a half.  I also went to multiple thrift shops to see if I could find a coffee table I liked that I could redo.  No such luck.  After waiting for a week and a half, James decided that he was going to take over the project and he was going to make one.  Realistically, when I say James took over the project, I mean he drove me to the reclaimed lumbar yard down the street from our house, let me pick out the wood, let me design the coffee table, and he put it together (I was holding the screw driver for him), and I stained it.  I must admit, I am very good at telling him how to cut the pieces of wood, where to screw the wood together so that it is not seen, and overall pretty good at bossing him around while he is doing the work. Whether or not he actually likes me to be the foreman of the job is yet to be determined. BUT! the coffee table looks marvelous!

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The old nail holes were my favorite.

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Our new (old) barn wood coffee table!
It is very sturdy and looks very nice if I do say so myself!

House Tour

I want all of our family and friends to see our house, even if you are not able to come see it in person.  We have a tri-level, 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath house with a teeny-tiny backyard in Southwest Montana.  James, with help from his gracious parents, bought the house in 2011(ish) new.  When the house was bought, it had an unfinished basement. James parents finished the basement and it looks marvelous if I do say so myself.

Since we moved in together, I have realized that James and I have completely opposite styles when it comes to decorating and house style.  James, maybe obviously, likes new builds, rustic/woodsy/dark wood/bold colors/leather furniture.  What does Jennifer like you ask?  Well, I like country/cottage/lighter colors/light or colored cloth furniture, and would LOVE to live in a 100 year old farm house to remodel as I (ahem…we) please.  So, I will show you how I have (barely) started to integrate country-cottage with rustic-woodsy.  In addition, I love antiques, I have a few from James’ family and some from my family, but sadly the things from my family are sitting in my sisters garage waiting to make the trek to Montana.  I have also come to find out that I LOVE to decorate for the holidays, so I will eventually show you pictures of our holiday decorations.

You may also see a (continuing) transformation of our small backyard.  That seems to be an ever-changing project.  Even with our new build house we seem to be doing the “old people” weekly weekend runs to Home Depot or Lowes.  (A side note: I always thought it was so funny that my parents always went to home improvement stores on the weekends, now I totally get it. Lowes/Home Depot is an exciting outing for us on the weekends!)

Well, without any further ado, I introduce you to our house:

Welcome to the woodsy-rustic house!!

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I would like to introduce you to Phil. Honestly, I still have not grown to love Phil like James has. But I was told if I named him, maybe I would grow to love him.

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Living room: You may notice that there were football helmets above the TV, I finally switched that out with something a little more living room appropriate for a married household.

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Kitchen: You will once again, notice the football helmet above the cupboards. I am slowly replacing those with something…different. I love ceramic things!! And no, I do not have a fascination with birds, they just happen to be all over the place and I like the coloring/glazing on them.  I am also, maybe borderline, obsessed with plants.

I am not sure what Brinks is doing here.

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Upstairs hallway bathroom, master bedroom, upstairs guest bedroom, and office. Right now the only room with a curtain in it is the guest bedroom. I made one and it took me all weekend, so I really haven’t been into making anymore.

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Kitchen: A small view into the backyard. I LOVE antiques and would fill the entire house with them (if they weren’t so expensive). Right now I have the hutch behind the kitchen table from James Grandma.
Downstairs: Entering the newly done basement (back in 2012 or early 2013). Very nice bar table.  I see you can see our blue doggie pool for the dogs outside the window.

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A bar for downstairs.  Still, to this day, we do not have bar stools. I know which ones I want, but just have not taken the plunge to get them.  First door is the bathroom, second door is a spare bedroom and across from the spare bedroom is the big downstairs bedroom. Plenty of room for family and friends to visit (Hint, Hint!)

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Left: Smaller spare bedroom. Once again, I love the antique shaving stand from James’ family.
Right: Big spare bedroom.