The Petty Home, a turn-of-the-century Queen Anne, is being fully restored by Miles Honeycutt. Miles is the same general contracter who oversaw restoration of the Clapp-Ferguson home and Winston's Broken House, both in the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood. Miles is restoring the home in keeping with historic elements of the original house to a single family dwelling. Check back often and watch this great home come back to life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's been a while

This is the first time we've done something that seemed blog-worthy since moving in. The idea of a kitchen pegboard was originally stolen from Julia Child by Nellie's parents. We stole the idea from them and have had one in every place we've lived since we've been together (almost 9 years now). Pegboards for pots and pans are functional, pretty, and a great use of space especially if you have a small kitchen. While we're lucky to have a fairly large kitchen now, we like the looks of a pegboard and how they display kitchenware effectively. If you ask me, those pot racks that dangle pans precariously over sinks and islands just seem gaudy and cumbersome. A pegboard lets you add a nice pop of color to a otherwise monochrome wall and there's no jumble to find the pan you want.

Sampson was eager to get to work. We painted the board a bright orange-red that closely matches some of our big dutch ovens. We painted it with a nice high-enamel gloss paint to stand up to the banging from the pots and pans. Throughout our pegboard evolution, each one has been painted a similar shade of red. It's the best color for a bright happy kitchen!

We attached spacers in the form of washers to the back of the pegboard using packing tape. This is a monotonous process that involves measuring and matching up the peg-holes to the wall studs. You need spacers so the pegboard hooks have room to go in. Then we screwed the board into the wall studs with finishing washers on the outside. If you want to put up your own pegboard, be sure you're drilling into studs! Cast iron pans are heavy.
And there it is! This board is bigger than ones we've made in the past, but with the luxury of a huge wall, it fits the space nicely. Now I can grab pans quickly and easily instead of digging them out of cabinets. Plus the kitchen is for cooking - what better way to decorate your walls than with your pots and pans?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In the closets

We’re chugging along at the house building shelves, setting things up, and trying to turn this house into our home. I know house-life will be a long and infinite process for us, but we’re gradually getting unpacked and settled.

Between work, people coming to visit, and trying to take a breather after the renovation and closing process we're moving slow but that's just fine. Slow feels good right now.

We love living in the Petty Home thus far. Besides our awesome neighborhood and neighbors, another great benefit of our new place is the cost of living. It feels amazing to have something left over at the end of the month after years of spending beaucoup bucks in Boston for a tiny apartment. This being said, we’re still managing to rack up some nice big bills with all of our Home Depot runs, but we hope these will slow down soon. I'm sure there will be a never ending list of projects to come but for now it's fun playing house like real grownups.

Projects for the future include—gutters for the front of the house, more drainage, a shed for the back yard, LOTS of landscaping, gardening, a kitchen peg board pot rack, window shades or curtains, art, and collecting a nice assortment of eclectic furniture sure to make any young urban hipster turn their head.

Here’s a few photos of things that have been happening. It’s mostly just unpacking and setting up at this point but some projects are getting done as well...

Here’s the ubiquitous farmers’ market shot. Being so close to the downtown farmers’ market has been awesome. Open on Saturdays and Wednesdays during the warmer months, we’ve been taking full advantage. A short walk or even shorter bike ride away, I almost feel like I'm missing out on something if I don’t get over to the market on Saturdays.

We got the pantry all set up including hooking up the speakers that run throughout the house and in the back yard. This is AWESOME! It’s great to be able to crank out the jamz or NPR while working on the house.

The speakers in the back yard are under the eaves in the widest part of the yard. Because they point straight down, you can hear them really well out back but it’s not so blaring that the neighbors get an ear-full.

Speakers in the living room. There are some more in the hall that provide sound for the bedrooms. There are certainly more high tech options available than what we went with. Wireless systems blah blah blah...while we had the house down to the studs, it was super easy to have the wire run and it’s about a grand cheaper to have wired speakers vs. wireless. I highly recommend this for anyone who's renovating and looking to put music in their house.

Nellie’s mom was in town this weekend. It was great to see her and she’s a great motivator for getting stuff done. With her help, we were able to finish our huge shelving project in the jack-and-jill closet. Here you can see the Bellows ladies painting the shelves in our Mars-like back yard.

I know it doesn’t look that impressive here but these super beefy shelves give us tons of storage space. When your closets have 10.5 foot ceilings you might as well use that space, right? These guys are so strong I feel like I could take a nap on them and I'm a fat guy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Small Victories and Home Tour

Whew....we are beat. The last few days have been a little nuts getting some finishing stuff done at the house and unpacking enough to be ready for the Cleveland-Holloway home tour that took place today (Saturday the 4th). The home tour was a nice unpacking motivator but mostly it resulted in us shoving everything we haven't unpacked yet, along with the cats, into two of the bedrooms. Tomorrow, hopefully, we can get the house more functional for actually living. Unpacking is going to be a slow process. We've had several neighbors confess that they still have stuff in boxes after years of living in their home. But all that whining aside, we're super stoked to actually be living in this house that we've been working on for so long. It still feels a little unreal but will sink in soon enough. On to the pictures!

The guys from Rice's Glass in Chapel Hill were out on Thursday to install the shower door and panel. This was one of our splurges but I think it's well worth it.

And here she is all installed. Once we get the vanity top and fixtures switched out, and the grout sealed, this bathroom will be all done! Well then there's building shelves or some sort of cabinet over the toilet...etc...etc. Projects will never end I'm sure.

We also got a huge mirror for the hall bath and installed it ourselves. Small victories, folks.

Jackie, who works at Vega Metals a few blocks from our house, made us a rad cage for our AC compressor. After a lot of back and forth, I think we decided that it's fine to leave it unfinished and let the steel rust. There are several people in the hood that have gone this route and the rust patina (to make it sound fancier) looks really nice and will work with the colors of our house. Now we just need to bolt this bad boy down but shhhhh....don't tell any would-be robbers.

The home tour was today and went really well. We had lots of compliments on the house and got to meet a lot of new neighbors which is always nice. Miles was around for the tour which really help when answering questions about the house. We mostly wanted to be on the tour to show off the amazing work that Miles and his subcontractors have done and entice more folks into the neighborhood. The tour was a great nice way to cap the end of this project and show our house off to the public.

And then there was cake! And who doesn't like cake?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I like to move it move it.

Hello readers! Sorry it's been a while since a post. We've been a little tied up with packing, unpacking, getting all our ducks in a row for closing (WHICH IS HAPPENING TODAY!), setting up utilities, etc., etc. So we're all moved in and busy unpacking and today is the closing day so we'll be all bona fide instead of just squatters. Let's dive right into the recent events shall we?

We rented a HUGE 26' truck from Uhaul. It was a beast and at times I questioned whether it would make the trip to Chapel Hill and back to Durham but we got 'er done.

Matt was very impressed with my parking skills. We were able to get the ramp up on the deck which helped shorten the distance for carrying all our heavy stuff. Instead of paying moving people to do the heavy lifting (like sane folks) we suckered in a few good friends. With a promise to provide food drinks all day, we got some really cheap labor. Matt Dudek and Kevin Neary were a huge help in getting all the stuff out of the apartment before the epic flood began. Remember last Friday, when the skies opened up and the rapture seemed to be actually getting underway? Remember the car-door-depth flooding in parts of Chapel Hill? Yeah...well, while everyone else was busy building an ark, we were moving across city lines.

Matt came up with a brilliant technique for carrying boxes under a packing blanket. It also gave off the appearance that we had contracted some derelict homeless man who happened to have a fancy iPhone. This man is a God among men at moving, and if that whole planning school thing doesn't work for him, he could easily contract his body out as a professional mover.

Luckily we got almost everything loaded before mother nature started peeing all over our parade. The rain (and lightning) also forced us to take some breaks which was fine by me.

Once we got over to Durham the rain had slowed considerably. Kevin was replaced for this second moving-leg by the lovely (and recently married) Meg and Erik. We had a good system of Matt and I unloading the truck onto blankets in the hallway and Nellie and Erik drying things off and moving them to the appropriate rooms. Also, the front door is painted its final color which is hard to see in this photo.

The floors are all done and look fan-freakin'-tastic. We decided not to stain any of the floors (new or old) and I think it was the right choice. The old heart-of-pine floors in the living room, hallway, and office are by far our favorites because the wear adds character that's fitting with the rest of the house, but the new oak floors in the kitchen and two other bedrooms also look great.

The appliances are all in and at this point we've put them all through their paces. Nellie commented that our sheets are as cat-fur-free as they've ever been and we're really stoked about all the selections we made at the Appliance Center in Durham.

The mantels are all painted and the concrete on the hearth and inside of the decorative fire places is stained a dark black, which looks great. The floors in the living room are also tops. Dail's Custom Hardwood Floors really did a great job.

Floors, mantel, and subway tiled faux fireplace in the office.

I'm easily most excited about the kitchen. It's such a treat to have new awesome appliances after years of renting and having to use whatever crappy ones happened to be in the apartment. I can't wait to start cooking some big daddy meals for all the people who helped out with this project - physically or emotionally. Also, our friend Eric (different from Erik) recommended a product that I'm definitely going to check out. It's a white spray on paint that contains particles of porcelain for wood cabinets. You apply it to wood around the oven that gets the most splash and aerosolized fat particles. The porcelain allows you to wipe off the grease like you would a counter top while not damaging wooden surfaces. Sounds like a great idea for keeping these shiny new cabinets in great condition for years to come.

After the move in, our first big task was getting all the shelves and cabinets lined in the kitchen, bathrooms, and closets. This was super tedious and very unrewarding, but hopefully it will protect all the wood cabinets and increase resale value down the road. I'll let you know how it works out in 10-15 years.

And the unloading begins. Slowly but surely we're getting all the stuff put in its proper place. The kitchen took a few days and we still have plans to build a peg-board pot rack on the wall above the buffet counter but that will happen after some of the other rooms are done. Also we've gotten more compliments on the big light over the island than any of our other fixtures. $30 bucks from Ikea.

We have a lot of stuff.

The newlyweds joining our ranks for the second leg of this soggy moving extravaganza.

Matt "the tank" Dudek taking a well deserved break.

The living room.

Sampson hard at work. Our other cat, Frenchie, always goes AWOL for a few days whenever we move. Sadly we've had to keep them penned up in their carriers for the past few days while the subcontractors are buttoning up a few details.

Nellie in action. While we have tons of storage space in the kitchen we're doing a pretty good job of filling it all up.

Sampson's new favorite spot is on top of the kitchen cabinets. He smugly lords over us while keeping a watchful eye on the goings on of unpacking process. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more things to come - closing, more unpacking, decorating, and eventually yard work!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Power to the people!

Although we had to fight the power [company] a bit to get it going, the power is now hooked up. Thanks again to Matt for the photo. There should be more posts coming soon about finished floors, appliances, closing, and moving day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Show me sand da floor."

"The Karate Kid"....anyone? The floors guys got started yesterday and most of the rooms are sanded and ready to get sealed. The old flooring looks pretty great for the most part. Once all the sanding is done the painters will come back in to touch up the inside and outside and then clean the place up really good before we move in on Friday (baring any major catastrophes with closing this week). I'm assuming the rest of the appliances will show up on Friday as well, which is fine as I'll probably be too broken from moving to fire up the kitchen for a while.


Living room

The office. This room had some kind of laminate down that seems to be giving the floor crew a hard time. Hopefully they can get some really rough sand paper and bang it out today and get to work sealing the floors but this is a mighty chore indeed.

Also the gas is now hooked up. Most of the utilities are in place or will be in a day. Water, gas, and power is going to get the official set up on Wednesday. There was some miscommunication between Duke Power and the City of Durham but it should be resolved now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

De Fence

On Saturday our wonderful friends Meg and Erik got married (congrats guys!) and a fancy new fence got installed at the house. These guys knocked this fence out in one day which was pretty impressive to watch. The CPI security system also got installed and today the floors were supposedly getting sanded. My mom and I spent the ENTIRE day packing at the apartment. It's amazing how much crap we have. Thank the sweet baby Jesus this will be the last time we have to move for hopefully a very long time.

Concrete for posts

Posts all up

Mom on site

Nellie and mom both say there needs to be more photos of me on the blog. So here's me standing on a pile of wood. Yup.

I knew the property line went right through the huge mulch pile from when the stump was ground down. I love the neatly dug trench right down the middle of the pile.

Then, from out of no where, a local church marching band decided to get some practice by marching around the block a few times. Apparently these guys are headed up to DC next weekend for some parade but it was pretty awesome to have this music and drumline in the back ground for a few hours in the morning.

I decided to get busy and shovel some mulch back on to our side of the property line before the fence went up. If I waited I'd have to throw it over the fence. I did give myself a pretty sweet blister in the process.

Fence boards going up

Boards stacked. The quickness that these went up after the framing was in place was incredible.

Almost done

We'll have a few trees inside the new fence and a nice big blank slate for a patio or deck or who knows what in the future. I'm really looking forward to getting going with some gardening.

There are gates on both sides of the house

All done!

We cheated this line in a bit to give room for the Leathers' family driveway. We got to meet some more members of the family this weekend. Apparently there are 12 children ranging from 66-45 years old. I'm going to have a hard time with all those names.

Even with the big tree gone we still get a lot of nice afternoon shade in the yard which is nice.

Another shot. Don't you just love batch uploading photos?
There's a nice little nook because of the way the back yard is shaped that will be perfect for trash and recycle bins. Next post should hopefully have some floor shots.