Patio Dreams!

One of the selling points of this house was the side porch. I COULDN’T wait to be able to sit out on it and relax. So much, in fact that I mistakenly thought we’d be out there by fall of 2016. Well…clearly that time came and went…so then a Spring deadline was set…that also came and went…and then this pregnant Mama started to get a little tiny bit upset that we were missing out on all of this good porch time. So we “got serious” this May and June about the porch.

It was a fairly big project, because 1st we had to clear it off. You see, it had become a breeding ground for “extra materials” or furniture that didn’t yet have a home in the house. Let’s call these “Exhibit A.”

As you can see, there was stuff everywhere!!! So…first step toward glory was the arrival of the dumpster, if you recall my excitement in this post.

Bruce and I spent a good hour and a half “clearing” it off after Cecelia went to bed on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. This involved throwing things into the dumpster that were seriously garbage, saving some original wood for Scott to make other projects out of, putting a scrap wood pile out by the road, moving furniture to new locations, and emptying it down to the cupboard.

You see, there was about a 500 lb cupboard out on the porch that was originally in the pantry turned laundry room of the house. It was likely built in that room, because we had to remove the door frame to get it out when we were repairing plaster, drywalling ceilings, and laying tile 3-4 years ago. So, it’s been on it’s side on our porch for years, blocking half of my kitchen window, and taking up a good 50% of the porch. While we had original good intentions to refinish the cabinet ourselves, it was just too big of a project for us/me to take on at this time, and was plain and simple, in the way!

We contacted some local friends of a friends, who are restoring an old log cabin up the street, and they were excited to take it. One problem solved!!

When it finally was off of the porch I was jumping around when bruce got home. Look at all of the light in the kitchen!!! Look at all of the space for activities!!! I’ve never ever even seen the porch cleared off, literally EVER, in the time period of knowing about this porch!! Happiest day ever in June for me!

As you can see, we still had some work to do. So we cleared off the extra few remaining things, borrowed a power washer, and set to work!

My sister came into town to watch Cecelia so we could concentrate on this project, and that we did. Thanks Aunt Becca!!

We joked it was “like the old days” of working on projects together vs separate
since C’s arrival.

I spent my time removing the hostas, brush, weeds, leaves, garbage, etc. outside of the porch that had accumulated since last spring when we first planted out here.

Here’s me, 25 weeks pregnant, taking full advantage of my extra weight. I was excited to discover that with this extra weight, jumping on the shovel to dig these out was MUCH easier than last spring!!

Final product on the plants/yard

Bruce worked on power-washing the brick, siding, and deck.

Even wet, we were astonished with the results!!

That night and the next day, and really every day in between we all sat out on the porch enjoying our new space…although the work was not done! The porch is Cecelia’s favorite spot!

At some point, we believe there’s evidence that all of our exterior brick was painted. Then, it was removed, and the brick was re-pointed. For whatever reason, they chose not to do this on the brick inside of the porch, which they left painted. After power washing, the brick was not stable enough to leave exposed. So we knew we were going to have to repaint it.

We got all of our supplies…and then we went out of town to visit friends for the 4th of July weekend! We came back Sunday, and spent all of the holiday on Monday painting. Luckily, C napped for like 3.5 hours that day, exhausted from all the fun she’d had with her friend Grace!! So we got LOTS done!

Before paint:

During painting so you can see the difference. We tried to match it to the brick that is repointed and fine as best we could.

Painting at 26 weeks! Me and the bump!

Bruce painted all of the white on the railings and got all of the high parts that required a ladder. Short and pregnant girl probs.

C loved sitting out and watching Dad paint!

Finished product!!

With the tour looming closely, and other things going on with Cecelia and Baby Clark, I couldn’t even mentally think about shopping and decorating the porch. I was spent!! Thank goodness, local artist and saint, Glenda Dulkoski offered to stage our porch! She and Abbey came and spent some time last week getting us all set up, and it turned out just beautifully!! She also gave me lots of good ideas for ways to decorate it myself. I need some red rocking chairs!!! Many thanks to Glenda and Abbey:

Here is the beautiful outcome:

We still need to pick a foundation paint for the exterior that we will also paint these steps. The right gray can be elusive to find! We had 3 samples, and none were quite right. We will work on that for the exterior next.

Lessons from the Lorax

So…I had been trying to think about how to frame this post all day today. Feeling pretty guilty about taking down what have to be very old trees. I kept thinking about the Lorax, and feeling ashamed, like he was going to yell at me.

I thought, maybe I should google some quotes from The Lorax that I can then apologize to. To my surprise, my search took a different turn… the most popular quote was as follows:

Suddenly I feel better! Because really, this is us. This house and this property sat, unattended to or poorly cared for years after Mrs. Humphreyville passed away. These trees that came down had to come down to allow us to make things better on the outside.

The first tree that came down was on the side of our property. When we first bought the house, four years ago, the tree was struck by lightening. Half of it fell into our yard and onto our roof. Good thing there was no real damage and we hadn't replaced the roof yet anyways. Somehow, although it was half dead, the tree lived on. It's pretty dangerous, however, as it is across multiple electric wires, and half on the busy road.

It's pretty crazy how quickly Kenny and his crew were able to take this tree down. The majority of their time was then cutting and chipping it up!

Cecelia was thoroughly entertained watching them work; she found it so exciting!!

We put up a sign that this wood was free around 7pm tonight, and it's already all gone, 2 hours later. Haha.

It's crazy how much bigger our lawn feels without this tree on our property, and there's so much more light!!

There were two other trees that needed to come down was literally on top of the roof of our new garage. No joke. Poor Kenny and his crew. None of us realized that the garage was going to be so close to these trees, and thus we didn't call to have it taken down until the garage structure was already up. Clearly it would have been easier to take this tree down before the garage went up. Oops.


During their work!


We have one more tree to trim, that's coming over our neighbors' fence and onto the garage. Should be done soon.

So thank you Mr. Lorax for the positivity in taking down these trees as we work to grow and beautify our property.

Home Tour Next Weekend!

So…there was this one time when we thought offering to be on the home tour would be a good idea with an 18-month-old, and myself at 31 weeks pregnant…

Oh yeah, that was this year.

We are scrambling away over here this weekend, trying to do as many final last minute projects as possible for the annual home tour next weekend.

If you are around or available, stop by to see the first floor of our home. Details about the tour can be found here.

Cost of the tour is $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 6-13. There are lots of other properties in town included on the tour, details in the link above.

We are only showing the 1st floor of our home, which includes:

  • Entry
  • Living room
  • 1/2 bath under the stairs
  • Dining room
  • Kitchen
  • Office
  • Laundry
  • Side porch

Our side porch is our latest project, and won't have any furniture on it or be decorated at all…but will be complete. Blog post to come once it is actually decorated and set-up!

I'll also do my best to post early next week with the results of our odds and ends project that are set to occur this week and prior.

Like a Kid on Christmas Morning!!

Today the dumpster arrived at our house!!!!!! 

In a month (or longer) when it’s still here, I feel as though I need a post to remind me of the excitement I feel at this VERY moment for its arrival!!!

See you have to understand…I’ve spent two years which equates to two summers and two falls without a porch and with the side of our home, where everyone and their mother passes by looking like a trash bin and being DREADFULLY embarrassing. 

The arrival of the dumpster signifies and end to these two things!!! It also means my dear husband gets to clear out the third and finally bedroom in our home…and work can begin here! 

Take a moment to chuckle at his “scrap room”.  He and Scott treat this like a store, and both have told me they are going to miss scrounging for bits of supply in this room.  Guess who isn’t going to miss it?? 🙄😘

You can guess how we will be spending all of our free time this Memorial Day weekend between the strawberry patch, neighborhood picnics, and the Pirates game…So if you’re local, don’t be alarmed by the woman with the 20-week pregnancy belly outside dragging around bags of garbage and chucking things into the dumpster…I think I’m stronger than I am…and at least for now I am SUPER excited about spending our weekend working and filling this dumpster!! 

Progress on the garage is going smoothly!! We are currently awaiting the arrival of our tresses (I think) and then things will pick back up again.  

Progress pics:

It’s looking HUGE, and so cool, and I am anxiously awaiting getting to pick out all of the fun things for inside the apartment!!!! 

I’m told these beams are different and awesome too.  I don’t know enough to explain them, but Scott Martin Construction is responsible for their amazingness! 

More soon! 

Beginning New Construction!

Well, after a long few weeks of rain, the day is FINALLY here… excavation is beginning in our back yard!!! 


Well…we are starting new construction with Scott Martin Construction LLC and couldn’t be more excited!! 

Scott, Eli, and Bruce spent a few hours out in the rain marking up where our garage is going to be placed.

To think, we originally found Scott because he was Bruce’s family’s neighbor, and he “did good work” is so funny to me now.  Scott, Jenny, and their family have become such a part of our lives and are more family than anything else!  I don’t imagine Scott ever thought the ONE project we contacted him for would turn into their building a full on garage plus apartment in our backyard, and endless upon endless lists of things to do in William Reid’s home.  Poor Scott.  Hahahaha.  But really, so much of this house is thanks to him, and we didn’t even consider working with anyone else for our next project!  

We are going to have a two car garage, bonus room, and full apartment in our very own backyard.  All new construction!!! Now, if you have or have worked on an old house, you know how different “new construction” is from old.  Scott is so very excited to work on a Clark family project that for the first time will use real standards of measurement, square corners, and true plans that don’t have to be made up along the way because of some crazy unforeseen complication.  

There used to be a block garage in this same spot.  You may recall from my history posts, Mr. Humphreyville collected Steam Engines which were kept in this garage.  However, at some point when the house had some other owners, the roof caved in.  When the bank took over the mortgage, the structure became a “liability” and was torn down.

Today…digging begins…and while this garage will be quite a bit bigger than the old, it will still be in the same spot! 

Guest Room, Open! 

We welcome our out of town guests to come stay with us!!! We managed to get the spare bedroom done before Christmas, even though I haven’t managed to write a blog post about it until now.  This was right in the nick of time, seeing as how my family of 5 came to stay with us for 3-4 days over the holidays.


The walls had painted wallpaper…so there are some pictures of our family helping scrape this wallpaper in the fall of 2014!

The walls in the room were crumbling, and with our experience in other rooms, we knew this could take months to repair the plaster.  It’s a repetitive daily process of mix the plaster, set the plaster, let it dry for a few days, sand, and repeat.  It’s a LOT of work.

To reduce some of this work and to make this room a little different, we decided to have Scott build us some custom wainscoting for the room.  I did my typical, piece multiple Pinterest pictures together to say I like this aspect of this picture but this from this other picture, to demonstrate what I want.  I also told him that I wanted a ledge around the top of the wainscoting so I could set pictures or small decorative items on it, like a mini shelf.  Due to my husband’s aversion to drilling into the much labor intensive walls (which although I personally find frustrating, I do admittedly understand – this doesn’t mean I won’t continue to purchase wall hangings and request that they are hung…sorry Bruce!).

The floors turned out beautifully!! They actually are the best floors yet. Per our style, we waited until they were sanded to determine what we wanted to do with them. After he sanded the multiple layers of paint and maybe stain off, we decided to do as we’ve done in the other bedrooms, and apply no stain and simply use a clear coat of polyurethane on top. These floors must have been particularly dry, because his typical two coats did not do the trick. We needed a third!! But now they are so beautiful and I couldn’t be happier with them!


We took the plaster off of the top of the fireplace, exposing the brick.  We were going to cover the beam to the side, but Scott convinced us to leave it exposed as well, saying that people pay thousands of dollars to have distressed beams like that in their house.  Ok, we will leave it out. It is pretty, just a little messy.

I updated the paint on the fireplace last weekend…and what a difference!

Finalized, ish room (with a cute little baby model as an added bonus!). We still need to complete the closet, to add shelving and racks, after which the door can go back on, paint the doors, and get the windows repaired and reglazed, but other than that the room is about complete!! It also needs corner round, and minor finishing around the fireplace.  Coming soon!

Dream Kitchen, CHECK!

First Totally Finished Room!!

Well ladies and gentlemen…may I present to you, in this blog post, our very FIRST completely finished room!!!!  THE KITCHEN!

I’m going to start by taking us on a journey, back in time, to when we first purchased this house, traveling forward to today.  I can remember it like it was yesterday, thanks to the near panic attack I had seeing the house for the first time.  No, not from the state of the house, as you’d think, but from being paralyzed by fear from a dog.  When we saw the house for the first time, the owner had his 250 lb German shepherd here who hatred me and terrified me to no end.

I can remember walking through this empty old house, and I envisioned a kitchen in this room.  This room that was not the kitchen, became my dream.  You see, we moved the kitchen in the house.  The room formally known as the kitchen is now my office.  That required moving and adding pluming and electrical…but when you’re redoing all of the plumbing and electrical in your house anyway…it’s really like no big deal. Hahaha

So, here is what the room looked like when we first bought the house…

Progress Pics:

Drywalling above the fireplace.

Drywall to cover the fireplace. 

Stripping built-ins.  They were white, gray, green, and red…as well as wallpapered in some parts!  

My mom hard at work! 

Primed and finished with doors off – Scott was fixing them so they’d close again! 

Beginning of cabinets going in

First things in the cabinets! 

The last piece to completion was this beautiful backsplash.  Bruce’s friend Dan put this in for us…and he told us he’s just adding another thing to the list of possibilities he shows his wife for her to ask for him to have in their house.  I laughed with Bruce that night and said, knowing what our house first looked like, isn’t it funny…it’s like William Reid’s house has become the house that wives tell their husbands they want THAT in their home!! We joke because our other friends who work on our house have said the same thing about various pieces that they’ve put in from time to time – like our doors, wainscoting, or bathroom.  All it takes is Pinterest, a blank canvas, and a dream!! Lolllll

And dun-dunnn-da-da!! May I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, for the very first time in true technicolor vision…MY DREAM KITCHEN!!!


Please excuse the boiling pot and our cute little baby, eating goldfish crackers (*Edited for Steve Radick).  It’s taken me forever to take these images, and I decided that I have a real, live-in kitchen, not a model kitchen for a magazine.  So these were it!  🙂

Lots of folks helped in the making of this kitchen over the years.  So I’d like to thank:

  • my number one man BRUCE CLARK JR
  • Scott Martin
  • Clayton McCombs
  • Bruce Clark Sr.
  • Jackie Lupo
  • Pat Lupo
  • Kenneth Hopper
  • Joe Mlodzik
  • Jon-Erik Gilot
  • Shanna Schumacher
  • Joey Subasic
  • Rhonda McCoy
  • Katie Cutrone
  • Rick Miller Construction
  • Dan Griffin

*Brought to you by Famous Supply, Lowes, and Home Goods