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!!! 

What?!? 

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.

Before:

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!

Before:

After:
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!!!

img_1322img_1323img_1324img_1325img_1326img_1327img_1330img_1331img_1332img_1334img_1335img_1336img_1337img_1338

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

On My Way to the Post Office…

I find that people frequently ask Bruce and myself, “So how, do you like living in Mount Pleasant?” I don’t understand the question…

 I suppose for many who know me and a bit about my past, it might be surprising to learn I live in a town with about 100 other people and no real stores. If you don’t know me, let me take a minute to provide some context. After graduating from college, I moved to Cleveland for 2 years where I lived right smack down town in the middle of high rises, and in walking distance to East 4th Street and West 6th. After finishing graduate school, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada for about 2 years, where I was a 15 minute cab ride from Las Vegas Boulevard. Then, when I went to doctoral school, I moved to State College, PA, full of all of the things I love about Pennsylvania: football, fall, Wegmans, and college towns. I kid you not when I say that less than 24 hours after moving to State College, I met Bruce. 

He invited me to visit him the next weekend.  I had never heard of the Northern Panhandle and had basically no concept of how I was traveling to Ohio by way of West Virginia. I didn’t imagine I’d live along the Ohio River, or how much I’d relish small town living. But, I do. I absolutely love living in Mount Pleasant, the place that has become our home and where we are growing our family. –Ok, really, I’m crying now, and I can’t continue. So, suffice to say that I love it here. I wanted to take a minute today to try to list some things that I love about my small town. 

I find that I have a love/hate relationship with the Post Office. Mostly LOVE.  Yes, we live in so small of a town that we don’t get local mail delivery. Talk about taking a step back into time!  I like walking to the post office to get my mail.  I like that our Postmaster is a sweet girl who always asks and cares how you’re doing.  She even has signs up in the post office, offering to make you various K-cups of coffee and has a basket full of sweets to offer as well.  I say love/hate because I can’t always get to the post office between the hours of 12:15-4:15 to pick up my mail and numerous packages (online shopping addict) and that’s really my only complaint.   

I love that we can walk to church on Sundays. Since Cecelia’s arrival, we have been attending The First Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant. Each Sunday, we place Cecelia in the stroller and walk up to church. We’ve actually only driven maybe 3 or times so far since March! I love our walks together as a family on Sunday mornings. I am looking forward to when Cecelia is older and will be walking on her own up the hill, without requiring the use of her stroller. I joke with her dad that he will be walking the kids up the hill to Sunday School (before church service), and I’ll stay home to get ready for service and have to walk up all by my lonesome.

The thing that I love the most about my small town is the people. From day one, when we first started working on this house, everyone has been encouraging, supportive, and positive about our taking over Mrs. Humphreyville’s house as our own. It’s funny, we are still deep in the throws of working on the house nearing 3 years this September and multiple times when one of us has been outside this past week we’ve received calls from people driving by “It’s looking good!!” “Keep up the good work!”  

We live where a meeting with your pastor means a visit at your house with her daughter who wants to visit with your baby.  Where, when you walk into church for the first time, you discover everyone there already knows who you are and where you live, even though you haven’t met any of them yet.  I can remember coming home from church that first week, looking at Bruce and saying “everyone knew us, but we didn’t know them!” As well as, “we had a longer receiving line than the Pastor!”  Everyone has been so nice and welcoming.  

This weekend, we officially became members at church, and yet again I was struck by how welcoming and amazing everyone was.  We are so lucky! 

A few weeks ago, the former pastor of our church, and favorite unofficial town historian came to visit with us in the back pew.  He told us about pictures he had of the Reid sisters, and how there was a plaque dedicated in their honor in the church entryway.  We had discovered the plaque a few weeks earlier, and were so excited to hear more about that!  He has promised to share the pictures and more soon…but how cool!  Two of the women who lived in our house, one of which our kitten is named after, also went to our church!  There are three churches in the town, but we could have guessed the Reid’s went to First Presbyterian, we just hadn’t put it together yet!  Again, small town life. ❤️


We also spent this Sunday evening visiting with lots of church members at a local farm (overlooking maybe the best view in our area) learning about community service and the Lions Club.  Cecelia is so loved by everyone in our town, she even spent time walking around and visiting with one of our neighbors this evening.  She loved revert second of the attention and was SO good!  Everyone here does so much for the community, and it’s truly special and exciting to be around people who care so much about others.  

Here’s a picture of C giggling inside the house, during our visit. (Ok, maybe two, I couldn’t pick!) 



A funny thing has happened, that really made me pause and say “WHERE do we live?!?”  That was when after our first week at church, when a congregation member sent us a piece of mail, that was postmarked and delivered, with the following address:

The Clarks

Mount Pleasant, Ohio 

No PO Box number, or street name, lol.  I could not believe that made it into our box and to the right place! 

One of the coolest things to happen to me so far happened a few weeks ago    

I was on my way up to the Post Office, when I heard someone call “Melissa!” from across the street at the bank.  I walked over to the corner, while she was leaned over, getting something out of another part of her car.  

She came over and introduced herself.  She and her husband own the pharmacy in the next town over, and she’s been reading our blog!  It always blows my mind when I find people who I haven’t met before or don’t have a direct connection to us read our blog.  I mean, I realize – it’s the Internet – but it still is crazy to me.  I started this to keep track of what we’ve completed for us, and to show pictures in one place to my family and best friends out of town.  I digress… 

So, she goes on to tell me that she and her family used to make deliveries from their pharmacy to Agnes aka Mrs. Humphreyville for years.  I nod my head, and say something about wishing we had met her or that she could have seen the house.  She tells me, like many others, how beautiful the house was when Agnes lived here.  I echo how I’ve heard this and that I wish we could have seen it.  The house was pretty bad by the time we purchased it…well you know, you’ve seen the pictures here!  

To my surprise she tells me, “I know.  I read your blog…”

Internal dialogue… Duh-Melissa-she just told you she read your blog, why didn’t you think of that!  You’ve written about it, probably ad nauseam

“I read your blog, and I told my husband, I think I have something of Agnes’ that I can give them”

She then hands me a pair of mittens and says she’s not sure if we’d want these…but Agnes made them.  What!?!?  Not sure if we’d want them!!! I think I stared, open mouthed in response.  Are you sure? I asked.  She tells me how she and her husband had two boys, and every winter at Christmas, Agnes would knit two pair of mittens for the boys and gift them to the family in part as thanks for delivering to her home. She’d like us to have them, so that we can have something from Agnes directly and so that something of Agnes’ can be back in the house.  I was so touched.  


This is just one little moment and time where I know we are in the right place.  This town, these people…it’s all magical. There’s few places in America where someone goes out of their way to search for something in their home for another person.  To give away a gift that was given to their own children to a stranger.  We actually have something of Agnes’!!!  And not just something she owned, like maybe a piece of furniture or something…but something she MADE!!! When Bruce came home that evening and I told him the story, he couldn’t believe it.  We are so lucky!!  I cannot echo that enough.  

In summary, to the question, “How do you like living in Mount Pleasant…?” 

I love it.  We love it.  There’s no better place to watch our children grow up.  We plan to be here a LONG time, and maybe, if we are lucky, some day our house will be known by all those in town as “The Clark House.”  We should only be so lucky. ❤️❤️❤️

Doors, Windows, and Catching Up! 

Although we’ve spent much of our time enjoying Cecelia and visiting with family and friends…we have actually completed some work on the inside of our house these past 5+ months.  

Fireplace Updates: 

One week before Cecelia was born, I cleaned and painted two of the fireplace hearths in our house.  The one in the living room and one in our bedroom.  I have one more to do still – in our dining room.  I had plans to do it the day she was born, but that didn’t happen and I haven’t gotten back to it either – oops! 

Bedroom before: 

Bedroom after:


 
Living room before:

Living room after: 


Window Installation:

We also ordered and installed windows for the living room and our bedroom.  Rest assured, the originals are still there. We just ordered additional windows that we placed in the inside to attempt to keep our two coldest and hottest rooms more temperature friendly in the extreme cold and heat.  We didn’t get them installed until spring, however, so we haven’t fully gotten to test them out yet.  Huge thanks to Alex for coming over and helping Bruce out for a few hours with getting all nine installed after work one night!  What’s really great is we wanted it to look like it’s just the original windows from the outside, and you can’t tell at all – so we succeeded!  What’s also fantastic is that with the addition of the new windows, now these windows have screens in them so they can safely be opened in the spring and fall without fear of birds or insects getting in and our cat getting out! 

Before:

Window in! 


Spare bedroom update: 

Bruce has also spent several days over our maternity leave and weekends working on the spare bedroom!  The walls were quite bad in there, and he just about has them repaired.  There’s still lots more work to be done in this room, but it’s coming along!  Hopefully it will be done soon, as I’m sure my mom is tiring of the couch when she comes lol.


More in the future: 

Scott is back in action at old William Reid’s house, which I’m sure he’s just thrilled about…and that means more blog posts to come soon!!!  I’m super excited that he’s back, even if he isn’t.  He’s already completed several parts of projects!  

He’s down to just ONE more door to install, some fixes to the current doors, and updates to the entryway happening soon!  

Before: 

Before pic on the inside. Don’t mind my mom and the baby haha I can’t find a pic and I thought I had one, so I didn’t take one yesterday. 
During and after:



It’s BEAUTIFUL!!!!! 

He also fixed a hole in our ceiling from some additional bathroom drain work (there was a leak, and there was no trap for the train so our house smelled like sewage) and by designing a pillar where our HVAC stack goes upstairs in our main entryway.  Who gets a leak when they have brand new plumbing work installed?!?!  After the drywalling is all finished??  The owners of William Reid’s house, that’s who. 


The crown has been installed in the downstairs part of the entryway.  Upstairs part to come.  Once that’s done, we will paint the crown and repaint the entryway with a fresh coat! 


I also owe this blog some really good before and after posts of all of the rooms. I’ve been holding off because I feel like all of the rooms stil have little things I want done in them, so they aren’t 100% complete.  But, I’m hoping we will have either the living room or bedroom done soon, so that post will be in the works as well.  

Digging up MTP! 

Things are happening over here!

We’ve been waiting all spring and summer for one of Bruce’s guys to come and the day has arrived!!

What our yard looked like yesterday.  It’s uneven and overgrown from where we had someone drop off dirt last fall.

This morning, moving huge pieces of slate (? I’m guessing) rock that are in the middle of our yard with no real purpose.  
More updates to come next week!