Monthly Archives: October 2014

Pumpkin Porch Envy

Because my new porch is so far beyond presentable, I have been especially green with envy over the last couple weeks as I have seen my neighbors’ Halloween decorations come out. Some of the pumpkins are so cute, I couldn’t help but creep around and take photos of my favorites.  I hope you all enjoy these as much as I do, and hopefully next year they will give me great inspiration for my own house!

Happy Halloween. and be safe!

Mrs. Fab

A great way to re-purpose a fun flower planter.

A great way to re-purpose a fun flower planter.

Another super cute idea. And they really do look pretty creepy!

Another super cute idea. And they really do look pretty creepy!

I LOVE these checkered pumpkins.  I want to steal them! :-)

I LOVE these checkered pumpkins. Do you think the homeowners would notice if they disappeared? 😉

Simple and sweet.  Love this.

Simple and sweet. Love this.

One of my favorites.  I love the skull peeking out from behind the plant leaves!

One of my favorites. I love the skull peeking out from behind the plant leaves!

This house has a great yard year round.  I love the pumpkins scattered all around.

This house has a great yard year round. I love the pumpkins scattered all around.

I love the different colors of these pumpkins and the sparkle from the glitter.

I love the different colors of these pumpkins and the sparkle from the glitter.

Such a cute idea to use Mr. Potato Head as your pumpkin's face!

Such a cute idea to use Mr. Potato Head as your pumpkin’s face!

You and Me, Babe

How ’bout that storm this weekend, eh?  Goodness, when you are inside a house that is essentially nothing more than sticks of wood… Let’s just say there were definitely a few times I thought we’d step out and not be in Kansas anymore!

Aside from the blustery wind IMG_20141025_141855747_HDRand rain, though, Mr. Fixer and I had a nice, quiet weekend with just the two of us.  Though work naturally goes a little slower at this rate, it gave us an opportunity for some one-on-one time to enjoy this enormous bucket-list project of ours; and let me tell you, I am amazed and so proud of what we’ve accomplished so far!  Okay, so I say “we” pretty loosely–it is really Mr. Fixer that has done about 90% of the work.  He is quite the handy guy, and I feel lucky to be alongside him in this crazy adventure! <3

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Mr. Fixer demo’d this entire bathroom by himself. He cut the shower/tub out with a sawzall!

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The aforementioned bathroom. I think every plumbing fixture in this house has had a leak!

Mr. Fixer pulling down drywall.

Mr. Fixer pulling down drywall from the bathroom in the 80’s addition.

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This was my job — load up the truck for a dump run!

All done.  We left a toilet, just in case! ;-)

All done. We left a toilet, just in case!  😉

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This bathroom will be a bedroom when we are all done.  There will be a new bathroom beyond the wall on the right.

Friends, if there is one thing I can encourage you to do with your spouse/significant other–pick a project and tackle it together.  It is such a fulfilling experience to work side-by-side on a common goal, using and appreciating each person’s individual skill set to get it done.  (Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be the total renovation of a house!)  And if you already have an experience like this, I’d love to hear about it!

Off to the permit office,

Mrs. Fab

The Value of a Good Foundation

In the last week or so, I have been thinking about the “everything in between” part of our blog.  I have wondered what types of content will be most compelling to our readers, especially in light of the fact that most come to read about home improvement and DIY.

This is what I have come up with: I have no idea!

What I do know, though, is that in the quietness of the simple tasks I can do unsupervised by Mr. Fixer, my mind starts to wander, and I am Spirit-filled with inspiration and little nuggets of wisdom from which someone else might benefit.  So while I don’t have a specific topic for the “everything in between, ” perhaps that is the point — the “everything in between” will simply be my random musings as we go about our daily home adventures.

Working on a project like ours, for example, leaves ample room for thought and meditation. Last weekend as I was methodically tearing off trim and pulling out nails, I couldn’t help but feel that I was living smack dab in the middle of Jesus’ age old metaphor that following Him is like building a house on a strong foundation.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”  (Matthew 7:24-25)

In many ways, I have never understood that metaphor more clearly until now (getting so up close and personal to a construction zone will do that to you, I suppose).  Some people wonder why we didn’t just invest in new construction if we wanted to tear our house down to the studs, and my answer is this: one, that wouldn’t have been nearly as fun; and two, we wouldn’t have been able to buy a new house as cheaply as we found this one.  Yes, it needs a lot of work, but the value of our fixer is in the foundation and the land.  There might be leaks in the walls and rotting wood here and there, but the foundation is strong and the land is stable (and roomy enough for a chicken coop!).  With those two critical things, we can practically create the house of our dreams!

And so it is true with following Jesus.  I might be a little leaky or rotting in some areas of my life, but if Jesus is my foundation, I know that He can create something beautiful and even dream-worthy.  Does that mean it is always easy?  No, certainly not!  He might have to tear into some walls or replace some plumbing, which never “feels good,” but it is certainly better than being overcome by mold, filth, and rat poop.  And for that, I am grateful.

TGIF, friends.  If you need something to do this weekend, you know where to find us! 😉

With many hugs,

Mrs. Fab

P.S. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see on the “everything in between” column, please let me know!  Otherwise, you’re stuck with my rambling thoughts!

 

Demo with Friends

Not only has the rainy season begun, but so has the dreaded cold season.  I woke up this morning with my throat screaming at me and just daring for me to swallow.  Ouch!  But hopefully it is nothing a little TLC and a hot toddy (er, I mean, tea) won’t fix!  😉

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These ladies rocked!

As expected, we had another great weekend with lots of progress.  And we had quite the crew to help us!  God has definitely gifted us with an amazing group of friends that don’t mind getting their hands dirty on our behalf; and for that, we are forever thankful!

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Deanie and Samantha helped Mrs. Fab remove some U.G.L.Y. curtains.

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Samantha’s other half, Guillaume, got a work out digging into some drywall.

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Guess which goofy guy from last weekend this lovely lady belongs to? 😉

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Tiffany was a pro at removing pesky nails from oak trim we hope to sell or donate.

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Ty’s got some big guns! Come back any time, Ty! 🙂

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That’s right, Mr. Fixer helped too!

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These ladies were a great cleanup crew and awesome de-nailers!  Mike, who is hiding behind them, was a little camera shy! 😉

Our main project was getting the walls prepped for new windows, new electrical, and insulation. The ladies spent lots of time removing trim and de-nailing, and the guys got busy with the sledge hammer!  We got loads done and really enjoyed spending time with everyone.  What could be better?

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Limin was excited to take the first swing at this wall!

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And it’s a home run by her hubby, Nick!

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Taking a break.

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Our 1950’s house was never insulated, and it has old knob & tube wiring. The windows are all single-paned originals… brr!

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Future master.

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The wall on the left (where you can see the shower/tub peeking out) will have a new entrance for a master bath.

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This little nook will become a new closet, and the existing closet will join with the other bedroom’s closet

As you can see, dust was flying all day!  Our windows arrive on Thursday, so that will be the next big project–and as I hinted at previously, I will soon be writing up a little tutorial on how to correctly pick out and order new windows.  Also stay tuned for some minor design revisions that I’ve been working on this last week!

Be well, wash your hands, and stay healthy! 🙂

Mrs. Fab

 

 

 

Cabinets, Walls, and Rat Poop (oh my!)

The rain has finally arrived, friends!  Time for jackets, boots, umbrellas, and dirty doggie feet. And pumpkin, of course!  As a matter of fact, pumpkin is all I can think about right now.  The drizzle outside and chill in the air just makes me want to bake, bake, bake.  Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.

Our fixer project has definitely been making some major progress in the past week.  Not that I’ve had anything to do with it!  One of my dearest friends flew in from Montana on Thursday for a visit, so we ate, shopped, and ate some more until Sunday morning when she finally had to head back home.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

In the meantime, though, Mr. Fixer was busy pulling up carpet, removing cabinetry, and smashing down walls.  Luckily, we were able to recruit some fantastic helpers to help him tear things down while I played, so a lot was accomplished!

After the chimney came down last weekend, removing the carpet was next on the to-do list.  Mr. Fixer shampooed it first, then carefully pulled it up (after letting it dry, of course!) so we can reuse it in the new back bedroom.  We intend to rent this back portion of the house (see design here), so reusing this carpet is not only a sustainable option, but we also won’t care if the renter trashes it eventually.

A before shot.  Notice the dark stains and obvious traffic patterns.

A before shot. Notice the dark stains and obvious traffic patterns.

Post shampoo.  Nice job, Mr. Fixer!

Post shampoo. Nice job, Mr. Fixer!

Nice linoleum, eh?  Too bad they ruined the lovely wood floors beneath it when it was glued down! :-(

Nice linoleum, eh? Too bad they ruined the lovely wood floors beneath it when it was glued down over the top! 🙁

After the carpet came out, Mr. Fixer started removing all the base and wall cabinetry from the kitchen, laundry room, and back bathroom.  My mom and I started this process last weekend in between hauling loads of chimney brick by removing all the drawers and doors.  Again, we are going to try to reuse this cabinetry if possible, so we tried to use great care in the removal process.  We also inconspicuously labeled all the drawers and doors so we would know which cabinets they fit back into when reassembled.  A big shout out and thank you to our muscle man Ryan, who helped Mr. Fixer keep everything in one piece!

Power tools aren't only for boys!  Thanks, Mom!

Power tools aren’t only for boys. Thanks, Mom!

No doors

Labeling the drawers and doors helps you fill those empty slots again in the future.

Neatly stacked so they can be reused in the future (Mrs. Fab is secretly hoping for new ones, though :-))

Neatly stacked so they can be reused down the road (Mrs. Fab is secretly hoping for new ones, though… wink, wink).

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Post removal.  G.R.O.S.S.

Bet you were wondering when the rat poop would show up, huh?

Bet you were wondering when the rat poop would show up, huh?

 

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Note to self: do not nail your cabinetry into a plumbing pipe. Luckily, it only leaked 25 years later when the cabinet came down!

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Laundry room

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Bathroom

Once the cabinets were removed and stowed away, the real fun began!  Again, Mr. Fixer had some great help by our exuberant friend, Luke.  Luke was not only super excited to knock things down manly-man style, but he is also in the process of buying his own first home, so he was looking forward to getting some hands-on experience for his own future projects.

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A before shot. Remember that the kitchen is on the other side of this wall.

Frame-worthy pic.

Luke, you’re so frame-worthy!

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Tip: be conscious of any electrical wires and plumbing in the wall before you get too demo-happy.

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Bye-bye ugly kitchen!

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Post clean-up. Remember my tip on bearing walls? The large header over the archway indicates that this wall is carrying a structural load (i.e. the roof). Because this wall is eventually being removed, we will have to keep a beam in its place.

Well, friends–to be continued, as always!  Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to measure and order replacement windows; but in the meantime, enjoy this cozy day!  I am going to go make some muffins.  Pumpkin, of course.

Xo,

Mrs. Fab

 

Breaking Roof

A common phrase with new construction is “breaking ground.”  How apt, then, for the first project in our not-so-new house to be “breaking roof.”  Really, I think Mr. Fixer was just so anxious to finally get behind some power tools that he decided to go big or go home (I guess in this case, both!).  In all reality though, it was the perfect weather to tear out a chimney and put a giant hole in the roof, so that’s what we did.  We got some very curious looks from our new neighbors, but overall, I think they are intrigued by Mr. Fixer and I and simply glad that someone is finally taking care of this old house.

But, back to the chimney… if you take a look here (scroll to the bottom for the images), you can see that the existing layout for our house is rather odd in terms of the location of the fireplace (right when you walk in the front door).  And because of the new design needing a proper place for a dining room, the fireplace had to go!  Plus, I know for a fact that we would never use it anyway, and it will give us a little extra garage space for all of Mr. Fixer’s toys.

Enough words, though–I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking!  If you have any comments, questions, or your own stories to share, we would love to hear them!

– Mrs. Fab 🙂

See that beautiful blue sky!

See that beautiful blue sky!

The demo begins!

The demo begins.

Mr. Fixer is one happy guy!

 

 

Busting through the attic.

Busting through the attic.

So grateful for help from my mom and her buff hubby!  They drove down from Seattle in their new RV to help us get started.

So grateful for help from my mom and her buff hubby! They drove down from Seattle in their new RV to help us get started.  THANKS A MILLION!

That's right--Mrs. Fab helped too!

That’s right–Mrs. Fab helped too!

 

 

This rotohammer was a HUGE lifesaver!

This rotohammer was a HUGE lifesaver!

Finally into the garage! Whew!

Finally into the garage! Whew!

Our fireplace is an original from Portland itself!

Our fireplace is an original from the Industrial Ironworks Co. in Portland.

Word of caution... do not stand near the mantel when someone is pounding on it from the other side.  Whoops!

Word of caution… do not stand near the mantel when someone is pounding on it from the other side. Whoops!

All out!

All out.  Look at all that extra space?!

Like it never happened!

Like it was never even there!  Good job, Mr. Fixer!

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Our salvaged pile of bricks, neatly stacked by my wonderful mom!

 

Welcome!

The time has arrived at last–I finally get to check “start a blog” off my Bucket List!  How did I get around to this most important to-do item?  Well, it just so happens that within days (hours, really) of each other, I lost both of my jobs and Mr. Fixer and I closed on our very first home!  I know, I know–for most of you, you would be freaking out right now.  But for me, I saw this as divine providence that I should be doing something else with my time and career (after I cried my eyes out and called my mom, of course).  And since creating a blog has always been one of my top goals, I figured I would start with that!  Because how many times are you given the time and the topic simultaneously?!

Speaking of time and topic, let’s first start with the subject of “time” and then we can move on to our main “topic” (but if you are anxious for a sneak peek, click here).  Starting a blog is a lot of work!  I began this venture a couple weeks ago with very little knowledge about blogging (really, how hard can it be?), and I was just about ready to click the “Create Website” button on WordPress.com when Mr. Fixer stopped my chipped nail polish fingers right in their tracks.  His engineer mind is usually two steps ahead of me when it comes to stuff like this, so he began to explain the difference between hosted blogs and non-hosted blogs.  But, after much huffing and puffing and pouting (I wanted to blog NOW!), I took a step back and started doing some research.  In the interest of not reinventing the wheel, here are some already published resources for starting your own blog.  I found them to be extremely helpful, and I must admit, they all agreed with Mr. Fixer (Mrs. Fab – 0, Mr. Fixer – 1).

Mr. Money Mustache’s article “How to Start a Blog” (one of Mr. Fixer’s favorite blogs, BTW)

Amy Lynn Andrews’ article “How to Blog”

Blogging for Dummies by Amy Lupold Bair & Susannah Gardner

Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho

WordPress To Go by Sarah McHarry

In regards to the books especially, I am sure there are a bajillion other good ones to read, but I found these at my local library, so that makes them winners in my book (no pun intended).  Blog BooksI also picked the brains of a few tech-y friends I know, so if you have someone in your life like that, bend their ears!  And if you’d rather pay to have your website looking beautiful and professional from the get-go, check out this stellar dude (one of the aforementioned brains).

So, there you have it.  If you ever find yourself fired and in possession of a brand-spankin’-new mortgage, start a blog!  :-p  And if you are already a pro (at being fired or blogging!), please leave a comment and/or suggestion so I can keep learning all the ins and outs!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, featuring an intro to the fixer and our very first project!

Off to find some nail polish remover,

Mrs. Fab

P.S. (Oct. 8, 2014): There is no wrong way to start a blog!  In fact, many books and people recommend beginning with the free, hosted versions in order to gauge whether you are going to stick with blogging in the long run.  That way, you don’t end up purchasing a package from a hosting service and not using it down the road.  Also, as I tried to emphasize above, time is a mighty factor!  If you want to start writing now and do not have the time or interest in fiddling with the other stuff, the hosted versions are definitely the way to go.  The important thing is that you are blogging, which should be a source of pride and accomplishment no matter what route you go!