Our House: the “Spare” Room

I’ve been struggling for inspiration these last couple of weeks. I took a little break from genealogy, and garden planning. The weather went from -30 to 40 degrees in a couple of days. During the warmer weather it rained, but the ground is so frozen it’s just turned into a sloppy mess, which has now froze again. We’ve also had several inches of snow in there. I hate weather like this. Stay cold and snowy then ease into an early Spring. That’s what I wish for.

I missed my Sunday post, but while lacking inspiration for genealogy and gardening, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at our unfinished house. It’s getting there. Soon, I hope, I’ll post some pictures of how far we’ve come. For now, my February project is to tackle the “spare” room. It has a lot of duties, since this house isn’t huge, around 1100 sq ft.

When we moved it was a kids room with yellow ceilings, bright turquoise walls, and lilac closets. The walls and closets are now Mountain Gray, but the ceiling is still yellow. Here are photos of the room when we bought the house. It’s hard to see how yellow the ceiling is because the walls are so bright!

The room is some times clean and pleasant, but lack of organized storage in the house turns it into a mess quickly. Right now, I have Good Will bags, art, spring decor, horse stuff, shoes, hats….etc all over the place. This is the mess that happens whenever I need something out of the closets or change seasonal decor. The current state of things (a bit embarrassing):

But I’ve been dreaming and planning. I need a guest room, office, and storage space all in a 12×12 room. Here are some of my Pinterest inspirations:

I’m hoping to have a gallery wall of family history, with some other art as well. I think that will take some time laying out and planning. I may write a separate post on it to share about displaying family images and documents. We will also be putting a real bed in the room, after we get a new one for the master. The closets…well, I didn’t take a photo of them for a reason. Over all, I just want it to be a happier space for guests when they’re here, and for me when I want to paint or do genealogy. I’ll post as the room progresses!

2019 Garden Plans

Last week, I wrote about my dreams for my 2019 garden. In my mind they are pretty grand. Because Todd said he would help me with the hardscaping and remodeling of the garden…my imagination took off with big ideas. Now that we’ve talked more, and I’ve gotten my head out of the clouds, I feel like my plans are maybe not super exciting, but within in reach.

So…some of the basic plans:

  • Create a “holding bed” with good soil and good drainage while better permanent beds are made
  • Paint my existing shed, add better shelves inside
  • Move plants from the “Big Bed” to holding bed, and dismantle “Big Bed”
  • Replace the Big Bed with space/pad for new shed (coming in 2020?) and two new 8×8 square beds flanking each side
  • Replace existing raised beds with better quality materials, refreshed soil, and good drainage
  • Add two large 8×15 spaces with landscape timbers and mulch as pads for my grow bags
  • Add large row for cut flowers in front of the garden
  • The most expensive but the most important addition will be the privacy fence. It will probably the big project of the year
  • Pour cement for new patio slab (this is all Todd)
  • Extend and clean up the rock area along the backside of the house

All of these plans concern our backyard, I have some thoughts on the front of the house, but I haven’t really put any on paper, yet. Our biggest constraint is budget. This little house has been quite the ‘fixer upper’ and we are still working on the inside. Not to mention, this year we hope to replace the doors and windows, and get the fireplace working again. It leaves very little money to throw into the yard. Fortunately, most of our work will be rearranging. I have to remind myself, we are going into our 4th Summer here, and all great gardens take time. I’ve also focused this year’s garden plan to mostly the large backyard garden. I hope to eventually add a lot more beds along the fence lines, but will wait for the fence to be built.  I am sure there will be plenty of amendments to the plan and some final measurements need to be made too. Below is my basic plan for the year, some of last year’s map, and my garden sign hope to add at the front!

Aside from the practical and basic layout, I’ve been thinking about the aesthetics too. Todd and I sat down and tried to figure out what my garden style is. I have no idea how to pin it down…except for tons of pins on Pinterest! Above all, I like gardens that look like they’ve existed a long time. Old gardens are the best. Some are kind of wild, nothing overly shiny and new which is perfect. I like structure and neat lines, but nothing sterile or overly-suburban-cookie-cutter-landscaped. I love color and texture too with bright flowers and soft grasses.

I am of the belief that you should decorate with things you love, no matter if the styles conflict…so long as you like it and don’t cram a million things in, most things will balance out. I feel the same way about gardens.

Here are a handful of my favorite inspiration photos. All of these images and the links to their content and credit can be found on my shamefully huge Farm & Garden Pinterest board. 

2019 Garden Dreams

Todd and I got Netflix this week (yes, we are behind the times, way behind). I have been watching British gardening shows non-stop. My productivity is non-existent. My friend, Steph, got me started watching any Monty Don show. Considering how gloomy and cold it is in January, in Wisconsin, the garden shows have been wonderful. So much green. So much life.

Seeing the other gardens has really sparked my imagination. It’s also given me a little, much-needed, break from my genealogy research.

My 2019 garden dreams begin with a complete remodel of my established garden beds, which are really just old beds that I’ve stuck my plants into.

I have had two winters of really horrible flooding in my flower beds. This flooding doesn’t happen in the Spring or Summer, but this past year many of my precious iris have sat under frozen puddles for many weeks. Last spring, I lost nearly half of my varieties. It’s not a very old garden, but I have collected quite a few rare, and personally special plants that need safe homes. The beds have had little love other than me stuffing my new and old finds into every available space.

The plan is to level, build up, and to add drainage and space to my beds. One of our biggest purchases and projects will be adding a privacy fence. We plan on adding a few more beds a lot more hardscaping. Todd is all about hardscaping.  More importantly, we plan on making it feel like a proper garden with some sort of plan. After all is said and done, we hope to have a several beds worthy of the heritage flowers I have already collected and plan to collect.

Next week, I will share with you our plans for the garden and some inspiration images. I can’t share the plans this week because while we planned on adding a few beds this year, a complete redo was just decided last night. If you need to get your spouse on board with a garden upgrade, just watch some Monty Don together! What are your 2019 garden dreams?

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Above: the old large bed and make-shift new beds in Spring of 2016, our first year at the house. Below: last summer’s garden.

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A Garden Post!

It’s mid-June now! My iris blooms are done, we’ve had three tree stumps removed, and I’m just now ready to share what’s happening in my garden.

Typically, Central Wisconsin plants out veggie plants on Memorial Day weekend. It’s been a warm Spring though, and I planted out May 19th. We went from 30+ inches of snow in April to 90 degree temps in May.

I lost a lot of varieties of Iris and pretty much all of my roses. I’m not too worried though! The most important plants (my collected heirlooms) survived. I will post in-depth about my perennials, especially those I’ve collected from family.

Our yard is a work in progress, just like the entire house. It’s needed a lot of attention, and will take years to get right!

A few photos from our first few months at the house:

We have a lot of plans for the yard…but we’re still working on the inside, so I’ve just been stashing plants where I can for now.

This year the garden is going strong, despite losing a lot this Spring, and my first attempt at growing tomatoes and peppers in bags! So far, the grow bags are already more successful than my last 3 years of tomato growing attempts. Almost all of them have little green tomatoes set on them.

I grow almost all heirloom varieties, mostly because I love the crazy options, ability to save seeds, and some of the stories that come with them. I do grow two hybrids, and for a special reason. Jet Star and Celebrity were both favorites of my Grandma Petersen. She bought me some Jet Star for my garden during her last summer (and I still have the little tag for it). It’s a way to honor her in my garden every year. Plus, Jet Star and Celebrity are just good tomatoes, anyway.

Here’s a little a taste of whats happening in my yard this year, right now:

 

I have a lot more to come and later this week, I am going to attempt my first post that really focuses on what I want this blog to be about. Stay tuned!

The Renovation: During

Two years ago, Todd and I moved all of our belongings into our uninhabitable house and realized it would still be awhile before we could live there. Our lease on our apartment was up at the end of May. June 1st, we had a problem.

Fortunately, railroaders are pretty generous folks (well, most of them). At some point, I would say at least half of all railroaders are in need of a place to crash for a while. This time it wasn’t just Todd, but me, Robin (our cat), and Boxy (our turtle). Our friend, and fellow railroader, Joe, offered us his place. So, for about a month, we lived in a room in the basement.

During April and May when we were spending countless hours on the house, we didn’t have a bathroom. I got over my fear of public bathrooms pretty quick. I’m also pretty sure the people at Kwik Trip thought we were homeless for as many times as we used their restrooms and ate our meals from there.

I should note, Todd was working on the house during all of his weekends and some times while waiting to go into work. I was up by 5:00 every morning and at the house by 6:00. I had until about 8:40 before I needed to leave for work. We had no electricity turned on. So, I would paint, lay floor, sweep, pull nails, etc. I would usually stop by after work too and work on things, until it started getting too dark.

When we did finally move into the house, we were still without a kitchen and shower. I spent my 30th birthday helping Todd put in our shower. During the so many days we didn’t have a shower… I washed my hair and our dishes in the backyard.

It was Thanksgiving before we had counter-tops and a kitchen sink.

The “during” portion of the renovation was pretty intense. We took out all the flooring, all cabinets, gutted the entire bathroom. We also ripped up 3 layers of sub flooring in the back two rooms. Oddly enough, there was more than one layer of dry-wall in several places as well. We also had a lot of electrical redone and all of the plumbing.

I’m getting anxious just writing about this. It was quite the ordeal.

Below are some of our “deconstruction/construction stage” photos. Including…when I broke the chandelier (and cut my head open), when the cat decided to break into the food we had stashed in the basement, and all our belongings crammed into the living room.

I promise I will get some of the garden before and after posts up asap! Maybe even in the next few days.