The Grand House

Our City Backyard

We love living in the city.  We love the noise and the traffic and the walkability of our cool little neighborhood.

Henry is a total city kid…he runs up and down the sidewalks like he owns them, waves to all the bus drivers and loves the banana bread at our local coffee shop.

Backyard space is hard to come by in Lawrenceville. At our #RealLifeReno, Mark really wanted to make our small yard a nature oasis in the city.

He planted a tall Bloodgood London Planetree in the far back of our lot.  We call it “Henry’s Tree” and planted it shortly after he was born.

We’ve got 3 smaller trees that are called Hornbeam plus some sidewalks trees that we got from Tree Pittsburgh.  They really add shade, beauty and charm to the normal concrete-jungle that is city living.

Mark decided on Arborvitae Nigra for our “natural fence” that borders our neighbor’s yard and planted Yew hedge as filler for the rest of our backyard space.

The backyard is right off the French doors that lead into the kitchen.

We wanted to create a place where Henry can dig in the dirt and push his trucks around while I’m in the kitchen cooking…(really I’ll be drinking coffee and heating up food in the microwave.)

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The Grand House

How Did He Do That?!

One of our favorite things about our #RealLifeReno is that we’re honoring the history of this grand old house!

When we were looking to buy it, one of the first things we noticed was a beautiful curved wall right at the entrance of the house that leads into the first living room.

That curve makes us think that this house was a funeral home or doctor’s office at one time. Perhaps the curved wall separated a waiting area from the rest of the house.

We absolutely LOVED that curved feature and knew that we would rebuild it after we demoed the entire inside of the house.

Mark tackled that project last week. He first drew the curve in his CAD computer program to make sure all the measurements were correct.

Then he used a jig saw and cut the curve from plywood because there’s no way to get that curve from a stiff 2×4.

Just wait til it’s drywalled and painted…it’ll be a real beauty!

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The Grand House

I’ve seen this STUD before!

When we first started renovating homes, there was just one STUD in my life…

Now, there are two STUDS…one is potty trained, one is not! 😉

During our first home renovation, I remember feeling SO EXCITED by stud walls. (I never thought I would type that sentence.)

But stud walls mean the demolition is done and the house is starting to take shape. This pic is from our first reno…it shows the upstairs hallway with the bathroom and laundry room.

upperfloor

When the stud walls go up, you can start to see how big the rooms will be, where the hallways are, and how the doorways and closets look.

Mark has been working hard this week on framing in the doorways and closets on our third floor.

This space before was just a semi-big, awkward room with no purpose. We expanded the dormers so that we could have two decent-sized bedrooms and a full bath on this floor.

It can also be just one bedroom and an office or storage space as well. Lord knows I will NOT being have 5 kids to fill these bedrooms. HA!

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The Grand House

Indoor Plumbing for the WIN!

You know you’re turning into a crazy home renovation person when the most exciting day all week is INSPECTION DAY!

Mark worked his butt off with our plumber and put in all the new pipes and water lines.

After a quick test of the pipes, where you fill them with water and look for leaks, Mark had to make a few adjustments and then we were ready for the plumbing to get inspected.

Mark and Henry also worked on putting the floor in our half bathroom downstairs.

We’re using reclaimed wood that Mark ripped up from other parts of the house.

He’ll sand it and stain it, and it will look beautiful!

We did this in our current home and the floors look great!

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The Grand House

Henry’s a DeWalt Kid!

Not even 2 yet and Henry is ready to join a construction crew! Look at his concentration!

Kids are smart and imitate everything you do which is why Henry is already pretty good at sweeping and shoveling and building.

Mark put in the new window for our downstairs powder room at the house we’re renovating.

There will be a full bath on the second and third floors and this half bath is on the first.

Mark measures and grinds the bricks down so they fit around the window.

My husband is a perfectionist…which, in times like this, is a great asset!

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The Grand House

Mark the Builder and Henry the Helper!

Henry might look like his Momma but he’s got Daddy’s builder DNA!

These two amigos are in their element at our #RealLifeReno and I have pictures to prove it.

Henry is always helping Daddy water the trees and plants in our backyard.

Mark is also installing a new gate.

We went with the black gate to match our windows and French doors.

Mark dug the holes…

A few hours later and…VIOLA!

We’re getting close to wrapping up our renovations to the outside of the house.

A bigger task awaits us inside!

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Family

When it’s GOOD ENOUGH!

Trying to be perfect is exhausting and, honestly, if you achieved perfection…you would be annoying and not someone I’d want to hang out with. HA!

My current motto is “That’s GOOD ENOUGH!”

What I mean by that is some days I’m feeling great. I’m well rested, Henry is a happy little peanut and I’m able to take him to the library, playground, water park and do the laundry with ease.

But other days…and there are many…I am just exhausted!

On those days, I operate from the “GOOD ENOUGH!” philosophy.

If I get home from work and I’m tired and can’t get off the couch, Henry and I will watch kids shows for 2 hours and it’s fine.

If Henry is fussy and I can’t soothe him and I have to put his binky in while we’re out and about…I just do it and it’s fine.

If Henry eats frozen Trader Joe’s meatballs 2 times a week because I don’t have fresh food for him…it’s fine and he is perfect.

I think we all need to remember is that one instance of “not being perfect” will not determine the total outcome of us or our children.

We become fully realized human beings who are molded from MANY moments…and if the majority of them are good, then we are just FINE.

I’ll end this blog post here because it’s GOOD ENOUGH!

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