The Grand House

Taking SHAPE!

We filled up another dumpster! (And by we, I mean, Mark!)

Mark and my dad spent the last couple weekends clearing out the remaining debris from inside the house we are renovating.

This gorgeous house was built in the 1800s and (we think) was a funeral home or maybe a doctor’s office. It then became one family house…then was turned into two apartments…and then finally turned back into one house when we bought it from the previous owners.

Because it went through SO MANY changes, there were weirdly shaped rooms, awkward spaces and strange staircases. Mark and I gutted the entire inside to start FRESH!

Mark designed all new floor plans for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors and we have framers coming in to help us build the new walls and staircases!

I’m attaching several videos of a recent walk through we did with Henry.

We are VERY EXCITED about the vision for this beautiful house!

I don’t care if we have to eat baked beans out of the can to have the money to get it done! HAHAHA!

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The Row House

Baby proofing to the MAX!

We love our cool little house, but we definitely designed it for adults with its exposed brick and hard wood floors, a concrete dining room table and floating stairs with sharp edges.

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I love our house even more with our 13-month-old in it even though we are constantly trying to make sure he doesn’t slip, fall or crack his head on a corner.

Now, we are baby proofing to the max and Henry is helping.

He helped his Daddy pick up and carry out these pipe insulators from Home Depot.

We put them on the edges of our stairs. Of course, Henry’s favorite thing is to take them off!

My little man…I love how he is a mini version of Mark with his love of all things Home Depot!

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The Grand House

Christmas with the Champion Eater!

You know Christmas is going to be great when Hank the Tank looks this good in his holiday pajamas!!!

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Sweet baby boy did not disappoint this Christmas…he woke up VERY HAPPY although he has no idea who Santa is and could have cared less that we bought him a Tickle Me Elmo.

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Henry’s Nana and Pap went all out with the gifts for him and cousins Lily and Caroline.

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Henry got like 20 new truck books and a tiny keyboard that he points at and shouts “Oooooo!!!”

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We also celebrated Christmas with a non-stop day of eating. Henry, you know, is a champion eater who had ham and eggs in the morning…3 different casseroles at his Aunt Susie’s for lunch…and prime rib, potatoes and tiramisu at his favorite Aunt Trudy’s!

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I didn’t get Mark a gift and he didn’t get me one…we put a new roof on the new house instead.

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I always thought I’d love diamonds under the tree…but now I’m a girl who gets excited about new shingles and a french door that’s coming in a few weeks!

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The Grand House

Dormer Demolition!

We made some BIG progress on the new house in the past several weeks! Yay!

Mark and my super fantastic brother-in-law, Kevin, got on the roof and demo-ed the two dormers.

Our plan is for that third floor to be two kids rooms with a bathroom, and so we wanted to double the size of the dormers to make that space bigger.

Mark and Kevin got all the demolition done in about six hours and did not fall off the roof. SUCCESS!

We then had an AMAZING Amish crew come in and rebuild the new, bigger dormers.

Mark wanted to help, but the crew was so talented that he just stayed out of their way and watched and learned!

We love how the expanded dormers add so much light and extra height room!

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The Grand House

Looks like Mom…Wants to be Dad!

Henry might have blond hair and blue eyes like his Momma, but I think he’s going to be like his Dad.

He loves to watch Mark work on the house and always wants to touch his tools!

Mark put in a new downspout the other day and Henry just stared at him the whole time.

Good thing our little Tank likes to help because we’re going to need it!

In the next few weeks, we’re getting a new roof, expanding the 3rd floor dormers and (hopefully!) working on a new kitchen design. These are a few different looks we like.

Henry is also babbling nonstop and gearing up to say his first word…wonder if it will be Dewalt! Ha!

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The Row House

Mark is Chip and Joanna Rolled Into One

We are big Fixer Upper fans just like the rest of America!

And people always ask us if Mark is like Chip and if I’m like Joanna.

The answer is no. Mark is Chip AND Jo, and I’m basically just his funny sidekick who follows him around and writes this blog!

Hate to be that annoying wife who gushes about her husband, but Mark really is the brains behind all our designs and the brawn behind our renovations.

He did a quick project at our current home last weekend.

Isn’t it amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do?!

Mark picked the colors and did all the scraping and then the painting.

I offer moral support and watch the baby…because someone’s gotta do that!

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The Grand House

A “Spiritual Medium” Used To Live In Our House

We thought our old Victorian might have been a funeral home at one time because of the large front rooms, super high ceilings and wide interior hallway. But it’s better than that…a spiritual medium named Mrs. Heiny used to live in our house and did readings for people from 1903 to 1905.

How cool is that?! I am obsessed with a show on E! called “Tyler Henry Hollywood Medium” and I think it is so freaking cool that Mrs. Heiny was doin’ her thang in our house.

All of this information comes from a “house history” that we asked historian Carol Peterson to do. She dug up everything she could on the house.

24 people owned the house before us. The first people who lived there were Theodore and Elizabeth Peterson in 1879. Theodore was a teamster and his family was in Pittsburgh politics.

The house was built between 1872 and 1876 in the Italianate style of architecture which was the most popular style in Pittsburgh at that time.

Italiante homes in America are modeled after Italian villas and farmhouses. This helps us GREATLY because now we know exactly what the house was intended to look like and we can mirror that as much as possible.

Mark and I LOVE going through our house history and recommend anyone who’s interested to get one done on their home!

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