The Row House

The coffee and toast diet

Mark and I are on a new diet. We basically eat anything that you can make in a toaster oven or in a Keurig.

Here’s why…

redoing kitchen

For the next 5 weeks, we’ll being using this “makeshift kitchen” that we set up in our dining room.

redoing kitchen

Since I don’t cook (and Mark loves Wendy’s) this arrangement should suit us both just fine.

We’re going to demo our existing kitchen and make it into a very cool “galley kitchen.”

kitchen remodel

It’s a bit bigger than a traditional galley kitchen, but we think a sleek galley look will make the best use of the space!

kitchen remodel

I think we’ll be able to do the demolition in one day. Let’s hope the rebuild goes just as fast.

If anyone would like to join us on the diet…we’ll post weekly toast recipes. 🙂

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Moving In

Fits just right!

No more card table chairs, baby, we’ve got ourselves a couch! Woot woot!


I don’t think our backsides could take much more sitting on those crappy chairs…we’re not young’uns anymore, ya know?! 🙂

Our couch from West Elm is called the “Peggy” and it’s very mod and retro.

(Please ignore the hideous pillows we threw on there…we’re getting new ones.)


The couch is a bit larger than a love seat and fits the space perfectly.

Again, my height (or lack there of) is a total bonus in this situation because I can lay out and stretch out my legs like this couch was made just for me.


We’re giving you a sneak peak of the table behind the couch. Did you catch it?


It’s not coming together as we had hoped…but you know that makes for a better story! Stay tuned! 🙂

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Moving In

A $2500 table? No thanks, we’ll make one.

Mark and I were in a very cool furniture store looking at a very cool table.

Then, we saw the price tag and thought we could totally make that.


We knew we had this old wooden work bench in the basement.

It was left behind with the house.


It took several tries but we finagled it and managed to fit it in the basement door hatch.


A couple of Heev-Hos and we got it upstairs.


The plan is to even out the legs and refinish it. We’re going to put it behind our couch.


You know this is all playing out in my head way easier than it will be in real life. 🙂

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Moving In

Old vs. New

They always say you shouldn’t compare yourself to others because it will only make you feel inadequate and jealous…but there’s no harm in comparing your current self to your past self, right?!

Last April:


Versus this April:


Living room when we bought the house:


Current living room:


Newly minted (and very dirty) DIY home renovators:


DIY home renovation experts (spending more time celebrating than working):


We’ve officially owned our house for one year and one month.

Mark and I still laugh that we told everyone we’d have the house finished in 6 months. HA. HA. HA!

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Awesome finds

Treasures in an old house & whiskey. Yes, whiskey.

We uncover little things every day. Actually, some of the things aren’t so little…


That is my mammoth freezer. It’s so old, it has drawers. Check it out…


Next to my insanely large freezer is my equally enormous fridge.


It is also really old, really LOUD and it’s a power hog.

They’re kinda cool but they’re too big for our narrow kitchen and so my friend, Abby, is going to take the fridge and we’re working on someone else to take the freezer.

Here’s one thing I’m not giving away…


We found this old wooden drawer made out of whiskey crates in our basement.


Why does my finger look so old and wrinkly?!! Anyway, there’s a bunch of handmade work benches and tables down there…whoever owned the house, waayyyyy back when, built these drawers and used whatever materials they had handy.


I guess our previous, previous, previous owner REALLY liked a stiff drink. (And I will need one when we finally finish). Cheers!

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Why. Grandmas. Rock.

I don’t think my 83-year-old Nunny really “gets” why we would want to live in a narrow rowhouse in Lawrenceville when we could get a normal-sized house in the suburbs with a 2 car garage.

Every time I show her a picture like this…


She kind of gets a look on her face that says her inner monologue is going “Ewwwwwwww!”

That said, my Nunny is a saint and she wants to be supportive.

Since ripping down walls, sawing through pipes and scraping off plaster is a bit much for her, she did the next best thing….


Nunny gave us our FIRST housewarming gift. It’s a beautiful painting she did herself…my husband almost cried when she gave it to him. 🙂

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Awesome finds

We haven’t found gold, but we did find these…

Everyone thinks that when they demo an old house, they’re going to find money and piles of gold in some secret, hidden passageway.

Each time I swing the hammer, I’m hoping to hit the jackpot. (Hasn’t happened yet)

We did find some old newspapers that were stuck in the brick…a couple of old wallpaper sheets that covered the fireplace (who wallpapers a fireplace?!)…and a really nasty rug that covered part of the bathroom floor (I will you spare you the details on that.)

We also found this GEM…


An old Channel 11 magnet with Peggy, David and Chris Long – how great is this?!

I’d say my co-workers looked good back then and look even better now! I guess we were meant to get the house…I take this magnet as sort of an omen. 🙂

Heavy lifting

It kinda looks like someone threw up on my wall.

I like exposed brick.  Our house is going to have that modern/industrial vibe, and I think it will look cool.

That said…after chipping off the plaster, some of the brick looks good…

Brick 1

The other half looks like someone threw up on my wall…

Brick 3

Our architect friend thinks this is one of the original Lawrenceville rowhouses that was built back in the 1850’s.  They used this pumpkin-colored brick that’s kind of porous and it really absorbed all the moisture, so the plaster is stuck SUPER HARD TO IT.

Because my chipping isn’t perfect, some of the mortar sticks out between the bricks in a shape that our neighbor likened to boogers…yes, boogers.

Brick 2

Since that is a super gross comparison, we’re going to get some muriatic acid and paint that on.

I’m told that will help get rid of some of the leftover mortar.   Any other suggestions???  You can leave one by clicking “leave a comment/comments” on the upper left hand corner near the title.  Thanks!


Demolition, Heavy lifting

My hands hurt so badly, it hurts to wash my hair.

For the last five days, I’ve been doing this nonstop…


Chipping plaster that’s been stuck to these bricks since 1850 (our new estimate on when the house was built) is not fun.

Call me a sissy, but these blisters are starting to hurt.


No pain, no gain…right?!

We demo-ed the house for a full five days.  Almost all the plaster is off the brick walls we want to expose.  The upstairs bathroom has been ripped out and the cheese stands alone.  (The cheese in this case is the toilet)


The carpets upstairs are gone and the ceiling is down to expose the joists so our plumber/HVAC/electrical guys can get in there and run some pipe.

I now totally get why people put their homes into “house tours.”  After working so hard on something like this, I want everyone to see what we’re doing!! 🙂

Demolition, Heavy lifting

Demolition Days

I hate dust.  Like…really, really hate it.

We’re basically ripping the house down to the studs and starting the renovation from there.


We had to pull down the ceiling to see which way the joists run because we’re going to move the stairs, and we have to make sure we don’t move anything that’s structural.  Trying to keep the house from falling in on us and staying alive is priority NUMERO UNO.

Every time we pulled down a ceiling tile, a huge cloud of black dust would fall over us…


It’s not asbestos…we had that checked.

You know how your family will always help you do the stuff that no one else will, like moving??  Well, it turns out they’ll help you renovate too…and they’ll do it for free.


But I will be buying them lots of pizza and beer.  It’s only fair.