Family

Born This Way!

To quote the bad a$$ Lady Gaga…”I’m on the right track baby, I was born this way!”

(I’m really talking about my husband)

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Do you recognize our Marky Mark?

That’s 14-year-old Mark in his parents’ Toronto garage helping his dad renovate their house.

Check out those safety glasses…such a stud.

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I guess he was meant to be a DIY home renovator from the start!

We found this picture when we were in Toronto this past weekend visiting my husband’s relatives who were in from Holland.

His cousin, Eline, is a professional basketball player. So, of course, I picked her to be on my team to shoot hoops at the bar.

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The cousins told us that a lot of the houses in Holland are cool rowhouses like ours. But bigger…definitely bigger.

We’re already thinking of visiting. We want to take a picture just like this…it’s Mark’s dad and his grandparents outside of their Rotterdam home.

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First, I have to convince Mark to have a baby. 🙂

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Moving In

Little by little…

Little by little our living room is coming together!

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We picked out side accent tables from Pier 1. Space is a premium in our rowhouse, so we got nesting tables that slide under each other to save space.

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Our West Elm coffee table has arrived!

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We picked this one because it has storage space and the one side lifts up so you can put your laptop on it (or beer.)

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Mark made sure we had a “floating TV” that’s on an arm to swing out when watching and to push against the wall when guests are over.

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The love seat and dining room table won’t be here for a few more weeks, but the house is almost fully functional. I’m so happy I could cry!

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Heavy lifting, Moving In

How many blondes does it take to fix a lightbulb?

The answer is two blondes and a brother-in-law.

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Mark and I had temporary bulbs in our can lights downstairs, and they would shut off periodically because they would get too hot.

I bought the correct wattage and my brother-in-law, Kevin, and I changed them in no time flat. Blonde sister Kelly took the pics.

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I also blew a fuse. The lights in the upstairs hallway went out and we can’t live forever in the dark.

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Kevin showed me the fuse box and how to fix it.

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We are now prepped and ready for the drywall finisher who’s coming this week!

I’m so excited I can’t stand it!

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Heavy lifting, Moving In

Boss Lady got this thing on lock!

I met with my drywall finisher yesterday. Not only was he terrific, but it turns out that he is friends with my cousin.

Pittsburgh is such a small town…there are always connections!!

Anyway, I felt very FANCY and IMPORTANT during this meeting while explaining our renovation project.

I told Mark he doesn’t have to worry…I’ve got this project (like my dance moves) on lock.

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Didn’t know I was such a good dancer, did ya? You should see Mark…

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I like to imagine myself as Beyonce. And she’s a TOTAL Boss Lady, so I think I could get used to this lead renovator position. 🙂

We’re supposed to get started next week. Can’t wait to show you the progress!

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Family, Moving In

Life’s A Beach (Well, it WAS a beach)

My husband took his first vacation since buying and renovating our house. I begrudgingly went along with him. (HA!)

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We went to the warm beaches of Longboat Key, Florida where we did absolutely no remodeling, but LOTS of sitting.

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I guess we have good mojo because the weather was beautiful and hot almost every day we were there.

While we lounged, swam and played with our nephews, it was easy to forget that we had an unfinished house waiting for our return.

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Reality smacked us in the face when we got back to Pittsburgh…or maybe it was the below freezing windchills.

We are happy to be home, but no renovation elves finished the house while we were gone. As I said to Mark, our next vacation will be in our FINISHED living room…we’ll pitch a tent, stare at this picture and PRETEND we’re at the beach!

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Heavy lifting, Moving In

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

We’ve got déjà vu fever at our house…the mudding and taping and sanding is back!

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That means Mark’s rotator cuff injury has reared its ugly head once again.

Pop a few Motrin, drink a couple of Heinekens and he’s good to go!

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There’s not as much drywall downstairs, but the ceiling is a bear.

Time is of the essence because Mark will be very busy work-wise when the new year starts, and we might only get to work on the house 1 day a week.

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That combined with the fact that we are DYING to take a beach vacation (and I already got a pedicure for that very purpose) means we should be like busy renovation bees…key word here is SHOULD.

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Heavy lifting, Moving In

Our family is now complete

If we sent out a Christmas card, it would look like this…

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Merry Christmas from Mark, Courtney and Sally (our staircase.)

We love this staircase so much, we took 20 different pictures of it. It’s like our baby.

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On Friday, our electrician, Dominic, brought over 5 burly men, and Mark and the burly men lifted the 760 pound staircase and got it up.

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Mark poured concrete in the basement and put in a support post to help with the weight.

He fastened in the oak trends and covered them with paper so they don’t get ruined while we finish the downstairs.

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We have a cable wire railing we’ll be putting up next. Three cheers for how it turned out and for not climbing a ladder anymore!

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Heavy lifting, Moving In

We Must Carry On

Our DIY home improvements slowed this week because work has been really busy and then I got sick. Yuck.

Before the HeBeGeeBees, I left Mark like this…

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Once the HeBeGeeBees were gone, I walked downstairs and I saw this.

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We have walls. A bunch of them. No more “insulation chic” in our house.

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Mark and I were talking about how slow we seem to be going now. I don’t know if we don’t have any juice left in the tank or the DIY “honeymoon” period has worn off.

To give us a boost, I thought a comparison was in order. Our first floor went from this…

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To this…

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To this.

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We. Must. Carry. On.

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Family, Heavy lifting, Moving In

My grandmother told me I needed another MAN

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that my husband is a MASTER home renovator…except when it comes to door frames.

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The first time Mark built a door frame for our bedroom, he ended up throwing things and cursing the sky and I had to get out of there because it was ridiculous. (Relive that episode HERE)

You would think it would be different this time when Mark tried to build the frame for the front door. Wrong you are. First, he got hurt…

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Then we bought the wrong size wood for the frame.

We shared our frustrations with my Nunny who quickly said, “Can’t you just look this up on the internet?” and “Courtney, get a man in there to help him.”

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There it was. My boss lady/awesome/cool/feminist grandmother told me I needed another MAN to help.

She. Was. Right.

Our electrician, St. Dominic, came over and he and Mark figured out the door frame dilemma in 15 minutes.

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We should always listen to our grandmothers. Always. 🙂

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Heavy lifting, Moving In

This is how cave people lived.

We couldn’t leave our house for several days because we didn’t have a front door. Seriously. One of us had to be at home at all times.

Our current front door and door frame were kind of rotted and not in the best shape. We took the door down and stripped it to its natural wood.

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Then, we used a dowel to fill in the holes left behind by the original handle and lock.

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After that dried, we sawed off the ends.

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We then had to shave off the original hinges because we’re putting the new hinges on the other side.

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It took awhile but we got the nice, clean lines we wanted.

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After all of that, it was finally time to build the door frame.

Unfortunately, we were so exhausted at this point, we just leaned the door up and screwed it in.

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I’m pretty sure this is how cave people locked their doors.

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