HELLO! How are you?? After a two-month blogging hiatus, where do I start?
I assume it goes without saying that things have been quite crazy for me since… mmm… I don’t know, last April? Yeah, I think that’s where I can pinpoint the start of madness.
Nonetheless, I’m here now and ready to fill you on some things Bryan and I have been working on at Operation Pottery Barn (that’s what I’m calling our renovation, if you’re new around here :-)) over the last two months. Truthfully, I haven’t felt super-compelled to write about the last few projects because they’ve been rather… well, just read on and you’ll understand.
Exhibit A: We cleaned the garage.
Last year, we could only fit Bryan’s car in the garage. Since we cleaned, I can now park inside, which has been nice (and will be even more so come Dec-Feb). However, my side doesn’t have an automatic door. We’ve talked about getting one installed but it likely won’t happen until the spring.
It’s funny how accustomed we get to modern luxuries like that. Because getting out of my car to pull up or down the garage door is the end.of.the.world. I’m kidding. It really isn’t that bad. It’s just an extra 10 seconds I don’t normally have to spend entering or exiting my house. That’s all. I’ll consider it a character building task for the time being. 😉
Exhibit B: By default, we cleaned the basement (because we needed somewhere to put all the crap from the garage.)
This was Bryan’s tile saw workshop for over a year, so it was the dustiest, dirtiest room in the house. Not cool considering it was the room our clothes were going to get clean.
No joke, I think I lost some lung capacity for, like, 2-3 days after cleaning this beast. For real, I seriously couldn’t take a deep breath for a couple days. We should’ve worn dust masks. Very rookie move. Safety first, friends.
On the bright side, I think the house lost 2-3 pounds with all the dust we carried out of these rooms.
Exhibit C: We prepped the yard for winter.
I’m actually embarrassed that I spent two FULL days raking and bagging leaves by hand last fall. It wasn’t even a, “Oh, I spent a beautiful fall Saturday drinking pumpkin spice lattes and being active by raking leaves.” It was hard, hand blistering, dirty work. And I stepped in dog poop. And it literally snowed two feet the night I finished so I couldn’t even admire the grass for a hot minute. Ok, end rant.
This year, we got smart and asked Bryan’s parents to bring their mowers (plural) and leaf blower to bag them all. We were done in 2 hours. Don’t get me wrong; it was amazing. I’m just annoyed I won’t get those 12 hours back from last fall’s raking and bagging nightmare. Live and learn, I suppose.
I really should’ve taken “before” pictures, but I totally forgot. Just take my word for it when I say you couldn’t even see the grass out here before the leaves were bagged.
Exhibit D: We insulated the attic.
In other words, we spent a couple full Saturdays getting up-close and personal with this killer attic space of ours.
I’m actually obsessed with the attic. It has 9-ft ceilings in some spots. A view of the Mississippi (if we replaced the junky vent currently blocking it). And so much room for activities. Like, so much room.
Everything about it rocks other than it was never insulated properly. There’s NO, I repeat NO, insulation along the ceiling or walls. Yes, last winter was cold in this casa. Under the floorboards, we found the original ground balsam fur insulation (all 2” of it) from the 1930s along with other miscellaneous types of insulation sources that have been patched in over the decades.
Finishing the attic to make it a livable, warm, fully functional space would be upwards of $15-20K. Yeah, that’s definitely not in the budget right now. So we decided to do a short-term insulation fix to get us through the next 5ish years until we’re ready to tear into it again. And let’s face it, we have enough projects on the first two floors – and the basement – and outside.
After Bryan gathered a couple quotes from local contractors to do the insulation work up there, we ultimately decided to DIY this bad boy… because that’s just how we roll. It helped that some floorboards were already removed up there from the header that was installed in the new master bedroom last fall. We pulled up additional floorboards to find where all the interior walls intersected with the ceiling and used spray foam to seal along them.
We did the same thing around bathroom piping and vents as well as around all the exterior walls. The exterior walls were somewhat challenging since the ceiling stoops down dramatically and space can get tight between the attic floor and the ceiling. Definitely not a job for those who are claustrophobic, as there was a lot of contorting in small places going on to get the right angles. We used nonflammable caulking around all the light fixtures because not having the house burn down is a priority.
The second part of the project included blowing insulation into the attic. Bryan rented an insulation blowing machine, called the AttiCat, from Home Depot to do that part. The machine rental was free since we used over 10 bags of insulation (we actually ended up using 17). With help from his parents (I was out of town on business this weekend), they finished up the project in just a couple of hours.
We’re now super-excited for temps to get below zero in Minnesota, so we can test our mad insulation skills. That’s sarcasm. However, we have our fingers crossed that we see a nice decrease in heating bills this winter.
In addition to those projects, we’ve slowly been furnishing the house, which has been fun, but expensive. I can’t even sugar coat it. It’s annoying that a freakin’ window shade is $50+. Grrr.
I’ve been trying to be patient and wait for discount codes to purchase certain items, but that’s not my personality at all. I’m a buy-it-now-so-I-have-it-and-don’t-have-to-look-for-it-anymore sort of person. Bryan is not that way. That’s why I need him. He slows my roll. Décor shopping is teamwork, you know. 😉
That said, look for more posts showing some of our furnishings and décor in the near future. I promise I won’t make you wait two months. That was really crappy of me. And don’t be surprised if I do a post solely dedicated to decorating the house for Christmas because… well, it’s Christmas and I don’t need another reason.
I hope you all enjoyed this beautiful November weekend. I bought a pair of homemade recycled sweater mittens at a local art crawl Friday night, so I’m set for the season. Let’s do this, winter!