Wednesday Renovation Recap: Little Items & Big Windows

Hey friends! This last week in renovation land has been slow and steady. There has been plenty done, but it’s been little items to prep for some big ones. We’re waiting for some materials to show up so we can install the windows, so while we waited we worked on a few other items.  By “we” I mean I did some painting and items around the house, while Andy actually worked on the house. Oh, I also took some photos for you of the house so this won’t be an instagram photo recap like last Wednesday.

First up, can we just discuss what a HUGE difference has been made since we moved in five years ago? I found this picture on my external hard drive and I was all, “ANDY LOOK. There’s a toilet on the porch.” Then I cringed because I remember having to blast that toilet with the power washer when we had to re-floor the bathroom right after moving in.

And from a similar perspective now. Awwww boo yeah.

This photo also shows one of the bigger of the prep items we had to do this weekend before the windows went in. All of those casings around the window openings are not the final casings for the windows. I asked Andy and he let me know these are actually called “wood bucks” not casings. I’m so super knowledgeable about these things *shakes head sarcastically*. These help hold the actual windows in place and will be covered by the window itself.

Wait for it…

Waaaiiitt for it….


Oh boy do I like our windows. These are two over one windows, i.e. two panes over one pane. We debated a three over one look but decided the balance of the house and the view of the field would be better with two over one. These windows are amazing and are easily cleaned by tilting (it’s the little things in life). The green will be what you see on the exterior of the house, and the interior is a basic pine but it’s a nice pine. Once the Vycor (window flashing) comes in we’ll be set to install and it will look like a unicorn party – both magical and unbelievable.

Next up came finishing up the soffit on the addition, trim and paint.

Because the steel roof reflects light so easily, it’s really hard to get a good shot from the road. Instead I took these while up on the original roof, after I finished putting a second coating on some of the trim. Oh, by the way, the paint color is Sage Brush Green if you’re interested.

Oh, and what else is this we started? Some work on the original house? Oh yes, you know we did. You can’t exactly put siding on when the original house is still junk. The entire exterior needs to be in working order, so when I was doing inventory on my soaps the other night I heard a loud BANG BANG BANG *crunch* noise right outside my window. Turns out Andy was pulling the soffit down on the original house.

That tiny window is the window into my office right now. Someday, oh someday, I’ll have a real window in there.

The final part of this weeks renovation update actually happened tonight, so I think it deserved a spot in this weeks breakdown.

Our front door!

I never wrote about it, but earlier this spring when I was in Marthas Vineyard for my friends wedding, Andy went to the Hammond Lumber tent sale up in Belgrade. He came home with some doors, including a beautiful solid douglas fir front door.

The swing of the door was wrong, so Andy took it out of the frame and changed the mounts so it would swing in to the right, instead of to the left.

It’s great knowing that not only are the windows going in soon, but we’ll actually have a front door to the house again. As far as those lanterns from our wedding in the garage? They might just stay there forever.

We’re fancy like that.



Wednesday Renovation Recap: Getting Roofed

Wednesday renovation recap in of the houuuussee. In this segment of things we did this week on the house, we’re showing roofing installation, mainly though Instagram photos. Why? Because I didn’t charge my nice cameras battery. Instagram & iPhone photos it is! I know Instagram is all retro, but all of this progress happened over the last week anyway, so that makes it kind of retro, right? No? It doesn’t? Nonsense!

If you’ve already seen all of these then you, my friend, are awesome. Thank you for following me. If you have not seen any of these yet then you, my other friend, are still awesome because you’re here now.

First up, I would like to prove I was not totally full of BS when I said we had to get the renovations done before it got cold out, and that is why I wasn’t writing so much. Proof!

Yep those are leaves that are not green, and they are on the ground.  This is late August, and there are already a plethora of leaves of colors out and about. We’re just over a week from September and that makes us pull at our collar a little bit and go “eeeeeeehhhkk”. This beautiful summerish weekend however involved the installation of steel roofing! While the roofing sat on the ground, the boys worked on getting the insulation and strapping put up first. Details Details.

Or, I could just show you this video I made on my new iPhone 4 this weekend. Yeah people, I just got the iPhone 4. I am moving up in the world. In related news, I joined Facebook a year after all of my friends and just got on Twitter in June. High-five.

I wasn’t planning to move on but perhaps I smashed my much loved 3GS in the hood of my car. Can I just take a moment to say that first off, I had no idea the hood of my car could bounce like that. Second, I would like to say my phone still managed to sync up to my computer after being smashed by the hood of my car. Thank you iPhone. You served me well. Rest in peace. This 4 though? Video, people, VIDEO. This brings in an entire new era of annoying videos to terrible programmed iPhone iMovie music. Yes. High-Fives again! Let’s play the let’s be honest game. If I’m being honest, and I am, I have no idea what the heck I was doing but I do know this is rather terrible. Or awesome. Or terribly awesome.

I literally cannot listen to that music one more time. So let’s just stick with photos.

The hole in the roof is for a chimney. From the road I thought it was a tiny skylight and I was utterly concerned. Thankfully my quick processing skills analyzed the situation and decided my initial conclusion was wrong, and it was indeed for the chimney. By “quick processing skills” I mean, seeing it from the road, walking up to the house, staring, climbing up on the roof and then looking. Okay, self-deprecation aside I knew it wasn’t a skylight from the ground after a second, but I didn’t know what it was for until the roof. I momentarily forgot we had the chimney there for the basement still, because in my head the main chimney was already somewhere else (thought it hasn’t been constructed yet).

The roofing was up next, and man oh man does this make a HUGE different! I can’t even explain. So uh, I won’t, I’ll just show photos. I really wanted to show you the entire house roofed in full, but don’t have a good shot of it so you’ll have to settle for the second to last for now. Plus, we still need roofing on the porch. Like Reading Rainbow, use your imagination.

All in all, the new steel roof really ties in with the original houses’ steel roof and for the first time the the addition and original house are really starting to look cohesive. I can see each day how much more they go together and what the house will potentially look like (from the outside). This next week should include some window installation, insulation and who knows what else! Until next week, stay awesome.



Wednesday Renovation Recap: In Your Fascia

Yay for weekly renovation updates! If you didn’t catch my post yesterday, I essentially realized I was stressed out trying to capture every detail of the renovation, and to put some balance back in my life and this blog (because I do have other sections I like to blog in other than renovations) I’ve decided to do a weekly renovation recap. Unless something totally crazy happens during the week, this will stand until we get to smaller more manageable projects, which I feel I can write better on. Right now we have a huge crazy push to get the house in a good spot before cold hits and it essentially means a roof, windows and maybe insulation. In other words, once a week is plenty enough so the writing doesn’t feel like you’re in a dentist chair for a root canal.

This week in renovation land we:

  • Finished up the exterior plywood.
  • Chose a paint color for the entire house.
  • Installed the fascia
  • Installed the roof trim on the ends of the house.

You know how on those reality shows they’ll be all, “this is the most dramatic episode yet” despite the fact that every episode is the most amazing, dramatic, one (except it’s not). Well, that’s kind of what I feel like whenever I write about our house. Except it really is pretty amazing to see. With each bit of progress the addition starts looking more and more like the home we’ve been conjuring up in our heads for the last five years. Each time it takes me by surprise and I think “I thought I liked it before but now I really like it.”

As you can see in the photo above, we still have two of the original windows to replace. The reason we haven’t swapped these out yet is that we aren’t changing the position, or the size of them. I admit it looks a little wonky that the windows aren’t perfectly symmetrical on the porch but they simply can’t be. Between the door and the first “old” window is the staircase, and those two windows have to be in the position they are to be symmetrical in the bedroom.

We never said it was a perfect house, but it’s perfect for us. Renovations are like that, sometimes you just have to work with what you have.

Working with what we have has been the name of the game with this renovation, but it’s also about being resourceful and that included the material we used for the fascia and the paint color.

For the paint color we decided to use the same color for the house as the garage and the barn door. We had thrown around the idea of painting the house a deep brick red, since the next few houses on our street are a similar green. When it came down to it though we liked how the green would tie all of the buildings together. Also, we had a few gallons of the green left which sort of sealed the deal. We really liked the color anyway, so it made sense.

The other paint decision we made was mono vs duo paint on the exterior. Some people really like contrasted trim, but we really like the monotone paint scheme on the exterior of homes. Aesthetically I like it better most of the time and it also makes maintenance easier. Call it Yankee thrift if you will with a bit of design thrown in. One of the other reasons for painting the entire house, including trim, the same color is to minimize the different roof pitches. If we painted the trim a different color it would be very obvious our house had a renovation put on it, and we really wanted the house to look as cohesive as possible.

For the fascia boards, you finally get to see how we’re using the lumber we sawed up earlier this year. We used a bunch of the worst stuff on the barn, but now we’re getting into using the really nice boards. To get these super long boards planed and to the correct widths Andy has set up a wood shop in the garage (for the count, that makes two wood shops we now have, even though the garage one is temporary).

To paint the boards Andy simply set up two sawhorses in the driveway, ran the boards between the two, painted one side, let it dry and then painted the other side.

Installing the boards was pretty fun, mainly because I got to help out. While I climbed out onto the roof with And,  Casey stayed inside on the second floor to cut the fascia boards to length, using the portable table saw, per measurements Andy was taking. As I was attempting to take a photo of the interior plywood, I was instructed to “take a photo of the gun show.” I think Casey has a secret mission to see how many photos I will post of him on my blog in this position, because he makes it just about every time. He isn’t even a meat head. Not even close, it’s just funny.

While we’re at it, here’s the master bedroom side of the interior completely boarded up.

As the gun show was taking place, I peeked out to see that one side of the house already had the painted fascia board installed. The odd nail is actually how the guys hold their power tools while they are working on the roof. It allows them to hang the tools by the handles, without the risk of the tools sliding off the roof, or having the guys have to bend down while on staging to pick them up.

I didn’t get too many photos of the next step because I was on the opposite side of the roof helping Andy line up and install the fascia. We were working hard to get the fascia up and painted before the big wedding on Sunday in our backyard. We only had a few hours, so my focus was more on getting the fascia up than taking photos. As I’ve said before, this renovation seems to be going at lightening speed, so my coverage of it is admittedly not as detailed and I was expecting. No complaints from me though! The sooner it gets done the better.

Essentially installing the fascia went like this: measure, cut, help install and hold in place, nail in place and an extra coat of paint for protective purposes and to cover the nails. While I painted the two longer sides, Andy and Casey worked on putting up the boards on each end and getting the second coat of paint on them.

In the early afternoon I had to leave to go help set up the candy table in the tent for the wedding in our backyard (I’ve mentioned it on Twitter and Instagram), so the boys kept working on adding roof trim to the master bedroom side of the house. I would have taken photos of that side, but truth be told this was the point in the day I became entirely preoccupied with taking care of the last few details for the wedding. Our neighbors son was getting married, and I had offered to help set up final details.

Maybe I was been busy eating chocolate covered acai and blueberries. Oh, and recognize that turned bowl below? It’s one of the ones Andy turned on the lathe last year. In fact, it was his very first one. It’s most certainly wonky, but it’s a wonky bowl I love to bits.

With that, this ends the first weekly renovation recap! This new method will be nice for all of us, I promise. You’ll know when you can come back and see updates, while I won’t feel like I’m letting you guys down for not posting every.single.time. something happens.  Schedules are a good thing!

I can promise the next post on the renovation will be (movie announcer voice) the most exciting, drama filled, amazing post to date.
Ok, I can’t promise that, but it looks like *fingers crossed* we might have some roofing. I’ll let you know next Wednesday!



“Blog Changes” Alternatively Called “Getting Back To The Roots”

This blog was always about the blessings in life, our life, our little piece of land. Our quirks, the things we love and the things that make us feel “like a cup of tea”. I wanted this blog to always be something people could snuggle and cozy on into and feel like they were hearing from a friend, or reading a good story. I want people to feel good when they walk away from my blog.

It takes time to find your blog voice, and I realized that I like writing about the process of smaller projects and more than that, just the little blessings and funny small things in life. For me, it’s all about the small things in life. This renovation, despite it being awesome made me realize that I never want to be a DIY renovation only blog, and that’s how it’s started to feel for me, at least lately. When renovations started, I honestly thought I would have more time to blog the details, exactly how we executed something, etc. Not only do I not have time, I simply don’t have the technical knowledge. I often come home to projects already well underway, and I don’t know how to explain what’s going on in a technical capacity. Andy has always told me not to worry about the technical and to write from my perspective, because that’s what this blog is about and that it isn’t your typical two people, first house, no experience kind of blog. He’s right. He’s a professional, but I’m not, I’m just the writer learning things along the way.

With everything going on between the renovations and my priorities shifting to make sure my family, the house, and the dogs are taken care of while Andy busts butt to get the renovations in a good spot before cold weather hits (and it’s closer than we’d like to admit) the blog, for now, will be ramped down for a couple weeks. Also, the way I write renovation posts is going to change. I’m going to be doing a weekly update from now on, instead of putting so much pressure on myself to do a post for each step, and then ultimately ending up with a flat, dry, post. I’m a sentimental and somewhat sarcastic person. The renovation posts I’ve been writing have been all ‘here’s a wall’, ‘here’s a nail” “here’s a ohmygodpleaseripmyeyesoutthisisboring”. No worries though, once cool weather hits and it comes down to smaller, easier to chew projects and design, there will be more posts and many more technical ones. This could be in a few months, or longer it just depends on how construction goes.

In a very long, verbose, way what I’m trying to say is that I’m getting back to the roots of this blog,  putting some balance back into it and I’m taking care of my family first.

Priorities people.


Also, could some of those renovation posts get any drier? Echk.

xo (really, I mean it. I love you guys),


P.S. I will be back with a renovation post tomorrow because I want to get caught up to this point. I’m looking forward to showing you the house with all of the walls up and some paint on it. Promise.

P.P.S. I will still regularly be updating on Instagram (likeacupoftea) and Twitter (lkacupoftea) with photos of progress. If you want to get bits and pieces of “behind the scenes” things that might not make it into the weekly update, feel free to start following me! I also post a lot of photos of the dogs, which I know a lot of you love seeing. Instagram is a little bit more of a “daily inside look’ into our life than the blog, especially until we get the house under wraps for cold weather!

Sheathing, Light Shows and A First Floor Bedroom

YOU GUYS. I was sitting here thinking, “it feels like a while since I’ve posted on the house”. As in not on twitter or instagram but right here on the blog. Then I looked back because it had been that long and I realized the last post I put up was about the collar ties.

What I’m trying to say is that we’re way past collar ties (this is what happens when all those things in life like harvesting the garden, playing with the dogs, making sure our dishes and laundry are done, spending time with my husband and those real life important things are taken care of first).

The windows should be coming in within the next week or two, along with the steel roofing. Before the windows get put in and the steel roofing goes on, I better get this updated! To remedy this lack of focus on the blog for the total focus on my tangible life, I’ll be updating in two parts since this is fairly photo heavy. Part one, I.E. this post, will include sheathing, a light show and the first look at the first floor bedroom coming to life. I’m so clever at blog post titles, right?

When I left off Andy was putting up the collar ties on our second floor and the ends were wide open.

 Over the last few weeks we’ve done the following:

1.) Finished off the the plywood on the roof. The blue tarp is long gone!

2.) Put all of the exterior sheathing up so our upstairs actually now feels like an upstairs. Also, Rosie can no longer stand directly on the edge of the second floor and scare the bejesum out of me that she’s going to jump off. If you know Rosie, you would know it isn’t entirely crazy to believe she might do it under the right circumstances. She’s known for jumping off 6ft ledges into water, so we were a little weary of her up there. This is obviously an in progress shot, but I’m saving the “final” shots for part two when I can show you the fascia we put up too.

3.) We put in the downstairs window. This was a pretty big project and it was complete within a couple hours, and finished in the dark. We came home from work one night and I wasn’t expecting much to be done. The next thing I know the long window in that room was being removed. This window is no longer in existence.

First the exterior trim was removed and the window taken out, then Andy removed the flashing around the window.

At this point Andy and Casey started measuring for the new window with the laser level. At some point during this, instead of boarding up the window for the night, the wall ended up coming down. There was no going back, wall down meant wall up. Casey looked at Andy and said, “I guess we’re doing this tonight.” while there was a gaping hole in the wall. We had about an hour left of daylight but there wasn’t much we could do about it. So why not frame the new window in?

By the time the guys got the wall removed, some more measurements done and pieces cut for the window it was dusk and quickly getting dark. In other words, it was the perfect time for our own personal light-show a la grinding off nails before putting up the window framing.

If the photo above looks sketchy because of the wiring, and oh boy do I know it does, no worries. The wiring is completely dead at this point, it just hadn’t been entirely pulled out of the wall yet. As cool as this looks the sparks also lasted a super short period of time and were fizzled out almost as immediately as they started.

After the light show was over, the boys got to studding up the wall. It was almost completely dark out, so this required me to use the flash on my camera which I admittedly hate doing. Apparently Casey hated it too by the stink eye he gave me.While they worked on the window framing I went outside and brought over some plywood so we could get the wall closed up temporarily. Bringing the plywood over was the very moment I realized I had to start working out again. I managed to man lady-handle the plywood but it took all of my force and then I ended up carrying it on my back like the hunchback of oh-my-gosh-I-need-to-start-lifting-weights-again-notre-dame. It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done. I truly and honestly wish one of them had taken a photo, or video, of this process though secretly I’m really happy I live with two boys who don’t often take photos of anything. You know I would have posted a photo or video of my quaziboardmo impression out of sheer hilarity, but I would have been embarrassed the entire time.

The next day, with the temporary plywood taken down and the real exterior put on, we had a good first look at how the interior of the first floor bedroom will look!

Come back on Monday when I have part two posted of our updates over the last week or so. It will include the house color we’ve chosen, and some other roofing finishes. I’d tell you what they are called but I can’t remember because it’s late (it’s on the tip of my tongue) and Andy is asleep. Given my cleverness at not being literal (sarcasm) I’ll likely call the next post something along the lines of, “Paint and Other Non-Technical Roof Stuff”.

What have you guys been up to? Do you write blogs and then not update on some pretty big stuff for a period of time because you have real-life happening all around you? I can’t possibly be the only one. How do people regularly post five days a week with a full time job and everything else? I think I’d rather snuggle my dogs face, fold fresh laundry and pick tomatoes-preferably not at the same time, but don’t put it past me.



FYI: This post was published without a thorough proof-reading because this really just needed to finally go up. Tomorrow morning I’m sure I’ll wake up, review this and go “OH NO.” when I spot a hundred incoherent sentences. Let’s both be okay with it and accept this isn’t my finest.