Closet Organization Overhaul

When we built our master bedroom we knew there would be one thing that wasn’t very “master” about it—the closet. Before we even started building we knew we would have to run the stove pipe through the corner of our closet and then box it in to protect against the heat and to finish the space. While the other bedrooms have full closets, this one needed to be designed to utilize all the space most efficiently. It also meant cutting down my wardrobe and being honest about what I actually wear. Truthfully it was cathartic. Since we keep our shoes here, I don’t have to worry about closet space for them.

Once the bedroom was done and we moved into it, we knew some of the finish work was going to wait until winter – and that meant a closet system. Until then we moved the wire rack we had been previously using up into the closet, and threw a basket on the floor next to it. It was…uh…well, it worked for the time being.

DSC_7874-01Weeks ago we decided it was time to start building a closet system. Last weekend after all of the holiday hubbub Andy took my plans, changed them around slightly to make things flow better, and built an awesome free standing system that incorporated everything we needed. When it came to building storage for our closet I knew I had to have at least three types of areas:

  1. Two hanging rods for Andy’s shirts, and my suits, button downs, professional shirts, etc.
  2. A smaller but longer hanging area for my dresses so they aren’t wrinkled
  3. Cubbies for my trousers and sweaters, with space on top for sweatpants/shirts

Andy did not disappoint, then again, he has never built something that did. Using Poplar sawed from his grandfathers lot in Ohio, he ran it all through the jointer, the planer and then the table saw to prep all the pieces. He built the system using a series of dado’s, glue and screws.

DSC_8001 DSC_8002 DSC_8008 DSC_8009DSC_8024 DSC_8032 DSC_8040This is where things got a bit hairy for me. This is one solid piece, just as it looks. We had to get it up the basement stairs and around a corner into the main house, and then up the new stairs and into the bedroom. It was heavy, and I’m awkward so it wasn’t the easiest thing for me to help with but a woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do.

DSC_8044 DSC_8048 DSC_8052It was a feat getting it up the stairs, but also into the closet. In order to get it in we had to remove the wood around the wood stove pipe and very carefully tilt it in and then up, and then replace all the wood around the pipe. In the end it all slid in without having to rebuild anything. Even though it’s free standing, it literally cannot fall out of the closet. It can tilt forward until it hits the header, but it can’t actually come out. That said, we’ll still be securing it with screws we just haven’t done it yet.

DSC_8054 Andy then measured where all the rod holders had to go, screwed them in place, and then cut the wooden rods to fit and installed them.

DSC_8060 DSC_8067On the top we have a larger space and a spot to hang my dresses, and on the bottom we have a larger space and I ended up with a spot to hang my skirts too! The skirt rod ended up being a last minute addition that ended up working perfectly and I love it.

DSC_8069 DSC_8068We’ve had this system in place for almost a week and  it is already way better than the previous wire shelf which has been relegated to a plant stand. I haven’t been able to get a great photo of it filled out yet, but here’s the one I snapped the other day on Instagram. You can see here that Andy has also put a few hooks up so our robes no longer get tossed over the end of the bed.

31ba8c5478c111e381dd1273149d0f6d_8Let’s just look at that before and after again.



31ba8c5478c111e381dd1273149d0f6d_8Junky iPhone photo and everything, and it still looks way better! Here’s to the small things being finished up.


All About The New Addition, Not New Edition

I feel your immediate sense of being let down now that you know this post isn’t an update on New Edition. Grab your tissues, get a good cry in, and refocus. This update on the addition we built might not be as musically inclined or stylish, but it has just as many good qualities.

That’s a joke, New Edition can’t be competed with. Let’s just take a moment to be reminded of their glory.*Exhale*

Okay, let’s move on to the new addition.

I am nothing if not timely in posting this. Since this post went up I was waiting to get nice shots after a few things were finished. They aren’t finished and I decided waiting longer, when we have new projects starting, felt like I was leaving loose strings. My mother was a seamstress and thus I hate loose strings.

Being that I’m home sick with a rather contagious and un-fun head & chest cold (don’t worry, it’s not spreadable by internet) I decided to take some very un-styled, un-edited photos and show you how things look right now.

The downstairs bedroom is still in the most rough condition. We still need to replace two windows in this room. You can see the new window on the left and one of the two windows that need replacing on the right. Thankfully these windows, plus two others which will be going into the original house, came in this week.

DSC_7100In “keeping it real” here’s some of the lovely floor design the dogs decided to engrave for us while playing with a couple young kids. Long story short we didn’t tell the kids not to go in there, and we didn’t realize they were tossing toys around for the dogs to chase until a few minutes had passed. We knew there would eventually be dog claw marks on the floors, it wasn’t unexpected, it was just unexpected to happen so early. To be clear, we aren’t mad this happened at all. We should have shut the door and we didn’t. Things happen, life is way too short to get upset about something so dumb. Also, what I really remember about that night is how happy I was and how the laughter of kids filled my house and how happy everyone was. How can you ever be upset about that?!

DSC_7144So that pretty much sums up the downstairs. Moving up in the addition we get to the stair well and upstairs hall. We’ve since painted the back wall of the stairs Sherwin-Williams Sea Salt, and the rest of the stairwell/hallway areas Dover White, the same as the living-room. We’ve also added a rug at the landing and at the top of the stairs. Both of the rugs were from HomeGoods in South Portland. The rugs are to help the dogs get better traction and feel safer on the stairs. I’ll be writing another post about the actual stairs and our thoughts on having bare wood stairs with dogs.

DSC_7116The upstairs closet doesn’t have doors on it yet for a couple reasons. First, none of the closets have doors yet and second, we’re not done installing items in here. This closet isn’t your normal closet. You can see it has a wood back and not drywall and it looks pretty bedraggled. That’s because this closet is actually a mechanical closet. Down the line we’re going to be installing an air exchanger in here which will take up a significant amount of room. This will allow fresh air to come in at a warm temperature and old air to be circulated out. In a house with tight insulation such as ours, and living in a climate in which you can’t really open your windows for many months a year due to the cold, it’s important to have air flow and this will help a lot. Outside of the closet on the top right you’ll see the old chimney. This chimney goes all the way to the basement and our basement woodstove ties into it so this chimney isn’t going anywhere. We’ll have a second new chimney when we move our upstairs woodstove, which I’ll explain further down. You might wonder if we’re going to trim out the chimney and the simple answer is no as there really is no need to. If you walked through the house I’m positive it’s one of the last things you’d pick up on (except now, because I pointed it out).

DSC_7143At the top of the stairs, to the right, is the guest bedroom and future nursery (the downstairs bedroom will become the guest room).

DSC_7113The dogs don’t get to come into this room unless we are in there, so they took full advantage while I was taking photos. Lay on the bed? Winnie doesn’t mind if she does.

This is about as decorated as this room is getting, since it’s a temporary guest room. For now we’ve added in our old bedroom furniture which we are using to store linens, towels, etc. Right now it’s guest / my getting ready for work in the morning spot. The colorful bedspread and yellow pillowcases are from HomeGoods again. The other pillow case is something I put together.

DSC_7106 DSC_7109Looking across the hall from the guest room is our master bedroom. In this shot you see our stripped bed so I can wash the linens and our vacuum so I can take care of the dog hair. I did at least throw a blanket back on the bed and move the vacuum for the primary photos at least. Laziest styling ever.

DSC_7115When you first walk into the master the bathroom is on the left. More accurately, the future bathroom is on the left. It’s amazing how easy it is to ignore this room even though we’re sleeping in our master bedroom now.

DSC_7118Once you get into the room it’s like an automatic relaxation. It’s light, it’s clean, it’s simple and we love it.

 DSC_7120We don’t have a lot up on the walls now, and I’m not sure we ever will. I definitely believe in living in a space for a little bit though before making any decisions like hammering into a wall. Pretty much we have our bed, two nightstands, two antique oak bureau’s Andy was given, and my Memere’s full length mirror she had in her dress shop in her house for as long as I can remember. It actually faces the corner, not our bed as it looks like in the above photo. 

DSC_7125I’m also a bit sneaky sneaky in that without a great place to store my ironing board, I had to get creative so it actually lives behind the full length mirror for now. Hopefully this will get a new home down the line but I don’t mind it’s location right now. Oh, and that chest to the left is from Andy’s aunt and holds all of our treasures – if you define “massive amount of socks” as “treasures”.

This might be one of my favorite views of the room because I love the angles against the beams. It reminds me Scandinavian Modern design, which I really like.

DSC_7121The master closet is most definitely a work in progress. Here’s the deal, given the way the layout of the house needed to be the master closet is actually the smallest bedroom closet in the entire house. It’s literally the same size, but the far right space (where you see the tan basket) is going to be taken up by the stove pipe for our wood stove in the living room. Once we install the stove pipe, we’ll also be able to get the wire rack we’re hanging our clothes on out of there, and install a custom closet which has more space. It’s kind of nice having to downsize our clothes to fit. We must have brought 2 bags of clothing to goodwill and it felt awesome. Less really is more.

DSC_7131So there you go, an update on the interior of the addition and our awesome master bedroom. It’s hard to believe we broke ground on this addition in June 2012, and that this master bedroom didn’t even exist. It was nothing but bad rooflines on a falling in porch and sky. Now, it’s like having your own piece of heaven and an adult tree house that overlooks the hay field.

DSC_7135Next up, window replacement and siding. Oh yeah, did I mention two sides of the original house don’t have siding on them anymore?


New Edition photo from here.

Summer 2013 Happenings

Hey friends! As some of you might experience in your own lives, summer is the busiest time of year. Here in Maine summer might literally go until the end of September, but as far as I’m concerned autumn begins on September 1st. Some people might shush me for saying that, but it really becomes autumn weather and I LOVE the autumn. The other night you could feel the change in the air starting and Andy and I were both thrilled.

Given it’s the end of August and the almost end of summer I thought I would catch up a few loose ends like the farm, the garden, the house and a couple other little birdies we had going on around here.

The Farm

The farm has been well this summer without much to write home about until this last weekend. At church on Sunday the farmers wife announced that there had been a calf born at the farm that morning. Needless to say I was slightly distracted throughout church to go meet the new little dude. So here’s the part where you ask why there isn’t a photo of him. Little dude is elusive. I’ve seen him, but there were other duties to attend to so I didn’t have my camera on me. I even tried to go up and get a photo of him just for this post (literally, I stopped writing the post and drove up to the farm with camera in hand). No dice. The herd had just retreated to a far back field out of site. For reals.

I will get a photo of him and I will share it once Mr. Disappearing Act decides to show his face at a time I also have a camera on me.

The Garden & Harvest Preservation

I am SO PROUD of the garden this year. I don’t mean proud of us. I mean I am literally (using that word in it’s actual definition) proud of the plants for making it through the crazy ass weather we’ve had, being choked by weeds, and infested by insects and fighting disease. I honestly didn’t think we would be seeing a single zucchini, squash or cucumber this year. I had to replant almost all of the cucumbers, I fought squash bugs like crazy, and we experienced blossom drop.

DSC_6718-01Well done garden, well done. You rebounded nicely. The above harvest was only one of the harvests this year. The cucumbers definitely were on the bigger side for this harvest so I seeded them (along with that giant zuc above) and diced them up for diced bread and butter pickled. We also have some sliced pickles too from an earlier batch. Speaking of pickles, this summer has been awesome for preservation. (To learn more about different methods of food preservation check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation).

DriedPotatoesWe sliced, blanched, dehydrated and vacuum sealed potatoes.

PicklesandMuffinsWe made sliced bread and butter pickles as well in a British style, a garlic style and regular.We also made a batch of hearty blueberries from the year/coconut/hemp heart/chia seed/vegan muffins and then cooled and vacuum sealed them for the freezer. These are so good to grab, heat for a minute in the microwave and then head out with. They are super filling and are a perfect pick me up.

JamWe picked a ton of wild blackberries and then made jam.

CanningFailWe had our first canning fail ever. I’m happy to say it was a perfectly broken jar and not a fail because of botulism or something. I’ll take a broken jar over bacteria any day of the week.

PicklesWe also had even more successes and will continue to can throughout the rest of the summer. These are the tiny diced cucumbers and zuc’s I mentioned above. For now it’s mainly all pickles at the house for now, but we might be able to blanch and freeze some spinach and maybe some vegan butternut squash soup later on.

IMG_6567Finally, we had great success with garlic this year. Even though we grow hardneck garlic we learned how to braid it to dry it properly. The big bulbs in the front are all seed stock which we will plant this fall. We’ll eat all the deliciousness in the back. I’ll write more on this whole process in another post, as I documented it for you guys!

The House

Holla! As you guys know from this post we’ve moved into our bedroom. This topic really deserves it’s own post though. I’ll be heading into the mountains soon so I’m hoping to bang out a post then for you guys all about it. There isn’t a ton to discuss at this point, but what there is to share it still exciting! It’s hard to believe we’re winding down on the interior of the addition, and yet there is so much to do. Oh, and we’re going to renovate the entire original house so there’s definitely plenty more to go.


Other Little Birdies

For real birdies! This was such a highlight of my summer. I would look out the window to the porch just about every day and watch them in the rafters until they finally took flight (which I missed). I almost hope they nest there every year so I can watch them! Absolutely adorable.

DSC_6281-01 DSC_6286-01 DSC_6290-01 DSC_6298-01 DSC_6332-01 DSC_6354-01 DSC_6361-01So there’s a quick wrap up of our summer and we’re not slowing down anytime soon heading into fall as we prep for winter. We still have so much to go between working full time, harvesting, construction, and the rest of the shebang. We also are going to be part of a cool project that I’ll post about as soon as I get permission. Actually there are two cool projects. Do I have your interest yet? I can’t wait to share.



Locking It Up

We’ve started moving furniture up into our bedroom.


I know! I’ve barely taken any photos (see time management above) and frankly, it’s a little hard to take pictures when you’re hauling one end of an oak dresser. So here’s what’s happened since Andy started installing trim:

First, we finished the trim. Literally, we finished installing it and putting a finish on it. I know that painting trim white is this huge thing in the blog world, but we did not. We did a simple Danish oil to preserve the natural look of the wood. We did a simpler trim style upstairs, and Andy jokes that it’s “camp chic”. Now let me be clear, I grew up with painted trim and I actually like it. I think it makes the room seem more ethereal. When I first met Andy he showed me a room he liked and I said, “That’s so much wood!” to which every family member in the room looked at me and gasped. There is no such thing in my husbands family as too much wood in a home. So, in some ways I’m still getting used to it but I have to admit it’s super pretty in person. It just feels like such a grown up house. Am I a grown up yet? I guess so. I have a great job with awesome benefits and I’m almost 30. How did that happen?

image7 image9Second, for the last few nights I’ve been painting a second coat in each room. Because I’m a messy painted, I taped off all of the baseboard and around windows to ensure I didn’t make a giant crap-fest of everything. I’ll get you photos when we’re done with all the rooms but to be honest, they don’t look much different. I will say that the Eider White in the master bedroom looks more like the swatch now and is a little more gray and I really love it. I still need to finish the downstairs bedroom, and we need to do the staircase walls as well as touch up the ceilings where I accidently bumped them with rollers. I told you – crap-fest.

Third, and the point of this post we installed door knobs / locks on the doors!

I got the door knobs though, so it’s all a win. I can say that finding knobs I was happy with wasn’t really that easy but it wasn’t that hard either. Here was the criteria:

  • Silver to match the locks on the front and dooryard doors
  • Not glass. I wanted vintage glass knobs but Andy doesn’t like glass knobs as much so we nixed them. I wasn’t 100% set on them anyway
  • Low-profile
  • Very very simple design (it’s the modern preference in me)
  • Not expensive
  • Available in a pop/twist lock and plain
  • Brushed so fingerprints aren’t on them all the time

We first went to Lowes and while they had an option we liked from Schlage, they didn’t have the style I liked in stock. At just under $30 a knob (with tax) I was a little *gulp* about it. It’s really not that pricey but for not the exact style I wanted I wasn’t totally sold. The next day I went to Home Depot on my way home from work and found a set from Kwikset that was both in stock, and cheaper. They were definitely up my alley, and a style I was very happy with.  

image2Andy was installing these, while I was painting the upstairs bedroom and the moment we not only saw a knob on the door AND that we actually had a door in the house that shut and locked properly it was like reality happening. This dream of when we bought the house was real. Weird that of all moments the knob was one of those “this is real!” moments but it was.

6 3Simple, basic, and wonderful. Now to finish the painting, get the railing put up, finish moving in and….you know what, I’m just going to stop and enjoy the moment for what it is in this moment and not think about everything else ahead that needs to be done. Knobs? Happy.



Psst – We’re slammed lately, so I’ve decided it’s time for my twice-annual social media cleanse. I am not taking a break from the blog though! I feel most everyone should take a couple weeks away from social media, or at least do it very minimally at least a few times a year. So, for now I’m taking a cold turkey break from Instagram, Twitter and I’ll be minimal on Facebook (maybe checking once or twice a day to respond to anything, since let’s face it – it’s how lots of people connect with each other). If you want to catch me in the mean time, shoot me an email or leave a comment!