Monday, October 1, 2018


Most of the design of this house has come from things that Jeff and I have been buying and saving up for the past 19 years.  Stained glass that we've had put away has been in the plans from the beginning.  Doors, doorknobs, sinks... we are pulling it all out and finding perfect spots for most of what we have.  But, there have been a few things that we've had to scout out.  This house does not need modern air vents or returns.  It doesn't need modern hinges or door locks.  It doesn't need sheetrock.  As I've said many times... this is an art project.  We've been creatively and painstakingly renovating houses since the boys were tiny... and we were designing hypothetical ones long before that.  We didn't just turn crazy... we've been crazy for quite some time.  ( : See 2008- Making fireplace tiles from salvaged marble threshold strips or 2006 - designing and hand cutting every custom porch baluster or … well... any of it.)  One of the things we're looking for is another stained glass piece.  But, much to our dismay, the cost of good glass pieces has gone up a lot in the past few years.  Jeff found a pretty weird church piece with a few broken pieces (and a weird shield representing St. Peter's cross and the keys to Heaven's gate) and was able to get it for a good price.  Within a few days, the top arch was taken off (in tact... yay!), and he is now working on taking the rest of it apart diamond by diamond.  It will be reworked into the rectangle that we were hoping for.  I really like the frame, and Jeff says it's solid as a rock.  I'm hoping he can make something cool inside one day once the house is finished and he can have hobbies again.

Disneyish / The Hunt for Slate

Let me begin by explaining a little bit about this house concept.  You see, Jeff has had a space in mind for his house for years and years.  Back before Rapunzel's bathroom and little faux tower occupied the space between It's a Small World and the Haunted House, Jeff decided he wanted a house right there in that spot.  

This spot in the Magic Kingdom is where the Sky Buckets (RIP) loaded/unloaded back before they were removed around 98.  After that this awkwardly tight corner of the park was also blank with the exception of a little gazebo and some stroller parking.  It was the perfect blank slate for a new design, Jeff's House.  He uses this location as a focal point for making design decisions.  One key item that he has held onto is that from the exterior the house looks more Liberty Square and from the inside it looks more Fantasy Land.  I've had to tone him down on the design for this house at times... as he would have had me living in a Geppetto's cottage / Belle's Castle combo.  Although amber lanterns and beige plaster with dark beams and deeply colored stained glass everywhere would be pretty, it is not what I would pick out for my forever home d├ęcor. He might be nuts, but because I am similarly nuts, it seems this crazy idea may be actually working.

And so, Jeff and I bounce our design plans off of each other... and we are creating an ecclectic space custom made by us, for us.  

With that said...

The porch is ready for a roof.  Jeff managed to find slate on Facebook marketplace for a price we couldn't refuse.  Although the slate roof wasn't super high on my "must have" list, I knew it would look great and, most importantly, that this was big on Jeff's "Disney House" wish list.  So, we grabbed the boys and forced them to come with us on an adventure.  We headed to a gas station, where a golden van was supposed to meet us.  We sat there for quite a while, as they were running a bit late.  Believe it or not, there are a LOT of gold vans out there in the world!  We even saw one with a trailer... but it was empty.  At some point, a big guy was pumping
gas near us, and he all of the sudden started dancing around like crazy!  He leapt up in the air and jumped up onto his car seat... a giant RAT had run out of the gutter, and darted under our van and then right at the guy!  We laughed, he laughed, and the three old guys sitting out behind the gas station laughed.  At that point, the boys did find some humor in this trip.  Gas stations are pretty interesting places to people watch.  After a while, a gold van pulled through.  We all agreed that it probably couldn't be the one.  "That van's not golden enough.... but it sure is ridin' low."  Yep.  That sucker was loaded down with slate.  We all unloaded it, and then they went back for another van load.  By the end, we had more that enough to complete our porch roof.  Jeff has wanted a roof like this on the porch since the beginning, but the price wasn't possible.  Well, he got his wish... and we are one step closer to seeing our ideas become reality.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Rough Electrical

With the exposed beams, the lack of space between the floors, and no sheetrock anywhere, it was a big of a trick to find the right electrician.  This is a custom job... a job that takes thought and time and creativity.  We found the right guy for the job! Dwayne Mosley (Can Do Electric) looked at the project and didn't flinch.  He's a problem solver, a hard worker, and a great communicator.  Jeff put the light placement, lighting selection, etc. in my court.  (If I called one more supply store and had them say, "You need to ask your builder," I was going to lose it!)  

I drew and sketched and plotted... and then I presented it all to Dwayne.  Having someone who could bounce questions around, throw out possible solutions, and make great suggestions has been a complete relief for me!  I may have drawn up all of the lighting plans myself, but I had no clue about switches... and I didn't have to.  He and I could come up with a plan together.  Talk about a weight off of my shoulders!  The conduit looks great, and I cannot WAIT to see what it looks like when it's all in place and lights are on!

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Single Corner

The electrician had to place the boxes on the exterior of the house... and that meant that, unless we wanted to come in later and make due, we needed to go ahead and trim up just one corner of the house.  This allowed him to put everything in the right spot and make it look far less awkward.  Jeff had an idea of what he wanted, but he basically was coming at this like we've come at most of this house ... like an art project.  I am happy to have this tangible sneak peek!

Jeff created the corner that he'll replicate later.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How to Hide Mechanicals

In order to hide plumbing pipes, electrical wires, HVAC stuff, etc., we had to build in a little wall section.  This house constantly throws design/function problems at me.  For this one, I grabbed my graph paper and set to work.  I've designed a (pretty amazing) built in piece that will enclose these mechanicals while giving me lots of storage.  I'm not posting design pics or even explaining it at this point.  I've learned that not everyone sees/creates things the way that we do, and often it's just better to show the final results and then work people backward!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Another School Year!

Here we go, again!  Now that the boys are in a typical school environment, we are starting a bit earlier than we typically do.  Asa kicks off his sophomore year at Whitewater, Addison begins dual enrollment at GMC (Konos classes start next month), and the girls will begin a few subjects here at home before my group classes begin on the farm in September.  I have a good feeling about this year!

Monday, August 6, 2018