Week 21 Addendum

So I’m doing a second post this week, and the fact that I have been listening like a madwoman to the Undisclosed Podcast on the case of Adnan Syed means that I’m calling it an addendum. First of all, if you haven’t listened to Undisclosed (or Season 1 of Serial, for that matter), I highly recommend it. If you’re anything like me, you will be obsessed. Second of all, if you haven’t read the Week 21 original post, do that now. I’ll wait.

Okay, welcome back! There are a couple things I forgot to include in the Week 21 update that I thought I would post about, and I thought it might be fun to do a little “Throwback Thursday” action here on the blog.

First off, the forgotten information:

  • One thing I haven’t really mentioned here is the snafu we had with the Champaign County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), starting back in December 2015. It got resolved last week, thank goodness, and now that I don’t hyperventilate when thinking about it, I will give you the scoop. The short(ish) version of the story is that when Tom went to apply for the building permit, a red flag was raised with the Champaign County Planning & Zoning — because this property is zoned AG1, i.e. best prime farmland, there is a maximum number of acres you can own/modify. That max is 3 acres. This property is 4.38 acres. So while both of us (buyer and seller) used real estate attorneys for the transaction, this rule somehow never came up. Until the fateful day in which we applied for a building permit, which of course is necessary for the type of work being done on our house. So what we had to do was apply for a variance to this zoning ordinance. We had to fill out some paperwork, pay a fee, and provide an entire site plan to the ZBA,  and then wait until our February 25 appearance at the ZBA meeting in Urbana. At this meeting, we had to be available to answer questions as to why we should be allowed to keep the “extra” 1.38 acres we had purchased. Now, luckily, the people on the board were incredibly kind and reasonable and ultimately granted us the variance, which is a HUGE relief. And to be honest, it was really pretty interesting to experience the meeting and the process. These kinds of ordinances exist for a reason, of course, but I’m just so glad that our request was granted. I’m not gonna lie — when this all came about, I freaked. Seriously freaked. So to say I’m glad it’s resolved in our favor is an understatement! And the moral of the story is to always always always check with your local Planning & Zoning department for anything involving buying/selling/modifying property. A quick phone call takes no time and can save you a potentially big headache down the line!


  • The other thing I wanted to bring up was the doors and trim from the original house. If you recall, way back in our second week working on the house, we removed all the baseboards and window trim from throughout the house. We labeled it all and have been storing it at my parents. I think the doors technically came out during week 3, but whatever. You get the point – it’s been awhile since we touched all that stuff. Well if you fast forward to now, we are in a bit of a pickle. You see, we’ve been so busy these past 19 weeks since removing the stuff that we haven’t had a chance to DO anything with it. And now we’re at the point when we need it to be ready to put back up. Whoops. The conundrum we are facing is this: in its 100  years, this wood has never been varnished. It’s been stained and then had a paste finishing wax applied over the years. Some of the trim is in great shape, some of it is really beat up. Same with the doors. So we are trying to really figure out the best way to clean up the wood, protect it, and make it as pretty as possible before re-installing. And we have to think about the fact that there are new windows in the house, which means there is new wood on the inside that will have to be stained/treated to “match” the old stuff, at least as much as possible. Our current top two options are 1. use mineral spirits to clean off the top layer of grime and then put another layer of paste finishing wax over the top, and buff it til it shines or 2. plane the wood down to bare wood (which removes all the wax and stain) and then stain and varnish everything. I am personally leaning towards option #1, but I wondered if anyone had any experience working with wood with paste wax on it? Any suggestions on how to best proceed?? We are open to suggestions!!!

Now, on to the Throwback Thursday realness. Here’s how it looked way back when we started (this was even after we had removed some of the underbrush growth around it all).

And what does she look like now? Let me show you!

She’s so pretty I could cry. (view from the West)

3 thoughts on “Week 21 Addendum

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