Week 36 Update

So apparently the gestation period for a massive home remodel is roughly the same as a human baby. #themoreyouknow

So let’s talk about this week. It’s been a really good one, you guys.  So strap in, because this is gonna be lengthy.


First of all, we found some remnants of our furry friend Rachel. Luckily I do not mean poop. I just mean some paw prints, which were surprisingly high up on the wall in the garage. She had mad hops, apparently.

We got our KitchenAid counter-depth refrigerator delivered and set in place. She is giving us some fits in actually leveling and fitting in the space appropriately, so she’s a work in progress. Also, apparently she is a she.

Brad got our little “mud room” bench all installed, and I love it! We call it a mud room, but it’s literally a cubby hole type thing in the hallway. Whatever. It counts.

The built-ins in the living room are fully set and shelved and crown molding-ed up. I can’t wait to start filling them with all the things!

All of these photos will be infinitely more exciting when taken with the hardwood floors exposed

Mark & Aaron got some of the pretty pretty vanity lights up in the master bathroom. They are hard to appreciate in photos, so you will just have to come see them in person because they’re amazing.


Definitely hard to capture their awesomeness
Just missing a mirror!
You can almost glimpse how pretty the glass is in this photo, but not quite. Seriously, come over and look at them.

The clawfoot tub also got reassembled and put in place in the master bathroom. Eeeek! Thanks to Mary Kay & Mark for coming over to help us get that thing wrassled into place.


We got the original built-in moved back into the house. It’s been living down in Grandma’s garage since we started, and now it’s back into its home!! Reminder: this was in the original dining room of the house, which is now the entryway. But we [read: Brad & Tom] built in a niche for it in the new dining room (which is what was the kitchen) and it fits perfectly!!

*cue angels singing*

Interior doors are finished and hung back in place. Handles should go on this week sometime, yay! And the troll door is even up!

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal, you are pretty

Come in, all ye trolls

Brad got handles on the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms. I love how they make the room start to come together, especially in the kitchen!

Oh, and we have a dishwasher
This will be much more exciting when the countertops & floors are uncovered
But you get the idea with knobs & handles
Upstairs hall bath
Close-up in hall bathroom
Master bathroom
Master bathroom again

Mark got the big beautiful ceiling fan up in the living room, along with other electrical-y stuff. And he/Aaron – with a small assist from Gina – got some other lights up. You guys, we are getting to start hanging the “pretty” lights. This means we are getting close!!

Trust me, this is exciting
Light in entry way (we don’t have bulbs in it yet)
Light for above our yet-to-be-purchased dining room table

Brad got almost all of the closet shelving up. The only room left is the master closet…and that’s only left because Aaron and Gina are very indecisive and haven’t actually decided what to do in there. Anyone have closet tips???

Pantry (see the troll door at the bottom left?)
A bedroom closet
Here’s our master closet, shelfless. Help??

And that about wraps up this week of things. There are still a number of things to finish up, but that list is dwindling. We also had a brilliant idea to a mass amount of outdoor clean-up work. On Saturday. When it was like 95 degrees. Sorry, Dad! But thanks for your help!! 🙂


Week 35 Update

Well would ya look at this! I am writing an update on time. It’s a miracle. But it’s also going to be kind of a quick update. While there have been many things happening, they aren’t particularly photogenic. But they ARE exciting. Here we go!

Trim has been going up all fast and furious style. Brad is the king of the trim!

Boringest picture in the world? Yes.

And they’ve been painting doors. It looks a little creepy in Dad’s shop right now. Like an army of doors is coming for us.

Kinda creepy, right??
But oh so pretty!

Mark the Magnificent has been putting up ceiling fans and carbon monoxide detectors, which is more exciting than it should be.

Mark hard at work
Pretty Hunter ceiling fan in one of the rooms above the garage
Adorable tiny fan in one of the bedrooms
Nest carbon monoxide detector on the ceilings!

Aaron and I spent the weekend putting up all the towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc. Talk about instant gratification!

Master bathroom
Master bathroom
I just love these towel/robe hooks
Upstairs hall bath — time to pick out mirrors!
Wait, maybe THIS is the world’s most boring photo…

Mom and Dad got the teal cabinet put back together and I love it. Like, you guys. How adorable is it?! I spent a LOT of time cleaning up the hinges and levers or whatever they’re called, and it all looks so good put together!

I mean, don’t you just love it?!

Aaron and I also got just about all the outlet and light switch covers put back on, plus we got floor transitions put down in the places we needed them. We also cleaned and painted the feet for the clawfoot tub AGAIN but I think we finally have it right this time. We’ll hopefully be installing the tub soon! Brad has been doing paint touch-ups, among other things. Our refrigerator is supposed to be delivered today, and the drawer fronts for the bathroom vanities will be reinstalled as well (we ended up with flat fronts, when we wanted 5-panel fronts. Communication breakdown at some point, but Helmuth is making it all better). People, we just might be able to actually live here this month. Who knew!? AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! 🙂

Send us all the happy packing and moving and decorating love you have!

Weeks 33 & 34 Update

I swear this isn’t a new trend. I have every intention of keeping the weekly updates going… But alas, just like the last update, this one accounts for a skipped week. The good news is that it means this is chock-a-block full of fun stuff. So. Here we go!

First of all, it’s been a wee bit of a rough day, so I’m going start off with a picture that Mom sent me tonight. So beautiful.

Start on the “mudroom” bench area:

Master shower all tiled up:

Kitchen getting ready for backsplash:

Mom sealed all the kitchen backsplash tile for us (thanks Mom!):

Yay kitchen backsplash!

What color will the front door be – what are your guesses???

Master shower so pretty!

We have working a/c!!

Oh wait, shower again! This time with granite edges installed. 😀

Oh hi, troll door!

Master shower (again). Yeah, these pictures are in no kind of order. 


Master shower (again) (again)
And we now have running water at the house!!! So exciting!!!

I think that does it for this week (and last). Until next week!

Week 29 Update

Well, hello everybody!

‘Tis time for another farmhouse update. This past week, the following happened:

Dad got the field around our house planted. How exciting!?!

Planting Corn

Aaron mowed at the house for the first time. At this point, the only part that really can be mowed is on either side of the lane. Which doesn’t look like a lot, but took longer than our entire yard at our last house. I think we’re going to need a bigger lawn mower…

That’s a little mower

Mom, aka Mrs. Kravitz, rode her bike over to the house for a visit for the first time!

Mark has been a busy little electrical bee, getting lights hooked up and switches/outlets ready. We have a lot of can lights and he is getting them all up and running! It’s funny – we keep wandering through the house using our phone flashlights because it’s been 7 months of having no overhead lights, so we aren’t used to being able to flip a switch yet. I’m sure we’ll get there…

Aaron and I are working on getting the supply and return grates installed, as well as other heating/cooling stuff that goes right over my head.

supplies & returns in ceiling upstairs

So I guess that’s about it for this week…….

Oh wait. What’s that? You remember me saying last week that there would be something about cabinets?? No one wants to see cabinets, do they??? It’s not like cabinets are the most exciting thing in the world that make this house look like something we can actually live in….oh wait! Yes they do!!! You guys, I love them so much. They are far from done — in the kitchen, we have to wait for countertops to be installed before Brad can finish installing cabinets. But, you get the idea. They are so beautiful!!

built-in in living room 😍
farmhouse sink in kitchen
Double vanity & closet in upstairs hall bath

Week 28 Update

Greeting from ☀️☀️ San Diego! I’m hanging out in CA for a conference for work, which is why I’m late in getting this posted.

My update for this week is a good one! There are some exciting things happening at the house. Teaser: they’re starting cabinet install tomorrow. So next week’s update is going to be epic!

But back to this week. It’s all about wood.

No, no, not Oliver Wood. Come on. Hardwood! Hardwood floors, really hard wood porch floor,  and a wood buffet getting new life.

The hardwood floors are 100% finished. The downstairs is red oak, most original to the house, some new and patched in. The upstairs is a pine of some kind, and again, is mostly original to the house. Jim used Minwax Cherry stain on all the floors, and it’s awesome because it’s light and shows off the wood grain but has some warmth to it. And it looks slightly different on the red oak compared to the pine. Oh, and Jim had to MacGyver a little bit upstairs, because where the new pine met up with the old pine, there was a HUGE color difference. Huge. Like, howarewegoingtolivewiththis huge. So Jim put an extra coat of Cherry stain on it, and then used Minwax Provincial to darken it up. And now it matches so much better. Still not perfect, but then again we’re dealing with a 100 year old farmhouse, so perfection was never really on the agenda. Here are photos of the gorgeous refinished floor. As of this moment, you can only see these floors in photos here, because Aaron, Mary Kay (his mom), and Mark (his step dad) spent the weekend covering them back up with a protective cover, since there’s still a lot of work to be done inside and I don’t think everyone would appreciate me screaming ‘TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF AHHHHH’ at them every time they entered the house.


view from entry way hallway looking into kitchen and living room





Living Room


Heading up the stairs. It’s a little hard to tell in the picture, but the treads have been stained and polyurethaned (yeah, I just verbed that up). The risers will be painted.


Master Bedroom



Another view of the master bedroom


Southeast bedroom (also known as Attic Room and Raccoon Room)


Tom and Brad got started on the porch. We’re using an exotic hard (like, super hard) wood called Cumaru. We ordered it from Advantage Lumber and it’s oh so beautiful. It’s a tongue & groove porch floor, and then we’re doing a deck board “picture frame” around the border, as well as to divide up the really deep part of the porch. From what I can gather from Tom and crew so far, it’s not impossible to work with, but it does require pre-drilling all the holes because the wood is so dense. I’ll ask them for a full review of install when they’re done.



They had to add blocking to the porch framing


The back porch dunzo


Working on the  wraparound

Mom and Dad got new dining room furniture, and we are going to inherit their buffet. It belonged to my great-great-grandmother (did I get that right, Mom?) and I’ll be honest…it was not my favorite thing ever. But Mom worked a little DIY magic with chalk paint, and now it’s just so cute! We still have to decide a color to paint the inside, and then we’ll put baskets in it. I mean, how cute is it you guys?! What color do you think we should paint the inside?


Buffet before = not so much


Buffet after = totes adorbs

Now, we also did some work outside. I believe I mentioned a week or two ago (ah yes, in Week 26) that Aaron used the excavator to pull out some overgrown bushes. This past weekend, we worked on cleaning up that area a little bit. You guys, there is some kind of weird ropey vine thing all up in these bushes, and the adjacent evergreen trees. It looks like the kind of stuff Tarzan swung on. And it grows into (or more likely, up from) the ground and wraps itself around everything. So not only were we picking up brush and trying to smooth out the ground, we were using loppers (is that what they’re officially called? I don’t even know) to hack off these vines at the ground, when we couldn’t pull them out. These vine things are seriously intense. I wish I knew what it was. Anyone out there have experience with invasive vines in Central Illinois?? Help a sister out.


This photo was taken ~a year ago and shows the overgrown bushes



This is from a couple weeks ago after Aaron ripped out bushes


This is a current view with bushes out of sight. Aaron also did some clean up on the evergreen trees. Cleanup with a chain saw. Maybe I should start cleaning with a chainsaw…


Ze house. She eez veeseeble.

So next up is some tiling action, getting cabinets set, having countertop dudes come out and measure for counter, install some lighting, and probably one million other things I have either forgotten or just don’t know about. Thanks for following along!





Week 27 Update

I’m going to lead off this week’s blog post with the best news ever — the raccoon is out of the house! Ross the Raccoon was first mentioned in the Week 25 update, and while Ross turned out to be a Rachel, I am very happy to say that she was apprehended and is no longer in our house. Huzzah! No longer will I fear wandering through the house and having to recreate this scene:

giphy raccoon

So let me tell you the full story of Rachel the Raccoon. It is light on photos, because I didn’t figure you wanted to see any pictures of raccoon poop. But then again, I don’t know your life. ANYWAY…a few weeks ago, we noticed a turd. Animal poop. In our house. And Tom said “that looks like raccoon poop.” We laughed and proceeded to ask our subcontractors to not bring their dogs to the job site. Because we are smart. Well. Joke’s on us, because a few days later, more excrement is discovered in the garage and upstairs, along with little raccoon paw prints. How do I know they were raccoon paw prints? Because I obviously googled it on my phone and held the screen up next to the grubby little paw prints on the side of my white cabinets. Yes, yes I did. So we managed to rustle up a couple live traps from kind neighbors (Gerald & Sue, I’ll get you your traps back asap!) and set one in the garage and one in the attic. Then the little booger went radio silent for like 5 days. No sign of her. No evidence. No paw prints. Nothing. In the meantime, we had identified where we thought maaaaaaybe she had gotten into the house – a spot up on the roof where flashing wasn’t put up yet. So we ask the siding people if they can go ahead and fix that. And then proceed to breathe a little easier. Jim, the hardwood floor guy, continues his work upstairs of sanding and buffing the floors to prepare them for stain. And then one day…I get a phone call. “You’re not going to believe it,” Jim says. “It’s back.” He got to the house that day to continue his work and found more raccoon presents, ifyouknowwhatimean, and footprints. *cue the anxiety*

By this point, it’s been well over a week since we first knew we had a raccoon issue. The next step was to call Anything Wild, an animal control-type business. Jared (Jerod? I’m not sure how he spells his name) came out that very day and walked the perimeter looking for where the little critter could get in and set some traps of his own. At some point in here, Aaron and his buddy Mike had crawled up in the attic and all around looking for further evidence. They found lots of moved insulation and places where she was hanging out, but no actual raccoon sighting. So we feel really awesome that we have a professional on the job. And then………..nothing. A couple days go by with no sign of her, so we decide to risk it and board up the doorway to the attic so that way Jim can safely work on the floors with no little raccoon running through it.  We were nervous to do this, because we didn’t want it flipping out in the attic and start tearing through some stuff. But, we proceeded with boarding up the door (thanks, Dad & Tony). And then proceed to realize that the raccoon HAD been up there because some things were knocked over and moved around….yet there was still no raccoon in the trap. So Jerod came back out to reset the traps and we are convinced we’re dealing with the world’s smartest raccoon.

A few more days go by with no activity. We cannot figure out what the HECK is going on. The siders have covered up that one open spot, so we are nearly certain the raccoon can’t get out of the house. Yet there has been no sign of it. Mind you, with all the work happening on the hardwood floors, we haven’t actually been able to get back up into the attic to check on things, but neither Aaron nor I are particularly confident that we have a caught raccoon up there. So this brings us to Wednesday, April 6. Aaron gets to the house and notices that the batts of insulation that were up in the garage ceiling access panels were on the floor. They hadn’t been the day before. So Aaron called Jerod back and we made plans to meet out at the house at 6am on Thursday. You guys, Rachel the Raccoon is insane. We walk into the garage that morning and she has clearly JUMPED from the attic and hit one of the garage ceiling lights, knocking it down and breaking the bulbs in it. There is insulation from the attic all over the floor and on top of the cabinets. There is raccoon pee on the floor and little footprints all over the place all throughout the house. We proceed to hunt through the entire house, top to bottom, looking for her. Jerod ends the search down in the basement, and she was in the last room he checked in. Word on the street is that she didn’t put up much of a fight to get into the cage. She was probably hungry! So thus ended our ~3 week raccoon saga. She was caught. There was no sign of a second (or third) raccoon. No sign of raccoon pups. Just little old Rachel, having a grand old time in the farmhouse. What a relief to get her the heck out of there! Such a little jerk. She caused us sleepless nights, much anxiety about what mischief she could be getting up to and how much more she was going to delay progress…. So. All’s well that ends well.


The hole in the ceiling is the access panel that did have insulation in it. You can see the broken light in the center of the photo.


I mean, the footprints are kind of cute…if they weren’t on my cabinets.


Meet Rachel. It was 7am when we “met” her, and we’d already been at the house for an hour, so I didn’t take the time to snap a better photo. Or a selfie with her. #missedopportunity

Okay, now that I just wrote 900 words about a raccoon, let me tell you what else has been going on this week. The short version is not much. Jim has been working on the floor. Aaron and I got the feet for our clawfoot tub spray painted. End of list. But hey – I’ll take it. The hardwood floor refinishing is a huge job and we knew it was going to take some time. By the way, the stain color is Minwax Cherry and Jim puts 4 coats of poly on it.


A bedroom, almost all done (I think in this photo, it still had 1 coat of poly to go). So pretty!


Another bedroom, again with 1 coat of poly to go


The downstairs, with stain but no poly on it yet.


The claw feet for the tub – they are primed in this photo.


And here they are all sprayed up real pretty like


Close-up of the primed foot


And again, all painted

Week 26 Update

Not a ton to update this week, so rather than blah-dee-blah typing away, I will give you a little photo slideshow to show some of the progress being made. Click on a photo to make it larger and see the whole slideshow with captions.


Week 24 Update

The theme of this week’s post is the following:


To be perfectly honest, it’s been a rough week. Don’t worry, nothing catastrophic has happened (*knock on wood*), but stress levels have been running high and there have been lots of projects in various states of “on hold” or “held up” or “pissing us off.” So if you see either Aaron or I and ask how we are, we will probably answer like Ross does and then run away from you so we don’t have to talk about it. You’ve been warned.

So, here is what’s been going on at the house:

All of the hardwood floors have been installed. If you recall, we are saving the original 100-year old hardwood floors but since we moved walls and added on to the house, there were places where the floors had to be patched with new wood, and new wood needed to be put down in some places. So that process is officially complete – huzzah! And this means that the refinishing process can really ramp up. There has been a lot of sanding and buffing and soon there will be staining. Actually, as of today, there is no going upstairs. It’s off limits until Jim and his crew finish up there.

Aaron and I have spent more time in the basement working on vents and ducts and all kinds of super fun stuff.

We actually have lights overhead in a few places in the house. It’s amazing!

Our cabinets have actually been delivered, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to wait and show them in a great big kitchen reveal, or if I’m going to give sneak peeks. So for now, no pictures. But they’re so pretty I could cry. So there’s that. Another thing that happened this week was that we went by our counter top place and looked at the slabs of soapstone that will become our kitchen counters. Again, so pretty. So so so pretty.

We got the teal cabinet upstairs and stowed away in the bonus space above the garage. It proved to be quite a task to get it up there. Part of it went with no problems. The big hutch….not so much. After trying it every way they could think of, Aaron and co. ended up cutting it down to get it up the stairs, and then we’ll put it back together in the laundry room. But hey, it’s up there. And will still be my Big Teal Wonder.

 So there you have it. It feels like it’s been a week of standstills, but it appears we’re still getting somewhere!! Say a prayer for us and/or send us some good thoughts. I know this is all exciting and wonderful…but it’s also exhausting and stressful. So happy thoughts are welcome!

Week 23 Update

This week’s update is going to seem very similar to last week’s, as the same types of things were on the agenda this week, too. I will tell you a story in photos.

They continued to work on siding, and I just love the blue with the white trim and black windows.

Since I snapped this photo, they have actually finished the East side of the garage there. It’s been too muddy to walk out and get a good photo of it, but I will try to do so!

Aaron and I worked a bunch in the basement this week, on a variety of things I don’t understand. This is a photo of an empty wall, where the ERV (energy recovery ventilator) will be installed.

And here it is installed! This will help keep clean air circulating through the house. Aaron, be sure to comment if I am wrong in what this thing actually does.

Octopus in the basement! I would also note that Mike came over again and he and Aaron got a bunch more duct work hung. So we’re inching closer to having heat in the house (although maybe we won’t need it, with this gorgeous weather we’re having!)

Yesterday (Sunday), the entire day was spent in the basement, drilling holes through the brick foundation, as well as a layer of foam insulation. As you can imagine, the foam was a lot easier to drill through than the 100-year old brick.

See all those things sticking out of the foundation? Those are what were drilled yesterday, in addition to the line sets for the air conditioners.  A total of 8 holes drilled, and it literally took like 8 hours to do.

They have continued to work on the hardwood floors. The couple spots you see in the picture below are some natural wood stains they had on hand and wanted to see how the wood took them. We are thinking we probably want darker than that, but time will tell! They’re still working on patching in areas that need patched, and sanding everywhere else.

Hall Bathroom upstairs is all tiled and oh so pretty! I can’t wait for Cat to come back and take real pictures when everything is done so you can see how truly gorgeous stuff like this looks (Cat, will you come back and take pictures when this is done?!??!!?! )

Stacy getting to work on the master shower. You guys, it’s going to look so good! Subway tile on the walls + hexagon tiles on the floor = swoon.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like by the end of today! And as a reminder, the orange stuff all over the place is the waterproofing membrane that goes under the tile.img_6835

Mark the Amazing, our trusty electrician friend, was back this weekend getting some outlets and switches made up. I tried to get him to pose for a picture, which he refused. So instead, I camped out on the porch and caught him as he was coming around the corner. Muahaha! This is what happens when you are awesome and oh so helpful and I have a blog.


I believe we may be seeing some Crocuses (Croci???) popping up out in the yard. While the place is currently a disaster, I can’t wait for Spring to come for real — it will be so green and lush and beautiful!

So that’s it for this week. As always, more decisions are being made behind the scenes, and we’re just inching closer and closer to being done!

Week 22 Update

First of all, I have to start this post by saying that I woke up today EXCITED for the Olympics. I don’t know if it’s the warm weather or the fact that I’m starting to see media spots with US Team Athletes on social media or what, but I am so pumped and ready for the Rio Summer Games. For the record, they start in 150 days. I’m just saying. YOU GUYS. We’ll have an Olympic party at the house!! For the Opening Ceremony. Or on a random Wednesday night when they’re showing swimming in prime time. Or something. Man. We can set up makeshift balance beams out of leftover 2x4s from construction and have fake gymnastic competitions. #wouldntbethefirsttime

Well, before we can throw Olympic parties, we need to finish the house. And we’ve been making more good progress this week, so we’re on the right track! Let me give you the scoop:

  • Siding continues to go up. They are working on the south side of the house now, and have the soffit up on the entire porch. It is SO pretty.
  • We have operational garage doors!! It’s hard to show in pictures how exciting this is. But trust me, it’s pretty wonderful.
  • Our hardwood flooring guys have been hard at work laying the new floor where necessary, sanding down existing floor and stairs, etc. It’s kind of amazing to watch them work.
  • We have finally finished with all of the waterproofing in the rooms that will have tile. And tile continues to get put down. Slowly but surely, it’s all starting to come together!
  • Aaron and Mike got to work on the furnace and ductwork in the basement, as well as got the water heaters down there. It’s starting to look like a mechanical room!
  • Speaking of mechanical stuff, we also got the air conditioner units set in place over the weekend. We all know that a/c is important to Gina….

I think that about sums it up for this past week. Cabinets are set to be delivered the end of this month, we should have all of our lighting in by next week, the claw foot tub is all done being refinished and now we just have to  try to find time to get down to Charleston, IL to pick it up, and I think we finally have finalized our porch floor. Woo hoo!!

giphy 3
Now, on to the pictures. Click on one to start a slideshow with captions.