France and paint colors.

We just returned from a trip to Southern France.  We went for my friend, Julie’s wedding.  And explored a little too.  The first few days were in Nice.



Mom and Dad were with us–Dad did the wedding ceremony.  It was really fun to be with them.

Next we went to Valbonne–to the Chateau Begude–for the wedding.  It is just 40 minutes outside of Nice.


Back to Nice for the civil ceremony.  Don’t these two look happy?


Then back to Valbonne for the pretty/spiritual ceremony.




The cake was super cool–basically candied cream puffs, complete with a very dramatic presentation with sparklers.


Next up we went to the “Haute Provence” region–basically in the foothills of the Alps.  We stayed here.


It was perfect.  10 rooms.  Beautiful linens.  Clean and restful.  The town of Saint Laurent du Verdon was tiny–71 citizens.  One stop sign.  Quaint and lovely.  This was the yard of the hotel.


We went to a really fun market in Reiz.



Mom and I shopped.  These three hung out.  Bonnie joined us for this leg of the trip which was such a treat!  She had been traveling in Spain, and came to hang out!


We drove to other neighboring towns, and saw some beautiful sites.


Less Beautiful.


We picked what was left of the lavender here.




The town of Moustiers Ste Marie was beautiful–built on the side of a cliff.



And on our drive back to Nice, we drove through some beautiful sights and saw the Gorge du Verdon.  Incredible.  Like the Grand Canyon of France.


And then home.  We had a great time.  We were grateful to celebrate with Nick and Julie and to meet so many of their sweet friends.  And we loved the strange opportunity to travel with both sets of parents.  The trip was great, but we are happy to be back to do fun things like pick paint colors.  Help.

Below are two options for the door and two options for the siding.  I like the top siding color–more moody.  What do you think?  I am not sure I love either door color.



I have read about Martha Stewart’s plumage and might go with something more like that.  I want there to be a contrast, but I don’t want it overly bright and whimsical.


White framing around the door and windows of course.  Thoughts?

Siding and roofing continues this week.  Then electrical and insulation.  Then sheetrock.  Then flooring.  Then we move back to our house.  Hopefully.

When does the pretty stuff start?

We are about a month into this project (a little less) and there is still nothing pretty to discuss about our home remodel.  But there is a lot going on.  First of all, Scott is my hero for life.  When both our plumber and electrician upped their bids, Scott decided he could probably just do all that himself.  “That will give us more wiggle room for fun things like spray foam insulation,” he said.  He added a metal roof and a sonic ice machine to convince me. But I think it was the spray foam insulation that motivated him.  We have talked a lot about spray foam insulation for about the past two years.  Anyway.

As of now, the outside of the addition is pretty much framed.  In this bad panoramic picture, you can see the pantry/master closet on the left, a big kitchen space, and the mudroom and nook on the right.


The framing in the bathroom is also coming along.  Our shower is going to be huge.  We could sleep in there.  This is the view from the middle of the bathroom, into the shower.  The doorway beyond will be gone.  On the left is a half wall, the rest of which will be glass.  On the right will be a glass door.  You can see in the foreground on the left side a little framing for another half wall.  The toilet will go in between the two.


Scott has spent every waking hour at the house when not at work.  He has worked on the rough plumbing.  And I think he would call all this beautiful.  I think the bike pump is there so that he remembers what it was like to have time to ride his bike.  Otherwise, no clue.



Look at all that PVC pipe running floor to ceiling!  ThanksRyan for the help.  This is the other view of the master bath.  Where Ryan and Scott are will be counters and two sinks.


Here’s a better picture of the master closet and pantry.  On  the left side, where the door is, that will be our pantry.  The door will be gone.  The door now leads to our bedroom.  On the right side is our master closet.  The window will be removed and a door will be added.  The pantry will be accessible from the kitchen (obviously), but the closet will just be accessible from the bedroom.


Here’s our expansive kitchen, right in the middle of which will be a big 4 foot by 10 foot island.  On the far wall is the mudroom, from which the garage can be accessed.  On the left is just a little bonus room.


Here’s a better picture of the bonus room off the kitchen.


And here it is from the back yard!


I was able to sneak in a little fun this weekend.  I got a pedicure with this sweet girl who just finished her first week of second grade, and her mom, and her (and my) mom.  Much needed after a long week.


And we celebrated Megan’s birthday with dinner, swimming and an ice cream cake.  (Doug takes this stuff very seriously.)


This was pretty much my view for the rest of the weekend.  I think between the two of us, we did 5 visits to Lowes, Home Depot and Breed & Co.  Nice legs, Scott.



Demo is hard work.

About a week ago, we were able to determine the timing for framing our new space.  And that meant it was time to move out.  That means we have a foundation, which is a big step.  Now on to framing.

We planned to move out, but the timing snuck up on me.  We are so grateful to have Scott’s mom’s house as a home base while ours is under construction.  Bonnie spends the summer in Paris, and this year she doesn’t come home until the end of October.  So we are “taking care” of her house, but mainly avoiding the remodel dust.  So each night last week we packed, and then actually spent the night at Bonnie’s starting on about Wednesday.  By Friday night, we had all of our furniture in the middle of the living room covered in plastic, and the remainder in boxes stowed away in other rooms of the house.

And then the demolition began on Saturday morning.


This was our bathroom after about an hour of work.


This was the end of the day Saturday.

And then the kitchen….




We had some incredible help.  Thanks to Brantley, Ryan, and Todd for leaving their newborn children (and other loved ones) to help us with such painful work. I figure we saved about $1000 over the course of the weekend, which is pretty helpful.  We owe you mucho.

As I was pulling trim from the top of the walls in the kitchen, it rained rat poop, which was a tad bid disconcerting.  You don’t realize how gross your house is until something like this.


My body hurts, but I am glad the heavy lifting is done.  We filled a 20 foot dumpster.  I can’t even believe it.  I am ready for choosing light fixtures and paint colors.  THE FUN STUFF.




Construction begins.

First, this guy turns 65 today and I am just so grateful he is my dad.

Chelsea and Scott Wedding Card A 388

He was my very first dance partner and still, I love dancing with him…and living life along side him.  I need him to live at least another 65 years.  At least.

Now.  For construction.

I have been a terrible blogger, but when you do a blog primarily to document home improvements, and those home improvements stall, well, there isn’t much to say.  We have had to practice our patience with waiting for the permit (again) but we are now on our way.  I think it will be awhile until we get to the pretty part, but I still plan to document the progress.

I recently looked back to where we started when we moved into our house on April 4, 2011.  The owners left a lot of junk behind (the 1950’s house had never been on the market and been passed down through the generations).  We basically acquired all in the house that nobody else wanting.  We found dining chairs under the house.  An upholstered rocker in the garage, cedar planks in the rafters, glasses in the mounds of leaves, car parts, and so much more.  We quickly rented a 20 foot dumpster and filled it up.  Here’s my first post about the house.  Mainly, I am really grateful to live here.  It is a good house in such a great part of Austin.  But the day we moved in, Scott researched how to “return” a house.  He was overwhelmed by all that we needed to do to make it safe and livable.  Fix gas leaks.  Update electrical stuff (get rid of extension cords running half the house).  Clean up the grime.  I think the seller’s realtor was pretty shocked we did not tear the place down.  But it is too good for that.  And since then, Scott has become the hero of the house.

It never occurred to me that we would take on such a big project.  But I am grateful to have the opportunity.  We will add about 500 square feet, move our kitchen to that new space, add a master closet, make the master bath bigger, add an outdoor shower, add a mudroom/laundry room, and a small room off the kitchen.  By moving the kitchen, we will gain a dining area.  We will knock down some walls, replace all the windows, replace the siding and refinish all the wood floors.

Right now, our house looks like this from the front.


I want our color scheme to look more like the below when we replace the siding.  I love the dark charcoal siding, with white framing.  Then we will have a pop of color from our door (green?  blue?).  Ignore the shingles.  We will do horizontal siding.  We will have wider, more gradual steps than what was there previously.  A new handrail.  New columns. And Ike, the concrete guy, is evening up our porch, so that water doesn’t hang out there when it rains.


Currently, Ike, the concrete guy, is working to form the foundation for our new kitchen.  Our back yard looks like this.


That, my friends, in our new master closet, kitchen, mudroom, and bonus room.  It doesn’t look like much, but this is the sign of PROGRESS.