Porch Love

dinghy/Rockport HarborDuring the summer months we spend lots of time on the porch watching the action on the harbor,

enjoying birds at the feeder

or sharing tini time with family or friends.

Maintaining our special place, however, got to be a real challenge as Maine winters are hard on exterior finishes.  Finally, the porch with its rotten boards and never ending demand for paint got the best of us, and we decided to replace it with a synthetic material made by Azek.  The hard part was the hubby and me agreeing on color and composition!

That done so began a project that proved to be a major undertaking.  Piece by piece the old came out

 under the watchful eye of Willow who accompanied her boss to work every day.  She wasn’t much help when it came to the installation, but she was perfectly behaved.

The crew worked 12 hour days, and the hubby couldn’t resist getting involved.  He proved to be an able assistant.  That definitely gives him some ownership of the project as well as a few aches and pains.

In case you are thinking this was an easy job, think again.  Every piece that went in had to be carefully measured and cut as nothing of the original porch was perfect.  

When all was said and done, however, the porch is perfect and will be much appreciated when next spring no repairs will be required.

Now the birdhouses are back in place,

new plant stands replace a peeling bench and are perfect for a garden vignette.

martiniBest of all, the porch is again ready for tini time!  Cheers!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Things Change

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShortly after we married, the hubby and I bought a house in a small town that is smack dab in the middle of Houston.  At the time, the neighborhood had grown old.  Houses were mostly bungalows with a smattering of two story homes, most of which needed updating.  The majority of lots were 50×100.  

Along the way something happened.  Houston grew and grew making close in property more and more valuable.  That meant that in our little town old houses gave way to bulldozers

West Uand were replaced with big new ones.

Surprisingly, the house we lived in for 20 years stayed standing, but last week that changed.  Like all the others around it, it came down.

P3021528In a matter of minutes it was rubble, and the hubby and I had moments of nostalgia as we looked at the home that held so many memories.  The two of us had totally remodeled the house over a five year period.  We did all the work except for the sheetrock and floor tile in the space we added.  Looking back, we marvel at the energy we had and remember how proud we were of each step forward.

P3021524The house may be gone, but what didn’t come down is the sweetgum tree we planted the first year we had the house, and we laughed as we remembered its story.  It was to be a birthday surprise, but it was spoiled by the assistant who answered the phone when I called the hubby.  “Oh,” she said, “he’s not here.  He went to get your tree.”  When he came home with it, I tried to act surprised, but laughter overcame me and I had to tell him he had been foiled.

By the time we had kids, the tree had grown enough for it to become the climbing tree for every kid on the block. I can see them now and hear their young voices as they nestled in the limbs.  You know, things change, but the memories we hold dear stay with us.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Remaking a Carriage House

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA couple of weeks ago we visited one of the few historic neighborhoods in Houston and were privileged to have a peek inside a friend’s home.  Today join me in visiting the beautifully redone carriage house where the owners’ personalities really shine.  They love the country, ranch life and hunting, and that is reflected in every inch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is so much to like here it’s hard to know where to start.  This large open space is a terrific place to chill with family or friends.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe bar is so Texas with beautiful woodwork reminiscent of the stairwell in the main house.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy favorite feature here is the hammered copper sink.  It is touches like this that make the carriage house so special.

The second level is dreamy.  Either of these bedrooms would suit me fine,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand this one is a young girl’s dream.

The faux fireplace is more than it seems.  Give it a little tap and the doors open to what would be a wonderful secret hiding place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis cheerful space, part of a fully equipped kitchen, looks out to the pool and green space and is a great example of my friend’s attention to detail.   Note the floor of antique French tiles, the colors of which are repeated throughout the carriage house.


Another thing I learned about her is that she especially enjoys doing bathrooms which explains their unique features.

Last but not least is the hubby’s study, a true man cave filled with trophies from his hunting adventures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is nothing not to like in the carriage house the use of which is a far cry from the original.  I think I would be happy spending time here.  How about you?


Metamorphosis Monday

Inspiration Thursday

It’s Official!

As of Thanksgiving day, the kitchen is officially broken in.  Turkey broth boiled over on the stove, counter tops were littered with ingredients and dirty pots and pans, the chopping block got its first scratches.  Best of all, it worked great, and I can now give real answers to some of your questions.

Why did we remodel when the old kitchen and butler’s pantry still looked good?  Fair question with a simple answer: it was time to replace hinges and drawer slides that were worn out, appliances were tired and it was difficult to get replacement parts and last but not least a desire for a more efficient, better organized space.

You’ve also wanted to know what new features have been incorporated?  Kitchen design is much improved since our last one was installed, and here are some changes that are particularly attractive:

~a compact pullout pantry unit visible from both sides.  Not only is it handy, it opened up several shelves of space.

~a silverware drawer.  Even my daughters were in awe of this feature which makes  silver more accessible and keeps it from tarnishing.

~drawer dividers.  Who would have thought such a simple feature would make such a difference?  Now, rather than things being stacked on top of each other, they are layered making each piece visible and easy to get.  Speaking of drawers, they appear to allow better storage than the replaced shelves behind doors.

~a second sink, practical for several reasons.  Not ony is it useful for prepping, it gives that second person (isn’t there always one?) a place to wash hands, fix drink or whatever without being in the way!

~butler’s pantry.  Without question, this is one of my favorite spaces.  It provides storage space  for less frequently used items and is the perfect place from which to serve a crowd.  If you are building or remodeling and can allow room, a butler’s pantry would be high on my list of recommendations.

No matter what your style of kitchen, research.  There is much to choose from, and you want to be sure you pick what works for you and the architectural style of your home.

Cabinets by PoggenPohl

Appliances by Miele

Sinks & faucets by Blanco

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From tear out to finish was almost five months, but the kitchen is done

and all the stuff you’ve seen in previous posts piled on every available flat surface is back in the cabinets except, that is, for the things that just didn’t seem necessary.  Some of you are definitely responsible for helping me decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  Thank you!

The jello molds survived and are tucked in a drawer of seldom used things.  They will be pulled out next week though for the traditional Thanksgiving jello salad.

The corningware bowls given me by my father so many years ago are on a top shelf where I can see them and who knows, I might even use them again.

The almost 50 year old canisters that belonged to Mother are back on the counter.  Though they may not have the “look”, they have sentimental value.

Many other things did not survive, but they’re not likely to ever be missed. A case in point is cookbooks.  I mean how many do you need?

These are back on the shelves and are more than needed,  but 2 boxes more will be included in the weekend garage sale.

Overall, the kitchen is a dream, especially the drawers and doors that all but close themselves, and I owe it to my husband who insisted we redo the whole thing.  I’ve never had such a “big girl” kitchen, and he must be thinking it will be put to good use.

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