Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tearing Down the Walls

The ventilation in the bathroom is much improved. Privacy, however, is not.

Today Paul set about the task of reframing the bathroom in preparation for the new arrangement of plumbing and fixtures. This could get interesting.
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Decorating for Christmas?

Even these leave-behinds have been useful, but not because we love post-Thanksgiving light-up reindeer in the yard. No, you see, it gets very dark in the country when the lights are turned off, so these little guys have been casting a warm glow of security into our grand sleeping quarters, faithfully pointing the way to the bathroom if needed.

Today, however, the kids stripped the reindeer of their lights in the hope of using the strings of lights in an effort to decorate for Christmas, and indeed, the way to the bathroom is now lined festively with little white lights. Overall, however, I think the results disappointed them somewhat: they couldn't help but notice that I'd tossed the wire carcasses of the gentle reindeer into the dumpster.
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Sit Down for This

What shall we do with leave-behinds such as these orphaned chair backs? Use them for towel racks in the bathroom and kitchen, of course! A cheery red chair back already aids us in drying our dish towels in the kitchen. It's so fun!
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Kitchen Drawers

In this glimpse of the kitchen, you can see a set of drawers that Paul cobbled together from a broken leave-behind desk and one of our laminate bookcase's doors. Even though there are base cabinets on the opposite side of the room, these are the only drawers we have.

Good thinking, Aelsa! Nice work, Paul!
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The Bathroom Vanity To Be

The dresser is a leave-behind. We have the broken-apart drawers missing from the picture above, but the drawer faces are too broken to be usable. Our plan for this piece of furniture saved it from the dumpster. Instead, it will become our bathroom vanity for our country farmhouse bathroom.

We'll have to cut down the legs to put it at a comfortable height, and after treating the top with some polyurethane, we'll mount this vessel sink with a complementing faucet. Then, having adapted the top drawers to accomodate the plumbing, we'll add a shelf to the bottom and add hide our stored items behind an eyelet curtain.

I couldn't have made this style work in our inner city house. I'm looking forward to it now.
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The "Before" Bathtub

We are salvaging the bathtub, despite the astonishing level of damage it has suffered. The vintage claw foot complements my intended vision for the room, but we're using it mostly because fixing it, especially since we'll be doing the work ourselves, will be less expensive than the less charming alternatives.

I'm not sure what color we'll use on the exterior, but I'm pretty confident it won't be lavender shown chipping off above.
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The Bathroom, Such as It Is Now

The first picture is taken from the doorway, and the panorama rotates a quarter turn to the right with each following picture.
Do you notice that the tub isn't hooked up to anything? And you wouldn't know it by looking at it, but neither is the hot water tap, because there wasn't a water heater on the property to provide the hot water.
This is why the gift of the water heater is so meaningful to us. Once we have hot water feeding a shower, we'll be able to move out of our house in Chicago and possibly rent it out, covering an appreciable portion of our mortgage payment.
I'll draw up our plan for the bathroom and post it later. This is just to give you an appreciation for the changes that will be made to it.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Using What God Gave Us

This morning Paul and the boys worked on measuring and moving these planks while Aelsa made a record of their lengths. We'll be using these leave-behinds for the counters on our office workspaces.
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Kids at Work

I like to tell my boys that it does a mama's heart good to see her guys at work. And since we've started cleaning this place up, these guys are doing my heart plenty of good.

Elliot loves the space. Designed for worship, it captures his affection, and he eagerly desires to work on it and live in it. It is a joy to see this eagerness translate into physical work.

Robin more naturally takes to physical labor, so its no suprise to see him dig in and get dirty. Yesterday he managed to master the art of pulling nails out of the floor after the linoleum was pulled up. He told me it was one of his favorite things to do.

I look forward to seeing what other tasks these guys tackle before the project is done.
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The Gift of Service That Just Keeps Giving

I don't remember us ever really asking for Kevin's help. He just brings John and starts to work. And he keeps coming back to work.

Sometimes he brings his wife, and then I don't work. I don't plan it that way; it just happens like that.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Time to Purge

The dumpster is here.

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House Warming: Water Heating

I don't know where to begin.

Our friend Mike, along with his electrician dad and strong son, arrived this morning to lend a hand. Things progressed along as expected: Paul received some good information about our current situation, and he received some helpful feedback regarding our plans for the new electrical service.

But we couldn't have been prepared for what happened next. Mike informed Paul that he had brought us something that had been lying around his house. He'd been tripping over it and needed to get it out of the way. What was this trifle of a matter? A 50-gallon gas water heater!

I have never experienced such a house warming gift. It warms the water, and it warms my very full heart. Thank you so very, very much, Mike and Elizabeth. We are so blessed by your kindness and generosity, and we're so honored to be considered your friends.
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No More Crying over this Room

A cry room, perhaps? Of all the possibilities we've entertained, that seems the most likely. Regardless, it was an impractical eyesore, and it had to go.

So did the red carpeting. Next: the remaining tan and beige linoleum laid in a basket weave pattern.
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Trash and Treasure

When we first looked at the property, the nave looked like a flea market booth, and it still looked like a flea market booth when we came home to it after closing. Countless wooden chairs in all states of disrepair leaned against each other for support. Unnumbered wooden floor boards lay quietly behind piles of mismatched molding. Supposedly original pews sat religiously upright in the front of the church. Armies of old wooden doors stood at ease against a tacked-on room in the corner.

We knew there was only one thing to do: call our handyman friend to see if he thought he might make some treasures out of the trash that the owner had left behind. He drove off with quite a load, and we're grateful. Thanks, Kevin! We look forward to seeing your finished projects!

As it turns out, we're keeping the floor boards for our custom-made office counters. That alone will save us a lot of money down the line. We're keeping the chairs that have all their pieces, while some of the orphaned chair backs will become towel racks in the bathroom and kitchen, and the dresser with unrepairable drawers will become our bathroom vanity. So all those extras really are a blessing.

Is anyone interested in a couple of ugly lamps?

To Journal the Journey

My current office sits in the middle of the nave. This laptop behaves as though its life spans the same 148 years as the building itself, so my work progresses slowly. But with a little time and patience, I intend to journal the work that it takes to adapt this beautiful, simple church building to be a home filled once again with the worship and praise of our Heavenly Father.

Thank you for joining us in this journey.
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