A few days after Christmas, we got the most amazing gift: my cousins Emily and Toby and my Uncle Bill came to visit, and they went crazy helping me organize, fix, and move stuff around. I took the week off because Sadie’s daycare was closed for the week, and as it turns out I came down with an awful, energy-sucking cold. Nick worked the entire week–including the weekend–so I would have been totally on my own if it weren’t for my awesome extended family. (I should add that my sister-in-law, who lives here in Maine, also pitched in on Tuesday, leaving 2 of her 3 kids with my brother in order to do so.)
I knew my cousins and uncle were coming to visit, but had no idea that they were going to help me with the house. The first day, Emily, Julia and my Uncle Bill helped me clear a path through our “library” room. They carried boxes to the basement and helped me sort a lot of our “stuff” in a much more efficient manner than Nick and I could possibly be capable of. I realize now that Nick and I hem and haw and analyze–paralysis by analysis, I think it’s called. Not good. We needed neutral parties to come in and tell us what to do.
Emily and Bill put together the folding Ikea sewing table Nick and I picked up on our way back from Christmas at my dad’s house in Massachusetts, and I was finally able to unpack my sewing machine! The rest of the books went onto the bookshelf, and decisions were made as to what to do with a lot of …. stuff. Now we can actually sit in our “extra” room and I can imagine all the arts and crafts Sadie and I are going to do in there someday when she’s just a bit older. Here’s a picture of Emily taking a picture of Uncle Bill with Sadie and my niece (also named) Emily.
The other major, long overdue project Toby and Bill tackled was creating a new coat rack out of leftover pieces of trim wood and some hooks that we had picked up at Ikea on the same post-Christmas run. We borrowed my brother’s Skil Saw and they cut down the leftover pieces and made the whole thing fit perfectly into the corner where the wobbly coat rack used to stand. (My uncle then cut the coat rack down to Sadie-size, and we put it in her room for sweaters and hats.)
I’ll get a photo of the final product up here eventually, but trust me when I say it looks really cool and makes our coats and jackets feel much more organized and like less of a jumble.
Here’s Emily screwing in some outlet plates. There were all these finishing little touches that really made the house feel more organized and finished. We still have a long way to go, but it’s amazing what a bunch of borrowed hands can do for your house–and your morale.
I guess Nick and I have sort of hit a wall (ha! no pun intended) as far as the decorating/final renovating goes. There are just so many choices and we stall on making them, or else we make the wrong ones. For example, I was certain we wanted white walls in the living room and dining areas, to “brighten” things up, but the color we finally chose–Atirum White–looks much too stark. I think we need something creamier, at the very least, or need to pick a color. I dreamed of having a clean, modern, bright white space, with touches of rustic warm modernism, but you know what, I think that looks better in magazines than it does in real life. I have a kid, a dog and a cat, and we live in Maine, where it’s snowy half the year and muddy for the other quarter. I just don’t think white is gonna work. (I think my friend Kenda warned me of this way back…) Also, as I read over on the The Home and Garden Web in one of the forums, white really looks best when the architectural details of the house are already there. Otherwise, it tends to highlight the lack of character.
For example, here is our dining area. I love the space. We’re using the kitchen table from my childhood home (which needs to be sanded and refinished), Nick’s dining chairs, and a new pendant lamp from Ikea. I like how the space looks clean and crisp and modern, but it’s lacking some warmth. We have curtains we plan on hanging over our bank of windows, but I’m thinking now that we really need a wall color to warm it up a bit. Your thoughts?