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Archive for the 'Home' Category

Fall Is Approaching

We are all under the weather (just in time for Hurricane Sandy to blow by). Today was mostly grey and misty so we decided to take advantage of what felt like our first real fall day by sitting outside around our fire pit.We built the pit with cinder blocks that were previously a patio under the garden shed. We like it when we can make things that pretty much cost nothing!

The leaves seemed to have changed colors and fallen overnight. In Chicago by now we’d be wrapped up in coats and boots sipping mochas on our morning walks. That sounds dreamy as I write it but this afternoon sitting around our fire sipping lukewarm coffee and wiping our runny noses was pretty dreamy, too.

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This Old Home

We have a lot to do on this old house. And we keep dreaming about projects we don’t yet have money or time for, and starting others hoping we find the time to finish. Every other day I feel like the house is settling more to the West, and more in our hearts. It’s a beauty.

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A Rainy Sunday

on our front porch…

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Our Home

Sometime in May I had a melt down. It was one of those moments when everything spills over. In my heart I knew we had messed things up. We had made the wrong decision to move from Chicago to North Carolina. It had been rough ever since our arrival – pinching pennies, missing friends, home, the life we knew, conveniences, culture, routine. I’ve had three different positions as work since I arrived and a schedule that was never consistent. We made due trying to get out as much as possible, visiting family, taking advantage of all the natural beauty North Carolina has to offer but there was always this nagging feeling that it wasn’t right. We were forever in limbo.

The afternoon of my melt down I went to work. Nathan texted me. The house that he had his eye on since we had moved – basically our dream house – had fallen through with it’s previous possible buyers. It was on the market again. And, the ball started rolling. Here was something that could give us hope. A foundation. A home. With the help of Nathan’s parents who know an awful lot about buying old homes we were putting an offer in exactly one week later.

The house is called The Boyd House. It was built in 1890 by a carpenter named Thomas M. Young as well as the smaller house that sits directly behind it. At the time Mr. Boyd was living in the smaller house next door, and then purchased the T-shaped farmhouse in 1930 from Mr. Young. It has been in the Boyd family ever since. Sometime in the 70s we believe there were two additions put on the back of the house. It is on a corner of East Main street and sits on a double lot! The yard is spectacular! Grandpa Boyd had a victory garden here after the war, and appeared to have gardened for many years. The soil is black – this is rare in North Carolina and is probably a result of years and years of working it. On our second visit to the house I found a four leaf clover in the yard. Usually four leaf clovers grow in batches but I haven’t been able to find one since.

The previous owner (grand daughter of Mr. Boyd) who we purchased it from has boxes of old photographs and memories to share with us soon! I can’t wait to see. To relish in the history of this home and carry on new traditions.

Needless to say the home purchasing ordeal carried out for some time. Nathan’s dad said that this was the most absurd and irregular home purchase he’d ever been a part of. I believe him on that one. There was a lot of back and forth between the appraiser and the lenders. It was almost as if the lenders didn’t believe what the appraiser was saying, and kept forcing him to change his appraisal. Every Friday would come with the hopes of hearing good news, but nothing. Until a few weeks ago. On Tuesday July 31st we signed on our very first home. The signing was a bit unconventional, too. We actually did it in the home! The lawyer came, my in-laws, our nephews! It was a family affair! Even as I signed the last paper I had to ask the lawyer if this was really IT? What could go wrong now? He said pretty much nothing. We all breathed a sigh of relief.

The house is going to need years of work but we have high hopes. Nathan ripped up the carpet the next day to find beautiful hard wood floors underneath and some not so pretty. A good sanding and shine will help that in the next year. We have work to do on the foundation, the roof, the addition (which appears to have been eaten by termites) and the house while it has duct work for AC does not have a unit. Other than that it is totally habitable – heat, two bathrooms (though somewhat makeshift in my opinion), a living room, dining room, kitchen, parlour, library (or what will be a play room), and three bedrooms upstairs. It’s huge! Almost overwhelmingly huge. Eleanor runs through the rooms like a bandit and half the time I don’t know where she is. Baby gates will come in handy for a while.

For being in East Durham you’d be amazed by how quiet and natural the setting can be. We’ve seen multiple variations of butterflies, birds chirp for hours, hummingbirds fly to the windows, and there are two rosemary bushes and a camellia bush plus a couple dozen other plants and trees I’ve yet to identify. We are pretty excited for what is to come – both the work and the reward.

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The Boyd House, 1943

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The Boyd House, 2012

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The yard

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The front porch

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The original front door

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Dining Room (before carpet was pulled up)

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The house has all of its original hardware

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Living Room (before carpet was pulled up) – Only working fireplace

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Foyeur + Stairs (before carpet was pulled)

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Wall fabric in hall

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Ornate mantle in parlour

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The day it became ours!

Okay so that was a lot of pictures! And, I have more. Eeep! Nathan is going to make a site to document our home restoration progress, too. Here’s to an exciting adventure!

Home update

They accepted our offer! Thanks for all the good wishes. Just a few more steps and we should be proud home owners. I’m excited to start making plans to fix up the place. And the potential for a garden is just out of my mind amazing. I’ve been dreaming of berry bushes, perennials, and birds and bees. Crossing my fingers for a smooth ride the rest of the way to closing.

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photo from design sponge

Jinx

I wonder why people say they jinx things if they share a piece of news or info before it’s final. Does it really jinx it or does it just invite others into your vulnerability? I figure you’re invited.

Today our offer for this 1890 farmhouse was delivered. We will know tomorrow by 10 am whether it was accepted. Seems quite soon, but I’m trying not to think about it. Wish us luck!

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A Beautiful Day

One of the best things about North Carolina is how often we have been able to take advantage of the outdoors. The weather has been tremendously beautiful. Right now? I’m sitting outside, sipping coffee while Eleanor plays, birds chirp, and the sun slowly moves over head. I smell a teensy bit of humidity. It fools the mind I have to admit. Yesterday I was chopping up strawberries for mine and Eleanor’s lunch when I thought to myself, “I love spring!” Then I had to remind myself it is February. But February in North Carolina nonetheless.

So we’ve been playing outside a lot. I planted some pansy’s for the back patio, and Nathan and I have plans to do a container garden or a raised bed. Nothing too monumental since we won’t be in this house next year more than likely.

Here are a few photos Nathan took of Ellie Bug the other day.

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Update

I’ve been holding off on an update because there are no new pictures to share. Well, i take that back. I have taken photos but I just haven’t found the time or energy to post them. Nathan is of course super hero husband and dad. Eleanor has learned to walk all on her own. And I’m juggling a new job with new not-so-fun hours which leave me drained.

We made it Durham with a few hiccups, but we made it. Our house is lovely on a quiet cul-de-sac minus the two pit bulls and pincher that live next door who constantly bark at Tucker though he could give a rat’s ass about them. Our backyard is the best! Lots of pretty birds that spent no time finding the birdseed we started leaving them. And the weather is just what I imagined. Most days are bright and full of life.

The people here are so sweet. And we are excited to be settled so we can really begin to explore. Of course I miss the city. The pace is slower, the groceries are way more expensive, and I miss my friends. But all in all we are happy to be here.

Beeswax

These beeswax candles have been on everyone’s gift wish list. They just came in last week at Anthropologie, and I have been in love since I set my eyes on them. So I picked myself up one today. It’s one of those little things that has brought a smile to my face. I think I might wrap it up and put it under the tree to open on Christmas. It smells so good. And, it’s made in the USA.

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A Moment

Playing in her crib

Playing in her crib

She’s so worth it.