Thursday, December 4, 2008

The OCB Update

Walls have gone up. Doors have been hung. I feel weird and good all at once.

Take a peek at our most recent living situation. We are trying to acclimate to this new environment where people actually sit on sofas and chairs - and, yes - even watch TV! The extra help we hired was a wise investment - now we can relax and enjoy the holidays. Phase II of construction comes after the new year:) hahaha - never ends.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Quarterly Report

You may have been wondering..."where did those Elza's go?" Well, we are alive and so is the house. Or we should say, we've been getting by.

First we tore down more walls in hopes of a fast renovation - insert laugh - and then the flood waters came (three inches in parts). We were not prepared to handle this new challenge - but, who is really - and we mucked our way through with the help of wonderful family and friends. Basically, what was housed downstairs is now upstairs and we have been left with a mess of a basement and a crowded construction zone - i.e. the upstairs. So, we now have been living in a chaotic state for almost two months. Who wants to come over?

Here are some photos of the past three months - you've been asking and now we are delivering...brace yourselves.

As you may note, we have made quite a mess of our new home. However, the next batch of photos should be a bit more uplifting. We've actually put drywall up! You'll just have to wait to see...

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Line Level Can Save Your Marriage

When it has been pretty darn Fox Valley-July hot and we've been working hard all day, I say the edging brick looks like it isn't sloping right. And get a look that says and "how am I supposed to tell what's level you [wonderful person]".

Aluminum and simple, on spooled string pulled taunt (thankfully purchased on a whim at ACE a few days before), sets the approaching evening back to calm.

Pathways now added to the side yard -- looks like we're headed toward the finishing touches (finally).

Gentlemen -- I exhort you: Invest in a line level. Relationships may hinge on your good decision.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Got the results back today from the environmental testing facility. No asbestos!!! What a relief - considering we were dopes and left our masks off while cutting through walls and such. I, Alyssa, almost had an anxiety attack when I realized these materials could very well have asbestos. I would prefer living a long life. We can breath easy now and finally finish up our interrupted demolition. Here are some shots of our first attempts at breaking down walls.

Hands off ladies.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our Blooms

Sorry it has been so long! As you might have guessed, we are so worn out with house work that we haven't had the energy to write any entries. We will try to get better at this! In the meantime, we've knocked down more walls. However, we're currently on hold as every bit of wall, ceiling tile, being tested for asbestos - oh the joy of old homes. The first batch came back negative, so we are optimistic that the second batch will be too. Fingers crossed.

I've been working out in the garden and decided this is definitely a job I enjoy. I love being outdoors and making a space beautiful and green. These are some photos of our recent plantings! Enjoy:) - Alyssa

Friday, June 20, 2008

Break on through...

Not the Doors, the walls.

It begins.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Yard

This is how we found it.

Overgrown side yard. Volunteer maples in the oddest places. Brown scaling chain link fence. Trees and hedges and Virginia Creeper out of control.

So we started pruning.

Pat & Carl came to advise and help -- and what a difference! The Japanese maple and flowering crabapple are right in scale once again and flourishing. The robins and gold finches are loving the early summer berries.

Then we started digging.

Lots of weeds and Russian Sage (that looks an awful lot like a weed if you don't know it's Russian Sage). Found two forgotten climbing rose bushes and some raspberries. And replacements were warranted. A trip to the Planter's Palette (a must-see if you need plants in the West Suburbs) left us with a truck full of native perennials and a tree in the bed. Purple coneflower, lavender, bluestem grasses, beardstongue, another crabapple and more. These are hardy Illinois plants that can take the drought and the rains (and even the hail that had Pete running around in his PJs to "save the plants" early Sunday morning).

We've got two new rose bushes in the ground, as well as the crabapple -- looking pretty good so far. Hopefully more planting this week.

Oh yeah, and the fence came down.

At least the portion that was so nicely placed on the neighbor's side of the property line. Oops. That made a huge improvement (and our neighbors are pretty happy about it too).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

In Process

Two weeks since The Move.

We invite you to join in sharing our experiences at our first home. This blog is intended to be more than just about the "house" part of our life -- it is about the way our take on things (rehabbing, going local, going green, etc.) evolves and is implemented as we give this thing a go.

We welcome your advice, constructive criticisms and stories of your own experiences as we go along together.

Pete & Alyssa