Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The indecisive architects strike again.

Ok, so during this "down time" while waiting on our permit we have been working through some new designs for the upstairs. For a while now we have been set on the layout on the left below. This involved using the front (street side) bedroom as the "master" and making the ridiulously small room my super awesome walk-in girly dressing room closet. In the hallway there would be a small built in shelving unit to house linens etc. and the back bedroom would be our office/guestroom. This all sounded great (mostly the closet), but some things were still bothering me. First, there happens to be a street lamp right outside on of the windows. I had mostly convinced myself that this would be ok, that we could purchase some of those awesome shades that block the light....maybe even put them on timers so that they would raise in the AM and let the sun in. The thing that I think really started to deter me was the fact that the bedroom would be on the public side of the house. Once summer heat and I started realizing that our windows would probably live open for three months of the year the idea of waking up to construction/small children/neigbor noise didn't sound so great. The noise difference in the front and back really is huge for such a small house...and I guess I just realized that...maybe that is why they tell you to live in a house for at least 6 months before renovating? Good thing this is taking so long. :) Anyway, so the image on the right is what we are thinking now. Since we have to move out of the apartment...why not just gut it all. Right? RIGHT? Oh lord...we are crazy. Anyway, so as you can more dressing room for K. It's alright, the princess will survive. The plan is to use the back bedroom with a wall length wardrobe style closet (sliding or regular doors TBD). We will open up the front two rooms to become the guest/office/library. Obviously the bathrooms are different in each of the plans below (keep reading). Thoughts? Is it worth the change for my privacy/night time darkness?

Some sweet little basic renderings of what the front room would look like in each scheme (corresponding with the plans above). (The closet in the rendering on the right is actually shown a little larger than it would be in real life, blame P)

Ok, so that brings us to the bathroom (the thorn in my side). Why is it such a pain? Because I want EVERYTHING in my bathroom...and it is small. Ok, not "Manhattan, must bend body at an awkward angle to get to the toilet because the sink is in the way small", but just shy of large enough to fit all the luxurious bathroom things that you see in architectural/renovation magazines and blogs these days. Solution? Try and squeeze it in. P was nice enough to churn out a bunch of bathroom options below. Some might work, some are ridiculous, we decided to share all of them because we are nice like that. :) Anyway, so the bathroom is keeping its current footprint as far as the size goes (9'6"x6'10"). It's the layout we are struggling with. My general feelings about these layouts:
Option A: This is approximately how the layout has been for a couple of months now. My problem with it is the sink placement...we originally had them both squished across from the toilet on a small vanity. Then we realized, that they were way too close together! (30" center to center is necessary, I guess, whatever) So, now it bothers me that they don't really line up. The area to the right end of the tub would be wall I can clutter it up and drive P crazy. Open shower, glass partition.
Option B: I generally think this one could work. I do have weird feeligns about showering next to the toilet (I don't know why) and so close to the window (obviously we are going to have to have shutters or a screen of some sort). Glass partition at end of tub. Open shower.

Option C: Just like option B, but shown with a clawfoot tub. I like the idea of a clawfoot still, but ours it shit. Our bosses offered their clawfoot from their Cape house they are renovating, that was a while ago, so I don't even know if the offer is still good.
Option D: Awkward. Repeat all comments above about showering near window, plus add in that this would require major waterproofing efforts around the window (which we will probably do anyway), but having so much water hit the sill seems like asking for trouble (the sill is 2'4" above the floor). Does that make sense?
Option E: Why not just do option B? It makes more sense.
Option F: I dislike greatly, feel free to convince me otherwise if you see potential in the layout.
Option G: That would be one stinking big shower (although all of the showers are open thus I guess they all would feel big). The sinks are too close together, so I don't think this will work.
Option H: This could work, but I am not crazy about the layout.
Option I: This one I really like. Obviously the shower and tub become a combo. Problem: how does the door work? We have always talked about maximizing space with a pocket door, but you can't put one in a wall with plumbing or electrical. Maybe we could double the thickness of the wall behind the tub and that would work?
Option J: Simplified, keeping all the plumbing on one wall. Sinks too close together, looks cramped, shower water hitting the window...dislike.

Well, there you have it. My thoughts. What are your thoughts? Help?!?

Fyi: If you click on the link in Option A you can pretty much see the material pallate if that helps with the visualization. Same floor tile, white wall subway tile, same sinks, faucets, glass. Yeah.

ps. Appologies if the sizing looks off on any of these. I had to scale and had some "issues" with it. I promise the bathroom is the same size in all of them.

Monday, July 19, 2010

From Bama to Boston...Doggy Style

So I just discovered some forgotten gems on my phone from the past couple of years and thought I would share...through a little bit of puppy (and some kitten) love.

But before I do that, let me share a little snippet of hilariousness that just happened downstairs in our future kitchen. P has reverted to having me cut his hair with the clippers after his hair stylist left on maternity leave. I swear, he is either such a girl (going to the salon) or such a care free boy (buzz it all off). No in between. Gotta love him. Anyway, so he informs me that I need to cut his hair. I tell him to go set up his little hair trimming station. Go downstairs and he is all ready with two of the little clipper attachments in hand. He hands me the first one and says "do my whole head with this one, the other one is for the sides and back". Ok, we have done this before, no questioning him. So I buzz his whole head, somewhat thinking "hmmm, it didn't seem this short last time", but I just assume it's my bad old lady memory. So I put the next attachment on and start on the sides.
Me: Ummmm, it's not cutting the hair.
P: It will.
Me: Ummmm, I don't know.
Me: Oh no, you didn't....
Grab the other attachment to compare...oooops, they got mixed up. Oh well! Maybe by the time this haircut grows out his stylist will be back in the salon. :)

Ok, back to "Puppies...From Bama to Boston."

There you have it. The pups from Auburn, to Birmingham, to Boston. In the car, in the moving van (those boys are such troopers), in our first Boston apartment, hanging out in the office and now in the dog house. I am so that crazy dog lady...the number of pictures of my pets far out weighs the number of human pics...maybe I should work on that. On a similar note, my appologies for the crummy pic quality. Most are from my phone. I may be in the market for a small point and shoot to carry around. Any suggestions?

Lata homies!

Wonderful weekend

This weekend ended up being full of everything but working on the house. We didn't mean for it to be. It just kind of happened. After Saturday was spent doing grown-up things like laundry, cleaning and bathing stinky puppies we decided to spend the rest of the weekend having some fun. Saturday night was spent celebrating a good friend's birthday here and here. Hungry Mother is seriously my absolute favorite place to eat here. Any special occasion...I want to go. Good friends, good drinks, good food, great night.

On Sunday P took me to see a very cheesy movie that we have sort of been putting off seeing for a while. I spent a small chunk of my "extended unemployment" time curled up reading these books...and yeah, I loved them. I'll admit it. So now I feel that it is necessary to watch each movie on the large screen to complete the circle...even if the acting is bad...even if they leave really cool parts out...even if I can't stand to watch dumb KStew for another second.
Anyway, after our Sunday morning 6 dollar movie (best deal in Boston...just go before noon) we strolled through the park and watched flag football and the cutest little Chihuahua ever.
Then we went to a great little pizza place that a co-worker recommended called Figs. Yummy.
Strolled down Charles Street until we found a store I have been wanted to visit ever since I noticed it featured on Apartment Therapy. We found it and I loved it! Busy got a present from there (see below) and we got a cute little salt jar for our kitchen that does not exist. Seriously, loved this place. Like, want to buy all future presents for people there. Loved, loved, loved. Already have a couple of things I want to go back for...maybe I will check out the Cambridge location if the hipsters will let me come hang out up there.
P spotted this super awesome hippo shaped scupper on the walk back to the South End. So cool! That is a scupper right? I was a bad architecture student...that's what he called it.
As promised...Busy with his new toy!!!! I have been wanting to get this for forever, picturing how adorable he would be in a picture holding his little mustache. Yeah, I was wrong. That dog will not hold still for cute toy in mouth pics...I mean look how wiggly he is with me still holding the thing. Darn. Why can't this precious pooch come train my dogs? :) Hope that link works...because she is BEYOND adorable.

On the agenda for next weekend...actual house work. Yikes!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Places to go, things to see.

The Great Places in Massachusetts Commission released this today. I often wonder what we are missing any time we drive somewhere. What did we pass on the way to the Cape? How many cool things could we have done on the way back from the massive flea market? This list may need to find a home in my wallet somewhere so I can annoying make P stop at weird/awesome places everywhere we go. Yessss!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


There has been a minor setback during this past week around the Dog House. I've had the ick for the past week (yes, over the wonderful long weekend too) and it's sent me straight to the couch. Well, I have made it to work the past couple of days, but that's about it. I'm starting to feel better (finally) so progress will be made soon on the house, much to P's delight. While design progress is exciting (and necessary) we got another bit of blah news could call this a more major setback. I called the building permit office to check on the status of our permit. Apparently the procedure is: 1. apply for a building permit, 2. permit application is assigned to a person, 3. person reviews permit application 4. permit is approved. Sounds's not.

This was pretty much the convo...
Me: "I'd like to check on the status of my building permit."
Lady: "It will take 2 weeks to assign to someone and then 3-4 weeks after that."
Me: "Ummmm, ok, can I find out who it was assigned to?"
Lady: "Sure you can. Hang on, yes, her it is. Yeah, they have to confirm the occupancy on that property before it can be assigned."
Me: "Oh, so they haven't assigned it to anyone yet?"
Lady: "No, call back in two weeks".
Me: "?!?!.......".

Apparently the system is "backed up". Whatever. Get it together Boston. I understand that I am dragging my feet, but maybe if you would get your system up to par I would move a little faster. I'm just sayin', just a suggestion. Ugh.

Oh well, time for another "wishful thinking vacation home" post?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pipe Dream of the Week

One of my favorite "time wasting" activities is perusing New England real estate listings and imagining what it would be like to own one of these properties as a vacation home. Yes, I do realize I have neither the money or time for this, and yes, I do realize this is crazy. But, I enjoy doing it so I thought I would start sharing some of my favorites. Most of the places I look at I have never been, and usually never heard of. That being said, I give you....

Fitzwilliam, NH

Fitzwilliam looks like an interesting little town about 2 hours Northwest of Boston. It's history includes farming and the granite industry. A clip taken from a brochure put out by the Fitzwilliam Tavern early in the last century states, "Fitzwilliam lies in the southwestern corner of New Hampshire, 72 miles from Boston, on the Fitchburg Division of the Boston & Maine Railroad. It is a typical New England village, one mile and a quarter from the railroad station; no industry mars the quiet of the scene and no mill or factory draws an objectionable local population.
At 1200 feet, the village is one of the highest in the state, according to the Unites States' survey. Situated in the hill country of New Hampshire, within five miles of Mt. Monadnock, the air is clean and dry, malaria is unknown, and even in the hottest day there is a breeze."
I'm sold, doesn't that sound great? From what I can tell Fitzwilliam seems like a place where a very quiet and peaceful vacation home with acreage could be purchased for a pretty low price. The Historic Fitzwilliam webpage claims that more people are purchasing summer homes there, so who knows, maybe one day it will be a more popular vacation destination.

Currently you can purchase the following in Fitzwilliam for under $100,000.

A 3 bed 2 bath colonial on 2 acres. The 2 car garage is screaming, "Make cool things inside me and store your early '90s Ford pickup truck safely from the snow".

LOVE this sunroom. Picture me and the boys lounging on a Sunday morning.

Fireplace=this is not just a summer vacation home.

These floors. Love these floors.

Or maybe a 2 bed 2 bath log cabin on 10 acres? I don't know about that house...but 10 acres? Yes please! The listing says the house includes a log spiral staircase to the unfinished level below. WHY you would not include a picture of this, I do not know. I need to know what this would look like.

Ok, who wants to buy me a vacation home?

Properties found on