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Joys of owning an old home

I was sitting around the other day thinking about where I wanted to go with this blog.  Do I want to focus on my sewing passion (or obsession!) and tie it into my etsy shop?  Do I want it to be about my love of vintage- fabrics/patterns/thrifting?  Can I do just one of these without talking about my house, my kids and my regular life?  Is that even possible?

I started thinking about all of the blogs I read on an almost daily basis and what appealed to me about them.  Sure, the sewing techniques, patterns and craft community was great but it was also the personal voice that came from discussing their lives, their kids that made it feel like “hey, they are like me.  If they can do xyz, then so can I”.  My biggest wish is that I had friends to share in my passions, some like minded people to bounce ideas off of and share tips and tricks.  Someone to go fabric shopping with (other than my crazy little girls).  Someone who would actually WANT to go and stare at bolts of fabric for a few hours.  Until I meet this local “friend” the online blog community has served this role- albeit virtually.

I decided I want to try to model this blog after the one’s I have followed over the past few years.  The balance of being honest and open against privacy, especially regarding my kids will be rough but time will tell.

So, that being said let’s get right into it.  My love of all things vintage extends far beyond fabric.  I love old houses.  Long before I was pouring over craft and sewing blogs I spent countless hours on home renovation blogs, and even started one of my own when we first purchased our previous home- a 1914 Arts and Crafts Bungalow.  I followed along as homeowners in Chicago tore up their fixer uppers and rebuilt cabinetry and replaced light fixtures.  I searched online forums for tips on patching old plaster and removing wallpaper.  After having kids and repainting every room in the house we ran out of space and moved into our current space this past summer.  Our new house has proved to be more of a challenge!  Built in 1910 the home is in great shape given it’s age, but the previous owners lived here for roughly 50 years so updating was in order.  Wallpaper, wallpaper, wallpaper.  Count em’ 12 different prints of wallpaer.  Yikes.  That is for another post.  I could write a book on removing wallpaper and what is discovered underneath.

My biggest pet peeve about this house though has been the kitchen floor.  Red/brown faux brick vinyl.  Not exaclty the classic look I am heading for in by decor.  Fortunately hardwood floors flow throughout the rest of the house, but the kitchen is smack dab in the middle of the house- so wherever you look you saw that old vinyl floor.  It became all I could see…it had to go!

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beginning the process of doing the demo…oh the innocence. Not knowing what was to come

I thought, how bad could it be- could the hardwood run through the room under the vinyl?  So we took a look and sure- there was hardwood!!!  Three weeks of hard labor on days off and evenings were to follow.  Days I wished I had never discovered said hardwoods and ordered new replacement floors. Image

Days spent on my hands and knees with an old bottle/can opener tool removing thousands and thousands of staples one by one by one.  Days spent scraping off old black felt paper that stood between me and those wood floors.  It turned out that removing the vinyl and subfloor was the EASY part.  Then, finally.  Finally we were ready to turn it over to a professional to sand and seal the hardwoods.  Image

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No more staples or dirty paper to walk on!
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even though the kitchen is still in shambles, the floors are done and look amazing!

Looking back now it was all worth it.  Even the two nights spent sharing a bed with the girls in a gross motel when we had to escape the polyurethane fumes.  Even after the expense and frustration.  Funny how you forget the blood, sweat and tears (literally).  Thankfully I took pictures of the process to remind me of how far we’ve come!  My favorite part is knowing we brought a part of this home back to life.  Thinking about all of the people who have walked on these floors, the women who stood in this kitchen back in the 20’s making dinner for their family.  The kids who probably slid across and down the hallway like my girls do when they run in and out of the house.  It is more than just loving things from the past, it is the sense of history that comes along with it that makes owning an old home so special.

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