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Treasure Hunting In A Crumbling Barn

November 28, 2010   //  Posted in: Backyard, Decor, Other Pads   //  By: Emily   //  one response
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There’s a barn on my parent’s property in Western NY. While I was young, it was my cave, my hideaway, and my ice rink. Since the first floor was usually wet (hence, ice rink), we’ve watched the floor, walls, and ceiling sag, warp, and crumble. It wasn’t built to last (although it probably stood strong for 75 years), and while I stopped playing in it by the time I was a teenager, now, as a new homeowner, I find myself adventuring back into the barn to explore for treasures that my parents (and previous owners) have forgotten about. I love that thrill of treasure hunting. Oh yeah, now there’s a real slight sense of urgency to clear out the barn and salvage what I can, because last year the roof began to fall in:

Staircase once led up to the center of the second story of the barn. The roof is now dangling (to the left, hanging straight down), and the stairs are exposed to the elements.

What goodies have I found (and claimed)? Here are my top 10 finds:

1. Gorgeous hardwood door with vintage hardware.
2. Vintage coca-cola bottles.
3. Two rehab-able birdhouses:

Two birdhouses (they're stacked - bottom one is wood, top is aluminum).4. Armoire¬†(desperately needs love… but it might not fit in my Jeep).
5. Unused tin roof material. (Treehouse roof potential?)
6. Lumber – my dad had trees cut down and planed into boards… and they’ve never been put to good use!
7. Lawn mower (With more horsepower than my scooter! Rehabilitated by Pete over the summer!)
8. As many plastic and clay pots as a girl could want.

A plethora of clay pots.

9. Window counterweights. They weigh about 40,000 pounds, and I don’t know what I’ll use them for, but after the main house’s windows were replaced, these went unused.
10. More lumber – but this time, old, burnable tree branches and logs that were being stored. Campfire! (Did you know that the same stuff is $7 for 5 logs at Wegmans?)

Cabinets vs. Open Kitchen Shelving

November 26, 2010   //  Posted in: DIY, Kitchen   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment
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When I bought the house, I contemplated painting the kitchen cabinetry white to brighten the space up, but the interest of trying to retain the natural wood as best as I could for resale purposes I left them in their original state (not sure why people like oak so much, but they do, so be it).

Alternatively, since I knew I could get by with fewer top cabinets (at least 3 of them were completely empty), I began taking them down. Easy as that. You’d be surprised how few screws actually hold a heavy wooden cabinet to a wall, if you haven’t had the pleasure of installing or uninstalling before. I took down one, and then got a little addicted to demo, and ended up lugging 7 (yes 7) cabinets to the attic for safe, dry storage (future homeowner can re-install them easily – I marked them all clearly and taped hardware right to the shelves!)

There were a few issues we uncovered once the cabinets were gone, but nothing major – the walls beneath the cabinetry were never primed or painted, two sections of ceiling were damaged, and there was a hole hiding behind the fridge. We took care of those problems with some spackle, drywall tape, and a few coats of paint, and while the walls were being refinished, I bought and painted some unfinished brackets from IKEA (priced at $4 and $7 each). Check out the photos of the kitchen before and in-progress:

  • BEFORE: Kitchen, on the day that I put an offer in on the house. Not my belongings.
  • BEFORE: Kitchen, the day that I moved in.
  • Cabinets coming down! Nothing like the feeling of immediate improvement.
  • Removed cabinets above the fridge.
  • Removing a few more cabinets. My apologies for the mess.

The new shelves went up with relative ease – I bought some super-extra-strength toggle bolts to ensure that each shelf could really hold a lot of plates and cups. Success – they still need to be painted (white) but I’m thrilled with the openness in the kitchen, and happy that I have the opportunity to display fun things (thinking plants, mugs, colorful plates). Here are some afters – the shelves are admittedly a little cluttered at first, because I was experimenting with how much they could hold. Since the photos were taken, about half of the cups and dishes have been stored away.

  • New kitchen shelves going up!
  • Installing more open cabinets in the kitchen.
  • The kitchen in its current state. Still need to paint the table and shelves. (That "curtain" in the background didn't work out, it's since gone).

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

November 25, 2010   //  Posted in: Decor, Holiday-Related Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment
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Leaf (sorry) it to a 4-year old to design a vibrant, fun centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner. Simply, a handful of the brightest yellow leaves fell into my backyard, and were carefully collected by handy girl. It was her suggestion to use them as decoration on my table, and I had just the glass jar to fit the occasion. Coupled with a white platters and plates, jute placemats, and a few candles, this will be a sweet, seasonal accessory for the holiday.

Handpicked leaves make a lovely Thanksgiving centerpiece.