After a pretty rough start, things were finally going swimmingly at the Sturgess house. It wasn’t long before I began to really love the old place. Instead of honeymooning, Liev and I worked really hard on our remodeling project. I mean, the sooner we got the place in ship shape condition, the sooner we could start a family. And there would always be a chance to travel later, wouldn’t there?
Just because we didn’t go on a honeymoon, though, didn’t mean we didn’t squeeze in some “us” time. There are sure a lot of things I didn’t know, Journal!
… Like how much I would enjoy kissing my new husband.
You may have noticed that I’m kinda on the reserved side. So, this is all you get. Maybe some day I’ll chill about this, but I honestly don’t think keeping some things private (even from you) is wrong. It’s between me and him.
See, we couldn’t always relax but now we can because we’ve finally finished the most important things in the house. But it was a rough road getting to this point. That’s me, beating my head against the wall. I can’t tell if he’s praying to his hammer or if he’s ready to beat his own head against that. I’m thinking we were kind of naive about the entire thing. This restoration stuff is for the birds.
We were taking issue with the fact that every room is so closed off. It feels like a bunch of big, stuffy boxes connected to one another.
Suddenly, though, Liev had an epiphany.
But he was not impressed with my lack of enthusiasm.
“Did you hear me?” he asked.
To his credit, he was not going to be deterred. “It’s going to look great!”
He was talking about putting archways in where some of the doors were. I had to admit this was probably a good idea, but I couldn’t stop thinking that this project was never going to end and that he’d return to work soon while everything was still a royal mess. We needed to hire someone. Or tear the place down and start over.
To my surprise, he hid his irritation well.
“Come on,” he encouraged. “Trust me on this.”
How could I not? And, of course, he was right.
So, let’s talk about the house… Sorry for the picture overload.
This is an aerial view of our home. There are so many trees, the garden on the right side of the house is really looking overgrown. We decided to take care of the inside for starters as that seems to be the most important thing in order to move forward with our new lives.
On a little side note, I really can’t wait to have horses, chickens and cows. And a garden! I’ve been squeezing in some classes when I can and brushing up on my skills in preparation for all of this.
It’s taken several months, but here’s what’s going on so far…
This is the lower level where the kitchen is located. Liev seems to have some kind of attachment to that monstrosity of a stove so I didn’t have the heart to replace it. Yet. I’m getting the hang of using it, thankfully. It ain’t easy, though. He might just come home from work someday to find it gone.
The only thing I really changed in the kitchen was that ghastly orange-rust colored trim everywhere. I’m not finished yet, but I’ve been painting the trim black. The refrigerator, too. Keniesha helped me, thank goodness.
This is the main floor. I mentioned to Liev that the dining room seems to be in a strange location. You have to carry the food upstairs to the table from the kitchen. Every dining room I’d ever seen was right next to the kitchen. He explained that General Sturgess had a whole household of servants so the inconvenience of this layout was not a bother to him. My husband (I really like saying that, and yes, I’m grinning from ear to ear) also said that the cabinets in the dining room were used as a sort of butler’s pantry back in the day. Well, we ripped those cupboards right out. Sorry, General. (Did I mention that the demolition part of remodeling is really fun?)
Upstairs is where the master bedroom, nursery and some other bedrooms are. The master bedroom used to be Liev’s room (the red room) until Keniesha claimed it. Bless her heart. Now the room is blue. I guess it would be good to mention that the rooms are (and always have been) color coded.
I was a little worried at first that Liev would feel put out that he’d had to change bedrooms. But he was quick to reassure me that he didn’t feel any particular attachment to that room. He said he hadn’t grown up in this house but had only moved in to help his aging Gramps out. In fact, he grew up across town in a house he promised to show me sometime. His parents no longer live in Storybrook. After they retired, they sold their house and moved to Lucky Palms. According to their latest letter, they will visit us as soon as they can. I’m not sure what that means time frame wise but we should have plenty of notice as Liev talks to them on the phone twice a week. I think it’s really cute that he calls his mother every Monday and she calls him every Friday.
Oh, Journal, I hope they like me. I want a close family so badly.
Back to business… I didn’t mention the nursery, did I? We haven’t done anything to it yet as we feel there will be plenty of time to mess with that later.
The third floor is a bit of a hike up another staircase. There are four more bedrooms up there that we haven’t touched except to clean and bring some furniture down that we found in the attic. I’ll explain about that in a minute.
Anyway, when Liev said there was plenty of room in this place, he wasn’t kidding! To save money, we have this floor closed off from the main stairwell and we don’t bother heating it.
Ah, yes. Now I get to mention my special project. The reason we cleared the attic is because it seemed like a great place to put a sewing/workout room. I know, it’s a weird combo but it works for us. Mango loves the workout area and is even more buff now than he was at the wedding. (Much to Keniesha’s delight!)
Keniesha and I have been sewing pillow covers, window treatments and even some bedding. Mom would be so proud to see that teaching us to sew was not a complete waste of her time like she probably thought. Keniesha and I complained loudly during each and every lesson, but mom insisted we learn anyway. I hope I’m as wise with my children.
Anyway, it wasn’t until we were trying to figure out ways to save money and the lucky coincidence that Keniesha found some old fabric in a trunk in the attic that we decided to set up “shop.” Surprisingly, it’s been fun.
Okay, so I know there are a lot of photos and I’m seriously low on tape, but when you do a project this big, you want to document it. We’re back on the main floor now for some interior shots. The ceiling had some great tiles. Liev and Mango painted them to freshen them up a bit.
I have to just say right now that I did not enjoy stripping the rest of the wallpaper and the paint from the wood trim and column. The wood is all original to the house and someone freaking painted it for some ungodly reason. All I can say is, I’m so glad Keniesha and Mango were around to help.
I’ve done a lot of research in order to restore the original integrity of the house. The front parlor was a very formal space and the best of what a Victorian family owned was displayed there for company to see. I reckon I’m learning a lot. Our front parlor is really small, but when we have people over, we don’t hang out here anyway.
We hang out here, in the T.V. room or around the piano. As you can see, we did end up taking the doors out and putting in archways. I like it so much better! I found that I don’t care much for closed off rooms. Luckily, we were running some errands one day and came across the tearing down of an old church. They let us take these arches and some old windows, too. Liev sanded and stained them. I think they look fabulous!
So, here’s the T.V. room. We’re still using Gramp’s old relic of a television because we decided it just wasn’t important enough to spend money on compared to our living spaces. All in good time, I reckon.
Keniesha and I found this furniture set in a resale store and we reupholstered it ourselves. I made the pillows and Keniesha made the curtains. I think it turned out pretty nice and it kept us in the budget. I guess we’re still a pretty good team.
This piano is our pride and joy. As a child, Liev took lessons on that thing. It was sure beat up but he and Mango refinished it. It’s perfect there, I think, and we like to hang here, too. I can’t wait… I can see our children playing instruments with their dad and having such a good time while I snap a million photos and then tell you all about it.
On to the dining room. I have to say it again: i think the archway looks good!
It might be too dark for some peoples’ taste, I guess, but we like it. In each room that is open to another, we did a variation of the paneling and wallpaper so it would all flow. I hope I never have to strip wallpaper again!
I don’t know what to do with this area but I’m not too worried about it either. There’s still so much to do that I can’t be bothered with this detail right now.
This is the back parlor. I have learned that the back parlor was a kind of Victorian family room. Guests usually didn’t see this room as it was more informal. It’s really comfortable and I like the cheerfulness of the space. (And I don’t mind if our guests see it!)
That is the door to the office. Liev and I like to read in front of this fireplace because the room gets good sunlight later in the day and it’s cozy.
There isn’t much to say about the office except that I’m enjoying using it to write to you, Journal, even if I don’t write every day.
This is now the room that Keniesha and Mango are using. I didn’t like the dark red and was afraid Keniesha wouldn’t like me changing to this color scheme. But I found out that she chose the room because she liked having a private bathroom, not because she liked the color. So, the red room became the blue room.
It’s a lot brighter! I’ll say that! We found this old carpet rolled up behind a shelf in the pantry off the kitchen. It must have been there a long time because it took a lot of cleaning to get the dust out.
This is the yellow room. I really like it. It’s not fancy. In fact, a lot of the furniture and quilts and things in this room came from the attic. I was delighted to find this brass bed up there.
We brought that daybed down and decided it should go in here. I imagine that someday maybe I’ll have a daughter who will occupy this bedroom and have her giggling friends over for the night.
And, this is the room Liev and I chose to occupy. It’s obviously blue, too, but we call it the “front room” because it overlooks the front garden. The General wasn’t the most creative when he chose these names. I reckon we’re not the most creative for following this tradition either.
I know I’ve focused on the house so much that you’re probably wondering what’s happening in our lives. I’m going to have to save that for next time, unfortunately. But there is news!