Monday, February 28, 2011

Dear Mr. Carpet Installer

Dear Mr. Carpet Installer:

I must commend you on the installation of the carpet on the stairs in our house. When we first decided to open up the stairs, I was convinced that, although it would be a pain to remove the carpet, it could be done in a day. I truly had no idea how determined you were that carpet would remain on the stairs indefinitely.

I watched the carpet being installed at our former house and let me tell you, I think they did me a disservice! I mean, they only used staples on the edges of the stairs to hold the carpet down. If I had known then that they first should have stapled the heck out of the padding, being generous with the staples and using them over the entirety of the stairs – even doubling up at points – and THEN staple the carpet down on top of that – again using hundreds of staples per stair – I would have made them remove it and start over. I have no idea how that carpet didn’t fall off. We must have gotten lucky. Lesson learned.

And the quality of staples you used? Bravo, Mr. Carpetman, Bravo. I even saw where you started using one type of staple, which was fairly easily removed from the stairs so it must have been too flimsy, and then moved on to the heavy duty staples, which were often stapled one on top of the other. I can tell you, they were enormous – and mighty strong. And the ones that were doubled up? It took three times the effort to remove those. Mission accomplished my man!

In conclusion, the outstanding job you did is evidenced not only in the sore, bruised hands of my husband and I, (along with the sore spot on my forehead where a very stubborn staple finally acquiesced after I got on my feet and pulled on the pliers with both hands, causing the pliers to come back and smack me in the head), but also in the two days it took us to finally remove the last staple, and the plethora of very large staple holes and black marks on all parts of the stairs. It took us an entire tube of wood filler to cover those bad boys up, so you KNOW those staples were ginormous. Awesome!

We are looking forward to the carpet removal in the dining room and sitting room! We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us there.


Brian and Deb Henry

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Even if I don't like your opinion, I'll promise I'll still like you!!!

It's crunch time on the stairs. And I need opinions. Honest opinions.

We have opened up the stair case and widened the bottom four stairs a bit now that the wall is removed.

We knew we wanted box newels, and that the treads would be stained darker and the risers painted light like the trim.

The questions we now have to answer - quickly - are these:

1. NEWEL POST: Paint it the same color as the risers? Stain it the same color as the treads? Do both?

2. BALUSTERS: Paint them white? Stain them? Get decorative wrought iron ones?

Here's my thinking - and this is where I need help.

I want the stairs to be noticeable when you come in the front door. I want them to be classic and pretty.

However, I do not want them to be the first thing your eye focuses on as you look from the sitting room to the family room, or from the family room to the sitting room.

Since both rooms have darker paint because the front of my house gets a TON of light, I'm afraid that anything painted white will stick out too much and be jarring.

On the other hand, it's so pretty with the contrast of the dark stain and crisp white.

What to do, what to do....

So you can see my dilemma.

I'm hoping that the pictures below come through on this post (I've tried it 20 times and sometimes they don't).

I got them all from Houzz.

1. Painted & stained Newel Post, Wrought Iron Balusters

Cheryl Shinabarger  entry

2. Painted Newel, Painted Balusters

Cummings Architects LLC, Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938 :: Historic Preservations traditional staircase

3. Stained Newel, Wrought iron Balusters

Stairs traditional staircase

traditional staircase design by charlotte general contractor Grainda Builders, Inc.

The reality is, I think I know which way I'm going on this, but would love to hear if anyone has any thoughts, opinions, etc. You can leave a comment or e-mail me.


I need a decision.

I am now holding up installation and Brian will lose interest as soon as golfing season begins.

Which is like, now.

(PSST!  To see what we finally chose, go here!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I thought I was getting lobster....

Eleven years ago today.....

So, what do you have planned tonight?

Me: Oh, Brian and I are having our Valentine's Dinner. We thought we'd have a nice, relaxing dinner at home and celebrate our last Valentine's before the baby gets here. I'm going to pick up our lobsters as soon as I leave here!

Doctor: Ha! No you're not. Go directly to the hospital. You're 4 centimeters dilated and in active labor.

Me: Um, what?

Needless to say, I didn't get my lobsters. Although my doctor graciously offered to pick them up for me. And take them home to his wife for Valentine's Day.

At 7:11 pm, February 14, 2000, Olivia Leigh Henry entered the world with ruby red lips and head of black hair so full, the nurses on other floors would make special trips to the nursery just to see her.

Olivia, Age 3

Liv & Sydney, May 2003

Liv & Sydney, May 2003

Olivia, fourth birthday, 2004

Olivia's first dance recital, 2003

Olivia & Sydney, Disney World, 2006

Olivia, 2006, on her way to her 6'th birthday tea party at the tea room in Frederick

It's been eleven years and I remember every second of the night she was born like it was yesterday.

I can't believe my sweet baby girl is not a baby anymore.


Daddy and I love you more than the moon and the stars.
And we always will.

Love, Mommy

Liv & Mommy, New Years Eve 2010

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Two Steps Back

Things are moving fairly slowly on the stairs. I'm in a bit of a funk lately, which makes it hard to find the motivation to pull out a ton of staples from stairs, strip wallpaper, etc., when I'd rather be curled up in bed, with a glass of wine and good book, under my big, fat, fluffy, down comforter, you know what I'm sayin'?

Of course you do.

The dust from the drywall is overtaking our house and I have just about given up on even trying to contain it or clean it until the year 2013, which is when I predict this project will be done.

You know that old adage, "Measure twice, cut once?" Well, I did, Brian did, my dad did, and we still screwed up. We have come to a screeching halt until we can get out and buy new treads. And risers.

Did I mention the first ones were cut wrong? Right.

The mistake was really no one's fault. Just one of those things that you don't realize is not right until you put it together.

I bought the wrong paint on Sunday. I wanted "Swiss Coffee". I got "White".

I blame a certain store for not keeping their stock organized on the shelves - something I noticed while grabbing the aforementioned gallon of paint.

I do NOT blame myself for grabbing the wrong thing and not checking.

Oh, and the refrigerator freezer decided to defrost itself overnight for the bazillion time without warning.

Which would be fine, except I went to the grocery store Sunday.

Tonight we'll be having ham, bacon, pierogies and scallops.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Every step you take….

So, you know how those “little” projects always turn into something more?

Yeah. Do you see a problem with this picture?


There are several.
First of all, we wanted the stairs open.

So, the wall to the left has to go.
Which means the last four treads need to be replaced, since they’d been cut to fit with the wall.


When we took out the wall, we found this.


I love construction workers.

Schlitz beer bottle, Circa 1977. My Pop-Pop drank Schlitz.

Then again, didn’t everyone’s Pop-pop drink Schlitz???


The right side of the stairs had a bull nose.

I took pictures of it because I thought it was so. freaking. cool the way they shaped the wood.

Yes, I’m a geek.

Brian thought I was nuts as I jumped around yelling – Check that out! How FREAKING cool is that?


Unfortunately, it has to go.

We didn’t want to bull nose both sides of the stairs and since the whole idea is to make it open and symmetrical, this will be coming out.

At this point, we’re in the drywall, tape, mud, strip wall paper phase.

Read – “not fun”.

We did however, get the new treads and risers, new newel posts, and have agreed on the look we want for the stairs.

That’s half the battle my friends.


Until then, we have to live with this.


And this.


This wallpaper is a bitch to get off.

And I even have a wallpaper steamer, that Judi and Ted left for us (Thank you Judi! & Ted!)

I grabbed six of these beauties from some houses we tore down for work. I’m going to get them dipped and will be using them somewhere – I’m not sure where yet.


Here’s how it looks now….



But enough of of our slow….movement……on…….the…….stairs…….

Behold, the trees in my driveway the other night.


We got about 10 inches of very wet, very heavy snow.


It was breathtaking.


Until we woke up the next morning and assessed the damage. We lost a few trees and the neighbors tree fell on our fence and broke it.

Nothing major – it can all be fixed and/and or replaced.

I have finally finished the lake house table and we are using is again. I actually even found out some of the history – not only of the table but the lake house itself. Once I get some good light to take pictures I’ll fill you all in.