96 Maple Street

96 Maple Street

96 Maple Street

96 Maple Street
And after...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our first Christmas in our new (old) house...

The Kitchen
This is, by far and away, the favorite spot in the house for all of us. We have added some furniture and decorative details to make it even more cozy. Funny story...I was searching and searching for the perfect piece of iron to hang above the windows, but I wasn't coming up with anything. Finally, I decided I would look on eBay. I knew the shipping would be prohibitive, but I thought I might at least get some ideas for what is out there. Naturally, I found exactly what I was looking for but the auction said "local pick up only". So even if I wanted to pay the shipping, it was not an option. To my surprise, however, the dealer was in Wickliffe, Ohio. He was, in fact, located just a couple blocks from where John works. Problem solved...I bought the iron and John picked it up after work. We also added two glass shelves and a bombay chest on either side of the windows.

The mudroom
We typically do not use wallpaper in our house (besides the paintable stuff) because the expense is too much of a commitment for someone who is always changing things around. But we got a great eBay deal on this Thibaut paper. We were actually able to wallpaper for the price of a gallon of paint! This room has been one of our greatest additions...you can't see from these photos, but it usually looks like a tornado went through here - riding boots, gloves, the occasion saddle all find their home here. Not to mention, this is Lily's hang out when we're away.

The family room
The walls have a tan color rubbed on top...again with the patina. We had curtain panels made for the French doors. The fabric is a burned out velvet in a chartreuse green color. 

The dining room
It is difficult to see from the photo, but the walls have a dusty pink color rubbed on with a raw umber glaze on top - anything to create age. We ordered dupioni silk panels for this room as well in sand color.

The living room
The walls have three different grey glazes ragged on. The effect is very subtle, in fact, I was wondering as I made my way around the room three times, if it was really worth it, but the finish really works. For the window treatments, I found an awesome website for custom draperies.
We had oyster-colored dupioni silk panels made for this room. And I found yet another use for those old flea market shutters. 

The piano room
I rubbed a blue/grey on these walls. 

The hallway into the powder room
We papered the walls with an anaglypta paintable wallpaper. I rubbed a tan base color over the paper and then rubbed a metallic gold paint on top. It is difficult to see in the photos, but there is a definite metallic quality to the walls. It is the perfect finish for a small, hidden space - not too overpowering.

The powder room 
(and the now famous sink)
The walls have a crackle finish with a vine stenciled randomly throughout. It is a finish I have done in our last few houses. It is a great way to give a room patina.

Emma's bathroom and bedroom
Emma knew exactly what she wanted and did a beautiful job pulling it together. I won't go into, however, the 60 plus hours it took for me to get the stripes right. Let's just say, those stripes better still be there long after I am dead and gone. Fortunately, Emma loves them. She loves her window seat as well. It is the perfect place to curl up with a good book.

The upstairs hallway looking festive...

Audrey's bathroom and bedroom
We are particularly proud of these two rooms as Audrey has made ALL the decorating decisions herself...all the fabrics, the paint colors, the window treatments etc. A dear childhood friend, Cooper Rutledge, custom-made the bed and cabinet unit for Audrey. He did such a fabulous job.

The basement 
You may remember it was "roughed in" during the construction phase. We had it finished after Thanksgiving. While it worked well as a storage area, it has come in handy as a bathroom too, especially with our holiday guests.

The basement family room area...this has proven to be one of the most lived in rooms of the house. Lily especially likes it because the carpet allows her traction to run around. The hardwood floors throughout the rest of the house cause her quite a challenge.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Just when we thought we were finished...

Sunday, August 1st - John is walking out the door to catch a flight to India when Emma comes upstairs and announces, "Um, I think you guys better go to the basement. It looks like a pipe exploded down there".

John and I looked at one another and took off for the basement. Sure enough, there was indeed a problem. The main sewer drain had backed up into the basement. If there is any silver-lining here, it is that the sewage did not go beyond the mechanical part of the basement. The finished, carpeted area had been spared.

We had no choice but for John to leave (you may remember John was in Shanghai when the cable guy caused our previous house to catch fire), and for me to clean up the mess. After using about a gallon of bleach, I called Roto-Rooter and they were on the job within an hour. After four hours of snaking the drain, the technician had no success. He was hitting what seemed like a wall, and whenever he pulled the coil back in, there was all sorts of debris (roots, leaves, dirt etc.) He could only get about 25 feet out. That put the problem about one foot beyond the house foundation. Typically, even with roots and debris, the snake will finally get through. He said the next step was to insert a camera to determine what was causing the blockage. Of course there was no one available on Sunday to operate the camera, so we were scheduled for an appointment first thing in the morning.

On a whim, I called the Chagrin Falls Village Utilities Department. Since the problem was clearly outside the house, I wanted to know what was their responsibility and what was ours. The utilities department was awesome! They told me to cancel the appointment with Roto-Rooter because they have all the same snake and camera equipment and will come out for free. Two gentlemen were at our house within 30 minutes. They snaked the drain and inserted the camera, unfortunately, to find the same results. This is when I learned the home owner is responsible for the sewer from the house to the curb. It was now my job to get someone out to trench the pipe, isolate the problem, and fix it.

I called Harry Edwards (Chagrin Falls Building Inspector) to see who he would suggest to do the work. He felt the plumber, Brian Brodnik of Eastern Plumbing, we used for the renovation would be the best idea. Brian would, after all, have an in depth knowledge of the house and it's workings. I called Brian and he was fantastic. He called in a favor and arranged for an excavator to be on site the next morning.

The excavation work began on Tuesday morning. The guys from the village utilities department guessed the sewer ran out the front of the house. Their experience had been that the sewer line usually tracks with the water line. So a seven foot deep trench was dug in the front of the house. Problem was...there was no pipe. Can you say "needle in a haystack?" The utilities guys returned, this time with a glorified metal detector. They followed the sewer pipe as it left the house, found it again outside and tracked it to the curb. This time the trench was right on; the pipe followed the southwest corner of the house.

Brian asked me to go inside and turn on all the faucets and flush a couple toilets. He wanted to assess the water flow. I did as he asked, but no water exited the pipe. I panicked and ran to see if it was all backing up into the basement...nothing, bone dry! This was quite perplexing. Brian asked the excavator to dig a bit deeper. Sure enough, another three feet revealed another pipe. Apparently the first pipe had been abandoned at some point. The speculation is it used to drain the old kitchen. It was easier back then, before codes existed, to just add another drain than to tie it in with the main line. NOW, we had our problem. The "wall" we were hitting with the snake was indeed the "T" put into place to connect these two pipes. The "T" had become completely compacted with roots. There was only about an inch of space, at the top of the pipe, for waste to pass.

Both Brian and Bob from the village suggested we use the camera to assess the pipe condition from that point to the street. As we suspected, the rest of the pipe was completely compacted as well. We had no choice but to replace the entire line!!! We also put in a clean out drain in the tree lawn (required by the village), so that future problems (if there are any) will be easier to address.

Friends and neighbors have asked if this could have been avoided or was caused by the renovation, and the answer is no. This is a common problem with these old houses. In fact, there are six - 10 of these situations a year. It takes many years for this kind of build up to occur, and, there has not been more than one person living in this house for the last 40 years! We just overloaded the system.

So, now it is official...we have remodeled, replaced, renovated (whatever you want to call it) this entire house!

We are now waiting for the landscapers to come back out and re-seed & re-mulch the yard. Also waiting for the sidewalk to be re-poured. You'll remember we had to repair the sidewalk when we removed the original driveway.

UGH...we're looking forward to the day when we can actually sit down and enjoy. This will have to wait, however, as we're out back trying to re-grow that money tree...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lily updates...

 Totally relaxed...

 Lily and Audrey...buddies

Lily's "yoga" pose...perhaps we should have named her "namaste"

Her name is Lily...

and she is precious. John and I let Emma and Audrey make the final decision to name her. I am not sure there was really a reason for "Lily" per se, but the name does seem to suit her. We are all really enjoying her; it is good to have a canine companion once again. Emma and Audrey have been especially good with her...feeding her, walking her, playing with her, etc.

Lily is now 13 weeks old and has adjusted to life with us as well. She had one night of whimpering and has been great ever since. She loves to go on walks in town - we think she craves the attention she receives. She also enjoys her "play dates" with the neighborhood dogs, especially her brother, "Charlie", who she sees quite often. Our only challenge with her is what we like to call her "devil dog hour " - between the hours of 5:30pm and 8:30pm, she becomes "WILD". She tears through the house/yard at an unstoppable speed...ah, puppy energy!

I know many people out there are questioning our sanity...why build this beautiful house only to have  it "broken in" by a puppy? To this I say, the addition of Lily has helped to make our house feel like home. The unconditional love she gives us, the lessons she teaches all of us are priceless...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What good is a "doggie bath" if you don't have a doggie?

Meet our next project...she does not have a name yet. We're searching for just the perfect one. We'll let you know when something sticks.

The perfect touch...

The carriage door is stained and installed. Just the right size door for John's MINI Cooper. Miracles of all miracles, all three cars fit snuggly in the garage.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oops...forgot to include Emma's sanctuary...

Emma's bathroom

Emma's lounging spot

Emma's bedroom

It is officially "home".


The vintage wooden screen doors we had made.

My "mother and two children" statue in it's new home under the weeping cherry tree.

Window basket under Audrey's front bedroom window

Our house numbers all the way from France...merci Nicole et Philippe

The front porch...still waiting to have the swing hung.

Master bath soaking tub...ahhh...

Hall cupboard

Stairway sconce from Italy

Side entry

Side door from the mudroom...notice our Rouen license plate above the door.

Doggie bath in the laundry room

Dining room buffet

Living room sconces - I actually bought three identical to this from a guy in France, if anyone out there wants the third, just let me know. It does need to be rewired. These were a challenge to install as the backplates are much smaller than standard US fixtures. Our electrician will tell you nothing was "standard" about any of my fixtures...they look good though...

Love this little knook...the powder room is just through that door

Fireplace mantle designed by John, George and me. It still needs to be painted and glazed.

Kitchen stove with John's special request...a pot filler. We all love using this. Also notice the hand-made subway tiles. I realize it is early in the game, but I would say I prefer this GE Monogram cook top to the Viking in our last house. It was definitely less expensive...time will tell.