Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.” 
- Arnold Bennett

photo by Kenzi Tainow Photography

Friday, December 28, 2012

Before and Afters 2006

I was looking for "before" pictures of our deck and I found photos of the house when we first bought it in 2006. One of the first things we did was paint the exterior.

September 2006
 October 2006
Before paint
2012 Bye Bye, Deck!
Hello soon-to-be addition!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The adventure begins

Today the dumpster, the port-a-pot, and the sign arrived.
Hello Struby Construction!
Bye, bye old deck.
 Day 1 - deck demolition
Next up - the laundry room and kitchen!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I love our little house, but I'm not crazy about only having one bathroom. The original owners who built our bungalow in 1922 had five children. That's seven people sharing one bathroom. They eventually installed a half bath in the attic, climbing a ladder to get there. They owned this house for 47 years and I hope to be here just as long, but not with one bathroom.

Mr. Dukes, the original owner's son, was born in Lilly and Jonathan's bedroom in 1923. We recently gave him a tour of the house and he confirmed that not much has changed. Our water heater is located where the kitchen pantry used to be and a small back porch has been closed in to house the washer and dryer. When we moved in 6 years ago, we bought new windows and had the exterior painted. Besides painting the bedrooms and kitchen cabinets, we haven't done much else but dream about what we'll someday do.

Our house turns 90 years old this year. To celebrate, we're going to give the old girl a facelift. People in our neighborhood tend to go up, adding an entire second story to their homes, but we're doing a much more subtle addition. We love the character of our house and want to preserve all of its charming elements. For example, one of our bedrooms, which we currently use as a den, has 7 beautiful windows, and I'm not about to lose 3 of them just to have a bigger house. Case in point:

I wrote my bungalow a love letter, pointing out all of its attributes. Then I focused on what wasn't working:

the tiny, dark, dated kitchen (9' 4" X 9' 8"),

the uninsulated porch turned laundry room (p.s. that wall is coming down!),

the pantry turned water heater closet (I can't believe I'm posting this mess),

and the makeshift closets in our bedroom (this is Alan's closet, my closet isn't even IN our room).

Our son and daughter have to share a room, which worked well for the first 4 years of his life, not so well now that she's 8. While we're expanding the kitchen and adding a bathroom, we decided to add a bright, airy den off the kitchen. I hired a fabulous architect, Michelle Krahe, who helped create a plan that will enhance the charm of our house and serve our family for decades to come. She came up with the brilliant idea to move our front door, making our long, narrow living room a much more usable space.

We're only adding 285 square feet, so in the end our house will be 1575 square feet - perfect for our family of 4. I believe 400 square feet per person is about right for us. It's not a tiny house, for sure, but it's not a monstrosity either. We're also going to get a new roof, gutters, air conditioner, furnace, and re-insulate the attic and floors. There will be a root cellar under the new addition, which will house our water heater, bikes, and maybe an additional chest freezer. We hope to get started by the first of October. I promise to post lots of pictures!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Have you kissed a pomegranate today?
Check out all of the pomegranate possibilities on
How about THIS for a Christmas beverage?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Winter's best in show

“Ripe fruit is nature’s candy.” My friend, Caroline VanZandt, used to say that with such enthusiasm, like she really believed it. Now I believe it too. She would also eat just one hershey’s kiss when she wanted something sweet. One! This is the same girl who would take a 3-hour spin class before working an eight-hour shift at CNN. Today, she’s a fitness coach with Team Beach Body.
Somehow, I’m not one bit surprised .
Here’s to winter’s candy:

Satsuma Mandarins – sweet, free of seeds, and easy for kids to peel. My family goes through 3 pound bags of these gems SO quickly.

Pears, glorious pears. Here we have our favorite, the Comice Pears. They get their name from the French term Doyenne du Comice, meaning, “top of the show.” Fitting, right? They’re so juicy, so sweet, and winter is their peak season, so stock up now. Wait until they’re a little bit soft and eat them alone or put them on a salad.

Add pomegranate arils, toasted pecans, goat cheese, lemon vinaigrette,
and you’ve got one tasty winter salad.