So you want to know how the renovations are going on our Summer House.  Just to give you a little background, our house was built in 1817, so the ‘Summer House’ is an awesome building right behind the regular house that used to function as the Summer Kitchen (or the whole kitchen) when the house was built.  Here’s what our house looked like when we bought it:

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – with those colors (sort of a grayish blue with black trim and shutters) it looks like a Psycho House.  At least that’s what I thought.  But it has charm and lots of character.  We updated the color scheme a couple of summers ago (it took the painters a full three months to paint this monstrosity – it’s a very tall house, since each of the two main floors are 12-feet high, and the finished attic/3rd floor is 6-7 feet high.  They did it all by hand-brushing rather than spray painting it.  Gotta give them lots of credit for taking extra special care on such a fine relic).  Here’s what the new color scheme looks like:

Much better, no?  We went with a light creme color with Hunter green shutters and trim, removed some sections of the front picket fence to open it up some (and painted that white – you know, the white picket fence motif), planted some trees for shade out front, and removed the dilapidated railing and posts from the front porch (also to open it up some and give it more of a ‘less is more’ look).  The old pillars from the front porch will be incorporated into our custom desks that will be built for our space in the Summer House – we believe in reusing the old stuff to keep it with the original (and originality) of the house itself.  We didn’t have the painters paint the Summer House or Barn – we decided we’d tackle those ourselves.  Of course that still hasn’t happened, so they’re both still the funky Psycho House colors.  But that will change this summer for sure.

So now we get to the actual Summer House stuff.  I know, I like to ramble on.  Sorry.  First and foremost, we installed a brand new door.  the old one didn’t have an actual handle, just a latch, and the deadbolt thingy we had on there kept getting loose and would lock us out, so hubby would have to crawl in one of the windows for us to access the Summer House (and our computers.  Notice I said hubby would crawl in through the windows – I didn’t like any potential run-ins with spider webs, so I’d make him do it.)

I love the new door, especially since the blinds are inside the double-pane glass.  The old one didn’t have a window, so having one brings lots more light into the first floor of the Summer House.  Notice the little square opening next to it?  A doggy door.  We decided since the dogs have the tendency like children to constantly go in and out, we’d give them easier access.  At first they were nervous about it, but now Travis uses it as his own peek hole – he’ll stand inside and stick his head out to see what’s going on, rather than exit fully into the cold.

We found this window in the attic when we cleaned it out – we’ll figure out how to incorporate it into the renovation project at some point.  We haven’t decided if we’ll use it for something in the Summer House, or incorporate it into the next project of enclosing the back porch to make a sun/mud room:

The posts you see are the posts that were originally part of the front porch of the house – we’ll be using them as legs for the custom desks.  We have at least six more stashed in the barn at the moment.

We had been heating the Summer House with a propane heater, but decided since we got a new pellet stove for the house, that we’d use the old pellet stove in the Summer House, which would then allow us to clear out and fix up the walk-in-fireplace that the original owners of the house used to do all their cooking in:

Notice the cool mantle above the fireplace – we’ll be restoring that back to its former glory, too.  Hubby already stripped some of the ancient paint off a section of it:

We forgot to check where the output was on the stove – notice the pipe is crooked.  We’ll be getting an elbow section to straighten that puppy out.  We also found those old scythes in the barn – this used to be a working farm, so I’m betting those were original to the house.  We’re going to mount them in the fireplace with special lighting just because they look cool.

Since we decided we wanted to utilize the unused attic space of the Summer House, we figured we’d open it up to turn it into a loft.  That way whomever decided to set up shop in that space won’t be cut off from those of us utilizing the first floor.  In this case, hubby decided he’d take the attic/loft space for his computer area and recording studio.  Princess Nagger and I will be able to spread out on the first floor now that his guitars and music equipment will be relocated upstairs.  Initially we were going to take half the floor/ceiling out, but opted to just do a quarter of it so there would be more floor space to utilize upstairs.  First we cut the hole in the floor/ceiling thinking we’d keep the cross beams:

But it was obvious we’d have to remove those cross beams because it just looked dorky to leave them.  So Rob secured the cross sections first:

Removed them, then cut one to use as a stabilizing beam for those cross sections.  And wallah – now it has the makings of a true ‘loft’:

We’ll be putting in some sort of railing, utilizing some of the original wood pieces from the renovation.  And that way hubby won’t come tumbling down from up above, because that just wouldn’t be cool.  We had to make sure to run plenty of wiring for the upstairs area, all hubby’s music and recording equipment need plenty of juice:

Monkey Boy Genius Rob had no problem literally hanging from the rafters to run the wires:

Next came insulation, and the guys started hanging sheet rock:

Followed by the beginning of creating hubby’s custom desk (in the shape of a music clef):

Hubby decided to start relocating the stuff from his original table downstairs:

To his new digs in the new partially finished loft:

We’ll just have to cover his stuff with plastic as the next step will be to finish hanging sheet rock, then mud and sand to prep it for paint.  While the mud dries, we’ll be replacing the old insulation downstairs with new insulation, then hang sheet rock and finish up there, too.  That way, the one table that Princess Nagger and I share will be no more – we’ll both get our own full wall, and custom desks built, too.  Currently we share a 6-foot table with each of us on one end, a color laser-jet printer separating our spaces in the middle:

I’m on the left, Princess Nagger is on the right.  She’s jealous of the big flat-panel TV hubby got me for my birthday as my second computer monitor to make multitasking with graphic design a breeze – she wants a big one, too.  My custom desk will go all along the left wall, with an ‘L’ section wrapping around the side to the end of the window you see directly in front of my current space.  I can’t wait!  Princess Nagger will take the full wall that hubby used to have on the opposite side of the room – it will be nice not to be jammed in the corner any more like I currently am.

That’s it so far, I’ll have updated pictures to share next week – and hopefully it will be almost done!  What do you think so far? Any suggestions on what color we should paint the walls when they’re finished?


For Wordless Wednesday, be sure to visit Wordless Wednesday, 5 minutes for Mom, Go Graham Go, JollyMom and Momspective for more great Wordless Wednesday Posts.

Wordful Wednesday, hosted by Parenting by Dummies – head on over there to check out all the fun wordy posts!

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  1. Wow! That is a great space! I love that you have a lot of natural light coming in. Loving the loft space too!! Good idea to open up some of the floor!!
    That walk-in fireplace is amazing…dwarfs the pellet stove…Ha!
    And those scythes are so cool!! I would definitely use them too!

  2. Just look at the difference some white paint made to the outside of the house. I think white would be a good choice for the inside as well.
    Your house is beautiful, and I can’t believe how motivated you all are.

  3. wow that is amazing. i am super impressed you are all doing it on your own. i literally thought that the two pics at the beginning were two different houses…the white and green looks incredible

  4. That after shot appears to be a whole new home. What a transformation! I can see why this house caught your eye. It already looks (and sounds) amazing!!! Cannot wait to see the finished result…

  5. I can’t even imagine tackling the project you’ve taken on with your summer house. Really – I get the cold sweats every time Beloved talks about redoing the bathrooms in our place.

    That being said, I LOVE what you’ve done to the exterior of the main house. It is just lovely!

  6. I love when a family takes on a historical home restoration. It’s a huge task, but it’s going to be a treasure when you’re done. plus, it look awesome already!

  7. Hi there, joining you from Whispered Inspirations & WW! I think older homes have beautiful character and you’ve sure made it warm and beautiful. I’m sure it’s still a big work in progress and it takes a lot of time and dedication. I love older homes but tend to stay with newer homes. Perhaps, I’m lazy in that aspect! Can’t wait to see the finished product! Thanks for coming by to my place!

  8. WOW! The outside looks AWESOME! So much work but the payoff will be like worth it times a million! I can already tell it’s going to be an absolute gem!

  9. Keep the warm kitchen tones–yellows and creams would keep it bright and happy.
    My hubby would be so jealous of all the space you have. I just won’t show him the pictures–what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him right?

  10. Well first of all, I LOVE your house!!! Amazing how new paint colors and a little ‘opening up’ can do!!

    Second, you are so lucky to have a handy hubby! I thinks it also very cool that you guys are restoring such an awesome and historical house! I love projects like that when you can share them with someone. 🙂 Can’t wait to see it when it’s finished!

    Thanks for sharing with us!!

  11. Well Hello, just sayin hello to my followers. What a great little home! You are doing a fabulous job. I love to see older houses reinvented,they have such a personality. Not to mention secrets…

  12. I love houses, like some people love shoes! and I also love pattern, color, textures and textiles
    I think I was an interior designer in a past life.

    Really nice place you’ve got around here. friendly and warm 🙂

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