The Casting Dock

Category — projects

the house. part one of many.

A little story about a house…

Jerry and I started the official house hunting process in February of this year. I had been looking informally online for probably about a year before that without any intention, just curiosity and an enjoyment in real estate.

But come February we both felt we should legitimately start the search. We had saved a good chunk of money for a down payment, interest rates were obviously still crazy low, and we would be having a baby come July…
so the time felt right.

I wanted something cute and old with New England character that we could fix up and really make ours.
Jerry wanted something turn-key which would require zero work…and the newer, the better for him.
So this was an interesting starting point.

To make a long story short(ish) we put in offers on three different properties and in the end came away with hands down the best home for us. It’s a 1949 cape (classic New England!) which requires a lot of work,
but also has tons of potential.

I was VERY picky (borderline snobby) about the location and style of home I wanted. Our realtor actually found this house by walking around the neighborhood we wanted and asking people if they knew anyone interested in selling. So this house was never listed on the market. The original owners passed away a few years ago and their three sons inherited the property. One son was pseudo living there but really hadn’t touched ANYTHING since the parents died…so there was lots of STUFF everywhere–girlfriend liked to collect things (wind chimes, baskets, bird memorabilia, you name it, she owned it). There were also mismatched shag rugs in every room, a fully (floor to ceiling) pink tiled bathroom, and a dishwasher from the 70s among many other relics from another era. It was definitely a little overwhelming the first time we walked through (a giant understatement for Jerome who was silent and white as a ghost) and required some vision to see the potential, but I just knew this was the place for us.

As we went throughout the house search Jerry and I both realized that given the expensive real estate market where we live, we either needed to buy a multi-family or a fixer upper single family. Although Jerry initially really did not want a fixer upper, he REALLY didn’t want a multi-family…and (surprisingly) as we looked at houses, he started swaying away from the cookie cutter turn key homes anyway. So while this is certainly more of what I had in mind, I consider it a victory for both of us.

Our house is currently a 3 bed, 1 bath with an attached 2 car garage (very rare with these old homes here) and a screened in breezeway. With two unfinished rooms–one as a loft space above the garage and another as an additional bedroom on the second floor–there is definitely room for expansion down the road.

The renovation process has certainly had its ups and downs (and has taken far longer than I anticipated), but we are making progress and are increasingly excited to see the finished product come to life.

Here are some lovely before pictures to give you a sense of what we’re working with…

The screened in porch looking out at the backyard.

The screened in porch looking out at the driveway

The living room.

The other side of the living room facing the front door.

One of the downstairs bedrooms.

The other downstairs bedroom.

Yep, our hands are full…

October 10, 2013   4 Comments

cheap, adorable, and easy–a potent project trio!

Every single ounce of credit for this one goes to Jami Nato. I poached it, step by step, from her blog. It was so crazy cute, easy, and cheap (!) that I couldn’t help myself.

Behold my two new cake plates in all their adorable glory:

These babies cost $2.60 total, coming to you direct from the local thrift store. I popped in to quickly browse while I was out and about yesterday, having NO intention to replicate Jami’s adorable little craft. But when I stumbled on a whole section of glass plates and cups, my fate was sealed. The large plate and little ice cream cup were a buck each and the little (now blue) plate and cup were 50 cents and 10 cents.

I love purchasing just about anything for 10 cents these days, let alone half of an adorable cake plate. (sadly I forgot to take a “before” picture, but here it is just before it was glued…)

I followed Jami’s advice and did NOT spray the top of the blue plate, but I had to experiment with the cream one and just doused it with paint. I sealed the entire thing 3x over with a protective gloss. Who knows how long it will hold up, but it sure is perrrty and for 2 bucks, if it only lasts a few uses, so be it. (The shade makes the color look wayyy off on these outdoor pictures…)

and the finished product(s)…

Now I’ll need to do some baking to fill these little babies…

August 23, 2011   3 Comments

indecisive much or just overly ambitious? you decide.

I am a little bit of ALL OVER the place. This can be true of me in general–a tad scattery at times and a classic over-thinker so there’s always a few pots simmering upstairs–but it’s especially true when it comes to work stuff.

There are just SO many intriguing work options out there and I want to try a little bit of them all…does anyone else ever feel this way?

I mean, I just got my school counseling degree and am SO excited to use it so let’s not overlook that. But with so many options out there, I can’t imagine only doing school counseling for my whole career. I want to do some elementary school counseling (which I will be starting in March!), some high school counseling, maybe some college admissions or college counseling, and that’s all just in the counseling field! Once we get outside of that, I really go spastic. I’m a total MATH NERD and despite years and years of vowing I will NEVER teach math (my mom’s a math teacher…), I just know that somewhere, somehow I will end up teaching math someday. I’m too much of a math-loving nerd not to! Oh, and while we’re in the working with kids field, I am determined to do something with this whole childhood obesity problem…that one I can probably fold in pretty nicely with school counseling though…

Then sometimes I just want to abandon it all and be like Holly who started her own furniture painting business by picking up cheap items at auctions and off craigslist and giving them a whole new life with just a coat of paint. She has breathed fresh life into some amazing pieces and made a whole career for her and her husband out of it!

And oh, can I ever get carried away by the idea of transforming old houses (!!), both for personal pleasure and economic profit! This couple has literally made a living out of renovating their own house and blogging about it. Can you believe it? I’d like a slice of that pie. Forget the fact that I have no experience, minimal natural aptitude, and no current house to speak of…(though I did go look at a house today…why, no one knows, because we certainly don’t have 400 grand to buy it…just couldn’t help myself–it was a 1950s Cape Cod less than 1/10th of a mile from the ocean…)

Despite those “details,” somehow I still look at these photos and think, Ohhhh, I could do that! I want to do THAT!

For the past year or two, I’ve also been pretty interested in investing and whatnot…I love to check my stocks in the morning and keep track of them throughout the day and while I’m a TOTAL novice, somewhere in my all-over-the-place daydreams, I see myself simply using money to make money for a living.

It would never actually happen, but I could see it being a little part-time venture. The question is part-time in addition to what? What’s going to be my primary source of income? My greatest passion? I just don’t know! There are too many different options constantly capturing my attention. Is it possible to taste a little bit of all that goodness? Are there enough years? Who knows.

Am I alone in wanting to try so many different things? Am I just a product of an indecisive, lacking-attention-span generation?

February 11, 2011   6 Comments

We’re all kids at heart, right?

I feel like I’m seven for posting this. And I feel like I should be judged for it, so go ahead–judge away.

I’m just really giddy about my recent “creations.” Irrationally giddy. My husband’s half-hearted praise wasn’t quite cuttin’ it, so I thought I’d put my “art” out there in the public eye for some cultured critiques. The color, composition, texture, shadowing, everything arty (and clearly I’m not very refined in my “artsiness” since these were the only “artsy” terms I could come up with…and two of them came from Jerry’s head…)–use your seasoned artist’s eye for an honest critique.

I present to you, Alfie the dragon and my own deluxe (mini) ham and cheese sandwich. Alfie is made out of model magic and the sandwich is straight up ole fashioned play dough. Sophisticated stuff.

C’mon–admit it–you’re a little impressed. Either that or you finally understand why I don’t have a fulltime job…so thaaat’s what she does with all that time…in actuality, I made these with the 10 year old that I babysit and as I said before–irrationally. giddy. It must really say something about my (lack of an) artist’s gene if these make me so proud that they now adorn our little dining nook…

January 20, 2011   6 Comments