Monthly Archives: September 2013

Be our guest! Be our guest! Get your worries off your chest!

For quite a few years, Morton Hall had two completed bedrooms –  Laurie’s room (a.k.a. the green bedroom) and Catherine’s room (a.k.a. the peach room).   This worked well for years – coming out on the weekends to work and not spending too much time inside the house (other than on work projects).  Then, a few years ago (possibly when the temporary kitchen got started), folks started wanting to come out and stay over.    Wow!  We were flattered but then started thinking, are there enough beds?  The short answer is: not really.  This also gave me an excuse to convince Laurie that the next project should be to finish another bedroom.  The little room directly off of the bathroom was the only potential bedroom.  Luckily, most of the plaster work was already done.  All we really needed to do was empty the room, do a quick spackle job, sand, paint, and make it gorgeous (my favorite part).  Being the determined worker bees that we are, we knocked this entire project out quickly.  Then the fun part began – decorating! 

Let me recap some of the more interesting things:

  • Curtains are actually shower curtains from Wal Mart.  They were cheap, fun, and we didn’t care if they got ruined. 
  • The lamps are a fantastic clearance find from Target.  They were squirreled away in my decorating closet for a few years before being taken out to MH.  The lamp shades are actually gold lined and are soft and gorgeous when turned on.  They came from Lowe’s.
  • Little framed dog pictures (black labs) – as the “theme” for this room evolved (dogs), these tiny works of art felt like the perfect little pop of “awww”.  The frames came from a clearance from my local Safeway (weird I know).  The art is from a little book I picked up at a thrift store and cut up.
  • The awesome dog chalk board was something Laurie spotted with her eagle eye at WIN (Women in Need, Chestertown).  It is originally from Pottery Barn and it was love at first sight.
  • Reindeer hooks on the back of the door were a clearance find from Arhaus in Baltimore.  They were something ridiculous like $2 each.
  • Mirrors above the fireplace was a project we tackled last year.  We found all of the rectangular mirrors on clearance at the local home improvement store for practically nothing.   Having gotten one from craigslist/freecycle and putting over Laurie’s fireplace, we liked the look and wanted to repeat it throughout the house.  One was hung up in the living room, kitchen, peach room, and the blue guest room.
  • Little birds along the mantle came from various sources – Ross, Home Goods, thrifting, and a little tea shop in Middletown, DE.
  • The closet to the left of the bed is used for cleaning supplies and the door was removed eons ago and never replaced.  Until that chore is done, I hung up a spring rod and added a curtain with rings.  The curtain is insulated which cuts down on drafts and keeps the A/C and heater from heating up the closet.

Please enjoy some before and after photos below.

As this is still a work in progress, and anyone who knows me knows that I constantly change things, the room has already been changed.  The furniture was just too large so that got moved to the peach room and now the blue room feels larger.  And more pieces of furniture fit in!  

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

Frankly my dear, I *do* give a damn

Every time we pull up to MH, I feel like I’m walking back in time or a parallel universe where people still live like they did in Gone With The Wind.  The sweeping porches with ornate ironwork are just begging to host afternoon tea or a lawn party.  But sadly, it won’t be happening anytime soon as the porches are in need of replacing.  See for yourself:

For now, we dream of the future when the porches are finished and we can spend quiet evenings relaxing with a cup of tea or glass of wine.  Watching the sun rise or sink in the distance while sitting on cushioned chairs and chaises as a gentle breeze blows down from ceiling fans.  Can’t you picture it with lush green ferns hanging along the arches?  Once this project begins, you will be the first to know (well, after the contractor at least).  And we will keep everyone posted along the way.

Thanks for reading 🙂

My home Away from Home

The first time I went to the Hall for the weekend, I was with Laurie.  We were going out for a weekend project – I believe we were going to paint the bead board for the bathroom.  I think one of my first questions to her as we approached was “is it haunted?”  If you have read the previous posts, you can make up your own mind about that topic.  🙂  Anyway, she told me that she had a mutual agreement with anything that might be in the house – they leave her alone, she leaves them alone.  Plus, we had all the dogs (Spinner, Guinness and Natasha) and they would let us know if anything weird was going on. That was enough to satisfy my momentary panic about staying there overnight.  After that weekend, began my weekends out at the Hall.

I didn’t spend too much of 2006 out there as I was still getting to know Laurie, and eventually Kelly.

I think the years of 2007-2009 were when I spent the bulk of my time out there.  From 2007 to 2008, I worked at a bank and was off every other Saturday – which invariably meant we were headed out to the Hall for a work weekend.

 

Some weekends involved light work; others, not so much. And Laurie, bless her heart, would always give me warning – “it’s going to be a nasty job. We’re going to be pulling this down and that down and you’re going to be blowing black snot out of your nose for a week”.  It didn’t faze me one bit.  See, even though the weekends were filled with projects and what-not to do, the Hall was becoming my home away from home.  Every time we would be on the road and finally hit the 301/50 split, this relaxing feeling would come over me.  I was getting away from the stresses of life, work, and school – and I loved it.

I could go on for hours about all the fun times we had, but I’ll limit it to three for this particular post:

1. The apartment

310101_2755656930557_1575249365_nOh My. What. A. Job!  Even though Jason did most of the grunt work tearing down all the plaster and lath, all three of us got so dirty and grungy –and- I was blowing black snot out of my nose for a week.  Anyway, Laurie and I were downstairs outside cleaning up the junk piles while Jason was upstairs in the back section with a crow bar knocking down the plaster and the lath.  We would hear this loud hammering noise, then a tear, then a crash and then *POOF* – a puff of dirt and plaster dust came billowing out the window.  Once he was done, we went upstairs with buckets and proceeded to throw the large pieces out the window and put the smaller pieces in the buckets for transport to the dumpster.  Now, this lath and plaster is no joke.  It was heavy, so even with the three of us, it took a while.  You could really tell how heavy it was because of this fact: on the left side of the house (if you were facing the front) the area where the brick section and the back section met, right at the roof, was separated. It had separated because of the failed caddy corner support of the foundation.  Once all the lath and plaster had been removed, the gap between the brick section and the back section had gotten noticeably smaller.  With all the excess weight gone, the house just bounced back!

 

2. The stupid crown molding in the bathroom.

 

Ah yes – Laurie’s and my ONLY disagreement in seven years.  Seriously.  We get along so well in general – I think it was a combination of things and the crown molding was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.  So we had gone to Home Depot to get the crown molding, came back and tried to use a miter box to make the cuts.  Between Laurie, Jason and myself (and the dull hand saw) it just wasn’t happening.  So we tucked that project away, seeing as it didn’t HAVE to be done at that moment in time.  Later, Denny informed us that he had a professional table saw that he would be happy to leave there for us to cut the crown molding.  “Great!”, we thought, “How hard can it be, now that we have a really cool tool to use!”  As we learned, a tool is only as good as the people who are using it.  Laurie had her vision of how we needed to cut it.  I had my idea of how we needed to do it, and this one and only time, our ideas didn’t match.  And neither of us was budging!  If the table saw had been a person, it probably would have chuckled at the bickering going on.  The constant movement and readjusting of the table saw angle, the practice cuts, the occasional expletive when one idea (mine) turned out to be wrong, the sigh of exasperation as we stood back and looked at the result of our ideas combined…and the final “Well, we can just caulk it and the gaps will go away” solution.  But, we got it up and learned some valuable lessons that day.   – Laurie’s note (we still can’t cut crown molding to save our lives!)

 

3. Insulation

While we all think of insulation as being a good thing, we don’t always think about the effort needed to go into the actual installation.  This project also came with Laurie’s warning – “if you get it on your skin, you’ll be itching for days” and “whatever you do, don’t breathe it in”.  So, with a mental image of small shards of glass burrowing  deep into my skin if I so much as brushed up against it, we got ourselves ready.  Boy, we were prepared. For a hot summer day, we were dressed in boots, jeans, sweatshirts (or a long sleeve shirt), masks, goggles, and gloves.  This is probably why we were never bothered by any ghosts and what not – we entertained them during the day with our work outfits and projects!

Anyway, we were insulating because it got so cold during the Fall months.  So, we figured we should put some insulation underneath the floor so as to keep the warm air in and the drafts out.  So, marching down we went – to the cellar.  I can’t remember the exact order in which we put it up but I did notice that soon, my goggles fogged up from the hot air coming from the mask.  After not being able to see and not providing much help because of this fact, off went the goggles.  Next to go was the mask because it was hard to breathe as it was.  Next, were the sweatshirts because we just got too hot.  By the end, we had our system down and just wanted to get it done as quickly as possible.  Those showers/baths at the end of a work day never felt so good!

Catherine and SchaferMorton Hall also holds a special place in my heart because through meeting Susanne and her dog, Trip, we adopted Schafer, Trip’s brother.  Schafs is that very special “first dog” and is one of a kind.  I know he misses Morton Hall and being able to run around as he pleases.

It is so wonderful to see how far Morton Hall is coming and the direction in which Laurie and Kelly are taking it!  I am so thrilled to be a part of and witness to a little bit of the Morton Hall History.

Catherine