House Hunters: Where Are They Now? March 9

Where ARE we? Well, right here, of course. But I guess all of TV land doesn’t follow our blog. So the kind folks at House Hunters offered to have us back on national television. We said, “Yes!” and then promptly made a bunch of updates in the fall (like making the courtyard come to life.)

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This round of taping we spent one really easy day with the same producer (Hi Darcy!), same video guy (Hi Kevin!) and a super nice, new sound guy. Because our segment is only part of a half hour show and the focus is squarely on what we’ve done around this place, we spent more time off camera than on. That was fine by me! Less pressure, only one wardrobe change and potentially less time where my face literally fills the screen. (Yikes!)

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Anyways, I digress. The whole point of popping in here is to tell you that we have an air date: March 9th at 9 pm CST! So set your DVR and grab your favorite snack, because the firehouse is coming to the big… err little screen! If you’re a regular reader you won’t be surprised by any of the changes, but we always hear that it’s easier to grasp the firehouse once you’ve seen it in person. So this is a great way to invite all our virtual friends into our humble a(fire)bode.

Oh, and because I’m sure everyone wants to know whether Mojo will make an appearance, she did get in on some of the taping. But mostly she spent her time like this (because being a TV star is hard, guys):

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Seriously, she slept on her bed in the studio (behind the couch you see in the middle picture) for most of our interview. Occasionally we would have to stop shooting if she sat up because you could see see her over our shoulder. What I wouldn’t give for footage of some of the bloopers from this whole experience…

Two years in

Are recaps annoying? If so, I won’t blame you for skipping this post. I’m doing this for me and for him.

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Yeah, that guy. That guy who does amazing things around here. That guy who works tirelessly to make this place amazing. He rocks.

But sometimes he forgets (so do I). We forget how much we can do and do do in a year. So this post is a good time capsule of what the firehouse looks like RIGHT now, a sweet reminder of what changed in the last 365, and a peek into what we have in store for the coming year.

Exterior

The front stayed pretty much the same all year.

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But the back had a radical transformation! We finished the fence!

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Then we spent more hours than I’d like to remember transforming the carport into the sexiest garage known to man.

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We also realized we built something that basically resembled a courtyard and made it pretty!

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First floor

The studio remains our most finished interior space… although it got a little junky this winter when we decided to bring the the trailer in to get it done.

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The future living and dining rooms have descended into complete chaos thanks to the trailer work and lack of a workshop (more on that at the bottom of the post.)

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Rounding out the downstairs, the kitchen and the half bath remain the same, functional-but-not-pretty spaces.

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Upstairs

Painting the stairwell offers a nice visual transition from “construction zone” to “where we spend most of our time.”

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It’s easy for us to forget that about a year ago the living room looked like this:

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and then this…

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before finally becoming a serene place to relax, complete with a new paint job, new lighting, some new furnishings, a bar cart and some art!

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The captain’s bedroom also got upgraded from “theoretically a guest bedroom” to “actual place where people could sleep” thanks to the addition of a bed.

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The hallway’s paint job straddled the “this year vs last year” line. It also got some sweet new art.

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The rest of the upstairs rooms remained untouched this year.

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Basement

Despite our intentions to work on the workshop last year, we only got as far as framing out some of it.

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Personal

Since this is a bit of a digital scrapbook post, it’s worth noting that we took a CRAZY AMAZING vacation to the Pacific Northwest in August and launched our print shop! Yay!

 

You made it this far?! Good job. Extra points if you are not related to us. Speaking of, if you are my parents and have some sort of bet going about what we’ll be tackling, time to lock in your wager and put your money where your mouth is.

So what’s next?
1. The trailer is moving closer and closer to the finish line each day. We owe you an update.
2. You know what goes great with a project? Another project. We decided to tackle the captain’s bedroom… and we owe you an update.
3. The workshop: It’s not anyone’s favorite project. We both just want it done, but we’re less excited about the actual doing. I can’t wait to get the tools off my floor.
4. The downstairs living room, dining room, half bath and entry cube are slated for a complete overhaul!! We have huge plans for these spaces! (And, of course, we need more white paint.)

Those are the definite projects and will probably last us most of the year. There’s still a chance we’ll tear in to the awesome bathroom to make it more functional or build out our wine cellar. Only time (money and energy) will tell.

Speaking of posts I do even if you don’t care about them. Does anyone like the updates to the master plan? Without YHL as a guiding force, I have no idea what blog audiences want to see.

A love note to the firehouse

Two year ago, on this very day, we celebrated the sweetest Valentine’s Day by writing a huge love note to the firehouse. We closed our loan, launched this blog and said “Firehouse – We looooove you!”

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I can’t believe that two years have already passed. And, honestly, we had a hard week. We’re refinancing and the appraisal didn’t come in as high as we believe it should have. (That’s really all I can say about it without this turning into a crazy rant.) For a moment, just a tiny, fleeting moment I thought “Why can’t we do anything “normal” and live in a normal house?”

But, we don’t and outside of that emotionally charged reaction I can’t even see us in anything else. I don’t know where we would be if we hadn’t found this place, just like I don’t know where or who I would be if Aaron hadn’t crossed my path. Both are such pivotal, life-shaping events.

Come what may, I wouldn’t change a thing. This place is absolutely amazing. I just see it… in the spaces we’ve touched… When I look past the clutter and craziness in the spaces we’re getting to. I see it. I see our dream house.

I love you, firehouse. Thanks for always being our Valentine, and happy anniversary. You look better every year.

Our principles for buying art

Ever since we started thinking about the finishing spaces in the firehouse we’ve been pondering and pinning and discussing art. There is so much out there, especially when you consider price points and style. We landed on two principles to help guide our search.

While we’d love to have all original pieces, we really still need money for food… and a firehouse renovation. Still we see authentic art (original works or limited edition, numbered pieces) as an investment in artists. As artists ourselves we care that artwork is valued. We want to own unique pieces that may have value down the road. That led to principle one: We will only buy original signed pieces or limited edition (numbered works.)

We are so fortunate that we agree on most aesthetic choices for our living space. When it comes to art, there’s a little more divergence. I’ve long been a fan of impressionism, especially Claude Monet, and that’s just not Aaron’s jam. He often gravitates toward sculptural pieces and I rarely think those work in residential spaces. Luckily there’s still a huge middle ground. We both love moody work (show us just about anything with fog and we’re captivated.) We also have a huge appreciation for mediums that we have no skill in, like drawing. And, thankfully, he likes some impressionistic work :)

This drove our other guiding principle: We both have to like any piece we purchase. That doesn’t mean we both have to be heads over heels about each piece, but we both have to appreciate it and want it in our house.

Obviously, this is going to be a process. We’re not running to a big box store to grab something to hang on the wall just because we want a room done. But we appreciate the process. We love that it gives us a reason to walk through an art fair (and maybe walk away with one of my favorite pieces of art to date - the guy at the end of this post who really deserved his own feature. Love him! ) while we envision different works in our space and discuss what we like (or don’t) about a work.

Sometimes that discussion and the decision to buy is really, really easy.

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In a recent jaunt to the Green Shag Market this piece instantly caught my eye. I didn’t say anything because I wanted to see if Aaron noticed it as well. It took less than 60 seconds for him to say “Woah! Look at this piece.”

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So, yeah, we both like it. It’s a relief print, which may be a little hard to see in the pictures. It has lots of movement and obviously a huge burst of color, which offers some nice contrast.

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It’s an interesting piece because it’s understated and bold at the same time, quiet and loud, a great juxtaposition.

And it’s named, signed and dated. “Release” by M. Dean, number 9/50 from 1978.

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We did a quick check via Google just to see if we had stumbled upon a gem. We think it’s a piece from Meredith Dean, an artist who studied at Washington University in the late 60’s and late 80’s. She’s been heavily involved in the art world and currently is a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. We think it’s one of her early pieces. We reached out to her but haven’t heard any response.

None of that really mattered, we were happy to tote this piece home with us. (Although if we ever run across an awesome, piece like Yellow Brick Home did, I’ll do a seriously nerdy, white girl happy dance in the middle of the store.) It doesn’t have a home quite yet, but it’s ready and waiting for the right space.

Epic fail – Our damaged living room floor

In the interest of keeping it real, I bring you our biggest fail to date. The floor in our living room is f*cked.

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That light gray spot… yeah that’s not supposed to be there.

It’s no secret that we’ve been using the downstairs living room and dining room as renovation central. We’re storing ALL the tools on the floor (it’s a great method that allows us to easily find anything we need… NOT!) and miscellaneous building materials in this space. That included eight sheets of treated plywood we needed to finish the walls of the workshop. We dropped it in the living room several months ago because those sheets are heavy and we were in the midst of another huge project.

When we moved the plywood to the basement to make space for working on the trailer components, we uncovered this.

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We hoped it was a stain and instantly tried some citrus cleaner and wire brush, which did next to nothing. Which led to lots of anger and curse words. This is an epoxy floor! It’s supposed to be indestructible!

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So now we think it was probably some sort of chemical reaction between the chemicals in the plywood and the epoxy floor. A little internet research revealed that this can happen when an epoxy floor isn’t installed properly. What? Something in this place wasn’t done correctly? I’m shocked (sarcasm).

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We have one more heavy duty cleaner to try, but we’re not holding our breath. So we’re probably going to have to strip the top layer of floor and paint it with a heavy duty coating, like we did in the studio (although that was on top of concrete, not an epoxy floor.) Oh, and did I mention that this flooring runs throughout our downstairs living room, dining room and bathroom? Hello extra work we weren’t expecting. Ugh.

This is our one appeal to the interwebs to see if anyone out there knows whether this can be fixed or has experience removing epoxy floors OR scuffing them for paint/recoating.