The front gets a little brighter

In line with all of the other lighting at the firehouse, the front lights flanking the garage door were in need of a serious upgrade.


You can barely see them in the image above, so let’s take a closer look.

The one on the left was dull, faded and not working.



Oh and just for good measure, it’s held together by tape.


The right side featured the same faded housing and a red (??) CFL. Basically, it’s super classy. But at least it worked.


A key part of Operation Make the Front of the Firehouse Look Presentable called for replacing these sad, sad fixtures with something shiny, new and functional. We took to the internet and and now have an unhealthy obsession with Barn Light Electric. “Where Vintage and Modern Collide” – Umm, hello! Can we be best friends FOREVER?

There were a handful of options that would have looked great, but we feel in love with the Comanche Commercial Gooseneck Warehouse Shade. The light peeking through the top sold us.

When the lights arrived we were very impressed by the quality. Installation was easy*: cut the power, remove old lights, hang new lights.

Hello beautiful!


We opted for LEDs so we could see how they perform in an exterior application. And because duh.



This would have been the end of our mini update, but we had to add an item to the list. Womp, womp.

  • Give the garage door a new coat of red paint so the new panels blend in with the old
  • Replace the flags
  • Replace the light fixtures on either side of the garage door
  • Upgrade the bulbs in all the fixtures to LEDs
  • Touch up the garage door


*Ok, so there was one major hiccup with the light installation. Back when Aaron built the new floors for the pole closets (was that really just in May??), he had a bit of a scare on the last hole. It’s buried a bit in this post, so let me give you a quick refresher.

Whilst using the hammer drill to create holes for concrete anchors, he inadvertently drilled through a piece of conduit holding live electrical wires. Sparks flew (literally) and we thanked a higher being for insulated tools and circuit breakers. One of the strips of lights in the studio also died. Thankfully Aaron is well on his way to a Master Electrician Badge (does an Eagle Scout ever really stop earning badges?). What could have been a disastrous day became an annoying bump in the road when he rerouted the circuit before the accidental puncture. Lights (and order) were restored.

So, why this electrifying (har, har) flashback? Well, once Aaron got the new exterior light installed on the left side we couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. We assumed the broken circuit was to blame. Aaron fixed the rest of the broken circuits, but with the light still refusing to work he decided a pro was needed.

When I got home from work that day, we veered from marveling at the paint job on the viewing room (OMG you guys it looks so good! Post forthcoming) to standing near the front of the studio discussing the bit of raw luck that electrical was doling out. At which point Aaron noticed a switch near the garage door that he had never traced. He flipped it and BINGO! The front light turned on, the electrician service call was canceled and our small family celebrated! (ok, really just us. Mojo seemed unimpressed)

Moral of the story: When buying a firehouse, don’t call an electrician until you try every switch (or something like that).

6 months at the firehouse

About 6 months ago, we popped a bottle of champagne and celebrated the fact that we bought the firehouse. It was ours. We were giddy, full of plans and ready to move past the “waiting to close” purgatory. Our sights were set on a list of projects so long it would make even a seasoned renovation pro think twice.

The past size months have simultaneously been a whirlwind and a strange bout of slow motion. We stand at the 6-month mark in a dizzy and weary state. In fact, when I asked Aaron his thoughts on this milestone, how he felt, he had just one word “tired.”



We honestly thought we’d be further along than we are now. Surely the studio will be done by April or maybe, maybe June. We’ll have the yard fenced ASAP – early spring for sure. The wine cellar and workshop will be easy to bang out before fall.

Nary a one is complete.



We both know it’s something that all DIY-ers face, but it doesn’t stop us from feeling a little frustrated at times. We certainly didn’t expect that after half a year the dining room and living room would look just as cluttered (maybe more so) as move in day – all awaiting the tipping point of the studio completion.



I think it looks worse in pictures, but maybe that’s because I just don’t look at it in person. I know it will get cleared out sooner rather than later.


Upstairs the “livable” areas and “haven’t been touched” areas remain much the same as when we moved in. I thought I was alone in my growing itch to get a bit more settled, but the recent delivery of the Ikea catalog had us both salivating at the thought of a few purchases that would make this feel a bit more like home.









The exterior has seen a fair amount of progress, which probably contributed to the slow going inside. We’ve fallen in love with the outdoor space and exterior projects keep creeping to the top of our 2014 mini-list.


So taking a step back, where are we at?
Physically – tired
Emotionally – depends on the day
Mentally – surprisingly good

As I thought about this post, I thought I would have to caveat it with a few “don’t cry for me” statements. But when I started writing, I realized I’m good with it. Sure, most of the space is a still a wreck but the areas where we have made progress (looking at you studio and yard) have come so far that it takes twice as long to edit the pictures because we marvel at the transformation. We’re creeping along, but we’ll get there.

I also wanted to give a shout out to you. Yep, you. Thanks for reading along, commenting and cheering us on (both virtually and in person). We’re so glad you’re here to share this ride with us. Just let us know when you’re ready to stop by and swing a hammer or grab a paintbrush. (Kidding.) (Kind of.)

Two steps forward, one step back

Sometimes this place feels like two steps forward, one step back. Such is the case with the paint on the front garage door. Just one day (ONE DAY!) after Aaron finished the paint job, he opened the door to do a little locker exchange and heard the door catch for a second. At the same time he thought ‘Uh oh. It might be sticking to the paint’ the guys waiting on the other side of the door gasped.

Despite opening the door after every coat, the paint on the bottom two panels stuck to the weather stripping on either side of the door, leaving the door like this:


The weather stripping pulled completely off.


Here’s the gap left behind when there is no weather stripping. Isn’t this fun and informative and way too much information about weather stripping?!





Ugh. Thankfully the weather stripping slipped back into place and Aaron added some construction adhesive to keep it there. We’re waiting for mother nature to get rid of the now humid weather so we can paint… again. Womp, womp.

We can’t be the only one plagued by diy hiccups. What’s your most recent (or most epic) home renovation fail?

How many lockers is too many?

Upon reading the title of this post, if your first thought was “there’s no such thing,” then welcome. You have found kindred souls. Our love of lockers knows few bounds, so when we saw this Craigslist post (Apparently my proclamation that we don’t watch Craigslist prompted Aaron to do just that) we both had the same reaction: BUY THEM ALL! Really, where can you NOT use old lockers? The awesome bathroom and the workshop were clear candidates for rows of these cheap, metal beauties.


When Aaron got a hold of the seller, it turned out to be a Habitat for Humanity ReStore situation. The non-profit company strips items from old buildings and resells them. Aaron headed to the warehouse and snagged 12 towers for $290 thanks to an on-the-spot discount. Our locker loving hearts were heaven. The company even delivered them. Then, of course, we got busy and they sat in the studio for longer than I care to admit.


Craigslist struck again when Aaron found an X-ray viewing light box (the kind that hang in hospitals) for sale by the same company. When he ran out to pick it up he noticed that they had even MORE lockers. His practicality kicked in and he opted to leave the lockers, but mentioned to the owner that he loved them more than the ones we’ve been hoarding.

The next day, the owner called asking if Aaron would be up for a trade. He knew a woman who wanted the cubby-style lockers we had and was willing to trade his lockers +$50. Aaron negotiated the swap and smartly included the stipulation that the owner had to help carry the new lockers downstairs. That’s a double win – aweseomer lockers and cheap labor.


While not as plentiful, these lockers a better size and in fantastic condition! They will be perfect for containing tools and other workshop clutter.


For now they are just hanging out in the corner of the basement… which is way better than hanging out in the studio.




Is anyone else as infatuated with old lockers as we are? Truth be told these are not the only lockers waiting in the wings at the firehouse. We scored a set of old bowling alley lockers that will serve as vintage camera storage once we can dig them out and spray paint them (white, of course). Oh and we picked up ANOTHER stand alone vintage locker a few weeks ago because the price was just too good.

Ok, seriously – how many lockers is too many?