Wednesday, September 14, 2016

everything's a lightsaber...

It's been a great beginning to the school year.

I can't believe this little baby I was just snuggling with yesterday is now in 3rd grade!  She has an amazing teacher this year, and she's completely engaged in learning everything she can.  She loves to read, and I just can't believe how smart she is.

Here lies her first homework assignment of the year... left on the dining room table.  I knew she'd be upset she forgot it, and oh man, I wanted to take it up to school and bail her out.  But how would she learn responsibility if she was never required to exercise it?  So she faced the consequence of a behavior conference with her teacher in the hall that day, and since then, she's had no problems with returning homework. :)

meeting Ariel at a street festival
Caroline is continuing dance this year, though we switched dance companies so we could stay close to home.  (Our previous dance studio relocated across town.)  Last year was jazz.  This year she's taking ballet.

I'm also continuing to teach Caroline piano, and she is really gifted musically.

These two together are such a cute pair.  Their LOVE for one other runs so deep.

Of course, they've got the typical older sister and younger brother relationship... she provokes, he erupts.  He aggravates, she erupts.  

 But they are a fun duo and they come up with some pretty imaginative play...

Buzz Lightyear!
Jameson's 3 this year, and he is also super smart!  He is home with me, except for one day a week, he goes to Miss Maria's house for the day while I work and run errands.  Miss Maria is doing a preschool curriculum with him, and he is learning SO much!  He and I also attend a preschool playgroup at the community center in my neighborhood.

Jameson would LOVE this car...
Everything in Jameson's world is STAR WARS!!!!  He and Caroline are geeking out on it BIG TIME.  They know all the little details, all the story lines, etc.  We are slowly showing them the movies, spacing them out and letting the anticipation build.  But they check out every Star Wars book from the library and study them intently.  EVERYTHING is a lightsaber to Jameson-- a chopstick, a straw, a stick, a sword.  (and he's got some actual lightsabers, too.)  There's no question who Jameson wants to be for Halloween, so stay posted...

I've been pretending I'm some kind of rock star and pouring into my band, Cabell St Collective.  (more coming on that soon...)

Marc is really enjoying having RUF downtown this year!  (more on that soon, too...)

So thankful for my little family and the beginning of a new school year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

the river house #9: basement complete!...

It was a summer of hard, hard work, y'all.  The kind of project you commit to and everything else in life has to fall by the wayside in order to finish.  But we were determined to finish the River House basement just in time our new RUF intern, Audrey, to move in. (and as you'll see, it was literally a race to the finish!)

So let's just remember the "before."

Oh man, it was rough.  Just a cement slab and a wide open area filled with cobwebs.

But after the blood, sweat, and many many tears.... cue drum roll.....


It's a beautiful brand new 1 bedroom apartment for our intern! 

(Those of you who watch the tv show "Fixer Upper" can see the Chip and Joanna inspiration in this space!)
Sliding historic door
We really wanted to preserve some of the home's history, so we left exposed brick walls and used an old door we found inside the house as a sliding door into the bedroom.

I LOVE how the lathe wall turned out!  These were the strips of wood that were under the original 1901 plaster walls upstairs.  When we demo'd the walls, I saved some of the wood for this project.

Lathe wall
To make the lathe wall, we hung sheets of regular plywood over the studs in lieu of sheetrock, then beginning at the top, I hammered in each strip of lathe wood, making sure they were level and varied in color.  

The french doors were already there, but we added a window on each side.  Look at that view of the James River!

In the bedroom, you can see exposed brick walls and even the original stone foundation.

The bathroom was also a labor of love.  We wanted to do shiplap on the walls (Joanna would be proud...) but since there wasn't any shiplap in our city, we had to make our own.

We also turned an old cart/island into our sink vanity and I love how it turned out!

The kitchen proved to be the trickiest room to design, mostly because when our family moves in, I wouldn't need a full 2nd kitchen in the basement, so I didn't want to use up a bunch of space.  Nevertheless, in the meantime, we needed a kitchenette that could still function for our tenant (or for guests or tenants in the future).

So it made sense to try to fit everything we absolutely needed along the back brick wall, and then use a stainless prep table as a countertop.  And it worked!

I designed the cabinetry and used green painter's tape to check the layout on the wall.  I decided on a combination of open shelves and a closed standard cabinet.

Our contractor built the cabinetry.  It's SO cool to see things you've thought of actually come into existence!

This is where the kitchen stood the day of our final city inspection.  Our intern, Audrey, was waiting by the phone in Greensboro, NC, for us to pass this inspection so she could move to Lynchburg!  We had high hopes that we'd pass, and she'd move in the same day.

But unfortunately, we failed inspection.  

And not because of anything inside!  We failed because we didn't have legitimate steps leading up to the back of the house.  Grrrrr.  It was a super disappointing and stressful moment.

But our amazing contractor, Mr. Larry, got right to work that same day building a small deck off the back of the house.

He worked late that night, and came in early the next morning for us.  (even our neighbor came over to help out!)  We called in another inspection that next day, and we PASSED!  That piece of paper declared the basement now as habitable... woohoo!

Audrey moved in that afternoon and she LOVES her new space.
I was able to finish staining the cabinetry, and now we're DONE with the basement!

On to the next phase of renovation... the upstairs!

But first, a much needed break for the semester.