Farewell Cowboy Room, Hello Beach!

Oldest daughter has not slept well since we moved.  A year ago!

Her bedroom adventure reminds me of The Princess and the Pea!  First, we tried getting her a king size bed because her double felt like doll house furniture in her very large room.  Next we tried the bed in several different places.  Still not sleeping well.  We got new curtains.  Didn’t help.  Tried several different fans for white noise.  No difference.  Since she stopped using her bathroom when it got cold and uses our master/hall bathroom instead she decided to try some different bedroom options.  She tried the blue room on the third floor.  She did better there for a little while but not a huge improvement.  A few  weeks ago, her room was really hot and she couldn’t fall asleep so I put her in the cowboy room.  She slept great. I thought it might be because she was so exhausted but she tried it for a few more nights  and decided she really liked it.

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The “cowboy” room was a guest room.

We never got around to actually painting and decorating her room here.  Honestly, I have never been good about doing the kids room.  We switched them around a lot.  I never did a nursery with a theme.  I could blame the kids early arrivals on that but I probably wouldn’t have done the whole theme room either way.  We promised the girls as part of moving here that we would actually “do” their rooms.  Youngest is very persistent and knew what she wanted so hers did get done.  Older daughter is the opposite in every way.  She is our go along girl.  She never made a decision about her room colors.  She never complained about her room.  We didn’t give her room much thought.  Apparently she has been unhappy in her partially done room and sure if she switched rooms, we wouldn’t get the new one done either.  I told her if she made some choices we would gladly get her room done.  It has been about 10 days and she FINALLY picked color .  I think she wanted something brighter but I managed to talk her into these colors:

Rushing Stream


Burning Coals


The room looks a lot different now!  The mural was on the wall where she has placed the bed.

The closet in the room she is moving from is the best one in the house.  It is big with tons of built ins.  The closet in this new room has a sink and then a very small closet space with one shelf and a short bar for hanging clothes. The sink works but the water flow is inadequate.  Time to get the plumber back.  The sink in the closet is a bit of a mystery.  All the other bedrooms on the second floor have a full bath.  We can’t figure out why this one has only a sink and the sink appears to be original to the home.  There was a sink in the room off the master that we use as our walk in closet.  We know that sink was put in when that room was converted to a bedroom when the priests resided here.  The purpose of this sink is a mystery but since oldest daughter has been sing our shower, the sink gives her a place to brush her teeth and wash her face so it is going to work for her.

There is not enough storage in their for a teenage girl.  Even one who isn’t really concerned with having a lot of clothes and dresses more for comfort than style.  As part of moving her into this smaller room, we agreed to clean up the hall closet next to this room for her to store things in.

More on that project soon.  It has proven to be more work than getting the bedroom ready! Here is a peek at the closet…


Yes, there are three different colors of green paint in here! None of them is a good green color.


We still need to finish painting the closet and move all her things in here.  I will look for some “beachy” décor to complete the look and make new curtains but we are getting close and she is certainly sleeping better which was the best part.








Summertime Suppers

As I mentioned before, the front porch was enclosed sometime after 1913.  I really like the way the house looked without the glass enclosure but we certainly enjoy our enclosed front porch.  In the summer this is our main dining and entertaining space.  It is covered from the sun or rain.  There aren’t any nasty mosquitos or other flying things.  I close the windows and draw the drapes in the morning.  In the evening as it begins to cool down outside it is easy to open up the porch and cool it down pretty quickly.

The end that faces the driveway is the east side of the house.  The morning sun come in and it heats up pretty quickly.  To help eliminate that I looked for some nice outdoor curtains last year.  I ran into two problems.  How do you put up curtain rods on leaded glass windows that are in metal frames and how do I afford outdoor curtains.  I was shocked at how expensive they were!  My solution was Command hooks and shower curtains!


It works great to keep out the sun.  I was pretty set on painting the blue and green on the porch when we moved in but it is pretty low on the to do list so I decided to work with it instead of against it.  The blue and white  looked nice with the existing paint and I have decided to just embrace the nautical feel we seem to have going on.

We removed the chandeliers that were out on the porch.  They were pretty but we needed something with more light and some way of circulating the air.  We replaced them with these 72 inch fans that are controlled with a remote.  They certainly are not turn of the century fixtures but they do make the space more functional for us.  We packed up the chandeliers for now and plan to put them up in other parts of the house that currently have really bad 1960 flush mounted ceiling fixtures.


We have found we tend to all head out here for meals in the summer.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are eaten here and the dining room table has mostly been used for folding laundry.  Youngest son spends most of his day out here.  He even brought out his hammock he got while on a mission trip to Guatemala  to try and put it up so he could sleep on the porch.  We might have to get a hammock stand.  He has the same problem I had with the curtains.  Hard to attach hooks on metal window frames or the solid block of the walls.


There were two old pews on the porch when we got here.  They were huge and ugly.  Matt gave away the larger one to someone he works with.  It was refurnished and looked beautiful.  Matt decided to keep the smaller one and do the same thing himself.  It came out great and adds some nice additional seating on the porch.

We are enjoying our “outdoor space.”  It is fun to look out at the park, watch all the people walk by and share a summertime supper or a cocktail with friends.

Miscellaneous Musings

There have been a lot of little projects under way here and lots of discussion and research on some bigger ones.  I managed to find a place for all my antique store purchases.  The entryway looks very inviting with my botanical prints and a fun glass top bronze table I found.  I really like the way the metal on the table matches the gold leaf on the ceiling.  I am still hunting for some upholstered side chairs to complete this grouping.


I did find these chairs online and think they might work:


entry chair

But then again, maybe I need something more vintage.  The entry is dark so I like the yellow and I recently got this fabric for the built in seat at the bottom of the staircase.

So I think the chairs would work with the yellow tinted walls, gold leaf ceiling, the botanical prints and this window seat.  I also added some family photographs to the top of the piano.  Oldest daughter said it would help make the house feel more like home to have some family pictures out.  I was surprised by this because I didn’t have pictures displayed at the old house.  I had a few in the master bedroom and upstairs hallway but nothing in what would be considered public places in our house.  I thought I would give it a try.  I had the pictures all printed in sepia and used clear frames.  I do like the way it looks.


I did find a place for my Willy’s advertising prints in the butlers pantry.


The other set of pictures I had picked up went in the dining room for now.  The buffet is dark and these lighten up that space a bit.  They probably won’t stay here forever but for now I like how it looks.



We were in our last house for 14 years and never got around to painting the master bedroom until we got ready to sell it.  I didn’t want to do that again here, especially since the  master is lavender!  I picked a blue gray and Matt started to repaint before we moved in.  Neither of us liked the color I picked and it read very green in the room.  I don’t know if it is because of the purple on the walls or the yellow art deco chandelier in the room.  (It is very pretty but I don’t like it and it isn’t original.  It is on my find a replacement list)

Many other things got moved to the front of our to do list and we are just getting back to painting the master again.  The kids all got new paint for their rooms, most of the first floor has been repainted and we used the intended blue/grey in the new third floor bathroom. It looks much nicer there.

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So we went back to the drawing board for the master.  I decided the room is big.  There is a lot of white trim, white crown molding, tall white baseboards, the white closet and fireplace tile all are white.  My thought was go with a really dramatic and dark blue color.  I picked the color but we were undecided about the finish.  Matt has always wanted paint to be eggshell or semi gloss because it is easy to clean and we have kids and pets.  I didn’t like it at first but after 25 years of marriage it is what I am used to seeing on the walls now and I no longer like the way flat paint looks.  We tried two shades of the paint.  One in flat and one in gloss. You can still see the blue gray in the middle that looks green.

We agreed the darker paint looked better but the gloss showed all the imperfections in the plaster walls.  On 115 year old walls, there are a lot of imperfections.  So Matt has started painting the master in the darker color with a flat finish.  It is a tedious job with a lot of cutting in to do.  I am anxious to see how it looks when it is all done.

We left a house with two and a half baths to move to this house with five and a half baths.  Now that the master bath is finished, we are a family of six using, you guessed it… two and a half baths!  Oldest son and oldest daughter still don’t have heat in their bathrooms so they have been using the master.  Youngest daughter loves having a new shower that is bright and full of light so she has moved all her stuff into ours as well.  Her shower is dark and I used that one until ours was completed.She does have a point about it being difficult to shave your legs in hers.  Having access to the master from the hallway has made this a lot easier and doesn’t seem like such a strange feature anymore.

We still need to get heat into all three kids bathrooms on the second floor.  Youngest doesn’t have heat but her room and bathroom are small and her radiator is next to the bathroom door so the bathroom stays comfortable.  There isn’t heat in the kitchen or laundry room yet either.  Fortunately it has been a fairly mild Midwest winter and the propane heater in the kitchen has been adequate.  We had a few incidents with the laundry room being cold and water pipes/drains freezing on the washing machine and a newly installed fitting in the crawl space under the laundry room breaking.  These seem to be solved with the addition of a space heater with a thermostat placed in the laundry room. These are definitely issues we should address before next winter but it was a relief to get through this winter without any additional expenses on infrastructure.  Well, we almost made it through the winter.  The crazy wind last weekend blew some shingles off the roof and we need to address that problem!

My parents bought an old farmhouse and did a complete remodel when I was in middle school.  We didn’t have heat in that kitchen the first winter there but it must have been a much colder winter.  One night my sisters and I were doing the dishes (no dishwasher in that awful kitchen) and my younger sister was the dryer that night.  She stacked the Corelle dishes as she finished drying them.  When I picked them up to put them back in the cupboard, the whole stack slid off and they all shattered.  There was ice layered between each plate! All things considered, we have not been too inconvenienced by our whole heating adventure so far.


I started this post on Monday and titled it “Monday Morning Musings” but never got it posted so I had to change the title!  It is a lot longer than I intended.  Thanks for reading to the end.

Finally, The twelfth day of Christmas

The Tour de Noel was a great success.  It is estimated that over 1000 people went through our home.  My twelve days of Christmas posts have shown you most of what was seen on the tour.  We only showed the first floor.  I have a hard time imagining people going through the bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor as those are very personal spaces.  Nobody needs to see where we sleep and brush our teeth.  At our open house party a lot of guests took it upon themselves to open the closed doors and go into those spaces.  I was surprised that our friends and coworkers forgot that this is a family’s home.  Closed doors are closed for a reason.  It is one of the aspects of living in an historic home that is difficult for me.  Where do you draw the line sharing this piece of history while still maintaining your privacy.

In case you were wondering. I have a lot of Christmas trees.  Every room had a tree and I have a collection of small trees as well.  People always ask how many trees there are.  If you count everything, big and small there are over 120.  Of course that number is open to interpretation on what qualifies as a Christmas tree.  But that is the number the kids came up with.

Here are some more of the pictures of the spaces that were on the tour:

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The Christmas decorations will start coming down tomorrow. (The kids tree did decide Epiphany Sunday was the last day it wanted to be up and promptly fell over at midnight!)  The house will feel a little bare without the decorations.  It was nice to have so many familiar things out that held so many family memories for us.  It made the house feel more like our home.  With the home projects behind us for the moment, I hope to start some of the fun things about having a new house, putting up pictures and finding the right furniture and accent pieces to make the space our own.

Did I mention that I am sitting here now waiting for the plumber?

On the eleventh day of Christmas…

We have the entryway.

We are also now caught up since tomorrow is Epiphany and the twelfth day of Christmas!

The entry is large and impressive.  With the quarter-sawn tiger oak wainscoting, beams and pillars it feels almost church-like.  One story says the wood for the entry (and study) were brought here from England. That doesn’t seem likely to me.  I would think the huge oak trees required would have more likely been found in the United States.  The ceiling still has the original gold leaf mostly intact.  There are a few places where there was damage and the gold leaf was repaired.  One spot near the front door is actually spray painted to match the original.  I found that a little horrifying and hope to be able to replace the spray paint with gold leaf some day.

We did buy a new tree for the entryway as all of ours felt a little small.  Oldest daughter made the tulle tree skirt after seeing something similar on line.  She had a hard time leaving it on the tree at first and often picked it up and put it on.  We decided the mercury glass ornaments we have which are mostly red and silver would be great on this tree and compliment the colors in the garland on the stairs.  We started with light strings that are red and white.  Oldest son and oldest daughter did the decorating and it might be my favorite tree this year.

The piano belonged to Matt’s grandmother.  None of us play but we like having something from her in the house.  Apparently (unbeknown to us when we placed it here) both Mr. Bell and the Oblates had a piano located in this same spot.  We were told a story about the Oblates being woken up in the middle of the night once by a loud racket in the entry.  Apparently a very tipsy Mr. Bell used his key and came in to play the piano before he went to bed!  The lesson here-change the locks when moving to a new house.


The card tree now displays a collection of vintage Christmas cards that belonged to my grandmother.  I don’t know why she had kept these so long but I am glad to have them.


 Our grandmother clock has been moved a lot since we got here.  It was a wedding gift (25 years ago last week!) from my parents and my dad made it for us.  It feels a little small for the space in this house but I love it and finally think we found a spot where it looks nice.  We had trouble getting it to keep time since we moved and this space is the first place I put it that it has accurately kept time.  I guess the clock likes this spot too.


On the tenth day of Christmas…

The Living Room

The woodwork in the living room is mahogany, the same as we have in the music room.  It might be my favorite wood in the house.  I love the way it shines and reflects the light.  The living room fireplace is the largest of the four we have in the house.  It was originally wood burning but was converted to gas at some point.  (I would prefer to switch this back to wood.  I love a wood fire.)  The tiles on the hearth are original and are from Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati.  The fireplace screen, andirons and sconces are also original.

The wallpaper in this room is staying.  It is the only paper in the house that I can say I like.  There is another crazy bird pattern under this paper and I am glad that isn’t the one we were left with.  I love the built in window seat in the bay window.  Our dog (George Bailey) loves it too.  He can see everything going on in the front and side yards from this vantage point.

I put some of my many small trees on the mantle.  I especially like the mercury glass ones.  I decided to decorate the tree with my collection of old ornaments.  Many are Shiny Brite ornaments from the 50’s and 60’s and some other similar vintage brands.  I pick them up whenever I come across them, many from Goodwill!  They remind me of the ornaments we had on our tree growing up and seemed the perfect addition to the living room tree here.

The story shared at the Christmas tour and that we had heard from the owner who bought the house from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate:  The nine or eleven priests (we have heard both numbers mentioned as the number of priests in residence here) each had a lazy boy chair and a stand ashtray that were arranged in a circle around the room.  They had enclosed the living room from the entry and the woodwork had to be stripped of the accumulated pipe and cigarette smoke that had accumulated during the 40 years the Oblates lived here.



The Ninth Day of Christmas-The Study

It is unclear what the original use was for this room.  Some research says it was a library but that doesn’t seem likely to me.  If this room was originally a library, Mr. Tillinghast would certainly have had built in bookcases here.  The room is the same quarter sawn oak as the entryway with wainscoting that matches the staircase. There are repeats in miniature of the pillars from the entry and a beautiful beamed ceiling that is similar to that in the dining room.  There is a large closet that was clearly original and a hole in the floor that once had a maid call button. (The living room, dining room and music room also have these.)  The door hardware has the trefoil design found throughout the first floor.  Perhaps this was originally an office or study or just a more intimate sitting room.  The closet is the feature that confuses the issue.  Maybe it was a first floor bedroom?  Many of the home listings prior to when we purchased the house list eleven bedrooms.  This room with its closet would have to be included as bedroom to get to that count of 11.

In any case, this was the last room on the first floor that we put together.  It was an easy place on the first floor to leave the odd boxes that were still unpacked and were filled with items I just wasn’t sure where to put.  We could close the door and not see them.  This room also has horrible wallpaper (who picked the paper in this house and what were they thinking!!?) that needs to go.  The ceiling has been redone at some point and is painted red between the beams.  I like the way it looks and have decided to repaper this room instead of painting.  I haven’t found anything yet that I am willing to commit to.  I have been thinking about maybe finding a paper with a trefoil incorporated into the design or maybe a toil with a red that picks up the ceiling color.

We put up new lights and washed the woodwork and windows.  That is the extent of the transformation so far.  It looked cute with the Santa theme and was a great place to put my little Santa collection.



The eighth day of Christmas-The music room

The music room is the room that has had the biggest transformation.  This room was a mess when we moved in.  The ceiling was crumbling, the walls were held up by the horrible metallic gold/orange wallpaper and the floor had a very dramatic dip.  As you know, we had to remove all of the ceiling and most of the walls to repair the plumbing and the damage caused by the leaking master shower.  We were able to return the ceiling to its original height and added recessed lighting in place of the art deco chandelier that was added in the late 90’s-very pretty but doesn’t fit.  The room has a very modern feel with a nod to the original room.

For the Christmas tour we put up this artificial tree (that is now in the upstairs hall)


It is a pretty artificial tree but we wanted a fresh cut tree that we could put all the kids ornaments on.  We didn’t have time to get one before the tour and this looked fine there.

We did manage to get our fresh tree.  It is as wide as it is tall.  The kids decorated it with all their special ornaments and this was the tree Santa placed the gifts for the kids under.

The tree completely fills the room!  Even our 6 foot tall kids look small next to the tree.  I was having a hard time being in a new house for Christmas.  Having this tree up with all these familiar ornaments that mark the many shared Christmas memories helped this feel like home and not a house.

I was still having trouble figuring out what to do with the cabinets in this room when it occurred to me that I still had a lot of glass ornaments that I hadn’t used anywhere yet.  We got ornament stands and filled the cabinets with an assortment of Christmas items.  I like it so much that I may keep the glass ornaments on display inside the cabinets.

The confessional window also got a little Christmas decorating.  Which was a good thing as we filled the house with priests, a deacon and a seminarian at our holiday open house warming party and all the guests were fascinated or amused with our little window.


Day Seven

Powder Room

Our little half on the first floor is tucked under the staircase.  It has the original hand sink and a cute window.  The wallpaper will probably be replaced eventually but I don’t hate it so it can stay for now.  Youngest daughter decorated this room with little felt flowers we had made for our banister at the old house several years ago.  She has a good eye and they were just right for this little space.




Days of Christmas Continues

I realize with the holiday madness I fell behind a bit on my twelve days of Christmas.  Since the 12 days of Christmas is the time between Christmas and Epiphany, I am only a little behind at this point.


Day Six: The grand staircase

This was one of the first places I decorated.  I was able to borrow the garland from a neighbor which was a big help.  I was surprised that the garland for her grand staircase exactly fit the sections of my staircase!  I added the silver trim and bows to go with the décor in the entry and really like the way this looks.

The woodwork on the stairs is one of my favorite things in our house.  The quarter sawn oak is beautiful.  Rumor has it that a group of craftsmen from Germany came over and lived on site during the construction of the house just to complete the magnificent woodwork.  This is a prime example of their craftsmanship.

With the pepto bismal pink walls gone, the  garland and white lights with bits of silver really highlight the space. I love he way the lights sparkle and reflect off the wood.   The stained glass windows feel grand and elegant.