Of House and Home: Our Outdoor Oasis

Once Old Man Winter decided to give up his throne, our lives became a never ending cycle of yard work every single weekend we’ve been in town.

In April we tore up the front yard and made a bed with ground covers, a potted hydrangea, lavender and rosemary. We also put in a trellis with a clematis vine to hide our trash cans. It was a lot of work, but we rewarded ourselves nicely afterward.

We did other work in the backyard while our moms were in town, but some of the hanging plants have since died (it wasn’t me, it was them) so this weekend we replaced them and I also planted a little garden. I am starting with red bell pepper, jalapeno, okra and eggplant. Wish the little guys better luck than most of my herbs, which have since been replaced by succulents. Most of them died while we were on our Europe trip. (Cause of death: flooding. And I thought they would die from too little water.)

pre-flood herbs

pre-flood herbs

Dave has been talking about a grill for months, and last weekend his dreams came true. We picked one out and he spent Sunday putting it together so we could enjoy the fruits of his labor that evening – and a few times since. This weekend we put the sprinkles on top of his “outdoor oasis” sundae and got new patio furniture too!

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Dave with his new grill! #mcm #latergram

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the new lounge furniture – you can see my little garden in the top left!

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looking toward the fire pit and old furniture out into the yard

After putting it together I made a run to Lowe’s for a leaf blower. It is my new favorite possession. My life is now complete. It saves so much time and energy when trying to clear off the patio, and does a better job than either of us with the push broom. It also is a vacuum, which means we can clear out the leaves and debris that fall down to the area outside the basement entrance. That stuff was building up, which resulted in a clogged drain anytime it rained – even a little bit – leading to a flooded basement on a couple of occasions! That’s another story for another day though. For now I am looking forward to morning coffee and evening wine in our new outdoor oasis!

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Rise and shine! #DoubleNoFilter

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Hope y’all had a great June – here comes July! (Woah.)

Of House and Home: The Man Cave

Every time we looked at a house that was seemingly “perfect,” Dave would hesitate if it did not have a basement. He’s dreamed of his “Dave Cave” for quite some time, and to be honest, I wanted him to have a space to watch Villanova basketball or jam on the drums so that I could watch Grey’s Anatomy or figure skating in the other living area.

After being in for a few months now, I am oh so happy that this house has just that.

It took a little work to make it the perfect cave it is today, but I think it’s the greatest transformation of the house, with the kitchen coming in close second.

When we first walked in, it was not very warm or welcoming, nor did it have the necessary cave-like feel. Bulkheads came down in a couple of areas, the floor was an ugly beige tile and walls were stark white.

Behind the living area of the basement was a laundry room and another full bath, which were two huge pluses for Capitol Hill homes, and totally checked additional boxes on the wish list.

It needed work, but we absolutely saw potential! So up came the tile and down came those bulkheads, which turned out to be unnecessary, over-sized ductwork.

Oh, and we also took everything out of the bathroom to start fresh.

As I mentioned before, we stopped by nearly every day before moving in to check on progress, meet with the contractor and make various decisions. It was unnerving to see it all so torn up, but also a bit thrilling. Dave made sure to lighten the mood … looking at me through the hole between the kitchen and our guest bedroom on the floor above.

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After picking out three different kinds of tile, two different paint shades, a vanity and a toilet, we were almost set. The bathroom came together nicely – and we even were able to hide the pipe that used to run across the wall! (I won’t get into details about the trouble getting the glass. It’s in now, and that’s all that matters. Right?)

For the living area we decided to go with a laminate wood flooring, but the one we really wanted was a special order item, so we had to go with our second favorite. In the end, we were so pleased with how well it turned out – much warmer than the other flooring would have been.

So that’s it! The “Dave Cave” is a reality and has even already had some big time excitement — our friends Matthew and Justin got engaged in the basement on New Year’s Eve!

And with this post, I am happy to say that the reno updates are finished for now! Of course there are other projects on the list, but they will be minor in comparison. The most pressing item is to get some landscaping done … any green thumbs out there want to give me ideas? Please!

Insta-lately

Hooray! It’s Friday and I couldn’t be happier. For being such a short month, February has had THE longest weeks. Here’s a quick Insta-recap of what’s been happening lately.

 

We had a snow day…

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Bourbon hot chocolate #snowday #hegotmoremarshmallows

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^^ Queen Vic – a bar near us – was serving a special bourbon hot chocolate. Yum. ^^

 

^^ Star & Shamrock – another bar near us, see a trend? – had bingo night so we trudged in the snow to play! ^^

 

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Daisy is loving this #snowday!

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^^ Daisy surprisingly liked playing in the snow. ^^

 

Then we had a “fake Spring” weekend …

^^ These little pretties popped up in our back yard! ^^

 

Then we had more snow …

^^ My pretties went into hibernation. ^^

 

 ^^ During the “fake Spring” weekend, I met my girlfriends for brunch at a new cheese/wine bar, Sona Creamery. These are a few of my favorite things… ^^

 

^^ For Valentine’s Day, Dave sent me those beautiful roses at work – just stunning. Then that night he whipped up a delicious meal of lamb (my favorite meat!) with mint crème fraîche, spicy asparagus and truffle cheese mashed potatoes followed by strawberries dipped in chocolate. Oh and we had wine! Obviously. ^^

 

Even though it’s been dragging, February was a great month filled with love. (And figure skating mixed with a little slope style.)

 

Are you ready for March? I’m just ready for temps above freezing …