Has it really been that long?

I can’t believe I have not written since July of 2017.  Reminds me of that saying “the days go by slow, but the years go by fast”.  So true.  The only excuse I have is that when I was not renovating, I was raising this crazy dog Duke.  It is like having a toddler, getting into everything.  When you can’t hear anything, you know he is into something.  So we basically took the summer off.   I am going to try and remember how it all went down!

In September, we talked about plans for the master.  It was so poorly laid out originally with a small room and vanity  and  another room with the tub, shower, another vanity and the toilet.  The vanities were raspberry color, and the wall between the two rooms cut off a vaulted ceiling with this platform/shelf.  We had a hard time imagining what it could become.  We just couldn’t make any decisions and were arguing what to do.  Of course I wanted it finished and wanted to hire someone, but we didn’t have that kind of money without being involved with doing some of it ourselves.

Then, one day I ran into our old buddy Alex from Stonegates Construction.  They were winding up some jobs and wanted to know how the master was coming along.  He convinced me to at least pay him to do plans, he had all the software and ideas and could better visualize it on paper.  Then I could pay him hourly between jobs to get started.  That was such a blessing and I was so happy I ran into him.  His plan was just what we needed.

After some revisions we were ready to go and they came and demoed and started framing up.  There was window next to the toilet over the air conditioners that we decided to abandon.  We wanted a window to the back yard instead to let sun in the afternoon.  We made a linen closet where the old toilet was and put the new toilet in an old closet.  We opened up the vaulted ceiling and moved the shower to where the old tub was. I added heated tile because that part of the house seemed cold to me.   Here are the pics of what was done:


This was before.  That curtain looks like a coffin! What you see over the vanity is a mirror that reflects a mirrored closet and window.


This is when we gutted and ripped down the wall of course water damage everywhere


This is after, we added a long window in the back


ripping out walls


View now with pocket door on left into closet


The two rooms were separated and this ugly shelf was there. we ripped it out to vault the ceiling


opened up the vaulted ceiling and wall and replaced both triangle windows


This is where the tub was (and the snake skin!)


I added a walk in shower without a door



we got rid of this window so double vanities could go there and a linen closet


One of our biggest arguments was the shower door, whether to have one or not.  I just hate that job and I always wanted a walk thru shower and we didnt have room.  I got my way and I was worried the water would splash out but it doesnt!

We put the  toilet in the old closet that was there and added a 3/4 wall


The master was laid out poorly, with a small area by the entrance and then another section that is partly vaulted.  We decided to add a half wall to break up the space and be able to put our bed on the other side of the wall.  We added cabinets to store clothes since our closet is not very big.


view from master with half wall added with cabinets


Picture from the sitting room. before the counter finished.

There were two closets we gutted and made into one big one.  We added cabinets to that space as well.  I wanted something different for the tops, so I had Cochrans lumber make me some wood ones, which I stained and polyed.


the new closet, put in a barn door that leads to the office.

We were going to put carpet in the master, but we decided that hard wood would be better for cleaning (thanks to Duke) and the sub floor was kind of gross I didnt think I could just cover it with carpet.

We also finished the powder room, originally I don’t have a picture it was an avacado green pedestal sink and toilet and when you opened the door it hit the toilet.  Its a pretty big room so we were able to go wall to wall on the top we got at Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke.  It’s a slab of walnut I with a live edge and I stained and polyed it.  I had Elmer add the pebble back splash.


While he was there, we had the backsplash added to the kitchen and behind the stove.  I fell in love with these blue painted tiles that match the blue island. The rest was just white subway tile I got from Home Depot.

IMG_5781It took so long to complete all this we just finished this week and are finally moving in.  Yes the end of May.  So it has been a 2 year renovation. We still have the big tile room to redo but again are taking the summer off.

I have learned patience and reliance on the Lord for the small and large things.  I am glad we didn’t rush into it  because we were able to think everything through and make changes. Also during that time, my mom sold her lake house (so quickly!) and moved into our lake house.  All her extra furniture was sent up here and is stored in two of our garages. She wants to build a small house on our property and will live in the apt in the meantime.  The poor thing has been going back and forth while we finish the house.   We have been meeting with architects and builders and septic and  well diggers to get it all squared away!   What a blessing that she was at our lake house keeping an eye on it because we have not had much time to get down there.    Over the fall and winter some beavers took many trees down along the shoreline on our street.  Too bad they decided to make their nest under our dock!  One neighbor lost so many nice trees, she called a trapper.  They were never able to catch them but they moved on.  Unfortunately the nest is still there.  Its going to take a whole weekend to detangle it and remove it.


Here is the nest peeking out from under the dock


Here is a close up of what we are dealing with!

Well that is it! Thanks to everyone for your support and pushing me to finish this blog.

Now I am focusing back onto real estate.  I have switched brokerages to Coldwell Banker downtown Leesburg.  Stop in if you see me thru the window! And feel free to call me if you have any real estate needs.  Maybe you would like to buy a foreclosure or bank owned property.  It’s a piece of cake…



Time has flown by!

I finally have a moment to write and I can’t believe how long it has been.  I look back on the last post and can’t believe how far we have come!  I don’t have much time to write so I will just show pictures.  Nothing major has gone wrong that I remember, so I can thank the good Lord for that…  I will show pictures of the transformation during construction. It all seems like a blur now. I had the wall taken down between the family room and the kitchen.  Then the hard wood was installed, then the cabinets, then the hard wood was finished, then the appliances were put in.  It is very time consuming, and the countertop has to be installed before the appliances and before the hard wood is finished.

Once again, Stonegate Construction to the rescue, they were so awesome during the kitchen. John designed an awesome crown molding and trim design for the foyer.  I painted and filled holes and caulked and re painted I am so tired of all that I can’t wait until everything is finished.  I remember after the hard wood was installed I kept vacuuming and vacuuming my arm was so sore, everyone made a mess all the time.IMG_4912IMG_4911




Stonegate designed and installed my pantry in the corner


I put some cute opaque glass on the pantry door


All my kitchen cabinets delivered to the great room ready to be installed


base cabinets go first


one downside to open kitchen is less wall cabinets! I added alot of drawers in the base cabinets



I didnt really want granite countertop, but I found a beautiful marble- looking granite out of Brazil that was cheaper than quartz and less staining than marble.  I didnt think granite came in white.  The marbling really helps the blue island stand out and I love it.  This time I used Sky Marble, they were great too and the cheapest price.




here is counter going in

Here is the stairwell, all finished and opened up!


old dark stairwell




Old kitchen with pink formica. Where the stove is we opened a doorway


Remember when Justin was Tearing down all the drywall in the kitchen?


well…here it is now!


I added a cast iron farm sink. I have always had a stainless sink, anxious to see if I really like it in time. Its harder to keep clean and maintain…


original dining and family room



old fireplace






Where wall of mirrors were



love this barn wood wall!

The wall of mirrors was replaced with barn board purchased from Cochrans Lumber in Berryville and installed by Mark and me one weekend.  Wasn’t a bad experience.



This was original door.  I know I was going to refinish it and my mom and I spent so many hours working on it.  However, I didnt like the windows on the side and the door was just ugly, so we bought a new one.  It came finished on the inside and outside so I didnt have to paint it.



i chose black inside to match the inside staircase. Then I painted the old brass light fixture in the stairwell flat black to match everything



I took the glass out and spray painted it. Good as new!





old nasty laundry room


New laundry room awaiting washer dryer and some cabinets


This was office that had double doors to a hallway. We closed those doors in and made a closet out of them. We also made a passway into the future master and hung a barn door



The old deck and wall of windows in the back


We love our new deck and how it turned out


Before…looking up to the loft staircase


now looking up to the loft staircase

SO…we are finished, up to the master.  We just could not afford to do any more and I do not have the energy.  We will probably pick it up in the fall after Justin is back at college. He has been gutting it and taking it to the dump a bit.  I want to be totally finished with painting and moving in before I start the master.  Plus we just bought a new puppy and he is so time consuming!  Just in time to scratch the new hard woods!


Meet Duke!



The long winter…

Finally I got all the kids back to school and I could focus on finishing.  I would like to have the whole thing done by May when they all return.  Can it be done?  Only the Lord knows.  I am going to try my best.

At least the deck and overhang and doors are all finished!  Just need final painting I will tackle when its warmer.   Stonegate Construction is the bomb and they built exactly what we envisioned..


Before Justin left for school, he took all the drywall down in the kitchen.  This would make it easier for the plumbing and electrical and its a good thing we did because we found a hidden nasty rotten beam near the outside kitchen door.  This was caused by the filled gutters all those years where the water had no where to go but sit there and rot the wood.   Not only that, but when Stonegate went to fix this spot,  they found a spliced electrical wire that had 3 nails stuck thru it!  Could have started a fire, too bad it didn’t before we started renovation.  We always wonder if we should have knocked the main house down from the beginning.  It’s so frustrating.  All the insulation in the ceiling had mice poop in it and was taken out too. I need to go back and figure out the dump fees we have incurred, we have literally hauled the whole house to the dump over the last year.  Everytime we go they ask if we have tires in our trailer.  That is all they are ever worried about.  Weird, they don’t care if we dump anything else, just tires.


Tearing down all the drywall now in the kitchen!


after Kitchen all gutted


The rotten wall in the kitchen with the wire and 3 nails thru it


all fixed!

I decided to let Stonegate Construction continue on and help with my kitchen.  They are finished the deck and when the weather gets bad they can work inside.  They have done an incredible job on the deck and overhang.  The floor between the dining room and laundry room seems to have sunk. The dining room especially sloped about 2 inches down. Omars Hardwood came to give me a quote on the flooring and said they cannot fix the dining room its too drastic.  Stonegate to the rescue again!  They pulled up all the floor in the dining room and leveled it by scabbing new beams along side the old sagging ones.   They also addressed the wall between the dining room and laundry room that seemed to be settled.  They supported it with beams in the crawlspace so it will not fall further.


all the subfloor pulled up to level it

A funny story, my moms dog came trotting in to say hello to the workers and stepped right on the insulation and fell thru to the crawl space.  Luckily the insulation broke his fall and its only about 3 feet down.  SO funny.


Dining room all leveled and ready for hard wood

Back to the kitchen…I met with Dezra from Ferguson Enterprises and she helped me design my kitchen.  I took her recommendations and met with Stonegates to get their ideas.  Between the both of them I think its ready to go!   I decided on a painted navy blue island with quartersawn oak cabinets on the outside wall cabinets. I originally decided rustic alder and Dezra ordered the quartersawn oak door because she thought it was nicer.  She was so right.  I know everyone wants a white kitchen but it only looks good for about 10 years and starts to peel and fall apart.  Do not do it!!!!   The first thing was moving all the electric and plumbing in the  wall we are taking down between the kitchen and dining room.   I am going next week to finalize all the appliances and cabinets because I have to get them on order before the price increase end of Feb.


view from dining room into kitchen with the wall finally down


View from kitchen to dining with wall down


I had to finalize my appliances before finalizing the cabinets. My kitchen is fairly small it feels like all appliances and I do not have much wall space for upper cabinets.  So I opted for mostly drawers under the counter to store stuff like plates and pots and pans.

I finalized the stone choice for the fireplace and went to Easy Stone in Vienna with my templates for the mantel and hearthstone.  They are delivering the stone tomorrow and my mason starts Wednesday.  He washed all the stone down first to make sure I have enough different colors so it doesn’t look like a big castle wall. I didn’t think Easy Stone would take 3 weeks to get the mantel so now the stone is held up waiting for that first.

I called Ricks Custom Cabinets to come look at the space next to the fireplace.  We needed some built -ins to work around the fireplace and we are hanging our TV over that.  The owner and his brother have been in business for years and seem great.  Glad I found them.  Pretty affordable too.


New built ins next to fireplace

We are removing the stairwell going upstairs, its like a big drywall nightmare.  They were delivered Friday, built off site and brought in, they will be hard wood oak and white risers with the iron balusters to match the upstairs loft.


Stairwell sitting in the dining room right now


this is the current dark drywall stairwell


Stairs in and ready for Hardwood. After stained and finished, the balusters will go in

In between the inside work, we finally combined all the propane lines together and was able to get rid of those ugly propane tanks next to the other side of the house.  They were so ugly.  We waited until they were almost empty before switching the line over, it was a little stressful because it was very cold and heat is needed…finally the register read 10 left so we called our faithful plumber Dave in to plumb the new line in.


Ugly Propane tanks we finally got rid of 


We also had Donegans Tree come back and clear more land covered with Russian Olives and cedars.  Some trees like Dogwoods are choked by nasty vines it looks like something out of Little Shop of Horrors, some of the vines look human. When its warm we run out there and clear the trees before the bugs, snakes and weeds arrive again.


One of the vines we cut stuck in a dogwood tree


We gutted the laundry room and now are working on getting the old linoleum up.  Of course it was glued and screwed down.  Mark’s tool actually broke trying to get it up.


laundry gutting

My mom came up for a few days to help me gut the master bedroom.  Still not sure what we are doing in there but its so chopped up with little rooms and this hateful tile that was put on with thick cement board just beating on it doesn’t break it.  We started on the tub surround and was able to break that up more easily. My mom was in there beating on the tile and broke open a hole in the surround.  I looked in and saw a huge snake skin.  She got out of there fast and we closed it up.  I figured I would wait for Mark to get the guts to look back in.  There was nothing there.  Either the snake is gone or hibernating.  All the construction maybe made him leave?  I hope.


Breaking up tile in master bath. (Yes that is a bike stored in the tub right now haha) the corner over by the shower is where the hole is and the snake skin



The long snake skin inside the hole

My next post probably will occur after the kitchen is in and the hardwood in and the fireplace…lots to be done and spring is coming, thankfully!




Christmas has come and gone…

The pressure was on the week before Christmas cause all three of my kids were coming home and the house was all torn up as usual.  The goal was to have my son’s room finished by Thanksgiving.  That date came and went.  And still we were pushing time to get it finished before Christmas.   So much has happened though.  Where do I begin?  I guess the deck, since that is the biggest thing going on so far.  One warm day they decided to tear the whole wall down of windows in the back to prepare for the 8 floor sliders to go in.  They framed the opening then boarded it all up with plywood just in time for a deep freeze.


Gorgeous day to tear down the windows



view from the upstairs landing, just recently refinished with hard wood


View from outside


The deck looks great, they will not put the final floor on until everything else finished, which makes sense since they dont want it getting messed up.  I agreed to save money and paint all the boards and trim before it went up.  I laid it all out in the garage and its a miracle I didn’t break a leg maneuvering in there.


After they had the deck framed and the wall of windows out, they started on the overhang.  It just looks so cool and Stonegate Construction is amazing.  I cannot say enough about them, they are fantastic and worth every penny. They really nailed the vision we had for the back.




8 foot sliders in, with trapezoid windows in!


new sliders installed in dining room and office

We finally gutted the rest of the kitchen, no more pink countertops!  What totally grossed me out was the mouse trap under the stove and just the amount of mouse poop under the counters and appliances, so disgusting. After talking to all the contractors, they suggested we rip all the drywall down in the kitchen to studs to see what is behind and fix all the lighting.  The drywall looks old and bumpy anyway.  My son is starting that project now that he is home from school.


kitchen gutted


That dirt is mouse poop


This was under the stove


Tearing down all the drywall now in the kitchen!

Meanwhile, we decided to rip out all the Bruce Hardwood from the upstairs landing and loft.  It was pretty  beat and I didnt like how the grooves felt on your feet.  I had to get rid of that old railing up there anyway, it was not in code and the slats were too wide I didn’t need my future grandchild to fall thru so we took it down with the floor.  Someone recommended I go to Hayes Stairs in Purcellville.  I went and looked at their various railings and pickets and had an idea what I wanted.  They referred me to a carpenter  Steve Dant.  Turns out he is good friends with my Stonegate Contractors, they love each other and all went to school together.  The logistics were such that my hard wood had to go in, then Steve come and put the Newels and banister in, drill the holes for the pickets, then Hardwood people again come in,  stain the floor and the banister, then poly it 3 times.  All in between Stonegate cutting and making dust.  Not only that, but we decided to have Omar’s Hardwood take up all the tile in the kitchen and foyer.  That tile was glued on to a piece of plyood that was also glued down and nailed.  We were never going to get that stuff up.  The day they came to stain and poly they also started on it, four guys.  At first, they tried to crowbar it up.  then they decided just to beat it all up with hammers.  Oh My Gosh the dust was everywhere.  I told them to wear masks and goggles but they didn’t speak english very well.  It was like smoke in there.  They had to wait for it all to settle before they stained.  The next day, they worked on the plywood underneath.  They decided after that long day they should not poly that day.  Well that threw off my whole schedule…I had to push back the carpet in my sons room, the countertop install in the bathroom and the shower door install. And everyone was coming home for  Christmas break!  Megan slept in the apartment on a blow up mattress that kept deflating all night. It was close quarters. The Thursday before Christmas, we just finished my sons room and moved his things over from the apartment.  Then we ran out and bought a new bed for my mom to sleep on for the holidays! Better late than never!  I would show you a pic of my sons new room and bath but its already lived in and a mess.  Oh well.


upstairs railing ready for staining


new railing finished!


Busting up the tile into little pieces


The plywood under the tile piled up into the trailer

Mark and I decided to save money by doing our own trim in the upstairs where the new windows went in.  How hard could it be?  We kept saying we should be on Renovation Reality show the dumb stuff we did.  But it doesn’t look bad.  Considering the whole house seems out of plumb and all the new windows had different kinds of jambs installed. Every window had its own challenge.  But we got thru.  ………………………

We learned a valuable lesson about water heaters and well water.  If you do not exercise your hot water heater, it gets a rotten egg smell of sulfur in it with well water.  Then you have to drain it and shock it with bleach or peroxide. And that still might not work.  We had the heater off on the main side of the house cause our kids were at school.  Turned out saving money by turning off the water heater was a wrong decision.  We decided to bite the bullet and have all new propane pipe run in the crawlspace to accommodate my future gas stove, a gas line to the grill outside, and a tankless water heater.  With tankless, we will not have that rotten egg smell. That tankless water heater is amazing.

The wall of mirrors finally came down.  We pretty much crowbarred a piece of it and ripped it down best we could without cutting ourselves.  We loaded it into the trailer and hauled it to the dump.  Mark sliced his jeans open but luckily didnt cut his leg.  The wall is destroyed with old glue, I think we are going to have to replace that drywall as well.


wall of mirrors


wall of mirrors now

The new fireplace is killing us.  Its a Napolean NZ600-1.  I am on a first name basis with the customer service rep at Napolean.  I call daily with questions about how this thing has to be framed and set and pipes run and clearances, etc etc.  I actually pulled the permit myself, though big deal I have to do all the planning and installing myself the county just gives their blessing at the end.  I had to coordinate with the stone mason as to how much framing he needed to put a hearth stone in, plus what he was expecting from the framer before he comes in and stones it.  The chimney part was a miracle as well.  We replaced a superior fire place, which is not in business anymore but were bought out by a company in Tennessee.  We needed a 12 inch piece of pipe from the old pipe that ran from the room down.  My fireplace installer said he could not find it anywhere.  If we could not find the right piece to connect the old pipe to the new fireplace we were going to have to run all new pipe from the roof down which was very pricey.  I kept praying I could find it.  The old pipe had a number on it and I googled that and it looked like it was the same measurement as the kind of pipe needed in the new unit.  I ordered it and I was so thankful that it was perfect fit!  The chimney guy came right out and hooked it up.  But that was just the Beginning.   We had to find someone to frame the thing.  My usual contractor wanted me to draw something up to scale.  I am not an architect for heaven’s sake!  One day when I was in TW Perry, I ran into a former carpenters or ours.  He built our basement and our built in bookshelves years ago. I asked him to come frame the fireplace, I can just point and he build it.  He was familiar with building bookcases on the right side we wanted. What a blessing I ran into him again, he sent a crew out the next week and framed that baby up and designed the bookshelves on the other side. Then the week between Christmas and New Years, they covered it with hardiplank and drywall.  We are still deciding whether to stone all the way to the ceiling, its so pricey.  We just are not sure what we would put in its place, shiplap maybe?


just the beginning setting base for fireplace


Took 5 of us to get that firplace onto the base


The monster with chimney part in place!


framing begins


I had to rent 3 sections of scaffolding, Luckily my son was there to go get it!


Ready for stone!

So much to be done still and I am a slave to this house.  My real estate business has been lagging behind and I wake up at night sometimes worried about getting behind, not keeping up with contacts and yet getting everything finished in this house so we can move my mom up here and get her house sold.  During those times I realize the only contact that matters is keeping close to the Lord and keep asking his guidance.  As long as I have peace in Him, everything else will fall into place.


Time Goes by so Fast!

I am writing another blog post because people have been asking, but I feel like nothing has really been done.  Alot of ordering and designing and handing out alot of money (ugh) but nothing accomplished.  Maybe at the end of this post I will feel differently!

Stonegate Construction is here and has torn down the old deck and is figuring out just how much wood rot we have under those windows that are coming down.  I know there is plenty because we band-aided it to get the home inspection done and now we are paying the piper.  When the deck came off we were able to see that there were some open holes right into the crawlspace which explains the mouse infestation.  Yuk.  They are digging holes for the deck, some are easy, some are solid rock and they had to jackhammer them, they also hit water in one hole.  Good thing I don’t have a basement after all it would probably be flooding all the time.  We apparently have alot of underground streams here.


Taking the nasty deck down!


The rotten wood under the wall of windows

Meanwhile, we rented a dumpster to dump all the carpeting that was super smelly (some had not been changed since 1987!) all the padding underneath and all the carpet strips.  We also had to dump some of the kitchen so the wall can come down and Mark insisted on dumping that boat that was left on the property behind the pine trees.  It took Mark and my son several hours trying to figure out how to get it in to the dumpster.  Finally they dragged it to the dumpster with the tractor then attached a rope over the dumpster and out the front and dragged it on (the back of the dumpster opened like a door).  We found out later that boat was owned by the neighbor, he used to fill it with ice for parties!  Should have dumped it back into his yard!!!


dumpster we rented and filled to the top!


Gutting the Kitchen on the left to take the wall down


We also gutted the fireplace all the way to the ceiling.  There was a ton of mouse dropping of course and a hole right into the crawlspace!  Gross.  We ordered a new wood burning insert fireplace that is turning out to be a painful installation.  First, it weighed over 900 pounds.  Ferguson dropped it off for us but it was up to us to get it into the house.  Luckily, the deck was down.  Mark strapped it to the tractor and drove it around back.  Our neighbor Anthony had these rollers that are strong enough to hold a car so we plopped the fireplace on the rollers thru the french door in the office and rolled it in!  Now it sits there awaiting the fireplace guy to come evaluate how to hook it up.  Our plan is to stone around it and all the way up the wall to the ceiling.  My contractor pointed out that the floor might not hold it all.  I had to call my structure guy again (the sweet Indian fellow) and he informed me we would need to secure it further with another joist beam in the crawlspace underneath.  This fireplace has all these vents and hoses we need to attach to it to vent it etc.  Another blessing that the deck is down so we can vent it right out there!


tractor carrying fireplace thru french doors



The gutted space for the fireplace and the new one sitting there

We closed up the wall to the right of the fireplace into the office.  We are going to put bookshelves there and possibly our TV.  Notice how gross the floor is under the carpet.  One contractor said the place was in the elements for awhile when it was being built.  Of course it was!  Mark wants to replace all the subflooring but I am trying to talk him out of it.  Once the hard wood goes down no one will see it.

I ordered new Anderson Windows for the main house and they are coming in tomorrow!  So excited for Oswaldo my carpenter to start that.  He is less than thrilled, saying it is going to be tough with the board and batten siding outside, getting it to be waterproof.  I have faith in him though.

I scheduled the new hard wood floor upstairs in the loft and landing.  It was old bruce hardwood but I don’t like the grooves and it looks pretty beat.  The price was not bad with Omar and he  is going to rip it all up including the picket railing, I want to get some black wrought iron railing up there.


upstairs landing Bruce Hardwood and old Railing

The railing has too much space in between anyway to meet code.

After we gutted that wall in the kitchen, Stonegate Construction started taking the wall down between the kitchen and dining room.  Its gonna look so cool.  Of course, the plumbing from my sons bathroom runs right thru it!  That is going to have to be diverted and not sure how that is done, so called Dave my plumber and of course he dropped everything and came right over since I have him on standby and practically employ him full time…


wall break thru with plumbing running right thru!

The back of the property and the land across the street is heavily covered by brush and these nasty olive trees that produce no olives but grow fast and choke out everything in sight.  I hear that a lady introduced the species some time ago into Loudoun County and its been a menace ever since.  That and cedar trees were so thick it covered our septic field and we could not reach the end of the property to a creek we supposedly have back there.  Anyway, we weren’t sure how we were going to get thru it all, but were put in touch with Jim Donegan of Donegans Tree Service.  He happened to be renting this huge forestry machine for the week and had openings to come clear the land for us.  He is also an arborist so he knew what trees to keep and what to suck up into this machine and spit out as mulch.  It was so exciting and amazing what he found back there!  We have so many gorgeous dogwood, cherry trees, red buds, oaks, hickory, etc. that are finally breathing again and I cant wait to see them bloom in the spring.  There is also a long rock wall that goes down thru the property.  He literally cleared about an acre and did a large path all the way down to the creek and around so we can circle the property. If you ever want to go on a nature hike come on by!  Where an orange vest though cause I do hear gunfire alot in the woods.    Which reminds me. One of the tree guys asked how long I had owned the place because he knew the other owner from the gun range.  The guy was a gun nut.  I keep hearing that.  Hope we never meet.  Across the street it cleared that too so we can start taming the area.  Unfortunately, we have alot of ash trees that are dying in America due to some chinese worm that came over here.  Sad really.  The following week, he came and removed 8 huge dead trees that were all over the property and chipped all the branches and left the wood.  We could totally have enough fire heat to last a lifetime.


one of the huge dogwoods finally free in the back


Donegans here at like 7AM ugh taking trees down

Next on the list is my sons bathroom and the kitchen backsplash being tiled and a new door for the bowling alley cause its rotted out and hopefully getting that fireplace installed asap to save on heating bills.  Also, we finally decided where to put a cat door so Waldo can come and go as he pleases.  Right now he is back in Woodlea, and has not come home. There have been several sightings.   The cat drives me insane.  A little side note, we got a new kitten at the end of June, thinking Waldo might be interested and stay home with his new buddy.  That hasn’t really happened, but he does tolerate Izzy.  She follows him everywhere when he is here.  Anyway a funny story, the other morning it was very cold and I let Izzy down to the garage so she can scoot around and pretend to hunt something.  After awhile I went looking for her and she had escaped out the window.  I heard something shuffling and found a mouse in one of our coolers.  Cute, but disgusting it was in the house.  I took it outside in the cooler and found Izzy and showed her the mouse in the cooler.  She was so excited to finally have a friend.  I left her there to hopefully finish him off and get a taste of what her job was supposed to be around here.  I watched her from the window she jumped in the cooler and jumped out.  knocked the cooler over and chased and played with the mouse until he got away.  I don’t think she hurt it, hopefully he is too scared to come back, but what a let down.   Waldo would have killed it in one swipe.  That is the difference in those two.  More next month hopefully!



This weather is depressing…

I feel like doing nothing it has been so hot. And apparently contractors feel the same way!  I have had the worse time getting people to even come bid on work or call me back.  This caused me to get a somewhat crazy contractor in here.  He was the only one that could do the job right away, I should have been wary of that to begin with.  Mark found him in the back of the paper.  We needed someone to clean up the back deck area that had two snakes underneath.  The whole area was a weedy mess around the air conditioners over to the garden.  the stumps from the old trees were still there pretty heavy and needed grinding up.  We just wanted a small paver patio and a stepping stone pathway to the garden gate.  Also maybe some landscaping like a couple crepe myrtles to block the sun a bit.  The first bid I recieved was from a Landscaper recommended on the Woodlea Manor site.  Their bid came in at $10,000!!!  That was crazy, I mean the patio was just about 200 square feet.  The second crazy guy came in at $3,000.  That should have been another sign that something wasn’t right.  I mean how can the bids be so far apart?  Anyway, I am not going to tell you either company name because he did a good job I guess but I figured out he was just so condescending like a male chauvinist pig sort of way.  I could not wait for him to be out of here.  I chose him because he gave me a price on the spot and was looking to fill a half week up before he went on vacation that Thursday.  He told me exactly what I was going to do and sounded so confident and reassuring all would be well.   That night I texted him to give me some references.  It was bizzare he listed two of my neighbors on Catesby (my old street!) that he did work for, I know I never mentioned I lived there. I never checked with them I just figured if they used him he must be okay.    We quickly picked out the pavers and told me he would show up the next Monday.  He did just as he said he would.  They had a friend come grind my stumps up then they started digging for the patio.  I followed him to Luck Stone to pick out my stepping stones.  He was getting a bit irritated even then there were so many to choose from but we picked out a bunch of the smooth flat ones and he hauled them home.  The problem arose when we noticed the air conditioning lines for the great room had run under that deck to the air handling unit outside.  There was no other spot to put the thing really than next to the apartment air handler.  Luckily I guess that air conditioner is broken and we have not had it replaced yet, Mark is waiting for the winter when they are cheaper to get it fixed.  I won’t bore you with the details but the patio guy was really getting flustered with what our solution was going to be to either lay the lines on top of the new paver patio and figure out later how to hide them or run some pipe underneath to hide them.  He wanted my answer pronto and I didnt know how to answer, AC lines are not my specialty!  Again, he wanted to go on vacation Thursday and wanted to be finished.  And I wanted him gone too believe me by that time!  Mark rigged something up like he always does and they got everything finished.  However, they did not do any landscaping and I kinda felt jilted, plus I had a whole pallet left of pavers that he over bought.  He was very impatient while I decided where to store them too.  He was just so nuts at the end.  He said he would be back to plant some stuff and when it was time to do the other patio.  I laughed to myself and thought “I will never see you again!”


had to grind all the roots from the huge trees that used to be back there


Where pavers are now used to be this!


paver patio and walkway to garden

We just got the storage garage off the apartment finished with vinyl strips, I also had them do the garage bathroom cause I did such a bad job.  Lowes would not do the job and I called Costco floors and someone said they would!  The floor had these old swirl patches on it that apparently held glued carpeting.  Can’t believe they had carpeting in the pump room where the well was.  Oh well.  Anyway there is alot of room to start moving my bins from the great room into there, it will be like my basement storage room.  Anyway, the couple that showed up were a little wacky, well I will say the wife was wacky.  I asked if they do any other type of floor and she said no lie here “We will lay anything except the husband and wife.”  She expanded to tell me alot of times people ask them to swing on the jobs.  Needless to say, I will not be calling them any time soon either.  Must be the heat getting to people.


What storage room used to look like


painted and new floor! Basically my basement now

Our driveway has alot of cracks in it and can hold like 20 cars, its ridiculous I want to cut some of it back.  We wanted to get the cracks filled and have it resealed but no one reputable will seal it unless they have paved it first.  Soooo, they are all giving me estimates on scraping up a layer and repaving it.  Very expensive.  We decided to wait until the spring when most of the contractors are finished.  We also decided to cut our driveway space way back, I mean it looks like a parking lot out there.

We finally had our foundation looked at by Soil and Structure.  These two young Indians in suits showed up and went into my crawlspace to look at it and assure me  1) its not caving in and sinking 2) we might be able to level all the floors so they are not sloped.  When they came out they started talking in technical terms with very heavy accents and I seriously could not understand one word they were saying.  I think he said all the beams ran in different directions in each room separated by concrete walls and they were going to fix it somehow so the floors didn’t feel so hollow.  The beams were too long to hold everything and a few joists were broken.  I wasn’t sure how he was going to fix it so I told him to write a proposal and send it to me.  The proposal came back also very technical so I had to call him and again I could not understand him!  I wrote every question I had in an email and he answered.  Ah technology.  His crew were going to dig 8 footers in concrete and support beams to hold up the beams already there.  Then they were going to jack it up so it didnt fall ever again.  They had to get a permit from the county so I guess its legit.  It took the crew which was a subcontractor about a week to do it all, and they worked their butt off.  The foreman/owner said he had been in my house with the previous owner! He said he was hired to outfit a brewery for him and it had to be done in a week, which he said was completed and he did get paid.  The brewery never opened though obviously.  All his brewery equipment was stashed in a tractor trailer behind the pine trees of the property for years.   He also said the old owner had a big portrait of General Lee hanging over the fireplace because he said he was related to him.  And the guy had a ton of furniture in the house and he told him it needed some maintenance! I’ll say it needed some maintenance we are still trying to get it maintained!  After a week of all their adjustments, they were able to level the house somewhat but the dining room still has a slope.  They said it will not slope any further and I should level it from above, like more subflooring.  Ugh.  Then I remember all the old houses in Loudoun County that have multiple slopes in the floor.  And its not so bad I suppose.

We are busy deciding on a contractor to gut the back windows and add sliders, a new deck and porch overhang.  Picture is above as to what we are thinking of doing. Also, we are gutting the fireplace and adding a wood stove, taking the wall down between the kitchen and dining room, and buying new windows for the main house.  I hope to have it all done before winter hits so we can then work inside the house.  We also have not finished cutting my sons bath so we can have that finished before Christmas.  Better stop writing and start working.  Also, we are planning a sunset cocktail party for Friday, September 16!  Pray for good weather.  More details to follow!


Ugly fireplace about to be gutted


Location Location Location!

Yes, the three most important things about a home purchase.  You can usually change the house, but not the location.  Which is one of the things we keep telling ourselves.   We can change the house, it just takes money right?  We don’t need retirement money, right?  I can’t believe we have been here over 2 months and have really not done a thing.  The dog days of summer are setting in, it’s too hot to get anything accomplished.

Not a week after my dear mother-in-law passed away my dog Cooper, or Boo as we called him,  had some kind of stroke and we had to put him down.  It was sad because he made it thru all the renovation and all the winter in that apartment and was really liking it here running around.  He was 13 and we knew he was not going to last much longer but it is still always a shock.  We are going to take a break on dog ownership for awhile, maybe get a dog after the renovation.  Living on a second floor apartment every time the dog needs out is a pain in the neck.

I finally had a structure company Soil and Structure come evaluate the main house and explain why it is all different levels.  I am glad to have a second opinion.  The company that conditioned my crawl space had suggested two footers that the Soil and Structure men said were not necessary.  They said the house is not caving in (yeah!) but that the way the floor framing was done was not properly supported so they are sagging. They are going to put in 8 support beams or 2 for each room and do the best they can to make the floors level.  There are also some joists broken, who knows why.   Cant wait to see the results.  They said the floor will not sound so hollow then, it will feel more solid. They are having a hard time getting the county permit.  Guess the County is all on vacation.

Next, we decided to tackle the outside deck and windows and door off the back while it is still good weather.  We are planning to totally get rid of the existing deck and condition the underneath it is so gross under there.  We are not even sure the footers were code, but the deck seems solid enough.  Also the wall of windows is coming down.  We would like to add 8 foot tall 4 panel sliders that open in the middle and fan back.  Then we would add a covered porch going out with open web truss so we can also add another maybe triangle window on top of the sliders to look out.  We have had 3 contractors come and evaluate.   One seemed extremely high, one would not bid without an architect drawing, and I am waiting on the third.


nasty Deck to go and wall of rotted out windows to go


I just last week received my final hardware from the Home Depot Windows.   So glad that is over.  My salesman Jeff Kramer called me to say I was the final straw for him and he quit and went to Lowes.  Ha ha I wonder if they are any better.  They can’t get any worse, right? I actually can’t wait for our Lowes to open in Leesburg.  For those of you who don’t remember there used to be a Lowes in Leesburg and they closed it!  Bet they are still kicking themselves for doing that.   I have used them for carpeting and blinds before with no issues.

We had an Anderson Renewal man come to bid on windows in the main home.  They all need to go, the seals in the glass are broken or the hardware is broken or the weather seal is gone, basically they stink.  His price seems really high!  I think we might do Marvin with one of the contractors we interviewed.  As long as they sort of match the apartment I am okay with that. Every one of my contractors say do not use Anderson Renewal.  Use the real Anderson Windows and have someone install.  Just not Home Depot haha.

We finally finished the dog wash in the garage just in time for the painters to come this week and paint the whole room.  Then we are going to decide on some sort of flooring in that one room, not sure I want to pay for tile, but don’t want linoleum.  I will have to research what other options there are. The painters are also painted my sons bedroom in the main house.  We pulled up the carpet and some of the wood underneath is missing an replaced with cardboard to level it.  Not surprised, but still pathetic.  There was carpet in the bathroom too. My son was dismayed to see under the carpet was the same black and white check linoleum the girls bath had.  That was so hard to get up it was glued and screwed.  Cant figure out why the covered it with carpet it looks in great shape.  But it has to go.


Dog wash, no hand held sprayer yet, waiting on plumber who took off on vacation…


sons bedroom newly painted with carpet removed


sons bath with the checkerboard vinyl



We decided to bag Southern States Propane and have them remove their tank.  We are going to bury our own so we can have it look nice and decide who we have fill the thing.  We asked our sweet neighbor Chris (Thanks Chris!) to bring his tractor down and pull the posts out of the fence, as they were in cement.  Of course the inside fence was filled with all sorts of crap and I kept waiting for a snake to slither out but it didnt.  Also, now my husband has tractor envy.  Its like a fever and not good.  He keeps trying to justify why we need such a big tractor.  I just worry he will tip over and kill himself on that thing as I have known people to do.


The fence around old propane tank


Neighbor Chris pulling out ends


We finally figured out the leak in my roof in that coat closet.  Bad design in the roof line and water was being held up in a gutter when it rained really hard and leaking right into the closet.  They took a hose up and flooded the roof until I saw water dripping in.  After they reconfigured everything, I have not seen water.

Last week at our lake house the neighbors big oak tree fell into one of my big oaks and they both crashed onto my roof.  I really could not believe it happened.  Megan was there with her friends and I was across the way at my moms when a wind storm came. There were several miracles as I would call them happen with this incident.  First, no one was hurt, they were all in the basement at the time but heard the crash and called me right away.  Before I even went over to inspect, I called my tree lady to be first on her list.  She said she would be right out to look since they hit my house.  Next, I called the insurance company.  I figured they would be on it and send their “people” out to get the trees off before rain came.   They told me to just have it fixed and send them the bill.  They also said an adjuster would be back in touch with me the following week.  This happened on a Friday night too. All those insurance ad where your agent holds your hand and helps are lies.   I knew that finding anyone on a weekend in the summer down there was pretty hopeless.

When I went over to the house, I could not believe how big those trees were.  The roof was definitely impacted, the attic ceiling was bulging (we have drywall and beadboard up) but the tree had not penetrated. (another blessing).  Also, the storm did not bring rain and there was no sign of rain for several days.  I was praying for no leaks or water damage on top of everything else.  My tree lady showed up, Beulah Roach is her name, and she said she would not touch it.  These trees were going to require a crane to get off.  Also, she suggested no one stay in the house cause if a wind came or another storm the trees could crash to the first floor.  Of course my daughter had 7 friends down that had just arrived!  They said they would take their chance and all slept on the first floor.  Like a big slumber party.  With danger. Beulah told me to call Davids Tree Service.  He came out early the next day.  He also said he would pass on the job.  I was starting to panic, but knew God had a plan as usual.  He suggested a big tree contractor in Roanoke.  He was too busy for the job since Roanoke had been hit bad as well, but suggested Darrells Tree in Roanoke and was his competitor.  He said he was best for the job and he worked well with a crane operator as well.  Darrell came Saturday and said he would do it.  He would bring his crane guy back with him Sunday to check it out.  He came back Sunday and they both agreed to do the job that Monday!  A miracle.  Unfortunately, 3 of my dogwoods and alot of the other huge shady trees surrounding my house would have to come out as well.  In all, they removed 9 huge trees.  The whole process was amazing, Darrell was hoisted up onto the roof with the crane and would hook large limbs to the crane then cut them with a chainsaw.  He can cut with either hand, one handed.  His crew was all women including his sister.  I know they were all believers and we were praying the whole time he was in the trees.  His sister said their dad gave him a chainsaw on his 12th birthday and he never looked back.  This is southern VA, that is the kind of gifts kids get here. HA.  The crane had a scale on it and we measured over 18,000 pounds of tree on my roof.  And after they were finished, the roofer came and tarped it all.  So no water damage!  And firewood for the next 20 years.   They posted our house on their website, it was so bad.  They were truly wonderful.  Sadly, two weeks later, Darrell was killed in a tree accident.  So shocking.  He was only 45.  Makes you wonder what God’s plan in that was.  Certainly gave me perspective about how short life is.


house before the trees are removed in front


during the tree removal


just some of the firewood!


some of the limbs coming off with the crane


After some of the trees off forgot to take pic of final, probably cause it looks so bad…


Lastly, we pulled up this old wood deck off the back garage door that had the two snakes underneath.  They have not been seen in sometime.  We plan to put a paver deck with stepping stones out to the garden area.  The decking was sinking and the water running toward the house.  Just another part of taming the house.


Rotten wood deck behind apartment


I just realized Mark has not complained about his breathing in awhile.  I bet it was that Wegmans apartment doing him in and the dog being right there in a closed space for months.  I guess the stress too on top of everything didn’t help.  Praise the Lord he seems so much better.





I can’t believe a month and some has flown by.  We are getting settled and starting to do some projects we like to do, rather than have to do. I have a ton of furniture I am repainting in the garage (refinishing is one of my hobbies) but cant seem to get things finished!  We have not had that many weekends though, we had my daughter’s graduation from college, prom,  Memorial Day, my dear mother-in-law fell and was in the hospital, where she suffered terribly for two weeks before passing away.  It was a sad time for everyone she was 86 and such a sweet lady. She really wanted to make my son’s high school graduation but didn’t make it.  Also sad that she never had a chance to see the house.  She followed the blog, and loved reading as much as me, we shared many book recommendations together.  She will be very missed.

My front door is solid wood and painted ugly white of course.  So I decided to strip it and refinish it.  Cant wait to see the final product.

Can you believe my Home Depot windows are still not finished since February when we ordered them?  I am at my wits end.  The hardware for about 6 windows was not included in the boxes and I am waiting and waiting on them.  How hard is it for them to call Anderson and have them shipped?  I doubt the hardware was special order they probably have them laying around somewhere.  I am tired of calling and I wish I had not finished paying the final bill, but I had to since I was trying for a mortgage and didn’t want that showing up on my credit. (Update, the parts came in and I realized for the two awning windows we ordered the hardware is completely different.  I had to call Anderson myself and find the part number then call Depot and tell them what to order.)

Which reminds me, we just finalized our mortgage on June 10!  Thanks to Mea Danigelis of Mclean Mortage (mdanigelis@mcleanmortgage.com)! Now we are able to go on with the renovation of the rest of the house. We are starting to call contractors now and get their ideas and plan to start the minute my kids roll out the door for college in August.  For now, we are taking a break on big stuff and getting organized in our apartment.

The outside has taken alot of taming.  We cant help but thank the Lord we started in middle of winter and chopped everything away from the house.  However, the weeds are popping up again and we cannot control it!  My mom came to help pull up beds and the old irrigation drip system that is all over the outside and left with an awful case of either poison ivy, sumac or poison oak, hard to tell we have everything!  I have never had any of that in my life and just got it and it is not fun at all. SO I hired Baileys Landscape to just come in and rototill the beds and take away about 6 inches of the dirt and put new down, he said that is the only way to get it all out the roots are so bad and invasive.  He also supplied me with this heavy duty weed killer that works in 7 hours to spray but only contractors can buy.  The warnings on the label are pretty severe.  We planted new plants and mulched and at least got things under control.  I realized I have two gorgeous lilac bushes, tiny irises and peonies too.  And a ton of daffodils.  So not all bad.

My two snakes off the back deck have disappeared, kinda sad.  They were probably mad at all the contractors around them.  But we have seen foxes, turkeys and their babies, turtles, of course deer and rabbits.  I think my cat can’t keep up so has given up.  At least he sticks around now and doesn’t leave.  We are thinking of getting him a new kitten to help hunt.  I have not seen any mice so that is a blessing.

We are starting on the first bay of the garage that has the apartment staircase and all the pump equipment.  I want to put a doggy wash area in and tile the whole room since it will never fit a car even though it has a garage door.  There is shelving in place all along the room due to the Amway salesman that lived here before.  I am going to have a painter spray the whole thing.  We also will start on Justin’s room in the main house.  He will gut that himself after beach week. The night of prom he had people over and I didn’t mind at all what happened in the main house since it’s already gross.  We didn’t even hear them all night but I hear they stayed up all night.  He dug a nice fire pit way out back to hang out.  Now friends are telling me we should have a pre-renovation party.  I just might plan that maybe in August.  I will have to get a toilet in the main house powder room first!

We still have issues with the house that drive me insane.  Like for instance the front hall closet just leaked again due to the massive rain storm we had, the roof line is funky and we have to come up with some solution.  The hose bib on the far side of the house didn’t work.  My plumber went into the creepy crawl space and found it had been cut off and disconnected.  And all the copper pipes are hung by some fastener that is supposed to be rust free and guess what?  They are rusted and have to be replaced.  My floor is still uneven in the main house and I have to find someone to figure out why and fix it.   My new fan in the apartment living room has never worked right.  I can’t get it to program.  I ordered a new one and that one didn’t program either!  The guy from Fanimation is going to install it in his house, program it to see if it works, then take it down and send to me.  Ha.  I just got it today.  Gotta call the electrician now… Which reminds me we have two massive brass light fixtures that I cannot figure out how to get on with what switches. Sometimes they work. They are hanging in the big tile room.  I cant wait to get rid of them if you know of someone who might want them let me know!

However, the outside is amazing.  The sunsets are incredible and it’s so peaceful and usually breezy up here on the mountain.   We have a sweet horse living down the street we visit every night.  Also, no red clay!  Apparently in developments the builder usually skims off the good dirt and sells it and then builds on the crappy dirt. The dirt up here is amazing  and we are even thinking of leasing a few acres to a winery to plant grapes.  I have a garden behind the chain link fence that is doing pretty well.  The neighbors laugh because I have them in raised beds they say that is no garden in their eyes.  Oh well, I am just trying out stuff to see what sticks.  Everyone have a great summer if I don’t check in until August.  If you want to stop by and see the place send me a note!  I get a kick out of people that come up to me and really enjoy this blog.  It encourages me, it really does.  In a year or so I am going to go back and read everything and tell you if it all was worth it.  Right now, I am still on the fence.



My chain link fence garden


brass chandelier in great room (got 2 of them!)


different sunset every night…


new outside lights



Finally In!


One daughter bedroom, she wanted lavender. Trim not painted white yet and new carpet not in!


Rainbow over the house, funny how it looks white in this pic


Sons bedroom



moving in!


Our bedroom apt


Fans and lighting going in


Picture of trim I decided on found on Pinterest, didnt want the usual colonial

I can’t believe it finally happened and we are home.  The last week was so crazy I dont even know where to begin.  I am thankful we held it together and were a good team as a family and didn’t snap but maybe once or twice! Ha.

I can’t count the many blessings we had during that week.  First, the rain started coming right after the exterior paint was all finished.  It has been raining in Virginia for 10 days straight and we are expected to have another 7 on top of that!  The weather looked bleak for both our moves out of the apartment and the storage unit.  I wanted both of those expenses gone.  We were scheduled to get both moved on Thursday, which called for rain. But that day, the rain held off!  Friday was rainy all day and I was so thankful we did not schedule to move then. The whole weekend before the move we caulked and painted trim.

Monday, I painted baseboard trim all day, I mean alllll day.  Tuesday, the hardwood got a final sanding and poly.  Wednesday, the day before the move, I had carpet installed, the counters installed, duct work cleaned, the roofers came back to fix a few trouble spots, Maid Brigade came to clean the main house, the electrician installed lights and fans, and I needed the water softener installed and 2 water heaters.  I forgot that when the heaters get installed all the water has to be off.  So I was off to Food Lion again for bathroom breaks.  Luckily I had water on the apartment side so my cleaners could get water.  The duct work guys were very thorough actually and pulled out a whole village of legos in the duct work. plus alot of dust and grime. I never really trusted that business but I followed them around the whole time and watched how they do it.  The HVAC guy said its a good idea to do it once before you move in to get all the construction debris flushed but after that your air filters do the job.  Everything went according to schedule which was such a blessing.  Looking back now it seems like a piece of cake!   Just a few glitches.

We ordered a shower door to be installed but when the installer came he said he would not do that kind of door and the walls were alot out of plumb to guarantee the work (of course they were!), so we have to order a special door, and will have to use a curtain for now. We have not gotten our knobs installed yet on the cabinets so we used blue painters tape to make knobs and so no pic of the final install until they are in. Windows are still not finished painting because of the Home Depot fiasco.  They need to be more secure around the trim and caulked and painted.  The rep says that the window was not all together finished at the factory.  Like that is reassuring…

Over the weekend, a woman drove by and stopped and got out of her car as we happened to be outside.  She came over and asked if we were the new owners.  She said she knew the house well and was friends of the former owner.  She said he was a really nice guy, just had to have 2 and 3 of everything and was a bit of a hoarder.  I wished he had hoarded more gutters and roofing and windows, but I guess not.  She said he was still around and had told her about his woes.  I was hoping the guy was long gone, he apparently had his business moved to Austin Texas and had a huge house there, but I guess not.  I am not sure why she felt she had to come talk to us and it sort of made me uneasy.  I hope he does not come back asking for a tour, cause I felt like that is what she was looking for.  But Mark told her Goodbye quick.

Tuesday, while I was gone probably to Food Lion, the Loudoun County Sheriff put a notice on the front door.  It was the Virginia Employment Commission looking for the former owner, ordering him to appear in court.  I guess he was still around.  The next day, an IRS agent knocked on the door looking for the owner of the company he ran out of the house.  So now he owes back taxes.  If they had just showed up a few months earlier, they could have leined the house and taken everything.  After she left I laughed because here she was from the government wanting her money and the government had just awarded the guy’s company millions for some software thing he invented!  They could have just looked from within and stopped the money.  But that just proves how big and wasteful our government is.  I also can’t believe they sent a sweet young woman to approach the owner.  I heard he could be mean and had an arsenal of guns.

Thursday came, no rain and moving day!  My plumber was here all day finalizing all the faucets and sinks after the granite went in (which looks great I think) and Mark was with the movers all day.  It was disappointing because our regular mover took too many jobs so he subbed it out to another guy.  They insisted on wrapping everything which took forever but they got everything in and up the stairs and then went to storage and we emptied that place too.   I have too much stuff and how frustrating it is.  The entire long tiled room is filled.  I cannot move alot of furniture into the main house until I fix it up.  As soon as I get my mortgage appraisal I am ripping all the nasty carpet up and starting up on that renovation.  But for now it is crammed into that room. My friend Gretchen came over to help me clean before everything went in, and my friend Staci helped me put clothes away in drawers. (Thanks for the help!)  My son’s room in the apartment is so small and I am going to have to renovate his room in the main house as soon as we get a mortgage in June. I feel sorry for him but he is young, he will survive.  He is just getting used to dorm living he will have in the fall!

My one daughter moved into her renovated rooms in the main house.  I think its cozy and nice, we are going to have to get new AC for them before the summer hits.  Which it seems like it never will!

Friday the Broadband installer came, I was dreading not having Verizon but I am so surprised it is very fast!  No more Verizon!  I am sooooo happy!  It took me 2 hour-long calls to cancel my service with them.  The first time I went thru all the motions and he was just verifying my email address and we got disconnected.  So I had to call back and do it all again. They got really testy that I was cancelling but it was not my fault they dont have service here.  Verizon-free is such a good feeling.  Anyway, Direct TV does not seem much better.  They sent an installer that could not speak english.  I had to keep from laughing when he was explaining everything I could not understand anything!  What were they thinking.  He  said OSHA would not let him get on the roof to install my cable wire into the house.  I told him to put a ladder up and crawl up there and if he didn’t do it I would.  He did it.  He tried to explain why I could not get service to the other side of the house for my daughters but I said forget it I would just add another dish when we move over there.  I don’t want wires running all over the outside of the house.  All my internal cable wires are old and not the right kind of course.  He also plugged in this box that apparently transmits to other TVs but told me NEVER to unplug it or if we lose power they will have to come out and fix it.  HA, I think he was crazy.

Monday my cat came back with a gash in his back leg and a cat claw stuck in his head I pulled out.  I wondered what the other cat looked like.  It seemed to get worse so we brought him to the vet.  They gave him antibiotics, shaved his leg and told me to keep him in for 5 days.  That would not be happening.  Anyway, after one day he got out and ran back to Catesby address again.  I just don’t know what I am going to do with him!  At least I knew that people had seen him because of his shaved leg!  After a day or so, the kind owners of my old home cornered him in the garage and we went and got him.  I am thinking if he does this again I am just going to wait and see if he comes back, I mean he has to know the route by now if he can get there he can get back, right?

One day the sun came out briefly and a huge rainbow appeared over the house!  I felt the Lord’s blessing over us and hoped this is where we were supposed to be.  It has been an incredible journey thus far and I have learned to rely more on Him than ever.  When I get anxious I just stop and pray for His peace and timing.  I thank everyone for encouraging me during this journey and for pushing me onward! If you ever want to stop on in and visit feel free!  There are still many things left to finish so no more pics until they are ready!







Busy Week


daughters bath almost finished


Whole old window cut out


windows going in!


final product


poor guys delivering appliances


new window up close

Today started off just awful.  The fire alarm went off in the apartment around 7 AM.  Its this high pitched buzzing sound that hurts the ears.  My dog Boo was panting and freaking out running around the apartment, I think the noise reminded him of his electric fence days.  Justin was concerned cause the firetrucks started showing up but I jumped in the shower, I was not about to leave the apartment for the day without a shower!  The sound continued for about 20 minutes.  I had to be at the house anyway at 8 AM for my windows to arrive.  As I was walking out the door with my full cup of coffee and Boo on the leash, he was still panting and freaking out so he ran ahead and yanked the leash so hard my coffee flew through the air and broke and my key bent in the door.  I REALLY need my coffee in the morning.  I can’t wait to get out of this apartment.

When I get to the house, the painters are there, my window guy is there and my contractor is there to install the vanities in the bathroom.  The window guy is an installer that works for Home Depot.  I had him do a few things for me in the beginning and I found him to be aggressive and cocky, expensive and I didn’t like him, but the salesman at Home Depot told me he was the best installer they had so I kept him.  He is also the one who took a long time ordering in the first place.  Anyway, he starts yelling at my painter, asking him if he was the one that repaired and caulked the trim around the windows cause now it has to be torn down to get the window in.  He even asked the painter if he was also a carpenter and if he needed a job cause he would hire him.  I thought, what nerve that guy has.  I asked him what he was doing.  I told him the painter was not the carpenter and I was told by the Home Depot Salesman that sold me the windows no trim would be affected they were just replacement slide out-slide-in windows.  The installer said he upgraded them for me to get me a bigger window and now the trim would have to come off, but he would do his best to keep it intact.  Steve was there to get his vanity installer started and we were just discussing the window install.  Steve asked the Home Depot installer if he was using spray foam installation or the pink stuff.  The installer got all huffy and said this was how he did it and if I didn’t like it get someone else.  CRAZY!  Then I was discussing with Steve how we would have to alter our inside trim for the windows now.  The new window is not flush against the drywall there is a ledge that would need to be added.  Again the installer got a little huffy and said he told me that would be the case and he was supposed to do the trim in the first place!  I thought no, I would never hire this guy for that he must have assumed it.   Steve quickly exited, because he could.  I had to stay with this whackjob all day.  After Steve left the installer told me not to ever hire two contractors to work on the same day.  I just let him go on and on. I really was starting to get a little freaked out about his attitude.  I didn’t want to say anything cause I wanted my windows done right and this guy knew where I lived and could burn my house down later!  I felt sorry for his helper he was yelling and insulting him all day, I noticed the last guy that came during measuring of my windows was gone, I am sure he quit.  No one would work for this guy.  Home Depot kept calling me all day to ask me how it was going.  I did not say anything cause I am sure it would have gotten right back to him and then he would go nuts.  At the end of the job, and I must say he did do a good job, he brought me the paper and told me that I would write what a great installer he was and give him a 10 cause if I didn’t he would not get a job ever again.  I just wanted him gone, so I wrote that he was neat and clean and was on time.  Which was true.  Then he asked if he could hunt on my property some time and if I was interested in flipping houses with him.  I said NO.  Nicely of course.  I found out later that he did not leave all the hardware like cranking mechanisms for the windows, and he was supposed to put all that on the windows.  Plus he didn’t caulk around each window, he told me I was going to have to do that.  I called his manager finally to inquire if this was my job and to send some more hardware.  The manager said he is coming out Monday to finish the job cause I told him I didn’t want that installer anywhere near my property again.

Another glitch in the day was that my cat, Waldo went missing.  My mom was the last to see him around 4:30 am when he came in to eat.  We were letting him go in and out through the garage a bit but he always stayed close to home.  He was gone about 24 hours when I remembered someone said Waldo would try to find where he lived before.  I could not imagine he would make the trek back to Woodlea because I never brought him from Woodlea to the new house, he had been staying with my mom far away for the months we were at Wegmans.  I was so worried he was eaten by something, but I contacted the people that bought our house and asked them if they had seen Waldo.  Sure enough, they said a cat meeting his description was sleeping on their deck the day before.  I kept running over there all day to try and find him but i knew he was probably hunkered down somewhere sleeping.  I finally went back around 5 PM and shook his bag of food.  I was about to leave when my old neighbor Suzanne came out and we were chatting awhile when up waltzes Waldo!  Now he is locked in the house at night while we are not there.  There has been so much activity during the day he is afraid to go out anyway.

The painters spend all day caulking the house, every board and batten board is caulked, and every gap filled in.


Pre painted



In the middle of painting



Front all painted


The back painted

I am so anxious for them to start.  Finally, they decide to paint Sunday morning.  They cover all the windows and gutters and around the roof and start spraying!  they have to do a primer first all over the the paint. At first I was worried how it would look, but I must say I think it looks great.  The first day the whole thing looked green but after they painted the trim it looks awesome.  They are going to do the doors next week if it ever stops raining.

The appliances all arrive, and I paid them $20 each to bring everything up to the apartment, the range, the refrigerator, the washer and dryer, dishwasher..  Poor guys were huffing and puffing but they knew what they were doing. I had to remove the railing from the stairwell to get it all up.

I have been painting like a maniac to get it all finished, the ceilings, the trim, the closets, the rooms it never ends.  Luckily for me Sherwin Williams had their big paint sale all of March and now April one weekend.  Did you know you can stock up during the sale then bring it in to tint later?  That’s my plan.  I hired Let’s Roll painting to do two rooms in the main house that my daughters are going to live.  They have really high ceilings which I am not going to attempt to paint.  I need everything painted before the carpet goes in next Wednesday.

I found out there are actually 2 snakes, they come out at the same time.  Thats gross and one will have to go at least.  I do not need baby snakes.

Next week I need to coordinate the final coat on my hardwood floor, all the appliances installed, the countertops installed, the plumbing installed, the lights and fans installed, the baseboard installed and doors and window trim and final painting and carpet installed oh and a final cleaning…I am praying it all gets finished in time for us to move in.  Only He knows if it will happen!