Sunday, April 6, 2008


Yesterday I was up at about 6:45. We were going for a breakfast date and to pick up some windows, so we had the Frog come into our room with the Monkey. He woke up right it wasn't the clean get away we had hoped for, but we still got away. This morning I was the one who woke up on time! My feet hit the floor at 6:30, my Darling helped me make the bed, and he is bringing me coffee (laced with hot chocolate, of course) this very moment. Such a kind soul.


We knew when we bought this one bathroom, three bedroom home that we would need to expand it after a fashion. We were a family of five then; the Reepicheep was not quite one, the Pickle was two-and-a-half, and the Frog was four-and-a-half. We were so thrilled at the amount of space as compared to our apartment that it seemed like a mansion at the time, even though it was all of 1200 square feet.

More than seven years and one child later, and with an impending arrival, we are deeply in the throes of adding on to our mansion. When my Darling is finished, we will have just over 3000 square feet, four bedrooms, two-and-one-half bathrooms, upstairs laundry, a sun room, a school room, and more than one closet, for Pete's sake!

This project has been in the works for years. By this, I mean I drew up plans years ago for how I thought this should all work. The funny thing is, it's actually pretty close to what we've ended up doing. Not that I could have known. In October of 2006, with the children watching intently from an upstairs window, my Darling began digging an earthen ramp towards the house, and he hasn't looked back since.

Our home, as it stood before the digging, is old. Like, late nineteenth century old. The "older" part, which includes the living room, the stairs, and the two kids' bedrooms, was built around 1880 or so. It was built over a rock "foundation" with modern crawl space that was burrowed out to install duct work and wiring. That earthen ramp that my Darling began digging was so that he could make a tunnel underneath the living room to connect the new basement to the old. The whole while, he was having to form and pour concrete supports so that the house wouldn't collapse in the process. We now have an actual hallway there. It's rather impressive!! The "newer" part, comprised of the kitchen and bathroom, with our bedroom above, was probably built in about 1920 or so over a partial cellar. The basement walls are stone, and there is some concrete on the floor, and the rest is hard-packed dirt. There's not basement under the entire "newer" part; under the bathroom there's only crawl space as far as the pipes were needed for the bathtub (not quite half the length of the bathroom).

Proportionately, this home is lovely. The kitchen and living room are very spacious--our whole family sits around our kitchen table very comfortably, and when we host Thanksgiving for my Darling's side of the family, we just put up a banquet table in the living room for the kids. The bedrooms are decent as well. Our girls share a room, and even when their beds are unbunked there is plenty of room to play. The Pickle has a lofted bed that his clever and kind Daddy made for him, because he has the smallest room and, for all intents and purposes, dumps his toys much of the time. He needs the floor space. Our bedroom is very nice. It came with a fifteen-drawer dresser, so no need to clutter it up too much. We have a queen size bed, a crib, bedside tables, a rocking chair, a child's dresser and an antique baby dresser packed in, and it still feels spacious to us.

But when the addition is done......

The living room will become a dining room, I think. I hope to one day have an island in the kitchen, because while it's large, it lacks usable counter space. Something simple and functional is all I ask.

The sun room will be our primary living room. With eighteen feet of windows on the west wall and thirty feet (including the French doors) of windows on the south wall, I'm sure this will quickly become our favorite room.

I will have a PANTRY! The existing basement entry will be floored over and finished off to make a large closet, which will become my pantry. I cannot express in words how exciting this is! My current pantry consists of one large cupboard. The over-the-counter kind of cupboard, not the newfangled stand-on-the-floor-like-a-closet kind. So when things like pasta or canned veggies are on sale, I just sigh and move along. I cannot stock up because I have no place to put them. A pantry, indeed!! Ah, the torrid domestic fantasies of a housewife....

The washer and dryer will be moved upstairs into the half bathroom. Why? Because right now, my living room is really a giant laundry depository. The laundry is clean, but it has a habit of wearing out its welcome. Since 90% of the laundry (save kitchen linens and bath towels) belongs upstairs, I figure so do the appliances, thankyouverymuch.

The Frog will move into the Pickle's room. The small one. It's OK; she's going to have a trundle bed that she can pull out for sleepovers. And being older, she doesn't need quite as much space to toss things around.

The Pickle will move into our room, and the Monkey will stay there with him. The boys will inherit the bunk beds from their sisters. They are losing a little bit of the closet though, because we will have to make a turn in the hallway to connect the new and the old. No troubles though, as there is plenty of room to do this.

The Reepicheep will stay where she is, because she likes the painting I did a few years ago. The room is a fairy garden, with a wise old tree in one corner, a lovely sky with fluffy clouds, and butterflies dancing around above tulips, lilies, and flowers I found painted on a little ceramic vase. Since I flatly refuse to repaint this paradise in a different room, this pretty much helped make the decision of who would go where.

And of course, the new baby will be with us in the master suite. I can't even imagine how grand it's going to be. Even though I'm up there all the time, lending a hand where I can--yesterday I helped my Darling install one of the windows we bought--it still isn't quite real to me. It will be, though, I'm sure, once we finish getting windows in and complete things like wiring and plumbing.

As long as it's done by December.....though my Monkey was born in the living room (we just set up the birth pool next to the piano), so I know it wouldn't be the end of the world.....but it's just such a romantic thought, that this lovely baby who has come to bless us could just possibly be born in our brand new bedroom. *sigh* (Imagining lovely angelic harp music and delicious sunlight pouring into the room......)

If ever I can figure our how to post pictures within my posts, perhaps I'll include some to show the process of this grand project. Yes, my Darling is doing this himself. From time to time he'll say, "I might need help with _____." (Swinging trusses to set in place. Pouring and finishing the concrete for the basement floor. Framing out the sun room so we can get roof decking on it, for Pete's sake, before the tarps rot beneath the snow. You know--minor things like that.) Then I call wives and inquire after the availability of their husbands. The men show up, work like mad, I cook like mad and feed them, and everybody is happy.

With our timeline shrinking, I imagine I'll be doing a lot of cooking this summer.

1 comment:

Multi-tasking Mom said...

Thanks for the link. I think it sounds lovely! I really hope that it is finished in time for the upcoming arrival. That would be a great "housewarming" for your new bedroom. Your post really reminds me that I miss my old house (1895), our 30 year old "mansion" just doesn't have the same charm. My DH is also handy and invested a lot of his labour in that old house restoring and adding on. It was hard to let go of that house as it started to feel like a part of our family.