Deuce Cities Henhouse

4 Year Recap – Part 5

Bedroom – 2010


Yo, Buddies! Here I am with the last installment of the four year recap. I hope I’m not driving you guys crazy with this, but it’s fun for me to look back at the progress, and I hope it might be for you too. Sorry if I went a little overboard.

Today I am sharing you the progress of our master bedroom, the sunroom and the front porch.

The photo above is our bedroom minutes after we moved in, as you can see not a lot had been done to the space. The honest truth is that it sat like this for quite some time, probably a year. We were so busy trying to get our living areas “put together” that we really couldn’t focus on the bedroom. I say “put together” in quotations because really it took years to get a cohesive look in our living areas, and most likely will always be evolving.

The bedroom is large, which is awesome for us and was a definite must when house hunting. However, the doorway that opens into the bedroom divides the bedroom into two parts. On one side we have our bed, nightstands and tv, and on the other, we have a dresser, closet and sitting area. The doorway from the hallway sits directly across from the sunroom (the sunroom is connected to our master bedroom), basically creating an invisible pathway between the two.

What I’m trying to tell you guys, is that the room is big – which is great, and cool, and awesome and all, but it has also been very hard to pull together because it consists of three separate parts all existing in the same space.
 

Bedroom – 2014


Here is the bedroom as it sits now in 2014. Although it’s looking okay, it still needs a lot of work and I will be revisiting it sometime in the not so distant future. I’m excited to make this bedroom really feel like an adult bedroom. We have never had an actual grown up bed. For some reason my kids have a cool bed, but we do not. What gives? Would it be asking too much to have some nice furniture? This room has basically been furnished with leftover furniture scraps. I would love to have a bedroom with furniture that was purchased with a bit of thought and intention.
 

Bedroom – 2010


Here’s that “other side” of the room. I hope the proceeding photos can kind of give you a feel for how it’s changed over the years. This photo is from the real estate listing. The doorway on the left is the one that leads to the hallway, the other is the closet.
 

Bedroom – 2011


In 2011 I tried to do a no cost update by shopping my home, grabbing what I could, and trying to give this space some sort of “look.” The common thread was color, and I tried to incorporate as much green, yellow, grey and white into the mix to compliment the baby blue walls.
 

Bedroom – 2012


In 2012 I had had it with the blue paint! I painted the trim and walls white, adding a black accent wall (seen in the next photo). We added shelving along the black wall for all of our books, which at the time were still sitting in boxes two years after moving in.
 

Bedroom – 2012


Here’s the black bookshelf wall. There are two things I want to highlight about this wall.

First of all, I think I am over the open shelving and would consider adding a fauxdenza on this wall in the future. I love my sunroom Fauxdenza so much, and I think a version of that would looks so great in here.

Secondly, did you notice the cheap 70′s panelling? It might be hard to see in this photo because the wall is painted black. I want you to notice it though. Look closely, do you see it? The wall behind the bookshelf is all panelling and there is a werid bump out in the one corner. The question is, “Why?” I have my suspicions.

The weird bump out in the corner is completely hollow, except for the very top, where it sounds like I’m thumping on a metal box — maybe it’s a secret time capsule? We have radiators, so it couldn’t be duct work, and I’ve taken a peek in the attic but there is nothing to there to give reference to what this supposed metal box might be.

The wall directly behind the bookshelves has some hollow spaces too, and I am wondering if there might be a hidden window behind there covered up years ago. There is absolutely no windows in our bedroom, only the windows in the sunroom. It seems strange that the home would have been designed with the sunroom windows as the only natural light source. Have any guesses as to what it might be hiding?
 

Sunroom – 2010


Onto the sunroom. If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you already know this is my latest work in progress. Here’s what it was looking like before we moved in. The previous owners furnished it with some large pieces, but I couldn’t help loving it. There was so much potential for it to be an amazing space.
 

Sunroom – 2011


During our first year we made some snap decision furniture purchases. We needed seating and didn’t have a budget for anything major. One of the items we bought on craigslist was this petite mid century sofa – it wasn’t a beauty, but it had some nice lines. I always figured I’d reupholster it, which I just did recently!
 

Sunroom – 2011


We also picked up this orange swivel chair. For some strange reason I really love this funny chair, but it just doesn’t go with anything in our house. I think a future reupholstery job might be in order. We also purchased a small vintage record player which warbled and shocked us often. It was all a good attempt at making our sunroom a cool place to hang out, but sadly it wasn’t enough to entice us.
 

Sunroom – 2012


Another year down the road and in a fit of frustration I temporarily covered the sofa in old curtains (you can see it in the corner of the above photo). We also rearranged moving the sofa to the far wall – a very good idea if you ask me. The sunroom was getting slightly better, but was still having a rough time finding it’s identity. On top of it all it needed lots of love, the trim and windows had seen better days.
 

Sunroom – 2014


You guys, here is the sunroom as of two weeks ago, and it’s even better now! I’m not going to dive into what I did in this room because I’m planning on sharing all the details in a post next week. I can’t wait to let you in on it!
 

Front Porch – 2010


We are lucky enough to have a porch on the front of our house. It is without a doubt our favorite spot in the whole house, if not the whole world. We haven’t even done that much to it really, it’s all about a state of mind, man. For real though, there is seriously nothing better than a spending a sunny Sunday afternoon on the porch, sipping champagne and listening to records while the kids across the street have epic lightsaber battles.
 

Front Porch – 2011


I have no idea why it took so long for us to paint this room, but it did. We debated between a light yellow and a light blue paint color. All we wanted was something light and airy with a bit of color. We went with the blue, and at 8 months pregnant we painted the room trying to get it done in time before the babe arrived.

Furniture placement should be the main theme of the entire recap. It’s the consistent problem I’ve had in nearly every room of the house. I think it takes a lot of living to figure out the best way for a room to function, and a decent amount of cash to furnish them accordingly. It’s no surprise that it took us four years to figure this out in so many of our spaces.

The porch has had it’s struggles with furniture too. Like the bedroom, the porch is separated by a doorway splitting the room into two parts.
 

Front Porch – 2013


Last year we inherited the old sofa from the living room when we bought our new living room sofa. We banished the white wicker sofa to the garage and made a small budget for ourselves to accessorize the space with. Obsessed with our friends northern Minnesota lake place, we decided to claim Urban Cabin™ as our style in the front porch.
 

Front Porch – 2011


Back to 2011 – here is the other side of the porch. I had four Saarinen style chairs that I had been given, I struggled trying to incorporate them into the space and attempted to make a seating area in this corner.
 

Front Porch – 2013


In 2013 I wised up and realized that those chair should be sitting around a table, duh, me! I snatched up round Ikea Docksta table on craigslist for cheap. The table worked! We ate out here almost every day last summer, and I totally love the functionality of this side of the front porch.
 

Front Porch – 2013


Although the front porch is slowly coming together, I still have big ideas and grand plans. Did you happen to notice the brown carpet? Yeah, that needs to go. The carpet is glued on to concrete, I plan on removing it and tiling someday. The table side of the porch has settled over the last 100 years, the concrete needs to be leveled out before we can think about tiling. I saw a self leveling concrete product used on a recent episode of This Old House and I thought it might work perfectly for this problem. More research is needed. I also have plans to paint all the trim matching it to the trim on the exterior of the house. There’s so much trim though! Geez, I know it will take me forever to get to that project, and I will probably avoid it for a very long time.

I love my old home because there is always another project to work on, the house will always need love and maintenance and I am the one who has the honor of doing it. I hope when I’m an old, old lady I can pass this home off to the next set of owners feeling proud of how far its come.

So that’s the recap, I hope you guys enjoyed it.

Find Parts 1-4 of the Recap Here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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in Around the House, My House

Fence Plans

Plans to extend the fence
Hey, Guys! I have to say it’s feeling a lot more like spring around here. We finally had some nice warm sunny days. The eight inches of snow we had acquired last Thursday is nearly gone. I can see grass, finally! All these signs of spring mean one thing to us Allens, the new horizontal slatted fence will be getting installed soon, I am so excited.

I posted some fence inspiration a few months ago, and shared with you guys that we were dead-set on getting a new fence this summer. At that point we had just started talking about what we wanted, but hadn’t met with any actual real life contractors or made any real decisions. Since then we have come up with a full plan for our yard and have hired Fencein Deck to build us a really great horizontal slatted fence.

Fencein Deck seemed like a good fit for us. They are a very friendly team, they use quality products, and most importantly, they let me customize the crap out of a new fence. Our friends Nicole and Ripp used them last year for their new fence and couldn’t recommend them enough, it was an easy choice for us. BTW – Nicole and Ripp have a horizontal fence and it looks awesome.

We had a lot of concerns going into this whole fence thing. For one, here in Minnesota you have to have “the pretty” side of the fence face outwards, the posts need to be on the interior side of the fence. I understand why this is a rule, you don’t want to piss off your neighbors. But, selfishly it is kind of a bummer. Our fence guy had a plan though, this wasn’t his first rodeo. He is going to mill channels in the center of the posts – this will allow him to slide the horizontal slats right into the posts. It will be exactly the same fence from the exterior and interior. The posts will be placed six feet apart instead of the usual eight to ten. The shorter distance between posts will prevent the horizontal boards from sagging and warping. Yay for practical solutions!

The best news is that we are extending our yard! We have a concrete parking pad next to our two car garage. We don’t ever use it, it just sits empty all year long. We have decided to extend the fence to enclose the parking space thus creating a play area for the kids. Soon they will be able to ride their bikes, bounce balls, draw with chalk, and play with trucks back on the repurposed parking pad. You might have noticed in the drawings that we aren’t extending the fence the full length of the garage. The reason is simple, we needed to save a little room to have space to pile snow in the winter months.

I have no idea how this concrete slab will function in the future, but while the kids are young it will be good for them to have a safe space to play. We are enclosing the parking pad with two large gates. The gates will meet in the center of the pad and will open inward. We have allowed ourselves to have options for how the space function further on down the road. It is highly likely that one day the kids will be teens, and they probably won’t give two craps about having a space to ride their big wheels. In the future we could remove the concrete and add more lawn space to our yard, we could keep the concrete, build a pergola and make ourselves a new patio, or we could make it back into a parking space. Who knows what it will be, I’m just glad it’s getting fenced in and is increasing our useable outdoor space!

Horizontal Fence Plans
We have a rental property on the north side of our house (the left side on the above drawings). Because of the ever changing neighbors, we are going to build a six foot fence on that side of the yard. Most importantly I wanted our privacy fence not to make us feel like we were prisoners in our own backyard. I wanted the fence to feel open, airy and pretty. I was able to design my own fence accommodating those needs. The fence is made up a simple alternating pattern consisting of boards and spaces of varying sizes. The slats have spaces of 1” and 1.5”. The boards range in size from 3-6”. When it’s all said and done the fence will look really pretty and be a nice backdrop for the garden.

The south side of our yard will remain a four foot fence. The fence will be identical to the lower part of the 6 foot fence. Our neighbor to the south is also getting in on the fence action, together we will be fencing off the alley side of the yard with six foot gates (this is by the parking pad). He will continue the gates, fencing in the space between the corner of our fence and the edge of his garage. This is mainly for security. We want to keep all the riff raff out, and the kids in.

We signed up with Fencein Deck early in the “fence season”. Because of that we are on the top of the fence list! I really wanted the fence to be installed before any of the perennials got to be too big. We should be having our fence installed sometime in the next week or two depending on how fast the ground thaws. I am really excited, and can’t wait to share more as we get closer. Spring is real, you guys!

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in Around the House, gardening, Outdoor

4 Year Recap – Part 4

Garden – Spring 2008


Can I start by saying how great you guys all are? I received so many comments of encouragement and understanding on my last post. It was good to share with you and hear that we all have bad days. Something I know, obviously, but when you’re really feeling low it helps to know that you you’re not alone. Seriously so many THANKS!

Onward..I was going to save this recap for the last installment (there are five total) but I thought I would go ahead and share it with you today. If you’re local, you’re gonna need this post to carry you though the next 24 hours. The 8-14″ of snow we are to be receiving soon is highly untyte. We need to think positive!

Today I want to share with you my garden and exterior home improvements. When we saw the house for the first time everything was almost perfect, the kitchen was lacking, there was wood trim and paneling, but I could get over those things, I could see the positives. The house had a great layout, lots of room, and of course the porches. I knew we could make that bad stuff better. BUT then there was the exterior and garden. The house was covered in asbestos siding, trimmed with mint green awnings matched with a mint foundation and roof and dark peach steps. The yard boasted a green fence, a pee stained lawn and a giant rock garden. Every girls dream, not. How was I supposed to look past that?

My first mission after moving in was to whip the yard and exterior of this house into shape. I accomplished a lot by the end of my first summer and even more as the years go on.

Above you’ll see the house when it was listed in 2008, the yard had been maintained back then. The house was then sold to the people who owned it before us, they lived here for two years and had a dog who ran the fence and destroyed the yard. By 2010 when we bought it, the yard was looking bad.
 

Garden – Spring 2010


That’s my mom up there, sorry mom for the not so flattering shot, but it’s the only one I could find. So you can see that the bushes had been destroyed since 2008, we went ahead and chopped them down and let the two twiggy bushes begin to grow. It took me two years before I realized the twiggy bushes were dogwood trees. I kept trimming them into hedge shapes, poor dogwoods.

See the yellow pee stains too?, gross. I laid down grass seed (which I do every spring) and watered like a crazy person.
 

Garden – Spring 2010


Cool rock garden, right? No way, man. That garden was covered in dog poop, I scooped and scooped rocks. It took me two weeks but I was bound and determined to get rid of that rock garden. I added some manure and top soil and threw down a bunch of zinnias seeds. In no time I had a pretty garden along side the walkway.
 

Garden – July 2010


Finn and I would spend afternoons outside, he would play, I would dig and turn over dirt. I wanted a garden with an organically shaped border, I had mapped it out and thought about it for a few weeks. I removed all the grass and dug and turned the dirt, added manure and top soil. I used plastic garden edging to finish it off.

For the first year nearly all my plants came from my moms garden, she split off so many hostas (the nice kids), lilies, phlox, ferns and bleeding heart for me. It was such a sweet thing of her to do, and I love that some of my garden came from her. My grandma gave me tons of Iris, and that’s a nice memory to have too. Everything else was almost all annuals that I planted from seed. We didn’t have much money to spend on a garden, we had just moved in. I was focusing on making a good foundation for the coming years.
 

Garden – July 2010


Here’s that rock garden. As you can see I planted things pretty willy-nilly. I picked up a bunch of small hostas at a garage sale, that’s how we roll in the midwest. In 2012 I got frustrated with the disorganization, dug the entire garden up, split the perennials and planted it again in a much more cohesive fashion. I’m glad I did that! I’m looking forward to seeing strong, healthy perennials in this garden this year because of it.
 

Garden – July 2010


Zinnias are my jam – all planted from seed.
 

Garden – July 2010


See what the curvy border garden does for the yard, I love it.
 

Garden – Fall 2010


By the fall something great had happened. My folks got their house resided, in the process they took down a brick foundation. So you know what I did, I grabbed all those bricks, carload by carload, brought them home and made a brick border around my gardens. I think the brick border looks great and it makes for the easiest mowing. It’s also another sentimental-family-ties sorta layer to add to the garden.
 

Garden – Fall 2010


This is the fall, so everything is looking kind of worn, but I wanted you to see how much could be done in one gardening season! From here on out it’s just a matter of collecting and rearranging plants – I have all my gardens arranged and looking sharp.
 

Plans 2010


This is what I do always. Plan, make lists, and follow through. I fulfilled most of those note items on the left.
 

Garden – 2011


The next summer we got real fancy and added mulch. You can see already how much larger the perennials have become.
 

Garden – 2011


 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
Awh, isn’t spring pretty. We added the crab apple tree in 2012 removing some sort of old crooked pine tree and almost killing ourselves in the process. I love this view.
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
This shot describes perfectly how the perennials have filled in over the years.
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
I love this planter, totally doing this in the front window boxes this year.
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
Coral bells, Impatiens, and Bleeding Hearts.
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
Gaw, are you dying, I’m dying. I want this to happen again so bad!
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
Can’t you just imagine it with a nice new fence?
 

Garden – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse Garden
The old rock garden with newly organized perennials and those short zinnias that I love so much.
 

Exterior – 2010


On to the exterior, see how bad it was, see? Woof. I wasn’t kidding about those dark peach stairs either.  

Exterior – 2010


You can see that the house is just looking old and tired. It needs some Scoops loving in a major way.
 

Exterior – Summer 2010


We did this all in one summer! We removed the awning, painted the foundation steps and window boxes and tried to do the slightest amount of landscaping. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a new set of steps this year, as our are crumbling.
 

Exterior – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Blue House
And then in 2012 we really painted. It’s been two years and I still love the dark blue siding and the dark grey storm windows so much. It has done so much for this house. We also got a new roof last summer too, now the mint green is all gone.
 

Exterior – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Blue House
The crab apple tree in the front yard is Finn’s tree, the other smaller one in the back garden is Gus’. It’s amazing to see how tall the tree in the front yard has grown in such a short amount of time
 

Exterior – 2013

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Blue House
The back of the house at sunset. It’s not so bad now, is it?

Stay tuned for one last installment of the recap!

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in Around the House, gardening, My House

No Joke

No Joke
Hey guys. It’s been a rough week around here, my nerves are almost totally shot, my hands are shaky, my chest is tight.

I’ve been on edge ever since my site update three weeks ago. If you remember, I had some technical trouble and I was sick about it for days, physically sick. We went on vacation to Savannah and I was just starting to feel more like myself once we got home.

Then the shit really hit the fan this last week. We were dog sitting my parents small dog who goes by two names, Tagg and Rudy, I have no idea why. Our cat Nami is usually pretty cool around other animals, I keep the dog out of her space and she seems to be just fine. I thought she was.

I came home one afternoon after running a few errands and I found that she had peed on the newly reupholstered sofa in the sunroom. Now this is a cat who has never gone out of her box except when patrolling the neighborhood in the summer time. I was shocked. I found out quickly that the new sofa fabric is highly water repellent, in fact all the “liquid” was pooled and not being absorbed into the couch. That’s great and all, except that my computer, my external hard drive and my camera were all sitting in said pool.

Yeah.

Apparently she had been holding it.

So I do everything I know I’m supposed to do, I unplug the computer, unplug the hard drive, and dry off the camera. I open the computer to dry off the keyboard – it was in sleep mode, the screen flashes on, then the smell of burning electric parts, and then nothing, just a blank screen.

I come to terms with the severity of the situation pretty quickly. Knowing there is nothing I can do in that moment I move on to cleaning up the rest of the mess. I wipe off the sofa and of course a good amount of ‘it’ drips onto the new rug, of course.

After careful inspection I was relieved to find that the hard drive and the camera were just fine. I made an appointment at the Apple store and headed over there with my stinky, gross computer to see if there was anything they could do.

The Apple guys were helpful, I was able to grab a few crucial files right before I watched the light flicker out of my computers screen forever. It was beyond hope and there was nothing those guys could do. So I handed over my credit card, cringed and bought a new computer.

I walked out to my car resolving to just be okay with everything only to find a $42 parking tucked under the wiper blade. I had missed the meter by 6 minutes.

I am thankful that I got some of the most important files. I back up my photos regularly so I was only missing the last two months of images. There is still a lot of things that need to be rebuilt. I lost of all of my applications so I have to reinstall them all one by one. All that takes a lot of time, and time is something I don’t have a lot of these days.

I wish I could tell you that was it, but it wasn’t. I could just tell something else bad was going to happen, I could just feel it. Wouldn’t you know that when I was using the bathroom Sunday night that my phone that was tucked safely in my pocked took a giant leap and landed straight in that porcelain swimming pool.

It’s a total loss.

Needless to say, I can’t take much of this anymore. My stress level is at an all time high, I’m worried that it’s effecting my health. I’ve been trying to decompress, taking long walks, trying to clear my head. Honestly though, I am a nervous wreck and I don’t know if I can take anymore. It’s like a bad joke, if only it was.

So I just had to share, because it’s just so much bad stuff all at once, it’s funny, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has had a seriously crappy run of bad luck. I’d love to commiserate and hear your stories too, maybe it’ll help.

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in My Life

I Like this Rug


Hey guys! So you remember how I got all smitten with that rug a few weeks back? If you remember, I wasn’t exactly sold on it – I knew I was just crushing on it. Usually if there is something that I think looks really great, and costs a little bit of cheddar (that’s still super cool to say, right?) I usually just wait it out. Why? I wait to see if I really do love it, if I just can’t stop thinking about it, if it’s the only thing I can imagine in the space, and then if I still love it months down the road we budget for it, and then buy it.

In this situation I did not do that. I had been wanting to add bits of salmon and coral to the room, but I couldn’t really come up with a solution for the most effective way of doing it. I thought about adding coral pillows on the sofa that I newly reupholstered, but coral against the navy sofa was a lot of color in one very specific place. The coral needed to be part of the room, not part of the couch, you feel me? I’m pretty sure that the Torres rug has been available at West Elm for awhile, the thing is, I never needed a coral rug, so I never noticed it. Then one day I was flipping through my new catalog, and wham, there it was, The Torres Kilim rug in “Guava”.

So I thought about it, I blogged about it, and then I realized it was on sale. I called West Elm to see what their return policy was on rugs, I found out I could return it to the store. If I ordered it the worst possible thing that could happen would be that I just didn’t like the rug.

So I ordered it, just like that.

I am so living on the edge, you guys!


It took me a few days to roll it out and see what it looked like in the room. I was a little leery, I really did like the cream shag rug that was in the sunroom already, it was something I already owned and didn’t specifically buy it for this room, so it’s basically like it was free. I so badly wanted coral in the room and I was gonna give it a whirl. Go big or go home, or something like that. I really was trying to do my best to throw away all my rug biases and approach this like a real adult.

Honestly, I wasn’t sold at first, it just was so much color and pattern, and so different from what had been there. I had to soak it in. I waited a few more days. I rolled up the rug, I put back the cream rug, and you know what? It was immediately obvious to me that the cream rug had no game when it came to this baby. I’m keeping it.


I love switching things up too, and that cream rug can always come back when I get antsy and need to rearrange everything. The coral rug could would easily look great in the entry way or even the living room – those things are always important to consider too. So what do you guys think? Are you with me on this, or what?

In other news, this GD room still isn’t done yet. I have so much on my plate right now, it is slow going, but I promise, I’ll get it done soon I hope. I’m going to share a few of the little additions I’ve made in an upcoming post, and then I will finally paint this baby and call it a day. My to-do list is never ending!

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in Around the House, Porch