Despite rainy, drippy days, things are happening around here!
Last post I showed you how our bedroom was transformed (sort of...just ignore the despair on the walls) by two new windows. I am not the greatest photographer, and I have no skills in a darkish room beyond the flash, so I'm afraid I'm not properly conveying just how amazing this change is. Please believe me: it opens up this room in amazing and unbelievable ways, and every morning we open our curtains and gasp at the view. The view of our garage and the kids' rickety swingset and the alley. WHICH WE CAN NOW SEE, thanks to our awesome windows.
Oh, yeah, we put up some curtains.
Again, not the greatest picture. Sorry. They are the lilac Senela curtains from Ikea, which are nothing like lilac and everything like a lush, deep purple. I'm in love with them. I needed room-darkening, long panels that would contrast with the light gray I'd like to paint the walls, and they work perfectly. They feel like a velvet, fit just perfectly at 98" (I challenge you to find that length anywhere else at that price--I couldn't even make my own at that price), and don't let in any light when they're pulled. I considered making my own rods, but the thick Hugad rod in black ended up working perfectly and jived with my budget.
The Hugad rod uses a corresponding finial, which I can't find online, and the Betydlig brackets. When I brought that last box out of the bag The Professor said, "Okay, now they're just messing with us." I agree. Too many consonants. But if you go to Ikea yourself and want to get the same system, write all this information down because NOTHING is spelled out for you at the store, I could find NO employees to help me, I had two little itchy boys enacting laser duels in the aisle, and I was so nervous I had driven an hour and a half just to get the wrong hanging system. It all worked perfectly and I want to pass on this knowledge to you.
(Ideally I'd use clips and pleat my curtain, but after sad lessons we have learned that clips, heavy curtains, and plaster walls do not mix well. Grommets are your best bets with plaster, and even then you might have to use drywall anchors to get your brackets to stay up. The key is not yanking on the curtains when you open and close them. You're welcome for being so servicey. King Peter the Boy had to wake up to a curtain rod falling in her crib for us to learn this lesson.)
So for now, our bedroom windows are done. My dad will do some drywall work, and The Professor will need to trim them out. But they function and open and let in light and we sit on the bed and just stare out them whenever we can, in awe of our marvelous luck.
Moving on! Yesterday the contractors were able to come out and do our kitchen window, despite rain and a bolt of lightning that hit our neighbor's television antenna just a few feet away from where they were working. Obviously we haven't made the appropriate sacrifices to the House Gods and have incited their wrath.
For the last 60+ years, this is what the homeowner has looked out of whenever washing dishes. Which is a lot of the time, since the previous homeowner had nine kids, we have four, and none of us has installed a dishwasher.
These windows haven't opened in years. I have never opened them. Their hardware is gone, the screens and outside panes are busted, and even if they did open, they are too high for shorties like me to reach without climbing onto the countertop. Which is practical, obviously.
Everyone likes that decorative scrollwork, right? And the wee corner shelves? I know this was awesome at the time, but why they didn't scratch the corner shelves and instead, oh I don't know, EXTEND THE CABINETS IN AN ALREADY TINY KITCHEN is beyond me.
A closer view of that lovely, warped wood and broken aluminum.
Leaves! Paint chips! (Yay possible lead!) And...gravel? Huh.
We decided long ago that we wanted to condense these two windows into one casement window that was taller (farther down to the sink, so easier to reach) and less wide, to afford ourselves more cabinetry and less of a view of our neighbor's house. Not that we don't like our neighbors; it's just that we're not here for the view, and a galley kitchen calls for practicality in the form of as much cabinetry as possible.
This meant some demolition and subsequent construction, though not nearly as much as in our bedroom.
Once they had the windows out and the space ready to frame, our contractor asked an important question: Did we plan on renovating our kitchen in the future, and did we want the new window centered where the sink is now, or were we going to reconfigure some? I can't believe we hadn't thought of this! I've long wanted to move the stove over just slightly, plus we have the sink of our dreams just sitting in our basement, waiting until that day far in the future when it can become Main Level Sink of Dreams and perform its vital function from the comfort of our kitchen. Uh-duh!
The Professor dashed downstairs and came back up with some measurements, and we decided to move the window just slightly to the left of center over the existing sink. Then the framing began.
Then the lightning struck and sizzled our neighbor's gutters. You can see the offending antenna in these pictures.
Then the window was in.
Then the drywall was in, and they were done.
Again, not the greatest picture. And yes, it makes the kitchen look really, really rough, which is probably how it will stay for a long time. (Le sigh.) But hey! I have a new, great window that a) works beautifully, b) allows us more space for storage, and c) was free, since this was a new window my dad had ordered for their own kitchen remodel a couple years ago and had screwed up on the measurements, therefore making it unworkable for their space. So thanks, Dad, for screwing up your measurements. I'm sure you were kicking your bottom at the time (and I'm sure Mom was gladly assisting you), but you helped us out considerably.
The best news of the week is that now that the window construction is finished, we can get the siding in. The siding guys are scheduled to come this week! Let's all give big cheers for that.
Sorry, no pictures of the front of our house with new siding. As my mom reminded me, the huge unicorn fountain in the front yard would give away our location right away. We can't have you crazy people copying our unique unicorn fountain design, after all.
It just wouldn't be right.