Saturday, October 21, 2017

Six Months

What a difference!  We moved into Maple Tree Cottage on April 10.  Please join me on a tour of our beautiful home.  As you walk into Maple Tree Cottage this amazing Charley Harper poster greets you.  I grew up in the desert in Southern California, 29 Palms to be specific, and I still have a fondness for the desert.

You may remember we moved the fireplace and now it's a beautiful focal point in our living room.  These are real life photos, not the House Beautiful variety, so you'll see "things" sitting about.  The mantle is temporary as we're waiting for the maple tree wood to cure.  The only new addition to our living room furniture is the West Elm cabinet our TV is sitting on.  A TV is a fact of life and they just don't hide well but I was NOT going to have it hanging above the fireplace.

From this angle you can see more than a peek of our "new" dining room table and chairs.  More about them in the next post.  I promise it won't be 6 months before I post again.  Oh how I love my saucer bubble light.  Click HERE for further information.  The shorter basket on the left was made by my mom many long years ago.  The basket on the right with the quilts was made and gifted to me by a lady in my Tai Chi class.  Handmade is very special.  The tea kettle sitting on the large wooden spool was my grandmother's tea kettle.   I admit to not liking lots of dustables (that is what I refer to as knick knacks) so I prefer a few special things here and there.  I supposed I'm more of a zen decorator. :o)

Another angle of the living room.  These blinds are in every room in the house.  No curtains except for the sliding glass door in the dining room as there are no blinds there.  Yes, that's a Casper mattress box sitting in the entry way.  At 92 pounds it was too heavy for me to move just to take a photo.

Since this is Abby's house too we were sure to make her comfortable with her beds, quilts and toy bin.  These step pieces are called tansu(s).  They're a Japanese furniture piece but these reproductions, although we did buy them while living in Japan.  The framed piece is a piece of Japanese washi (rice) paper.  And my favorite kokeshi dolls sit on the tansu steps.  The basket on top is a handmade pine needle basket from North Carolina and it's  filled with washi paper covered eggs.

This corner is a work in progress.  My original mid-century lamp is too big for the space and the side table doesn't fit the style.  However, I do love my handmade quilt ladder in this space.  It was handmade by Mr. Maple and the maple children 20 years ago and gifted to me for Mother's Day.  They whittled the pegs so there are no screws and nothing glued.  It's been taken apart for many moves then reassembled.  Our floors are stunning and I'm a huge sucker for arches and curves in houses.

I love my house.  Having selected every knob, fixture, cabinet, appliance paint color, floor stain, blinds, etc...I was on the edge of my seat until I saw it all come together.  

Stay tuned,

Abby and Stephanie

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Almost Home

Move in day is near, April 10.  Maple Tree Cottage is a flurry of activity.  Appliances were delivered but are sitting in the dining room.  The gas line was installed and once this gorgeous tile is grouted the appliances will be put in place.

I like a clean look, not antiseptic though.  Mr. Maple found a company that makes these under cabinet electrical strips.  They're awesome.  There will be no unsightly electric outlets visible so I can focus on this gorgeous long white subway tile.  It has a handmade look and I heart it.  The grout will be  light grey.

I do hope my guests like the guest bathroom.  I sure do.  The floor petal tile was used as the background for my shampoo shelf.  This grout will also be light grey.

Mr. Tile Man had to redo my beautiful floor.  There are two ways to lay the tile, depending on the pattern you want.  This is what I wanted and laid out for him to see.  Apparently we didn't "see" eye to eye.  He had to remove it and wait for replacement tile.  I wanted it my way.  The grout will be dark grey.  Notice the baseboard in progress.  Our contractor suggested bathrooms have bull nose tile baseboards.  No getting any wood wet when mopping floors or flinging water about.

All of the electrical isn't turned on just yet so my photos aren't as well lit as I'd like but I think you can see my beautiful laundry room sink.  The countertop is Quartz.  Why not!  

The master shower is grouted and Mr. Plumber is working on the installation of the plumbing parts.  There will be a fixed shower head and this adjustable hose.  That bar also doubles as a safety rail but there will be another installed at the long wall of the shower as well.

Yes, it's a toilet.  We all have them.  I'm sharing because I have this thing about easy to clean.  We first found these American Standard toilets when we replaced all of our toilets in Ohio.  They are smooth sided.  No nooks and crannies.  You want them right?  And they're also ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant at 17 1/2" high.  Oh and if you want to spend the extra money you can get these same toilets where you wave your hand and it flushes like magic.  No touchy.

Our beautiful fireplace is now grouted and the temporary mantle is installed.  The last piece of this puzzle is the front piece that "frames" the fireplace.  We had ceiling lights installed so the fireplace can really shine.

Thankfully the snow is a thing of the past.  But rain, rain and more rain has delayed some outdoor work.  Luckily we had a good day so Mr. Cement Man could pour the concrete.  They're getting ready to build the step down off of the deck.

It's not all been smooth sailing; we have a sink hole.  It happened just recently as a result of Gladys' sons doing something incorrectly with the sprinklers 2 years ago and flooding the basement.  Mr. Maple knew about the flood when we bought the house.  No damage.  Our a/c unit is suppose to sit here but our contractor has to fill in the sink hole before Mr. HVAC man can finish his job.

Abby loves visiting her house.  She knows it's hers.  She loves the big windows so she can survey her territory.  Right now she's watching Mr. and Son Maple build our fence.  

Our move in date is only 10 days later than originally planned.  I think all of the baking has helped keep the work and workers running smoothly, even when the weather didn't.  

Stay tuned, 
Abby and Stephanie

Thursday, March 9, 2017


Gladys had her notes and I have mine.  Mr. Maple is doing the interior painting; ceilings, walls, closets.  He needed a cheat sheet as he preferred to paint the rooms the correct color the first time.  If you were to call and ask him what he's doing today he'd tell you he got his paint mixed up and is  doing a little repainting today.  So much for notes.  :o)

The master bedroom is tile cutting central.  Sorry for the poor lighting.  Not all of the new lighting is working yet.

As you enter my living room this is what you see.  My new gas fireplace which is a beautiful focal point of the space.  It's still in progress and the hardware has been installed for our temporary floating mantle.  Remember eventually we'll use the wood from the maple tree we had cut down in the back.  However, if we decide not to put in a temporary mantle we can always use the hardware for coat hooks.  :o)  Oh and I can turn it on with the wall switch or by remote control from the comfort of my chair.  

This beautiful hexagon tile flows from the kitchen to the mud room to the laundry room.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday my fabulous cabinetmaker/installers made me a very happy homeowner.  My lower cabinets in the kitchen are all walnut.  And that big opening under the kitchen window is going to have the most gorgeous farmhouse sink ever.

During the planning process I had some requirements.  This cabinet is my new pantry.  The upper has adjustable shelves.  I'm putting the unsightly microwave in there.  Because I planned it ahead of time the electrician could install an outlet.  The lowers are all pullout drawers.  The food can come to me.  

This was also a must have.  It's a mixer lift for my Kitchenaid.  Those things are heavy and I'm getting to old to lift and move it about the kitchen.  I could hurt myself.  Is there a medical code for insurance purposes for broken foot due to Kitchenaid accident?  An outlet will be installed soon.  The electrician wanted to make sure where exactly he needed to put the power.

Because I'm tired of having to get on my hand and knees and dig about my cabinets for "things," I wanted drawers.  All of my drawers are soft close.  No more slamming!

The bottom space in this photo is where my fridge will go.  Above it is a cabinet with another requirement, an organizer for the cookie sheets, muffin tins, and cooling racks.  I've said a few 4-letter words in my day over things falling out and nearly decapitating my toes.  In the grand scheme of things, I'm short.  I'll never be able to reach beyond the second shelf of any cabinet.  I want to have the original step ladder/chair recovered and put back in the kitchen.

Again, not great lighting but this is the master shower.  This is a "toe" shelf for the necessary shaving of the legs.

The hardware has since been installed but the left cabinet is my linen closet in the master bathroom.  The bottom pullout wire bin is a hamper.  It was a "had" to have!

Abby knows this is her house.  She hasn't figured out where her bed and food will go yet.  We'll decide when we move in.  She's had many visitors at the new house.  Most friends, some curious neighbors.  And their dogs have been welcome too.  Abby already had many new friends.

Stay tuned,

Abby and Stephanie

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Beauty of Wood

There's been a few delays at Maple Tree Cottage.  Mostly Mother Nature is to blame.  She's been flying around on her broom causing weather issues all over the place.  Our floors needed some repairs and Mr. Floor Man is one amazing guy.  He got the repairs done and the sanding.  After sanding, the floors were way too light.  The wood is white oak.  Mr. Floor Man brought over 2 samples of stain and I didn't like either.  One was too light and one was too red.  He bought 3 more.  Two were too brown.  I felt like Goldilocks until...

#5 was just right.  It was meant to be because it's called Golden Maple.  Mr. Floor Man is putting the Swedish finish on today.  Now the the tile guys can get to work.

This is the ceiling of my covered patio.  It's tongue and groove and the wood is cedar.  It's just amazingly beautiful.  Abby has been dreaming of Summer snoozes on the warm deck for months now.

Our contractor and his guys are true craftsmen.  This is the electrical panel that they framed to give a nice finished look.  It's the attention to details that I so appreciate.

Our contractor hunted down cedar shingles to match the originals from 1951.  Once the house is painted you'll never know they aren't the original.

This is the addition.  Notice the ramp.  Mr. Maple and I aren't ancient yet but we have longevity in our genes.  We decided to plan ahead to make our "golden" years easier for one day.  We've seen so many houses that have ramps out front and although necessary they are also unsightly.  We had our ramp put in at the back and the only way you see it is if you're standing in our backyard.  We've done many things ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant.

There will be a rail and the deck will have steps down.  It's still a work in progress but it's so close to calling it done.

Son Maple helped Mr. Maple prune the old apple tree.  Hopefully the tree will one day be beautiful again and produce tasty apples.

Abby and I have shared so much of the before and process we thought you might like to see the colors we've selected for the exterior.  Navy for the house, white trim and a coral door.  Thank you Daughter Maple.  We do not live in a neighborhood with an association so no rules and no fees.  I don't want anyone telling me what I can and can't do.  In closing, the sun is shining, if only for a moment.

Stay tuned, Abby and Stephanie

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fifty Shades of Grey

Lots happening at Maple Tree Cottage.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  Previously I mentioned we're moving the fireplace.  The old fireplace opening was filled with brick and obviously repair and drywall will be taking place.

There really is a new and beautiful gas fireplace behind the cardboard.  Vent and gas installed.  I'm going to have a remote control to operate it.  Daughter Maple was here for Christmas and helped me select the fireplace tile.    We're going floor to ceiling for a lovely focal point as you enter the living room.

We also purchased 20 samples of interior and exterior paint to audition.  Mostly we went with Fifty Shades of Grey.  LOL!    Soon Mr. Maple will be painting the entire interior.

Currently dry wall, taping, mudding and sanding are happening at Maple Tree Cottage.  If you go back to the beginning post you'll see the entrance to the kitchen was narrow (the width of a door).  The mister and I wanted to continue the curve that goes from the entry hall into the living room.  

We had the doors removed, the opening widened and curved.  Love.

The master bathroom now has drywall.  The amazing folks that are making our custom kitchen cabinets were called back to make our bathroom vanities.  The master bathroom is also going to have a linen closet with a pull out drawer for the dirty clothes.  I mean I dirty clothes happen but I don't want to have to look at them.  I got a call the other week that the plumber wanted to meet me in the shower.  LOL.  We talked about fixed shower head height, separate shower hose placement, etc...The faucet knobs for hot and cold are right around the corner from the shower opening.  Instead of going IN the shower and adjusting and turning on the shower, you just reach around the corner and viola!  Just so you know this will be Abby's shower as well.  

We had a discovery.  Now that the scary basement is empty and the under stairs storage isn't so creepy, we found a new note from Gladys.   Just so you know, Grandpa Emil really was a doctor.  I left the note on the wall.  I just had to.

Well maybe when the 3 sons were little perhaps the under the stairs storage really WAS scary!  I found this note in there.  Wonder if they were sent to the basement as punishment but allowed to read.  With 3 boys in the house they must have shared punishment equally (hence the "anybody.)

There's been so much before and during.  I'm super excited about the after.  On the right is the guest bathroom floor tile.  I love it.  On the left are my glass knob choices narrowed down with the help of Daughter Maple.  The bathroom vanity will have the middle glass for the knobs.

I already love this house.  Walla Walla has been in Snow Hell for ages and there were only a few minor setbacks.  The decking is starting to be installed but now it's covered with snow.

Stay tuned,

Abby and Stephanie

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cookie Monsters

Our last post was October 31 and boy there's been a whole lotta progress!  This happened then our contractor had to wait until Mr. Inspector gave his stamp of approval.  It passed.  Then we had rain delays, of course.

We have great guys working on our house.  They're super serious as you can see and well, if you give some guys some cookies...I like to keep them in treats.  Yesterday it was sour cream banana muffins.

Then this happened.  The addition is our laundry and master bathroom.  Then of course our very awesome patio cover.  Do you see the new back door?  That will lead out onto the deck, once it's built.

Here it is.  The door leads to the mud room and the windows on the left are my laundry room.  I like windows.  The window at the back of the house on the far right is my kitchen window.  It'll be new and bigger soon.

There used to be a back door here.  There will be a wall diving these two spaces, laundry room on the left, master bathroom on the right.  The first entry area is the mud room and far back left is the laundry.

This is the new opening in our master bedroom leads to the new potty land.  The far back is the walk in shower, no step up, with my requested window.  We'll have two windows in the bathroom.  Yesterday we met with our cabinet maker.  He's finishing our kitchen cabinets and next he'll be working on our new bathroom vanities and linen closet.  It's getting very very exciting!

We met with our contractor yesterday as well because we had decisions to make.  They usually cost money and so far, no bad news.  See the fireplace?  We're converting it to gas.  However, since we bought the house I have been struggling to decide furniture arrangement based on the odd location of the fireplace.  Right behind it is the front door.  So our HVAC guy said since it's in an odd location, how about moving it.  I love the HVAC guy.  He gets me.  Mr. Maple walked away and said the decision is mine.  

The fireplace is going to be moved to the back wall adjacent to the garage.  There is space and the venting and gas will be easier to make happen.  So when you walk into the living room there will be a nice focal point.  We've decided we're spending our kids inheritance.    As you can see my new windows have arrived.  They're leaning against walls in bedrooms too.

Perhaps the most exciting thing I my world is the installation of my new front door.  Now to order the door hardware.  I've made so many decisions lately that my brain hurts.  I'm already in a tizzy over paint colors, exterior and interior but Daughter Maple will be here for the holidays and will help me make choices.

Stay Tuned, Abby and Stephanie