As the old saying goes, "it's a jungle out there." And we'd have to agree.

This summer has felt like a battle against the elements when it comes to our home's vegetation. Take our ivy, for example. When we purchased our home in 2003 it was one of the few things, along with the large tree, that seemed to be growing in our urban "garden." 

While it was thin, a little scraggly, and did little to provide a much needed bit of greenery to inside of the yard as well as the outside of our wall, it was what we had to work with.

For the last 13+ years we've been slowing cultivating our relationship with this green monster. Sweeping away cobwebs, removing dead vines, and carefully trimming and sculpting the mass into a thick, lush, and sometimes overbearing bit of foliage. What was once a haphazard stringy collection of vines is now one of the favorite parts of our backyard. In some places the ivy is up to roughly 18" deep and adds a significant amount of privacy in the way of extra wall height. Today those scraggly lengths of vine now look like a border to a secret garden.


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Today we're really excited to share a good amount of progress on our salvaged bead board storage bench!

Yep, that's right, we're starting to actually get stuff done...who knew that was possible with our projects?

Our last updated we gave you a glimpse into the start of our beadboard application. After a weekend worth of effort we went from a stud-wall skeleton covering our HVAC return duct to a partially complete beadboard covered bench and wall that helped us see the direction we were headed.

Over the last few weekends we were able to carve out a little bit of time to make a whole bunch more progress.

I don't know about you, but I'm a little bit obsessed with hidden panels, secret compartments, and other aspects of home decor that appear to be something other than what they actually are. This obsession started as a child, likely while watching Scooby Doo when Shaggy would invariably accidentally stumble on a dusty book on the shelf that when pulled would open a secret compartment. (Though we always knew which book it was as kids because the cartoon coloring was just a *little* bit different on that one book.)


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As we've been working on projects at our country house we've been trying to strike that delicate balance between major overhaul projects, minor upgrades and facelifts, general upkeep and maintenance, and just trying to have a good time with friends and family. 

We've been getting up to speed on crab picking...

...enjoying 4th of July festivities on the pier...

...and have been having fun in and on the water.


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At the beginning of April we filled you in on our plans to disguise the new HVAC intake under our beautiful main staircase.

If you were reading you may have missed this post since it was below our April Fool's post and you had already closed your browser in disgust of yet another website doing yet another April Fool's post. I mean, it was pretty funny in 2007, right? Ultimately, we shared our progress to date and some discussion of our plans.

To quickly recap, when we bought our "new" old house in the country, one of the things we loved the most is the staircase. The downstairs hallway is much wider than we're used to seeing in houses in Old Town, and Wendy especially loved the staircase, perfect for draping lush garlands at Christmastime. 

The staircase even had an interesting alcove beneath it where a hall table, lamp, and fun accessories could find a home.


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"Just because something doesn't look quite the way you want doesn't mean you have to live with it."

This should be a DIY mantra of some sort, perhaps tattooed across a self respecting handy person's calf or shoulder blade. I can see it now, there's no way I would regret a tattoo as legit as that in a prominent location on my body.

Several months ago we shared our lucky find of an outdoor dining table that we stumbled on at Lucketts Antiques. This beauty was hidden under several other items stacked up on the store's porch. So when we pulled the trigger on the purchase, we were aware that there had been a fair amount of damage to the table's surface from its time on the porch. 

The finish on the table top was a simple stain topped with an oil based poly. The poly was applied pretty thick, but was pretty heavily scratched in a few areas, there were several large sections where the first coat of poly had peeled up and a top coat was applied to cover the missing section, as well as a few places that had missing poly altogether. It looked good from a distance, but up close it had obviously see better days...and not in a cool character building way.


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