The last several months have been nothing short of a massive effort to get our house back in shape. 

The whole house freeze last February forced us to put ongoing projects on hold and focus on hiring people to do the HVAC install and replace all of the plumbing in the house. Once we had both of those items nearly wrapped up we turned our focus to refinishing the floors, I don't know, because we can't help but blow up any project to make it even larger and more overwhelming!? But with the floor completely finished, and only in need of final inspections on the HVAC and plumbing, we're nearing the finish line on these major undertakings.

However, before we can get the final inspection on the plumbing we needed to wrap up a couple of loose ends on the project. While we hired a plumber to replace all of the lines in the house, it's our responsibility to hook up or replace many of the various fixtures. Specifically, we had to install toilets, replace a few badly leaking faucets, put a new filler on the clawfoot tub, install a new water heater and overflow lines, and to build a new sink top in our first floor bathroom. 

Do you remember our first floor bathroom? You know, the one that looked like this when we bought the house?

Then looked like this when we did a quick refresh.

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Comments 5

A few weeks ago we gave you an update on our antique heart pine floor refinishing, and this week we're very excited to share the finished product! 

Through a very long and drawn out process that included a good deal of heated spousal debate, a little social media luck, and more furniture moving than we could imagine, we had narrowed our process down to both the look we wanted as well as the right person for the job.

When working on a project like this it presents a unique set of challenges since we're not at the house every day to oversee things. As we've hired various contractors (construction, HVAC, plumbing, and now flooring) we've had to put a tremendous amount of trust and faith into the judgement of others. Since we're not on site, when a question comes up, we hope the people we've hired have gotten to know us well enough to either make choices they feel we'd choose, or to contact us when they're not sure which way to go.

Can I just tell you how fortunate we feel that we found Roland and his company, Royal Oaks Flooring? He gets us, he gets old houses, and he understands what needs to be done to make these beautiful floors look awesome.

When we last talked about the floor project we left you with a shot of the "hobbit room" (named for the roughly five foot tall doorframe I constantly smack my head into) after the sealer had been applied.

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Comments 17

If you've ever visited Old Town, you've no doubt seen the oval metal historic markers adorning the front of many residences and old buildings.

These little plaques are so significant that they are often mentioned in Old Town Alexandria real estate listings as a selling point for a property that has one.

Anyone who has noticed and been intrigued by one of these signs in Old Town, has possibly seen the hundreds of other historic markers throughout our town. Alexandria, like many neighborhoods and towns with old homes or historic designation, has no shortage of historic markers and antique looking signs decorating the front of the various homes and buildings. I know it's one of those things that I pick out almost immediately whether we're at home or on vacation, such as the plaques you might see on houses in St. Michaels, Maryland.

From talking with various people about this very subject over the years, it seems many wonder the same things as I have. Specifically "how did that marker get there in the first place," and "if there's a plaque on the front of the house, does that mean the owners can't make any changes to the house without some kind of act of congress for approval?" The simple answer is that it's not so simple.

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Comments 9

When it comes to celebrating Halloween, Old Town Alexandria is a special place to be!

Our historic streets are not only steeped in the history of several centuries gone by, but are also dripping with spooky stories and ghostly tales. What's even better is just how much the homes and neighbors of Old Town really, and I mean really, embrace the season with spine-tingling halloween displays. 

This week, in an effort to either entice you to visit Old Town this Halloween, to give you a few tips on how to best enjoy Halloween in our neighborhood if you'll be in Alexandria, or to inspire you to create your own spooky decor, I want to share a little of what makes Old Town so spectacular when it comes to my favorite holiday. 

Ghost Stories/Tours

Ask anyone who has lives in Old Town if they know of any ghost stories and you'll likely be treated to a few tales that might skin crawling. Throughout the years on our blog we've shared a few hair raising experiences in our home and our neighbors. In addition to these tales we've heard countless others involving everything from ghostly spinning wheels that make eerie noises well after they've been removed from the house, to spirits upset that their left artifacts have been removed from their secret hiding places and begin causing havoc.

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Comments 2

Just wanted to give you all a quick update on some major happenings in our new home. 

A few weeks ago we told you about our heated debate involving just how we'd ultimately refinish our new home's nearly 110 year old antique heart pine floors. We didn't want to go the old stain and poly route and we were assessing at all of our various options to achieve the look we wanted. 

If there's one thing you might know about us, it's our mutual understanding that this isn't a matter to be taken lightly. (We take our antique floors perhaps a bit too seriously.) What we do now will set the tone for our home for many years to come. What's more, what we do now will have a lasting impact on these beautiful floors, so we'd better make the right choices now for the sake of the floor's future. 

Well, after going over all of our various options and doing a ton of research, our wheels were spinning a little bit. We knew the direction we wanted to head, but we were discovering it was difficult to find a contractor that was familiar with and wanted to work with some of the newer approaches to refinishing. In steps fate.

While spending a bunch of time on Instagram I stumbled across the account of wood floor refinishing company called Royal Oaks Flooring that is working down the street from us on a beautiful old home in Old Town. As I looked at some of their other photos I saw several newer techniques in use that we had been researching, including a photo that looked a lot like what Wendy wants our floors to be one day. 

As a result I sent them a message to see if they'd be interested in working with us on our home. A few days later I met Roland at our house to give him a tour and show him what we were interested in doing. Can I tell you, I wanted to work with him almost as soon as I met him.

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Comments 17
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