Who would have thought the 1990s hip hop party anthem "Jump Around" would eventually serve double duty as the theme of how I attack renovation projects? Everlast, DJ Lethal, and Danny Boy May never have intended for a 30 something DIY enthusiast to hang this catchy tune on her approach to home projects, but it happened, and it's all thanks to my mounting impatience and desire to just get something completed.

For anyone who is following our renovation journey spanning more than a decade, we thank you. Due to a limited availability of time, a desire to do things ourselves, and a tendency to prioritize "doing it right" over "doing it quickly," we move at a snail's pace when it comes to home improvement projects. What's worse is the simple fact that when we're starting to make progress on a large project, I'm frequently guilty of making us shift gears due to my impatience. Yes, yes, I'm fully admitting to being the catalyst for so many side projects taking over primary projects and massively derailing timelines. I often blame Alex for the slowdown, but it's at least partly on me. Let's call it "Wendy's Law." As a result, I'm sure when reading along it's hard to follow our progress, and can say that as someone living through the process, it can even be confusing for me.

The point of all of this is to tell you, in true "Wendy's Law" form, I've gone and thrown a wrench in our DIY plans.

While we're making a lot of progress on the massive renovation of the living room in our new house (yes, the one that's been ongoing for almost two years now)...

...as well as closing in on the finish line of our built in bench project...

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One of the most difficult aspects of renovating an old home is to ensure your alterations are not only functional and attractive, but are in keeping with the character of the house.


The hallway on the day we moved in

Anyone who has renovated a home of a certain age knows this all too well. The simple fact is that an old home’s character and identity comes from its many small details that were given the utmost of attention. If you complete a project in a old house that retains some of its original detail, and you and don’t take the time and effort to mimic these original details during the new project, your work often ends up sticking out like a sore thumb.

When we had ducted HVAC installed in our new home, we had to work hard to ensure the ducts would run inconspicuously throughout the house. While we were able to accomplish this in almost all cases, the one place where the air return duct had to make an unsightly appearance was beneath our lovely main staircase.

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We've been working on many projects over the past several weeks, but we've been rather quiet here on the blog.

Seems that we've been working on a lot but haven't been getting many of those items completed. Add a crazy work schedule, Halloween, now Thanksgiving, and an early October vacation into the mix and you've got yourself a recipe for blog slackerdom.

However, what we lack in blog posts I'm hoping we've made up for in progress that we'll be sharing over the coming weeks. Most notably we've been finally moving along the long delayed master bathroom cabinets project.

You remember those right? The two cabinets we've been building that will flank the master bathroom vanity?

We've been slowly making some really great project on these babies. This includes a good deal of working to build drawers to help close up four of the glaring holes on the front of the lower section and replacing it with functional storage.

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While Alexandria's Southeast Quadrant may be a major historic attraction when it comes to old homes, many of Old Town's oldest and most well known homes reside just across King Street in the Northeast Quadrant of town.

As we continue our Old Town walking tour series we'll focus on this important northeast section of Alexandria where the city's original center was situated, and where Alexandria's most famous families, the Washingtons, Lees, and Carlyles, all ate, slept, and lived.

This walking tour is 2.2 miles and should take between an hour and one hour 20 minutes to complete (more if you opt for a tour at any of the museum stops). The terrain is easy and there are no hills or tricky footing.

We'll once again start this tour at the central intersection of Alexandria's four quadrants, Washington and King Streets, directly in front of the Alfriend Building, also known as the John Gordon house, on the northeast corner of the street. This beautiful building is a row end building with a Georgian facade, one of the few remaining in Alexandria.

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Steeped in history, full of charm, and jam packed with interesting sights and architecture, the streets of Old Town Alexandria's neighborhoods make for a day of fun while wandering, gawking, and learning.

Having lived in Alexandria since 2000, and in historic Old Town since 2003, we never tire of Old Town. It's not unusual to find us going on walks several times per week just to enjoy this place we call home. 

Now that we're solidly into the beautiful fall weather, we want to share some of our favorite Old Town Alexandria walking paths with you. Best of all, these are all tours from the perspective of locals.

If you're not familiar with Old Town Alexandria, it's divided into four primary quadrants, Southeast, Northeast, Southwest, and Northwest. These four quadrants are based around the central intersection of King and Washington Streets, and each quadrant has its own unique and interesting elements that set it apart from the others. 

We'll be doing this series of blog posts on walking tours of Old Town with each post focusing on an individual quadrant. It's our hope that these guides will offer you a tour of Old Town from a local's vantage point. While I wouldn't really call it "off the beaten path," I think it's fair to consider these walking tours a deviation from the typical tourist guides offered online. So if you find yourself in Old Town, either because you live here or are visiting, we hope you can use our guide to glimpse something interesting and new. And if you're just reading from afar, we hope our photos and descriptions will help paint a picture of our amazing city.

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