Sunday, December 18, 2011

To Name a Few Favorites

We started this journey a year ago. Our daughter Leah was home for Christmas when we showed her what was to be our future home.
She might be the only member of our family that didn't think we were crazy...

This past Thanksgiving, Leah was home again and saw the progress that had been made.

The house is not finished yet, but we are getting closer day by day.
A few of my favorite things around the house include the ceiling in our powder bath. It is a patchwork of found ceiling tiles from one of the buildings in downtown McKinney. Someone suggested we paint the tiles. I happen to like it just the way it is....unique.

I love my dining room. Mr. Ella is going to build me a huge farm table to put in here!
The original pocket doors and the added trim work are just perfect.

We brought in old crusty pieces where we could.

My pantry doors...

My farm sink....

The pressed tin behind the range.
(The cabinets are going to be distressed to look old.)

The old doors we saved.

And my most favorite studio!!!!

I can't wait. I wish I could just twitch my nose and it would all be finished and everything in its place!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Journey - the Entry

Our journey began about a year ago when we stumbled across what turned out to be our future home.

 The first time we looked at the house it was a cold day and we were freezing. Some of the doors were blocked with insulation boards. The tenants were living in a few of the rooms with small heaters.The air was thick with cigarette smoke.We moved quickly, with our eyes and minds whirling.  As you can tell the entry had been updated over the years, but needed an overhaul. 
A major overhaul...

The sheetrock came off, exposing the original shiplap boards.

While I was taking this picture I noticed something red up at the top of the wall.
I looked up and discovered the entry had once been totally covered with lovely red paper- even the ceiling. Back in the 1800's there wasn't any sheetrock, only wood. It would then be covered to help control the air drafts and they loved color ....everywhere.

The dining room doorway on the left was opened up.
The back of the house was also under reconstruction.
You can see light from the where the back of the house was torn off. 

The back of the house was rebuilt and is visible from the front entry.

The sheetrock came next. I have been asked why we didn't leave the shiplap boards exposed.
Well, we would simply like to be warm in the Winter and cool in the Summer!

We added an old door leading to the kitchen area. We hope to add a leaded glass window in the transom.
I think that I should tell you now that we are
not decorating this house with Victorian colors or stuffy uncomfortable furniture.
I respect history, but this will be a home, not a museum.
Whew, I feel better....

From the dining room looking toward the stairway you can see the fretwork I bought one day at the Antique Mall. 
I think it was meant to be!!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Just a quick update on our house progress. The outside is in the process of being painted. Most of the fence is up and we are staining it white. Only one coat so far. The inside of the house is sheetrocked and about ready to paint. I haven't decided on the colors anyway. That is a big decision! The tile in the bathrooms will be laid later this week.

There is more trim and paint to be added.
I will take you inside next time!

Monday, September 26, 2011

So much better...

 We are looking less like a haunted house now and more like a quaint old home. The outside is starting to take on the character it once had. There will be more curved gingerbread brackets added to give the house even more charm.
 This is what the front looked like when my daughter, Leah, was visiting last Christmas.
 Shabby, but not Chic...
We are headed in the right direction now. So much better...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Way Back Then

In this grainy old photo, you can see our house--- in the background. The first thing we wanted to find when we started this home restoration was some original photos of the home. The only ones found of our home were from the neighbor's archives.
The red outlines our original roofline.
Another found photo was later in the history of the home.
You can see the gingerbread on our porch behind "Grandma".

A storm had damaged the tower and was replaced with a sunroom or maybe what was used as a sleeping porch.
No central heat and air back then!

I would love to get my hands on some of that

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Panda White

...And the paint color is.... Panda White! Remember how Mr. Ella didn't want white? Well, don't tell him, but he picked white. He thinks it is off white. I am seeing a silky and soft white. Only some of the primer has been painted on, but you can get an idea of the look the house will have.

Looking down the side of the house.
There is a lot of tedious work still to be done before the painting can be completed. Trim around the windows, rotten boards replaced and caulking.

On the back of the house, you can see the contrast of the goldish Hardie board and the new color.

I can't wait to see the whole house done!!

Monday, June 27, 2011


We are starting to see a little bit of progress with our house recently. There are so many tedious projects when you are dealing with a structure that is one hundred and twenty years old. The newest changes involve a fabulous new roof, the adding of Hardie Siding on the new sections and also where the old parts had rotted over the years. I would love for all of the original siding to be restored, but you just don't need to live in a house with rotten boards.

Looking down the side you can see the new roof and the siding starting with the back addition.

Small windows will be cut out on the kitchen wall.

This is the section of the kitchen where the stove top and ovens will be. The windows will be over the top of the cabinets allowing light and privacy

The Hardie Board comes in a gold color. We are trying to decide what color to paint the house. I want an all white house, Mr. Ella doesn't. We are working on a compromise. I do know for sure it will not be yellow, green or blue. I don't have anything against houses painted these colors, but they just aren't for this house.

The most exciting work done lately is my little back porch is starting to take form and the new windows are being put in. Yes, we are going to have windows!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Remember what our house looked like when we started this journey? Since then it pretty much has been taken apart and is in the long and tedious process of being put back together.

If you drove down our street today you probably would wonder what on earth is going on!

There is a plan, I promise....

Part of the front was rebuilt to restore the home to its original form. The small tower had been blown off in a tornado that hit McKinney - I think in 1948.

The house was leveled using an elaborate pier and beam method. Huge I-beams are now under the foundation and steel piers have been pushed down to the bed rock.

All of the windows will be replaced with new energy efficient ones.

The back of the house was to say the least was "interesting" when we first decided to take on this project.

Most people would have run the other way.

Not us. We saw potential.

The back of the house is slowing being transformed.

New construction married with the old.

Bringing this 19th Century home into the 21st Century!

Unlike the original tenants, we will enjoy a new modern kitchen, indoor plumbing, electricity and central heat/air. Imagine that!

We have it good now, don't we?

I know you can't tell by looking at these photos, but this is the kitchen/breakfast room addition on the right and our Master Bedroom on the left.

The back door is at an angle and will have a small back porch. A bigger porch was not in the budget, but we thought we could always add that later if we decide to.

We are all wrapped up now like a big present!

Thanks Mr. Ella for the best gift ever!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Romantic Furniture

I don't splurge on furniture very often, but when I saw these pieces they pulled at my heart strings.

I bought them all.

The chairs are in my current house, but the bed went to storage for now. It will surface in the new old house.

I can't wait!!