Archives For FAMILY

Summer Update

August 12, 2013 — 4 Comments

liverpoolhouse1Hello to all of my long lost blog friends! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! In case anyone was wondering, we are all fine here. I don’t have some great excuse for why I dropped off the face of the planet. I guess I needed a break from the blog, or at least one less thing to try to get done in a day. The summer is slipping away and I’m not ready for it to come to a close. We have been busy here, although more with swimming and laying low than house projects. We also managed a nice long vacation to Quebec, which was a really great adventure.


We have some house made progress, although at a much slower pace than I had anticipated (although that seems to be the way things usually go).  In the Master Bedroom all that is left is some paint touch up and the base board custom drawers (and hanging art and curtains…). We actually put this on hold for a couple of weeks so we could do some work on the kids’ room.


Bunkbeds are now in place, the door swing has been switched and the car beds have moved to the garage. This has allowed us to free up some valuable floor space and start reorganizing before school starts. The list for their room is quite long, but for once it is almost all small DIY projects, which will be a nice break from some of our more heavy duty construction projects.


The upstairs hallway is still a real mess, although most of the heavy duty construction work is done (except for the bathroom door/railing). As you can see the trim is a wreck, although we won’t be painting it until everything else is squared away. The ceiling fan is functioning, which is great as are our LED recessed lights (which are worth a whole separate post). The fan sounds a bit like an old prop plane taking off, but I mean that in an endearing way.

So that is about it around here. I will be posting more details and updates on all of our projects soon. I hope you will come back and check in! Has anyone gone on a great adventure or made progress our their house?


Sam is 6

July 1, 2013 — 1 Comment


I know I have been long overdue in writing. We have been busy celebrating my little guy’s 6th Birthday. I can’t believe how grown up he has become. Every time I go through photos I realize that there is less and less little guy. Fortunately he will still snuggle up with me. Although at camp he doesn’t want to give me a kiss anymore before I leave.

He requested a short haircut for the summer, which I think makes him look even older. It doesn’t help that he is in the 98% for height.


He was so good about his birthday. His only request was some Dr. Who toys.  Here he is with his new Tardis. And yes we are a big nerdy family!


Left to his own imagination, he is a silly guy who likes to dress up, draw elaborate pictures and play in the mud. I’m so proud of him, he has grown up so much in the last year! Happy Birthday to my sweet boy!


The kids are actually away for a couple of days visiting their grandparents. As much as some quiet time is nice, I already miss them.

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I hope everyone had a great weekend. It is raining here AGAIN! We had 5 1/2″ of rain on Friday and it looked like this. Yuck! The only one who didn’t seem to mind was Sam. His preference was to get his head as WET as possible.


The weather was actually nice on Sunday, but it is back to pouring rain this morning. Fortunately the roofers fixed most of the leaky spots on the roof on Thursday. They still have a bunch of little stuff to do, but at least we are making headway. I keep trying to get some photos of the garden, but the weather is not on my side!


In the meantime we did manage to install the Ikea PAX Hemnes doors (painted white) this weekend. I think that they look great and I no longer feel like I am sleeping in a walk-in closet. A longer post is in order, but we did need to do some hacking with the PAX because it is designed so that a drawer and it track can’t overlap with a hinge, and when there are 4 hinges per door that is a problem. Fortunately the internet came to the rescue and we literally hacksawed some drawer slides.  I also still need to decide on knobs/handles. I was originally planning on going industrial.


But now I am feeling like maybe going a bit more vintage in style like this porcelain knob with a wood finish ($9.99):

Or this Milk Glass Knob ($9.99):


I also love this Eastlake ring pull ($6.59). Unfortunately it is only about 1 3/4″ tall which I think will look too small:


Does anyone have any suggestions? I think I am still suffering from decision fatigue. We have a crazy week ahead. It is the last week of school and we have kindergarten graduation (part 2) coming up. Needless to say there have already been a few tears shed as my little guy starts to grow up.



I have a little weekend update. Our house decided to give us a couple of little presents this week.  These are both thanks to our contractor, who uncovered these gems. Above is what appears to be an insurance policy cover. It reads “Connecticut Fire Insurance Co. Hartford. Henry W. Brown & Co. Agents, 505 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia”. Given it appearance it looks to me like it dates to around the time the house was built. There was a little bit of writing on the back which unfortunately is totally illegible now. This was found in the pocket door pocket. Needless to say it was a pretty cool find. So I was really surprised when he dropped off an even cooler surprise on Friday.


This is a postcard from Harrisburg (Bird’s Eye View No. 3 of Circle of City Iron Steel Pipe) addressed to Mrs. C. G. Grayer living in our house and postmarked April 25, 1913 (exactly 100 years ago next week). The card is in remarkably good condition. It was behind a piece of baseboard in our bedroom. The baseboard did a nice job of keeping in flat and out of the sunlight.


It is pretty difficult to make out the handwriting but Verde is living here with her family. It is pretty strange to think about the number of families that have lived here over the years. I would love to spend a day in the house back in its early years.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!



We are mostly better here in the Sentivan household. The kids are back at school and I will be heading to work shortly. I’m still not quite feeling myself and have been drinking copious amounts of ginger ale. I had hoped to have a bigger post for you this morning, but well it isn’t going to happen. I should have some good stuff for you shortly though, our contractor is suppose to start working in the next couple of days to move our bedroom door and prepare for the electrical conduit. I also have an AC contractor coming over on Wednesday to take a look. I think I am most excited about that, since lining up that work and figuring out where the ducts go, will have a big impact on everything else.


As you can see Mr. S’s fingers got a little itchy and he couldn’t help but remove a little bit of plaster over the weekend. The portion on the left at the corner was really loose. On the right there was a crack at the top and I asked him to go across so we could figure out where the studs are located. I was hoping to use the space between 2 studs in the linen closet for added depth. Unfortunately the next stud is right in the middle, so that is a no go as that would require taking out the plaster on the bedroom side another 18″ or so, which I don’t really want to do. On the hallway side this whole wall will be loosing its plaster in order to move the door and reconfigure.

Please stay tuned!

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Maisie is 4!

March 5, 2013 — 1 Comment


We celebrated my littlest one’s birthday over the weekend! Maisie is officially 4 and is very happy to tell anyone who will listen. I made a cherry vanilla cake per her request. Of course it had to be maraschino cherry based! She seemed to enjoy her choice even if it didn’t look quite like the one that it was based on. Her birthday involved lots of girly presents, which I suppose is to be expected.


I really liked her outfit for the day. I selected the Hello Kitty dress which has been waiting for her to grow into for the last 2 years. She added the cardigan, necklace, headband and slippers.


I can’t believe how big she has gotten! I am a very proud mom who feels very fortunate to have such a beautiful, strong willed little girl.

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My little blog is officially 2 today! So to my faithful readers: Thanks for reading!

A lot has happened in the last 2 years and I have been very fortunate to have a supportive family and friends while I try out new things, write this blog and take on more clients. To my family and friends: Thanks and love you all!

I am still working on a full house tour, but today I thought I would show you some before pictures of our house (aka 2000 when I didn’t know any better). I finally dug out some of the old photos and took photos of them (yes, photos of photos) so you too could enjoy the splendor of the 1970s wallpaper and color schemes too! And, yes clearly we were crazy!


Above is the flyer that was handed out at the open house. I removed the price but I will say that the price was lowered 3 times and was pretty reasonable (although I suppose if you factor in the work required maybe not so much). It was well under our budget and over $50,000 less than the original price. I don’t think we were the “antique buffs” the previous owner was thinking of but we do LOVE our house.


This set of exterior photos are from the open house. I hope you enjoy the mustard asbestos shingles in all their glory (since thankfully they are all gone). Mr. S. is most amazed by our little privet hedge covered in ivy. One of my early jobs was spending many hours cutting out the ivy. The hedge is now 3 times as tall and wide (with some very stubborn ivy still there).


Here is the back of the house with the “entrance” to the basement office. I was so happy the day we took that off since it was blocking our view of the backyard (in what was the dining room and is now the kitchen). One interesting fact is that the entrance was made completely out of old Boeing crates (the previous owner worked there). The window on the left is now where the piano is located but was behind the fridge when we bought the house.


A straight on view of the back of the house. One of the things that sold us was the giant pine tree.


In this shot you can see the bulge in the siding (which we were very curious about). When removing the siding we realized that it was because the first floor was covered with fake brick in between the original shingles and the asbestos ones.


Just look at all that mustard! It was everywhere (well except for the brown trim)!


Please step inside! I don’t think we actually have a picture of the front hall from before we bought the house. Here is Mr. S. about a week after we bought the house taking out the red carpeting and wallpaper from the front hall. Fortunately at least the wallpaper came off easily (at least in this space).


Next up is the old Dining Room which is now the Kitchen. We had already replaced the light fixture in here. The first time we painted this space I went will a pretty bright light green. Later I thought that decision was a little too bright and primary, but when you are going from an endless see of 1970s gold, orange and brown gloom, all I could think of were happy bright colors.


This is looking back towards the front of the house. The middle door is no longer there (it has been replaced with a door in the hallway for the half bath). You can also see the corner of the wood burning stove sticking out from the fireplace. That was a beast!


Finally I am going to leave you will a before picture of our kitchen (now the Dining Room). And yes, that is all the counter space we had! The door on the right lead out to the refrigerator room. You can also just get a glimpse of the faux wood “rustic” beams that were on the ceiling. The light blue on the cabinet was my test color. We lived with this kitchen for a couple of years before making a much more suitable space in the Dining Room.

I will be back next week with some more before and after photos! We will be celebrating our little one’s birthday this weekend.



Hi All! Well we finally decided to go live with the new look for the blog. Mr. S. deserves most of the credit for this one (Thanks Mr. S!).  A lot of the work is actually on the back end. So in addition to a new logo and appearance the blog now has responsive design which is really cool and means that it should work well on phones and tablets too (which is 100% Mr. S.)!

The biggest change is probably the new logo. Which took lots of back and forth and I think is quite beautiful. We have also added a white background, which is departure for me but I think it work well for highlighting the content.  We also added a colorful border with different patterns that vary (because I need to have my color and pattern somewhere).

I still have a bunch of stuff to add including a new picture of me (in progress), social media links, a links page and most importantly a full house tour. Since the blog with have its 2 year anniversary at the end of the month, I hope to have all of that up and running by then.


Original Design from 2011

We have come a long way in the two years since we started. I hope you enjoy the new look!

And a special thanks to all of my readers who keep me inspired! xoxo


Happy New Year!

January 2, 2013 — 4 Comments


Happy New Year Everyone! I hope everyone had a joyful and restful holiday season!

I can’t believe 2012 is over and it is time to start thinking about 2013 and what lies ahead. This past year has been so full it is hard to imagine what is in store for this year. As you can see I’m starting off the year with a bit of a ramble. I’ve had some time to stew things over in my head, so I thought I would share.

I had some quality downtime over the break. So what did I do with it? We spent a good bit of time as a family and Mr. S. and I actually managed to get some alone time in, including going out to lunch a couple of times by ourselves!


I also managed to start cleaning and organizing the workroom in the basement and Mr. S. worked on a new logo for the blog and is part way through a new layout. I’m pretty excited about that, especially since the current format seems to be literally falling apart.


The other thing I managed to do was to read an entire book, which is a miracle in itself. I chose “Happiness at Home” by Gretchen Rubin. I haven’t read the “Happiness Project” but I thought this sequel might be more my speed. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, much less on actual concrete “home” and more on creating a better home life. A lot of the things she wrote resonated with me. So I’m not quite sure I will be starting a compete Happiness Project, but I am going to try and be more mindful and am considering a few small changes. I like her strategy of making small concrete changes, rather than large gestures that are harder to actually implement and stick to. Has anyone tried their own Happiness Project?


I also worked on some to do lists for the house. I really like making lists, particularly by hand. That way I can add notes, circles, cross things off. Does anyone else still do this?

What came out of my house lists and discussions with Mr. S. is that adding air conditioning by the summer is at the top of the LONG list. Our window units aren’t cutting it and with global climate change air conditioning has become much more of a necessity in these parts.  We also have some ongoing space planning issues on the second floor, which have been on hold until we determine the layout for the air conditioning ducts. Our general plan had been to install the unit on the third floor to feed the second and third floor. Our neighbors have this set up and it has provided ample cooling for all three floors of their house. Of course it is never that simple. It will require removing a good portion of the plaster knee walls in the third floor to insulate and then carefully snaking the ducting through the eaves down to the second floor and into the third floor. Well after some thinking about both the second and third floor problems, I think I have come up with a better solution. Our second floor ceilings are 9 1/2′ tall. The plaster ceilings in the master bedroom and the hallway need to be covered/replaced anyway, so why not take some of the ceiling height in the hallway and run the ducts down there? That should provide a straighter and cleaner installation for the air conditioning ducts. Of course that still requires insulating the third floor/roof and installing the base unit up there, but I think it might be a good solution.

As I work this out a little more in my head I will post up some drawings and photos. I also need to get some air conditioning and insulation guys in to take a look. I also need to figure out how to get more power up to the second and third floor without making a total mess of the house.

I also have a list of a LOT of smaller projects. So over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing some of these ideas.

Cheers to a wonderful 2013!


Santa Was Here!

December 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday! We are fortunate to have seen almost our entire family in the last 5 days and are looking to a couple of quiet days before the start of the year.

I wrote about our Santa visit last year but I thought I would update with this year’s picture.



And here are the previous years…











P.S. I want to give a special shout out to my lovely husband, who fixed my wordpress problem! I can finally upload pictures again! Yeah!

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