Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What I do at Kenilworth

When I go to Kenilworth, first thing I do is go to the cobhouse and visit the cats. Usually only Toto Rico is there when I come in. Lion is black and really really fat. Actually both of them are really fat. You know I like how they’re fat because they’re really soft. And Rico likes to be held but Lion doesn’t like to be held. Toto is used to us but Lion is REALLY shy only when cousins come. Rico has five fingers on one front paw, on the other there are six. They are REALLY good hunters. One time I came in to get something for mine and Sophia’s game and I saw that Rico had a dead mouse in his mouth. So Alix took Rico out of the cobhouse and closed the doors and we left the mouse in the cobhouse.  I think mommy or Luke took it out I don’t know. Well so I went inside the house and started playing with Sophia and Olivia.  We played horse, then awhile later it was snack time so we went down-stairs to eat our snack. We all had fruit drinks and fruit packages, then we went upstairs to play again. Once we were bored, we went outside to swing. We swung for a long time then we went to the tree house.  Then we went to the cobhouse again to see Rico.


                                THE END by Isabella Faith Orr                                          


Demo in the Dining Room

Progress has been made.  We are down to lovely studs, and a few scattered wisps of clingy cotton insulation here and there.


The kids were a great help to me on the 2 inside walls, and then Luke, Glenn and Mick finished tearing out the thick lathe on the outer 2 walls.

The insulation was downright miserable – a combination of black cotton-like fluff packed tightly between the studs, intermixed with unfaced fiberglass insulation – grey with age and dust, and some foamy kind of stuff.  Glenn had never seen it before and we were a little concerned about what it was, but it’s gone now.  We gave a piece of it to an insulation guy and he took it to see if he could find out just what it is. 

This 1970’s era, single-paned, cloudy picture window will be replaced with 3 double-hung windows.  We’ll actually be able to look outside and see things!


The dining room looks bigger without the little closet, and we were able to find a very nice door on CL with a full double-paned window to replace the solid door on the wall which faces the backyard.  We also decided to put in a window on the same wall as the door.  It should add a lot more light to the room and give us a great view of our backyard and the fields beyond.

Here’s the wall for the new window and door (notice Alix’s sweet attempt to save the chandelier – we’re not really hanging engorged garbage bags from the ceiling):


Reconstruction will go a little slower, since I am trying to find windows on CL or in a back room at a home improvements store.  But we’re still busy with the egress – not to mention weeding the yard!

Luke mowed for the first time yesterday – and it looked so green and pretty!  Verdant is the word that comes to mind…


Glenn was able to jackhammer (new verb) out the concrete shelf in the egress!  Hooray!  He cleared the way to the 8 inch concrete wall, which he’ll be able to cut with his saw.  We were very relieved that he was able to get through it – otherwise, we would have had to pay to have someone come out and take care of it with a special concrete chainsaw.   Praise God for helping us save money!


IMG_2322The kids have been hard at work every day…


But they’ve still had lots of fun and enjoyed themselves, too.









Other big news is that we received the official building permit yesterday!  Very exciting for us!  So I put the little green and white notice in one of the front windows and we stood back and admired it for a second.

Wouldn’t it be perfect if I had a picture of it to insert right here!?  But, no.  Didn’t think of that!  Smile

Sunday, March 25, 2012

this is by Sophia Grace Orr

One day we were playing this kind of game on the swings at Kenilworth. I flew off the swing and hurt my arm.  It felt like it was broken but it was not.  I was really very sad, still I had wished that I had not done it.  I lay there on the ground crying - my family came running out of places of the house. I was holding my arm in pain.  But after a long time I was quietly siting on the bench watching kids playing.  Now over two people have gotten hurt on the swings and mommy and daddy jokingly say, “well we should not get on the swing”.  This makes me cheer up more, not a lot more, but more.  Even though so many people have gotten hurt we still LOVE Kenilworth. 


The cats are very fun, they are dirty but fun and funny to play with.  They are all ours and Kate even petted Rico.  Lion is a black cat - he is VERY fat, they both are. 


The best thing about Kenilworth is that we are going to live in it, not yet but when we get the work done we will be able to move in to …….. Kenilworth.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012


The girls are all sharing the upstairs..

Let’s go on up and see!


Here is a crazy picture of the stairs, taken from the top.  Looking down towards the right – you are headed toward the front door.  . 


The stairs to the left of the landing go down into the kitchen


Try to picture white spindles and newel posts, stained hand rail, stained treads and white kickbacks..


At the top of the stairs and to the immediate right is the bathroom.  It does have 2 sinks, but the first one didn’t make it into this shot.

                                                                                                                                                                  IMG_2260  Behind the door is a little closet with shelves, and a nice sized area- big enough for a hutch to store their pretty things – and maybe a little chair or stool to perch on as they chat while they purty themselves up in the mirror.  The commode is to the left behind that short wall – across from the shower.


If you turned around in this doorway, you would be looking toward the front of the house.  There is a very nice landing, which will have a entire wall of bookshelves built in, plus a place for a computer.

IMG_2259  Although this picture doesn’t accurately show how wide this space really feels, it does show the slight slant in the floor towards Alix and Kate’s room there on the right. 

The door on the left leads to the twins’ and Olivia’s room. 


First the Big Girls…unfortunately – I can’t find the shot I took of the inside of their room.  I’ll have to get another and update later – but for now, suffice it to say that they have long closets on the right side of the door, and 2 windows – the one you can see part of there, and the other is the first upper story window that you see from the front view of the house.  A very respectable room for the girls – they are pleased as punch about it.



The little girls’ room will undergo some changes, we’re just not exactly sure how… today.  But here it is for now!

IMG_2262  Everyone is tickled about that window seat – it already has seen a lot of action  (notice the papers on the floor in front of it and the clothing tossed cheerfully into a pile there in the corner.  I think it has also been a hiding place during a few games of hide-n-seek last week.  That window faces the side yard – same direction as the dining room window.  On the wall to the left is a short door which leads into a long, wide attic type space that we will convert and finish for a closet and toy area.



This shot is take from the corner by the closet on the left – looking toward their door.  The two windows are on the front of the house – the 2 on the right of the second floor as you face the house.  Their room is nice and spacious, but we need to figure out a little more wall space, since the one to the right of the door has a corner that houses the chimney flu for the fireplace.  Of course if the fireplace – and chimney flu – go bye-bye, that would help a little bit..  Hmmm… well we’ll think about that one tomorrow.

Right now, we’re still doing demo work in the dining room, trying to finish the egress hole (almost there!), and getting ready to close up the opening to The Crawlspace, since we finished everything down there today.

We don’t have too much left to do with our Dining Room demo – thanks to Mick coming over to help us this afternoon!  Thanks, Mick!!!  He made a huge difference – and we reminisced about doing similar work in his and Colleen’s house after we were all first married and living there together. 

But that is a story for another post. 

Ah memories! 

Lathe and Plaster memories…  or as I told one friend this week, “plathe and laster”.  I’m a little tired – thankfully she knew what I meant.  Although – Colleen, I can say that I slept the whole night last night!  Yay!!  I’m sure everyone was thankful for that.

Well, that’s it for today.  We’ve been hard at work at Kenilworth every day this week, after school in the morning and then lunch.  So there hasn’t been much time for posting, but we are making progress!

And mainly, we’re enjoying getting to know the fun things about our new home, and being thankful for all of it.  (except maybe that yucky insulation stuff they blew into the dining room walls many years ago)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kate’s View: Blog Post #1 Date: 3/21/12, Wednesday


 IMG_2233On Saturday, we had pizza. IMG_2240

DELICIOUS!!!! It was from Aldi. Yum! Yum! Yum!

   On Saturday, Mommy and I moved some logs and metal beam-thingies to over by the bricks, which are lined up against the cobhouse- or – the shed.  IMG_2280

IMG_2281Those bricks and logs used to be falling over messily against the fence to the picture’s right. 

           Yesterday, Mom went to Aunt Pauline’s for lunch, so we headed out for Kenilworth kind of late.  After a fabulous dinner of chili and Mom’s cornbread, we started ripping out the wall paper and closet in the dining room. Or at least, Mom, Luke, and Noah did. I took the “debris” over to the burn pile.  We are not going to be cooking hotdogs and roasting marshmallows over that fire.  It’s full of old mouse-invaded file cabinets, wood with nails still intact, a bit of dirt, sticks, and more! We also played a really fun game yesterday, Noah and Issie and I, it was called “Zwing Spies.” We made it out of a club I invented called “Swing X” but we call it “SX.” Only Isabella and me and Noah are in it currently, but it’s still really fun!  Here’s the logo thing for it…


Well, I’ll be posting again soon!

Pritty Little Kitty!

      Hi all! Alix here. Two cats came with Kenilworth when we bought it. At first, they are just Black Cat and Rico. Way too plain, in all our opinions! Now we have Totorico (you say “toto” really fast and then, without a pause in between, you say “rico”). Totorico’s nicknames are Toto, Rrrrrrrrrrrico, and Rikki – tikki – tikko. All of them are used when calling him. Winking smile

       Black Cat has a very … interesting? Is that the right word? … name. It is Lion Perfect Paws Target Black Cat Saldana Orr. Whew! I shall explain all the names, starting with Saldana. (I don’t think explaining where “Orr” came in is necessary)   The previous owners of the house, who also owned the cats, their last name was Saldana (Sal – dan – ya). So that’s where that came in. Black Cat was the name the Saldanas gave him. Before we knew they had names already (we just heard there were two mousers who came with the house) we elected names for the cats. Guess what Rico’s was? Toto. But Black Cat, who we call Lion, well, he received two names. The boys and I wanted to call him Target, but the girls wanted to call him Perfect Paws. So there’s the Perfect Paws Target part. Lion came in when we met him. First of all, he is mostly Persian cat. In other words, he’s GIGANTIC. For being so big, furry, and black, he’s very timid. The other reason we called him Lion was because when he purrs, grrrr! He sounds precisely like a lion. You can tell they’re related, anyway.  Rico is pretty friendly, as long as you don’t make any loud noises around him. Yesterday we were singing (more like bellowing) happy birthday to someone on the phone while I was holding him. The “HAP ..” came, and he was outta there! I didn’t see him again till dark. However, if I’m all by myself (or at least for all he can see), and I call “Rico, kitty kitty! Rico!” and crouch and pat the ground in front of me, he comes right up. I just pick him up and take him back to the Cobhouse (which is what we lovingly call our shed, where the cats live).

    As I said, Lion is timid. He doesn’t like many people around, or he hides either behind a pile of stuff in the corner of the cobhouse or behind his big yellow bucket. However, if I put a little twist on his plans, (and his appetite) I can hold a little piece of lunchmeat or his favorite kitty treat, he timidly comes out. Ever-helpful Rico just sits there, like the lazy fat cat we like to playfully call him.  Smile  

We first found him in a lower  cupboard in the garage; we had accidentally locked him in the night before. Poor kitty! I crooned to him, and then when he finally came over I picked him up and set him on the counter with the cat food. I just stared at him; he was HUGE!! (and still is, of course) Now I’ll relieve you of my rattling and show you some pictures of Rico. I’d have some of Lion, but I haven’t seen him for a few days. I guess he found a mouse house and is getting fatter than before.

     Rico refusing to stand for the picture …


    Guess what? Rico is a polydactyl. He has thumbs!


   Even for a polydactyl, though, Rico is unusual. 5 claws on 3 paws but .. 6 on the other! His left forepaw.


Can you see the sixth claw? It’s in between his “thumb” and “forefinger”. Smile


Smile, Rico! In this one and the top pic you can see the back of our cobhouse and Lion’s beloved tarp pile, and also Rico’s cardboard-box-cathouse.


He loves to have his belly rubbed, but I think he was feeling a little self conscious of the camera. I probably would, too!


I’ll snag Lion sometime for his lesson on photography; he’s handsome and he knows it! Usually, though, he’ll  only show off his uppity side if there are only a few people around. More than 3, and he drops the act and high-tails it, or low-tails it, as the case may be, to his beloved bucket. You’ll have to come pet both cats for real, sometime; you can shake paws with Rico! Winking smile

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Inside Pictures

One more quick post today – some interior shots..

IMG_2244  Welcome!  Come on in – the door is open!


     Family room to the right of the entry – I’m standing in the pocket door..


Here it is!

                                                                                   IMG_2248   I admit it.. I love this door!  I even took a close up shot of it.


If you go through that door and turn right, you head toward the school room (on the left) and the kitchen is straight ahead!

                                          IMG_2250  That green floor tape is our attempt to preserve the floors  - see it goes right up to the basement door on the right?  I’ve been vacuuming the kitchen and hallway to the garage each night, to try to keep the dirt to a minimum.


Walk through that entryway shown above and you arrive at the kitchen.. right there just beyond Sophia on the left is where you came through.  See all that dust?  See the happy kids? 


This next view is the hallway Isabella was just walking out of – it leads toward the garage and passes the main floor bathroom, which is on the right, across from those windows.  That garage door will be removed, and a new hallway will turn right leading toward the new mudroom, pantry, and laundry room.  The door into our room will be a little ways down the new hallway, to the left. The garage will be remodeled as the master bedroom and bathroom, and the new closet will be part of the addition that will include a back entry into the mudroom, with pantry cabinets and the extra fridge on the other end of the addition.  The new addition will be like a long rectangle, with the entry door kind of in the middle.  Glenn has it figured out, he can explain it better sometime.  Smile



Next on the main floor is the dining room – that door goes into the kitchen, and I’m standing between the pocket doors which separate the dining room from the family room.


Here’s a shot taken in the middle of the family room – as you face the dining room.



One last picture for today…  the fireplace.  My nemesis.  We might take out the entire thing – it takes up so much space!  But minimally, the stone fa├žade is on my demo list, so I wanted to get a nice “Before” shot.  Notice the hilarious “icon” niches up there on top. 




The second floor is for another day.  We’re tired!

Good Night!

The Crawlspace and Other Dirty Things..

 IMG_2161  So here’s Noah at the entrance to The Crawlspace – looks pretty inviting doesn’t it?!  See how intrigued the girls are as they keep a safe distance away?


Let’s have a closer look, shall we?…….


IMG_2158  And there’s Luke!  I’ll let him share about the Adventures in The Crawlspace..   I had my own stint in there and feel very smug about the fact that I made some headway digging the main channel while squatting and hacking away at the packed dirt with the shovel.  Thankfully, there are no pictures of that…


Yesterday I moved several Hosta plants, which were in the space where we are going to do the mudroom.  I didn’t know they were even there until I glanced down at the dirt and saw them peeking up stout green pointers.  As soon as I had a chance, I moved them all to the front area between the house and the garage, by the windows. 

Although you can’t really see the Hostas yet, they’re there, believe me!

There are some irises over there, and some other things – looks like maybe peonies, and last week one day I moved a really large stone pedestal from another part of the yard to the center of the area.  I think a nice pot of colorful flowers might do very nicely on top of the pedestal..   Need to add some more color here, too..




Also spent a little time pruning the fruit trees..  I even climbed up in one of them to get some of the higher branches.  (the 5th one from the left in the line of trees)

I have a little grace..


And then there was one last really dirty thing we started today – Luke, Noah, I.   Here is a hint..


More on this – and pictures! – soon.