Deck reno, part 4: The big finish (and definition of finish)


By Elle
As usual, we were working furiously on a renovation project in time for an event — this time our deck in prep for my granddaughter’s 13th birthday party. I’m excited to say that it is (mostly) finished. What began as a simple reskin of our lower deck turned into a complete redo and an extension, creating a third level of deck along with a privacy wall. Are we overachievers or what?

I remember Arkady saying once that we should always leave a maker’s mark on our projects. We did that in the form of heritage tiles in our back hallway and on the laundry room sink after those renovations. But not so much after that, perhaps because a lot of our renovations haven’t quite crossed the finish line, which got me thinking.

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Deck reno, part 3: Picture-frame stair treads and gratitude for something I didn’t get


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design picture-frame stair treadsBy Elle

As part of my gratitude practice, I try to be thankful for the things that I don’t have, in addition to those that I do. For example, for the last several weeks, we’ve been racing to get the rest of our deck finished in time for my 13-year-old granddaughter Brenna’s coming-of-age party.  Although the party itself was fun, I felt underwhelmed about how the ceremony turned out and, frankly, was feeling down about it.

Then I remembered the six-foot ball I bought for the kids to play with at the party.

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Deck reno, part 2: Extension and slide!


By Elle

You might ask why we’re installing a slide from our deck. Because I sometimes have crazy ideas, and my beloved typically goes right along with them, that’s why. I used to think it was because he absolutely adores me (which is true), but I now know that if the idea requires something to be built, it sparks the Boy Who Likes to Build inside him.

Here’s a story: When Arkady was a wee lad, his parents were still in the process of building (mostly themselves) their brick ranch in a far eastern suburb of Cleveland. He watched as his dad, working on two-story scaffolding, finished the brickwork in the back of the house. He helped his mom shovel backfill, and he probably wanted to help his dad install the oak floor that runs throughout most of the house.
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Kitchen reno screeches to a halt, so I went apron shopping


By Elle

As I mentioned in my last post, renovation around the old homestead has all but stopped; instead of tearing out drywall and installing cabinetry, we’re focused on caring for aging parents. Luckily my half-finished kitchen is fully functional, so I have zero complaints. I can still whip up awesome vegan dishes or enjoy Thai takeout at our new kitchen island.

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Aging demands color — and a home remedy for nocturia


By Elle

We’ve been terrible about keeping up with our blog, but it’s not for lack of interest or enthusiasm. Rather, we’ve been dealing with elderly parents, which naturally gets one thinking about how we age and if there is such a thing as aging gracefully. Continue reading

All for the love of plaid skirts and saddle shoes


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & DesignBy Elle

I’ve loved plaid ever since I was a kid, when I first saw the girls in my neighborhood who went to the parochial school walking in their pleated plaid skirts, white shirts and black cardigans. I also coveted their shiny black and white saddle shoes. I went to the public school, so I could wear anything I wanted. And I wanted a plaid skirt and saddle shoes.

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