Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Best Money Ever Spent--The Tool Kit

When I type on the computer, this is where I am. With the center doors open and our squeaky, wobbly chair rolled up to the keyboard. This whole room is courtesy of Lyle. There's not one surface that hasn't been altered with wood or paint. The funny thing is, Lyle didn't even own a single tool for about the first seven years of our marriage. He'd watch shows like "This Old House" or "The New Yankee Workshop" and say, "I'd love to do that....."

When he finally finished school and we bought our first house, I purchased him some tools. He purchased more. And more. And more. Our garage filled. But it was worth it. It was so worth it. I'll apologize now for the abundance of pictures. I started going around the house with the camera, snapping shots of things Lyle's done, and well, there's A LOT! Even more than I'd remembered.

So, starting in the den. This room had blue carpeting, white walls on the top, a Home Sweet Home border running around the middle and white wallpaper with blue hearts covering the bottom. It was used as a dining room, but we transformed it into a den. Lyle did the wood floors, the window seats, the bookshelves, the computer wall unit. He even painted the picture above the fireplace. Renaissance man, I tell you.

The room had a coved ceiling and Lyle thought for a few days how he'd do the pine trim. I completely stay out of those decisions. I know he'll figure it out, and he always does.

The corner bookshelf proved to be a bit tricky too.
The entry into the room was wider and when we added the window seats, we needed to build a wall. The rooms in our house are small and I worried that closing off a space even more would be a bad idea. We decided to do a partial wall, open at the top, but then we found this window and Lyle made it look like it had always been there.

The outside shots I pulled off the computer. The winter is too ugly for photos. Lyle and friends did the stamped concrete walkway and Lyle built the arbor. He looked at pictures and came up with his own plan.
He used matching stained glass windows he'd found at a resale shop. When the arbor was done a friend mentioned to me, "You know, he could probably take some of those to the farmer's market and make a few hundred per arbor." I think I gasped. Little does she know the HOURS a project like that takes. And why I'd have a very hard time parting with anything Lyle's made.

I miss the summer.

Lyle stayed up literally all night making the rose trellis. He had it laid out just-so and wanted to finish it all in one marathon woodworking fest. Using power tools at 2 A.M--why we have disability insurance.

I loved the naked arbor. It was almost a shame to cover it with roses. But the roses were perfect for the princess party.

I wanted entry benches for the porch and showed Lyle pictures of what I wanted. He modified it a bit and whipped me out two great big benches that we use all the time.

He made me the porch swing for a mother's day present.

The barn out back was a big, big project. I think the Amish are smart to involve a whole slew of friends in the barn raising, because it took Lyle and his Dad lots of long weekends on scary scaffolding. How much will that monthly disability check be?

Heading back inside, in the music room is a clock Lyle made several years ago. I believe it's made of walnut.

Lyle's done lots of trimwork. Lots and lots. The wainscoating, the chair rails, the ceilings, the crown moulding. The kids learned to sleep through the sound of the nail gun. We haven't done much of anything past that entry into the kitchen/eating area/family room. It's so small and one day we plan to bump out the whole back of the house. It'll probably happen when the children are grown and gone and there's no need for more space.

The powder room on the first floor is tiny and tall. It's like an elevator shaft. It was white with a wallpaper border going around its middle that had scripture verses on it. Bathroom reading I guess. Lyle continued the pine ceiling boards onto the wall to make the room seem a little shorter.

The green paint color is called, "Sign of Spring" and when Madeline heard Lyle mention it, she said, "That's the grossest name for a paint that I've ever heard." "Sign of Spring doesn't seem too bad to me," said Lyle. "OOHHH," said Madeline. "I thought you said Sinus Green." Yeah, that would be a bit gross.

Heading up the stairs, more tricky trim work. Say that ten times fast.

And when you come around the corner at the top of the stairs, be careful not to bump your head on the picture ledges. Despite the potential danger, I love these. I showed Lyle a picture in a Pottery Barn catalogue and he made these that very same night. Above the pictures is a Pablo Picasso quote that says, "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

The kids love having a place to display their artwork.

Lyle did the crown moulding in our bedroom.

And the barrister bookcase.

And the blanket box.

He did lots of trim in the kids' bathroom.

I know, a light bulb's out.
He made the scalloped trim in the girls' room.
In the cute third floor bedroom, Lyle did the floors and the trim and the built-in headboard...
....and the cute cubbies and the window seat and the skirted desk.
And you know what? He hasn't done anything really fun and creative for a long time and he's getting antsy. I sense that I'll be smelling sawdust in the near future.
And in between the sawdust sneezes, I'll take pictures.


rachel said...

I loved seeing all these pictures. WOW! Your husband is amazing. There's gotta be some home improvement show or magazine he can show his creations off in. I love the small wall with the window and loved the shelves with the artwork up the stairs. I loved everything actually, especially the 'sinus green!' :)

Fireball said...

And the pictures don't even do these projects justice. Such amazing work. Buying that tool kit was definitely worth it!

Shama Bartlett said...

Well my jaw drpped at the sheer volume of lumber that must have gone into all those projects. I love it. So homey, so personal. So great to have a husband who loves to start and FINISH projects. :)

Jess to the Lo said...

WOW is Lyle ever talented! I have been in love with your den since day one but now I love it even more, knowing that it is something that you guys created!

Jen Bay said...

He's amazing. But we already knew that...

Laura L. said...

How wonderful to be invited in for a tour. Your home looks beautiful.
Lyle does wonderful work.
If he's getting antsy to do work, I'd love a new window seat, some book shelves, etc. :)
Loved the photos!

Lisa Cairney said...

When Laura is done with Lyle, I would love to have him come visit us here too...we have lots of brand, spanking new condition. Looks like they've never even been touched. ;) Lyle is a Wonder. Good job, Lyle. You da man.

Diane said...

You are so lucky to have a such a talented husband. I love my husband, but building things is not his thing. Most home imrovement projects end up being very stressful, with lots of cussing.

Kelly said...

this post really makes me jealous! What a nice home full of trim and molding you have Eileen.

Nana said...

Oh I loved that. What a beautiful home.

Durben Family said...

Your house is so beautiful and've invested so much love with these projects, I hope your never planning to move (It would be heartbreaking).
I can't wait to one day have a home...this makes me soooo jealous. (but inspired)

Jeanne said...

Wow!! He's hired! I love it all, but especially the bookshelves and the pictures ledge with the quote about it. Is your husband one of those folks who gets by on only a few hours of sleep? It appears so by all of the projects he done. They are amazing and your house is beautiful!

Lisa and Tate said...

AMAZING!!!! Lyle is really amazing! LOVE your house... besides Lyle's hanidwork, I am sure you have a hand in the decorating! SOOOO amazing.

Thanks for the comment on my blog.. when I find out about Slurping the blog I will post.


mom2four said...

Hi, I've been following your blog for a while and sadly, I have never introduced myself. Sorry about that! Let me just say you house and your talented husband are amazing. The pictures look like they are straight out of a magazine! I feel like elbowing my husband in the side and saying "Why can't you be more like her husband?" I especially love the bookshelves.


mom2four said...

Oh and I forgot to mention that I found your blog through the Top Notch Swill blog. I laughed so hard at the underwear story! I could completely picture it.

Anonymous said...

omg, he's incredible. Hang on tight! You're a lucky girl!

Jaxon and Brittney said...

This book is so going to be worth seeing this house! I always thought that my Jaxon is very 'fixy' and I can't wait till he can unleash his mad skills on our own casa!! I love your family and I barely know you guys-only through your blog! Lyle seems to be 'that' guy. The guy that doesnt really exist but somewhere he does! Good job lady- and you are amazing as well. They are never that great without a wonderful woman helping them along.