board & plaster

after the demo, framing, rough electrical, plumbing and insulation comes what i call the “putting back together phase”. its when things get a little less ugly and the place that is supposed to shelter your young children in less than a month starts to feel somewhat inhabitable. this was a long time coming. the house sat in the dead of winter with no insulation for weeks. like you could practically see the sun shining through the ceiling and it was 0 degrees out. we burned through a lot of oil keeping the house warm enough so that the pipes didn’t burst. needless to say we were really happy for the insulation to go in and to get this drywall up. it was a lot of board… most of the walls and the big, new vaulted ceiling.

after the board comes the plaster. they shmear (technical term) plaster essentially over the whole inside of the house. the plaster guys worked hard – straight through the weekend if i remember correctly. its a super messy process.

it was a huge relief to see the house plastered.


flooring chat is up next.

mid process – fatz fixer upper

i’ve been posting some photos of the finished product on instagram because i had a weekend home to clean up and snap some iphone shots and boy do i enjoy the before & afters – but to really appreciate how far we’ve come, i need to get all the messy stuff documented.

we started with a traditional split level decorated in grandma-style (nothing wrong with that, the previous owner was 90-something). there was a wall separating the sitting room & kitchen, and a partial wall between the kitchen & dining room.

after a lot of demo, we were here:

next post i’ll show the board & plaster phase where things get a little less scary looking.


i thought it might be fun to share some of the many screenshot images i have collected since we started house hunting for a fixer upper. i don’t so much pin images in pinterest as i do take screen shots so that i have them in my photo library. same goes for instagram. my follows are about 30% friends and family and 70% bloggers and interior designers… ok, bake in about 3% embarrassing follows including pop culture celebrities and former bachelor and bachelorette cast members… fine, 5%.

if you want to find a few new accounts that post nothing but stunning images, i recommend the following:

housebeautiful, homepolish, houseofjadeinteriors, studiomcgee, mydomaine, caitlinwilsondesign, dominomag, beckiowens, amberinteriors, smpliving, em_henderson, homegirlcollection

its funny to see how consistent and predictable my taste is. essentially: black & white, wood & brass, blue cabinets, green furniture, shiplap, hexagon tile, plaid, and kilim rugs.

you might expected to see all of the above in the fatzfixerupper #spoileralert

exterior… baby steps

i’m sure it was a beautiful house in it’s day. i really do hate to knock it so much because, in 35 years, chances are all of my design choices will be passe and laughable. but really… its a super ugly house.

so we immediately removed the diamond grids from the front “quad” window (they mercifully snapped right off) and replaced the swirly, gingerbread house trim with flat stock.

i’d say its a pretty good step in the right direction.

out of necessity, some windows and the roof will be replaced in the near term.. i’m dying to replace that storm door, lose all the shutters and paint the garage doors.

i’m also dreaming up a plan to break-up the slanty roof line with a portico – maybe a simpler version of this(?) :

Ranch to Rustic traditional-exterior


or in our case #demomonthandahalffeelslikeforever

within a few days of closing on the fixer upper, mike had taken all the interior walls and upper cabinets in the kitchen/dining/living room down and we sold the old appliances on craigslist. then our contractor told us to stop with the demo before the house collapsed, so we stopped and left it to the professionals…

after what felt like 3 centuries the new lvl beam arrived and they were able to finally take down the ceiling joists and vault the ceiling.

some HVAC action …

and somewhere in this timeframe we found out the whole basement and kitchen was covered with asbestos tile. that was fun (abatement process pictured below).

slow and steady. less scary photos to come…

fatz fixer upper

i’m usually too tired to generate words after the kids are down and tonight is no exception… but i have to start somewhere…



you may be thinking a number of things but you should be polite and keep your thoughts to yourself.

when we started house hunting it was exactly like the hgtv shows: “for a house in this neighborhood with everything you are looking for, you can either spend 12 million dollars or buy a fixer upper”.  deep down i really wanted to go the fixer upper route, but the fact of the matter is that it was really the only way to go in this town (unless you can throw down a million dollar mortgage) (no). this beauty was one of the first houses we checked out. we thought it was way over-priced. it was on a busy road, amazingly dated, and wait until you see the back yard. YET, it was a convenient location and i immediately saw the potential.

first and foremost we were looking for a house with walls that could come down (check). a vault-able ceiling would be nice (check). and there had to be storage options and a space for the kids (check, check). i basically ruled out colonials (boring). at one point my realtor was like “i knew steph wouldn’t like this house, its not weird enough”.

one of the biggest reasons we had the courage to buy this house was because of this blogger. if you are familiar with dana of house*tweaking, as many of you may be, you will see how i am copying just about her every move. not really, but sort of. she is good… quality over quantity, simplicity, efficiency, family togetherness, financial freedom… sign me up.



very long story short. we bought it, enlisted a contractor, packed up our 3,000ish square foot house and started renovating our very own, real life, fixer upper.

here are the official befores. i promise this house will be unrecognizable when we are done with it…



all the walls that separate the kitchen, living, and dining room will come down and the ceiling will be vaulted.



this little “sunroom” was finished by the previous owner and will be our cozy tv room.





the master bedroom. not much of a closet. we will improvise.


dane’s room!


bay’s room


the play/everything room (lower level).



oh yeah baby. belly-up at the fatz’s. bring your wide-collar shirts, pet rocks, and sex pistols cassettes…



you can’t make this stuff up


more recently! :


much more to comeIMG_7397

house tour – then & now

its almost official… we sold our house!.. closing one chapter and opening the next. when i walk out of this empty house – where i painted every wall and brought home both of my newborn babies – i will definitely be feeling all the feelings… but at this point, moving on just feels right. on the other hand, its funny how clearing out, cleaning up, and staging your house for showings makes you NOT want to move!
the photos below are from our listing (aka how our house never really looks because it is perpetually covered in toys and miscellaneous rubble).



50sherricksfarm_web-14 50sherricksfarm_web-16


















almost four

dane is in a funny little in-between. he still wears footy pajamas and still loves to cuddle… he actually requests hugs frequently (much to my delight). he still falls asleep in his car seat, cries for no reason when he’s tired and carries his stuffed animals into our bed in the morning. he generally still hides in the same exact spot every single time he wants to “surprise daddy” coming home from work (which is every day).IMG_6268but just about everything else is big time big kid. you can really hang out with him and talk about life… crack jokes and use sarcasm that he totally picks up on. most of his baby chubs are all stretched out – its like someone literally pulled him from each end and he became a string bean over-night.IMG_7193

he is entering the super hero phase with a vengeance despite never watching any of the actual shows or being allowed any formal exposure to the characters. all of his knowledge comes from what he hears from his friends at school, which makes it pretty entertaining to observe what he makes of the various superheros… any information we reluctantly give him, he eagerly soaks up with wide eyes, the wheels turning in his head…smanhe seems to be able to play with just about anyone, from the boy next door who is a year & a half younger, to his female, 7-year-old second cousin he only met once, to our friends’ kids he gets together with just a couple times each year… and he’s not terribly picky with toys. he’ll use his imagination to make anything a sword, a cape, a “shooter gun” (sigh) or any other form of contraband i refuse to buy for him.IMG_7292over the summer i invested in a little activity table from pottery barn. we call it his “craft table” (in the “craft room”). he loves crafts and i love that he loves crafts. whenever he asks, i try to take the time to do a little project with him.. a painting, a pipe-cleaner animal, a “garage” made out of a delivery box.

he loves the beach, his boogie board, collecting hermit crabs. he also loves to shovel snow. a true new englander.IMG_7083i can honestly say, he’s as good a big brother as any 3 year old could possibly be. he is sweet and gentle to his little sister with almost zero signs of jealousy.IMG_7053since i’ve been back to work, mike has taken over the morning and evening routine with dane while i do bay. divide and conquer. GOD BLESS the single moms. sleep is so big for dane. he is two different people when he is tired vs. well-rested. there are at least a few days each week he refuses to nap, and WATCH out… he is a hot mess those nights.IMG_6493he can be so frustrating in the morning getting out the door or anytime we really need him to follow directions .. but he is very sensitive to my feelings… if i yell at him about something, he almost always cries (then i feel bad) and if i tell him he is making mommy really sad, he’ll back down, say sorry and come give me a hug (usually). this is a huge relief to me. i’m so happy for these signs of compassion. before he leaves the dinner table, we have trained him to say, “may i please be excused? namaste”. its funny. i still cut his hair myself. its long and shaggy and uneven and awesome.IMG_6367he’s still so innocent. he’s completely sold on “carrots making your eyes sharp” and healthy foods healing boo boos.  i’ll be so sad when its gone, the innocence. i can’t bear to think of him out in the real world when i’m not nearby to hug him and tell him how wonderful he is. where there are mean kids at school or bullies on the bus.IMG_6751he is so fun-loving. he just wants to play (ok,… he also wants to “watch shows”.. a constant battle). he loves it when you chase him or just watch and see “how fast he is” / “how high he can jump”. he loves basketball and catch with the football… still warming up to soccer. he takes a gymnastics class which is basically bouncing around and jumping recklessly off mats, but he seems to love it. he is so beautiful and perfect and sweet and smart. a part of me feels so sad about him getting bigger, but its been pretty cool to watch. he says things like “and speaking of that”.. “i’ve been meaning to tell you”… he can count to 60 (on a good day) and spell multiple words. he knows the days of the week and towns his family members live in. he remembers everything.IMG_6318motherhood is an absolute whirlwind. i look in the mirror and i see the wrinkles and bags under my eyes… FOUR YEARS of being a real life mom. its showing. (i also can’t help but note that i am a full 10 years older than most of The Bachelor contestants. a DECADE).

what did i do with all my time before i had this kid? nothing nearly as worthwhile as how i’ve spent the past almost four years.IMG_7197xo daney. i’m so proud and lucky to be your mom.

changing table

hey! so my last post was depressing, huh!?! well, all is well and dandy here, i promise. check it out – i even have a furniture makeover post! this is so 2011-2014 of me… back when i was SO about the DIY everything. i was all, “you can make WHAT out of coffee filters?!?”… and, “look what i did with just trash, toothpicks and glitter… its just like YOUNGHOUSELOVE!”  these days, there is little time or energy for DImyselfing. and honestly, i’m less enthused about filling my house with homemade creations.

that being said, bedrooms are definitely the last place i’m inclined to splurge on furniture. we’ve never owned a single store-bought “bedroom set”. bedrooms are personal. your guests generally don’t see them. they need to be comfy and functional, and for the kids- fun and happy and safe. so when i started piecing together the baby girl nursery, i turned to craigslist for the only piece of furniture i was planning on purchasing. i found this changing table & we agreed on $75.

what a wordy intro… the rest is mostly pics. (as you can tell by this post title, my creative juices are really flowing lately).

(fyi – turns out taunton is far)


i spray painted some ring pulls to replace the knobs, painted the top white and removed the bottom right door for easy-access diaper storage.


here is some of the process… this was so long ago now. dane looks like a baby!IMG_4731








i’ll share the rest of the nursery soon… its about time. and don’t be surprised when i post my christmas photos in march… #itiswhatitis.

january blues

i sat down to move all my photos from camera to computer and maybe even download some christmas gopro footage. i was holding the baby with the nursing pillow strapped around my middle (my brest friend, there, i said it). i turned around for whatever reason and knocked over my very full coffee… all over the desk, the key board, the camera, the gopro. it looked like a complete electronics massacre, but i don’t think anything was permanently damaged.

true story.

there is just no time to keep up with life on this blog. i know i don’t have to, but a part of me really wants to! it shouldn’t be impossible, in theory, but it is.

7 months already. sigh.

any who, i’ve been feeling a little down… some post-holiday blues i guess and physically run down from the christmas hustle. i’m having trouble taking care of myself (that’s a gentle way of saying i’m fat & sloppy). again, “no time”. the kids are doing well so i could/should be proud of that. we have a lot of laughs when everyone is in a good mood (read: a certain 3.75 year-old has taken his much-needed daily nap) but weeknights and mornings are still a struggle (“struggle” used in that middle-class, privileged, American context, of course).


i want everything OUT of my house. baby stuff, OUT. unworn clothes, OUT. extra throw pillows that i normally hoard, OUT(ish). christmas decorations are all packed or disposed of… living simply may not necessarily be in the cards, but i am craving a simpler life with less clutter for sure.


today is FREEZING. so maybe the reality of winter is weighing on my mood lately as well.


i hate winter.

wah wah,