Hallway & Stairwell Paint

The dream of having a new kitchen has undergone a lot of evolution since we bought this house in November 2014. First, we planned to simply keep the kitchen we had and gut it/renovate it/completely transform it. Over time, it became apparent we’d have to change our plans a little (or a lot). One thing led to another, and we started planning to completely move the kitchen from its current location to a different room entirely, keeping only a small area of the pantry intact.

I thought we could have this kitchen completed by last summer, but as summer came and went and more pressing matters presented themselves (a new roof was desperately needed and the foundation of said-kitchen was crumbling and hole-y), it became obvious we wouldn’t be finishing up the kitchen anytime soon. My new goal became Christmas, because my family was joining us and wouldn’t it be nice to have a brand new kitchen to host from? Well, it would’ve been terribly nice, but once again: not meant to be.

>>Continue reading the rest of the update over here…<<

My blog has a new home :)


Remember how I mentioned that I was working on a new site to house my blog? Well, it’s up and running. Not perfect, but we’re getting comfy moving in over here.

I’m so glad that you all have decided to follow my blog, as erratic and unpredictable as it has been up to this point. And I really hope you’ll head to the new website and follow me over there from now on! Almost all of my posts from here have moved over, so if you want to look back on our progress, you can!

But I’m also going to be adding in some new content, including posts about family-related things (homeschool, reflections, travels), discovering simplicity, and various projects we’ll be tackling around our old home. Of course, I’ll still be giving regular (even MORE regular) updates about our progress on the ol’ house.

I really hope you’ll join me for this new phase in my blogging journey and again, a BIG thank you for following along in the first place!!!

Peace ❤

New Year, New Adventures

Well, hello 2017. Where did you come from? Anyone else feel like the new year kind of snuck up? It only seems a few weeks ago that I was sitting around planning out 2016, and now it’s over and done with and I’m not really sure how much I actually accomplished.

And neither do you, considering the entire second half of the year I failed to post a single update on our house. Well. 2017 is a fresh canvas, and I’m it’s time things start to change. In fact, I’m already in the process of getting my very own web space up and running, where I’ll be blogging more regularly about our old house renovation…along with some other ideas I have. Whoever you might be, I hope you’re interested in coming along with me for this new cyber adventure. I don’t have much of a clue about how to manage a website or be a regular blogger, but I hope you’ll be patient with me as I figure out and work through all the (myriad) quirks.

On another note…maybe you’re eager to hear the latest update about our home. I’m dying to share it with you! I have all sorts of interesting anecdotes and discoveries to tell you from the last six months. For now, though, I’ll leave you with a sneak peak of our biggest accomplishment since we moved into our bedrooms in June and July: the upstairs family bathroom.


Lots more to come! Stay tuned to read details of this yet-unfinished bathroom reno. (Also, please ignore the wrinkled shower curtain!)

A Bedroom for Little Boys

We seem to be finally at the point in this renovation where it starts feeling less like a slow-going, no-end-in-sight kind of marathon and more like a race to the finish. The end is in sight, and it’s more quickly approaching as all of our progress becomes a giant snowball gaining momentum as we speed down some powdery slope.

It’s actually safe to say that this place feels like a mostly-normal house. We have two bedrooms and a dining room. We have a place for all the toys (thank God!). We have most of the usual components that make up your average American home. And it’s been about a year in the making.

Call this the “one year anniversary” post. Just over a year ago, we moved into a friend’s RV parked in front of our garage and my parents moved into my brother-in-law’s pop-up camper, staked in the back yard. We went inside to use the bathroom and kitchen and laundry room. The rest of the house was, mostly, in shambles from all of the demolition we had been feverishly chipping away at. Some of you remember posts from back then. If not, check it out–you might be amazed, like us, at how far we’ve come in just 12 months.

It hasn’t felt like we’ve really accomplished all that much, or like it went by so fast. On the contrary. It was painstaking! The winter was long and difficult to bear as we watched the days fly by without accomplishing hardly anything. We still have a handful of “winter projects” we intended to do that we never actually got around to.

But then we stop, and remember where we were just last summer. The camper. It still looms large in my memory–yes, it was kind of fun in a way. Would I go back there, if I could, for nostalgia’s sake? Back to sleeping within a few feet of my entire family? Back to being a spectacle on the back lawn of a downtown neighborhood? Back to braving skunks and mosquitos and pounding rain? Well, the answer should be obvious. I wouldn’t forsake our bedroom-haven for anything–especially now that we have a door on it!

So, without further ado, here is the boys’ bedroom “reveal,” with before-and-after photographs lest we forget what it used to look like.

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And for your further perusal, a few of the “in progress” shots I got:

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A room of one’s own: Virginia said it, and I agree.

I 20160519_141328write this now from my actual bedroom. Truly. Not a camper. Not a dining-room-turned-family-bedroom. Not an enclosed-porch-turned-bedroom. My bedroom. Upstairs. We are
finally staking our territory up here on the second floor of this house and it feels amazing.

Did we finish the whole entry way and stairwell? Not exactly. But it’s well on it’s way. We put in hours and hours getting everything sanded, primed, painted. The banister is no longer a rickety catastrophe waiting to happen. Everything looks and feels so much more like I’ve been imagining since Day One walking into this house. It’s not there yet–at all–but that’s ok. We have hope.

Cleaned, caulked, primed

Sidenote: we decided to hold off putting the final paint on the walls/stairs until the upstairs bathroom renovation is completed. We figured this would save us a lot of heartache down the road when our freshly painted stairway is suddenly all dinged up from hauling heavy bathroom fixtures and dirty tools up and down.


So instead, we turned our attention to the master bedroom. We had someone finish up the prep on all the new sheetrock we’d installed, and when he was done, Timothy primed it all. I was brave and let him buy the paint for the room—we had talked about different colors and come to some sort of agreement, but when the time came to actually choose it and purchase it, I let him. He brought home Valspar’s Belle Grove Antique White.
It has a hint of rosiness in it. It looked differently on the walls than I was imagining, and at first I was a little worried. But now, the finished product is so very pleasing. Neutral, warm, peaceful.


Impulsively, we decided to get someone in to do the floors. We figured if we didn’t do them, a few years from now we might regret it. But if we DID get them done, we would
20160519_141352certainly not regret that. We didn’t sand them back to the wood— the hardwood in the master bedroom is already so thin, the floor guy informed us sanding it would pretty much disintegrate it. Instead, he recommended buffing. So we had him buff all the
upstairs floors (except the back, which we have yet to touch). And they look amazing. They are not flawless, but we like them that way. After all, people want an old house because of the character it gives. And let me tell you, our floors have character.

Once the floors were shiny and shimmering and slick enough to skate on, we finished up the painting we hadn’t managed to squeeze in beforehand—mostly the trim. We did all of the woodwork in the classic trim white. Timothy measured and cut fresh quarter-round, I painted it, he installed it. This simple finishing touch does wonders and makes us even more motivated to do this final step in all our rooms (One of the biggest mysteries of this house is what actually happened to all the random things that are just…missing in action? Quarter round, all gone? Doors—no where to be found. Hardware, trim, spindles—where are you?)

As for this room, I suspect it hasn’t looked this good in a couple decades.

The MOST EXCITING thing is when the time came for me to order some furnishings. We bought shades for the windows, since they are tall and low and right above the street. I decided to throw in a modern twist and get bamboo shades, and we are happy with how they look in the space, and also how much light they keep out. Eventually we will hang sheers as well, but for now, we are plenty happy.

My writing corner


Finally, a full length (antique) mirror


We are starting to move in. We brought the bed up, along with other random pieces we’ll need. We bought a ceiling fan to install. We brought out my favorite comfy rocking chair from storage (oh how I’ve missed it) and the antique mirror we purchased on a whim several months ago from this amazing little shop right here in Auburn. I will finally have a full-length mirror in this house. I’m really excited about that! 

I look forward to getting all the pieces I specifically want, for hanging all the right artwork, hunting down the perfect rug, the perfect accent pillows…but it is what it is right now and I will have to be patient, yet again, with the work-in-progress-ness of this home. Getting the doors on will no doubt be a true victory, and that’s enough for now.


© Erika Rudl and “Et Cetera”, 2016.

A few more Not-Finished-Products

Happy February, folks! Here in Central New York, we’re enjoying one of the mildest winters on record. No complaints, especially considering our house is still pretty drafty. God’s looking out for us, as always. 🙂

While things have been progressing, the progress seems more subtle these days. That’s probably because we’ve been spending a lot of time on getting everything ready for the final layers of paint. While hanging the sheetrock in the upstairs bedrooms was a huge improvement to the exposed timbers of the house, all the mudding and sanding that then must follow has felt never-ending.

Until now. We had some friends (you know who you are!) help us finally put some primer on the walls of our entryway one Saturday and we also primed all the woodwork. It is a big job since it is so detailed and a prominent feature of the house, but that’s why it’s so exciting to finally be at this stage.


Timothy, with some help from an actual sheetrock mudder/sander-man, has been plugging away getting everything as smooth and low-profile as possible upstairs. He’s also been re-mounting all the trim we had to remove while hacking up the walls. We’ve chosen to continue our colors from the parlor all the way up the stairs. This will hopefully be uniform and elegant, while still making a statement when entering. I can’t say how thrilled I am that we’ll soon be able to show people in at the FRONT DOOR. Novel, really. No more nasty-back-entrance.


Last week, I actually went to the store and bought the paint colors for the boys’ bedroom, which is so thrilling. This room, though small, is going to be so awesome. Timothy built in a smart little closet, and with the two big windows overlooking the flat roof, I know they will love growing up there with a view of the yard, the city, the neighbors, the street, from what feels like a little hide away. I also reminded me husband we had better be serious about making sure that roof is as safe as possible, since no doubt our boys will be climbing out there when they’re older, with or without our knowledge. Best to make accommodations.

I am *planning* to get said paint on the walls this week. I have a bit more time on my hands these days, and the reason is another piece of news I’d like to share with you: After an extended search, Timothy finally got a new job, working for the State of New York. He headed to the Academy just yesterday to begin his training as a Correctional Officer. He started the application process over a year ago, and we had figured it wasn’t going to happen when all of a sudden they called and offered him a position at the Academy only 40 minutes from home. We’re excited for a new opportunity, though there are lots of unknowns involved and obviously it will be a huge change of pace. We’ll have to see how I fare “on my own” with some of the house projects. I’d love to surprise him when he comes home on weekends with all sorts of accomplishments, but let’s be realistic here…half the stuff I’d like to do I need his help for, or I need time that I don’t have. A little paint here and there might have to do. 

20160127_111428One last bit of exciting news! My new (though quite old) piano! It was actually built at the Wegman Piano Company, which was here in our town. The old piano factory is just a couple streets over from where our house is! I was so psyched to get this heirloom in my house! It’s old and a little careworn, but overall sounds pretty decent. Isn’t it lovely?

I hope to update soon with some Actually-Finished-Products. Stay tuned 🙂

© Erika Rudl and “Et Cetera”, 2016.

Wrapping Up a Year of Home-Owning

I am writing this from a moment of peace and quiet after some busy weeks…and it’s Advent season now, which is probably my favorite. As much as we’ve been wanting to keep pressing on and work-work-work, finish-finish-finish, we’ve had to slow down a bit. Life has just been asking us to pay more attention.

I’m happy with our progress though, slow as it’s been. The gaping hole in one corner of our foundation is taken care of–thanks to Timothy’s perseverance and the unseasonably warm weather we’ve had for, like, 3 months.

Working hard on the Northwest corner


The Supervisor

Also, we officially have a “bedroom” of our own–a cozy little nook. Except it’s not that cozy, because it’s the coldest room in the house. But considering we really only sleep in there, and we have an amazing feather comforter, it’s a very cozy place!


So what did we do to this room? Well, if you recall, this was all wood paneling from like…several decades ago. So we just painted it. The same color, in fact, as the trim in the parlor. And we are sooo happy with how it turned out. The opposite wall, as you can see, is shingled like the rest of the house’s exterior, because this was, obviously, an exterior wall at one point that some one enclosed. Timothy spent some good hours caulking every single crack in that wall before we painted it (same color on the walls in the parlor!), and it looks fantastic now! I also had to paint the ceiling, as it had some weird discoloration.

Oh, and we had a squirrel living in the ceiling/walls of this room. Ew. Caught it with a handy trap, however, without much trouble.

And that was pretty much all that we accomplished the second half of October/all of November. I had great plans for November: had actually made up a schedule all the way through next summer about how much we’d get done each month. But things quickly got off track. November was kind of swallowed up in trying to keep on top of housework/driving kids around/babysitting for a friend/holiday prep, etc. You all know how it goes.

I was supposed to prep and paint the entire entryway/stairwell so we can FINALLY start using our front door and open up more of the first floor. From there, we could focus on getting our bedrooms done upstairs–’cause you kind of need a decent staircase to access said bedrooms. But, after about 4 scattered hours of attempted labor sanding and scraping the woodwork around the front door…well, I gave up because it was just way too much.

So the entryway/stairs are still not in use…BUT just last week something amazing happened. Someone came to finish the walls upstairs. This is huge, if you consider that both bedrooms and the upstairs hallway plus a ceiling, were completely exposed. Now we have SHEETROCK with INSULATION behind it. And it’s getting mudded/sanded even as we speak. Yee-haw.

The Boys’ Future Bedroom with the new windows
Timothy showing me the closet he built in their room
Our new upstairs hallway 
Master Bedroom, insulated, mudded and sanded

It’s all paint ready, before Christmas. 🙂

So that’s all for this year, folks. Next time I write it’ll be from 2016. Wishing each and every one of your a very Merry Christmas with all those you love the best.

Adrien & Cyrus with our “Dr Seuss” tree (You’ll notice poor Cyrus’ foot–we had an accident but he’s perfectly well and on the mend)