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Old Houses are Fun

We’re nearing the last days of temperatures climbing up into the sixties and seventies, so we’ve been getting some maintenance taken care of outside. A couple of windows on the south side of the house needed new sills, one new plinth, and a storm window repaired. We took down a planter beneath our main living room window to get to some of the areas in need of attention. We’ll hang on to it should we ever decide to rehang the thing and actually plant some annuals in it, but that’s why the siding looks a little funny there.

Peeling Paint

Did you catch the nice bit of peeling paint there toward the bottom? (It’s, uh, hard to miss.) We diverted our heating exhaust out of the side of the house last year when we replaced the boiler, but now there’s steam hitting the house off and on all day, everyday from October through March when the heat is on. The chimney is shot (which we knew about from the start), so we opted for the new vent when we upgraded to a high-efficiency unit that ties into our hot water system, but the steam caused some paint to peel near the hose spigot. The rest held because it’s relatively new siding (20 years old), but the original stuff was coming off in sheets.

The old paint was scraped off down to the bare wood, then repainted. We’ll see how it holds through the winter. The rest of the house is fine, so hopefully the new paint will last, but if not, we’ll have to see about changing the exhaust vent somehow. And the you can see one of the windows that were repaired there, too. Except, oops, wrong purple. There are seven colors of paint on the house (two purples, three taupes, a pink, and a teal), and sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re putting the wrong one up because the shades are similar, and paint always looks different when it’s wet. The correct color will go on today or tomorrow.

Repairs on the Side of the House

We hired someone for the repairs since I’m still on kid + baby duty while Brandon is recovering from his surgery. We also had part of the front porch screwed down where it had popped up, which now feels nice and sturdy. Then work started on the railing out front. There was a small spot that had sunk in, about the size of a quarter — maybe a smidge bigger. We knew that meant there was some wood rot, but we didn’t know the extent of it until work was underway.

Wood Rot in the Front Porch Railing

Yikes. It’s a relatively easy fix, at least, though it takes some time. Scrape out all of the bad stuff to start, and let it dry (moisture was getting in and causing the damage). Then you come back and fill it all in with epoxy, molding it as best you can to the right shape. Let that dry, sand it down, then coat the whole repair job in paint. We need another coat on there, but you can tell it’s way better already.

Wood Rot in the Front Porch Railing

Eventually the chimney I mentioned will need to be addressed. Either tuckpoint it again (apparently it has been done multiple times already) and hope it holds now that it is no longer in use, or remove the whole thing and either rebuild it (for aesthetics?) or extend the siding and pretend it was never there. Not looking forward to all of that, but we’ll likely give tuckpointing one last try.

A Very Old Chimney in Need of Some Repair

The downspout up there has separated from the gutters way up there, which is also being fixed this week. It’s doing something to the windows, so there may be a bit more damage to repair in that area, too. Just doing our best to keep up with the old gal.

Color Your Home with Fall Leaves

Pier 1 reached out with an opportunity to decorate with their latest collection inspired by the colors of fall leaves. Ah, fall! My favorite. Sweaters and boots! The kids are back in school! We can take out our ugly window AC units! Fall is the best.

You know that our house has a ton of wood everywhere. I wasn’t sure about adding in more autumnal colors, but I walked over to the store to check everything out in person and there were a ton of options that I wanted to bring home. I decided I was in, and then I started by choosing a garland for the fireplace mantel. They had the typical fall leaves (oak, maple, red, yellow, orange), and a few pretty berry options, but I was drawn to the subtle colors of this garland with a bit of gold mixed in.

The Living Room, Decorated with Fall Leaves

When I saw the matching wreath, I picked that up too. We always hang one on the front door for Christmas, but I’ve never had a wreath during the rest of the year. We know a few people that put different ones up all the time — spring flowers, stars and stripes for the 4th, autumn leaves, traditional Christmas — and they always struck me as being very welcoming. Now we have one of our own up for fall.

Fall Wreath on the Front Door

Back inside, the garland was to form the first layer, and then I’d planned on adding candles and flowers to create a fall display in front of a large mirror on our fireplace. That was the plan, before I saw the birds.

Golden Pheasants and Fall Leaves on the Fireplace Mantel

Golden Pheasant

I ended up using a few pillar stands to give the birds a place to perch for some height, and then I used a couple more on the other side of the room for candles.

Living Room

Dueling mirrors! I think the peacock mirror is staying put and the other above the fireplace will be relocated. I mean, this mirror (from Pier 1, a while back) is kinda perfect where it is.

Peacock Mirror and Red Console Table

The red of the table, the brown of the wood, and the garland of fall leaves are all working together for a nice autumnal feel. Candles always make a room cozier too. And the birds! I am fond of those birds.

Do you like to mark the change of seasons in your decorating? And of course there’s the wreath question. Do you prefer your door unadorned? Or do you go for a wreath year-round, or just at Christmas?


Last summer, I was thinking about adding a porch swing out front. I searched out my favorites and was getting ready to make a purchase, but added expenses with our second floor remodel put decorating on hold. It got pushed back a year, but we’ve got a swing chair now, and it is wonderful.

There was a new model out this year that I preferred the look of, but the one I chose was more comfortable. The seat is deeper, and there are cup holders and pockets along the sides for magazines.

Swing Chair on a Victorian Front Porch | Making it Lovely

When I was pregnant, I would imagine how nice it would be to swing gently on the porch, baby in my arms. The reality surpasses the expectation.

Calvin sticks his tongue out!

Nicole and Calvin Balch on their front porch| Making it Lovely

We could have found a stud in the porch ceiling, but with the added height, the swing would have had room to bang into the house or the railing. The kids and their friends spend a lot of time playing on our front porch, and that seemed like an inevitable cause of injury, damage to the house, or both! I bought the matching stand so that the pivot point would be lowered, and the swing didn’t have as far to move. It gives us added flexibility too, so if we want to rearrange the porch or move the swing somewhere else (like the backyard), we could.

Nicole and Calvin Balch on their front porch| Making it Lovely

Nicole and Calvin Balch

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