Pardon Our Dust

our dated dream house

Author: lisamaceda

April Showers

Mike and I spent most of April doing our anti-rain dance so we could drop a boatload of money on a stupid new roof.  Apparently our insurance company wasn’t super excited about the curling shingles and moss growing on it and threatened to cancel our policy if we didn’t do something about it. It’s hard to argue with them – after every windy day, our gigantic bushes were littered with little pieces of pink shingles that had shaken free. While we were at it, we got all new gutters since they, much like our yard, were full of about 5 years worth of leaves, sticks and little saplings.

Two days before the deadline the insurance company gave us to have everything fixed, I shot some hurried photos to prove we are now broke. These are not very exciting…but at least the roof isn’t pink anymore.


My god those bushes – really there would be a person in there for scale, they are like 6′ high. It’s madness.


Good news is we still have insurance, and the virtually nonstop rain lately has been skillfully diverted by our new gutters.

I’m embarrassed to show much else. We have ordered so much crap and been to home improvement stores an average of 3 times a week – yet nothing seems to get done around here. It took a RIDICULOUSLY long time to fix a leaking faucet, two hours to put up new door entry hardware (only to realize it’s crooked which makes me want to scream), and we installed all new smoke detectors…which seemed important considering the house didn’t come with any. I have also put up no less than 25 window treatments so no one can see inside to the cracked walls and crooked cabinet doors we live with. We then spent three hours stapling mesh to the fence one day in a futile effort to contain the dogs, only to write a check for a whole new fence a couple weeks later. None of this is very satisfying. Not a single room is anywhere near finished, and no one is allowed to come over unless they are fixing or installing something and wants all our money.

During the monsoon last weekend we finished painting the family room. I don’t especially enjoy painting, but I shelled out some extra money to get that Behr Marquee paint that has a one coat guarantee, and it’s worth every penny not to have to apply multiple coats.

I just hung up my favorite piece of art, painted by my late Aunt Helen who was an amazing artist and got the chills. In our last house, it was in our dining room and the light would hit it for a few minutes each day in a really beautiful way. The same thing happened tonight and it reminded me of my dad telling us about the last time he saw her. She was in a nursing home with my Uncle and my dad went for a visit. Neither had been in good health for quite some time, but when he walked up to her, she was sitting near a window, hair fixed, makeup done, reading a book and bathed in light.



Thoughts on a 30 Year Old Kitchen

Every time I use our kitchen, I am mostly horrified because no matter how much we clean, everything is just a little sticky, almost every run of vanilla-colored Corian countertop is cracked, and none of the cabinets align. The faucet leaks despite two replacement parts, and the oven has it’s own idea of temperature. But sometimes, as I stand there in hum of the rather large undercabinet lights (all different color temperatures, of course) I realize this kitchen was probably pretty badass and way ahead of its time in the 80’s.


Exhibit A – The infamous luminous ceiling. I realize this ceiling came to be because they had to conceal the air conditioning ducts coming from the attic down to the first floor, but I bet people were pretty impressed with this at the first family party post-reno. Don’t overlook the brass grid…it’s pretty high end. That ceiling has gotta go.



Exhibit B – We have 2 pullout drawers for pots and pans. Eat your heart out IKEA


Exhibit C – this amazing double oven. Who cares if it doesn’t have any idea what temperature it wants to be! There’s two of them! (let’s not judge on the box o’ wine, we need it okay?)


Exhibit D – a 36” professional-ish gas cooktop. The flames on this thing are about 12” tall on full blast, and all the identification is worn off so we never know which on we are turning on.

IMG_0161 2

Does anyone else have a cooktop like this with drawers under it? I’m scared to put anything in those drawers.

I think the most interesting thing about this kitchen is that my mom has one very similar from the same time but it doesn’t look nearly as dated because it’s white. I wouldn’t ever be so bold to think the kitchen we end up putting in this house won’t be publicly shamed on the internet in 30 years, but it goes to show you that some colors/materials/designs are quite a more timeless than others.


That CEILING tho…..woof

Oh Happy Day

This is the day I have been waiting for. After a complete renovation of a bungalow in Oak Park and almost over a year living in our Berwyn house with renters, we have paid our dues and it’s time for our very own house. We have been passively and actively looking around for months – had two houses under contract only to end up walking away because of issues, but this time, it all finally fell into place.


About two years ago when I was trying to find some history on Berwyn and its Victorians, I spotted this photo on Pinterest:

pink house

Pink! Sadly, the bushes have only increased their chokehold on the porch

It’s like a little architectural cupcake. I wasn’t so much a fan of the color, but fell in love with the details. I immediately started virtually exploring the streets of South Berwyn via Google Maps to find out where it was. I couldn’t find it. Fast forward a few months later when we bought our current house and we come to find out it’s on the same street. It didn’t really matter, it wasn’t for sale. I used to make Mike drive and walk by it all the time – even if it was out of the way. One day, we noticed they were having an estate sale and I forced Mike to turn the car around and let me go. I had to see what was inside and find out if this meant they would be selling the house. The owners were relocating to Florida and the house would soon be on the market for a price I almost had to sit down for. It was about 20k more than the most expensive house sale in Berwyn. That house was almost fully renovated….this one needs some major love. I proceeded to spend the remainder of the day in a shitty mood. It sat on the market for a few months because who would be crazy enough to take on a huge project like this kitchen (which is only the tip of the iceberg, this house needs work in every single room)?



The Kitchen…at least it’s spacious?

As of yesterday, it’s ours. I could barely talk about it for a month because I thought it was too good to be true, but yesterday we signed some papers, and got the keys. Anyone who knows the house inevitably asks what our first project will be. Unfortunately it’s the roof which will likely cost more than our car. I wish it was a new kitchen, or a fresh exterior paint job – proper for the painted lady it is. It’s actually not pink anymore, it’s white and some sort of dusty mauve color which, go figure, I am not a fan of.

We will be busy on this one for a long time to come and hope you’ll come along for the ride!

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