Working on the Grapevine House

One of my favorite things about being a teacher (besides teaching) is having this time in the summer to refuel. When my friends give me a hard time about being "unemployed" for a couple months, I have to say in all seriousness that it’s not my fault I picked the right career 😉 Truly though, people in this country work too much. If you find yourself nodding yes to that last sentence, you might want to read, "In Praise of Slowness".

Anyway! I’ve been spending my days as a handyman at the Sonnet house. Yesterday, I was a plumber. I reinstalled the toilet in the master bath after removing it some weeks ago and that was something of an adventure. But, my skills as a plumber are improving because we’ve had to have a real plumber (Oscar, incredible worker…if any DFW people need a guy, call me and I’ll put you in touch) out to the house to change some of the valves so I’ve watched him work and I picked up on a thing or two. Number one: latex gloves make the job a lot more palatable. Number two: anything requiring the use of a blowtorch, call Oscar. Don’t worry, we didn’t learn that one the hard way! Number three: always have a bucket at the ready and you can never have too many sponges.

The other big projects have been the kitchen remodel and getting the baby’s room ready.

First: the kitchen


This is how we bought it. Then, we decided to replace the cabinets. Before you look at the picture and ask yourself, "Why?" it has to be said that they look a billion times better in this photo than in real life. The stain job was horrible, there was a great deal of wear and tear…we decided to ditch them.

But what are you going to do with all that stuff? Well, I put an ad up on and said, "If you’ll help me take them out, you can have ’em." And that’s how I met Sam the Peruvian. Very cool guy and we’re glad to have been able to help him out. He owns a house that he’s trying to improve and then either rent or sell so he can have the money to have his own Used Car Lot.


So, empty kitchen…let’s take a trip to IKEA and get new cabinets. In this photo you can see about half the boxes and believe it or not, we were able to fit them all in the back of our Toyota Matrix in one trip. It was packed to the brim and we missed another opportunity to take a photo and end up in a Matrix ad. The other opportunity was the time I fit a full sized washer and dryer in there. Seriously.


One box at a time, we assembled and installed the cabinets. They come from IKEA completely flat. You construct the whole thing…it’s time consuming but in the end, pretty cool and very rewarding.



Laura’s huge contribution to the project was some exhaustive research in to appliances. Research has always been her thing and after a great deal of comparative analysis, she found the right fit.




Not sure why this picture is displaying sideways. Sorry. That’s weird.

But, as you can see, there is much yet to be done. We’ve ordered countertops (which Laura also researched and found the best deal) and there is still some trim work to be done on the cabinets which I’ll finish up once the counters and appliances are permanently in place.

Next: The Nursery


We were not enormous fans of this mural. It’s light and fun, but not what we were looking for. *note…the baby is kicking at this very moment and I just felt him or her…this is getting really exciting!*

So, we wanted to do white wainscoting with a calm green. Step one: prime the walls…and again with the sideways picture…what’s up?


Next came the wainscoting.


Then the chair rail.


Painting the chair rail and baseboard…


Now the good stuff. Painting the walls and watching it all come together!




That’s it for now!

7 thoughts on “Working on the Grapevine House”

  1. You guys are truly amazing. I thought that all you knew was art work. Well, that is art work and you are doing a wonderful job. Just can’t wait to see it for myself. Maybe one of these days. Can’t drive yet. :(
    Any time you need a job, come on. :)
    Love you both, Mema

  2. Lookin’ great you guys! The baby’s room is so sweet with that soft green color, and the kitchen is gonna be beautiful. Keep up the hard work!

  3. What a wonderful job yall are doing!!! One of these Saturdays yall are going to be free & maybe we can come for a visit. :) Keep up the good work!!

  4. The kitchen cabinets from IKEA is what Joe and I are going to be doing once we get to start working on the loft…and now that I see you have had some good practice, We’ll let you know when we are ready for you 😉
    Love the color in the baby’s room!!!! I can’t wait till we get to see the house in person!

  5. Brian,
    You look right at home on the ladder with a tool ready for use. But, you don’t watch the saturday afternoon home shows or you would be wearing the appropriate safety gear–goggles, hardhat, gloves, knee protectors…

  6. Such the handyman dude. I like the idea of picking up trades like plumbing (or something close to a useful hobby). I painted a summer…did construction another…and that was it. You guys rock. :-) Good luck getting it all together. Leanna has done the bulk of improvements around here (although I help at times).

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