If You Give A Mouse A Carpenter

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie was one of my kids’ favorite books – and if you spend any amount of time with little people, you are probably familiar:

if you give a mouse a cookie

For those not: a recap. Boy offers Mouse a snack. Mouse quickly spirals and takes over the boy’s life and home, one “tiny” request at a time. Boy regrets his life decisions while marveling at Mouse’s incredibly ambitious, ADD-like litany of oddly connected activities. Mouse is happy, boy is tired, things are messy, and milk is had.

Friends, a confession: I am the Mouse. This picture-book classic is the true story of my approach to home renovation. Paul may or may not be the boy who regrets his life decisions. I couldn’t really say.

About a year ago, my sweet husband asked me what I’d like for Christmas. My answer: skilled carpentry. Why?

Weeellll, you see, I live just three blocks away from a magical, bi-annual fairground-filling antique show. At said thrilling end-of-summer show, I bought an antique door and a vintage fireplace surround. To be clear: there were no actual fireplaces left in the house (I harbor major resentment towards whoever decided, at some point in history, to pull them all out). But in my Victorian fantasy, there had to be a fireplace in the master bedroom. And in a world of open-concept living spaces and “let’s take out that wall” home renovation mania (seriously – a dangerous drinking game is to take a shot each time someone says “open concept” on HGTV) , rebel me wanted more doors: specificallya swinging door between the kitchen and dining room. There was a door frame there, so this is what the house wanted too.  Never mind that this brings door count in the dining room alone to 6. Unless you count the china display, which was once a door. Then there are 7.

I can’t resist telling you that while the door I bought was covered in what turned out to be MANY layers of blue paint and missing its glass insert, it was perfectly sized for my odd-ball, non-standard Victorian doorway, to such a degree that the guy in the hardware store speculated that I may have just bought back my own original door (for a mere $40!) Thank you, Universe!

Anyhow, both the restoration of the door and the installation of fantasy fireplace are far beyond the skill set residing at my house. So my lovely treasures waited in the garage for a painful 3 months, taunting me with unfulfilled potential.

Enter my Christmas present and the best thing that has happened to my old house: AAC (Awesome Amish Carpenter), Mel. Joanna has Clint, I have Mel. I think we are Mel’s favorite and most dreaded clients all at once. He can do it all. When he visits our house, he does, as I stand there with the twinkle in my eye and the Pinsperations on my phone.

Here are Mel’s first projects for us:

My pretty door, all refinished and sporting new plexi and vinyl “stained” glass coating:

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Victorian Fantasy Fireplace (because it turns out the “Snowbelt” is a true story and it gets DAMNED COLD in Ohio from October till May)

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Mel’s latest fit of projects led to this awesome laundry room makeover:

laundry room

Here’s how it happened: If Paul calls Mel to fix the garage door frame, Alison will want him to do “a few more little things” while he is here. One of those “little things” is to hang a $10 cabinet scored at the ReStore over the laundry machine. If we hang the cabinet, we might as well add some custom shelving on either side of it. While we are adding custom shelving, we might as well put some pretty wallpaper behind it. And since it is all coming together so nicely, maybe it needs a chair rail and a new paint job. Pretty soon I’m upholstering ceiling tiles with fabric, you know, just to “pull it all together”. Oh, and while Mel is here, hows-about he builds a custom barn door for the master bedroom closet. And some more custom shelving and new hanging bars to make the closet more functional.

Yes – true story on all of it. We love you, AAC.  More pics and details on all of these projects soon!

 

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