Today is a bittersweet day. We will soon be saying goodbye to the original Vanderhouse, our first home together...Read More
All good things must come to an end, so here it is: the final kitchen reveal.Read More
It's the final push to the finish line as we install tile and prepare to install the open shelving.Read More
Sometimes you just gotta pull an all nighter if you want to get things done...Read More
It's all in the details in this installment of the kitchen story.Read More
Part 2 of our kitchen renovation has us finishing out the south side with a new pantry and a reconfigured set of old cabinets. We also get in a hefty dose of smashy smashy as we start the demo on the north side.Read More
Follow along as we design, plan and build our new kitchen! In the first post of this series we discuss the planning phase, money saving tips, and installing the south side of our kitchen with a little help from our favorite Swedish furniture store.Read More
We live in an old house. We have never been told or been able to figure out exactly how old. The best guess the realtor could give us was 1930. I was never satisfied with that date since it seemed so vague, and ever since we moved in, I've been searching for clues as to the actual date that the house was built.
Recently, I found a way to access the old Sanborn insurance maps for Norman and lo and behold, there on the 1925 map was our little casa! It was fascinating to see our neighborhood and realize how sparse some of the surrounding areas were at that time even though we live in what I could consider to be central Norman. According to the map, Norman was a town of 12,000 in 1925.
These maps are a wealth of history and information. They were created for firefighters and insurance adjusters to know the approximate shape and size of all buildings in town as well as entrances for those structures, closest fire hydrants, etc. For instance, the map with our house is so detailed that I can clearly see the location of our original back door since our guestroom addition had not been made yet.
Here is a detail of Main St between Santa Fe and the railroad tracks. Most businesses are labeled as well as the original Interurban exchange station. Notice also the coal yard in the bottom right hand corner. Another map lists the stockyard not far from this location.
Around the same time I found this map, we were working on a project to repair the drawers of the built-in in our hallway. Some of the bottoms had come detached and needed repair. As we were working on this, I noticed a mark on the bottom of one of the drawers that said "Barker Lumber Company, Norman OK".
Intrigued, I did some research and discovered that the Barker Lumber Company had operated on Main St between 1911 and 1916 before it was sold to Minnetonka Lumber Company, and the parcel continued to function as a lumberyard until the 1940s. Currently, the site sits derelict and many in Norman want to see the remnants of the lumber yard torn down and the site repurposed. In 2014, the site was the focus of a community art initiative to bring awareness to the area: http://startnorman.com/space/
Norman is an ever-evolving historic town and I love that our house is in the heart of it. It's always been a dream of mine to live in an older home. Taking care of it and preserving it for the next generation is what it's all about.
We don't like a lot of clutter here at the Vanderhouse. Every weekend we load up the trusty Ford Explorer with assorted items from the house that either need to be sold, donated or returned. We head off on our rounds to consignment clothing stores, the Goodwill and whatever other stores we need to return items that we've changed our minds about.
Then we fill it back up! We never know what we're going to find on our Saturday adventures. Some of our favorite places to look for bargains include the Goodwill, Salvation Army, Outreach Thrift, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, garage sales and estate sales, and various mom and pop thrift stores in the metro area. There are some real bargains to be had and we've bought everything from furniture to clothing, all second hand.
This weekend we made the rounds and came home with several good finds.
Before thrifting, we stopped at the Dollar store for some party accessories for our upcoming luau. Then we stopped into Dodson's Health Food which is our favorite local organic/veggie/healthy store. I picked up a box of Gin Gins which is a ginger candy and several Quest bars. Maybe I'll make a separate post about my love of Quest bars someday!
At the Goodwill, Denny bought 4 new shirts for $1.50 each (except one which was half off making it .75). I bought a brand new Lauren Conrad lace dress for $3.99 and a peasant top to use for my next Medieval Fair costume for $2.99.
Denny's new swim shorts are vintage and came from an estate sale just down the street that was full of treasures! We had to leave many behind as we prioritized our purchases. Let's just say I'm still dreaming of a certain typography letterpress kit with tons of old, kitchy stamps that was sadly out of my price range.
But the things we did get were very useful and will no doubt aid in future Vanderhouse projects. We picked up a chainsaw, jigsaw and belt sander for $80 total. These tools will be going to work shortly on the kitchen renovation we're planning. Stay tuned!
Along with the swim shorts, I grabbed a few rolled prints of Audubon's birds. We are currently having an Audubon exhibit at the Sam Noble Museum so I was familiar with his work. It's beautiful! These were a bargain at a $1/each. It will cost more than the print to frame them but it's well worth it.
Hope you enjoyed this Saturday's haul! We'll have haul posts from time to time so you can check out all of the crazy places we go and things we buy. It can be quite the adventure sometimes.
We moved into our house in October of 2013. When we first moved in, our backyard looked like this:
If I was the only one living here, it would still look like that today, but luckily Denny had other ideas and together we began to dream about what our perfect backyard might look like.
Step one was to hide the clutter of our neighbor's yard (and their annoying dog) and the alley behind our house. We began planning for an 8 foot high fence to surround the backyard and really give us a private and enclosed space to enjoy. I was dubious that we'd be able to build such a big structure and have it actually stand up and look nice! With some major help from carpentry whiz and all around handy person, Denny's dad Dennis, we were able to pull it off. So in the spring of 2014, we built a fence.
It took all of the spring to finish, including a weekend of staining the entire thing. Then it was on to the landscaping. Denny, being the beast that he is, hand-tilled and then reseeded the entire yard!
We let it rest through the hot summer months and finally finished up in the fall with a few final touches.
At a last minute end of season sale, we bought several trees and shrubs and began the landscaping project.
Fast forward to this year and the plants are in full bloom! We decided that it was time to tackle another project on the back porch. The previous owners had left a mess of different materials, including brick, concrete and stone, forming a path from our back porch to the driveway.
When Denny planted the grass last summer, he pulled up a flagstone path that had originally lead to our back gate. We decided to recycle those flagstones into a new path, lined with the brick that we pulled up from the existing pathway.
And last but not least for this year was the addition of our backyard lights. I bought these during an Amazon lightning sale over the holidays so we've been hanging onto them for awhile waiting for the perfect spring evening to finally put them up and enjoy them.
Our backyard is an ever changing and evolving place. Plans that we have yet to accomplish include:
- A new grill
- Painting the table
- Planting and landscaping under the big tree and behind the garage
- Filling containers with the flowers we're growing