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Burned out… but have to finish strong!

I am sure everyone who has had a small taste of success has felt this way. Anxious, inspired, confused, determined, in your own head constantly, a little insane, positive, struggling, and invested in an idea. I guess they would say there is beauty in the struggle. There is also a realization that it is one thing to have a good idea, and it is another to turn the idea into reality. But, what if that idea was your dream. Not just one of those strange dreams that happen one night after one too many, but one of those reoccurring dreams that sticks with you.

Roof Garden Installation

When I was younger I heard about the land bank dollar property program and was insistent that I would find an old house and fix it up. Some how at that time I knew what I wanted to do… fix up old houses and build new ones. What are the steps that have to be taken to fulfill this desire? What must one do to achieve a goal? Although we did not buy the Franklin House through the land bank, we bought the property and I was officially living the dream! The dream then turned into reality… design, logistics, expenses, scheduling, hiring, firing, systems, construction, lead time, competition, headaches, questions, alcohol, sobriety, coffee, hard work, Whats Next? “Do, don’t try.” Make a deadline. That will help!

As much as I like to rant, there must be a point to this post… ? … Oh yeah I am feeling a little burned out and I am now able to admit it. I don’t think it is because of the project, or the social implications that I now realize, or the connections that I have made with everyone involved and everyone impacted, or the fact that there is probably going to be zero monetary ROI or possibly a loss… I think it is more the angst from the unknown.

What positive impact will the result have and what opportunities lie ahead. I have a couple potential clients interested in my design capabilities, we are looking for the next house to fix up and a vacant in-fill lot to build on. But is it enough to fill the void after seeing the dream to fruition? Do I have to take time to dream more? Should I go back to school so I can actually call myself an architect? Can I afford that? Will any of this pay off? Does anyone understand? ” Hold it together man…”(slap)

The mind is an amazing piece of the puzzle that we all take for granted at a given point in time. Sometimes we become so self involved that we cut other people off in their journey through life. It is a hard truth about the human condition… but other times we care deeply about an idea, cause, and other people… look now he is a philosopher.

What is a house?

We started the project of the Franklin House strong and I intend to finish it the same way. What ever comes next will happen in due time. I have to tell myself every morning to “Roll with time” it is a saying of patience (the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset, thanks Google). I hope that my work spreads a positive message of sustainability and love. I want people to see beauty in reality… maybe that is the dream?

Interview with Budget Dumpster!

Guys! We did a really fun interview with our friends over at Budget Dumpster. Go check it out hereRemoving Porch


We have been using Budget Dumpster since the start of this huge project and we can’t say enough nice things about their service! We ordered several dumpsters from them to contain everything from old plaster to the concrete porch. The customer service has been great. The delivery and pick-up drivers have been awesome. We really recommend this company! Columbus locals please find their page here!

We want to thank Budget Dumpster for featuring us on their blog!

We were in no way paid or compensated for this post. All opinions are our own.

The Best Garden Tool Ever

Winged Weeder 1

This is the best garden tool we have ever bought. My parents got one and spread the word to us. This is the Winged Weeder. As someone who HATES to weed this thing is the best. No more bending over to pull difficult weeds.

Winged Weeder 2
It is as simple as it looks.

This tool is really just a sharp bit of metal on a stick. It is brilliant in its simplicity. This tool just slides underneath the top layer of dirt and either pulls up shallow rooted weeds or clips off the tough ones. A quick raking takes care of the debris. We had a serious grass problem in our veggie bed about a month ago because of all the rain we have had. This tool took care of it and we have not had to weed since! The key is definitely raking up the weeds after.

Winged Weeder 3
See ya later weeds!

This is not a sponsored post. I have not been paid to promote this product. I just really love this thing! Go buy one now!

Pieces/Parts #3 June in the Garden


Every year for the past 5 years Peter and I have planted a large vegetable garden. I love June in the garden when all the plants are just starting to grow and bloom. Not only do we get to eat the fruits of our labor (oh so punny) but it is so much fun to watch these fast growing plants do their thing! We have had our vegetable plants in for a month or so and while these are not ALL of what we are growing these are a few of the best parts right now.


Tomato Blossoms
Tiny blossoms turn into huge tomatoes. Magic!

Last year we did 10 tomato plants and it was WAY too many. This year we scaled down to 7. I personally do not like to eat raw tomatoes but like to make and can spaghetti sauce. We also give away a bunch of them!

Cucumber Blossom
Every time I see a cucumber blossom I think of pickles.

We do 2 regular cucumber plants each year. They produce like crazy and we have plenty to eat raw and I pickle a bunch too! We train them up a trellis and it makes them much easier to find when they get ripe.

Radishes June
First time doing radishes. They grow really fast!

We almost lost our radishes to a hungry rabbit. I am glad they did not eat them all! We have eaten a few of these and they are crunchy and spicy.

Strawberries June
Sooooo many strawberries this year!

It was a good year for our strawberries. This is one of the very first things that we planted in our garden and we look forward to picking them every year. I have already made and canned jam. I have not quite perfected the process of jam yet but this batch was my best yet! Kinda runny. Oh well.

Hops  June
The fastest growing plant I have ever seen!

This hops vine is about 4 years old. We have harvested and used the hops to brew beer a couple of times! I love watching this plant race up the fence each year.

This is few pieces of our veggie garden this year! I will make sure to post more pictures as our plants grow and produce!

A Usonian Home

Last fall Peter and I got married. And the thing to do when one marries an architectural designer in the midwest is honeymoon with Frank LLoyd Wright. We booked two nights at Polymath Park and stayed in The Duncan House.  This is one of the Usonian homes designed by Mr. Wright. Located in the Laurel Highlands in southwestern Pennsylvania this property is only a hour or so from Fallingwater.

Duncan House
The Duncan House exterior.

This house is only 1 of 7 Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes that you can actually stay overnight in. Built elsewhere, this house was moved to this site and reassembled. Wright designed these usonian homes for the “everyman”. They are chock full of Wright’s architectural philosophies. From the outside this home is nestled into its landscape and takes advantage of its gorgeous surroundings. It has the large hearth that is centrally located in the home and the car port this is indicative to Wright’s designs.

Back of The Duncan House
The back of The Duncan House.

Much of these Usonian homes are made of concrete block. This was an inexpensive building material that could be left as it was or covered with a stone to make it more fancy.  One of the design features of these homes was the horizontal lines throughout that draw the eye around the structure. These houses had large windows in the back to bring the outdoors in and take full advantage of the sun.

Usonian Kitchen
The Kitchen of the fifties!

The homes had a small kitchen with plenty of storage space. Mr. Wright believed that built-in storage was necessary to keeping clutter away. This kitchen had the original red formica counter tops and the push button cooktop! Very space age!

Usonian Dining
The dining room built ins.

This view from the kitchen into the dining room shows the built ins and shelving that is definitely indicative of Frank Lloyd Wright design.  Also notice how the horizontal lines continue throughout the interior of the home as well.

Usonian Fireplace
The massive fireplace!

The centerpiece of any Wright design is the massive fireplace. In his philosophy the hearth is the heart of the home. This beauty is covered in a locally sourced stone ut originally it was left in concrete block. This draw back to this fireplace design is that it is not very efficient.

Usonian Living Room
The living room . The velvet furniture was down filled!

The living room is a large light filled space. The windows give it the indoor/outdoor feel. This is where the family would gather and spend most of their time since the Wrightian idea was that bedrooms were for sleeping and storing one’s clothing.

Usonian Hallway
The hallway was filled with more built ins.

This hallway leads to the three bedrooms and one of the  bathrooms in this home. Mr. Wright didn’t feel that this was a place to spend much time so the hall narrows to “push” you through it. Many more built ins here to store one’s belongings.

Usonian Bedroom
Master bedroom. This bed was one of the most comfortale that I have ever slept in!

This is the master bedroom. Its small size was due to the fact that all you were supposed to do in here was sleep and change your clothes. There is a small bathroom around the other side of the bed. It still had its fifties tiles (with fish!) and accessories. So cool.

We really enjoyed staying on this awesome property. We suggest if you are going to see Fallingwater that you spend a night in Polymath Park too!



Pieces/Parts #2

Peter and George have been working A LOT lately. The Franklin House project has gotten to the point where we are starting to put the inside back together. Luckily the guys got a whole day off last week. Pete and I spent the day gardening and it was really relaxing. Here are the pieces/parts from our day off.

We are doing all our herbs in containers this year. I hope I remember to water them!
I like this variegated variety of sage.
Mother's Day Pot
Our day off fell on Mother’s Day. We made my mom a flowering pot!
Planting Seeds
We planted seeds in our vegetable garden this year. We planted lettuce, garden beans, radishes. lima beans and sugar snap peas.
Tomato cages
Pete put the tomato cages over our new plants. We planted WAY too many tomato plants last year this year we only put in 7.
Our pepper plants did not do very well last year. This year we did not put in as many.
Mia Louise
Mia got to spend most of the day outside. She was in heaven!
Pete drawing
Pete even got some drawing time in!

We had a fantastic day! One that was much needed. Soon we will have a post up about how we pulled some order into The Franklin House’s former chaotic floor plan.

Pieces/Parts #1


I have been wanting to share a few “behind the scenes” pictures lately. I always like to see the small parts that make up a person’s day. Peter uses the term pieces/parts all the time and it makes me smile. So here are our pieces…

CAD monkey

This guy spends a lot of time doing this. CAD drawing is one of the things that he is best at and though it strains the eyes he enjoys manipulating spaces this way.

Vintage Lights

These lights were a find and a half! Vintage porcelain industrial lights. We went out to Heart of Ohio Antique Mall looking for something interesting to use for our bathroom vanities. We found nothing that we could use for those but we found these awesome lights! They are a bit dinged up and rusty around the edges but we love the age that shows on them. These guys were marked fifty dollars apiece (a good deal considering the pricing we found for new lighting) and when we decided to buy them the employees of the mall called the dealer for his best price. So we paid a whopping thirty bucks each!

Reclaimed Lath

This pile of lath that George and Pete reclaimed out of the house is just sitting around and waiting for me to pull all the nails out of it and clean it up. Then I can start playing with it to see if I can make an interesting wall treatment. This stuff is sturdier than it looks.

Reclaimed Trim

The trim that was in the house but now is in my garage. We couldn’t save much of this. It was pretty brittle and had been chopped up during the houses life. We hope to still use some of this but most of the pieces are pretty short.

Messy Garage

And finally the view of our poor garage. Nothing bothers Pete more than a messy garage. I can totally feel him though. Clear space = Clear mind.

Thanks for reading!

Front Exterior

The Larsen Dwellings Reno Home “The Franklin House”!


It took quite a while but we found it! The perfect reno home. We looked all over Columbus and the surrounding area. We knew that we wanted a house that had history, great bones and needed lots of love. We also knew that we wanted something in an urban area, no suburbs for this project! We looked for MONTHS. Finally we saw this gem and knew that this was the house that we wanted to save. It had everything we were looking for and a few things we weren’t!

The Franklin house is located in one of Columbus’ historic neighborhoods, Olde Towne East, right outside of downtown.  We love the beautiful homes in this area and the community feel. Just one block over is Historic Bryden Road with many old mansions and gorgeous Victorians. This neighborhood is experiencing an amazing comeback after years of struggles. Mayor Mike Coleman has put a lot of effort into revitalizing downtown Columbus and areas like Olde Towne East. It’s definitely showing! One of the best things to help this effort along was cracking down on absentee landlords. This has helped to save the architectural housing stock in the area and removing the crime element.

 attic damage

Built in 1884 this Queen Anne Victorian has character to spare. From the serpent cresting on the ridgeline of the roof to the fish scale siding on the gables this old girl has CLASS. Unfortunately she has been treated pretty harshly over the years. Over her life she has been split into a duplex and returned to a single family home. The multiple renovations this house has undergone were done VERY badly and involved repositioning of the staircases and walls several times. This has resulted in a really choppy floor plan with some odd spaces and numerous structural issues. Sitting vacant for 6 years has also done a lot of damage. Neglect has created holes in the roof and much water damage. Despite some obvious problems this home has plenty of space  to redesign for modern living and an open floor plan.

Bedroom 2 Hearth

There are many cool Victorian details left after over 130 years of owners. There are 3 fireplaces in the house right now though we don’t think that they are original. These fireplaces have wonderful tile hearths that are all matching but different! We will reuse these tiles elsewhere in the house. We were also left with many old doorknobs and hinges. These types of details are what tells a home’s story and we want to preserve as much of this history as possible. When starting demolition the house also gave up a few more gifts in the form of decorative ceramic tiles and original metal floor grates. I am sure as we continue demoing we find more fun treasures!

Painted Grate

We are so excited to be working on an old home in a really cool neighborhood! We plan on sharing the entire renovation of this property. We have also found some interesting history tidbits to share. Please check back often to see our progress on the Franklin House!