Saturday, June 30, 2012

Old House P@rn in Charleston

While Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is only a mere 6.5 hours drive away from our Ugly Duckling, we decided to turn the drive up to the location for our annual family reunion into a trip itself. We decided to drive up on Saturday morning, stop mid-way, explore and crash somewhere and then finish the last leg of our travel just in time for check-in at the rental beach house.

Said and done!

We declared Charleston, SC, halfway and poking around on we discovered Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham in North Cahrleston. It looked nice, came with continental breakfast and pool and the reviews were just right.

We had a great stay so I'm happy to recommend it to you, in case you're driving over to Charleston anytime soon. It felt more like a sweet apartment complex than a hotel, the suites were more than roomy and even came with two flatscreen TVs (much to Little Man's delight). The breakfast was great and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We could have even brought the puppy along; it's a pet friendly place with handy-dandy poop-bag dispensers strategically placed around the units.

[Peekaboo - our room]

For dinner we consulted with husband's phone. He discovered this neat thing called "foodspotting" (you enter where you are and it'll show you pictures of dishes people in your immediate vicinity are recommending) and after a quick debate we were headed for Willie Jewell's Old School Bar-B-Q.


If you like Bar-B-Q - smoked ribs, pulled pork, and the works - GO. THERE.

It will blow your mind.

Within seconds we were in Hog heaven, I'm telling you!

The next morning we enjoyed a great breakfast from the buffet at the hotel (German here. Can't go without breakfast) and then hung out by and in the pool for an hour before breaking down our tents and heading into Charleston.

Charleston had us at pulled pork sandwiches hello! You can feel the pride of ownership of those fabulous historic homes in the air, the love for the city's history and the attention to detail.

They had it all: lovingly restored and maintained historic homes, ongoing restoration projects, houses in need of some lovin'. Within minutes of parking our car and walking down the street-lined alley I was itching to look up real estate listings (Don't tell the Ugly Duckling!).

So, without further ado, here are a few snap shots of Charleston's historic downtown along Meeting Street. Enjoy!

Old house p@rn - what's not to love?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Upholstered head board


solid wood head board?

I just can't frikkin' decide .... gah!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wild Waters

We were off for a family vacation - cause of the Great Big Silence here at Little Old House - and made it home just in time to get poured on by Tropical Storm "Debbie." While we got off easy when Tropical Storm Beryl swung by for a visit, this time we got our fair share of trouble, mostly in the form of water.

Lots and lots of it.

This is TS Debbie's debut on TV. You can see how the lovely outer bands are headed right for North-East of Florida and thus, Jacksonville. Everything that's yellow and orange? That's water rain. And since Debbie twirled on the spot shuffling her feet like a little shy wallflower we got lots LOTS of it for a very VERY long time.

Fortunately, our house is on stilts ...err, piers, and we're far off of any kind of creek, brook, pond and other body of water so we came through it mostly unscathed and with just one puppy potty accident. In other areas, even in our neighborhood, things were knee-deep in water. One neighbor even got to kayak through our 'hood - how crazy is that?!

Here at the Ugly Duckling, things weren't quite so bad.

There was standing water in the back yard and a pool full to overflowing (Don't mind the gallon jug; it's a weight for the pool cover).

Lots of standing water in the front yard turning the side alley between our neighbor's house and ours into a gushing stream spilling onto the sidewalk.

A flooded sidewalk and a lazy river in the street.


24 hours later though?
Like nothing had ever happened.

At least one thing Florida's sandy soil is good for ...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Good Graciousness


Good gracious, has it really been that long since my last post? That sure explains the dust here. Time to whip stuff into shape and bring out the big guns feather duster!

The past couple of weeks have been a whirl - not so much in the DIY and Decorating Department but rather in the health, family, and vacation parts of life - and unfortunately I couldn't find my usual energy by the time evening rolled around. Must be all that overcast and rainy weather we've been having lately; I run on solar-energy, you see.

Anyways, I'm back, quite literally, and I'll be even more back later today with an update on part one of our trip.

See you then!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I've been working on the rail road ...

Well, no, actually, I have been digging up our front yard again. It's one of those areas that really has me stumped because while I love the clean and neat look of grass between symmetrically arranged pavers, it's too contemporary - I think - to work with both our house and our neighborhood. My first foray into researching historically appropriate front yards in the early 1900s didn't yield much fun inspiration either (picket fences and grass, anybody?) and so our front yard was laying pretty bare and didn't do much for our curb appeal at the Ugly Duckling.

Big deep sigh.

Just blah.

It's a challenging bit of land cut into 1/3 to 2/3 by the paved walkway to the front porch. The smaller third receives almost all day sun whereas the larger part only catches a few morning rays and spends the rest of the day in either full shade or dappled shade. Choosing plants that can deal with those light settings along with the funky combination of poor soil, drought and occasional torrential downpours adds another layer of excitement.
We also cross through the larger part on our way to the gate to the backyard and the trash.

In the end I threw all fancy pants design plans out the window and decided to follow the spirit of a neighbor of ours: just plant and mulch!

I also got rid of the big unruly bushes of lilies right at the first step to our house; they only served as nursery for too many locusts, needed loads of water and bloomed for a week at best - too little gain for too much work, really. Out they came and were replaced with variegated Liriope and Mexican heather.

Since the smaller third of the front yard has always been earmarked as the "Butterfly Garden" I added plenty of Lantanas along the edge. We already had a butterfly bush, some milkweed and a daisy-like yellow flower from a butterfly garden kit I ordered online last year and so I've been adding a helpful plant here and there. I also tossed in a Plumbago and a red Purslane for some more color.

To top it all off, I mulched with black mulch. Oh boy, that's lovely stuff! The way it makes all other colors pop is just crazy!

 I also tossed in yet another white glass globe (I have plenty of these things, remember) as a yard ornament. Next time I'm over at the blue or orange box I'll pick up some solar lights to go underneath for a lighted effect. That sounds safer to me than using Christmas lights.

[Look! Somebody should scrub her front steps]

That funky tree thing in the center is a Loquat or Chinese Plum, or as we call them "Truffula tree" a la Dr. Seuss. In the spring it grows sweet little peach-like fruit, not much bigger than a very large cherry, that are tart and sweet at the same time (not this spring though; the late frost after weeks of mild warm weather killed most of them). It's a little worse for wear after getting a beating in torrential rains lately (Thanks, Beryl) and needs some help standing straight again.

Anyways, that's the start of my front yard clean-up. Next step: tackle the larger part to the left. This will include a gravel path, more plants and definitely more black mulch! Yum!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Meh :o(

If you're thinking this will be yet another post about painting trim, you are (sadly) correct ...

You see, the master bathroom was done except for a few decorative touches and painting the door frame to the then hallway, now closet.

Since scraping and stripping paint is a task I abhor (really - it's worse than painting), I tasked the husband with the job of prepping the door frame. He'd taken a day off from work and volunteered to tackle something on our immediate to-do-list.

Little did I know that this would excite the husband so much that he'd get carried away ...

Now I need to fix this: