What better day than April Fools to post a long overdue update on our basement progress?

Yes folks, this blog post isn't a joke, so don't worry, you're not going to be had in the last line or two. However, this post is a bit out of character, as it largely involves how closely we worked with a great contractor to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish. 

If you'll recall, back in November we told y'all about working on a major basement overhaul in our Old Town row house. It was about the time of our last blog post that we somehow reverted to the ways of our 20 year old selves and went full bore on renovation work.

Here's the #1 April Fool

I'm talking 8 hour day job work, 8 hour house work, a break or two to eat, some long days, late nights, raw hands, and lots of sore muscles. And though we hired out a good amount of the work we were doing, that certainly didn't stop us from participating as much as if we were doing it all ourselves. 

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It's hard to believe just how quickly this year has flown by, but given that holiday decorations are popping up around town I suppose it really is time to deck the halls for the holiday. Each year, I try to have most of our decorations and two trees up by the annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend here in Old Town. 

Many people near and far come to Old Town this weekend to enjoy the festivities, and I like the exterior of our home to be ready for the occasion. 

This year's Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend kicked off on November 30 (the parade is always the first Saturday in December), so it felt super early to be buying our trees. But it also served as a great deadline to get us motivated since we also throw a formal scotch tasting and dinner party on the Friday night of this weekend! With all of the work on our basement project it's been tough to divide our time between fun and function, but by our party that night we were in pretty good shape as far as holiday decor goes.

Just like with our fall decorations this year, I tried to make use of as many fresh greens as possible. Our home in Maryland is a great source for fresh greenery, so I made a quick trip there to snip some evergreens and boxwoods, and cut a few berry-lined twigs. 

I'm not sure what the berry branches are exactly (my guess is some kind of invasive plant that while choking out surrounding vegetation, happens to look pretty this time of year). With my stash from the other house, the branches we trimmed off our live Fraser firs, and two dozen roses and a bunch of berries from the grocery store, I was ready to start making fresh arrangements.

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Have you ever had a project you've badly wanted to work on, but you never thought it would actually happen? 

As long as we've owned our homes we've always had a project list a mile long. Some of those projects are things we are going to work on in the near term, and some of those projects are things we dream about eventually tackling, but have no real concept if we'll actually get to that point. But if there's one thing you need to know about Wendy and me, when we set our minds to something, we don't like to stop driving toward that goal until we can make it happen.

Over the course of the summer, and now into this fall and winter, we've been planning and working on one of those projects we've always really wanted to take on, but weren't sure would ever happen. That project? A complete overhaul of our row house's dark, musty, dirty, crowded, and inefficient basement. You remember this gross space, right? The room in our house that could most easily pass for that of a hoarder's hideaway.

Back when we purchased our home we didn't have any sort of budget to put into the unfinished basement. The walls were covered in failing waterproofing paint, portions of exposed mortar were crumbling, and the ceiling height of the basement ranged from 6'11" at its tallest point in the center, to 6'3" at its shortest at the back wall. 

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If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, fall is my absolute favorite season of the year! 

After what has felt like an endless summer of intense rain and humidity here on the east coast, fall's cool, crisp days are more welcome than ever. And while I'm not quite ready to drape our home in the traditional orange and black of Halloween (give me another week for that), several seasonal touches of autumn have begun to make their appearance in our home.

Given all of our rain this summer, our gardens are looking remarkably lush this year. As a result, my pre-Halloween decorating approach has been to bring the outdoors in, and to celebrate the change in seasons with cuttings from my garden and small pumpkins purchased from a local farm stand. 

When hatching my decor plan I took a few minutes to walk around my garden to snip florals and leaves that I thought would make an interesting statement. This included a few stalks of pink sedum and branches of deep purple weigela.

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Have you missed us? Were you worried about us? I bet you were! ;-)

First, not to worry, we're here, and we're all fine. Second, wow have we had a lot going on! Over the last month we've wanted to write several blog posts but it has been so crazy the last little while we've just not had the time. Don't know if you know this, but it turns out topical blog posts require some inordinate level of time and concentration that we just haven't had the last few weeks.

Rather than trying to do a topical blog post about window glazing, a project that took months but we creatively make it look like a weekend, or a new recipe that we can't get enough of, we're going to get back on track by kicking it old school blogging style. "What's that" you say? We're going way back to the chronological journaling style roots of blogging, back before blogs were all shooting for compelling linkable content angling for pins and shares. Yes, we're going to look back over our last six weeks or so and summarize some of our highlights. If you follow us on Instagram there's a chance some of this may be familiar, but it will certainly have a bit more detail and far fewer hashtags. One thing's for sure, we haven't just been sitting around doing nothing the last several weeks. More on where these guys fit into the story in a bit.

Our last blog post was back near the end of July, when we did a little video home tour of our foursquare. Since then we've continued on several projects, experienced a few cool events, and we went on a handful of small trips.

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