In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine
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My Favorite Renovation Project to Date.

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Wednesday, October 13, 2010

For almost two years we've been dealing with a minor inconvenience regarding our house.  When you look at it from the road you see a total of three doors: one to the main part of the house, one to the addition, and one to the work shop.  Do you know how many doors you see when you look at the house from the back?  Zero.  Yep, our lovely, long house didn't have a single door leading straight to the back yard.  I'm only a little ashamed to admit that this kept us from spending more time back there.  In reality, when you're as busy as we are, the long walk around the house to the back yard was enough of an inconvenience to keep us from bothering with it.  So for the past year and a half we've talked about installing a nice sliding glass door in the back of the house in our dining room.

As we have been renovating the dining room for the past month or so we decided it was now or never.  We had originally planned to pay someone more experienced to install it for us but, as time was running out as quickly as our "excess" income, Kyle took one look at the exposed wall and thought to himself "I can do this".  That, paired with a free door that was salvaged from my Mom's house, was enough to get us jumpstarted into this long-anticipated project.

A few weeks ago, Kyle began work first thing in the morning.  We wanted to be sure to get as much done on Saturday because the weather report for Sunday wasn't quite as dry.  He measured the door no less than three times and marked the studs where he would have to cut and install a new header.  Because our floor in the dining room is a little slanted (this side of the house was an addition and the foundation wasn't perfectly in line with the old foundation) we had to be sure to make a level base to rest the door on as well.

After all the measurements were made, Kyle cut and removed the studs.  We quickly cleaned out around the work area and he put the new header in place which would be positioned just a little above the door frame.

Once the header and supporting studs were in, leveled, and solid we moved on to the scariest part: cutting the hole in the back of our house. 

This would the be one of the scariest things we have ever done, in my opinion.  Kyle was great, wore his safety goggles and everything, and using the reciprocating saw he managed to cut through the layers of siding relatively quickly.

Here is the ever-victorious man himself.  Champion of demolition.  Master of Sawsall. 

Ok, so once the hole was in the wall we had to quickly move on to the next most crucial part: installing the door itself.  We put it in place and started putting in shims on every side.  As we went we were sure everything was level and square- otherwise the door wouldn't be able to slide properly!  Luckily, the door had a great frame already on it so it was fairly easy for it to keep it's proper shape and before we knew it, the door was in!  We screwed it in place, put in the doors, and stepped back to admire our new view.

Pretty sweet if I do say so myself.  Later that afternoon we filled all the gaps with spray foam insulation designed for windows and doors (so as to not warp the frame with its pressure when it expands) and sealed all small cracks with silicone.  We also capped off the ends of the vinyl siding with special j-groove trim to keep the edges clean and rain water diverted away from the house and put up some lovely new trim around the door.  The door works like a charm and I L.O.V.E. it!! 

Stay tuned my friends, we've got a bunch more stuff in the works and the dining room renovation is in full swing!  Yahoo!


  1. Donna Mae Says:
  2. It looks awesome and I love the pictures of Kyle doing the work, nice job..:) I'm so proud of you guys!!!

  3. kelly potvin Says:
  4. woooohoooooooo
    come to canada
    i pay w timmies
    do my place!