Hatton House Diaries

One day, we decided to buy a 125 year old Victorian House in Des Moines, Iowa…….

Historic Hatton House at the Natural Living Expo (Code Name: Simply for Giggles) March 29, 2012

Filed under: Everything Else,Things We Love About Des Moines — hattonhousedsm @ 2:55 pm

In my past life, I once owned a store called Simply for Giggles, and co-ran an Expo about making healthier choices in our daily lives. You can meet me and all those past lives at the Natural Living Expo, March 31st and April 1st. I will be at the Simply for Giggles booth, selling our remaining inventory and talking about our future plans for the Hatton House!

The Expo is a great place to find out about the many really cool companies in Des Moines that can help you live your life with less toxic stuff and more healthy stuff! Hope to see you there!!


Faux Finishes in Paint and the Paintastrophe March 22, 2012

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 5:44 am
Tags: , , ,

Finished glazing technique in first floor bathroom.

We are finally done with our paint finish. I knew how I wanted the paint to look, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to make it happen. I researched paint techniques online, surfed Pinterest for a few hours, and made two trips to Lowes before I decided to just wing it. I bought a natural sponge roller, a hunk of natural sponge, a feathering brush, and some chocolate glaze.

I worked the glaze in two layers, the first one to get a mottled finish over most of the wall. Once it was dry, I came back over the top to bring up more depth. I mostly used the roller for the main wall, working the glaze into the corners with the feathering brush. One clear coat later, and it was exactly how I wanted it to look.

That’s when the paintastrophe happened. The low tack tape that we used pulled all the paint off down to the drywall!! Primer, paint, two layers of glaze, and clear coat…all torn off. It was terrible. Horrifying even. So, we started over: sanding down the edge, feathering in the orange base and brown glaze, then finally the clear coat. It added several days to the bathroom (mainly because I was a giant chicken about feathering in the glaze) but it’s finally done. It’s only a matter of time until we have a working toilet on the first floor now (right?)


Spring Break Trip: South Bend Indiana Historic March 19, 2012

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 6:01 am

Beautiful South Bend

Spring Break brought us to South Bend, Indiana to visit my high school buddy, Mike. Mike and I met in freshman AP English, when he was the punk boy in the back of class that I determined should be friends with me. His mom owned Cup and Chaucer Bookstore, where I got my start in retailing, and we’ve been friends ever since. The punk boy my mom never really approved of is now a PhD professor at Notre Dame (you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover) and he’s now like a brother to me and Uncle to my kids…and most importantly one of my few friends that’s a one day drive away.

Mike lives in one of South Bend’s lovely historic districts, and with all the drinking that took place, I decided I should take advantage of the nice weather and run off a few beers. I have yet to get over my annual delusion that I will run Dam to Dam or a Fall marathon, so running through the streets of South Bend fantasizing about paint colors and landscaping seemed the perfect way to burn off St. Patrick’s Day.

There were beautiful homes that were largely complete. The beauty above was complete with paint, stained glass, landscaping….it was like my fantasy of what our home could be one day. I didn’t get to look inside, but it was so lovely to see a neighborhood restored. It gives me warm fuzziness to think of what River Bend Neighborhood could be one day.

17 Paint ColorsThen there was one home that was like a cautionary tale. It had about 17 different colors on it, and it looked like there might be two or three additional projects going on in addition to the paint. It was lovely, and has so much potential, and the plaque outside said it was built in 1888, the year after our Hatton House was completed. I had to meet the owner! While on a walk with my son, we knocked on the door and a woman my age with children the same age as our kids opened the door. They had company, so we didn’t get to see the inside, but it made me re-double my commitment to starting one project and finish it, and not ending up with 17 paint colors in any one place at once. Let me know how long that idea lasts…



Heat Wave! March 15, 2012

Filed under: In the Garden — hattonhousedsm @ 5:44 am
Tags: , , ,

Neighborhood garden party.

A week of unseasonably warm weather was all the excuse I needed to take a break from the interior work and get in a workout in the garden. We had several raised beds for vegetables, but they were over grown with 4+ years of weeds. We cleared a few beds last year, but we still had half of them to go. The ground is wet and soft this time of year, and the warm weather was the perfect excuse to start prepping.

I got through one box before my son and the neighborhood boys he was playing with decided that tearing into weeds was more fun than the swing-set. They were so helpful, ripping out weeds and hauling to the compost pile. By the end of the day, we’d ripped out most of the weeds, and alas, destroyed what was left of the rotted wood walls. One step closer to bountiful garden!


Drywall Crimes March 10, 2012

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 4:13 am
Tags: ,

imageCats and drywall do not mix. I cleaned up the cat crime scene footprints three times before I just gave up and waited to clean until after the drywall was finished.


Things We Love: Start Up Weekend #SWDSM March 4, 2012

I’ve been thinking that eventually, we should have a section of this blog that features the things we love about Des Moines. When I moved to Iowa from New Jersey in 1992, it took me a while to settle in and see how great this city really is. Granted, it’s much improved in the past 20 years, but the reality is that I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else, and this section of the blog will start to point out why. From the great restaurants, galleries, events, and sports, Des Moines offers so much to do on any given day. And once you pick something, you’ll find minimal traffic, free or cheap parking, affordability, and really nice people.

But there’s something else that makes Des Moines amazing: there is almost zero barrier for entry into whatever you can dream up. I could tell you about the amazing experiences I’ve had over the past couple decades involved with several different boards and events around the city, but there’s no time for that. Right now, Start Up Weekend Des Moines has a group of entrepreneurs staying up late and cooking up app ideas: how to use what’s in your fridge to make delicious (My Kitchen Genie); to virtually slashing the tires of someone that doesn’t know that you learned how to drive in New Jersey, and should therefore get out of her way (RoadRageous). There’s a group working on an app for people sports-knowledge challenged, but their theme song says that girls don’t know about sports, and they don’t say anything about soccer, so I’ll post a link to my soccer blog instead. Just kidding….you can find Cram 5 Sports, but it’s at your peril.

A city that’s startup friendly is going to be an incubator for all sorts of cool things like Dwolla.com, StartUp City DSM, and well, you know…cool 1887 historic homes that get renovated into spaces where you can learn about local food, local art, or just have a welcoming place to stay. Just the first of many reasons you should come check out Des Moines.


Bathroom Paint Finishes (On the Fly) March 3, 2012

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 11:09 pm
Tags: ,

imageOne step closer to finishing the bathroom comes in the form of nearly free paint from our neighborhood home improvement shop. I wanted a color that would pull out the spice colors in the glass tile, but I was getting a little lazy with all the decisions that needed to be made (paint color for three rooms, grout color, hinges, etc). I decided to stop by the Family Discount Store on 6th Avenue in Des Moines, where they have gallons of paint for $5, white $8, to see what there was already mixed. I liked the idea that we could reuse a paint that someone else had already mixed, and I’m never upset about saving a few bucks on our way through tens of thousands of dollars of renovations.

I bought this paint color, thinking that it would be nice in a faux finish, mixed with some creamy white, but then once it got on the wall, I liked it so much in it’s intensity. Now I’m thinking I might do a coffee color glaze over the top of this in some sort of antique plaster look. The best part of this phase of the project? My husband asking me about the application of the glaze. My husband of almost 17 years, thinking that I have this whole thing planned out. Charming. Stay tuned for the yet-to-be-determined glaze…or my decision that it looks fine as it is and leaving it!