Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Decorations

Well the house is all decorated for Christmas. We put evergreen garland up on Mom's balcony and an evergreen swag above the house numbers.
Mom decided not to have a tree upstairs this year. So instead we put up faux garland with lights so that she could still hang up her ornament collection.
I think it's even better than having a tree because this way you really get to see each ornament.

This is my white Xmas tree. (I decided on white because the pink one that I wanted was too expensive!)
Since there was going to be no tree upstairs, we decided to do Christmas downstairs at my place this time. This was the first time I put up a tree since we've been in the house.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mom's little Christmas dinner party

Every December, mom and her friends from work have a little dinner party. They're kind enough to invite me too.
This year we made Soy Ginger Chicken. It's a Martha Stewart recipe.
It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself!
After dinner we play board games like Bananas, Yahtzee, and Oodles of Doodles.
It's always a fun time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hooked on Houses House Tour!

Welcome to the Hooked on Houses House Tour. This stop is my friends' house in Madison, Wisconsin. Christopher and Gary live in a 1940 four square in a great neighborhood on Madison's west side. Their neighborhood actually boasts the oldest neighborhood association in the country, formed in 1936! The house is flanked on the south and east by a huge nature preserve, so lovely trails are literally outside their garden gate.
The lovely setting is my number one favorite thing about this home.

As they always say, location is everything!
Let's start the tour by pulling up to the curb.

I actually think the house looks very unassuming from the street. You'd see the lovely garden,

but you'd never know how great this place is without coming inside the yard and the house. That's my next favorite thing about it -- it is in the middle of Wisconsin's second largest city, but it is very private. An oasis of beauty!

Before we go in, I want to point out these four little glass block windows up here. See them?

A four square has a basic layout of four rooms downstairs and four rooms upstairs. Those little block windows are actually in the closets of the two bedrooms that face the front upstairs. I remember waking up one morning and seeing a light coming from the closet. I thought, "oh, no! I left the closet light on." I looked inside the closet and saw it being flooded from light from two glass blocks. How clever! That's the thing about old houses -- they were so thoughtfully designed.

Well, let's go into the yard, up to the front patio, which sits above the two-car garage. Because it is the whole roof of the garage, this patio is huge. Room for a comfy seating area here.

And a umbrella table area there.

Here's the whole thing.

And from inside looking out the front door.

The front side yard.

And leading back to the expansive back yard. (More on that later.)

There's another way to enter the house, too. You can come in through the garage and enter in the basement, which has been renovated to add a spa-like bathroom with laundry room, room for the family dog (Romare, a giant Airedale), and the other half of the basement has a fireplace and large picture windows looking out on the backyard. Here are some pictures of the basement bathroom and environs.

Let's assume we have entered the front door. Remember, the four square layout calls basically for four rooms downstairs. These are the living room, the dining room, the kitchen and a den. But they aren't just little boxes. The spacious living room boasts a fireplace and opens right into the dining room, which is just off the kitchen.

From the dining room, you can also see the screened porch at the back of the house. You get to it from a door off the kitchen.

More on this screened porch in a minute. First, let's backtrack into the living room.

Yes, the antiques are genuine.

And look at this mantle.

In fact, the furnishings, especially the details, are another reason I love this house so much. Look at this lovely vignette.

And this lamp.

And the dining room, which isn't used much in the summer.

But here it is all decked out for our annual New Year's Eve celebration.

And now, the fabulous kitchen.

Christopher is a wonderful cook. They just had their kitchen renovated last year. It features a Wolf range,

Sub-Zero refrigerator and dishwasher,

and granite countertops. Also hardwood floors. And this lovely garden window, which really opens up the space. I just love this fish wall vase

and this statute of an Airedale.

The kitchen is small, but doesn't feel so because of the good layout, the garden window and this large mirror above a stainless steel counter height table.

My, this house tour is long. I will skip the den and go straight to my third most favorite thing about this house -- the screened porch. The guys use this porch all year. Its charms in the summer are obvious.

But, even in the winter, it's a bridge to the outdoors. At Christmas, the guys put a bowl of bright ornaments on the table and hang lights. And the tough carpet out there is great for cleaning off Romare's paws when he comes inside. He has been taught to walk around the table twice to get the snow or mud off his paws before entering the kitchen.

Now, it's time to check out the backyard.

Okay, a quick trip upstairs to see what's there. Here is the master bedroom.

And here is what I call Erin's room, because that's where she and Keeley sleep when we stay over.

And here is my room.

I forgot to mention that both Erin's and my room have memory foam mattresses. When I stay here, it feels like I'm sleeping in a treehouse. Here's the view from my window.

The fourth bedroom is mostly used for storage, but it does have this balcony.

You can tell the house is loaded with goodies when a balcony gets little use because there is so much other outside space!

Here is the upstairs bathroom with its original tile work. Don't you love it?

As in the rest of the house, the decorative items are not to be missed in here.

Well, that's the house! What did you think?

I hope you enjoyed my part of the Hooked on Houses House Tour. I'd like to thank my friends for letting me show their place. Thanks, Christopher and Gary!
Don't forget to continue the house tour! Click here to return to Julia's tour page.