Star Wars Game Room

22712305_10104219328548638_370792463763243008_nWelcome to our Star Wars Basement— courtesy of labor, cheap carpet tiles, throw rugs purchased at Gabes, my husband’s seemingly endless Star Wars collection, oil-based primer, latex paint, and random stuff we already had!

This room is very exciting! I never imagined that our grungy dark basement would turn out to be such a cozy, inviting nerd room.

before after


Before After-Stairs with 1

When we viewed the home, this room was cluttered, paneled, and had shelving that covered a lot of the area. It’s a small basement with limited space, and luckily, we have a full attic for storage. With some sweat and patience, we transformed this space from ick to awesome.


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Look, folks-I’m all about the outdoors and greenery, but if you fear coming face-to-face with a velociraptor or some other prehistoric predator in your own backyard, then it might be time to make a change.

If I had to name every single thing that we have pulled, clipped, or hauled away in our new backyard, we would be here all day-maybe all week. I will try to summarize. For two weeks straight, Adam, his parents, and I worked on our jungle of a backyard.  We could have NEVER accomplished the amount that we did without their help.


Five to six trailer loads of brush and branches were hauled 45 minutes away to a burn 20170924_131151site, and we could have kept going. Trees and rhododendrons that were touching the house were clipped back, diseased shrubs removed, countless weeds were pulled.

The amount of items that we found in the yard buried under bushes and brush is astonishing. We have two milk crates full of extension cords alone. We threw away (what seemed like) enough wire to reach the Pacific, old outdoor lighting, metal toys, wine bottles, flower pots, yard decorations, and a wishing well that was rotting away.

This just in-we have a side yard. Adam and his father trimmed back the pine tree, which was inches from touching both our house and the neighbor’s house. Eventually the entire thing will need to be removed, but for now, I’ll take it! They cleared weeds the size of elephants, and my mother-in-law and I spent several hours pulling the remaining vines out of the ground. We will plant grass and have a nice flat area to enjoy next spring.


Sometimes water features are nice. This particular water feature was not our taste, so we removed it and used the rocks to line the deck area.

We power washed the deck and my mother-in-law stain/painted it with “pewter” water sealing, tinted stain. Power washing is fun and satisfying.

Some Additional Pictures of the “before” of the yard

Husband Strapped to a Tree with a Chain Saw


Goodbye Wishing Well


Hello Weed Wacker

The Yard- A work in progress


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Ode to Green – A Basement Tale

The previous homeowners liked green-green shutters, green door, green carpet, green walls, green plants…..

Green was always one of my favorite colors, but I think as an adult I have transitioned to blue. Nevertheless, this post is devoted to the basement.

Believe it or not, my first priority down there was not the carpet–it was the faux wood paneled walls. This stuff was cheapo, dark, and dingy. Due to priorities and budgeting, ripping it out was out of the question…so out came the rollers, bonding primer, and paint clothes. A few hundred more brain cells were sacrificed. It was miserable but as always, WORTH IT.

Here is the progression of the project via photos. I have since pulled up all of the carpet. The ground is currently cement until we install our new carpet tiles. For now, this is all you get.


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Not Carpet People


Hail the Dumpster.


The Reveal

Go Away Carpet
When you buy a house from the 1949, it is usually a good bet that it was built with original hardwood floors. Luckily when we moved in, the living room and dining room already had beautiful wood floors. However, the bedrooms and stairs had (dun dun dun) WHITE carpet. We aren’t carpet people. I can acknowledge the warmth and comfort of it, but when you have pets and husbands who forget to remove their work boots prior to entry, carpet becomes a dirty, dusty, hairy, urine-y, disasters of a germ pit.

Whoops – Another Project
We had not intended on removing the carpet immediately. We were going to wait and

address it gradually, but I made a mistake. I peeked. I couldn’t help myself. Prior to moving our furniture into the house, we stayed for a few days on camping cots. The white carpet already had questionable red stains and the like-so I lifted the corner…and pulled. Next thing you know, we are heading to Home Depot for a pry bar and removing the carpet room by room.

Carpet removal was new to me, and let me tell you a few things I learned:
20170917_1727001. It is NOT fun!
Nope- in fact, dare I say, it sucked! On the other hand, the prize underneath is totally worth it. It’s like opening up a Christmas gift that someone has wrapped too tightly only to reveal exactly what you had asked for.

2. A little pry bar is the best $10 you could spend. 
That tack board outlines the room. It looks like a torture device. Wear shoes. Oh my gosh-WEAR armor.

3. There are SO many staples.
Yep-3 weeks later we are still finding them. Not cool.

4. Tools Needed:
Pry Bar
Knee Pads
Eye Protection
A radio or music device to keep you sane (ours was packed, we were not sane)
An exacto knife or razor blade
Tape or string to bundle
A dust mask (we didn’t use them. We should have)

5. That foam stuff is disgusting: Enough Said


Jack liked it though.

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1 Month of Accomplishments

I am extremely behind on these posts because quite frankly, we have spent the past month working NON-stop on house projects. Want to see a list of just some of the items we have accomplished in 3 weeks??

This couldn’t have been possible within this time frame without the round-the-clock help from my mother & father-in-law. P.S. This list is not all inclusive (and just a hint, the collapsed sewer line, roof, and HVAC were all addressed by professionals).

The Room that Sold Us

Despite its wood paneling and questionable decor while on the market, the room that sold us on our lovely new home was the family room. This addition, which includes a powder room, bay window, semi-vaulted ceiling, working gas fireplace, additional closet space, and sliding glass door to the octagonal deck, really takes this basic 1949 box house to a new level.

So let me just tell you-painting wood paneling is not what I would consider a good time, but it has fabulous and worthwhile end results.

So here are some thoughts–

  1. Oil-based, bonding primer – the brain killer
    First of all – I killed a few hundred brain cells by using an oil-based bonding primer. It was necessary though. Wear a mask and open windows. When I started doing the edges and then eventually rolling, I was slightly discouraged. It looked uneven and terrible. I kept faith though. The purpose of the primer is to seal and give the regular latex paint something to stick to. Guess what? Despite that it has horrendous fumes, is difficult to work with AND difficult to clean up, IT WORKS!
  2. The Grooves-
    This just in-wood paneling has grooves. With a thick nap roller and a LOT of physical pressure, I was able to get the primer into the grooves which was ESSENTIAL but wrist-breaking prep work. I thanked myself later. Some people take a paint brush to each individual groove. This room is huge so I did not have the patience for that. I did prep the basement that way since it was faux paneling, but I will get to that in another post. The grooves suck. Beware the groove…
  3. Tape and Drop Clothes-
    Prep work is everything. If you care about your floor, even a little bit, use drop clothes and tape. After hours of painting I eventually became lazy and got paint on the floor. Someday we will replace this carpet. That is called rationalizing.
  4. Deer Hooves are Not for Decorating
    An additional step of my prep work which I hope no one else runs into was removing some deer hooves from the brick wall….

5. One coat primer, 2 coats latex-
This is my recommendation. Have I gotten around to the second coat of latex yet? HAHAHAHA. Nope.

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Welcome Home!

It finally happened. After a long and grueling search, my husband Adam and I closed on our house. No longer will we be subjected to damp, basement apartment living (when I say damp I mean my guitar case had actual mold on the bottom of it when we moved out).

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Operation 1302! We have SO many plans for this house and we have already begun ripping out carpet, tearing out shelving, and of course painting. This house is full of character and charm and we can’t wait to make it our own. Interior photos to come.

New Adventures Await

Is the title of my post a stolen slogan from a travel company or something?

Nevertheless, I thought it was time for an update.
As you may have noticed from a few posts ago, I got married one year ago on Saturday. In March, we listed Chez Mary and had an offer in 4 days. We have been living in a mildewy, 1 bedroom, 1960’s basement apartment ever since as we hardcore search for our next home. I’m pleased to report that we will be closing on our house in 2 weeks! We have many projects planned, as the house generally needs some updates. So-Alas! If I want to continue posting these house projects on here, I can no longer rightfully call this blog “Chez Mary”. I have a husband now. We share.

Buying my own house at the age of 24 as a single woman was a great accomplishment for me. I will always hold these memories dear. What a wonderful milestone. It is time to move forward.

Here’s to new adventures! Adam and I are ecstatic that we will finally have a home to call our own.

In memory of Chez Mary – 2012 to 2017 – 😉



My house after purchase April 2012


Garage Shelving & Organization

Hallelujah! The very small garage in this little cape code is officially organized. Let’s  just take a moment to appreciate a good before after.

Now for some progress photos:


Driveway disaster.

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White Barn Wedding – Prospect, Pennsylvania

August 26, 2016 | White Barn | Prospect, Pennsylvania.
All photos are courtesy of the fabulous John Kendelhardt Photography.
Bride’s makeup by The Pittsburgh Stylist.
Flowers by Posies by Patti.






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