That (REALLY REALLY) fresh paint smell...

Sorry I haven't posted in a bit - things just got super crazy getting ready for the actors to arrive, and then, well, the actors were HERE. Ha!Although the renovations of their housing at the end got a little frantic, we've certainly been in worse crunch time before... I mean, heck, this time there were whole minutes between it being finished at the last person arriving :)

So - let's get to it... A little historical retrospective if you will. The original bathroom before - we had painted it a dark grey color (blame Rich - usually color fails are my fault - this is a lllll him). And the old window was painted over (since it was sided over on the outside) - but it just kind of felt like a dank little prison cell. The shower was a little nutty and the vanity had just been worn out. It was clean and fine...but certainly not something that gave you that "let's start the day with a smile" feeling. painting-bath-betterjpg.jpg

So - they gutted it. Totally. There weren't nothin' left. No floor. No ceiling. In fact - for a couple hours, no exterior wall...

IT'S AN INSIDE OUTHOUSE bthroom-stripped.jpg

New sheetrock. New ceiling beams. New floor beams. New backer-board. New plumbing... and then enter Janice the tile monster. TILE COMPLETE shower-tiled.jpg

Rich picked a gorgeous blue that looks so cheery in there. You kind of instinctively want to sing 'under the sea'. Go ahead... i'll wait. BATHROOM ALMOST bathroom-almost.jpg

However - 2 days before their arrival, Janice sliced herself on a piece of tile. Pretty badly. Her finger is now somewhat shorter than before. After they stopped the bleeding at the hospital the doctor had to order her NOT to go straight back to tiling. She waited at least an hour. However, if you need to lose part of a finger, at least make it the most hilarious one...

FINGAH janice-finger.jpg

She's fine really. But you can send substantial donations for reconstructive surgery to

Ok - the add-on bedroom. It was originally VERY obviously kind of an add-on porch conversion. The walls were siding, and it just didn't feel like part of the home. So that got gutted too. Rich was really smart and brought the wall in a little to enable the addition of a linen closet in the bathroom and a closet in the bedroom. It's really tough to make a bedroom feel like a bedroom without a closet. Lessons you learn in life :) So - down to the rafters again.


BEDROOM SHEETROCKED bedroom-sheetrocked.jpg

GETTIN' THERE. bedroomprogress.jpg

Now in the midst of all the craziness, Will (one of the thespians) called and said that he was driving from Ohio to an audition in Chicago. And wondered if it would be ok if he dropped off some stuff from his car (cuz for some reason he didn't think leaving a 30 inch flatscreen tv in your car in the middle of chicago was the wisest move... Some people are so paranoid). And he also wondered if he could swing back from Chicago and move in a day early. I said of course. Janice's response was: "Are you friggin' kidding me????" And then she exercised her injured finger to make sure blood flow was still good. Or that's what I told myself. So Will drove through 2 days before the official arrival date and when he stopped by the apartment it kind of looked like the opening scene from 'Saving Private Ryan". But he was savvy enough to stake out which room he wanted... The new one! Duh.


I loveeee the paint color in here. It's funny because the first time we did the house we thought painting everything a neutral beige would be the smartest thing - but giving each room a color has totally transformed the energy of the place.

BEDROOM PAINTED bedroom-painted.jpg

Ok - movin' on. The living room in the original renovation was basically an after thought. The priority had been to make the bedrooms as plentiful and spacious as possible - and any common space wasn't considered as important. Well, since they often are hanging together to learn music (or other highly productive activities involving boxes of wine), it turned out we were wrong. And that living room had this giant cupboard in the middle of it where the furnace was housed. And it just made it smooched - and cramped and not at all living-room-y. And Rich, even though it wasn't totally necessary to do this go-round, really wanted to improve it. So we took the furnace upstairs... and whacked that dumb closet outta there.

LIVING ROOM WITH CLOSET center-walljpg-2.jpg

Three of the rooms got new drop ceilings (that choice was made because it meant he could reroute the furnace heat more effectively to all the actors bedrooms for the winter). And the house for four years had no overhead lighting. So now - there is so much more light and it makes all the difference in the world.


I picked a yellow that Rich still hasn't warmed up too. It was called 'optimistic yellow'. I'm considering dunking Rich in a vat of it.

LIVING ROOM PAINTING living-room-painting.jpg

LIVING ROOM PAINTED painted-living-room.jpg

A LIVE-ABLE LIVING ROOM. living-room-no-closet.jpg

When Will arrived to move in (one day earlier than planned) it was a cross between hilarious and mildly embarrassing. Chris and Beth and Kelsey Hoke were there helping clean and put up blinds, we hadn't gotten his BED yet (it was stored at Janice's house), the bathroom caulk was still wet, and Will just stood in the middle of it trying not to get engulfed in the chaos. There was no semblance of a living room yet - but he kept himself safe in his little green room as the vacuum hummed away. He was a very good sport - and he's going through PTSD counseling in between rehearsals.

I got the sign alllllmost done. I'm so happy with it. The last thing is the 'H' which hangs enough over the marquee that I kind of felt that before attempting it I would need to sign up for training at Cirque d'Soleil. So we're gonna get out the genie lift on sunday and i'll do the final repair on the edge, paint the H, and paint the side of it gold to match.

SIGN EDGE REPAIR sign-edge-repair.jpg

Here's the last section that had to be cleaned...

UPPER SECTION POWER WASHED the-power-washed.jpg

The Macguyver system i invented for the lettering worked really well. I wish I had pictures... sorry. I used a huge piece of clear vinyl plastic to trace the original letters and then used magnets to put them back up in place. To the underside of the vinyl I taped giant sheets of carbon paper that I found and then just traced right onto the new coat of paint. It worked SOOO well and saved hours. I just used a level to make sure all the verticals were in line. The lettering went surprisingly quickly - I did almost all of it in one day. Three coats for each letter (because metallic paint is really diaphonous - which is a big word i like).

IN "THE" BEGINNING... first-letters-painted.jpg

In the process of my work the pigeons seemed to get more and more accustomed to my presence. I thought they be spooked but their attitude was more "Hey, buddy, my great-grandfather roosted on this sign and I ain't budging."

So you may text, call, or Facebook message Rich to make sure we get the H painted on Sunday. I have been offered bribes by certain individuals to use an alternate letter with an earlier location in the alphabet. But I don't think it would bring in the right crowd. Although - it would certainly be a crowd.

4-H: FAIR. NO-H UNFAIR sign-almost-done.jpg

Rich is going to hook up the exterior flood lights to illuminate it - but i was so excited the first night I had most of it done that I grabbed one of the utility lights and stuck it outside just to see how it looked...

JOJO MAKES GLOW sign-lit-at-night.jpg

And then, before you knew it, the actors were here! In their fresh new house. With their fresh new paint (don't get to close to the walls kids.... still wet!) ACTORS HERE actors-in-house.jpg

Rehearsals are going splendidly - i'll some preview footage for you soon. The like to choose a dress theme for the day. Don't ask me why. But rehearsal day one they apparently thought we were doing "Rock of Ages"... MEN (AND GALS) IN BLACK img_1951.jpg

My rehearsal assistant has been working very hard... img_1947.jpg

And apparently after working with us the first time, we really rub off on people. Adam (our musical director) seems to be emulating the Pack Leader. "WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE REALLY RICH" img_1945.jpg

OK. BED. xo jojo.