President's Weekend 2016 Recap: Porch Update, Reinventing Our Etsy Shop + The West Wing

This was a great, long weekend! Historically, John + I would have been hauled up with friends in a rented, Poconos lake house for President's weekend.

But, money and priorities have been Content-based these last couple years, so we made the best of it, and had a few friends over for a Poconos inspired day complimented by fire side chats, flannel, day drinking, grilled cheese and, of course, board games.

Dan, with way too many Uno cards...

Hadley + Jack were this years newest addition to our Poconos inspired weekend.

Aside from the fun, John has continued to make awesome progress on the front porch. All of the patch work to the decking is complete, and the extra length has been trimmed. Its back to looking like a proper porch again! Hallelujah!

All the deck patching is complete!

I spent all of 5 seconds standing outside, imagining the porch splendor (come Spring) when the weather is warm again. For a brief (chilly) moment, we stood imagining the railings complete, ceiling fans spinning lazily, a golden sunset dipping below the river, and cocktail in hand. Ahhh..... But, snapped back to reality, -2 degrees had me running for cover.

Back inside Content, I continue to make baby strides towards interior design. I moved some rugs around, purchased these slatted backed lounge chairs through Craigslist, dispersed decor elements and de-cluttered. And with that de-cluttering came the apparent need to purge some of my vintage finds.

We've added a vintage section to John's already established Etsy shop called UpcycleInnovations and added a link through the Homepage to our blog as well.

The new vintage section will feature mostly home decor pieces, curated by yours truely, and updated weekly.

Be sure to favorite the shop on Etsy and check back often for weekly loot!

Also inside, we are working on a plan for the west wing. Ha!  The "west wing" sounds so regal. In reality, there's currently no heat or plumbing, endless boxes from our former life-stages and a TON a square footage to renovate.

We are working with the same HVAC company, RSI, who installed the heating and cooling on "our side". But, this time around, there are no financial incentives to take advantage of. Wahh!

When we installed our-side, we participated in the Clean Energy program offered through NJ Natural Gas and based on the projections, insulating the entire attic qualified us to received a 0% loan for 10 years! Bingo!

Ultimately, the west wing will be completely out of pocket, including a 1,500 square foot heating and cooling systems to the tune of $10k. No matter how we cut it, that's a huge expense. But, what are the alternatives? Without heating and cooling, renovating the west wing is void of opportunity. 

We purchased Content as a means to create an alternative lifestyle; re-imagining our typical 9-5, Monday through Friday. We took on Content as a means to encourage creativity and passion in our day-to-day which ultimately means dishing out a ton of capital.

As we continue through this renovation, its not about simply getting the work done. With John doing the work himself, it's about strategizing.

People often ask, "Courtney, what are you doing while John does all the work?" (Slightly rude, but begrudgingly a valid question). 

My role at Content has always been to make a plan and stick to it. Assess the project (big or small), consider the time frame, address our finances, factor in our existing career workload, write up a course of action, make sure John doesn't get burnt out or go insane, and then review that plan day by day, week by week, month by month; ultimately working towards our goal.

But, I'm also John's number one fan; his lead cheerleader. We're a team and we genuinely love Content. But, we get it, not everyone is meant to understand this house or its demands.

Content picked us. And now, all we have to do is everything....