And the baby birds are starting to nest.

Howdy to our new readers!  We know a number of you found us through our interview this weekend on No Pattern Required…  thank you to Eartha Kitsch for the fun interview about the progress of our renovations.  We are so happy that so many people appreciate this crazy house and the work we’re putting into it.  And we’re loving your comments and questions!  Yay!

What a whirlwind of a weekend!  We are officially moved into the house, but only in the sense of “most of our stuff is now in this physical location”.  There’s not a whole lot of unpacking we can do, because every room is in a different state of completion, with none of those states being “Done”.  Each room needs paint or wallpaper on some surface, so we can’t put our clothes away (because the closets need paint) and we can’t push any furniture against the walls or hang pictures (because the wallpaper isn’t up).  We can’t eat anywhere except the kitchen counter, because the middle of the kitchen is filled with a ladder and paint cans and all sorts of other painterly stuff.  My home office is the closest to being completed, and even that will be a couple of weeks before it’s 100%…  it was the first room we got up and running so I could work, but the decor is still in progress.  So we’ll have office pictures up as soon as we can!

But you guys, it is so wonderful to walk into this house and smell paint and carpet!  Finally, “stale ashtray” is not the dominant scent.  The place smells, dare I say it, clean for the first time.  It’s glorious.  There is still a ton of nicotine to tackle *weep*, but we’re getting there.

Jack had his hands full this weekend.  Everywhere we turned, there was another “little” need that he had to tackle, that ended up taking up a huge amount of time.  Our first night in the house, we realized that we wouldn’t be able to plug in our coffee maker in the morning because all the kitchen outlets were still 2-prong…  rather than plug in an adapter, Jack wanted to do it right and make the outlet a grounded 3-prong.  Which took him down a 2-hour rabbit hole of wrestling with old wiring.  Then he had the mammoth task of getting the house ready for our cable installation.  Oof.  Obviously, since this house was done in the 1950s, it wasn’t built with cable TV as a consideration.  Somewhere along the way with the previous owners, whoever installed their cable thought it would be best to drape the wiring all over the roof.  I wish we had taken a picture of it before Jack made it right…  but the roof was basically a spider web of white cable, with splitters all over the place.  I have no idea how Jack made it right, all I know is he spent a good chunk of Sunday in the attic and when all was said and done, the wiring was inside and we were ready for our modern connectivity.  🙂

While Jack was making sure we were caffeinated and connected, I spent a chunk of time unpacking what I could and, I know you’ll be shocked, cleaning a bit more.  One of the cleaning tasks I tackled was one of my favorite little features of this house — the Tap-Lites!


I had never seen these things before, but man are they fun.  With regular light switches, if you want them to coordinate with your walls you have to paint them (which means drying time) or wallpaper them (again, drying time).  With Tap-Lites, their cover plates pop right off and you can put some wallpaper or other colored paper right inside and pop it back on the wall.



So, so easy!  So I spent a few hours scrubbing the nicotine-d and smudged Tap-Lite covers, and on some of them, replaced the decorative insides with wallpaper.

But not the bathroom ones.  Love that foil wallpaper!  🙂


These suckers are hard to come by, so Jack has been buying them up wherever he can find them.  If any of you have an “in” on a Tap-Lite source, we’d love to know about it so we can keep extras on hand.  If any of them break over the years, we’d love to replace them with another Tap-Lite instead of a normal boring switch!


11 thoughts on “And the baby birds are starting to nest.

  1. congrats on the house, and your dedication to bringing it back to it’s great bones! I actually forwarded the link to the realtor listing to pals of ours looking to move from Jenkintown, but am glad to know the place is in the right hands with you guys. Keep up the good work! It’s reminding me that when you sign on to own and restore a vintage home you better be handy with the home stuff or rich to pay someone to do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seriously! If Jack weren’t the other half of this operation, I’d be in big trouble. With a vintage home, you’re either buying a fixer-upper and paying to restore it, or you’re paying in the purchase price for the money and effort someone else had to put in!

      That’s awesome that you forwarded Marion’s info to your friend. If you ever just want to drool over Philly-area MCMs, check out her Pinterest page: It’s how we first discovered her. Lots of eye candy there!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mod Betty! I was Jenn & Jack’s realtor and would love to find your Jenkintown pals a MCM masterpiece of their own. I specialize in MCM…they can check me out at Clicking on the banner below the main picture takes you to my curated database of Phila-area modern homes currently for sale. All my contact info is there as well if they want to send and email or give me a ring!


  2. After literally just finishing painting pretty much every square inch here at our ranch ( and living through the “paint zone” of cans and ladders and misc. too) I can confirm that painting ceilings, closets and door trim is pure torture! ESP. closets…..uggghhhhh. We’d start off every single day saying, “What’s your goal for the day?” to each other. We still have one bathroom and some of the kitchen left to paint and none of the wallpaper is up yet……but I still feel glad for the progress we have made!

    Can’t wait to see your completed rooms! Tap Lights are the BEST!!!!!


    • I have to know — how did you learn how to hang wallpaper? Our walls and trim were in such bad shape, we were terrified to do it wrong, so we hired our friend who does this all professionally. It looks so much better than if we had done it ourselves. 😛 But there may be some additional papering opportunities down the road, so I’d love to hear your secret!


      • Jenn – I SO wish I could say I knew how to hang wallpaper….but I never, ever have done it before. 😦 Ruth (also from NPR) has hung it in her house and I don’t think she thought it was terribly difficult, but she said some of the pattern matching was a bit hard and maybe came out not quite like they wanted. Because we have some vintage paper to hang and also some stuff that was super hard to get from the UK I will also be hiring the wallpapering job out….I don’t think I could live with myself if I destroyed vintage wallpaper….eeks!!! Since we are low on funds to hire someone the wallpaper job will have to wait a bit – which is kind of driving us insane as some of the walls still look horrible because we intentionally left them unpainted since we knew we were putting up wallpaper.

        BTW, your husband and my husband must be handyman twins or something…..Mike was just doing the same thing with our electric and in our attic to get the cable installed…which was also a complete mess of wires and cables! If Mike wasn’t handy we’d be in heaps of trouble!!!


  3. Thanks again for doing the NPR piece! We had a similar situation with cables at our house. So many rigged situations. I’m glad that you guys are in there now! Wishing you many, many happy decades!


  4. midmodjack says:

    Thank you all for the many kind words. This house has been quite a test of our patience as well as my “handy” skills. This should lead to many a “guess what Jack found” post. I’m glad to see that many of you can commiserate.


Leave a Reply to deb Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s