Live Your Story Podcast – Episode 084

I had the exciting opportunity to be featured on my first ever podcast, (obviously because I need to work on my “live-talk” skills) Marlene Eick – Live Your Story! Marlene and I are from the same hometown, but she has had some amazing opportunities to travel the US, best explained in her bio, to help folks launch a speaking business, discover the next step of their career through one-on-one coaching, and create amazing content that told a brand’s story. She started an agency with her husband to help companies in agriculture tell their story through digital content, photos, and videos. Marlene shares her talents by working with other Millennials who love the rural lifestyle, discovering their stories and planning how to more effectively live that story and share it with the world.

We talked about The Brick House home renovations, our hometown and its history along with a few other passions. I was honored to be featured! Listen here!

Ep 84 IG story Lauren

Check out Marlene’s website to learn more about her podcast, coaching and speaking.

Follow Marlene on Instagram 

Find Marlene on Facebook

 

Photo Credit: Abbey Marie Photography

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Porches

We have a full front porch and a small side porch, which I like to call our “main entrance”. We actually have three front doors! When we purchased the house, the porches were in terrible shape. Mostly due to our Midwestern pest, the groundhog (which I have grown to despise more than ever). We had so many groundhogs digging and living under our porches I never thought we could get it back to normal! They destroyed the porch skirting and messed with its foundation. Our side porch had a front corner that was sinking and both floors were completely rotted out do to trash piled on them for years and weathering.

We had a few decisions to make. Sometimes it’s hard to see past what has already been laid out from the previous owners. The front porch steps were placed in the front and center of the house, which seems to make the most logical sense, right!? We talked and talked about their exact placement, width and material because of the double front doors. How do we direct people to the correct door? My mom had this great suggestion that we ended up going with! We placed the stairs on the end of the porch and poured a new sidewalk from the driveway to both porches (you’ll find pictures of this towards the end of the post). I am SO glad we did it this way.

Our local father-son team, Precision Craft, helped us completely transform our dilapidated porches. They cut new pieces of porch skirting to match what was there, rebuilt the tongue and groove flooring and built new stairs that match (which I am in love with!).

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For the side porch, we had to tear it apart and pour new support for the foundation.

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Precision Craft even cut new brackets to match. We had to also replace the side porch ceiling. I can’t wait to tell you about our exterior paint color choices in the next blog post!

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We stained the new floor with Superdeck Exterior Deck Stain in semi-transparent in the color Mountain Ash.

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Here is the final sidewalk decision. I think it makes the front SO much more inviting.

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The newest addition to our porch is the “Anthony Glick House 1853 Italianate” sign made by Erie Landmark Company and gifted to us for being on the Hancock Historical Museum’s 2018 Historic Homes Tour. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift and I truly treasure it!

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We still battle with groundhogs. Heavy stones sit around the skirting of the east side of our porch where they try to dig every fall. Our dogs help with the problem but how long until they find someplace else!? Regardless, it’s my favorite place to spend a summer evening at our house.

The Driveway

I wanted to share this short, fun story with you because as small as it may seem, it is one of earliest memories I have of our house. If you are just reading in, I grew up across the field from our current home and always called it The Haunted House. With that idea in my mind, I was always on the look out for strange happenings and other eerie things.

As a child, one thing that sticks out to me is hearing an engine revving, breaking the silence out in the country where we live. Over and over again. It now had my family’s attention as we traveled outside to figure out where the sound was coming from. Depending on the season, we were able to see The Brick House driveway from our porch. Sure enough, a vehicle was stuck in the driveway.

This didn’t happen just once, it happened multiple times throughout my childhood. Each time, my dad would go to the barn, pull out the old Allis Chalmers and make his way to help the vehicle submerged in mud. Sometimes it was the previous owners, other times it was guests. He even pulled out the UPS truck!

During the early spring months of 2014, my uncle came over and a group of us decided we were going to cut back the treeline running along the driveway. I love what this adds as you pull in our drive, but that was the root of the problem! It hadn’t been maintained in years, so the shrubs and trees had grown out over the drive, causing cars to have to drive part way in the yard.

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It was a wet MESS. But little did we know, there are perfectly placed cedar trees all along the drive. You can see from this picture above where we had been driving on the left. This was after we cut back all of the shrubs, trees and weeds. The driveway is technically supposed to be at least eight to ten feet to the right!

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If you look closely, you can see the piles of brush on the right side of the photo above.

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Long story short, do the dirty work! If anything, it will save you from an embarrassing story. Twice a year (Memorial Day & Labor Day) I get out the hedge trimmers and cut back the bushes in between the trees (it’s actually very satisfying!) and clip any new growth or tree branches. We now have a beautiful tree lined entrance AND you don’t have to worry about getting stuck when you visit.

If Floors Could Talk

FLOORS! One of my favorite parts of our home (yes, I know I say that a lot but they are really at the top of my list!). In this post I want to share our hardwood floor experience as well as ways we currently take care of them.

Our home is just shy of 3,000 square feet and every single room has hardwood floors. When we made the decision to refinish the floors we were very lucky, they hadn’t been covered by carpet or tile. Only the kitchen had linoleum. They were stained a darker color but thankfully in very good shape. The kitchen flooring was a different story – the washing machine must have leaked and rotted the floor, causing half of the washer and drying to be in the basement. We also took up the linoleum and attempted to remove nails and glue but with the giant hole in the corner of the kitchen, we decided to lay new hardwood in this room (white oak to match the other floors).

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We called Kenton Carpet Care to come check out the floors and let us know what could be salvaged. They were great to work with and the finished product turned out AMAZING. Our floors are white oak, supposedly strong enough to park a semi-truck on and original to the home. They would’ve cut the lumber right there on site, making each board the right width to meet their needs. We decided not to stain the floors and leave them their natural color, which I think is gorgeous. But if this is something that you are looking into, staining is also a great way to showcase your floors!

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Kenton Carpet Care sanded them down (unfortunately having to take breaks outside to get away from the cat urine scent they were wafting up from the heat of the sanders…). Then, poured four layers of a polycoat to protect the floors. Stunning.

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Carpet can be very nice and really cozy up a room. So if this is a project you are looking at tackling don’t feel you need to refinish every floor in your home.

Cleaning. I have done a lot of research because I don’t want to use any chemical cleaner that could damage the protective polycoat and A LOT of money went into them. There are a lot of mixed opinions such as using warm water and vinegar, some people swear by it, others say the vinegar will eat away at the polycoating over time, and this list goes on and on. I am by no means an expert and I continually read articles and group forums on the “best” hardwood floor cleaner. As of right now, I think I have narrowed it down to two options, Method and Bona. My trusted source, This Old House, has a great article about the best way to take care of your hardwood floors and all sorts of cleaning advice. I use Method Squirt & Mop and a microfiber mop.

Rugs. I use rugs in the living spaces I want to feel cozier – like my living room, dining room and bedrooms. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is a GREAT source for rugs. They are very inexpensive and they have a great selection as well as VERY large sizes. Just make sure to invest in a rug pad, such as this one, that are safe for hardwood floors. You don’t want to rough rug backing rubbing again the polycoat. They come in different thicknesses as well!

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Hardwood floors are a beautiful part of each home. They have so much history to share and speak volumes about the family and friends each house has seen.

Looking Up

This may not be the most interesting blog post, but I wanted to share every little piece of our renovations – exciting or not! If I haven’t already mentioned before, every wall and ceiling in our house was plaster. The walls were in great shape but the ceilings were a different story.

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They were cracking and caving in and instead of tearing all of the plaster down, we decided to drywall over them. The ceilings are almost ten feet tall, and the drywall slabs were twelve feet long. So we decided to hire a drywalling company with all the correct equipment, stilts, and multiple man team.

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At that time, we cut holes for recess lighting in each room. Then, we started the daunting task of painting every single ceiling in the whole house.

There are two chimneys on the house, and one was activing leaking and causing a lot of water damage upstairs on the ceiling and wall between the two bedrooms.

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With help from J. Alexander Roofing, we sealed around the chimney and it stopped the leak! Which was a much welcomed “easier” fix. We tore the wet, damaged plaster off and patched in drywall. With multiple coats of spackle, it’s seamless!

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There is a door directly below the leak which also incurred water damage. Unfortunately, that is one project I haven’t touched yet. Within the next month I have to sit down and figure out exactly what products to use – that is why I have been putting it off for so long! We added crown molding and painted the walls Sherwin Williams Nomadic Desert. When the woodwork has been refinished we will finally have completed bedrooms!

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The Big Room & A Banister

To my surprise, there weren’t many major “remodeling” projects done on the house over all the years of exchanged hands. I wanted the house to be as original as possible, and upstairs there had been big changes made to a large room at the top of the stairs in the 1970’s. The ceiling had been lowered almost two feet, the room was split in two which left one room without any light, and a window had been covered up. It was dark and unflattering, I couldn’t wait to start tearing down the wood paneling to bring life back to this space.

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I am writing these posts a few years after these projects have started (and hopefully been completed) so I always wish I would’ve taken more pictures. I kick myself because I barely have ANY pictures of ‘the before’.

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A wall had been added across the hole where the stairs come up. I was crossing my fingers, praying they had framed the wall around the banister. We pulled off the wood paneling, then the drywall as I held my breath. Nothing. No banister. I went straight out to the barn where we had found trim and other old woodwork, hoping that someone and some point had the thought to save it. Again, nothing. As much as I would’ve loved for the original to be there, this has molded into one of my favorite stories about the house. I’ll fill you in towards the end of my post!

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In the 1970’s they had added a slanted ceiling above the stairs, enclosing a window. When we tore that down, plaster from the wall came with it. We decided we would expose brick on the entire wall as a focal point. The imperfections speak volumes, I love to sit and study them and think of the craftsmen that laid every brick. Once all the plaster was off of that wall around the opening of the staircase, we noticed holes where floor joists had been and a hole for the chimney of a stove. Our best guess is that this set of stairs was an afterthought, but added within 20 years of the time the house was built. We have two staircases in our house. The “back” staircase is what we think was the original, main staircase.

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With the wall gone, the giant hole was wide open to fall from the second story to the first. For two years we used an old couch as a barricade. We had a quote done for a new banister to match the existing railing that went up the stairs. It was expensive and more than we could afford. So like other projects we put it off. A local building was having an auction and unfortunately gutting, and selling everything inside.

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My mom and I went to the auction and measured the banister and it was a PERFECT match. The length and the notch cut out at the end fit absolutely perfect with NO modifications. We snagged it for $300. It had been painted brown and white so the next project was to strip it. My grandfather loves detail work, and I love spending time with him, so over the next few weeks we stripped off all the paint, stained and resealed it. It is beautiful and I love having a piece of our local history in our home.

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The room is now open and bright, we left a closet there from the 70’s addition to house our washer and dryer. I love neutrals, Nate however was tired of having all of the walls tan so we comprised and chose Sherwin Williams Koi Pond for the walls. It’s bold but I like it.

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The Kitchen

When you walk through the back door of our home, the first room you enter is the kitchen. There were salmon pink cabinets still stock piled with food, cat litter boxes sitting on the counters – overflowing, the washer and drying sat along the south wall, falling through the rotted floor below. At first, I didn’t think the kitchen would be that big of a project. I said “oh, let’s just keep the cabinets. I can paint them.” It was just a matter of redoing the floors.

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I am not sure exactly what started the domino effect of the total kitchen remodel. It may have been me, changing my mind and refusing to live with the painted over salmon cabinets, but we found a larger problem – there was no insulation in the walls. We assume, what is now the kitchen, was added on at some point. The exterior of the back of the house is wood siding. Unfortunately, we decided to remove the plater and lath, add insulation and drywall.

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The room was completely gutted and we began the dusty, dreadful job of plaster and lath removal. We added insulation and replaced two windows (the only two windows that are not original to the house). Now, we were able to completely lay out the kitchen how we wanted it. I chose a green called Clary Sage from Sherwin Williams which I LOVE. We purchased our cabinets at Menards during one of their 11% rebate deals. We were let in on a secret by one of the employees, purchase gift cards and you’ll receive an 11% rebate on those, then purchase the cabinets with the gift cards and you’ll receive another 11% rebate. With those rebates, we were able to buy a new oven and stove top. My dad and Nate installed the cabinets, I am lucky to have two handy men in my life!

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For the floors, we went back and forth about material forever, but finally decided to do white oak (which matches the original wood floor type in the remainder of the house). I am so happy with the way they complement our cabinets and the rest of flooring.

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I never cared about laminate vs. granite countertops until I saw them at a home show. These gorgeous slabs of granite were displayed like artwork, mounted with perfectly placed lights. At that moment, there was no going back. We purchased our countertops at Legacy Marble & Granite – the staff is wonderful and so helpful. This process took a while and they were happy to let us take our time. They were also a LIFETIME investment, but I love them so much that I don’t ever see the need to change them!

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My kitchen table is my favorite piece in this room. We pulled it out of my parent’s cistern after 75 years. It was my great-grandmothers. I love to think of the years my ancestors sat around this table and all the stories it has heard. It fits perfectly where the washer and dryer used to sit.

This room is new from top to bottom, we added recess lighting, a hood and new flooring and it was not an inexpensive project. But at the end of the day it’s a kitchen. It’s where you spend time cooking, visiting and the heart of family gatherings so when you have the chance, do what best suits your needs!

The Beehive

In the late winter months of 2014, we started working on the ceilings and electrical. One of the most important things was rewiring the entire house. This obviously isn’t a cheap task but felt it needed to be done. The safety of our family and our house was at the top of our priority list. We worked with the great local, family team of Charles Beagle Electric!

The plaster on the walls are in great condition. But the plaster on the ceilings were cracking and falling in. We decided to drywall the ceilings directly over top of the plaster that was intact, knocking down any loose, cracking plaster. We have 10 foot ceilings and decided to hire a professional team to install the drywall which was a GREAT decision. The drywall came in 12 foot pieces and would’ve been basically impossible to install ourselves.

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As CBE was cutting the holes for recess lighting in our downstairs bedroom, something strange started dripping from the ceiling and covered their reciprocating saw. We couldn’t believe it but it looked like honey! We started cutting away at plaster to see more of what was above it.

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Lo and behold it was a GIANT beehive! It was in between the rafters, spanning almost 8 feet!

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Since it was cold outside, the bees conserve food rations by evicting the drones from the hive. The remaining members of the colony huddle together in what’s known as their winter cluster, a big mass of bees with the queen bee protected at its center. They consume the honey stored in their hive as food, and to keep warm, they rapidly contract their wing muscles, causing them to seem to shiver together. The worker bees shift places to keep the core temperature of the hive warm enough to support them, ranging from 80°F near the queen to 45°F at the outside of the group. Saving these bees and moving them to a safe spot was first and foremost. Nate and I have always been big supporters of the Save the Bees movement (and we have had a lot of bee trouble in our house). If you ever encounter this problem PLEASE call a local beekeeper instead of spraying them! Most are happy to come out and get the bees to re-home them.

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We saved the good honey comb and siphoned what honey we could out of it. We are still eating some today! Our ceilings are now bee free and have recess lighting which is a favorite of mine as I love dim lighting.

If Walls Could Talk

As layers of wallpaper came off, we uncovered something extremely exciting. NAMES! Names written in script in all sizes on the plaster walls. The first name I found in what is now our bedroom was A. J. Glick (Andrew John, my great grandfathers older brother), Jenera Ohio 1903, there were smaller names below but the only one I could make out was Jo Anna. He had drawn a barn and another square building almost showing reference for where these structures had stood in comparison to the house.

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In that same room between two doors was (what I assume) a phrase in German. “da Emma is in …..”

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As more wallpaper came off, more names and drawings appeared. My great grandfather’s name was found small, close to our front door – “Harmon Glick Jenera O. 1903”. In 1903 he was 15 years old! I was able to paint around this and put a frame over it. I LOVE being able to see this every night when I relax on our couch and it’s a great conversation piece.

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In our back hallway we found some very amusing characters! I would love to know who was behind the pen sketching these two, smoking.

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I had a really hard time deciding to cover these up, forever, with paint. So I did the only thing I could think to preserve these important pieces of history – I bought tracing paper in a roll from Hobby Lobby and spent one whole day tracing as much detail as possible. I have all the tracings stored safely in a plastic tub, another thing I haven’t quite finished. My hopes are to either retrace these images or take photos to shrink down so I can frame them.

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I hate thinking that they will never been seen, originally, again. But that is another thing about owning a historic home. OF COURSE I wish everyone would keep everything original, but everything old isn’t always functional. You have to make the house YOUR home. It has to be functional and comfortable to fit you and your family’s needs.

The Haunted House

Ever since I was little I stared across the field from the front porch of my parents house to what is now our home, but I haven’t always referred to it as “The Brick House”. 

I am not sure where the stories started, or how I even learned of them. It may have been through my grandmother, we always enjoyed reading ghost stories together in her basement with all of the lights off. My entire life we called this stately, brick Italianate “The Haunted House”.  Once the property became ours, I had to force myself to call it something else. At 22 years old I was petrified to enter the house on that October day in 2013 but I finally gained the courage to work in a room with a door that I could keep open with direct access to outside.

I had never visited the house before October of 2013. The previous owner had done a lot of research on the history of the house and had befriended my grandmother to learn more about our family history. They passed on information of things disappearing, figures standing at the end of their bed, strange noises, and a piano playing with no one else in the house. There are many eerie stories that have told but I am going to highlight just a few.

Our house is featured in the book “Haunted Ohio III” by Chris Woodyard. The previous owner submitted ‘The Piano Ghost’ which highlights mysterious happenings during their time in the house and most importantly the story of a piano playing the keys A and G (initials of my great-great-great grandfather) over and over. They burst into their music room to find no one there. 



This story made the front page of our local newspaper in October of 1994. I received the original article as an Easter present a few years ago and it is one of my favorite historical pieces on the house. 


One night, the previous owner awoke to two men standing at the end of their bed. The men were non-threating and they quickly grabbed a notepad from their nightstand and drew an image of one of the figures – they distinctly remember him having bushy eyebrows. My grandmother swore it looked identical to my great-great-grandfather, Anthony Glick. I remember her pulling the image out of a safe and showing it to me when I was a child. (If my grandpa and I can find it I will update this post). This was one of many sightings they supposedly encountered. 

Another haunting tale (that I am not sure if Nate knows) is one my grandmother told me. A child that lived in the house many years ago passed away as a toddler. It was in the dead of winter and the ground was frozen so they were unable to dig a hole. Instead, they buried the child in our basement. Our basement is huge and still has dirt floors. This is a story I don’t want to find out if it’s true… 

So the answer is no, I have never heard or seen anything supernatural in the house. However, every time there is a noise in the middle of the night or a door is open that I swear I closed, my mind automatically thinks of a ghostly figure of one of my ancestors. I have decided two things: they like me, I’m family, so they don’t want to haunt me, and I will never buy a piano.