The weather is finally warming up, and so are our moods. While we're still in the early stages of working our way through the insurance claim process to repair our damaged plumbing and heating at the new house (and still feel totally depressed and overwhelmed by both the magnitude of the project and all of the decisions we need to make in a very short period of time), we've been trying to make progress on other projects in the meantime.

We spent a large part of the day yesterday at the new house. Alex worked on the living room plaster restoration, and I researched lighting and paint options for a front porch spruce up. We've been looking for weeks for new front lights in an effort to replace the existing pair that looks a little past its prime (behind me in the photo below, taken the day we closed on the house). 

We're trying to keep our style relaxed and informal in this house, and I pulled the trigger and ordered a pair of these outdoor sconces from Lighting Plus's "urban barn" collection. 

I've also been poring over paint colors for the front door. I'd like to go with a paler version of the aqua hue on our current front door, and also use the same color to paint the adirondack chairs we plan to put in the front garden around the fire pit. 

I still want to buy sample paint to make sure it's the right choice, but Benjamin Moore's Wythe Blue is my top pick. Not only do I love the color, but I love the subtle nod to Alexandria as there's a Wythe Street in town.

While I was at it, I removed the tarnished brass house numbers. I'm going to see how they clean up with a fresh coat of spray paint. Because they're in rough shape, I figure that even if the paint starts to wear over time, it's a free project that might buy us some time before we have to invest in new numbers. I have an idea of what I'd like that works better for an early 20th century house, but I'd rather spend the money on other upgrades we're making right now.

And finally, I looked around for planters for the front porch. I'd like to have a tall planter on each side with a fern or some type of greenery in them. I found a few good options on Amazon, but think the front runner at this point is the zinc tall square planter on the left from Crate and Barrel. 

But besides all of the various decision making steps made over the weekend, I had a pretty awesome find that I'm really excited about. While I was out in the garden, Lulu and I decided to do a little exploring around our yard. 

I was thrilled to discover what looks like several areas of daffodils starting to come up where a garden of some sort was once planted. As we walked around the yard to see what else might be coming into bloom, I noticed some activity around the stump of an old tree. As I leaned in to see what was sprouting I noticed what looked like shards of glass in the dirt. 

My first thought was of worry that Lulu might cut her paw, so I reached down to pick up the glass. But I quickly realized that the piece of glass was firmly wedged into the earth and extended to more glass. After a little encouragement, I was able to pull it free and realized it was an unbroken vintage bottle! I couldn't wait to share my discovery with Alex.

In raised lettering I could can still make out, "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS SALE OR RE-USE OF THIS BOTTLE." 

I looked into it and learned that this warning was required on alcohol containers manufactured between 1935 and 1964 to help prevent the chance people would re-use bottles for homemade moonshine and other more potent mixtures.

As a few old house nuts that has never found anything really cool and intact in our renovations (unless you include the old dead squirrel Alex found in our attic), this is super exciting! I'm so happy that the bottle has sat under the this tree undisturbed, and more impressively, unbroken for however long it's been there, at least 50 years. 

After I found the bottle I kept digging and throughout the afternoon I unearthed a small pile of broken shards and pieces of bottles, but nothing like the first find of the day. It seems someone (or a group of people) in the past had used this spot as a place they'd sit in the shade enjoying a cold one or two, or maybe a little whiskey, and perhaps would just toss their bottles when they'd finished. 

At any rate, the discovery of someone else's trash has actually gotten me a little excited. How weird is that? While we've had some serious setbacks in the house so far, this discovery of a little bit of our home's history has us excited, and looking forward to what else we might find as we move forward in our renovation.

Have you ever found any cool stuff buried in your yard or house while exploring? Makes me think of the show "If Walls Could Talk." We're still waiting on the bags of money or jewels, but for now, this bottle will have to do. 

Comments 12


3/23/2015 at 3:36 PM

Cool find! And great choice on the lighting--we got the same ones and have been very happy with them so far. Have been thinking of you and wondering how things have been going post-"pipe apocolypse," so it's great to hear an update on this house--can't wait to hear more. Should be a good summer.

3/23/2015 at 4:17 PM

We LOVE Wythe Blue! I used it for our bedroom and it's such a calming, beautiful color that pops with white trim and still looks elegent. Enjoy!

Beth Wilt
3/23/2015 at 6:10 PM
We found a metal fork from United Airlines. Not as old but a neat piece of recent history.
Kathy S
3/23/2015 at 10:05 PM

My brother and I found several junk piles in our big backyard when we were little. I think the previous land owners didn't want to pay for trash hauling! I think we've uncovered old toys, old bottles (aqua and dark blue and white), and a bunch of rusted... well, junk! Congrats on your treasure!

3/24/2015 at 1:59 PM

We live on 3/4 acre in the desert and have been slowly digging up our backyard (leveling it with a tractor, digging trenches for sprinklers, digging holes for trees, prospecting for pre-existing sprinkler lines, etc). After almost every dig we come up with plastic army men! It's not vintage or old or cool, but it is rather amusing to KEEP finding them over and over during the 3-1/2 years we've been here. We have quite a collection going! Haha.

3/24/2015 at 3:47 PM

I have found a glass milk bottle and other, smaller glass bottles when redoing our back patio in Old Town. Like you, I got pretty excited about finding the "trash".

3/24/2015 at 7:13 PM

When I was younger a friends dad was tearing down a big old barn at their farm. This barn was the type with a large earthen (looking) ramp up to a second floor. Well, under the ramp there was essentially a bunker that was filled with all sorts of glass bottles and jugs. I was told here was also a pipe with a wire leading about 100 yards to the house. His grandpa said the previous owners had used the room under the ramp to make moonshine during prohibition and had a light to warn of any company. So the story goes, anyway.

3/25/2015 at 12:46 AM

As old as that house is, odds are there is a trash dump somewhere on the property used by the early residents.

Funny you all should post this now. We just visited my childhood home (built circa 1890) and dug some in the dump area behind it. We came up with about 15 intact Mason jars that were all from around 1900-1920. They cleaned up well and will be used as containers to hold things in our bathrooms.

3/27/2015 at 10:24 AM

I found a blue glass jar stuck up in the floor joists when I bought THE Bungalow, and somewhere over at my mom and dad's house is a little toy flat iron that my sister and I found when my dad landscaped the front yard.

Old house finds are the best.

3/27/2015 at 7:24 PM

Just discovered your blog and I'm obsessed with it!!! What a gorgeous home!

Beth Wilt
3/31/2015 at 10:15 PM
We found a metal fork from United Airlines. Not as old but a neat piece of recent history.
Franki Parde
4/1/2015 at 6:59 PM

I loved "that" show on HGTV!!! We found a fork wedged in some paneling...a bottle of whiskey in the old coin (1916) the year my father was born... franki

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