Fairhill Project

Code named Lane Manor. Watch as we change an almost 100 year old piece of local history into our forever home.



You guuuuuys! I am finally working full time in our new studio!! (Hence my lack of updates…I have been able to DOUBLE my order volume!!!)



Please check out #LaneLabBuild on Instagram for the full progress photos!

Check out our current project here. We are going mobile!

#SoapBus #TheLaneLab

#SoapBus #TheLaneLab

Where Have The Lanes Been?

Busting our bums building the most amazing studio EVER! Are you ready for the full unveiling later this month? The changes have been phenomenal!






IMG_3493Rory is just finishing up little things like base trim and cleaning up the original door hardware while I move Luxury Lane Soap operations into the new space!

We are planning a full Final Phase blog post very soon. *Excited*

See more before photos here!


The Yellow Room

UPDATE Oct 4th, 2016 (Almost two years later…)

I am still finding photos to update this post with of all the layers we pulled off of the walls. (Seriously. It was wainscot hell. I am not even kidding.) We also repaired holes in the floor, though we still need to repair some termite damage. Rory pulled up all of the baseboards and treated everything. There was also mouse damage so i have some cool pictures of him repairing the wall. (Some fat happy family of mice ate a bunch of my boxed clothing and pulled scraps into  the wall. Yay old houses!!) Still need to build a frame around the base of the room and I am going to paint the walls teal. But for now, I have a, bug-free, mouse-free, no-holes-in-the-floor, craft room!!! *kermit flail*

Craft Room

Love, Kylee


January 2015… Turn this into a CRAFT ROOM PARADISE!!!! Annnnd GO!IMG_2422.JPG





March 30th, 2014

Today was the first day we were really able to get outside and play this year! Took the kids out for ice team and forgot to take a picture. (I’ve been really trying to not take my phone out when we are having family time...) However, I did get some good “before Spring cleaning” shots of the house as the sun was setting. The first day after a very long, and very cold winter…








Ever seen a chimney fire? I haven’t… yet. I’ve never owned a house with a fireplace until now, and although ours had not been used for some 15 or 20 years I was bound and determined to put it to use.

I reasoned that since it had not been used for so long and probably only seldom before that,  it probably wouldn’t have a whole lot of creosote build up… or I’m just cheap and didn’t want to pay a chimney sweep… unless it was Dick Van Dyke.

dickvandykeHow hard could it be to sweep a chimney? I looked at chimney brushes at a few big box stores but realized that they would not work because my chimney splits into two at the second floor to go around a window. Since there was little chance of getting a brush past two 45 degree angles I reasoned that the best way to see if it needed cleaning was to put a fire in it. A shame, as I was looking forward to preforming my own rendition of “Step in Time”.

The previous owner had stuffed a bunch of fiberglass insulation into the damper to keep the cold air out. What was interesting was that the damper had been left wide open. Way to keep out that cold air!

damperThis one did not have a handle to pull inside the fireplace, it is operated by a screw mechanism turned by a short metal shaft below the mantle. The original knob or handle is missing, so for now I’ve improvised with a vise-grip. Once I worked it back and forth a bit it operates quite nicely. Next it was on to the hearth.

hearthSo after removing a decorative holiday log with ribbon and pine cones hot-glued to it, I swept it out and found a small metal framed opening. Sweet deal, ash pit! Now I don’t have to scoop all that ash out every time I light a fire! But wait, it all has to go somewhere…

The very BEST one ever made. In the basement I found a cleanout door behind the boiler. Apparently it is the best cleanout door ever. It even says so. Opening it was like when Belloq opened the Ark, minus the face melting and head exploding. I was rewarded with a solid wall of dense ash from the beginning of time. And a light bulb.

ash-pitWanting to start with a clean slate, I decided to scoop it all into buckets and haul it outside. I set up the hose of my shop vac on the edge of the bucket to minimize the dispersal. Judging by some of the junk in it, I’d wager someone had been burning their trash in there. Classy. Other than some antique perfume bottles the only thing of interest I found was a small piece of tile that had come from the floor in front of the fireplace. I even found the spot where it fits.

prodigal-tileI counted 18 trips with a 5 gal. bucket before it was all cleared out. This is like the once-a-decade job, the pit is about 4 ft. wide and 8 ft. tall. Thankfully it was not full.


Not sure about the pipe.

Finally go time! Piled on the wood, fire extinguisher at the ready, standby to phone the fire dept. and light the match – works beautifully. No disasters, no smoke filled rooms or flames leaping into the sky out of the top of the chimney. It has excellent draw even with the damper all the way open. The only thing a little disappointing was the heat provided is somewhat lacking. I wasn’t expecting to heat the whole house, but maybe the room wasn’t too much to ask? At any rate, the rather dismal btu production has prompted an interest in converting it to a Rumford style. Google it, the science is sound enough…



The Backdoor.

No, not a sleazy bar. The backdoor of the house was a little shabby, so The Epic Tale of the Door Replacement is the first real home improvement post. This was supposed to be posted a few months ago, but since I’m still not finished with it it’s still relevant.

I actually needed a new door for the garage apartment so I can rent it out. I now have a kind of hierarchy for things like doors, appliances, fixtures, etc. When the apartment needs something, I steal it from the house and buy new to replace it.

The old backdoor on the house was a modern steel entry door that sealed up good, but had a few dents and needed paint. This made it an ideal candidate for the garage, but it put up a bit of a fight. It had been put in with these magic screws about 8″ long that broke off when you tried to remove them, and had about 50 nails pounded through the top of the jamb. When it came time to pull out the jamb, it took a little convincing with a 3lb sledge. My son was laughing at me the whole time as I tried not to reduce the thing to splinters, since I needed to reuse it…

Post carnage. Note my friend the hammer on the right.

Once I finally got it out, I discovered why I had water leaking into the basement every time it rained… the threshold had no silicone under it. The patio slopes towards the doorway (to be fixed in the future) so water ran under the threshold and right into the basement.  

Brick walls are wider than the average standard replacement steel entry jamb… Don’t know what I’m going to do about this yet.

I started cleaning up the floor and found an old metal threshold that was still in the floor. This one had just been installed over top of it. Nice.

At this point I had waaaay more time into this project than I had planned. Sunlight waning, I was feeling a little rushed on my archaeological dig. I got everything cleaned up, but ran into another problem. I had two nice channels on either side of the doorway that water could run through (and probably had been) that had to be filled first. I briefly considered just filling them with silicone when I sealed the threshold to the ground, but thought better of it. I don’t want to be repeating this exercise anytime soon.

These bricks were previously hidden by the extra wide aluminum threshold that was in place. I kind of like the look, so I’m going to let ’em shine.

I brushed out all the loose mortar on either side and mixed up some Rockite anchoring cement. I like it because you can make it a pourable self-leveling consistency and it sets up fast.  I made a few cardboard forms where needed and proceeded to fill my would be aqueducts.

As you can see, I had the halogen out by this point.

With everything on a level plane I put two generous beads of masonry silicone caulk across the bottom and set the new jamb in place after a quick test fit. On a wood frame house you would add shims where needed and put evenly spaced screws around the jamb. In this instance I was at the mercy of a few wood blocks stuck into the brick by an unknown means. They seemed solid enough, so I just went with it. By this time it was about 10pm and I didn’t feel like drilling holes for block anchors. My enthusiasm was wearing a bit thin.

Finished! …not really.


With everything squared and fastened, I attached the door to the jamb and sealed it up with expanding foam. Normally you would leave the door installed in the jamb for the whole process, but I had removed it for painting. Note: If you plan to spray both sides of a 36″x 80″ door you need MORE than a quart. A quart was only enough to fill the line on the sprayer so the pump was cavitating after only one coat. I had to dump water in the sprayer in order to use up the remaining paint in the line. As a result the paint is rather thin and chips easily, I’ll be redoing it at a later date. I went with a simple 6 panel door that matches some of the original interior doors nicely.

Now to cover the remaining exposed interior brick I’ll use 1×6 boards for trim, with the brickmould trim I had to remove in front of that. Haven’t gotten around to it yet, with the hole in the house filled I don’t have the same urgency… I’ll add pics of this when it’s done.






The Fairhill Project…

Looking at it as a whole, it seems a little overwhelming. Take it one room at a time… and it’s still overwhelming. This blog will serve to document the process of restoring/remaking the house to suit us, and to share with those who take an interest.

Fairhill was built for prominent banker Fred E. Frisbee in 1917. Built in the Georgian Revival style, the house has a lux feel without being over the top. No marble or gold leaf. Very sensible, like a banker. I have an approximate oral history that I will try to confirm when I have time to research the abstract. It looks like the Frisbee’s had the house until 1929 or so, probably seemed a little excessive during the depression… I think it may have changed hands a few times after that before being converted into an apartment house in the 30’s or 40’s. The gazebo was torn down to make room for a six stall garage for the tenants, two apartments on each floor of the house. In addition, the carriage house was converted into a small home. Kind of a “mini-me” of the main house… There was also an apartment built on the top of the garage. With 8 apartments total, I’m betting this place paid for itself many times over. May be how it has been so well preserved through the years, considering how many people have lived here. It continued to have apartments until the late 90’s, and then served as a photography studio. The last owners started de-compartmentalizing the house, taking down walls that were added, removing a couple kitchens and repairing neglected wiring and plumbing. It’s come a long way to being restored to its former glory, but has a long way to go yet. We will no doubt be busy for a few years. Or decades.

The first rule of Fairhill is ONLY ONE ROOM AT A TIME. The second rule… Well I’ve already broken the rules by starting both of the kid’s rooms at the same time, but it’s the only fair way to go. We started with those rooms so they’d be done before the kids are ready to move out. We’ll keep posting pics and maybe some video later of the more interesting bits.

The ivy needs to be tamed, it’s already filled the rain gutters…