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Powder Room Preview…

12 Aug

The powder room remained a question mark right up until the end.  I really did sort of like the original wallpaper that was in there even though it had a bit of an Oriental flare to it which did not go with my theme.  I was on the fence about it until I was not able to get it clean, then it had to go.  I did not want streaked, stained paper in the powder room.  I was able to salvage the ceiling paper though and coordinated the faux finish wall paint with the ceiling paper.  We then replaced the pedestal sink with a nice wood cabinet vanity that has some usable storage space.  I think it turned out pretty good.  Too bad about the old paper though.  I think the vote was mixed as to whether to keep it or not.  Some people said they liked it and some immediately said ‘You’re changing that right?”

Redoing our Den…

7 Aug

If you remember back to my first posts of the house one of the worst things about it was the fireplace in the den.  It was so dated and looked very 70s even though the house was built in the 90s.  We really hated that fireplace!  The den, obviously will be one of the most used rooms in the house.  It is open to the kitchen and that’s where we are every day and most times that is where friends gather too when they’re over.  We had to revitalize this room and make it a warm and inviting space.  See the afters now.  We completely demolished the old fireplace and built ins and updated it with dark wood tones and stacked stone.  We decided to take the stone all the way to the ceiling, even though it’s a two-story room.  The room somehow commanded a big fireplace.  The feel now is akin to a mountain lodge room and I absolutely can’t wait until the weather cools off enough for us to build a fire in there and enjoy it.  The fireplace has never ever had a fire burned in it.  The original people who tiled the hearth covered over the gas starter with mortar and it never worked until we rebuilt it.  I guess the other owners didn’t want to just build a fire and light it the old-fashioned way, so we’ll be the first ones to enjoy it!  Here’s the difference.

As we Enter the House, Foyer and Hall…

26 Jul

The house originally had a travertine floor in the foyer and hall that we were going to keep until all the new tile that was installed really showed up the flaws in this floor.  I think it just looked good at the time compared to the rest of the house!  The travertine had not been professionally done and the cuts were uneven, grout lines too big and again uneven, so it was replaced with new travertine.  We still wanted that look, just wanted to spruce it up a little.  The old tile came out in chunks and the subfloor was awful and uneven and required leveling compound, which is why in the ‘Between’ pictures it looks like fresh concrete had been poured!   In the foyer we decided to add to the design by inlaying the wood in a diamond design to border the tiles.  The banisters were original and were white painted wood square balusters.  They were in good shape and were super sturdy, needless to say, very hard to remove!  This was a decision we vacillated on for a while, because they were still good and the look was fine, but a little dated.  We really wanted to go with wrought iron banisters.  After researching this for a while I happened upon a contractor who does beautiful work (See my preferred contractors on the Home Renovations tab).  He hand forges the material and custom makes the design.  We had several ideas in mind as to what look we wanted and as we met with him, he pulled out his spiral composition notebook and began to drawing it right there on the spot!  He said we could tweak it in any way as he was building the piece.  We decided to go with a flowing design rather than individual balusters.  We were very pleased with the product.  It is heavy and thick metal and should last a lifetime.  He is incorporating the same design into our new front door which is still in work.  Here are the pictures showing the progression from start to finish of the foyer and the front hall.

Our Earthy New Exterior…

20 Jul

When we bought the house the exterior was a goldish, yellow color, not bad really, but certainly not my first pick.  My husband adamantly wanted to change the color so we went with the new (or shall I say rebooted) earth tones.  We were choosing from several shades and had the painters put test strips of paint on the house so we could look at it in different light at different times of the day and decide.  I did not think, however, that they would choose the very front wall, closest to the road, for their test paint.  I came in and saw it and nearly choked, expecting to get a letter straightaway from the HOA complaining.  It was really funny because when all the shades were up there together in test strips it looked like camouflage.  I know the neighbors were thinking, Lord, who has moved in next door and please don’t let them paint the house camo!   We loved the brown shades and it seemed to fit with the style of the house.  I was really surprised when my husband came up with the idea to paint the eaves, soffit, fascia and gutters all a dark bronze.  I was resistant at first, but thought that since he’d let me pick out most of the other colors, he could have this choice.  Our painter was really skeptical and kept asking ‘You want to paint all that?”  We even resorted to printing out a picture of the outside and highlighting all the areas that were to be bronze, just to make sure.  As soon as they did the first soffit, I was sold.  We liked it so much that we then went a step further and painted the window sashes all the dark bronze too.  It really seemed to give it an old world feel like they were old, iron windows.  See the original paint color below, then the new paint colors.  Hold on though, something just isn’t quite right is it?  I know.  We painted all our interior trim very bright white which of course dictated that our plantation shutters be the same bright white.  The day the shutters were installed I just loved it, gleaming white shiny wood work looked so fresh and clean, beautiful!  Until I walked outside and looked at the house from the front.  The shutters that I loved from the inside looked way too stark from the outside outlined by all the dark brown.  I felt like I was in a fix as my mind ran through scenarios to correct this.  I thought at first to repaint the dark sashes that we loved a lighter shade so the contrast wouldn’t be so great, but since our windows are casement windows, they are one big piece of glass that rolls out with no panes or anything to break it up, that option would not really tone it down as much as we needed.  I loved the paint from the outside and did not want to change it, but when looking at the house from the outside it just did not work, the white windows were glaring!  It was like staring at someone with too white teeth – you just couldn’t look away – too white, sort of unnatural!  After a couple of weeks of mulling it over and asking friends who came by to look at the house their opinion – who kindly would say they didn’t notice 🙂 we had an epiphany!  Tint the windows themselves!  It would tone down the too white shutters from the outside and give us an added level of energy efficiency.  To top it off we even get a rebate from our electric cooperative for having done so!  Look at the last set of pictures now and see the difference the window tinting made.  There’s only one little bit of white left and don’t worry, it’s going to go away too.  Stay tuned!

Back online and Blogging…

18 Jul

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I’ve been able to post to my blog.  Sorry for having gone dark for so long, but I’ve been trying to dig out from all the boxes and newspapers!  It took two weeks to unpack everything from the move and another week to partially decorate – put up towel bars, shower curtain rods, etc.  For the last week I’ve been doing finishing touches such as hanging artwork and sorting out things that no longer work in this house that I can donate.  I truly have had no extra time.  It has been a huge task to unpack and settle in and I still can’t believe we are actually living in the house now, not just camped out in the basement!  We have already hosted company this past weekend – my sister and niece were our first out-of-town visitors and I was so glad that they came to check things out and to stay with us.  The posting can truly begin in earnest now.  I was frantically preparing for our move day (a month ago now) and almost forgot to take clean ‘After’ shots.  I literally ran around early the morning of the move before the movers came with everything because I want to show all the clean ‘After’ shots before I show the finished, decorated ‘After’ shots.  Here is the first one – might as well start at the outside and work our way in.  These are the front steps which were ceramic tiles, sort of blah looking, and were damaged by the stagers on their way out.  We replaced the tiles with Hickory flagstone that coordinates with the interior fireplaces and the new darker paint shades on the exterior.

Blitz week is finished!

15 Jun

Believe it or not we are actually on the countdown to moving upstairs at long last.   The past two weeks were hugely productive and we have completed everything necessary in order to move in.  Exterior painting, HVAC rework, last bit of drywall repairs, paint touch-up, stone front steps, interior blinds, hardwood floors, last bit of electrical, stair balusters and rails all wrapped up yesterday!!    We have come a long way so next up start looking for posts on all before and after pictures.  I’ve shown some reveals all along but am almost ready now to post them all.  Our move in date is Monday!  The house was cleaned today and I can’t tell you how nice it is to smell fresh cleaner smells instead of paint and epoxy.  It’s a good thing I’m a beach person and don’t mind having dirty feet because that’s what it’s been like living here.  It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of the shower and dressed in clean clothes, by the time you walk around upstairs your feet have a light coat of dust all over them and your flip-flops have that dusty toe outline – and that’s from being inside, not out in the sand!  After the end of long days, once in a while I’d drag myself upstairs carrying a towel, nightgown and a glass of wine, wearing flip-flops like I was going to a public shower to take a few minutes of relaxation in the bath tub.  It was worth it though, believe me, but I am ready to start living normally again and having a clean and orderly home.  So two days of little details to attend to, I need to finalize the furniture placement of the things we’re moving from the old house and then 8:00 am Monday we move!  I certainly had moments along the way where I was super excited about this house but couldn’t quite emotionally let go of our old home.  That home holds a lot of great memories and we poured a lot of ourselves into fixing it up, but we are now attached to this house and plan to start making happy memories here as well.  We already have during this process.  I had planned that we’d have a house-warming party as soon as we are unpacked and settled, but right on the heels of that I think we’ll be hosting a wedding reception.  Yes, my sister-in-law is getting married and I think we’re having the reception here.  That will be so much fun!!  We love to entertain so what better opportunity?

The Devil is in the Details…

15 Jun

With any remodeling project the devil is definitely in the details.  It’s the subtle changes and little things that bring the whole picture together.  It could be switch plate covers, door hinges, cabinet pulls, trim – all these small things really complete the look.  Someone might not notice exactly what the detail is that makes the look come together, but if you removed that change you’d think, hmm something is missing.  In this case my husband found the perfect missing detail – dust corners!  I have never heard of a dust corner before, but he found these and thought we should put them on the stairs.  I loved the idea and it was totally all his!  Dust corners are decorative metal trim pieces that fit into the corner of the stair where the tread and riser come together.  The look also gives the stairs an old world feel which really works.  On the plus side maybe it will make vacuuming up cat fur a little easier, I can only hope!!

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