Tag Archives: Renovating a house

More of the Finished Downstairs…

13 Aug

Here are a few more of the before and then post renovation pictures of the downstairs.  First the befores.

You can see what we were working with and what needed to be updated and now this is after new paint, new floors and stair balusters.  I am showing the afters in the following order: butler’s pantry, dining room, dining room looking out to foyer, library and formal living room.The butler’s pantry really remained mostly original.  We kept the cabinets and countertops that were there when we bought the house.  I liked the antique white of the cabinets and the granite had been installed fairly recently and was very nice.  I liked the idea of this room not being exactly like the kitchen.  Butler’s pantries originally were much bigger rooms than this since they housed all the silver and china and serving pieces.  They tended to be white, more utilitarian in those days.  So keeping with that we didn’t change anything here but the wall paint and floor.  The butler’s pantry is a great space dividing the kitchen and dining room, a vestibule, if you will!  I want this to be where friends make themselves at home and grab wine glasses and cheese boards or mix cocktails when they’re here.  We actually use our dining room.  We host a lot of the family holidays and sit in there and have a formal meal.  When we have larger parties I set up the buffet in there.  The library also remained somewhat original.  I liked the built-ins that were already there so we kept those.  I just changed the cabinet pulls from brass to an oil rubbed bronze.  The tray ceiling had a weird curved section at each corner (it was a custom item, obviously, just not sure why! we referred to it as the ‘ceiling butts’) that we did remove and just went back to an original square-shaped tray ceiling.

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?

No more Doggie Doors…

13 Jun

The previous owners must have had huge dogs that lived here because every single exterior door had 1/4 of the door cut out and replaced with a massive doggie door.  That pretty much forced us to have to replace all exterior doors.  Here are pictures of the befores with the huge doggie doors covered over with plywood and the afters with nice new doors!  We chose the rustic look with bronze hinges and clavos to go with our Tuscan theme.

Den Fireplace and Built In Bookcases Reveal…

10 Apr

Like I said in my last post we’ve been working on the house for months but just now are you able to see the real transformation.  It takes time!  This is the biggest transformation to date – the den fireplace and built ins!  If you’re in my age group you probably remember playing with ‘Dawn’ dolls.  They were the very small dolls, smaller than Barbie, and they had really long straight hair.   My cousin and I would play with Dawn and her friends for hours.  They made a super cool ‘Modern’ apartment for Dawn.  It had contemporary furniture and a round fireplace, that as kids, seemed super cool.  The builder of this house must have been channeling their Dawn doll memories when the put in the fireplace in the den because even though this house was built in 1991 it had a very 70ish style fireplace.  The builder seemed to like round edges a lot because there are tons of them everywhere that we are replacing.  I don’t like round edges – it seems retro and contemporary and my tastes lie in the more traditional styles.  We chose to replace the fireplace with stone, dry stacked and interspersed with field stone.  Note to anyone planning to stone a fireplace.  You must pick out all the material yourself and stay on top of the project the entire time.  Our stone mason did beautiful work, but I had selected the stack and field stone from the stone yard and he was responsible for the flagstone for the hearth.  He chose Crab Orchard flagstone “because that goes with everything and that’s what everyone uses”.  Well I had been out for a good bit of the time they were laying the stone and came back and found this orangey looking flag stone in the drive.  That’s what they were planning to use for the hearth.  We really went round and round on this one because he had paid for the material and brought it here and if we changed it he would have to budget another whole day of labor.  It was the end of the work day and he wanted to wrap up our project that day.   I had to hold firm and even get a little ugly and made him wait and continue the next day with different stone.  I went to the stone yard and selected Hickory stone for the hearth.  That was the right color to go with the stack and field pieces.  Believe me you don’t really want to mix some of these stone colors.  That would have ruined the look of our new fireplace.  We decided to build new book cases and stain them the same Spanish walnut color as the kitchen cabinetry.  This is the style needed to complement our Tuscan theme that we’re creating elsewhere in the house.  Our house was crying for this fireplace and built-in makeover!  Here it is!!

The Beauty of a Subfloor…

4 Jan

The first thing we did was tear out all the nasty old carpet that was in the house, yes, I mean EVERY room.  We cut the sections out with a box cutter and rolled it up and taped it together.  A container had been dropped off earlier and we proceeded to cart out all the rolls of carpet.  Let me tell you that was a workout.  Carpet is heavy.  And the rolls were so long that we couldn’t get them around the stairwell so they had to go out the back door and all the way around the house!  We got our cardio and upper body workout!  Then  I took a crowbar and pried out the carpet tack strips.  One of the contractors who had been by earlier to give an estimate on a job mentioned this nifty tool called a floor scrape.  Super tip!  That little gem allows you to scrape up any stuck carpet and all the staples that hold in the carpet padding without having to bend over!  My back needed the break.  Thanks to the contractor for the tip!  You really can’t appreciate a bare concrete floor unless you had the carpet we did that had the previous stagers, aka squatters’ dog’s poop all over it.  Now we have a freshly cleaned concrete floor in the basement, lovely!!!  Look how much lighter it is withoug having that awful black carpet.  I wouldn’t choose black carpet for a basement!

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