Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Open House - The Ugly Duckling Has Become a Swan

The house is finally finished and we've put it on the market!!!

And that means it's time for an Open House!  Local friends, please join us on Sunday, June 18th from 11 am - 3 pm, at 11 Henry St, SoPo.  The 'Ugly Duckling' has gone through a major transformation and is now a lovely, coastal cottage - aka 'Swan'.  We would love for you to see it!
First floor - the day we bought the house
Same view - first floor today
Front bedroom - when we bought the house
This 1906 home has been enlarged and transformed for today's lifestyle.  We've tried to keep many original features - including the first floor ceiling, funky roof lines and vintage charm.

Front bedroom - today
But we've included all the amenities that people want today.  Open concept floor plan,
Photo:  Jamie Salomon
Photo: Jamie Salomon
large kitchen with big island, built-ins and pro appliances,

and a master suite that lets you get away from the hustle and bustle of the household.
Photo:  Jamie Salomon

And if you need closet space?  Well this closet has space galore.

And wait till it's cocktail time - this rooftop deck is the perfect way to relax after a long day.

Want to come see it, even though you're not in the market for a new home?  We'd love to have you stop by.  But would you please bring a donation to the South Portland Food Cupboard?  We had over 100 pounds of donated food at our last Open House - I'm hoping we can break that record this time and help even more neighbors in need!  Here's a link to the things they need the most.

For those of you that are not local, I hope to get more 'Before & After' photos published in the next couple of weeks.  Thanks so much to everyone that has followed along on the transformation of The Ugly Duckling!  It's been quite the journey!!!

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Coming Soon - Willard Beach Beauty: The Ugly Duckling Becomes a Swan

This project started 10 months ago and thanks to the black and yellow color scheme, we nicknamed it 'The Ugly Duckling'.  It had already been gutted by a previous owner - so we only had the shell of a building to start with.

Now, thanks to the skill of our craftsman, it's been transformed to a 'Swan'.  We're still finishing up the last few touches, but it will be completed soon!

This is the quintessential beach cottage, with all the charm of its 1906 heritage and all the amenities you want for today's lifestyle.  The exterior is all low maintenance, from the Hardie Plank siding (won't need painting for 15 years!) to the mahogany decks.

Think of the entertaining you can do, with this open floor plan.  Vintage features include the cottage ceiling with reclaimed lumber beams.  And reproduction lighting has been used throughout.
Photo:  Jamie Salomon
Your guests can join the cook during meal preparation on the new professional range.  Informal meals are easy at the large walnut topped island.
Photo: Jamie Salomon
Bring the whole family together for celebrations in the large dining room.
Photo: Jamie Salomon

The living room is the perfect place to curl up with a book in front of the gas fireplace, surrounded by an antique mantle and custom bookcases.
Photo: Jamie Salomon

Photo: Jamie Salomon
And this is Maine - so you need a place to come in from the garage and drop all your stuff.  There's a large mud bench to remove your boots and plenty of storage for coats, beach stuff and more!

A powder room is located conveniently next to the mud room.  And check out the glass top,  that accents the sea glass beach style.
And when the day is over and you're ready for some rest, there are four bedrooms with room for everyone (or a home office, if you need it).

The master suite provides lots of privacy from the rest of the household.  It's located off the main hallway and provides a big, bright space to get away from it all.  There's room for a king size bed, a sitting area

Photo: Jamie Salomon
and a desk that overlooks Casco Bay (which might make it hard to concentrate).

The walk in closet is a dream, with lots of storage thanks to custom built-ins.

And the master bath has a spa-like feeling with a big double vanity, marble floors, and large shower.
Photo: Jamie Salomon

This is the perfect cottage bedroom with tall ceilings and lots of windows.
Photo: Jamie Salomon

The middle bedroom is flooded with sunlight and provides lots of space for sleeping and playing.
Photo: Jamie Salomon
The back bedroom has large windows, overlooking the large backyard.  This could be the perfect home office, tucked away from all the noise of the household.

Think how lovely it would be to have a cocktail on this rooftop deck at the end of a long day.  Watch the ships go by Spring Point Lighthouse and Fort Gorges.  The guys are finishing the deck and if the weather cooperates, it will be completed next week!
Soon the grass will be coming up in the big, sunny backyard.  It's perfect for a vegetable or flower garden.

Interested? Want to see the before photos, floor plans and more of the transformation?  Just click here.   The completed home will go on MLS soon.  All this is offered at $790,000.  

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The New Old House - Getting the Details Right

We love old houses.  And we love restoring them.  But this house was a unique challenge for us, because it was completely gutted when we bought it.

First floor starting point
There really wasn't much to restore.  No walls, no doors, no hardware, just a shell of a building.  So our goal was to give it old house charm, even though we didn't have original material to work with.

How did we do it?  We tried to focus on the character of the house in key areas:

1) Architecture and Style

This house was built in 1906 and we wanted to capture that style as we enlarged the house.  That meant we copied the gambrel roofline as we added the garage/master suite.

What does that mean on the interior?  Well, we have lots of funky angles (we like to call them charm!), that are the result of the gambrel roofline.  As one of our contractors said the other day - 'this sure doesn't look like a new house! No one would create these complicated angles!'.
2) Antique Elements

Original ceiling.....not much to look at early in the project!
Even though there is a lot of new in this house, we wanted to have some antique elements, to connect it with its 1906 roots.  One thing we were excited about, was the original bead board ceiling.  Sure, it was overspanned (needing new structural support) and some of the joists had major damage - but that could all be fixed.  And it adds unique cottage character to the first floor.

But saving this ceiling was a challenge!  It meant lots of creative plumbing and electrical work and 2 full weeks of carpentry, to integrate the new load carrying beams with the old ceiling system

But the finished product, made it all worth it.  We wrapped the new beams with lumber reclaimed from the house and finished the rest of the ceiling in crisp white paint.  It has a real 'wow' factor as you walk in the front door.
And to make it even better?  The most exciting bit of history we found in the house was a 1906 stud, with the name of the original homeowner - Soule - and the landowner - Captail Willard.  We made it into a plaque and mounted it on one of the reclaimed lumber beams.  How cool is that?
Another antique element was a big job.  Since we were adding a new fireplace, we needed a mantle to frame it.  I found this Eastlake style mantle and knew it would be perfect for the living room.  It took a lot of work to remove the many layers of paint, that were covering up some of the beautiful carvings.  But look at how gorgeous it is now!  Our amazing carpenters modified the mantle to fit the space and added beautiful bookcases on either side.

3) Hardware

It probably sounds silly to obsess about doorknobs.  But it made me crazy that we didn't have old fashioned doorknobs for the house.  So imagine how excited I was to discover these replicas from Nostalgic Warehouse.
They had a huge number of choices, but I finally settled on this simple long plate, with an oval crystal knob.  Aren't they fantastic??!

The other element that really gives a house antique character is the lighting.  I spent countless hours, trying to find just the right lights for this house.  I wanted something traditional, but with a nautical flair, given our coastal Maine location.  This Circa 1900 Steamliner flush mount is a reproduction of a turn of the century ocean liner fixture, from Restoration Hardware.

They also had this reproduction nautical light that I put in the 'boys' bedroom.  It's fabulous in a room with a tall ceiling!

But my favorite is this nautical light for the dining room.  It's part of the Ralph Lauren Montauk line for Circa Lighting - and I absolutely love it!

What do you do in a dark hallway, with lots of funky angles?  Add a nautical sconce of course!  This one from Restoration Hardware is gorgeous, but they've since discontinued this line.  Such a shame - their nautical style lights are so nice!
And let's not forget bathroom fixtures, when you're looking for old house styling.  Carrera marble countertops and these gorgeous faucets from Watermark (made in Brooklyn) are perfect! 

But in my experience, while people love antique style, they still want modern amenities.  So we have an open floor plan, vs a lot of small rooms.  We have a modern kitchen, with new, energy saving appliances.

We have modern bathrooms - but have integrated classic materials like marble floors and insets.  So a great blend of old and new.

And we're pretty pleased with the outcome.  It has that old house character, with new house amenities.  As we finish up the last details, this house is feeling more like a home every day.  With a lot of new antique charm!!!

Door Knobs - Nostalgic Warehouse
Lighting - Restoration Hardware 
Master Bath Fixtures - Watermark
Bridge Faucet - Wayfair Charleston Faucet
Ralph Lauren Pendant - Circa Lighting


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