Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Master Suite Planning - What's Your Vote?

As I finalize the plan for the new project, I'm trying to juggle the amount of space I allocate in the master suite.  Big bathroom?  Big bedroom?  Giant closet?  It comes down to trade offs in our fixed space.

So I'm curious, what's most important to you?  You can only pick one!

1)  Large bedroom space
2)  Large, luxurious master bath
3)  Lots of closet space

I realize most people want all 3, but given our square footage and space constraints, I need to figure out how to best utilize the space.  For example, we could have a nice, large bathroom.  But that means the bedroom space will be much smaller.

Here's our L shaped master suite and my current thoughts on bedroom vs. bath vs. closet ratios.  The bed is a queen size - to give you a perspective on scale.  The master bath has a double sink and a 32x60" shower.  And there will be two sets of closets.

I've heard that giant bathrooms aren't as popular anymore.  But that closets are more important than ever.  So what's your vote?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Project Number 9 - The Soon-to-be Gracious Gambrel

It’s got ‘good bones’.  How many times have you heard that about a house?  And what does it mean?

Well, for our new project, it means we have a good solid house, with the foundations for a sophisticated, gracious home.  The ‘bones’ are the generous sized rooms, the wide staircase, structural integrity and the great floor plan.

But for now, it’s still sporting an 80’s look with dark kitchen cabinetry, tiled countertops, and only one bathroom.
This was the height of fashion in the 80's!
Ditto for the light!

Best of all, it’s a Gambrel Colonial – often called a Dutch Colonial if you live further south.  I think of this as a quintessential New England style, with the steeply pitched roofline, that gives the house so much more character than your basic colonial. 

Our new project was built in 1930 and still has many of its original features.  I am in love with the foyer light fixture and can’t wait until we get it shined up to its original luster. 

But the fixture at the top of the steps isn't quite as exciting :-) We'll say farewell to the pull chain soon!

We have 3 large bedrooms.  
The master bedroom is large - and has 3 big windows.  

and one very tired looking bathroom, that will be gutted back to the studs (we had the pipes freeze last winter, causing a bit more excitement than we needed, late one night).

The doorknobs are large glass globes, a bit different than I’ve seen in other homes in the area.  LOVE them!

And we have a few of the old fashioned push button light switches, that give the place such a historic feel (although truth be told, it probably means we have knob and tube wiring as well…..sigh…..).

And it has a few other challenges as well.  Per building code, we can’t have a wood stove venting into the fireplace.  And while I love all the built ins, the living room might be too sunken.  It seems odd to walk down so many steps - and it makes the windows seem oddly high.  But if I raise the floor, that would mean getting rid of the built ins, or changing them dramatically.  I'm still scratching my head about that one!

And I can’t decide if we should keep the original kitchen/dining room combination and use these two spaces as multiple living rooms.  Or, create a giant kitchen, with a formal dining room and just one large living room.

Should this be a Dining Room or second Living Room?
Oh, and did I mention that it has a fantastic view of Rams Head Lighthouse from the yard?  I’m thinking we need a little patio out there – so you can sit and enjoy the view!

Want to come check it out?  We’ll be holding a ‘Before’ Open House on Sunday, July 17th.. 1-3 pm.  Feel free to stop by and see it for yourself.  I’d love to get your input on some of the design concepts we are thinking through!  And if you do come, could you please bring a donation for the South Portland Food Cupboard?  They are so grateful when we can help neighbors in need!

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cherished Bungalow - Before and After - First Floor

Once we finish a project, it’s always fun to go back and see how much it has changed.  And there has been a lot of change at the bungalow!

While the house had been well maintained over the years, it was time to do some updating.   For 90 years, it was a simple, 2 bedroom, one bath home.  It had nice sized rooms, but they were very compartmentalized and it made the rooms seem dark.
Living room - before, dark space with little daylight
We started by removing a few walls, to create a more open floor plan.  This had the added benefit of flooding the space with sunshine, thanks to the bank of windows along the front of the house.
Looking towards front of house before
Looking towards front of house after
The dining room also benefited from the wall removal.  See how much it's changed?
Dining Room Before

I had a lot of questions about the staircase.  Is it new?  Was it always like that?  Well actually, it started off as what looked like a closet door in the corner of the dining room.  Once we opened up the walls, suddenly it became the centerpiece of the plan.  Probably not what they were thinking when it was built in 1927!

But we kept one wall of the former sunporch, to create a home office space.  This cozy little room is the perfect spot to bask in the sunshine on a cold winter day!

One of the biggest changes to the house was the kitchen.  It had 3 doorways and lots of wall space, but needed a better flow.  That meant we needed to move the refrigerator and the stove (as well as a couple of walls!).   

By widening the doorway from the dining room and eliminating a redundant doorway to the bedrooms, the kitchen now has lots of storage, thanks to new cabinets and  a large, open pantry.  

We were able to maintain the antique charm of the room, by refinishing the original 1927 kitchen sink.  And we reused the roof rafters from our demo, on the custom made island counter top and open shelving.

What's my favorite kitchen feature?  Well it's hard to say.  I love the pantry, with its antique door.  But I also love the light fixture over the island.

We kept the two original bedrooms, with only minor updates, including sanding the painted floors and updating the electrical.

I do love the little hallway that leads to the bedrooms and bath!

But the bathroom got a major facelift, after we took out the pink tile and replaced it with glossy white wainscoting and a gleaming cararra marble floor.

Cararra marble ovals on bathroom floor
Stay tuned - I'll share the Before and After photos of the second floor soon!

Dining Room Chandelier - Wayfair Stanton Chandelier
Kitchen Island Light - Restoration Hardware Trolley Light
Kitchen Shelf Brackets - Design2Create
Living Room Sconces - Pottery Barn
Pantry Door Vinyl Decal - OZA Vinyl Graphics on Etsy
Bathroom Sconce - Wayfair Savoy House
Wall Color - Sherwin Williams Steamed Milk (Favorite Jeans in Bathroom)
Small Bedroom - polka dot rug IKEA, bed linens Target Pillowforte

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bungalow Bathrooms - Before and After

Many of you are big fans of Mamie Eisenhower pink bathrooms (click here for more info), but truth be told - I'm relieved to see the pink go.  This wasn't a true, vintage pink bathroom, just a mid century re-do with pink tile.  It was time for an update!

We wanted to retain a traditional vibe, so we swapped pink tile with crisp white wainscoting around the perimeter of the room and a cararra marble floor.  And with all that white, we did something a bit more dramatic with blue walls - Sherwin Williams color Favorite Jeans (that name cracks me up!).

Carrara marble ovals - traditional with a modern twist

The guys built custom shelves next to the shower, to provide some additional storage

I've become a big fan of Wayfair and found this vanity light, which has traditional lines with a modern twist.
E. B. White quote
And thanks to all the work we did, we now have a second bathroom upstairs.  Here's where we started - an empty space....

that needed some structural work to increase ceiling heights and make it a livable space.

Now it's a calming space, perfect for relaxing in that big, freestanding tub!
I really wanted a chandelier up over the tub, but while it might be to code in other towns, the only thing I was allowed to do here was a water approved spotlight.  Still looks nice - but I would have like a little more drama!!!
There is a large, separate shower
Don't you love the hexagonal stone floor?
Vanity with lots of storage
We included lots of reclaimed lumber in here - the wall is made up of the roof sheathing that we saved from the dormer we cut for the new bedroom.  The old rafters are now collar ties at the ceiling line.  And we even used some of the lumber for the new towel rack!

 As you can imagine, these two rooms took a huge amount of work.  But so worth it - don't you think?

Bathroom Sconces - Wayfair - double sconce
Freestanding Tub - American Standard
Sink and Shower Faucet - American Standard from Wayfair
Vanity - Home Decorator's Collection
Wall colors - first floor Sherwin Williams Favorite Jeans, 2nd floor Sherwin Williams Steamed Milk
Maine Print - Might and Main - EB White Quote

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