Thursday, April 19, 2018

Coming Soon: Newly Updated Vintage Colonial

Hopefully we can finish the exterior soon now that it's warmer!
After many months of work, we're almost to the finish line!  If you're local, mark your calendars, we're planning an Open House on Sunday, April 29th (unless we get another snowstorm or some other weather challenge, which seems kind of possible this spring!!).  The interior is almost complete and we're frantically finishing up the exterior details.

This house has gone through a major transformation and we're so excited to share the results.  As always, we've tried to incorporate quality, craftsmanship and love - and think we've succeeded on all three!

So here are a couple of sneak peeks:

Kitchen looking towards dining room - Before

The cramped, closed in floor plan has changed -  a lot.  Now there's a great circular floor plan - perfect for entertaining and family life!  Removing walls, like this one from the kitchen to the dining room, made a huge difference.

Kitchen looking towards Dining Room - After

We included so many special features.  Like this custom woodwork around the fireplace. In the dining room, we installed custom wainscoting and nautical charts were applied as wallpaper.

And the  kitchen includes new everything - cabinets, farmhouse sink, quartz countertops, electrical, plumbing and new stainless appliances.

Master Bedroom - 'Before' 
The house now has a master suite, with two additional new closets, a window seat and new master bath.

Master Bedroom - 'After'
We are still finishing up the exterior elements - as weather permits.  But hopefully we can share more sneak peeks soon!  And I hope to see you at the Open House!

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Monday, April 16, 2018

We're In the Home Stretch!!!

We've had so much progress in the last couple of weeks!!  At least on the interior - Mother Nature is still thwarting our exterior work (seriously, did we really need sleet and snow this weekend??).  Here's the quick update:

We had the floors refinished and what a difference they make!  The dark floors were nice, but the natural floors brighten up the whole house.

Look at that fir floor in the kitchen!!
John and Neal always do such an incredible job.  They put down two coats of polyurethane at this point.  You see, inevitably, we will ding them up a bit during the final steps of the project.  The last coat will be done right before the new homeowners move in, ensuring a picture perfect floor.
Dark floors were nice - but natural makes the whole house seem brighter
Look how the finished floor reflect all the sunlight!!

The floors were followed by my amazing painters - to complete the next step of the transformation.  They sprayed the trim, creating a beautiful sheen on all the woodwork.  The walls are a soft off-white, called Medici Ivory from Sherwin Williams.

With the painting complete, I started the task of wallpapering the dining room with nautical charts.  It's a big project - I had to figure out which charts go where and how to layer them, so they fit together well.
You need a gentle touch on the old paper charts!!
The charts are such a great compliment to the custom wainscoting that we installed around the dining room.

What else has happened?  Well, I'm almost finished all the tile work.  The bathrooms are complete, but I'm still waiting on the custom grout order for the kitchen backsplash.  I hope to get that completed this week.

Blue glass wall in master bath

The hall bath has a bright stripe of pale blue glass tile

We should wrap up the interior punch list this week.  Now we just need some warm weather to get the exterior work completed.  Then we're ready to put it on the market!

What do you think so far?

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Monday, April 9, 2018

The Screened In Porch

After the winter we've had, I get positively giddy thinking about a screened in porch.  Sitting outside in the summer, with my feet up and a seems kind of magical.  But then I come back to reality as I sweep the snow off the porch floor.
Screened In Porch - Before
The bones of the porch are really nice, but it needs some work to make it look as nice as the rest of the house.  And it's a big outdoor space - 12 x 16 feet!

Screened in Porch - Before

First step, the guys put up a headboard ceiling.  Wow, that nice bright ceiling makes a world of difference!  It's so much lighter and brighter.

Photo:  Houzz
I've purchased this incredibly cool ceiling fan by Savoy House to put up - I love how it looks and it will create such a nice breeze on a summer evening.  It was a bit of a splurge, but so worth it!  Oh, and the guys updated the wiring with new outlets while they were working out there.  After all, you need a place to plug in the blender for margaritas.

Photo - Target

And I've always wanted to try an outdoor rug - but figured we needed a porch with a cover.  I found this 'Distressed Diamonds' rug on sale at Target - I can't wait to see it on the finished porch!  Of course we'll also have lots of seating and if the weather ever warms up, some nice plants.

Speaking of plants, the original boiler in the basement had this big copper holding tank.  I thought it was way too cool to just send for metal recycling, so one of our amazing craftsmen cut it in half for me.  I'm planning to put it back on the original cast iron stand and use it as a planter!!  Definitely a conversation starter!

Once we removed the old screening and slats, we discovered the cedar structure was in nice shape.  So we will just clean it up and re-oil to beautify the finish (once it gets warm enough to do that!).  Then we can install nice new screening.
It still needs work, but is looking better!!
We'll keep the original cedar shakes that are up against the house and paint them a bright white, to contrast with the natural wood.  And that french door could use a coat of paint.  I'm thinking a pretty blue.

Stay tuned - hopefully it will warm up enough in the next week or so to do the work.  Then we can push forward with all our plans!  In the meantime, I'm curious.  How important is an outdoor feature like a screened-in porch to you?  

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Vintage Colonial Kitchen: Time for an Update!

The house is coming together so quickly, I haven't had a chance to do a kitchen update.  And so much has happened to this 1938 kitchen!  You may remember that this was a challenge to design – it’s a long skinny room with lots of doors and windows (click here to see the design plan).  But our final design really maximizes the space and gives a great workable kitchen.

It was a lot of work to get to this point.  After gutting the room, we installed new, larger windows.  We closed up the old back door and removed the wall to the living room.  We removed the wall to the dining room as well.  And of course we installed new insulation, drywall, electrical and plumbing.  After all that, the guys got to work installing all of the cabinets.  It was a bit tricky, as some dimensions had shifted with all the work we did.  But it quickly took shape and started to look like a functional room.

Kitchen 'Before

Kitchen - 'Almost After'
With the living room wall opened up, now you can see all the way across the back of the house - from the garage entrance to the home office.  What a change in sight lines from our starting point!

I love the simplicity of the white shaker cabinets.  They’re light and bright and with the addition of a pantry cabinet, this kitchen has plenty of storage.  And we included a large farm sink, which provides style and function.

And with the removal of the wall to the dining room, we added a peninsula with cabinets and large worktop (plus seating on the other side!)

But while white countertops are very popular right now, I didn’t want them for this kitchen.  With all of the white woodwork in the dining room, the white cabinets and the abundant sunshine in the room – I was afraid you’d need sunglasses on a bright day.  So instead, I chose this marble veined quartz from Silestone called Calypso.  I love how it grounds the space and ties it all together.
Dining room looking towards kitchen - 'Before'
Dining room looking towards kitchen - 'Now' 
The kitchen backsplash is primarily a basic white subway.  But to provide a focal point, I installed this glass penny round tile behind the stove.  It was a challenge to install, but I do love how it looks.  Now I just need to get it grouted!
Glass tile is 'paper faced' - so you can't see it until after it's installed.  Tricky!!!

But my favorite feature?  The glass cabinet doors.  
The original kitchen had glass upper cabinets and I wanted to retain that sense of history - but with a bit of an update.  I turned to the talented Jim Nutting from Maine Art Glass to make them for me.  They have such a great blend of antique style and the highlight they circular pattern we’ve used throughout the house.
Kitchen - Before - Dark with only limited light from windows
Kitchen - Now - very bright with walls opened up and larger windows
First peek of original fir floors
And the floors?  We started with a dated, stick on tile, that had seen better days.  When we removed it, we discovered original fir flooring underneath.  It took a lot of work to get them sanded down, but look at the result!!!  Kitchen floors are often riddled with water stains and holes from old plumbing.  But these floors are gorgeous!

Of course we still need to install lighting, appliances and knobs (and one missing piece of crown molding).  But for now, I’m pretty pleased with the progress! 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Custom Features Make All the Difference!

Dining Room Workshop
I'd like to think that custom touches are a hallmark of our projects.  And we've really taken that to heart on this project.  The guys have been busy and it's making such a difference!

One of the focal spots in the house is the dining room.  A key part of the design is custom wainscoting around the walls.  It's a big job, as they biscuited each section together (we used MDF, to minimize any shrinking/expanding from changes in weather).  With the addition of trim at the top and inside of each section, it looks pretty fantastic.
Wainscoting around Dining Room walls

To give you an idea of the carpentry skill that goes into this project, check this out. The giant bay window features a gentle curved wall on either side of it.  It's an elegant feature that we didn't want to lose.  The guys custom made the wainscot trim to flow with the curve - requiring kerfing the wainscot and custom curves on the top rail.  Impressive!!

The paneled walls continue above the fireplace - framing the new sconces that we've added.  The bed molding that's used over each doorway is no longer commercially available.  So they made molding to match on-site, to top off the fireplace wall.

And we also created a little mud bench with a place to hang coats and dry mittens as you come in from the garage.  Once it's painted up, I'll be adding coat hooks, so it will be ready for use!

Foyer to Dining Room - Before
The new handrail and balusters to the 2nd floor are such a nice feature - so much better than the light blocking wall we started with - remember this before photo?

And the fir handrail ties nicely with the original kitchen floor.
Can you believe the difference????

Upstairs, the custom touches continue.  The guys built custom radiator covers throughout the house.  But in the master bedroom we took it a step further.  We created a built in window seat between the closets.  With the radiator directly below it, it's a cozy spot to relax!
Creating face frames for the radiator covers

In the front bedroom, we added a cute triangular bookcase, to provide some unique storage and display space.

So what do you think?  I know I love these details, but will the buyers appreciate all these custom elements?  
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