Friday, June 24, 2016

Willard Beach Gem - Open House 6/26 12-4 pm - 180 Preble Street, SoPo

This 1927 bungalow has been completely renovated, adding modern amenities while retaining original, antique charm.

By removing a few walls, the house now has a large open floor plan- including a living room and dining room that are flooded with sunshine.

At one end, the living room boasts a wood burning fireplace - the other has dramatic built ins that provide lots of storage.

The dining room has a graceful bay window and room for a large dining table and chairs.
And the kitchen?  Check out the original porcelain sink that has been reglazed to a like-new finish.

The new cabinets provide lots of storage and are topped with with quartz to provide a hard wearing surface.  The custom touches abound - from the stove hood to the reclaimed lumber island top and open shelving.
And best of all, there is a large pantry to store everything you need.

Need a home office?  This front room provides a quiet place to get some work done, while enjoying lots of sunshine, through the windows around the perimeter of the room.

The first floor boasts two bedrooms, if you want one floor living.
The second bedroom has space for a home office or twin bedroom set.

 There is also a full bath, with carrara marble floors and custom built-in storage.

The most dramatic change in on the second floor.  The starting point was this unfinished attic.
Second Floor - Before

But that has all changed!  Thanks in large part to a new dormer and lots of reframing.

The all new second floor has two bedrooms, a loft and bathroom.

The large, spa like bathtub includes a freestanding soaking tub, to relax at the end of a hectic day.

But also a large shower, for those that prefer one.
The vanity and built ins provide lots of storage.  

The barn doors are a real focal point in the master bedroom.

And check out the views of the Portland skyline.  They're even better in the winter, when you can see the water as well.

The house has a large, dry basement with a laundry space, a built in work bench and lots of storage.  There is also an attached one car garage, that's a real luxury in a Maine winter.

The large, lush landscaped property is on almost a quarter of an acre.  There are beautiful plantings, which provide beautiful color all season long.  And it's low maintenance, thanks to a built in irrigation system and established perennial plants.

And don't forget energy efficiency.  The new second floor has energy efficient foam insulation and the original first floor has blown in insulation.  All windows are high efficiency.  And the gas furnace is also energy efficient.  

What else is included?  An alarm system which monitors smoke, security and low temperatures, so you can leave town with no worries.  

And of course you can walk to Willard Square, the beach, Spring Point and Bug Light lighthouses and the Greenbelt, so you can walk or bicycle everywhere!

This property is listed at $470,000.

Fishing shacks at Willard Beach
Spring Point Lighthouse

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sneak Peeks - Open House Prep

The finish line is in sight!  With the Open House this weekend, there is a whirlwind of activity around here.  And it occurred to me, it's been two years since we've had an Open House for one of our projects.  It's so much fun to be taking things out of storage - almost like Christmas :-)  I'd really forgotten all the stuff that I have.  The movers moved everything in and now I just have to figure out what to do with it all!!

It looks like one of those TV shows around here, because we're also finishing the electrical, plumbing and carpentry!  Never a dull moment around here.  I've been hoarding the light fixtures in the basement for months - we finally get to see them installed!  LOVE!
And now that the barn doors are hung, they look fantastic.

The first room finished?  The front upstairs bedroom.  This is a totally new room, out of the former attic space.   As a reminder, here's the 'before' space.  We did a lot of structural work to reframe the space and give us a lot of ceiling height.  We also installed new egress windows, to meet new building codes.   Don't you love all the angles and sunshine streaming through the windows and skylight?

We tried to use every cubic inch of space and included lots of lighted closets.   Or as a mom of young children told me - the best hide and seek space ever!  And thanks to the foam insulation we did throughout the second floor, they will be nice and comfortable, winter and summer.

The kitchen is almost finished.  The reclaimed countertops have been installed on the island.  And Brett finished the open shelving this afternoon.

Still lots to do - but we're getting close to the finish line!!!  What do you think?

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cherished Bungalow: Kitchen Update

The kitchen has so many custom elements, it's taken a long time to pull it all together.  We've had a few setbacks (the quartz countertops were damaged and we're still waiting for the last bit of crown molding).  But we've made some nice progress as well.  So  I thought it was time to share a few updates.
The floors have been refinished!   Remember our starting point?  After we ripped up the old vinyl tile, we could see glimpses of the pretty floor under the old adhesive and grime.

Look how they cleaned up!  These antique red birch floors are so beautiful.

The Waterhouse Builders team got all the trim and crown molding finished on the cabinets and our custom range hood.  Like most houses, the ceiling wasn't very level, so they did some fancy scribe work to make the molding look perfect!  We put lots of sound insulation around the vent and plumbing above the hood, to minimize the dreaded 'toilet flush' sound from the bathroom above!  That always creates an awkward moment :-)

I love the cabinets!  We have tall ceilings, so we were able to install extra tall wall cabinets - providing lots of storage space.  And after a bit of a wait,  we finally got the countertops and I finished up the tile work.

And now that all the basic elements are in place, you can start to see the bones of the new kitchen.

Remember how tight it was, when you went through the door from the dining room?  And the refrigerator seemed to accentuate the narrow opening.

With the wall opened up and the refrigerator moved to the other side of the room, now it's nice and open.

The empty wall on the far side of the kitchen is now home to the stove, a mud bench and the pantry.

Check out the pantry!!!  This space was originally a doorway to the bedroom hall.  Since there's another doorway right around the corner, we decided to close this up and make it functional.  Now it's a generous pantry that will hold lots and lots of supplies!  Don't you love the antique door I found at Old House Parts Company in Kennebunk?  I kept the original finish, but oiled it to create added lustre and a protective finish.  We took the old, plain glass out and replaced it with the antique, wavy glass from the old sunporch window we removed.  And finally, we added the glass doorknob I found at Old House Parts.

From this view, you can really see how much space the refrigerator took up.

As I shared in a previous post, the sink has been reglazed and will soon have a beautiful new faucet.

As much as I would have liked to use carrera marble for the countertops - they're just so impractical due to upkeep, so we used the more expensive quartz option instead.  This is a color called Cirrus - it looks beautiful and will be a dream to maintain.  And now, the future homeowners won't want to strangle me the first time they spill a glass of red wine or tomato sauce!

Of course there is more to do.  We're working on the reclaimed wood island countertop and hope to get that installed next week.   And we'll we're adding wood open shelves on the right side of the sink.  And don't forget the details - cabinet knobs, a fantastic island light fixture, coat hooks, etc.

But it's a lot of progress, don't you think?

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Joys and Challenges of Using Reclaimed Lumber

We saved all the rafters and roof sheathing from the giant hole in the roof for the new dormer.  And that gave us a mountain of reclaimed lumber to use for different projects.  It's been so much fun to use this wood throughout the house!

I already shared the previous post on creating barn doors.  These will be for the master closet - once we get them finished!

We also utilized the wood for collar ties in the new second floor.  Don't they help accentuate all the funky angles we have?

One of the things I'm most excited about is using the reclaimed wood for a feature wall in the new bathroom.  The patina from the old wood is fantastic and we've been able to highlight all the saw marks that give it so much character.

Back of headboard -  Fjellse IKEA frame
And just for fun, I took some of the leftover boards and did a little IKEA hack.  I applied the boards to this Fjellse headboard, stained the bed a hickory color, and now we have a very cute twin bed!

Front of headboard before finishing
Finished headboard - now I need to assemble the rest of the frame to complete the bed
And finally, we will use the old rafters to create a top for the kitchen island and some open shelving in the kitchen.

But we also had a few lessons learned in utilizing this old wood.  It's a bit tricky and takes quite a bit more work than new wood.  So while you would think you're saving money, its actually more expensive, due to all the work involved!

Splinters:  the whole point of using this wood is the beautiful patina that comes with age.  But it's tricky to get a balance between a splinter free finish and sanding too much.  You don't want to sand away the patina and saw marks!  I thought a sanding sponge would be the best approach - but that just created a sponge filled with splinters!  The best technique we found was using a sanding block with a low grit paper.  And even with that approach, I seem to have a band-aid on every finger.....

Sealing and finishing:  I've read that many people just leave reclaimed wood natural, for the most realistic look.  But for the kitchen and bathroom, we wanted to seal the wood against humidity and water.  That mean lots of test pieces to see which finish we liked the best.

I started with Watco Danish Oil finish, which has been one of my favorite products for 20 years.  But on the reclaimed lumber, it just muddied the finish, making it appear flat and boring.  And an oiled finish in a kitchen can add an extra layer of care and maintenance, that not everyone will appreciate.

Then I tried Minwax polyurethane, but again, not a lot of interest.  Pretty boring....

I also tried Waterlox.  It's considered a gold standard for finishing wood that will be used in a kitchen (USDA approved once cured).  But at $120 a gallon, it also has lots of nasty chemicals (you need to wear a full ventilator mask when applying and have lots of airflow) and it made the wood look too red.

Finally, I tried the new Zar Ultra Max product.  It's water based, so easy clean up, but also has an oil resin, which seems to keep it from looking plasticy, like most water based polyurethanes.  You have to use very, very thin coats (otherwise you get a milky finish), but I love how it highlights the saw marks and doesn't turn the wood a deep red.  We used the Antique Flat finish, so it wouldn't look too shiny.

Here are the barn doors, mid way through getting finished.  You can see which boards have been done and which haven't.  It adds a richness to the wood, without making it too dark.  It also helps seal those pesky splinters!

I'm not sure reclaimed lumber is a look for everyone - but for this bungalow, it creates a great connection with the history of the house, as well as introducing warm wood tones.  Love it!

Zar Ultra Max - Hammond Lumber

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