Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gracious Gambrel - First Floor Before and After

While we didn't make major changes to the layout of the first floor of the Gambrel, we did update almost every surface!  I've already shared the kitchen, but wanted to share the rest of the first floor as well.

We started with the vestibule and the foyer.  The vestibule was rebuilt with a new front door and sidelights.  This brought lots of light in to the front of the house and really highlighted the new marble floor.

The foyer has a whole new feel, now that we opened up the doorway to the kitchen.

And now we have a powder room!  We moved the closet to the living room, to make space for this half bath.  

And I'm so thrilled with how the original light fixture has been polished and restored.  Doesn't it look fantastic?  



And the dining room has a whole new feel.  The brick fireplace mantle has been updated with a more traditional look.   We created an entry to the living room on the far side of the fireplace, creating a great circular flow between the two rooms (great for parties!).  And the new chandelier provides a soft glow for the table.  The old yellow birch floors look fantastic, now that they've been refinished.

Dining room before - old brick mantle, narrow bookcases and only one entrance to living room
Dining Room After
Dining Room Before - looking towards kitchen and foyer

Dining Room After
Best of all is the living room.  We raised the floor, so it no longer feels disconnected from the rest of the first floor.  We had to tear out the old cabinets, but had new custom cabinets built to create a wall of built ins.
Living Room Before
Living Room After

By adding the door to the yard, we brightened up the room, but also provided a way to get to the new brick patio.  This indoor/outdoor space is wonderful during the warm weather months (yes, we do get some of them up here in Maine!).

And I am in love with this spherical light fixture!  A nice change from the old ceiling fan.
Living Room Before
Living Room After


So there you have the first floor!  Stay tuned - I'm pulling together the second floor before and after photos and will share them soon!




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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lessons Learned from Life in Europe

Hmmm......do you think Americans know best?  When it comes to lifestyle, technology, fashion, etc.....we think we've got it all figured out!

So that's why it's so humbling to spend time living in another country, for an extended period, to see how they do things - and find that some of them work better than our way!

After a year and a half in Amsterdam, I'm taking a couple of those lessons learned into account in this house.

Lesson 1 - a powder room (also called the 'guest toilet' or toiletten) doesn't need to be big.  Let's face it, you don't spend a lot of time in there.  You just need to get your business done and get out.  Our apartment in Amsterdam had a guest toilet that was 42 inches square.  And guess what?  The powder room in the Gracious Gambrel is the same size.  You see, we have some big structural challenges that prohibited us from making it any bigger.  And it's going to work just fine!  (one quick note, Dutch guest toilets have a tiny sink with only cold water.....we're not going quite that far!!!)


Speaking of sinks, I love this one I found from Toto!!!   It's not big, but it packs a lot of style.  Doesn't it look fantastic?
Toto Wall Hung Sink


The other details include a fish scale marble mosaic floor in pacific gray, retro style toilet from Toto, brass towel bar from Pottery Barn, antique style sconces with edison bulbs and a matching oral mirror.


Lesson 2 - wardrobes are better than closets.  We didn't have any closets in our apartment - just big wardrobes.  In fact, when you move, you take your wardrobe with you.  They don't stay with the house.  And they held a LOT of stuff!  Our American closets, by their very design, are pretty inefficient.  The walls take up a minimum of 4 1/2" of space at either end.  The doors make access difficult.  And you always end up with stuff back in the corners that's hard to get to (yup, that's where all the dust bunnies are!).

So while our Master Bedroom has a walk in closet, it also has a long row of built-in wardrobes, with all kinds of special storage elements.

I love the jewelry storage and the little cubbies for scarfs and belts, that are under a glass shelf - so you can see everything at a glance.  And the lights that come on when you open the door are a great feature!  This should provide lots of space for a future homeowner with an extensive wardrobe.
Jewelry storage

Accessory storage
So what do you think?  Do the Europeans do a better job with some of these design elements than Americans???

Sources;
- Toilet - Toto  Promenade
- Sink - Toto
- Sconces - Nuvo Lighting Paxton Sconce
- Mirror - Uttermost
- Towel Bar - Pottery Barn Promenade
- Marble Fish Scale Tile - Meeting House Designs 

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Gracious Gambrel Kitchen: Before & After

We had a fantastic open house last weekend, with many people that had seen the house in the past.  And one of the biggest surprises for them - the kitchen.  They remembered it as a dark, small space.  And now it's a big, bright room with lots of room for cooks, family and friends.
This was our starting point.  Updated in the mid 1980's, it sported all the trends of the time.  Dark cabinets.  A peninsula with hanging cabinets above.  And patterned tile countertops.  Oh, and don't forget the textured ceiling!  With our renovation, the only thing that stayed the same was the location of the kitchen sink.  The U shaped work space has been changed to create a more open floor plan, with an island and seating in the room
Now it looks a lot different! The foundation for the room are the perimeter cabinets, in a soft color, called Pearl.  But to keep the room from being too bland, I added an island in black.  The quartz countertops tie it all together with swirls of pearl, cream and black.









And of course we added the custom banquette, to provide plenty of seating!


For focal points, I started with this custom copper hood.  I loved the dramatic curves and the interlocking circles across the front of it.

I work with Aron Buterbaugh at Meeting House Designs to come up with the backsplash.  We started with a Walker Zanger tile inset, that I'd seen on a trip to NYC.  We added a crackle finish border and subway tile, to tie it all together.






I loved the interlocking circles so much, that I created a custom design for the glass cabinets, utilizing the interlocking circles.  Jim Nutting, from Maine Glass Works in Lisbon helped take the design to reality, in an antique reproduction glass, that gives it an historic feel.


















We moved the refrigerator to the back wall, making way for a big pantry, with this antique door.
It was so much fun to see the look on people's faces as they stepped into the room.  It certainly looks a lot different now!  Don't you think?  

Sources:

Cabinets - Thomasville Hudson Painted Maple 
Custom Range Hood - Copper Kitchen Specialists
Range & Dishwasher - Thermador
Refrigerator - LG
Bar Stools - Homegoods
Pantry Door - Old House Parts
Tile Inset - Walker Zanger
Stainless Farm Sink - Vigo at Wayfair
Pendant Lights - Hudson Valley Copley Pendant
Wall Color - Toque White Sherwin Williams


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Saturday, November 19, 2016

117 Loveitt's Field Road, SoPo: It's the Big Day! Sunday Nov 20th Open House 11-3

It's hard to believe we're finally wrapping up this project.  It was a big one!  What I thought was going to be a few little changes, turned into a to-the-studs renovation, as we transformed this place to a 4 bedroom, 2 full and 2 half-bath home.

I promise to publish all the Before & After's in the next few weeks.  But for now, here are a couple of photos to let you see the finished product.

The kitchen is finally finished and I'm really happy with it!  Don't you love the dark island with the pearl colored cabinets?


The banquette is a cozy place to sit for coffee in the morning.  Or, you can sit at the island and chat with the chef!!


And the custom hood with the Walker Zanger backsplash is one of my favorites!!

The dining room, with it's new mantle and chandelier is a real show stopper now!  





















And the living room is big and bright with lots of windows across the southern and eastern exposure.  The new custom built-ins provide plenty of storage.

The master suite is a big, dramatic space!


The master bath is a soft blue/gray, called Mt Ranier from Benjamin Moore.  It really compliments the cararra marble floor and the dove gray vanity.
And here are the other three bedrooms. 



The new hall bath is in the space that was originally a large, Jack & Jill closet between the two bedrooms.  Now it makes a great bathroom!









And of course we have the fantastic view of Rams Head Lighthouse from the private patio.



More photos to come - but first we have to get this place sold!  Wish us luck!

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