Sunday, April 29, 2012

Before & After

We had a huge turnout for the Open Houses this weekend - thanks so much to everyone that came.  It was so much fun to have people who have been reading the blog, come and see the finished product.  Richard said you all knew more than he does about the house - because of course he never reads the blog!

The question we heard the most was 'what did it look like before?'.  So I thought people might enjoy seeing some of the before and after photos.  After all, who doesn't like to see how much something has changed?

First up for a side by side comparison are the Living Room and Dining Room, because they look very, very different now.  So take a look.  We'd love to hear what you think!

But, before I show 'before' photos - I wanted to share this view of the Dining Room.  There is no 'before' shot - because you couldn't have taken this shot.  There was a wall with a refrigerator and a big steam pipe in the way.  But now, it's a big opening from the kitchen that lets in lots of natural light.

Dining Room Before - note the 1960's built in hutch with scalloped luan paneling and mirrored shelves & lots of dark wallpaper!

Dining Room After - Lots more floor space with the hutch removed and light/bright space!  An added benefit - with the hutch gone, you can center the table under the new chandelier.

Living Room Before - Sagging floors due to no footings under drafty bay windows

Living Room After

Living Room Before - brick surround with brick walls and hearth

Living Room After - Same view with brick removed and large opening to kitchen

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Open House - April 28 and 29th

Fully renovated 1900 Victorian,  5 minute walk to Willard Square, Willard Beach and restaurants.  All new windows, electrical wiring, mahogany front porch & deck.  Newer furnace and 1 year old roof.

All New Kitchen
1st Floor Powder Room and Laundry
 Dining Room


Large, Fenced in Backyard

Open Floor Plan

2nd Floor Bath


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Exciting News - Will We Get Published in a Magazine?

Yesterday, the Regional Editor for Meredith Publications (Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home, Family Circle, etc) came to do some scouting shots to pitch to the editors.  They're looking for kitchens and baths that have a high end look, but were done with a modest budget (of course my husband says I achieve that by working him too hard, always the funny guy!).  She had seen our blog and thought our place might be a good candidate.

She took lots of photos and will be submitting them to her editors shortly.  Then we have to wait and see if they have interest in setting up a full photo shoot.  A lot depends on what they already have planned - for example, do they already have lots of white kitchens lined up for publication?  But I'm hopeful we'll get to see it in print one of these days!!!  What do you think?  Do these look like magazine rooms?

In the meantime, I followed her around and tried to copy some of the camera angles she took.  Have a look!

Kitchen Hutch
Details - Bun Feet

Details - Bridge Faucet in Brushed Nickel

Details - Corbels on Island

And pics of the Powder Room/Laundry Room

Powder room with Laundry

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Progress Update

I'm starting to think my husband might be right (I hate when that happens!!!) and we might not be ready for the open house next weekend.... there is still a lot to be done.  That said, we hit some big milestones this past week:

Island with trim installed
The City came out to do the final inspections.  We got our Certificate of Completion and can throw away the permits!!!  Hooray!!

Now that the floors are done, we got to finish up the trim molding in the kitchen, added the details (check out the brackets on the island and bun feet on the hutch), and installed the pulls/knobs.  Looking good!

We had the place cleaned from top to bottom.  It was so great to get all the fine dust from the floor sanding out of the house.  And the new windows are sparkling once again.

Restored Stained Glass Window
The restored stained glass window got reinstalled.  We replaced the purple glass with a swirled white/clear pattern.  And the orange is replaced with amber/white.  It lets more light into the stairwell, while maintaining privacy.  We left the original wavy glass that was in the middle.  That's part one - now I have to do the other one.

The bathroom is coming along, but we hit a snag when we tried to reattach the radiator. involved taking up some of the marble floor, digging through old flooring, reinstalling the flooring, etc....but we finally got it fixed.  Now we just need to get everything else finished in this room.

Radiator in Dining Room Bay Window
The furniture has been delivered, so we can start staging the interior.  But before we can set up too much, we need to finish the last of the trim painting.  And since they warned us not to do the baseboards until after the floor sanding was done - we have a lot of trim painting to do!  Oh - and Richard finished building the radiator covers for the living room and dining room.  They add a nice touch to both rooms.

So what's left to do?   We have the laundry list of little things.....install the freshly polished doorknobs, touch up all the paint from the floor sanding, install the shoe molding, install all the knobs in the kitchen, install towel racks/toilet paper holders, etc., etc., etc....  And little things have a way of taking a lot of time.  Will we be able to get it done in time for an Open House next weekend?  Stay tuned, we'll make the decision later this week.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Obsessed with the Details - Cleaning Old Painted Brass

When a doorknob came off in my hand last week, it gave me the opportunity to spend a little time cleaning it up.  The transformation was so amazing, we took all the old crystal doorknobs off .....and now I'm trying to bring them back to their original lustre.

Doorknobs and more doorknobs

How do you tackle a mountain of doorknobs and brass hardware, covered in old paint?

Step 1 - Dig out an old vintage crockpot and cook the brass in a vinegar and water solution.  I wish I could say I thought of this myself, but it's a tip from the folks at This Old House (but I didn't put the doorknobs in the crockpot - I wasn't sure if they would be okay, so I just used elbow grease on them!)  It doesn't take long on the high setting, mine were 'ready' in half an hour.

Step 2 -  I used chopsticks to take the brass out of the pot.  And then pulled off the softened paint with chopsticks - it works like magic!

Before and After polishing

Step 3 -  I used a little Brasso on a cloth and polished them up.  These are nice, heavy brass and they cleaned up beautifully.

Step 4 -  Install and admire!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

From Shabby to Shiny - Floor Refinishing

Those of you that have been reading this blog know that the floors really needed refinishing in our house.  The 112 year old red birch had taken a lot of abuse - covered up with vinyl in one room, brick in another and full of scratches, nicks and carpet staples.  In the kitchen, we had hoped to have birch under all the layers of flooring, but we discovered rough sawn pine boards......a big disappointment and required us to have new red birch installed.  So we were excited to finally be at a point in our project to do the floors!

The Living Room - Shiny!
The team from Abrams Hardwood Flooring showed up Monday morning and got to work.  They quickly started sanding and all the scars began to disappear.

The living room had a floor register cut into the floor - odd, because the house doesn't have hot air heat, so it was just a hole to the basement.  The guys removed some flooring from an upstairs closet and patched it in.  Can you find the patch in the photo???  It's invisible!!

The biggest challenge was the back bedroom.  It had been covered with vinyl tiles, which we had pulled up with the help of a heat gun.  It was a time consuming, nasty job.  And it left behind a black, tarry substance that didn't want to go away.  While they were sanding, the adhesive kept heating up -  and gunking up their sander, so they had to repeatedly take it apart and clean it out.  And even with all that work, Corey Abrams was still worried that they would get the adhesive off the top of the boards, but it would still be embedded deep in the grooves.  But thanks to all their hard work, that never happened and the results are amazing!  Take a look at the starting point and in progress pics.

Before - Vinyl Tiles over Birch Floor
Sticky, Black Tar-like Adhesive
It's not giving up without a fight!

Ready for finishing

Voila!!!  Beautiful shiny floor!

It took an entire week to sand all the floors in the house and apply 3 coats of polyurethane.  And what a transformation!  We are so pleased with how everything came out.  The floors have a rich, deep patina which highlights their age and really warms up the space!  Beautiful!!

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Friday, April 6, 2012

The Floor Plan

We're still not exactly sure when we'll be able to hold the Open House.  Lots of people want to see it, but with all the work going on - tools and construction material all over the place - it's not safe for them to wander around.

So, we thought we'd put the floor plan on the blog.  It's not to exactly to scale, since I did it on powerpoint, but it gives you the general flow.  Overall square footage is 1,722.  And it shows the walls we've opened up, the new kitchen design and the overall layout. 


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Wednesday, April 4, 2012 it spring yet?

The landscaping is done!!!
So, after that great tease of 80 degree weather a few weeks ago, we've had a return to cold temps with snow and sleet.  Ah, winter in Maine!  That put the brakes on a lot of our outdoor work, until this week.

Chris Cerullo from Lawn Enforcement and team have really helped transform the property.  The lopsided asphalt walkway to the front door is gone.  Now we have a beautiful, curved flagstone path.  The lumps and bumps in the lawn have been leveled off and it's all been seeded.  Soon we'll have bright green shoots springing up.

In the backyard, the fence posts have been set up straight, the leaves cleaned up and the giant mud hole, that used to be a swimming pool, is now seeded.   Oh, and we discovered a horseshoe pit!  We'll be keeping that, but does anyone actually know how to play horseshoes?  Richard loves this backyard....I think he wants to plant a vegetable garden and move in!

And after I transplanted some stray day lilies and iris, I planted some beautiful flowering plants.  A PJM Rhododendron, a lilac and a big red dogwood tree that's just loaded with buds.  When we start getting some warmer temperatures, it should be beautiful!!  In the meantime, we'll keep watering the grass seed and watching for it to that like waiting for a pot to boil? Pin It

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Progress Update - with Before and 'In Progress' Pics

The whirlwind of activity continues, as we get the house ready to put on the market.  The eternal optimist, I think we have 2 weeks to be ready, Richard is guessing 3.  We keep checking things off the to-do list, but then adding new items!

We have red birch floors throughout the entire house.  They get refinished starting Monday - so we've focused on getting the rooms ready for John Abrams and his flooring crew.  We've been caulking and painting, and then painting and caulking, with a little spackle thrown in!  It's making a huge difference now that the old, dated wallpaper is gone and the walls are light and bright.  We're also making progress on the upstairs bathroom.  The marble floor and border are in and grouted.

Check out our progress and some sneak peeks!

Remember the front bedroom with its dark blue wallpaper and damaged walls?  And the acoustic ceiling tiles and broken windows?  All gone, now we just need the floors refinished and it will be done!
Front Bedroom - In Progress

Front Bedroom - Before

And the back bedroom with it's grimy, granny wallpaper and acoustic tile ceiling - all gone!  But when we pulled up the vinyl tiles, we discovered nasty black adhesive underneath.  That will get sanded off, exposing the birch flooring underneath.
A big improvement - but we need to get the smelly adhesive off the hardwood floor!

We also made lots of progress in the Living Room - the brick corner is gone and the floor should be beautiful once it's refinished!
Living Room - In Progress.  Note the big opening to the sunny kitchen, a big change from before.
Living Room - Before

And once last quick peek - here's the newly tiled upstairs bath.  We love the carerra marble basket weave floor and border.  Still lots to do, but it's coming along.

Stay tuned for more updates this week.   In addition to the flooring team, we have the landscapers coming to tackle the front and back yard.  And, weather permitting, we should get the exterior painting completed.  

Hopefully we'll be scheduling our Open House soon!

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