Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Design Trends 2012

Every year, the folks down in High Point, NC predict what the new trends will be for the coming year.  It's fun to take a look (High Point Design Trends 2012) and decide what looks interesting, what you like and don't like.

Now as a general rule, I'm not a big fan of trendy design.  But it's important to keep abreast of key colors and styles, even when you're trying to do a classic design.  You want to stay away from colors that are locked in the past - think harvest gold, mauve and avocado green.  An updated color palette can make a big difference.

As we start planning the design of our Diamond in the Rough, I thought it might be fun to think about some of these design trends and see if we could include them in our design approach.  Take a look and see what you think:

Sea Life - since the house is walking distance to Willard Beach, it seems like we should have a nod to Casco Bay.  While water motifs have always been trendy, this year's designs really incorporate Sea Life.  I love this coffee table.  While out of our price range, hopefully we can find a way to incorporate some sea inspired items.

Blast of Blue - Turquoises and Cerulean are two of the key shades this year.  And they tie right in with a Sea Life approach.  I love the calming effect of these blues.







Buttoned Up - Have you noticed all the tufted furniture that's showing up in stores these days?  These tight backed chairs give a more contemporary look.  Best of all, the back cushions don't get all crumpled up.  Of course, I'm always fond of Martha designs!


Bonjour Belgique - The other big, big style trend is gray toned wood with a limed finish.  I'm still trying to decide if I like this.  I keep remembering the danish modern bedroom set that my parents bequeathed to us when we first got married.  It had the same colors and I hated it!!!  Am I the only one that isn't sure about using the gray wood???   I'm not sure yet how to incorporate it.   I'd love to hear if you've started using this wood tone.

Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do before we can start staging our Diamond in the Rough.  But it's fun to start thinking through the final product - particularly since we'll be picking paint colors soon.
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

25,000 Page Views

Wow, when I first started writing this blog at the beginning of the year, I thought we'd be lucky to get 100 people to read it.  After all, how many people want to read about renovating old houses?  Today we hit the amazing milestone of 25,000 views.  I continue to be amazed at how many of you are interested in reading about our adventures, offering encouragement and helping us get a laugh out of some of the crazy things we do and find.  We have readers from all corners of the planet, 71 countries to be exact - and I'd love to meet the person from Antarctica that is reading this!  Maine is cold - but not that cold!

Thanks so much to you all, you don't how much we appreciate your support!  And if you'd like to see even more - 'Like' us on Facebook for daily updates on our latest project!




Laurel & Richard









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Friday, June 22, 2012

Color Selection - Help Needed

The garage doors are in and the front door/porch are in process.....so it's time to start thinking about color choices! We've started painting all the dark brown trim a nice bright white.  And we need a little color on the doors to add some interest.  So here comes the hard part - what color to paint them?

Here are the current thoughts.  I'm leaning towards the blues.  I thought I'd like a brown, but now that it's on the door,  we've nicknamed it the 'Safari' theme.  Which might not be the right color choice for a New England neighborhood!!!

What's your vote?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.


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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Surprises - aka how to spend a lot more than we planned!

So, now that we've peeled back the layers of wallboard, flooring & ceiling and gotten a variety of experts out here, we've found what we hope is the final list of surprises.  Remember, since it was a foreclosure, we had to buy this house 'as is', without an inspection.  So we knew there would be some revelations.  That's our new mantra - 'We knew there would be surprises'.  We say it about 10 times a day.  Because some of them are very pricey to fix and it helps reduce our anxiety levels :-)



Here's what we've learned:

Rust Stains in the box - not a good thing!!
- The electrical panel is full of water - or as our electrician put it 'WOW, that one's really bad!'
- Need new flooring on 2nd floor - we had hoped to refinish the wood on the second floor, but it looks like we need to put a whole new floor in.
- Line the chimney - They came out to inspect the chimney and found that the old clay tile had pretty much disintegrated and collapsed in the bottom of the flue.  Cha-ching-cha-ching
- Replacement Windows need replacing - yes, that's right, we thought we only had to replace 5 old windows, but when we looked closely at the windows that were previously replaced, we discovered that they are already failing, so we'll be doing the whole house.
- Fixing odd things, like removing the watering system for the marijuana plants!

Not surprises -
-  The basement leaks a lot and needs a full perimeter drain and sump pump.  That one is Cha-ching-cha-ching on steroids!
-  The house doesn't have any grounded outlets......where will the new owners plug in their computers and TV??  And of course the new open floor plan needs new switches in new places.
-  Completely replumb the entire house to put a bathroom on the 2nd floor & a modern powder room downstairs
-  Replace the oil tank, because it isn't to code
-  Needs a totally new kitchen with everything!!!

So as I said, we repeat our mantra - 'We knew there would be surprises'.  But, I'm not sure it's helping yet!!




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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Oddities - You Never Know What You'll Find in an Old House


This house is providing a constant source of entertainment for us (or maybe we're just easily amused!).  This week had a couple of high points, as we continue to peel back the layers and see what's inside.

Discovery 1 - The Dungeon sign showed up in the basement.  And if you looked at the previous 'before' posts, it did seem dungeon like, at least when we bought it.  But if you look closely at the sign, you see a heart that says John + Judy with a date in 1969.  Did they have a wedding in the basement?  Hmmm...unusual wedding theme!  But I'm not sure what else would have had that kind of commemoration. I think we'll make sure the sign goes back on the wall down there.  It is a conversation piece!

Discovery 2 - Since there isn't any plumbing on the second floor, we needed to tear out some old drywall to run the new pipes.  Imagine our surprise when we discovered this faucet and hose, tucked back behind the chimney flue.  Silly me, I thought maybe they used it to get water upstairs for bathing.  But folks have pointed out that there are an unusually large number of electrical outlets in that room.  Seems like it was a hidden water source for growing pot!  Who knew?  But we still think it's odd that they eventually covered up the water source with drywall - without bothering to at least remove the garden hose.  What a hoot!

What will we find this week?  Can't wait to find out!




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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bathtub Rescue

Back at the original SoPo Cottage (the house we live in), we finally got our bathtub fixed.  The bathroom is only 2 years old, but somehow spray foam landed on the bottom of the tub during construction, creating several permanent stains.  I tried everything to clean it, but to no avail.  My ultimate solution was to only take showers with my contact lenses out, so I couldn't see how awful it looked.

Recently, I heard about a local company Pro Tub.    They specialize in resurfacing all kinds of tubs - porcelain, acrylic, & fiberglass. They came out to address our problem. They set to work and in a few hours, the tub was transformed!  Finally, it looks like a new tub!

In addition, I learned a handy new tip.  If you have a lot of soap scum you need to remove, use low odor oven spray and wipe the tub or tile clean with dryer sheets.  Who knew?  Even better, who actually figured out that would work!

Bathtub - After
Bathtub - Before



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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kitchen Planning - Contemporary Cottage Style

We are putting the final touches on the placement of a few cabinets for the new kitchen and will be able to share the floor plan soon.  But we're getting pretty excited about the different design elements.  We want to go with cottage style, but give it a contemporary twist.  So we're throwing in some glass tile, industrial style pendants, faucet, and a chimney style hood over the stove.  Colors are dictated by the glass tile - light khaki, pale sea glass blue and a smoky gray.

What do you think?




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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Updating the Floor Plan - Moving Walls, Bathrooms and More!

First Floor - Before

My husband swears we've never bought a house where I didn't want to remove a wall.  And this one is no different, in fact, I want to get rid of 3 this time.  We're finishing up the plans now and are really excited at how open and livable the space will be.   What's changing?  There is a covered front porch that we are going to turn into a foyer.  And by removing a large section of the wall between the kitchen and living room, we'll get a great circular flow - I'm thinking great party house!!

First Floor - After






























2nd Floor - Before
I know this is a big surprise, but we're taking the bathroom out of the kitchen and moving it upstairs!!!  Wow, the new owners won't have to stumble down the steps to use the bathroom in the middle of the night!  It means we will go from a 4 bedroom to a 3 bedroom house, but in the long run, this is a much better floor plan.  We'll leave a powder room on the first floor and have a big family bath and laundry on the 2nd floor.  And we're also removing an awkward knee wall that ran along the back of a couple of bedrooms.  It will make the master bedroom a lot bigger and more useable.




2nd Floor - After
We're still working through the details of the kitchen and baths, but hope to have more to share sometime soon.  There are still lots of decisions to be made!

So what do you think?  Is this a house that will appeal to new owners?





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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head - in the Kitchen

So Richard and our plumber Dominic laughed at me when I showed up today with an umbrella and towels.  The city had come out and reconnected the water meter (it was laying on the workbench in the basement) in the morning and Dominic was going to turn it on in the house and try out the furnace.  Sounds simple, right?  But we had heard from the Fannie Mae folks that the house's water supply 'wouldn't hold pressure', so we knew there was a problem somewhere.

Richard and Dominic DiBiase

So let's start with the good news.  They fired up the furnace and it worked just fine.  It's actually a newer furnace, we think 2007, and it's in great shape.







Ewww......lots of nasty black water was sitting in the pipes.
Next test - we started running the water in the sinks and after all the nasty black water ran through, that was working fine as well.

On the not so good news side, When they pressurized the hot water pipes, it suddenly started raining in the kitchen - see, I knew that umbrella and towel set would come in handy!!!






 Turns out, we have a leak in the radiator at the top of the staircase.  So that's something else to add to our 'to do' list.  And then a few hours later, one of the valves went in the basement and we had it spraying all over the place.  Umbrella time again!

Will this be the last of the surprises??  Probably not.  It's going to be an interesting couple of weeks as we peel back the layers and discover what else is in the house.  Stay tuned, there's bound to be more to come!



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Sunday, June 3, 2012

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down.....

View from Living Room as the walls get opened up

Not literally of course, but we've started clearing things out and it's making a huge difference.  Of course, now the toilet really is in the middle of the kitchen!
View from the living room, BEFORE the bath/kitchen wall was opened up

Before View - Looking at porch and dining room
The house has a porch that's built into the house (a bit odd, I know) that we want to make into the foyer.  That way you have a nice space to step into as you come through the front door.  It will also help provide a lot of light to the space.

But it does mean we'll have to lose the Archie Bunker front door (am I the only person who remembers watching All in the Family??).  Remember the door with the three little windows?  LOL

Archie Bunker Front Door!



And here is how it looks as we start to open it up!  We'll be taking the rest of the supports out and replacing them with a laminated LVL beam.  Then it will be really open.  See how much lighter and brighter it is already!  And the dining room hutch was spared during the demolition process :-)
After View - now you see the dining room hutch!



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