Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Kitchen Planning for the Cozy Cottage

So amidst all the chaos of demo/rebuilding, I have to finalize the kitchen design so we can get cabinets ordered, manufactured and delivered in time.  It would be so much easier to wait until we had real walls to visualize everything, but the timing just doesn't work.

So, first step - since we have an open floor plan, we need to think about the whole space, not just the kitchen.  I've been carrying this clipping from last spring's Pottery Barn catalog around with me for weeks now.  I LOVE the white board-and-batten treatment on the peaked wall.  It will be perfect in our new space, to highlight the ceiling height and give the walls some visual interest.  And it also helps transform our bland ranch into a house with some character.

But with that much white, I don't want to install white kitchen cabinets.  We need something to add a little more drama and interest.  I considered black, but thought that would be too stark a contrast.  Thomasville has a Blue Slate color that is gorgeous, but when I tried it in the space, it seemed too dark as well.  And then I discovered a brand new color called Oat.  It's a warm beige color that will look great against the white walls and the Carrera marble-like quartz countertops that I like.  The only downside?  Because it's a brand new paint color, it's a lot more expensive.  Gulp.  This is why I have trouble sticking to a budget!
Thomasville's newest kitchen cabinet colors - Blue Slate & Oat
With that decision made, I went looking for fabric for window treatments, because it's important to think through our whole color palette.  Since this is one large room, I want fabric that will work in the entire space.  Luckily, I found this fantastic fabric at one of my favorite local stores.  It has the Oat color and cute little Blood Orange flowers for a pop of color.  I'll mix this with some navy pieces, to tie it all together.



For the backsplash, I wanted something simple.....but with more interest than just a plain subway.  I found this Hortus tile called SoHo.  It mixes a narrow plain subway with patterned subway.  A clean, slightly contemporary approach to a classic backsplash!



Next step - the layout.  I really, really wanted a big giant island.  But when my kitchen designer Julie and I sat down and worked through it, we realized it was impractical.  By putting all the appliances on one wall, there really wasn't enough space for cabinets- particularly uppers that are so handy for dishes and glassware.  And when the stools are occupied (or your kids/husband don't push them back in), it's hard to pass by with the busy traffic pattern from the back door.










So...... we came up with a different option.  It means we need to move some of the heating around, but it really makes great use of the space.  And this kitchen will be a dream to cook in.  Plenty of prep space.  An efficient work triangle.  And nice features like a wastebasket that's hidden in a cabinet.


I love the peninsula.  Can't you imagine having a party and everyone can gather around, to chat with the cook (or cooks!)?  I bought some fantastic stools last year and have been dying to use them in the right house - this will be the one!
And thanks to this new layout, there are lots of cabinets to hold everything!  

We will extend the white oak flooring that's in the rest of the house into the kitchen.  Having the same flooring in the space will make it look and feel bigger.  Finally, I laid the whole thing out with blue painters tape and am pretty happy with how it looks.  
Now we just need plumbing, electrical, drywall, flooring and the list goes on!!  Geezzz.... still lots to do!  So what do you think, is this a kitchen you'd enjoy cooking in?







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Monday, August 14, 2017

Antique Inspiration - Brimfield, Mass

One of the fun things about starting a new project is coming up with a few inspirational elements to get the design started.  And this bland little ranch really needs some inspiration!  I'd like to add a few antique elements, to help give it a little character.
So, lucky for me, the Brimfield Antique Market season is upon us.   .  Brimfield is the largest antique show in New England and runs 3 times a year, for 5 days at a time.  It's HUGE and always has lots of interesting items.    And despite stormy skies, there was a big crowd.

Looking for gas station signs??  They have a big selection!
I went with a mental list of things to look for, but frankly, you can't be too specific, because you never know what you'll find.  For example, what about these gas station signs.  Or how about a life size hippo head??  Surprisingly, I was able to pass on them :-) 






























But it didn't take long to buy something!  10 minutes after arriving I found these well scoops......not sure where I'll use them, but aren't they cool?  I'd like to put succulents in them.












How could I resist?  $30!!
Next, I came across this carved antique.....something.....  Maybe it was the top of a dresser?  Or a bed?  Not really sure, but by taking the wooden backing out and replacing it with mirrors, it can be pretty cool!  I can't wait to figure out where to hang it.







Top Half - thankfully it disassembled to fit in the car!
But the thing I really wanted was a glass cabinet door, to use in this storage cubby above the basement staircase.  It's right across from the front door and isn't very attractive.  But with the right door on it, it can look more like a built in china cabinet, which would be quite nice.

I was getting pretty discouraged (and tired), when I spied this leaded glass window.  Eureka!  It's perfect.  The wide lead sections between each pane really give it a distinctive look (and make it crazy heavy!).  Of course it's not the right size, but we can retrofit the opening to accomodate it.  A tall narrow opening will actually look a lot nicer than the current rectangle.
And with a car full of new treasures, it was time to head back to Maine!  


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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

That Wow Moment


It's always amazing to see how fast framing takes place.  So imagine how excited I was to see the framing for the new open floor plan.

The guys got to work quickly, installing the new LVL ridge beam.  This new LVL will provide the structural backbone for the entire roof system.  It's a big job, but the critical first step for all the other work we want to do.


Once that was in place, they started adding in the new rafters -and suddenly,  we had a big, new space!  As a reference, here's what it looked like before.
Living Room 'Before'

 And now.....

Open Floor Plan - 'After'
Next, they added the strapping and cleaned up the job site.  When I walked back in the house, it was the 'WOW' moment I'd been waiting for.  It was hard to comprehend how much had changed!  Can you believe how grand this space is now?
See where the skylight will be added to bathe the room in light?



A few days later, they added the skylight in the living room.  There are quite a few windows in the new living area, but there are also large trees around the house.  So it's not as bright as I would like.  The skylight will help make sure the room is always flooded with sunlight.
What's next?  Well, we need to finalize kitchen design and get electrical and plumbing installed.  So lots of work ahead, but when anyone walks in the house, they start by saying 'Wow'!!

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

What About the Basement?

Hmmm.....while the house is a bit small, there's this whole duplicate footprint of space in the basement.  That's a lot of square footage!  Should we do something with it?  Does anyone want a finished basement nowadays?  Especially in a small house?

Of course it's not an easy job - there are some challenges.  Let's start with the puddles that are down there.  There isn't a sump pump, but instead a utility pump that runs pretty much 24x7 (thanks in part to a leaky water meter).  So we will need to put in a basement waterproofing system.






Door cut to allow bathtub drain from the room above!!





There's a door to a bulkhead exit - but it has this fancy cutout for the bathtub drain in the room above.  LOL - that's a unique way to open the door! And I'd be curious how often there were pipe freezing problems in the winter.  That's a tough spot to insulate.



















And then there are the cobwebs.  These are SERIOUS cobwebs.  No spider sightings yet, but you'd hear me scream if I stumbled across one.

But when we fix all that, think of the bonus room you could put down there.  Or home office.  And a fancy laundry room (why do I fantasize about fancy laundry rooms????  Next to a mudroom, it would be something I'd love to have in my own home!!).  And it could have a legal egress exit, which would make it suitable for a 3rd bedroom, if someone wanted it.
This is not a fancy laundry room!!!!
Would you want a finished basement - particularly if we can add some nice daylight?   How would you use it?  Home office?  Man cave?  Playroom for kids?  3rd bedroom?   I'd love to hear your thoughts! Pin It

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Demo Day!!


It's getting exciting around here!!!  The demo has started and we're already seeing lots of changes.  Can you believe the difference?


Of course the biggest change is in the living area.  The guys started by stripping the wall between the kitchen and living room.  Can you believe the difference already?  Doesn't it look a whole lot bigger and brighter?

Next, they started on the ceiling.  First they stripped all the drywall off.

Can you believe how high the ceiling will be???
And here's the first peek at what the new space will look like.  Is it a 'WOW' yet???

(As an aside, see how some of those boards on the roof are gray?  That's because in the 60's, they used the boards to pour the concrete foundation.  Once the concrete was set, they took them apart and used them for the roof. and sidewalls.  Seems like a pretty efficient way to reuse materials!)


The guys have to leave a couple of joists in the room, until the new framing is built (we don't want the building to implode!).  So we won't get the full open effect until the new truss system is in place. 

So, are you starting to get an idea how big the change will be?  Pretty exciting!

Next up?  Our framers will be starting the new truss system, to give us the structure we need for this huge ceiling!


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