Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Living Room Update

This living room might be the brightest room we've ever done.  It has lots of windows on 3 sides and catches both the morning and afternoon sun.  It just glows!!!  And of course the new fireplace will have its own special glow!

This is a big room - 26x15 - and is the first thing you see as you come in the front door.  So we wanted it to have a 'wow' focal point, something warm and inviting.

The fireplace was installed during initial construction and we put a spotlight above it, so the owners will be able to highlight artwork on the mantle. We added drywall to each side and a non-combustible cement board to the face.  That let me install herringbone Carrera marble tile on the front.

Kyle built the rest of the fireplace wall for me - we started with nickel gap paneling above the mantle, which helps make the room feel much taller

For the fireplace surround, I wanted something sleek and simple, topped with a custom built oak mantle top.

The oak mantle will mirror the giant stair treads on the new staircase, at the opposite end of the room.

The guys from Embers Stove Shop came out to do the final install - what a difference the trim makes!
We added window seats to either side of the fireplace, to provide additional storage and seating.

I'm pretty excited about the color scheme.  I found this amazing rowboat fabric that is a bit contemporary, but also very 'Maine' with its boating theme.  My friend Faith is custom making cushions made of the tweedy Sunbrella fabric pictured below.  It will be able to take a beating, but still look and feel great!  (remember when these hard wearing fabrics felt like plastic???  They've come a long way!)

The 'to do' list is long, we still need the room painted.  And I need to stain the mantle and finish the window treatments.  It's getting so close - can't wait until it's all finished. But doesn't it look great already?  That warm, cozy focal point is going to be amazing!

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Creating a Bold Staircase

For the last 5 months, every single building product had to be dragged up and down ladders.  As you can imagine, that got old in a hurry!   The original staircase in the house was unsafe, so we had to install a new one.  But it was a big job, so it waited until late in the project.

And because it's the first thing you see as you come in the front door, I wanted it to be dramatic.  The stairwell is tall, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking water views.  It's a wow!!  And it brings so much light into the house, the staircase needs to be open, light and bright.

My first thought was to do one of the new metal open staircases with giant treads - but as many of you pointed out, the metal frame would feel like a commercial building and I was worried it would be noisy (would it sounds like a fire escape every time you went up and down the stairs??).

So instead, I set my heart on wood stringers and big giant treads.  That would give us the best of both worlds, the open look I wanted and a warm, natural material.  And the guys were game to custom build them!

First up was creating the giant treads.  I wanted white oak and we quickly learned from local experts that you can't get a solid slab of white oak 3 3/4" thick, because white oak tends to check and crack when you get a piece that large.  So instead, they had to custom build box treads - all 24 of them!

Once they were built, they had to be sanded and stained, to exactly match the rest of the flooring.

Stained and finished - ready to be installed
But the most challenging part of the project was creating each run of stairs.  The stringers are actually beams - large timbers of fir that were planed down to give us a full 3x12 inch stringer.  They were cut to shape and then the treads were bolted in one by one.

Once each run was completed, they were carefully lifted to connect with the landing.
First set of stairs in place!
Admiring their handiwork!
These are incredibly heavy and incredibly solid.  Once they were in place, they didn't move!!

To hide the holes, they custom made plugs and popped them into place.

And suddenly, we can run from the first floor all the way to the third floor!  What a novel concept.  It feels like such a luxury after all these months of ladders :-)
  We're still finalizing the railing design and will move forward with that soon.  In the meantime, I think I'll run up and down the stairs a few more times, just for fun!  

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Centennial Cottage - Master Suite Update

It occurred to me that if we were one of those reality shows, this is the point in the episode where they would say the open house is 3 days away.  In our case, we'll be lucky to be 3 weeks away!!  I guess we don't have the magic of television to speed things along!  But we are making steady progress - particularly on the more decorative elements of the house.  So I thought it would be nice to share a few sneak peeks of progress in the master suite.

Located in the new addition, the master suite has windows on three sides, which will be fantastic for breezes off of Casco Bay in the summertime (But if it gets too warm the new owners can just switch to the air conditioning with the new heat pump system!).

Last week, the new flooring was installed - a wide plank white oak that we used for our own home.  It's one of my favorites!

With that many windows, the room is nice and bright - so I can add some color to create a bit of drama.  I went looking and discovered this blue and white fabric.
I'm not sure why, but I absolutely love it.  The pattern is a bit contemporary, but still ties to that transitional style we're going for.  I've started working on draperies for the big windows.

For the bed, we'll use this chain-stitch embroidered duvet cover from Crate & Barrel that has been in the storage facility for a couple of years.... just waiting for the right spot!

With all the white in the room, I'm giving serious thought to a 'feature wall' of blue on the bed wall.  It would provide a pop of color that might look pretty nice!

Every master bedroom needs storage and we'll have 4 wardrobes to provide lots and lots of storage space!  The wardrobes will have drawers, cubbies, shoe racks, hanging space and more.

The master bath is also taking shape. This double vanity kicked off the design of the room.

Next it needed tile and I fell in love with this dramatic tile the moment I saw it.  Hexagonal tile is always great in a bathroom!  And with its shade variations, this is a great compliment to the vanity and provides some real interest for the floor.
Glass Wall in Process!
And for the shower, I'm doing a glass feature wall, that complements the vanity and floor.
As you can see, we have lots more to do.  But it's starting to look pretty good!!  And while the open house won't be in 3 days,  I'm hoping to have it at the end of the month.  

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Fireplace Focal Point - What Would You Choose?

A key part of the living room design is the fireplace as a focal point at the end of the room.  It's protected from dust behind plastic at the moment, but we want it to be a 'wow' feature when we're done.  On that wall we will also have window seats on either side, with built in storage.

We want to create a mantle around the fireplace.  But these gas fireplaces throw off a crazy amount of heat, so we need a big area of 'non combustible' material - aka tile - directly around the firebox.  The tile will extend to the area you see marked by blue tape.

And that creates the dilemma, which tile to choose?  I'd like to use a Carrera marble, but there are several options.

1) The current leader is this simple herringbone.  It doesn't scream for attention, but provides a nice pattern around the black metal fame

2) This is a bolder herringbone, but maybe too bold?

3) Doesn't this look like leaves?  It's a pretty sweet marble tile

4) I love this marble pattern, but worry it's a bit too bold - we don't want this tile to be the primary focal pattern.

So which would you choose?

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Centennial Cottage Update

It's been a whirlwind of activity here at the Cottage in the last few weeks.  So much progress!  Where to begin?

Ever wonder what kind of job requires video game skills?  Operating the boom to bring drywall to the window! It's all done with a remote control unit and they effortlessly deliver hundreds of pounds right to the window.
First of all, we have WALLS!!!  That might seem like a simple thing, but getting drywall in place simply transforms the house and really makes it look like a home.  It was a huge job with all the funky angles (gambrel ceilings and dormers are a challenge!) and the out-of-square 101 year old walls, but it's looking great.

So here's a peek.  The living room really is huge!  And with 7 windows, the room is constantly flooded with light.
 The fireplace is safely hidden behind that plastic at the end of the room.   We will be installing window seats on either side to provide storage and a cozy place to curl up with a good book.

At the other end of the house, the kitchen and dining room are adjoining the living room, but have enough privacy that guests won't see a sink full of dirty dishes as they enter the house.  Look how much things have changed.  We opened up the old wall from the front door and into the dining room - what a difference!
The Before and During photo taken from the dining room to the front of the house is even more dramatic.  The wall on the left was filled in (who needs a keyhole opening??) to create a new home office and the kitchen is directly ahead.  But now you can see the full length of the new addition!
And the old staircase is now the kitchen pantry.  Isn't it cool how the steps will get incorporated into the new shelving?  And it's pretty convenient for storing nails and tarps!

The stairwell is so tall!!!
We don't have a staircase yet (the guys are custom building it, more about that in a later post), but the second floor is looking pretty great.  But it will be so nice to get rid of that ladder!!!  I never knew how much I appreciated steps until we spent months climbing ladders.

And don't you love all the windows in the stairwell?

The views from the stairwell are pretty sweet!
The hallway at the top of the stairwell really shows just how cramped the old house was - the new addition has typical 8 foot ceilings, but see how low the old hallway is?  Thankfully we added a skylight in the hallway and that brings in some nice daylight, which makes it feel much more spacious (white walls instead of old studs help too!).  And while the ceilings are a bit low, this section of the house really shows off its 100 year old charm.

Skylights make such a difference!!!
We also added storage closets (because you can never have too much storage) on either side of the skylight. A built-in storage unit with drawers and cupboards will be installed between the closets, underneath of the skylight.

The two original bedrooms (which are mirrors of one another) have changed so much!  We removed the old closets and increased the height of the dormer, to provide space for fire/safety windows.
And look at the view through the new bedroom window! You look right across the shipping channel to Cushing Island!  Wouldn't that be nice to wake up to every morning?  

We also moved the door into the bedroom.  Now you don't need to walk through the bathroom to get there - it's right off the hallways like a normal entrance!  :-) 

Old doorway to bathroom and bedroom
To achieve the separate doorway, we needed to move everything - which exposed the original brick flue.  Isn't it great?
The bathroom door moved to the left - increasing headroom!

Don't you love the original brick flue and all the funky angles?
We were able to create a private master suite, by locating it at the other end of the hallway, next to the stairwell.

The bedroom is big, with windows on three walls and more views out to Casco Bay.  And we'll be installing 4 wardrobes to provide lots of closet space.  The master bath is in and will be tiled in the next couple of weeks, so I'll wait to share those photos.

The 3rd floor deck is coming together!
But my favorite space is the 3rd floor.  The southeast windows provide winter views to the water, but will feel like a treehouse in the summer.  And sitting on the deck at the end of the day will be a favorite pastime (with a cocktail in hand)!

The eastern windows look over Fort Preble and once we do some tree pruning, they'll have a year round view of Casco Bay and the islands.

There is meranti decking under that snow!!
And there is more progress!  The guys finished up the rear deck last week - sadly the joists were all rotted, so we ended up rebuilding most of it.  But that will be good news for the new buyers, because now it is safe and sound. The new meranti decking and AZEK trim will really minimize maintenance!

They're also finishing up the front porch, which will provide some cover as you enter the house on rainy/snowy days.  These are such great features for this house.

But that's not all!  The siding team has gotten started and they are doing a fantastic job installing Hardie Board siding - which is a cementitious product that is guaranteed not to need painting for 15 years and really holds up to our salt water exposure.  The trim will all be AZEK PVC, so again, no maintenance!!  The new owners will want to spend time at the beach, not doing house chores.

So stay tuned, there's a lot more to come.  But we've already made so much progress!

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