Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Mid Mod Reveal - The Guest Suite

Meanwhile, back at the Mid Century Marvel project, I finally completed the guest suite.  This room started as the original master suite, but we decided to move the master to the end of the hall, away from the rest of the bedrooms.  That way when the whole family comes to visit, they can all be together (code for keep the little ones and their parents in close proximity!).

The room started with some great features.  Double closets along the left, a large skylight and an adjacent walk in closet and bathroom.

But there were some things we wanted to change.  We didn't need the mirror feature above the bed (but I did want a feature wall!).  The wall-to-wall carpeting had to go. And am I the only person out there that has never wanted a bidet???

The bathroom needed an update.  Yes, it's VERY cool that this is a 1968 vintage toilet, but you have to squat really, really low to get to the seat and it uses gallons of water with every flush.  

For the new design, we left the double closets and skylight (although we replaced it with a brand new one, when we redid the roof).  The windows, which did not meet fire code, were replaced with a new egress approved version.  And seriously, it made so much difference!  The skylight provided a lot of light, but the larger windows make it feel connected with the outdoors. 

And for the feature wall?  Well, I went bold!!!  A BLACK wall!  I can't remember where I originally saw this idea, but I couldn't wait to try it on our project.  It adds some drama, but with all the light in the room, we can totally make it work.
Guest Suite - Before

The room still has two huge closets - don't you love the awesome MCM door pulls?  I've started stripping the paint off, to return them to a natural wood finish.

And I love this half bath.  The turquoise toilet and bidet were quite the statement pieces, but it was time to update with water efficient fixtures (less than 1 gallon per flush!!!).
See what a difference the new windows make!!  So light and bright!
I loved this tile from the moment I saw it.  But I had no idea how challenging it would be to install!  It was mesmerizing, in a keep-staring-at-it-until-you-can't-see-straight kind of way!  But I still love it!!  

The view from the corner to the hallway really shows how much has changed.

And I love this sweet chair.

Family and friends are already booking their stays!!!  Can't wait to give this guest suite a workout!

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Storybook Cottage - The Renovation Plan

After spending way too much time with my trusty CAD program, I've finally come up with a design for the cottage.  I tried several different approaches, because this house had some challenges.  It's a bit like working with a jigsaw puzzle - you do the outlines first and then work your way in.  And after a few false starts,  I'm pretty excited about the final design.  It should be lovely!

Let's take a look at the starting point.  This house has had very few updates over the years and while that has a certain charm, it also makes it less livable for a modern family.  The in-your-face refrigerator as you walk in the door, the cramped kitchen and vintage cabinetry are ready for an update.  And most buyers want an open floor plan - one that blends the living spaces seamlessly so the family can spend time together.
Kitchen - Before - walls block sunlight from the south/west exposure

But it also has some fabulous features.  The first floor ceilings are high, which is a huge plus.  There are a lot of windows and with a south/west exposure in the living spaces, it's bright and cheery.

3 Season Porch
The three season porch and entry porch can become living space - which will be a great addition.  The previous owner used to spend time on this porch every day, even in winter it's such a pleasant room with the sun shining through the windows!

So what's the plan?  We'll eliminate the old, seldom used entrance to the house. That makes the living room bigger and brings in lots of sunlight.  The new entrance will be on the porch - which is also right next to the big 2 car garage.  Much more convenient when you're coming home with arms full of groceries!

The porch will also provide space for a new home office.  Since so many people work from home these days, that's a feature that many buyers want.

As you can see, the main living space will be completely open.  With all the walls removed, sunlight will come flooding into the space.  (as an aside - I tried switching up the kitchen and dining room - but the space just seemed awkward, so we'll be leaving the rooms in their current locations)
1st floor bedroom & bath with interior walls removed

All the walls in the bedroom/bath are being removed and we're starting from scratch.  We've torn out the ceiling and both rooms will now have a beautiful cathedral ceiling.  The bedroom will be larger, so there is plenty of room for a double or queen sized bed.  And the new bathroom will have a large shower.

2nd Floor:

In an unusual move, I'm changing this house from a 4 bedroom down to a 3 bedroom.  As I played with the second story, I just couldn't come up with a workable solution for 3 bedrooms.  I didn't want to have to walk through one room to get to another - and those two rooms were tiny. And if I added a hallway, it made all the rooms even smaller.  So instead, we will have 2 nice, large rooms.

I love the clawfoot tub in the bathroom, so we'll have it resurfaced and add a faucet set with a hand held shower.  Charming!!

Source:  Andraya1123farmhouse
And what about decorating style?  While it was fun to do a mid-century modern home, I'm going back to my cottage roots for this one.  We'll mix vintage elements with modern amenities.  Here are a few inspiration pics that I've been noodling over.
Source:  Concrete Cottage

I'm always a sucker for reclaimed lumber, so I'll wrap the new structural beams in the living room and 1st floor bedroom.

I'd love to do a built in mud bench and shelving in the entryway, just off of the kitchen.  It would provide space for winter boots - and sandy shoes when summer finally gets here!

Photo by Venegas and Company - Search kitchen pictures

The upstairs bedrooms have sloped ceilings, so I want to highlight them!   I'd like to do a vintage style room, maybe with handmade linens.  This one from Miss Mustard Seed is lovely!

But before we get to all this fun stuff, we need to get some work done!!  Stay tuned for all the updates!

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Mid Mod Marvel Reveal - The Den

My biggest fear when we started designing the interior of this house?  How to give it character and not look like all those other houses that flood Instagram and Pinterest - with their miles of white walls, red oriental runners and satin brass finishes.  They're lovely, but we want a bit more character.  

And quite simply, I find many contemporary homes cold and sterile. Sure, I love the clean, simple lines of mid-century modern design, but we want our home to feel warm and welcoming. A place you want to sit and put your feet up. So that is the challenge! (Hmmm....can I still have piles of pillows on the sofa?)   

So the first room to come together is the den. It started as a great space, with 2 large sliding glass doors opening out to the deck.  

This room also had a lot of squirrel damage and dry rot, so we had to replace electrical, some framing, drywall and of course we installed brand new sliding glass doors, to improve energy efficiency.

Originally, the large back wall was covered in cork, which was a great feature.  But we discovered it was faded and harbored the smell of cigarettes.  Remember, when this house was built, smoking was the norm (my Aunt Angel said every toddler needed to eat at least one cigarette butt - it was a rite of passage!!!), but it's a tough smell to eliminate, so we removed the cork (which also let us do the repair work behind it!). 

In its place, we added a gas fireplace.  We've had gas fireplaces in several houses and love the warm ambiance they provide on a cold winter night (and let's face it, we have a LOT of winter nights in Maine!).

I tiled the entire fireplace surround in handmade tile.  I remember this pattern from my childhood and absolutely LOVE it!  It was a bit of a challenge to install, but I'm really pleased with it.
Look at that handmade 3D tile!!!  Swoon!!!!

Photo:  Finn Juhl

On either side of the fireplace, the guys custom built bookcases, to match the pitch of the ceiling.  These were inspired by the bookcases of Finn Juhl, the mid-century Danish designer.  We finished them in teak oil, which makes them practically glow!  We love the warmth that the wood casts into the room.  And it gives Richard a place to put his turntable and store his albums.  He's planning to spend a lot of time in this room!

I love how the room looks from the dining room - quite a change don't you think?  Oh, and we eliminated the bifold doors, when we found space for pocket doors in the walls!!
Den 'Before' -  with bifold doors, shag carpet and cork wall
Den 'After' - with white oak floors, fireplace and custom bookshelves

For those of you that follow along on Facebook or Instagram, you probably saw the Wassily style chair that a dear friend of mine found for me in an antique shop near her.  It's a great accent in this room and was worth driving across 5 states to meet up in a diner parking lot to get it!

Vintage chair is a perfect addition
And while we're thrilled to have a mid-century modern home, we couldn't bear to say goodbye to some of our 19th century paintings.  So we've hung our favorites in here, that way we can continue to enjoy them (our dog Petey likes them too!!!)

So what do you think?  Did we hit the mark - a warm inviting space to kick back and relax???  

Stay tuned for more.  We're making lots of progress and I hope to share more 'before and after' photos soon!

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

That Time It Was Raining Money.....

I should preface this by saying we have never found anything of real value in the houses we've renovated.  We've searched attics, basements, pried up the medallion on the newel post - and all we ever find is dirt, dust and mouse poop.

So imagine my surprise when the demo crew showed me the packages of cash they found when ripping down the dining room ceiling!!  Money, falling from the ceiling, amazing and over $700!

I promptly called the estate's executor to give them the news.  They were so relieved it was found.  They knew their parents had stashed away some money, but had tried in vain to find it before the house was sold. And they were very kind to provide a reward to the demo crew for finding it (and the demo crew was very kind to have turned it over instead of keeping it!).

What else did we find?  Well, more wallpaper!!!  There was a lot that was easily visible, but behind cabinets and trim,

we have found even more wallpaper.  I think this house is breaking some kind of record.  11 different patterns!

And as the demo crew started opening up the walls, I got a glimpse of how this place will look with the renovations.  See these walls?  They are going away!

And the new open floor plan is beginning to emerge.  Look how removing the wall to the old front entrance hall opens up the living room and brings the sunlight in!
See, I'm not the only woman on the job site this time!!!
The wall on the right will be removed after we install a new load bearing beam 
And the dining room?  Well it's starting to tie into the open floor plan.

The wall between the kitchen and dining room is gone!!
And the kitchen!!!  Well it's changing a lot!  We will need to gut the walls to install all new electrical and plumbing. 

This is the first floor bedroom and bath.  It's getting completely gutted so we can open up the space for a new cathedral ceiling and brand new bath.
What else did we find?  Well, the house has all knob and tube wiring.  Not a surprise, but still a bit shocking to see it thorough out the home. 

(and don't you love the mother of pearl button switches?  Sadly, we can't reuse them, they're not up to modern building code).

Did we get any bad news during demo?  Unfortunately yes.  As they started to pull up the vinyl flooring, we heard a telltale 'crack' as a piece snapped back.  Asbestos tends to make flooring brittle and when we had it tested, it turns out there is 4% asbestos content.  That means we have to do full abatement to have it removed.  

And in other bad news, as the weather turned colder, we realized that many of the newer replacement windows have compromised seals - so we will need to replace the windows.  My bought guess is 40% of the windows are bad and it doesn't make sense to piecemeal in new ones - so we will have to replace them all for a cohesive look.  

Sigh.... the cha ching cha ching sounds are reverberating in my brain.  We haven't even started building yet, but I figure this puts me $15,000 over budget.  Yikes, that's a tough start and there are sure to be more surprises!  I'll be sharpening my pencil to figure this one out.

What's next?  Well we need to put in new beams to support the walls we're removing and create a true open floor plan.

Stay tuned!

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