Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Split Level - It's Done, It's Done, It's Done!!!

We turned the keys over to the homeowners last week and they're busy moving in.  And I can finally start to share the Before & After Photos.

There were so many changes to the house, it's hard to figure out where to start.  But let's look at the exterior first, because that's the first thing you see when you arrive.  

Our goal was to add living space while ensuring the house still blends in with the neighborhood.  There were a lot of challenges from a zoning perspective, so we carefully balanced where we could build with keeping an 'old house vibe'.  We added a new top floor, which provided space for two bedrooms and a bath.  And we were able to bump out 5 feet on the right side of the house, as long as we stayed back behind the setback.

Split Level - Before

And from a functional standpoint, we removed the front door - which was a cramped space next to the garage door with dangerously low headroom to get up the stairs to the living area or down to the basement.  Now there is a normal front door that meets all building codes - yippee!!

The house was sided with vinyl siding and PVC trim - so it's a low maintenance lifestyle!  The homeowners opted to do the front stairs with meranti posts to bring the warm glow of natural wood against the gray siding.  It's complemented with sleek cable rail instead of balusters.  The decking is a low maintenance AZEK decking, which blends beautifully with the posts.  
And the result?  Well we're all pretty thrilled with how it came out.  Quite a change, don't you think?


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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Kitchen Update

I haven't done a kitchen update in awhile - and it's changed so much!  What was a tight, cramped space is now opened up to the entire living area!

Remember our starting point?  The huge central fireplace took up over 25 sq ft of living area and made everything super congested - probably typical in 1949 when the house was built, but totally unsuitable for today's lifestyle.   Removing the fireplace added so much flexibility for a better layout and the 5 foot addition along the south side of the house provides room for a sweet banquette with sunlight streaming in all day long.

The owners wanted a white kitchen, but we all agreed a pop of blue for the island would give it more interest and reflect its beach house location.  We built out the back of the island to provide room for stools and then painted the whole thing that gorgeous blue.

The countertops are a heavily veined quartz.


I covered them up right after they were installed to keep them safe, but here's a sneak peek. 

The owner asked for a backsplash that had mother-of-pearl accents.  I found this great mix of marble and glass that they love!

We've got a few more things to wrap up - but it's getting close to done! 

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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Custom Features in the Living Area

To take this split level from ho-hum to wow, we want to add a lot of custom features.  And many of them are in the living area.

The house needed a mud bench to catch all the foul weather gear we have in Maine.  So we created a set of shelves that will be outfitted with wicker baskets.  In winter it can hold all the mismatched gloves that seem to accumulate!  In the summer it can store sunscreen and summer hats to take down to the beach.  

And the open space below the bench has lots of room for flip flops or snow boots, depending on the season!

The fireplace is a focal point for the living area.  I surrounded it with a beautiful honed marble, accentuated with a dark grout. 

Kyle added the decorative wooden trim and then created built in bookshelves next to the fireplace. They will both be topped with chunky reclaimed wooden beams. The vertical nickel gap paneling will provide a nice backdrop for both - particularly for the TV that will go above the mantle.  Doesn't it look great?

In the kitchen, we trimmed out the back of the island with nickel gap paneling and created side panels to create space for 3 bar stools.  Oh, and why the black wavy lines?  Well wood tends to shrink and swell with the seasons.  Once winter comes and it shrinks a bit, the part that shows is black and won't stand out like bright white on a navy island!  

And next to the pantry, Kyle built a banquette that will have a top that lifts up for storage.  This will create a little nook for a table and a couple of chairs.  The perfect spot to have a cup of coffee in the morning as the sun streams through the sliding glass door.

Once everything is painted, it's going to look amazing!!!

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Thursday, July 7, 2022

It's All About the Custom Details - Makeup Vanity

You know we're getting near the finish line when all the fancy carpentry projects get going.  One of the hallmarks of our projects are the custom features we add to every home.  And the split level is getting a lot of them!

First up - the customer make-up vanity.  The owner really wanted a separate vanity to apply makeup each morning.  But finding one that matched a sink vanity (that we liked) proved to be impossible.  The solution?  We needed one custom built to match the vanity we chose.

Look how similar the makeup vanity is to the sink vanity we purchased!

And Kyle did an amazing job - from the beveled edges, to the shapely leg, he nailed it.  Next he will build a cabinet door to match.  And I've found a very similar door pull that can be installed

He extended the top to fit into a corner of the primary bath.  

Our amazing painter sprayed it the exact shade of blue as the original vanity, so they will look like they came from the same cabinet shop!  Finally, we'll get it outfitted with a Carrara marble top, to really complete the look.

This bathroom is really coming together!  Can't wait to get the rest of it finished.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Tile Time and the Primary Bath

Woo hoo!  Now that we've started finish work, we're starting one of my favorite tasks, tile!  And we have picked out some gorgeous tile for the split level πŸ’—

Unfortunately, I have a torn disc in my back, so I'm not tackling quite as much tiling as usual.  Thankfully, Chris has been able to give me a hand and has made quick work of the primary bath.

This will be such a luxurious bathroom!  The floor is this beautiful hexagonal Carrara marble tile - and it's heated, (see the heat lines embedded in the orange subfloor?)  so it will be nice and toasty on bare feet in the morning.  

The custom shower is big, with a seat in the corner and a built in niche for soap and shampoo.  And the tile!!! 

The feature wall is done in this glass crackle finish. I did my best to capture it in a photo - but I can't seem to get the reflective quality to show.  Once the light is installed in the ceiling, it's going to sparkle!

To coordinate with the blue shower tile is this beautiful blue vanity.  It has lots of storage and a gorgeous marble top.  The guys will be creating a custom makeup vanity to coordinate with it, adding more of this blue to the space.   You can't go wrong with a blue and Carrara marble combination!

The layout is pretty great - it provides room for everything 

Including a towel warmer, the perfect touch when you get out of the shower on a cold winter morning! 

Measurements for the glass shower door are this week and the vanity and trim should start next week.  So it's coming right along! 

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Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Slow Race to the Finish Line

Now that we have walls, the finish work can start.  This is when it starts to get exciting and the house really starts to take shape.  BUT.....

The bad news:  Normally I would say the house would be ready in 4-6 weeks, but with COVID issues still lurking, it's hard to make that assumption.  Case in point: the longest lead item in our schedule is getting the countertops templated and installed (4 week wait for template, 4-5 weeks for install).  I scheduled our template well in advance, but received an email today that their template guy has COVID and everything is getting rescheduled.  Sigh.....

The good news:  Lots of other work is morning forward! Doors have been installed and window/door trim has begun.  It makes such a difference! 

The heat pumps were installed this week (they still need to be connected to electrical, but they look good!). 

The flooring needs to be installed before the kitchen goes in, so the guys made great progress this week.  This is an engineered white oak, in a soft caramel color stain.  Doesn't it look great?  With the sunlight coming in the new windows, the light floor will really brightens everything up!

Aren't they beautiful floors!

The exterior is wrapping up - the owners wanted an old door closed up and Dave is sealing it up with a stucco finish to match the rest of the foundation.  The new basement and garage windows arrived yesterday and will go in soon.

What next?  The kitchen!  Tile!  Custom Built ins!  And More! 😁


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Thursday, June 2, 2022

We Have Walls!

Completing drywall is one of the biggest milestones we see on a project.  Suddenly, all the framing members and insulation are covered up and you can start to visualize the finished project.  And of course it also means you can start all the finish work.  Look how much the living area has changed!!  Eliminating the central chimney and adding 5 more feet to the side has made a world of difference.  And adding another foot of ceiling heigh didn't hurt 😁

The drywall team looked like dancers, one guy on stilts as they installed all the ceiling boards.  

And then the time consuming effort of taping and mudding started.  

With our tall ceilings in tricky spots like the stairwell, it took some extra work! Stilts also came in handy for the rest of the process. 
But the stilts still weren't tall enough to reach the stairwell ceiling! 
And once the walls were up, you could really start to see the changes in the house.  Look how different the stairwell to the attic is now - with the addition of another floor (with two bedrooms and a bath).

And the first floor living space is a dream.  
Not to mention the primary suite!

And look at the stairwell from the new top floor looking down to the primary suite.  Isn't that amazing space for a split level?
Now the walls will get primed and then we can start installing flooring and trip.  Woo hoo!  

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Powder Room Planning

Powder rooms are pretty tiny and you don’t spend much time in them – so it’s the perfect place to be a bit bold in design!  And that’s exactly what my clients want to do with this powder room.


The inspiration came from a powder room I did many years ago, with nautical charts used as wallpaper. 


But, the tricky thing about using real charts, is they are made of paper and can’t take a lot of wear and tear.  So this time we opted to use vinyl coated wallpaper, which is far more durable.  We found an online company that could make it custom for us. 


And custom is pretty cool.  You can pick your exact location from the NOAA charts and they can even put a little marker over top of your house.  In addition, you can look at several different options.  In our case, we could use a chart  (BTW, they’re called ‘charts’ when they’re for water, not ‘maps’) that would give more prominence of the water or include more of the greater Portland area. 

Casco Bay Chart 

In our case, we went with the greater Portland chart, since we thought it would be fun for guests to try and find their house when they use the bathroom!  We also had the option to have it blown up really big…… or left smaller.  Since this is a powder room, we thought a huge oversize chart would be overpowering.  We were given the three options you see in red, blue and green – ultimately we redrew it with the purple to get exactly what we wanted.  Our plan is to use it for the larger feature wall that you see as you enter the room.  The paper is on order and should arrive in time for our project.

Portland Harbor Chart 

For the flooring, we went with this blue hexagonal tile.  I LOVE this tile!  It has a beautiful, soft sheen to it with a slight bit of antiquing along the edges, which will make it look like it’s been there a long time.  It will be a great compliment to the chart wallpaper. 

Source:  TileBar 


Because it’s a tiny bathroom, we needed a tiny sink.  We started by looking at wall mounted small sinks, but didn’t really want the plumbing to show.  So instead we found this very small freestanding vanity.  It’s only 15” deep, but it will hide the plumbing and give you room for 1 or 2 rolls of toilet paper – and a spot for a cute little basket for the bottom shelf. 

Source:  Wayfair


Above the tiny sink, we needed a small light fixture.  This one fits the bill with a bit of a beachy/nautical style to go with the rest of the room.


Of course right we're only at the drywall stage, so this won’t be a reality for awhile.  But don’t you think it will be a great little bathroom? 

Wallpaper Source:

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