Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy First Anniversary!

Hmmm....aren't first anniversary's supposed to have a paper gift?  Pretty hard to do in this (mostly) paperless world!

As we hit the blog's one year anniversary, I just wanted to send a note of thanks to all our readers. Thanks to you, we've had almost 100,000 views and are followed by 430 Facebook friends - truly amazing in such a short time!  And you come from 105 different countries, representing all corners of the globe.

It's been a whirlwind year, with lots of changes for us as we started our business renovating homes.  But I'm not sure we could have done it without your encouragement and support. We really appreciate your thoughts and ideas as we move on to our next project.

Want to see more?  'Like' us on Facebook!
So at this time of New Year's resolutions, I'll try and continue to provide regular updates of projects, challenges and ideas.  And I hope you'll continue to provide feedback to keep us going!  And if you have any suggestions for special topics you'd like to hear more about, please let me know.

And of course, all of it will be paperless!

Happy New Year!!

Laurel & Richard

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Project #3 - A Not So Classic Colonial

We're deep into the planning process for our next project.  I love, love, love this house.  It's a big change from our last project.  As best we can tell, it's a two owner home, built in the 40's, with additions in the 60's and 80's. It's been meticulously cared for (hooray!), but needs some updates for modern living.

There are lots of 'vintage' touches, that I'll be talking about in a future post.  Some elements are a trip down memory lane for me.  Wait till you see some of the harvest gold and orange :-)  I think we might have a 'name that Congoleum pattern contest!'.

What's our vision?  Today it's a two bedroom quasi-ranch.  We're going to expand it to be a two story colonial.  But not your traditional colonial.  We want to update it a bit, give it a bit of a twist.

1790's Colonial
We're familiar with colonial styling.  We lived in a true colonial when our kids were little.  The original house was built in 1790.  The fireplace in the kitchen was so big, 3 people could stand inside of it (great wow factor, but not energy efficient!).   The ceilings were really low, my 6'4" father wouldn't walk through the kitchen when the ceiling fan was running.  And it had lots of rooms, but not an open flow to tie them all together.  It was added onto many times, we think the view in the photo was done in the mid 1800's.

So, what's a Colonial with a Twist?  Well, we want an open floor plan, with the kitchen as the center of the home.  We'll lean towards traditional styling - but have a few updated looks throughout.  It will be a classic home with amenities for today's lifestyle

How will we do it?   We're going to build up.  That means taking the roof off of the main house, where according to the city website, there is a second floor bedroom....but only for people much shorter than we are!  We've got all our permits in place and are just waiting for a week of clear weather (we're getting a foot of snow today!).

We hope you'll follow our adventures as we create this Colonial with a Twist!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On To Our Next Project!

We're thrilled that our Diamond in the Rough is already under contract.  We had a huge response to the Open House and ended up with 6 offers.  We loved all the wonderful people we met and wish they could all get the house.  But of course, we could only accept one offer.

Now we're unstaging the house, moving everything back to the storage facility and packing up the tools.  It's going to be hard to leave!

Stay tuned!  I'll be sharing plans for the next project soon!  In the meantime, here's the before picture.....a great rancher with lots of potential.  We can't wait to get started :-)

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Special Projects - Antique Bed and Bedside Table

Finally, here are the last two last projects for our Diamond in the Rough.

After trekking for hours through the Brimfield Antiques Show, we found this $40 bed.  I love that it's so tall, with the carving at the top.  The frame was missing a few parts and wasn't the right size for a modern mattress.  But the headboard was just the ticket!  So I got rid of the footboard and focused on the headboard.

Unfortunately, it had a musty, mildew odor.  So I wiped it down with a bleach mixture and let it sit out in the sun for awhile.  Then I painted it with a coat of sealing primer, followed by two coats of semi-gloss enamel.

Now, the detail really shows through and it creates a beautiful statement in the bedroom.  I love it!  And it will come in handy for staging future properties!

The last quick little project was this table.  I found it at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore - $10!!!  A quick coat of spray paint and it made the perfect bedside table.

I guess it's time to start looking for projects for our next house!

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Special Projects - Entry Table

Last summer, I was browsing through an antique shop and came across this odd piece of wood.  Someone had cut an interesting circular pattern in the side of it.  But neither the store owner or I could figure out what it was for.

But for $20, I decided it was worth taking home.

I took a scrap piece of MDF and added it to the top.  I wanted legs that would have some interest to them  The solution - deck balusters!  I cut them down and turned them into legs.

And after a coat of primer and two coats of spray paint, it makes a nice little table!
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Special Projects - Refurbished Chair

This week, I thought I'd share some of the little side projects we did to stage the house.  Remember this chair?  My neighbor had put it on the curb with a 'free' sign.  Much to Richard's chagrin, I couldn't pass it up and quickly popped it in the back of my minivan.

I loved the star detail on the back and the fluting on the legs (and there is an interesting patch on the front leg, that adds to the character!)  

I sanded down the piece and decided to paint it a bright sea blue. I knew it would add a nice burst of color in the front bedroom.

The original seat had cracked, so I replaced it with a new piece of wood.   After glueing on new foam padding,  I stapled a layer of polyester batting and then the fabric.  It's a leftover piece of Maine Cottage fabric - with bright blue and green dots that accent the paint job.

And what was the total investment?    
The finished product - pretty sweet, don't you think?  And what a bargain!!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dining Room and Foyer: Before and After Knotty Pine Paneling

My very first thought when we looked at the house, was that the Dining Room could be beautiful.  From the beginning, I could see the Pickwick Pine (aka knotty pine paneling) painted white, the walls opened up and a dramatic chandelier.  But not everyone shared my vision :-)  I heard lots of comments like "Seriously, you're going to leave that paneling?  Are you crazy?" So it took some convincing!

We didn't make huge changes to the room - but we did eliminate that weird closet at the bottom of the steps and its trap door to the basement.  Now there is a nice open landing, which provides a great focal point for artwork.

Dining Room Before - a sea of Pickwick Pine and Acoustic Tile Ceilings
Dining Room After - Light and Bright
Do you remember the pine built-in hutch?  It took more hours that I thought to fix it up.  But it was worth it.  It's a great vintage piece that provides nice storage and a place for display.  The glass shelves, interior light and frosted glass Restoration Hardware drawer pulls really dress it up.

But probably more dramatic than the dining room is the addition of a foyer.  This was originally a porch, but once we knocked down the walls and added some built ins, it's a great addition to the house. And it gives you that open feeling from the minute you walk through the front door!
Original View Coming Through the Front Door

A Real Foyer with Closets and a Boot Bench
And finally, I thought I'd share a couple of pictures of the open floor plan.  It gives you an idea how different a house can look, when you take out a few walls.
View from Living Room - Before
View from Living Room - After

Open Floor Plan
We're always renovating tired little cottages and making them a great place for today's families.  Want to see more?  Like us on Facebook!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Brand New Upstairs Bathroom

At long last, I had a moment to share the bathroom photos.  But, this isn't your usual set of 'before and after' photos, because this space didn't start as bathrooms (as a reminder, the bathroom was in the middle of the kitchen when we bought the house - see photos here)

Before.....small, odd shaped bedroom with a folding plastic door
On the second floor, we took the smallest of the 4 bedrooms (aka the pot grow room - see Oddities post)  and turned it into a bathroom.  One of the most frequent questions we get is where was the left of the chimney in the far left of this photo!
During - Installation of Green (Moisture Resistant) Wall Boards
While it was a bit chopped up for a bedroom (it has the furnace flue running through it as well as a sloped ceiling), the revamped space creates a great bathroom - including a space for the washer & dryer in a closet along the exterior wall.  The floor is a tumbled chiaro marble, with a marble and glass mosaic inset.

Bathroom - After

The same mosaic is featured in the tub surround and on the shelves behind the toilet.  I love the watery blues of the glass mosaic.  It adds a shimmer to the entire space.

The vanity provides drawer storage as well as a shelf with room for baskets or big items.  And the Restoration Hardware Lugarno sconces provide great light in front of the mirror.

So what do you think?  Did we get it right?

Vanity & Mirror - Roth & Allen
Tub - American Standard
Faucets - Kohler
Sconces - Restoration Hardware

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Amazing Scouting Shots

Photo by Jamie Salomon 
So, this week we were very lucky to have Jamie Salomon, an incredible residential design photographer, come take scouting photos for a couple of major publications (I don't want to say which ones and jinx it, but I promise to let you know if we get published).   If you haven't seen Jamie's work, you should check it out on his website:  His work is incredible and I'm sure you've seen it on the cover of many magazines!

Now, I keep trying to learn how to take nice photographs.  But mine look like amateur hour compared with these.   Check out how beautifully he captured our house - and these are just scouting shots, not the real thing they would use for publication!!!    I would never think to use some of the unique camera angles he has used.  They are amazing.  I hope you enjoy them!

Photos by Jamie Salomon

Photos by Jamie Salomon

Photos by Jamie Salomon

Photo by Jamie Salomon
Photo by Jamie Salomon
Photo by Jamie Salomon

Photo by Jamie Salomon

Photo by Jamie Salomon

Photo by Jamie Salomon
Photos by Jamie Salomon

Photo by Jamie Salomon
Photo by Jamie Salomon
Photo by Jamie Salomon
Photo by Jamie Salomon

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