Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Now the Real Fun Starts - Demolition!!

Okay, so it's dirty and dusty, but you just can't beat demolition for getting a lot of satisfaction in a short period of time!!!  With the floor plan in place, we were ready to get started.  And we had quite a bit of demo required in this house.  But we're hoping this card they found in the walls won't predict what we're going to find!

We started by opening up the wall between the living room and former bedroom - to create the new large living room.  It already feels so much bigger and brighter!

View from former bedroom, looking towards living room and enclosed front porch
Check out the snazzy wallpaper we found behind the bedroom paneling!  

Next, we opened up the space between the living room and dining room for the Craftsman Colonnades that we'll be adding.  Again, just opening up that little bit of wall makes an enormous difference in how the space looks & feels.  Love it already (of course it will be much nicer without piles of debris and tools everywhere)!

But then we got a surprise.  Typically, when you have two bathrooms stacked one above another, all the plumbing is on the same wall.  That wall is thicker and is referred to as the wet wall.  So we just assumed that was true for this house.  Surprise!!!  The first floor bathroom wall was 20 inches away from the second floor.  Remember how I was going to save money by not moving any plumbing?  So much for that idea!  But the good news is that the first floor bathroom just got quite a bit bigger.  Which will be wonderful!

But in the meantime, we're suffering from our usual lack of bathroom privacy.  It's all part of the glamorous life of renovating!  At least the toilet isn't in the kitchen this time!   And I go out to the garage, anytime the guys need to use the facilities.  Awkward, but it works :-) 

We removed the closet from the breakfast room.  With the walls gone and the vaulted ceiling, the room suddenly seems so much bigger.  And we're excited about the craftsman style mud bench that we'll be adding soon.  It will go right next to the back door.

Gutting the Back of the 2nd Floor

Upstairs, we've cleared out the back of the house.  There were lots of walls back there, around the old staircase.  And we need them out of the way to create the new master bedroom, walk in closet and loft space.
Completely Open Space for New Master Bedroom, Walk In Closet & Skylight for Loft

Carpet Removal in Front Bedroom
But the biggest change?  Creating the new staircase in the front of the house.  It meant opening up the ceiling/floor and creating a structural opening.

It seems so strange to be able to see upstairs from this former bedroom!

Next interior project - we'll get the new staircase built and then we can tear out the old one from the back bedroom.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Craftsman Bungalow: The Floor Plans - Before and After

Once we got started on the project, we realized it made sense to make many more changes than we had first envisioned.  Why?  First, we want to make this a really great house for modern living.  Second, we started discovering some surprises (that always happens) that we wanted to change. And third, I started coming up with new ideas to enhance the design - and spend money (and yes, that always happens as well!).

We had a couple of guidelines as we started:

So, here was the starting floor plan for the First Floor.  This is a surprisingly large bungalow, with 6 rooms on the first floor, as well as an enclosed porch.  As previously discussed, the challenge was in the location of the staircase to the 2nd floor (click here for photos).   We knew we needed to move the staircase, but with the steep pitch of the roof, it couldn't be along an exterior wall - you needed enough headroom to walk up the stairs, which required you to land in the middle.  Everyone came up with ideas...we tried putting them over the basement stairs, but that just created issues on the 2nd floor.  We tried moving them around in the 'staircase room', but didn't like that either.  Then Dominic, our plumber, suggested eliminating the front bedroom and creating a much larger Living Room.  Brilliant!  We've now nicknamed it 'Dominic's Plan' and are really pleased with the layout.

This layout also creates some other great features.  First, it becomes a 'Foyer' type entrance - and with the Craftsman style staircase we have planned, it should have a real wow factor when you come in the front door.  Second, by moving the staircase, we've also added lots of new storage.  There will be a large cupboard under the staircase and a large closet in the back hallway.  With the addition of that storage, we eliminated a closet that was in the back room (now called the Breakfast Room!), to create a much larger living area - as well as make space for a Craftsman style mud bench that we have planned.  And third, we've moved the first floor bedroom to the back of the house, where it should be much quieter.

With the rearrangement of the staircase, the 2nd floor saw lots of changes.  We now have two nice sized bedrooms.  The new Master Bedroom will be in the back of the house and includes a large walk in closet.  The front bedroom got a little bit smaller, but is still a nice sized bedroom (15' x 12').  And we've created a brand new space that we've nicked named 'The Loft'.  It's an area at the top of the stairs where we will install a big skylight on the sloped ceiling and add a built in bookcase.  There's room for a desk and comfy chair - what a wonderful spot to curl up and read a book!
One huge learning for me as I've renovated lots of homes?   Plans are really just a guideline.  Once you start gutting these old houses, you tend to find surprises and need to be flexible to figure out what makes the most sense.  So stay tuned, we're sure to be making a few tweaks as we go along!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Craftsman Bungalow - Getting Started

This may seem odd, but my very first thought when we bought the bungalow:  I know how I want to do the kitchen backsplash.

Weird, huh?  Seems like there are lots of other things I should focus on first.  But there's an art studio around the corner from the house that has beautiful pottery and art tile.  I've swooned over their window displays for years and was thrilled to have an excuse to learn more about the artist.  So, a few months ago, I had the opportunity to meet Jon White, the artist and owner of Odd Inq and see some of his work up close.  It's stunning and the perfect accent for our Craftsman style home.  I made an appointment to meet him at his studio, when he returned from the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.

Glazes, glazes and more glazes
Jon has spent years developing his own version of the gorgeous matte glazes that are so typical of Arts & Crafts pottery and tile.  As he gave me a tour of his studio, I was wowed with the extensive capabilities he has available: slip molds, presses, kiln, glazing station, etc.  But my favorite was seeing the extensive variety of products, from vases to lamps to sculpture to my favorite - art tiles.

We considered several different ideas for the backsplash.  I want a focal point in the space over the new stove we'll be installing.  So we got a yardstick out and laid out the space on his design table.  After looking at different sizes and formats, we decided on these large, beautiful tiles.  With the graceful oak trees framing the water and mountain view, these tiles reflect Maine's beauty with an Arts & Crafts sensibility.

Aren't they amazing?
Seriously, they make me swoon!  Love these!!!

So now that I have these beauties in hand - it's time to start the rest of the design work!  Stay tuned!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Craftsman Bungalow - The Exterior 'Before'

So, where will we spend the biggest percentage of our budget?  You guessed it, the exterior.  It needs a lot of attention and will be one of the first things we do.  And it needs updating from both a functional and aesthetic standpoint.

While I love cedar shake shingles, these are past their prime.  We've talked about it before - when you're this close to the water, it's really, really hard on wood.

What are the tell tale signs you have problems with shingles?  You want to look for a couple of issues:

Curling Shingles

Multiple vertical gaps - the whole reason shingles are staggered is to prevent water from penetrating beneath them.  If you have vertical gaps on rows that are directly above one another, you lose the benefit of the staggered orientation.  Particularly as the shingles shrink with age and the gaps get larger.

Missing shingles - we get some nasty storms here in Maine and shingles can take a real beating.  And sometimes they get ripped right off the building!

In addition to replacing the siding, we'll be replacing the roof, with new architectural shingles.  With such a steep pitch on the roof, it's very visible from the road and we want it to look good!

Oh, and the chimney sweep came out to clean the chimney, but there were so many issues to deal with, we ended up replacing the flue with new bricks and a stainless steel liner.

But on the bright side, this oversized one car garage is wonderful!  It has lots of room for a car and 'stuff'.  And we've already succeeded in filling it with lots of stuff!

Above the garage is a big, unfinished bonus space.  We've decided to leave it that way, so the new owners can decide how they want to treat it.  Hmmm......did your kid get a drum set for his birthday and is forming a band?  That might be a perfect place for the band to practice (ha ha,,,,  did I mention Richard just got an electric guitar? And yes, the thought has crossed my mind!).  But you might want to insulate the walls a bit first, to stay on good terms with the neighbors!!!

We've spent a lot of time formulating a design strategy to pull together the whole house.  I'll be sharing the design options soon - can't wait to get your thoughts as we move forward on the plan!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our Next Project: The Craftsman Bungalow

Shhhh……so while we were finishing up our last project, we quietly started working on another one (There was a prediction that I would go crazy trying to do two houses at once…..I'll let you be the judge of that! I know the guys have already come to their own conclusion.).  We decided to wait and share the photos after we completed the Beach Cottage, so it may seem like we're going extraordinarily fast on this one  :-)  But don't be fooled, this has been a long work in progress - you can tell by the fall leaves in this photo.

Staircase in the Bedroom
We started with a nondescript 1928 bungalow -  with a fatal flaw.  The flaw:  while actually a 4 bedroom house, only two bedrooms were usable, because of the staircase location.  You had to duck under the staircase as you entered the back bedroom to go upstairs.  And because the staircase ran down the middle of the house, it made the upstairs back bedroom very, very narrow (and to further complicate the floor plan, the furnace flue ran through the middle of the skinny room).  So it wasn't a great design for a family.

But I LOVE this house.  I can't tell you how excited I've been to update it!  And while it doesn't have a lot of design elements at this point, we're going to transform it into a Craftsman bungalow.  So you'll see us adding lots of Craftsman details to give it a little more character.  When we get done with it, it will have a fabulous layout and lots of architectural detail.

But first, let me share some before photos of the First Floor Interior:
Enclosed Front Porch - Love the shingled space!
Living Room - Generous sized room with multiple windows and glass door to let light stream in
Dining Room - looking towards Living Room and Front Door
Nice Sized Kitchen - Maple Cabinets look like new
Full Bath - Love the claw foot tub!!!!

Downstairs - Front Bedroom
Great doorknobs on 1st floor!

Staircase Room - aka Back Bedroom
So, what do you think?  Are you starting to get some ideas for changes?  Wait, there's more!
Here's the Second Floor - Before:
View up the staircase

Back Bedroom - only wide enough for a twin bed and there's the awkward flue coming through the room
Front Bedroom

Any guesses where we're going with it?  Our initial plan was to only do minor updates.  But as typically happens, that plan got thrown out the window and we're doing a major configuration change (can you hear the cha ching, cha ching noise of spending??)!  Stay tuned!  We'll have lots of updates and you can always follow us on Facebook to see even more photos.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Children's Rooms - Before & After

Like the Master Bedroom, this side of the 2nd floor almost doubled in size as we changed from a low profile cape cod roof to a taller, shed dormer roofline - without any footprint change!  Instead of one, narrow room, we now have two light, bright bedrooms (plus a hall bath!).  Here's where we started.

Floor Plan - Before

Floor Plan - After

After building the new 2nd floor, 4 feet taller than the original, we have a dramatic change from the 'before'.  We now have lots of windows and light.  And on the interior, we popped the ceilings up a bit higher than planned, to take advantage of all the new space.  This added lots of architectural interest in the rooms, thanks to the dormer angles.

The Girls Room

If you remember the plan for the back bedroom, we wanted to create a girl's room with no pink (click here for more info).  It was a bit of a challenge, but we think we pulled it off.  Here's how we did it.

At the Open House, we heard lots of comments about the angled feature wall.  Painted Sherwin Williams Retiring Blue, it really adds a lot of interest to the space.  And while the rest of the room is painted a basic Sherwin Williams Extra White, the blue wall reflects and adds dimension to the white walls as well.

I love the Pottery Barn duvet cover and pillows, as well as the faux fur bean bag chair.  Remember the little chandelier that I spray painted?  Doesn't it look great installed over the table (with the bling!)?

We love this room!

The Boys Room

The front bedroom has lots and lots of sunlight streaming in.  With 5 windows, facing south and west, it's a really bright room.

We capitalized on the cool space under the dormer, by creating a wall of built ins.  We were able to reuse the built in dresser from the original space, but added a closet and a cozy window seat as well.
Inspiration for the room came from the very colorful geometric sheets that I found at Target (on sale!).  The striped coverlet and decorative pillows are from Pottery Barn (except for the custom window seat cushion that my friend Faith made!).

So what do you think?  Isn't this a big change from our starting point?

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