Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cozy Cottage: Renovating a 1960 Rancher Kitchen - Before and After

The starting point for this kitchen isn't different from many we see.....dark walls, oak cabinets and dated appliances.  Combine that with the low ceilings and it's a pretty boring space.

Our goal was to change all that.  By ripping out the wall between the kitchen and living room - and opening up the ceiling, the space is transformed.

  The tall ceilings give the kitchen a lot of drama.  And these pendants accentuate the high ceilings.  
The new layout also has a lot more functionality for a serious cook.  We doubled the storage space with a lot more cabinetry (in a great color called Oat!), as well as providing seating at the peninsula.
And do you love the reclaimed wood?  Adding it to the back of the peninsula not only looks good - it's great for durability.  Kids can kick it all day long and it only looks better!  

Justin custom built the reclaimed wood stove hood - 
and it was the wow item that everyone loved at the Open House.

I wanted something traditional for the backsplash, but with a twist.  So I chose this subway that incorporates plain and textured tiles. 
And of course the new windows and door welcome the morning sun, flooding the room with light.  BTW, remember the antique items I found at the Brimfield Antique Market (see story here)?  Look how great they are used in the house!  
Brimfield Antique Market Finds - Leaded Glass Window and Well Dog planters
Well Dogs from Broomfield Antique Market
So what's the verdict?  Were we able to add a little drama to this tired, boring kitchen?   It's quite a change from our starting point!!


Cabinets:  Thomasville, color Oat
Countertops:  Viatera Quartz, Snow Storm
Tile:  Horus Soho, color Latte (locally at Paul G White)
Paint Color:  Sherwin Williams Wall Color  Downy, Trim Extra White
Appliances:  LG
Drinking Glasses in wire caddy & window treatment fabric:  Home Remedies
Fish Plates:  Crate & Barrel
White Canisters:  Williams Sonoma
Copper Canisters:  Pottery Barn
Calendar:  Alan Claude
Pendants:  Restoration Hardware 

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Art Makes a Room Come Alive

This might seem odd, but I start thinking about the artwork for a room as soon as I start the design.  Why?  Because artwork brings color and style to a room - it creates instant ambiance.  
And since the Cozy Cottage was going to have large, dramatic walls, I wanted large, dramatic paintings.  I'd been drooling over the work of HLombardoArtist on Instagram and decided to reach out to her.  

I love her work.  It really captures the look and feel of Maine with her images of trees, water and islands.  Does her work look familiar to you?  That's because she did the cover of the summer LL Bean catalog!  You can also see her work at The Portland Art Gallery on Middle St.

And Holly was so amazingly helpful!  Not only did she lend me a couple of her beautiful paintings, but she let me pick the size and color palette that would work with the decor.  When she delivered them, I was blown away.  Isn't this fantastic in the space - before we even started furnishing it?

And once the furniture was in place, it set the mood for the whole room.  This painting really brightens up the space.
For the basement, she painted this large canvas called 'Morning Rocks'.  Doesn't it pull together all the colors and textures in the room?  I LOVE it!  
Want to see more of Holly's amazing paintings?  If you're local, visit Portland Art Gallery on Middle St in Old Port.  Or, you can check out her website.  

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Willard Beach Gem: Open House Sunday, October 15th 11-3 pm: 366 Sawyer St

Does this look like we're ready for an open house???  We are frantically finishing up the details (today we had carpenters, electricians, plumbers and movers - trying not to trip over one another). But it will be completed in time for Sunday's Open House.

We hope you'll come and see the dramatic living space with a cathedral ceiling, new kitchen and big new windows that let the sunshine pour in.

Enjoy single floor living with two bedrooms and a brand new full bath on the first floor.

The finished basement has a large living space and a legal 3rd bedroom can easily be separated if needed.  Tired of doing laundry in a dark, dingy basement?  This one is bright with lots of storage.

A convenient half bath is located here as well.

What else is new?  The roof, skylights, boiler, driveway, walkway and more!

And there is a lot of outdoor living space, including a large deck.  Even better, the house sits on .43 acres of land, so there's room for lots of expansion.  So do you want a garage?  There's plenty of room to add one!

It's hard to beat the location - you can walk to both the original Scratch Baking Co and the brand new Toast Bar.  Plus area beaches, restaurants and shops.
Want to see if there's a cruise ship in port?  Just walk out the front door and look down the street!  

Want to see more sneak peeks?  I'll be posting them on Instagram and Facebook as we get the rooms completed.  Offered at $340,000.

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Three Key Words That Stop me in my Tracks - Antique - Marble - Free

While the decision to add a half bath in the basement was a bit of an afterthought.....the design for it is anything but!!!  It might be small, but I want it to be truly special.

How did this come to be?  Well it all started with a phone call in January.  My wonderful plumber was tearing an antique sink out of an old building.  The owner didn't want it.  Was I interested?  He didn't give me a lot of details, but a few things got my attention.  Antique. Marble. Free.  Ha - of course!!  

It's a good size, with a fantastic round, antique bowl.  The faucets are original brass, with the stopper in the middle. The decorative brackets that hold it up are original and give it a beautiful sense of style.   It went into the storage facility on the waitlist to get used.  And now's the time.  It will take some work to pretty it up, but it's worth it.

And this bathroom is the perfect place!!!  

So here's the design:

1) Amazing antique sink.... that takes a LOT of work to fix up

.  I've spent hours doing online searches on stain removal and weeks applying different poultices to remove them (each one has to remain for 24 -48 hours, so it's a long process to see if it works).  The basement looked like a junior chemistry lab.  My husband periodically opened the basement door and yelled 'don't blow the place up!' (I did discover if you mix rust remover and baking soda, it creates a volcano like reaction.  Yikes!).  It's still not perfect, but heck, it's an antique!  And once I polish up the antique faucets, they will be beautiful!

Lots and lots of chemical mixtures to draw the stains from the antique marble!

Once that was done, I had to strip the old painted brackets and give them a new coat of paint, to highlight the beautiful pattern on them.

2)  I LOVE wallpaper.  When we lived in Amsterdam, I went to all the home decor stores.  I saw this fantastic toothbrush wallpaper in one of them - and finally have a bathroom it will work in.  It's from a Dutch designer, Daniel Rozensztroch, with a pattern called Obsession (which pretty much says how much I like it).  It's crazy expensive, but I ordered it anyway and had it shipped to the US.

3) Lighting - We're using Restoration Hardware sconces on either side of the medicine chest.  That will wash the sink wall with light, but since this room has no windows, we also added a recessed LED fixture in the middle of the room.

4)  Medicine Cabinet - from Pottery Barn, this will provide some storage and lends some old fashioned charm.
With this wallpaper, your kids will never forget to brush their teeth!!

This is the first room we've finished and I couldn't be happier.  Isn't it a great half bath?

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

T-Minus 10 Days to Finish!!!

There's a whirlwind of activity going on around here.  The kitchen is in, countertops installed and I'm in the process of tiling the backsplash.

I finished the bathroom tile last week (love this marble interlocking pattern!!) and trim is getting installed this week.

Justin started framing up the new built-in china cabinet today.  Don't you love the antique leaded glass door I found for it?  And it will be lighted inside, with glass shelves.

But it's not just the inside that's getting a lot of work.  Thanks to some nice weather, I was able to stain the deck (which was in nice shape, so we simply changed out the top rail and lattice skirt with new wood).

The landscaping went in over the weekend.

And we now have a brand new driveway (the old one was a disaster) and will soon have an interlocking paver walkway to the front door.

My husband Richard usually prefers to paperwork end of SoPo Cottage, but he's happy to lend a hand to get it done!

Why the rush?  Well, our daughter is expecting a baby on October 20th and when the big day happens (my theory is first babies are usually late), we'll drop everything to go have fun being grandparents!

Is there more to do?  Oh yeah, it's crazy around here.  And this is an all success schedule to get us across the finish line.  But I've got my fingers and toes crossed - hopefully we will make it!

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