Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Vintage Colonial: Before Photos

Well, we've owned the house for 5 days now, have done some major clean up, had a leaky pipe in the basement (less than 24 hours after we bought the place) and held a fun 'Before' Open House over the weekend (thanks so much to everyone that came!!  So great to see you!).   And after that whirlwind of activity, I was able to capture some 'before' photos, to let everyone who couldn't attend the Open House see what we've bought.

On the exterior, the house has some lovely curb appeal - kind of a classic, don't you think?
Photo:  Hooked on Houses
It reminds me of the house in Father of the Bride, but on a smaller scale..

Photo:  I am not a stalker.com

And one of our readers thought it looked like the house from Eight is Enough (this is a quiz to see if you're old enough to remember that show!!!)

Inside the front door, we have a tight foyer.  Like most center hall colonials, you can access both the living room

and dining room from this point.

See the sun streaming in through the big bay windows?  It makes the whole dining room nice and cheerful.

And the original corner cabinet adds a nice touch to the space.

The kitchen appears to be original.

It's tight - only 8.5 feet side - so a  galley style.

And lots of doors - one that goes directly into the attached garage (a really nice feature for a Maine winter!), another to the basement, one to the backyard (which doesn't seem to have been used in years, judging by the bookcase in front of it) and the door to the dining room.

The living room is a large, gracious room.  It also has a big bay window across the front, bringing lots of sunlight into the room.

There's a stone fireplace that is a real statement piece.  It has a wood burning insert, but whether it's still in working order is a mystery until my chimney expert comes to take a look.

A feature I love about this house is the office, off of the living room.  This one room has 6 windows, so it should always be nice and bright.  It's perfect for a home office - a nice spot to get away from the rest of the household.

6 windows in one room!!!  How cool is that???
The back of the house has a screened in porch.  It doesn't look too appealing with snow in there, but once the weather warms up we'll do some updates and it should be a really fabulous space.  (I've been shopping for outdoor ceiling fans and there are some amazing options out there!!)

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and one bath.  (And a quick word about hallways.  I always like to minimize hallways in a small home - they take precious square footage away from living areas.  This house has mastered that - the hallways are just big enough to get from room to room - without any wasted space.  They're perfect!)
Upstairs Hall - Before
The master bedroom is really generous and with lots of windows for summer breezes.  See what a bright, inviting room it is?

The front bedroom is also large.

And it includes a small space (which I guess was supposed to be a closet, since it looks like there used to be hooks on the wall) with a window and a door to the attic stairway.  I keep wondering if we should open it up to the rest of the room???  Of course the room already has 3 windows, but a little extra light is always nice.

The back bedroom is a bit smaller - but is really charming with the curved ceiling,

The bathroom is tight, but functional.  As you can imagine, I'd like to make a few changes :-)  One that I won't change is that bathtub......it's got so much more style than a modern tub and if we get it restored, it will be a thing of beauty.

And last, but not least - at least from a budget perspective - is the basement.  
I love the copper hot water tank!!!  Need to come up with a plan to repurpose it!
All that white wrapping you see around the heating pipes?  That's asbestos.  All those  9" square tiles on the floor?  You guessed it, asbestos.  And the 1952 boiler?  Full of asbestos insulation.  So a big budget item is to have that properly removed.

And it comes with a basement 'throne' - a basement toilet that's surely original.  I know it's odd, but I love old toilets and we're going to do our best to get this one in working order again.  

But it's kind of cool to have a basement fireplace.  And while we won't make this a fancy space, the previous owner said it's always been a dry basement.  So it could be some additional living space - perhaps a playroom for the kids or a craft space?

So that's the tour!!  It's a nice, solid house that with some updates can be pretty fabulous.  What do you think??  

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Up Next: The Vintage Colonial

So it's time to start a new project and I'm pretty jazzed about this one.  It just hit the market a couple of weeks ago, so we were excited to snatch it up and get going quickly.  It's a 1938 colonial - about as classic as you can get.

What do I love about this house? 

Original doorknob
It's almost all original  Lots of times we buy houses that have been 'remuddled' (The Old House Journal defines remuddled as 'misguided remodeling,  an alteration that is insensitive to the architecture or the character of the house) and we end up tearing out 1960's paneling, popcorn ceilings, shag carpet and the like, from houses that are far too historic for that trend.  This house stays true to it's 1930's original -with classic molding, built ins and doorknobs that really give it character!

Sunlight  The front of the house faces south and the sun (even in the winter when it sets at 4:04 pm) comes streaming in, drenching the rooms in its glow.  That's something you can't change and as far as I'm concerned, when you live this far north, you can't get enough sunlight!

Quiet street.  The house is on a quiet tree lined street - kind of like a classic movie set (It's a Wonderful Life comes to mind or a Christmas Story, but maybe because it's December!!).  And since it's a dead end,  there won't be traffic noise.  It's a great place for a kid to ride a bike or play street hockey! And it's still a short walk to all the Willard neighborhood has to offer - restaurants, bakeries, shops and of course Willard Beach!

Screened In Porch  This is something we don't see very often, but there is a big porch on the back of the house.  I'm already thinking about a few updates, including a nice ceiling fan and some lighting.  It's the perfect place to sit on a summer evening with a cocktail in hand!  And not worry about a single mosquito or black fly.

Office  There's this fantastic room off of the living room, with big windows on 3 sides that is perfect for a home office.  I already have a vision for how it will look when we get it done!

What I don't love about this house?

Asbestos  Oh yeah, we've got a LOT of it.  All the pipes in the basement are wrapped with it.  The 1950's boiler is full of it.  And the floor tiles that are throughout the basement are made with asbestos as well.  So that's a big budget item to have properly removed.

No Open Floor Plan  Like many center hall colonials, the rooms are very segmented.  We will change that a lot, by removing a few walls and creating a nice circular flow.....but it will haver have a full open floor plan that a lot of buyers want.

Awkward Kitchen  The kitchen is going to take some thought.  It's a galley kitchen - only 8 1/2 feet wide (but 16 feet long!) and thanks to lots of doors and windows, there really isn't enough room for basic appliances, without some rejiggering.  I'm still noodling that one over!

Lack of Headroom in the attic  I know that sounds odd, but there's a full staircase that goes up to the attic.  It would be so much nicer if it had enough headroom to finish it!  But at least it provides easy access for storage.

Electrical - Hmmm.....it's your typical old house setup with 2 prong outlets, sparsely located on a few walls.  We're not sure if there's any knob and tube yet - but we're suspicious anytime we see pull chains.  And there are very few overhead lights (which is a shame, I had hoped to find some cool original lighting)  We'll need to do some updating!

One bathroom  Yeah, we'll need to change that.  The good news is the current bathroom can be converted to be part of the Master Suite.  So we just need to figure out where to add another bath.

Want to check it out in its 'Before' condition?  If you're local, please swing by 77 Goudy Street on Sunday, December 17th between 11 and 1.  I know it's a crazy busy time of year, but we'd love to see you!  And if you could bring a donation to the South Portland Food Cupboard, we would appreciate it!

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Pink Nursery for a Special Baby

Okay, so when lots of women get the news they're going to be a grandmother, they pull out the knitting needles and get to work.  But I don't know how to knit and this probably isn't the time to start (Just thinking about it..... I get a visual of a misshapen sweater with lots of mistakes).

So maybe I can't do the traditional thing, but I can decorate a nursery -and my daughter Katie and her husband readily accepted my help.  Their vision?  A blush pink nursery with a modern flair.  And they wanted to put a sofa bed in there, so it can double as a guest room for their 2 bedroom apartment (more about that later).

Their apartment building allows them to paint the walls, as long as they can be changed back when they move out.  So we decided a blush pink feature wall would really give the room some pizazz.  And not just a plain pink wall, but a stenciled wall that would have a bit more style.

I have a LOT of experience stenciling.  Back in the 80's, when stenciling was popular, I stenciled pretty much anything that didn't move - except for the walls I wallpapered.  I did a lot of that too (and yeah, I've paid my dues stripping it over the years!).

Stencils patterns have changed a bit in the last few decades.  Gone are the borders that we plastered everywhere.  Now they are much more sophisticated.  Katie picked out the all over Rockin' Rosie Damask pattern.  I've never done an entire wall before, but was up for the challenge.

And it was surprisingly easy.  You simply position the stencil starting on one side of the room and match up the next square on the match lines.  I used a foam roller to apply standard latex paint (helpful tip - use an almost dry roller to prevent paint from seeping under stencil).  And they made the corners easier, with a ceiling strip, to keep it nice and neat.  All told, I did the wall in less than 4 hours.

Some quick retouch fill in any gaps in the stencil pattern
The finished product really does create a nice feature wall!  

With that done, it was time to start planning the rest of the room.  For the crib and changing table, they loved this mid-century style crib and changing table/dresser.  Don't the cross bars at the bottom of each piece give it some great style?  

Guest room to nursery transformation - Before

Guest Room to Nursery Transformation - After

West wall - Before (typical apartment catch all room!)
West Wall - After
Since the room doesn't have any overhead lighting, it was important to find a floor lamp that was nice and bright - and stayed with the mid century styling.

High on the priority list was a glider, but instead of the usual footstool, we used this fluffy one.  So soft and cozy!!!

And we found lots of cute storage containers for important things like toys & swaddles.  

And we got it all done just in time for the arrival our newest addition to the family!  Oh, and are you curious about the nursery/guest room plan?  Well let's just say it's a nice place to catch a few winks - but we're sleeping in the living room when we visit!!! 
Crib & Dresser - Dwell Studio Mid Century 
Floor Lamp - Land of Nod
Polka Dot Rug - Pottery Barn Kids
Pink Curtains - Restoration Hardware Baby & Child
Animal Mobile - Fiona Walker 
Bookcase - IKEA
Ottoman - West Elm
Pink Wall 'Houses' - Target
Elephant Storage - Homegoods
Canvas & Pom Pom storage - Pehr Designs
Wall Stencil - Royal Design Studio

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