Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Farmhouse: Kitchen Before & After

One of the rooms that saw the most dramatic change - the kitchen.  I'm not sure when it was last updated, but with wallpaper, formica counters and paneled walls, I'm guessing sometime in the 70's.  And everything still worked well!  It was just dated - look at that wallpaper!  And the suspended ceiling!

So.....we set out to make some changes.  There were three things we focused on.  

First - utilize all the space.  That meant we needed to open up the little wall that separated the spaces within the room.  And while the wall was only 3 feet deep, it carried a major structural load.  So we installed a steel beam, to carry the load from above.

Since we were installing all new electrical and plumbing, we gutted the walls to make that easier - and allow us to add updated insulation.
Yup - it's a gut job!
Second - open up the kitchen to the rest of the living area.  We tore out the walls that created the corner around the refrigerator and door to dining room.  That made a world of difference to create sight lines from the front to the back of the house.
I love that you can see all the way from the front door to the back door!!!  What a change! 

Third - create a connection with the fantastic backyard.  We installed french doors to a big new mahogany deck.  This creates a huge new living space, seamlessly connecting the indoors and outdoors.
Back wall of kitchen - just one window to enjoy the backyard view!
And the deck is the perfect place to hang out on a beautiful day!

In the kitchen, we utilized reclaimed wood that came from this 1925 house.  The 'X' accents on the island are studs from the walls we removed.  

The back of the mud bench and the stove hood - are old barn board sheathing that was on the front porch.

And the open shelving is made from wall studs that we removed.
Oh - and what do you think of the antique iron fireback, that I incorporated into the backsplash??? 

And the result of all that hard work?  Well I'll let you decide.  What do you think?  Is this a kitchen you'd want to spend time in?

Cabinetry - Thomasville Cabot Dover
Pottery Bowls and Polka Dot Utensil Holder - LuLu Ceramics
Pendant over Island - Ariel by Wayfair
Canisters - Pottery Barn
Open Shelf Hardware - Etsy Designs2Create
Handmade Spanish Subway Tile - APE Dynamic Neutro from Paul G White

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Farmhouse: Master Suite Before and After

As promised, here are some before and after photos to illustrate how many changes we made to this house.  I'm starting with the Master Suite, because it saw some major updates.  It was originally the living room!
This room was an addition,  possibly done in the 80's and it's a nice, solidly built space.  But it was off to the side and certainly didn't fit an 'open concept' kind of lifestyle.  It had a wood stove, which I initially wanted to turn into a wood burning fireplace, but after meeting with a couple of different masons, they dissuaded me.  Building codes have changed and the masonry was far too close to the side wall - resulting in a fire danger.  So sadly, we had to remove it.

It also had a drop ceiling - one of my pet peeves.  So our first change was to raise it.  This was a big change, requiring a 'structural ridge beam' to carry the load of the roof and rafters.  We also added hurricane ties to ensure the roof won't move in a major storm.  And to keep it toasty warm in winter and cool in the summer, we installed rigid foam insulation.
New Structural Ridge Beam to create a Cathedral Ceiling

And the result?  Well it was pretty amazing.  While the footprint of the room didn't change, it suddenly felt so much larger.
Master Bedroom 'Before'

Master Bedroom 'After' 
We wrapped the new structural ridge beam with reclaimed lumber and added a large light fixture.  And we wanted the room to reflect the traditional farmhouse style of the rest of the house.  So we tore out the ranch style molding from the windows and doors and replicated the simple flat millwork that helps make this house so charming.
With windows on 3 sides, this room is flooded with sunlight all day long
One of our carpenters is also a metal worker and he made this custom headboard for me.  It has black iron and reclaimed chestnut boards, which are just gorgeous.  Don't you LOVE it?
Custom iron & reclaimed chestnut headboard
Master Bedroom - Before

But of course a master suite needs closet space, so we had to add that as well.  We installed a wall of wardrobes, which provide lots of built in storage.  At the Open House, it was fun to hear how surprised everyone was when they opened the doors and saw the lighted built ins!  Now that's a closet!!  

Wall of wardrobes
The next area we focused on was the master bath.  We didn't have a huge amount of space for the bath, but wanted to use really beautiful finishes to make it special.  So we installed a stunning Restoration Hardware console sink, to provide a classic touch.  Above it is this fantastic fog free mirror, which also has a built in dimmer, - so you can get the perfect amount of light for shaving or makeup application.  The tile is pretty special as well - it's a ceramic that mimics carrara marble and reclaimed wood (it was a bear to install, but I persevered!!).

The shower has a built in seating area (great for shaving your legs!) and a hexagonal tile accent that plays on the design in the floor.  Couple that with the shower head and spray and you have a pretty amazing shower experience.

The result?  Well in a neighborhood where master suites are rare - we think this one is pretty sweet!


Chandelier - Savoy House
Bed - Custom Made for SoPo Cottage
Wicker Chairs - Pottery Barn
Shower Base - Maax
Shower Fixtures - Restoration Hardware and Toto
Floor Tile - Interceramic from Paul G White
Toilet - Toto
Reclaimed Lumber - Rousseau's Reclaimed 

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Open House Sunday September 16th - The Farmhouse

It's done, it's done, it's done!!  This was a big project that took 5 1/2 months, but at long last it's completed.  And I'm so thrilled with the result (but a bit exhausted as well!).  We listed it on the MLS today, so it is officially for sale.
52 Hillside Avenue, South Portland

And it's quite a house!  This 1925 gem has great curb appeal with rows of windows and a brand new red front door.

It's on a large, double lot that includes a big 2 car garage.  The cupola with the whale weathervane adds to the farmhouse charm.

There is a courtyard leading from the garage to the back entrance.

And the backyard is really wonderful, with lots of privacy thanks to large trees and shrubs.  And there are so many flowering trees (lilacs, hydrangeas, weigela, & more), providing beautiful flowers all spring and summer.

The brand new mahogany deck provides lots of outdoor living space.

And inside, you have one floor living at its best.  The large, open floor plan has a living room with a new gas fireplace.

Working from home?  No problem, thanks to this cozy office with its antique arched doors.

The dining room has lots of space for family dinners and special holidays.

And the kitchen has all new cabinetry, quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances.  The island is over 7 feet long with lots of space for cooking prep and casual meals.  It also provides additional storage and holds the microwave oven.

Checkout the new french doors that open out to the backyard deck.

The first floor master suite has a cathedral ceiling and lots of windows for cool breezes all summer long.

A wall of wardrobes provides lots of storage space.

Isn't the master bath lovely?

Upstairs, there are 3 more bedrooms.

And a brand new hall bath with double sink.

And while the house has lovely new finishes, the important behind the scenes work has been done as well.  There is a brand new, high efficiency (95.5%) gas heating system, with 3 zones to provide flexibility for the homeowners.

The majority of the electrical has been completely replaced (our electrician estimates 75-80%) and there is all new plumbing for the bathrooms and laundry. The insulation has been upgraded, to keep the house more energy efficient.

I'm so proud of the result, this really embodies our hallmarks - quality, craftsmanship and love.  This is a lovely, updated home with modern finishes and lots of antique charm!

I'll get lots of 'before & after' photos posted soon - but first I need to get a nap!
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