Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Storybook Cottage: Before & After

When I renovate a house, I love to find one that has lots of vintage charm intact.  That was certainly true of this project, the same owner had lived in the house since 1955, with very few updates.  But talk about potential, wow!!  It was just oozing with potential!

The exterior had so much curb appeal!  The combination of cedar shingles with clapboards, in a 2 tone color combination was a winner.  As well as the charming 3 board shutters.

But the exterior was in pretty bad shape, so we got to work, replacing the shingles with new white cedar (grown and milled right in Maine!).  
The shutters were pretty rough, so we made new replacements and then gave the house a 'lead safe' paint job.
The result was charming!  The curb appeal was enhanced and it suddenly became a house that everyone noticed, instead of just a 'drive-by'.

And of course we made lots of changes on the interior as well.  The original 3 season porch was the true entrance to the house.  We made it year round space

and created a hard working mudroom to provide space for all the coats and boots that come with a Maine winter.
We divided the porch into a mudroom and a home office

Hooks, baskets and a mud bench provide style and function
We turned the other end of the porch into a home office.  As more and more people work from home, I find that a home office is a valued feature - and this one has a lot of style!

The biggest changes to the house were in the family living spaces.  This started as 4 small rooms - with LOTS and LOTS of wallpaper (a total of 13 different patterns in the house).

4 rooms - hallway entrance, dining room, living room and kitchen
  
Once the walls were removed, it suddenly seemed so light and bright!  

We made this a true open floor plan with the kitchen open to the living and dining spaces.  

And while dark blue cabinets would be a challenge in some houses, with the new south facing windows, this space is so bright they look fantastic!
Original Kitchen


We built a custom banquette (with lots of storage beneath those cushions!) to provide lots of seating in the dining room.
Dining Room - Before
The back window became the new doorway to the mudroom
And once the old entrance was incorporated into the living room, it's a huge room with space for the whole family.



We also incorporated some other special projects - like this corner hutch that I found at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $30! Doesn't it look like it was always there?

And after many, many hours of work, the newell post and banister are pretty gorgeous.

The first floor originally had a cramped bedroom and bathroom - not to mention the refrigerator that was in the hallway as you walked in!

Seriously, this was the smallest bathroom ever!  Now it's big and bright!

We changed all that by gutting the space and starting over.   We raised the ceiling with a new structural beam, which made the whole space feel much bigger and brighter.  

The new master bedroom isn't huge, but with 4 windows and a private bath, it's pretty special.

And then there was the 2nd floor.  We gave the original, vintage bathroom a facelift by refinishing the clawfoot tub and installing a new sink and toilet.  The marble black and white floor is pretty nice too!
Vintage Bathroom - Before
Vintage Bathroom - After
This cute Dalmatian fabric inspired the whole bathroom design!  Black, White and Gold - a classic!


The large bedroom got lots of behind the wall updates and now feels like a whole new room!
Next door were two TINY bedrooms.  We knocked out the wall between them and suddenly it's a nice big room with space for a bed, dresser and sitting area.  Plus, it's got 3 closets.  When was the last time you saw that in an old house?
Before - two small rooms
After - one large room!

And while we said goodbye to most of the wallpaper, I kept this kitten paper in the closet :-) 


Oh, and let's not forget the basement!!  There was originally a finished room, but it was pretty dark and the paneled walls made it hard to get around the cramped hallway.  Now it's a pretty great bonus room!

And what about the systems?  You know, the stuff behind the walls!  Well, we completely updated the electrical (it had knob and tube wiring with a fuse box in the basement) system, put in a new high-efficiency gas heating system, brand new windows and upgraded the insulation.  Those aren't the things you see, but they make a huge difference on how the house functions.

And the result?  Well the new homeowners absolutely love it!

Want to see more?  Follow along on our next project with Instagram or Facebook!
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