Monday, March 30, 2020

Making a Home feel..... Homier (is that a word??)

Now that we're sheltering-in-place, it's given me a whole new appreciation for house vs home.  A house is a place to sleep at night, but a home is where our life happens.  It's the place we come to, at the end of a stressful day, that gives us a warm respite from what's happening outside our walls.  It's the place that reflects our personality and lets us display and enjoy our favorite things.  And it's the place where we mark major life changes - marriages, babies and more (and with two newborns in the family, we have a lot of changes going on!). And let's face it, right now we want a home that feels cozy and welcoming.

What I find helps make a house a home are the little touches that reflect who we are and what we love.  Maybe that's why I pay so much attention to those elements when I stage a house.  Because that's what people seem to notice the most - not the same IKEA Ektorp sofa that I have used in every single house!!

That's why I'm so grateful to the two artists that loaned me their work for staging this house.  I was looking for bright, contemporary works that reflects the mood and style of the home.

Laurie Fisher

Are you familiar with Laurie Fisher's work?  You might be if you've visited a Serena and Lily store, like this one in Summit, NJ.

I love her bold use of color and striking geometric shapes.  This oil on canvas work called Evergreen  provides a fantastic pop of color in the living room.
Evergreen by Laurie Fisher

As well as this geometric Grid, in Winter Palette, next to the stairwell.

She also loaned me this dramatic pink and orange painting for the master bedroom.  It makes the room so bright and vibrant!
Pink Orange Pink - Laurie Fisher
And don't you love this pop of pink on the dark blue feature wall?   I love them all!

Valerie Paul

If you've visited the Portland West Elm store, you may have gotten a glimpse of Valerie Paul's work.  Clearly her specialty is lobsters and this giant acrylic painting in the kitchen is really a 'wow' piece!

Lobster - Valerie Paul
And this giant oyster painting adds so much color and life to the 3rd floor bonus room.

Oh, and don't you love the pouf and sheepskin?  My friends and fellow NL expats from Haarlem House loaned me some fantastic decorative pieces!  The warmth and texture of these pieces make the room feel so cozy.

Valerie also has a whole line of fantastic prints. I used a few of them throughout the house and just love them.

I can't decide which I like best - the harbor seal or the whales. But at $35 they're an affordable luxury that really add some color and whimsy to a room.

So how do you make your home feel cozy and welcoming?  
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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Cottage Kitchen - Before and After

We share a lot of before and after photos, but this kitchen changed pretty dramatically!  So I wanted to share all the photos.

Original Kitchen  (now a home office) was on the opposite side of the house
You see, it started as 3 spaces - the living room, foyer and staircase.  (The original kitchen was on the opposite corner and it was pretty small)  Our goal was to make this kitchen the true heart of the home.  And so it needed to be moved to the bigger space with better flow to the rest of the house.

So we tore out some walls (nothing new about that!),

connected it to a new addition and added a new double window.
Soon to be New Kitchen (originally the living room) - double window in dining room is only feature that didn't change
The result?  Well I'm pretty thrilled with it!  Can you believe it's the same space?  Look at the double window in the dining room - it stayed the same, but everything else has changed!

The cabinets around the perimeter are white, with quartz countertops.  And the tile?  It's bold!  I wanted something to tie everything together and this did it beautifully.
Before - view from dining room to new kitchen.  Walls were removed and the addition was built on the other side of the double window
After - open to the staircase and living room 
The island is black, with a walnut butcher block top.  It includes some great storage space and a drawer microwave.

And one of my favorite features is the pantry.  This started life as the staircase in the original house, but we kept the staircase and extended the shelves to create some amazing storage.  Isn't it cool?
This was the staircase - see the diagonal line on the left?  We extended the steps to shelves
Finally, I have to mention the lobster painting.  Local artist Valerie Paul loaned me this original painting and I love the dramatic focal point it creates!  You may have seen her work featured at our local West Elm store.  It's fantastic!
So that's the kitchen!  There is a lot more to share, so stay tuned!  

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Just Listed - 24B Myrtle Ave, SoPo

Fishing shacks at Willard Beach
NOTE:  Many people are having problems with the Blogger platform and it won't load the photos.  Here's a link to the MLS listing so you can see the photos.

At long last, we're finishing the last few punch list items on the Centennial Cottage and are putting it on the market.  It's a fantastic house with an amazing location - just steps from Willard Beach, adjoining open space with beautiful views.

Built in 1918, this little gambrel started with 2 bedrooms, 800 square feet and a staircase that didn't work well for tall people or large furniture.

We've changed all that - the house is now almost 2,400 square feet, with all the modern amenities you could want.

The first floor boasts an open floor plan with a large living room and a gas fireplace.

A dramatic open staircase winds from the entrance all the way to the third floor (note: the custom made railings just got delivered today, so tomorrow is installation day!).

The new kitchen is bright and light with all new cabinetry, Thermador appliances and quartz countertops.

And the original, dysfunctional staircase is now a pantry with lots of storage.
The first floor also has an office, providing a quiet spot to get away from the rest of the household.  It also has a convenient full bath - great when you come back from the beach!

What's on the second floor?  At the top of the stairs is the laundry closet.  And just beyond that is the new master suite.

This large room has room for a queen or king size bed.

The master bath has a large shower and double vanity.

The other two bedrooms are part of the original 1918 structure - don't you love the quirky angles and original fir flooring?

But my favorite spot is still the 3rd floor.  It has bonus space for an office or just relaxing.

And with a rooftop deck, you can sit outside with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  The deck gets great morning sun and is protected from the wind, so it's the perfect spot on sunny days most of the year!

I'll have a lot more photos to share soon, with all the before and afters.  But for now, we need to finish the staircase and find a buyer!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Getting Across the Finish Line

The last few weeks of any project feel like a treadmill that just keeps running faster and faster.  It's a world of punch lists and details and problems (because unfortunately, things don't always go as planned!), but somehow we sail through it all and eventually get to the finish line.

We're on site 7 days a week with all the trades finishing their last set of tasks.  I think we broke a record the other day with 11 people onsite at one time.  Crazy!!!

The painters came in and worked their magic.  All of the trim work has been sprayed, resulting in a mirror like finish.

I debated long and hard about doing a 'feature wall' in the master bedroom and am in LOVE with the result.  Seriously, I can't wait to get this room put together!

From a completion standpoint, our biggest worry has been the exterior.  It's been a mild winter, but we have still had a lot of storms with snow/ice/rain that have made it hard to get the siding completed.  The recent spate of warmth and thawing gave the guys a chance to get a lot done!

Board and batten siding under the front porch provides a bit of variation from a sea of clapboards 

Now that the siding is done on the back, the heat pumps are getting installed.  This is my first experience with heat pumps and I'm amazed at how much equipment is required!

And the lighting went in last week.  I have some pretty bold statement fixtures in this house!

While the guys finish up the exterior, the staging furniture has been delivered and I'm starting to put the rooms together.  I love unpacking the boxes and rediscovering my 'treasures' that are part of my staging collection.

Many of you have asked when the Open House will be.  If everything goes perfectly this week, it's possible we could do it Sunday.  But we rarely have things go smoothly - especially at the end.  So stay tuned, I'll be sure and let you know!

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