Monday, April 27, 2020

Which House Would You Want to Be Quarantined In?

Okay, so I want to have a bit of fun as we wait for the Shelter-in-Place orders to change.  A big joke amongst Real Estate professionals is "can you imagine yourself being quarantined in this house?"  Because let's face it, when have we ever been home so much???

And that got me to thinking. I've done many projects over the last 9 years and there have been lots of different styles.  And different architectural styles appeal to different people.  So which house would you want to be quarantined in?  This will also help me as I plan for our new project!!

So here are 5 different projects.  Which do you like best?

1)  Charming Cottage -  This was our second project and still one of my favorites.  It's a small home, but packed with lots of charm.  It also had some surprises - like a grow room for marijuana behind a sheet rock wall!!  Click here to see all the before and after photos.

Farewell Knotty Pine Paneling - Hello bright which dining room!
I used old nautical charts as wallpaper and a unique oval marble floor in the powder room

2) Craftsman Bungalow -  We lived in a 1918 Arts and Crafts home when our kids were growing up and it's still one of my favorite architectural styles.  The simple lines and classic style makes me swoon!!

This cute little porch 3 season welcomes you as you step in the front door
This little bungalow had a pretty nondescript start - but once we added some Craftsman details, it was amazing!  Click here to see all the rest of the updates.
Tear down those walls and add architectural details like the colonnade and staircase!
Tear out the wall and the ceiling!!!
3) Cozy Ranch - At 750 square feet, this little house packs a lot of punch.  A house doesn't need to be big to be charming.
The additional ceiling volume makes the whole house seem huge!
Master Bedroom
Basement Playroom

This house saw a huge change in curb appeal
But it did need a huge amount of updating!!  Want to see all the Before & After photos?  Just click here.  

4) Classic Colonial - This house had the grace and charm of years gone by.  It's a classic center hall colonial, but we added some new details.  It's a bit more sophisticated than some of the simpler cottages we have done, with lots of traditional elements.

Kitchen with island and built in banquette

To see more -   Click this link

5) Mid Mod Marvel - And for something completely different, here's a bit of mid-century style for hanging out!

Mid century homes were the first to introduce a large central kitchen where the family could gather
A gas fireplace and a wall of windows......a nice place to spend a pandemic! 
Here are all the before and after photos - click here.

That's a variety of different architectural styles.  Is there one that appeals to you the most?  What is your choice?  Is there a home that you think is 'quarantine worthy'???  I can't wait to hear your responses! J

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Essential Home Office

Wow, now that so many people are working from home, I'm curious what the 'must have' list is for a home office.

I read last year that the number of people working from home was 43%, so I had already started to incorporate home offices whenever I could.  With COVID-19, that number has clearly skyrocketed and a home office seems more important than ever.  But I realize that many people don't have room for a separate office - so the dining room table may be put into service.  Or maybe a card table in the basement.
Before - this was the kitchen, connected to the front hallway
New office - hallway closed off and door added to connect to dining room
But what would you want in your home office?  In the Centennial Cottage, we turned the old kitchen into a home office.  It's an unusual move, but it made sense with the new addition that was put on the other side of the house.

And right from the start, I tried to incorporate my usual list of 'must haves'.  Room for a desk and comfortable chair,
This isn't an ergonomic chair - but it's pretty!!!
CAT 5 and cable connection for internet, windows for natural light (one faces south and 2 face west, so it's a nice bright room!) and ventilation, and room for books and keepsakes.  Oh and we also insulated the walls between the office and the rest of the house and added a nice solid door.  It still may not drown out the sound of a barking dog, but it will help when you're doing a videoconference!
I did a wall of bulletin boards in this room ($1.95 each on clearance at IKEA!).  I love a bulletin board and use them all the time.  It's great to pin up inspiration photos and key items I need to remember!

This room had the added bonus of an adjoining bathroom.  The old bathroom was pretty tired and had almost no insulation in the walls, but we gutted it back to the studs and after adding lots of insulation and new lighting, we updated every surface and added a nicer window.  A bit of a change, don't you think?
Bathroom Before
Bathroom after
I love the hexagonal glass tile - it has a watery blue shimmer that is so pretty in the shower.  And the marble floor is a wow!

And we were able to squeeze the tiniest vanity I'd ever seen in there!  It doesn't provide a lot of storage, but in a small bathroom, any storage is helpful!

Okay, so what's on your 'must have' list???  I'm starting the design for the new house and am updating my list!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Post Pandemic Home Design

So, I need you to help settle a question in our household.  Like all of you, we've been sheltered in place and spending a LOT of time at home.  So we've had time to think about home:  what makes us happy and what we would want to change, when shelter in place is over.

And it's gotten me to wondering if we will want different things once the pandemic is behind us.  Do we want to go back to classic design?  Or something new and minimalist?

I've already started design work on our next project (location is still a secret!), but as I think about this, I'm torn on the design approach.  It's become a topic with our kids as well and everyone has opinions!

Approach 1 - My thinking is after this pandemic, people will really want something warm and cozy.  A home that surrounds them with comfort and glad to be home.  I've been madly clipping ideas here:

I love the idea of soft prints, a few antiques and a bit of 'more is more'.
Photo:  Bria Hammel Interiors
Approach 2 - Our kids (aka GenX/Millenials) think people will want clean, crisp design.  Something where germs can't hide.  (To be honest, it keeps making me think of the Kohler ads from the early 1900's about the 'Sanitary Bathroom' - click here).  And I do love this style, but wonder if I'm ready for it right now.

So what are your thoughts?  Comfy and Cozy?  Or Clean and Crisp?  I'd love to hear lots of opinions as I work through this design!  And if you're willing to share what generation you fall into - Baby Boomer, Gen-X, or Millenial - that would be helpful too!

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Kids Room Before and After: Cars, Trucks and Things that Go!!

I had a bit of fun creating a little boy's room at the Cottage.  This was one of the original bedrooms, so it has lots of quirky angles, nooks and crannies and doors!

The 'before' room was pretty odd.  It had two windows, but one of them was in a low dormer and hardly offered any light or ventilation (not to mention you had to get on your hands and knees to see out the window!).  It also had a big closet - but so big that it severely limited furniture placement in the rest of the room.

And last, but not least, you had to walk through the bathroom to get into the bedroom.  Let's face it, that's never a good design feature!!

So we set out to change all that.  We moved the closet to the other side of the room and created a nickel-gap wainscot under the angled wall.  That gave us a nice little detail and a ledge for cars and trucks!!

We completely reconfigured the doorways so that the bathroom and bedroom each have their own entrance.  Brilliant, don't you think!!! :-)
 And probably the biggest change was with the dormer.  By building code, we needed to create an 'egress' window - ie. a window big enough for a fire fighter to come through with a full pack.  That meant the dormer needed to be raised so we could install a large casement window.  So now you don't need to get on your hands and knees to look out of that window!

The taller dormer was required for fire safety code - and gives the room a whole different feel
And what a difference it made!  With the closet moved and the bigger window, the room is transformed.  And the view is pretty darned nice as well!

Don't you love this room with all its quirky charm?

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