Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Kitchen Sneak Peek

You know you're in the homestretch when the kitchen cabinets get installed!  This place is finally looking like a home instead of a construction site (well sort of, there's still a long list of things left to do!).

As a reminder, here was our starting point.  A dark room with no natural light, dark paneling and a nicotine encrusted light fixture.  We opened up walls, added a skylight and suddenly it started looking so much lighter and brighter!

Here is a sneak peek with our current progress.  Can you believe the difference?  These photos were taken from the same spot, it's just hard to tell.  See the (new) antique pantry door on the right?   That's the old doorway that came in from the garage.  With the walls gone and all the new windows, it seems like a different room entirely!

Don't you love the custom stained glass insert in the cabinet?  I visited Jim Nutting at Maine Art Glass in Lisbon, ME and once again, he worked his magic to create an amazing cabinet feature!

And what do you think of this change?  Amazing, don't you think?  The stove wall has a custom vent hood and will feature a beautiful marble mosaic backsplash. So different than a few months ago!

It's probably hard to tell, but the kitchen will have a giant island.  The back will be painted a deep slate blue to match the island cabinets and it will have lots of room for stools.  The perfect spot for the entire family to gather!  And pretty sweet for entertaining too!  The quartz countertops have been templated and will arrive in a couple of weeks. 

And did you notice the beams in the dining room and living room??  That cathedral ceiling is so big and blank, it needed something to ground it.  The solution?  A little romance!  These antique beams came from a church in New Brunswick.  

They have these very cool carvings on them and just look amazing!!  We made sure the carvings are still visible now that they have a new home.

This living space is just so warm and inviting - I'm absolutely thrilled with how it's all coming together!
Stay tuned - there's a lot more to come!  

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Foyer (aka Mudroom)

So if you don't live in Maine, you might not understand our obsession with mudrooms.  You see we only have a few seasons.
  • Winter (really, really long) with lots of boots, gloves, hats that need a place to be put away - not to mention ice melt grit that gets tracked into the house on your boots.  
  • Summer (really, really short - but fantastic!) which means flip flops and beach sand that gets tracked into the house.  
  • Mud season - which is that weird time between Winter and Summer when the top layer of the ground has melted, but the permafrost below it is still a solid hunk of ice and the mud seems endless.  
All of this means you need a hard working entrance that can handle the elements, but still look warm and inviting.  It's a tall order, but we're trying to do just that (keep in mind, this used to be the garage, so it's changed a lot!!!  Here's the starting point - concrete floor, unfinished walls and ceiling - as the guys opened up the wall into the main house).
The mudroom was originally the garage - day 1, when the guys opened it up to the main house

First step was to get it all closed in, with lots of insulation and nice new drywall.  Don't you love the tall ceilings?  What a dramatic entrance for what was once a basic ranch home!

Next thing we needed is a durable, easy to clean floor.  I can't tell you how obsessed I am with this tile.  It really looks like wood and terrazzo, but it's a heavy duty tile.  It also has a non-skid surface, so it's great on a cold night when you track snow in with your boots.

What else?  Storage, storage, storage.  Seriously, is it possible to have too much storage?  I came up with this design, inspired by a Pinterest post months ago.  It has a center row of baskets for masks (after all, we still have COVID to contend with), gloves and hats.  But it also has lots of space for boots and coats. 

A bit of romance (because after all, we're adding romance to this ranch) is accomplished with this antique newel post and balusters.   They took me weeks to strip the old paint and refinish - but totally worth it! 
Antique newel post - they don't make them like this anymore!!

Once the flooring was in place, Kyle and I started turning the design into a full scale plan.  I had ordered lots of baskets (to hide all the mismatched gloves and mittens!) and wanted to make sure the custom built shelving was sized correctly.  As we started drawing up the plan, he made a cardboard 3D mockup, so we could really get a sense of how it fit in the space (cardboard is a girl's best friend!!).  Not surprisingly, we ended up making a few tweaks.  But ultimately we found a plan that worked.
And now that he's gotten it all put together, well it looks pretty fabulous, don't you think?  
Almost finished mud bench

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Outdoor Living

When you have a nice private backyard like this one, it's so important to create an outdoor living space to enjoy it.  But it turned out to be a big job.  The original house had a deck and we thought it might just need some simple updates - but that was a pipe dream!!!  We discovered broken joists and a broken footing, so it ended up getting a major refresh.
Rear of house and deck - Before
And since we were doing such a major update, I wanted to do it right.  In keeping with the low maintenance approach for the exterior of the house, I wanted a decking material that wouldn't need a lot of work.  I had seen a composite decking material at a Hammond Lumber new product show last year and decided to look into it more.  There's nothing I like better than a good Made in Maine product and the decking is a perfect example!

Duralife is a composite decking system that's made in Biddeford, Maine.  I love that 90% of the decking is made from recycled materials and all of the raw materials come from within a 500 mile radius.  They were kind enough to send me a few photos of the manufacturing process.  This is the color we choose - called Slate - coming off of the extruder.  It's guaranteed not to stain, fade, mold or mildew for 25 years.  So that's about as maintenance free as you can get! (BTW - there is no kind of paid endorsement here, I just like that it's made locally!)
Getting ready for shipment
But before we could start installing the decking boards, the guys needed to rebuild the basic structure.  That's done with pressure treated lumber - which is in extraordinarily short supply during the COVID pandemic.  Maybe because everyone stayed home this summer, they built their own deck???  We ended up having to order different sizes than we originally planned - but were grateful we could get the lumber (oh and you've probably guessed, but the prices have skyrocketed!).

The decking went on pretty quickly.  The deck boards were 20' long and installed with hidden fasteners.  A pretty great look!

But to really finish a deck, you need to trim it out properly.  I just love this bright, white AZEK trim.  It requires zero maintenance and is such a great look!

Can you believe how much the back of the house has changed?

And while the rest of the house isn't finished, I just couldn't resist putting a few pieces of furniture out there to stage the deck.  Doesn't it look inviting?
The deck is so big, I don't have enough furniture to stage it!!!

I just love that wall of windows and doors!
Isn't this the perfect spot for an al fresco meal?

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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

En Suite Bedroom - Plan is Becoming Reality!

The en suite bedroom. Doesn’t it sound fancy when I say that? 😀 but when you have a 2 bedroom house that’s suddenly getting a new bedroom with a full bath, well, it does seem kind of fancy!

You see, this room started as the living room of the house.  At some point, it morphed into a laundry room - but since we will have a new dedicated laundry room, this space was up for grabs.  

But it needed a lot of changes.  First thing - we eliminated the front door.  With that wall closed up, it allowed us to tear out the old 3 foot closet and built a new 6 foot closet.  Not exactly huge, but a big change from the original!

We also added a new double window (that's also an egress window for fire safety).  Now this room is so light and bright!
All the wiring has been replaced and now we have grounded electrical outlets and a smoke detector.  Almost like a new house!

But the biggest change was the addition of a full bath.  The original house had a funky, dark alcove out front.  It was used for storing the trash cans - but a new bathroom is a much better use of space!  It was a big job, we needed to dig a 4 foot deep frost wall, build walls, open up the ceiling and create the new doorway.  But now it's a bright, tall space with a little window to bring in some daylight.
The tall ceiling makes this bathroom feel so spacious!
I've started the tiling.  This Carrara marble detail is perfect for the feature wall of the shower.  The side walls will be a simple, large white subway - perfect for accenting all that marble.  We'll be adding a glass 'barn door' slider, so you can see all that fancy tile!
The floor will be this unique gray 2" octagon.  I just love the streaks and subtle shading variations.  Once we add the new white vanity, it's going to be so striking!

And we're going to add a heated towel rack.  It's a little bit of luxury that the homeowners will really appreciate.

In the bedroom I'm using this navy and white duvet cover that I bought at Pottery Barn awhile back.  The whole room with feature a crisp blue and white color scheme.

There's a lot of work ahead, but it's so gratifying to see it start coming together!  
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