Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Creating a Vintage Style Bathroom

The bathroom in this house was..... odd.....   The tub/shower was in the middle of the room, with awkward spaces on either side.  We think the room originally had a clawfoot tub and when they replaced it with a standard tub, they just built the walls around it.  We also removed the steam radiator, so the room could have additional storage space.

So we set out to change all that.  And we wanted to compliment the vintage style of the bungalow, so we didn't want anything too modern.  Here's our starting point - pretty dreary!

A big part of the design was coming up with a vintage tile design.  I spent so many hours planning this pattern, but was pretty happy with the result.

And here's the finished bathroom.  Isn't it a great change?

The closet provides an amazing amount of storage!  And all that wasted space is now history.  Mission accomplished! 

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The All Important Bungalow Kitchen

As a general rule, bungalow kitchens are small.  And this one certainly isn't a big kitchen.  But we had a couple of tricks up our sleeve, to make it bigger and much more functional.

Of course it's still a galley kitchen, but there is so much more counter and cabinet space than the original design.  And the appliances are no longer lined up in a row!!!

Here's how we changed it - we incorporated a small mudroom and open porch, to add 44 square feet of living space.  Sure, it doesn't sound like much, but it made a world of difference.

That extra space provided room for a mud bench and shelving.  I LOVE bench unit!  It does a great job of combining style and function.  

A key element on the back of the bench was utilizing some 95 year old fir trim we found in the back of the closet as a 'frame' around the new fir beadboard.  See how much deeper the color is?  And if you look closely, you can see how tight the grain of the old wood is, compared to the much more open grain structure of modern fir.

Across from the mud bench, we have the refrigerator - which is a huge change!!!  Finding a spot for the refrigerator is always tricky, it takes up a lot of visual and physical space.  So to tuck it in where we originally had the porch made it work really well.

And while it's a galley kitchen, we had a little additional space for cabinetry on the opposite wall.  This provides a spot for the microwave, lots of drawers and a nice little spot to sit and have a cup of coffee (or wine, if you're like me!).

It's changed a bit, don't you think!!! 

Of course the biggest change was opening up the staircase to the dining room.  Suddenly this seems like a big inviting space and provides a great connection to the two rooms.

But the best part?  All the sunlight streams in all day long.  That makes the room extra special!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Basic Bungalow: Before & After, Living and Dining Room

The Living Room and Dining Room both got some major updates.  Some are easy to see, like the beautiful refinished birch floors, instead of old wall-to-wall carpeting.  And we removed all the old ceiling tiles, installed recessed lighting and new ceilings for a seamless look.  But some changes aren't so obvious, like blown in dense-pack cellulose insulation and new structural posts that hold up the new second floor living space.

What are some of the highlights?  Well, we replaced the colonial style front door (which looked so odd in a bungalow!!!) with a new glass door to bring a lot more light into the room and highlight the sweet front porch.  And the custom made radiator cover really adds style to the room.

The odd closet (that everyone thought was a staircase, because it looks like it has a step up) became a 'dry bar', with cabinetry at the bottom and glass shelves above.

But the biggest change was installing a fireplace.  The mantle started as a jumble of antique parts that I found at Old House Parts and thanks to the creative carving of Oak & Laurel Workshop, it's now a gorgeous focal point in the room. Oh, and the fireplace is electric, so it didn't require any fuel or flue - but it does have a lovely ambiance on a cold winter night. (you can read all about the 'Every Old House Needs a Fireplace' project here ).

See the closet door on the right in the 'before' photo?  We switched it around, so now it opens into the bedroom.  You don't want to lose one inch of a closet in an old house!  Take a look at the fireplace below.  Can you guess which parts are original and which are new?  The left 'leg' of the mantle and the plinth blocks are all new.  After the carving was done, I painstakingly stained the wood to achieve a uniform color and finish on old and new wood. 

The dining room also saw a transformation.  Opening up the wall to the staircase was a huge change, but there were other changes as well. 

Dining Room - Before

Dining Room - After

But creating the wainscoting with a plate rail also gave the room some vintage styling.  I complemented that with a very muted wallpaper.  

And of course the Morris & Co chandelier is a stunner!

Next up:  The kitchen!  

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Monday, November 1, 2021

Basic Bungalow Before & After - the Exterior

I've started pulling together all the Before & After photos and wanted to start with the exterior.  This was a nice looking house when we got started, but we think we've amped up the curb appeal a bit. 

Front of House - After

Front of House - Before

Rear view - after (without the leaning garage! 😂)

Rear view - Before

So what did we change?  There were some key differences.  We completely redid the front porch, to get rid of some odd material choices they had made.  We added a real front door (so much nicer than the old storm door) and stained glass house numbers that I'm pretty crazy about. 

We added two big dormers - one to create a 2nd floor bath and the other to create a large bedroom space.

Bathroom Dormer

Bedroom Dormer & expanded kitchen space

The back porch with its tiny mudroom is much better utilized as enlarged kitchen space.  This also let us add a large deck across the back of the house for lots of outdoor living space.

And something that might seem a bit insignificant, but updating the windows to be 6 over 1 (6 panes over 1 pane of the double hung windows) brought the house back to its original bungalow style and gave it a lot more charm.

The new roof is a color called charcoal, which has gray tones in it but also provides a dark contrast with the gray siding.  It's so much nicer than the light gray (with stains) roofing they had before.

The front dormer had original 6 over 1 windows, so we changed the first floor to match

Do you remember all the debate about the front porch?  Whether to open it back up or leave it?  Honestly, I'm thrilled with how it came out.  It was pretty awful with all the exposed insulation when we started.  But isn't it a lovely spot to hang out now- particularly with the sun streaming in on a chilly morning?

Front Porch - Before (it was a mess!)

Front Porch - After

Front Porch Looking Inside Before

Front Porch After
Next up?  I'll start pulling together the photos of the living room and dining room.  There were some big changes that you get a peek of in the photo above!

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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Basic Bungalow No More

We bought this house 11 months ago and I expected it to take 4-5 months to complete.  Obviously I didn't factor in COVID challenges, but 8 months later it's done and so worth it!   It went on the market today and I'm so exhausted I don't have time to do a proper blog post - but there are a few photos so you can see what we have accomplished.  I promise to get the 'Before & After' photos out soon!

Doesn't the exterior look great?  

The new deck provides so much outdoor living space.  What a difference!

But the biggest changes happened on the interior.

This house gets so much sunlight all day long!

I love this mud bench that's right inside the back door.

I love everything about the dining room - the wainscoting, the wallpaper and the light fixture!
Creating an en suite bedroom on the second floor was a huge effort - but look how it came out.
And the first floor bedrooms are really lovely with their refinished floors, new light fixtures and fresh paint.  And special touches like building custom radiator covers makes a huge difference.  Can you see the little table on the right?  We found it in the attic and saw that it has a yardstick measure embossed on it.  It was a mess, but after a light sanding and a fresh coat of polyurethane it looks so pretty!

What do you think?  Was it worth all that hard work?  For those of you that are local, we'll have an Open House Sunday, October 17th from 11-1.  Hope to see you then!  

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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Finishing Touches

 If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I LOVE lighting.  I spend hours and hours searching for fixtures, agonizing over every selection.  It takes months to get it all ordered and delivered, with a tower of boxes growing in the basement.  So when it's install day, I'm positively giddy!  And the lighting in this house is pretty special.

The William Morris fixture that I found at Home Remedies got installed in the living room and I am thrilled with it!  Look how it casts a delicate pattern on the ceiling.

We have a giant window over the kitchen sink, so instead of doing one pendant there was room for two.  This vintage style light adds some necessary task lighting, but really compliments the rest of the kitchen as well.

Do you remember the vintage sunflower lights that I sourced on Etsy?  They are amazing for the two original bedrooms - they seem to glow when the lights are switched on.  The frosted and opalescent glass provides such a great antique touch for these rooms.


I went a bit more modern on the second floor, since that's all new construction.  I love these lights in the dormers - they really accentuate the angles and beams.

What else is going on?  Well, I got the wallpaper done in the first floor bath.  It's a very subtle pattern, but adds a bit more interest than plain white walls.  Now that the wallpaper is done, the fixtures will all get installed this week and I'll share more photos soon.

The dining room is really coming together.  The painters did a spectacular job painting the wainscoting and this wallpaper that I hung above it gives it that antique styling - but it's a very low key pattern that doesn't shout for attention.

The trim throughout the house is painted the same shade of pale taupe as the kitchen cabinets.  Our antique molding is so gorgeous, this really highlights it and makes it center stage!

Don't you love the peek of the sconce in the hallway, just past the dining room?

The exterior is coming together with lights and trim.  And we finally have steps that meet modern building code!  

That front door has seen quite an evolution - I'm so grateful to the neighbors that didn't complain as we went through a very long ugly duckling stage!

The folks from Under Pressure came out and power washed the exterior this week.  What a difference that makes!  Farewell grimy gutters! 

Don't you love the deck now that it's complete? 
Power washing makes a huge difference!

As you can tell, there's a lot going on, hopefully we will get this to the finish line soon.

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