Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Creating a Soothing, Relaxing Bedroom Suite

Since the entire second floor of this house is dedicated to a primary suite, my goal is to make it a place to get away from it all to rest, relax and recharge.  It's one of the largest bedroom suites we've ever done and it's got so much wonderful, unique character.  And while I want to maintain the vintage charm of the house,  this space is brand new so I incorporated a touch of modern as well.

Photo: Pottery Barn

Planning for this space started 8 months ago. The inspiration was a quilt from Pottery Barn that I bought about 2 days after putting the house under contract.  I LOVE this quilt - it has that old world style that will make a dramatic statement in the room.

Next I had to find fabric for window treatments.  I came across this gorgeous fabric, it's sort of a slubby, heavy printed cotton.  I made full length drapes for the big windows. Doesn't everyone sew with a T square? 😂 

Doesn't everyone sew with a T square? 

For another charming element, a friend gave me this amazing 100 year old wicker settee.  I made a new cushion for it and just love how it looks.  It will be perfect in the suite!

But before we can install any of that, we had to get the rooms built.  I've shared some of the progress in a previous post, but in the last couple of weeks we've hit some major milestones.  Pat Mann and his team installed beautiful birch flooring.  He finished it with two coats of oil finish to bring out the warm tones and then added a water based polyurethane to give it a beautiful glow.  He'll add one more coat just before the new owners move in, to make sure it looks perfect!

And while the floors are gorgeous, what's the big story in this space?  The ceiling - with it's dormers and angles it's a real 'wow' feature, but was a challenge to construct.  The first step to finishing it off was Dan's drywall skills and his laser, creating perfectly sharp lines. 

Then Brian came in and covered all the structural beams with reclaimed lumber.  It was a lot of angles and took exacting cuts - and the craftsmanship shows as soon as you reach the top of the stairs!  Doesn't it look amazing? 

I'm thrilled to see it all come together!! 
View toward bathroom

Lots of angles - lots of charm!

It's a big inviting space!!
Stay tuned, there will be a lot more updates as we make more progress over the next few weeks.  I can't wait to see it all come together!

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Creating a Kitchen with Old World Charm

Our goal from the beginning of this project was to celebrate the history of this 90+ year old house, while adding some modern amenities for today's lifestyle.  This was particularly challenging in the kitchen.  We don't want it to look modern.  But we want the modern conveniences everyone loves (aka dishwasher, microwave, storage, etc!) Our starting point was a 1980's kitchen that had zero vintage charm - it was just basic and blah.  So anything would be an improvement!

First Peek - new kitchen! 

I shared the design in a previous post, but it's so exciting to see that start to become a reality! 

Kitchen - 'Before'

First step was installing the new beech floor, so the cabinets can go on top of it (this is critical if anyone wants to change the design in the future, so they will have the same flooring throughout the room).  The original house had beech throughout - but it was hard to find in with COVID material shortages.  Thanks to the guys at Seacoast Flooring we found enough for the kitchen, but we had to use its cousin - birch flooring - for the second floor.  Otherwise we had to wait until November!!!

What I really found amazing was how similar the new beech wood looks compared to the 90+ year old beech.  Isn't that crazy? 

Next came the cabinets.  I went with a slightly detailed shaker style cabinet in a color Thomasville calls 'dover'.  

But I wanted the sink to reflect a little vintage charm, so it's made of cherry with an antique glaze.


The nail biting part of the whole process is installing the fireclay sink.  Fireclay isn't always uniform as it goes through the kiln, so Brian had to make a custom template and carefully cut it out on the front of the sink base.  One false move and the sink base would be ruined!  😅. Thankfully the install was perfect!

Microwave cabinet 
While it's not a huge kitchen, we've included all the amenities we were looking for.  There are lots of cabinets with pull out drawers, trash/recycling and a separate microwave cabinet.
The refrigerator is behind the backdoor

Remember the steel beam we added to enlarge the kitchen?  We wrapped it in reclaimed wood which really adds some charm to the room.

And since the kitchen door will be used by the homeowners the most, we needed a mud bench to make their lives easier. This custom unit includes a tower of shelves that will hold wicker baskets - much better for hiding hats and gloves.  The tower and bench will be painted to match the cabinetry.  But the back of the bench is made from fir bead board and some antique fir trim I found in the back of the closet.  I'll be giving that a natural finish so the wood will glow!

They came to template the quartz countertops.  Now we have a FOUR week wait for them to get installed!

Nothing about this renovation project has been fast, but it's nice to have some forward momentum.  I can't wait to share more photos when the counters have been installed. 


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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

And the Garage Came Tumbling Down!!!

 It took 3 minutes and 28 seconds and this tired old garage was history.  

Click below to see the video.  It's pretty fun! 

I agonized at the beginning of the project on whether to keep it.  After all, a garage in Maine is a precious commodity.  But as we started to look at it a bit more closely, we realized it was collapsing in on itself.  The structure was rotted on one side and slowly sinking into the earth.  That explained its odd tilt and the garage doors that wouldn't work anymore.

I felt like a little kid watching it come down!!!  So entertaining!

 Backyard view 'before' - the garage

So now it's been hauled away and suddenly this house has a great backyard.  As you walk in the front door, you can see out the French doors to the gorgeous rhododendron hedge that covers the back of the property.  It's particularly stunning in the spring, but provides a great evergreen screen all year long.
View from the back door - lots of space and greenery!

And if the new owners want a garage, they can build a new one.  I checked with the City and there is room to build one a bit closer to the street and closer to the back of the property.  So they get the convenience of a garage without losing precious outdoor living space.

Look at that yard!!! 

It's a pretty nice improvement, don't you think?

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