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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