Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Temporary Living - Curb Appeal Update

We are so grateful to have a place to live while we complete all the renovations on the 1898 House.  And while the house is perfectly fine as a temporary home, I couldn't resist making some changes.  Perhaps this post should be titled what my husband calls "Can't we just focus one one house at a time?" 😂 After 40+ years of marriage, you would think he'd know the answer to that!

To my way of thinking, the house needed a curb appeal update.  The yellow siding was badly faded and oxidized, it had holes and cracks in lots of places, and it was missing sections of J Channel (which holds the siding securely to the body of the house).  I was worried in a big storm, the wind could rip those sections of the siding right off the house. 

Some sections of siding weren't attached to the house

The roof had also seen better days.  It wasn't actively leaking, but was near the end of its lifespan.

So we started making changes.  We put a new roof on both the house and garage (my rule of thumb is similar to Henry Ford's - any color is fine, as long as it's black). 

The garage roof had several leaks - the new roof made such a difference!

For the siding, I wanted a color that was different than the neighbors.  I settled on Wedgewood Blue, which interestingly enough many of the neighbors refer to as gray.  

Pine Point Home Improvements removed all the old siding and wrapped the house in a house wrap that minimizes air infiltration, while still allowing the house to breathe.  Then they started replacing all of the old siding. 

A key to the project was replacing all the metal window trim as well.  This was a real game changer on the house. If you look at the original photos, you'll see a plastic J channel surrounding them - a cheap, quick way to install vinyl siding.  By installing new metal trim, the end of the siding is hidden behind the window trim, so it looks less like vinyl and more like traditional siding (without all the maintenance!).   In fact, I've had so many people stop by and ask if it's vinyl or wood!

And while we were making these changes, we also needed to update the stone stairs.  They were in reasonably good shape, but needed some repointing.  Chase from CPC Masonry came to the rescue and updated them to look like new!

I didn't want to put shutters back up, but without them, the house seemed a bit plain.  I added window boxes, but it was still missing something. 

A bit plain, don't you think?

Then a lovely friend offered me her antique trellis that she'd saved off of her old house.  She hadn't found a good use for them, and they had been sitting out in the weather for years.   But she thought they might work well.  Wow, was she right!  It took a bit of elbow grease and paint to clean them up, but they're gorgeous now!

I've never had my own window boxes before - so much fun to change them out with each season!

Now I just love the front entry - it's made such a difference (the front door needs a bit of work, once that's done, I'll actually paint it!).  The curb appeal is vastly improved!

Next - I'll share some of the photos from the backyard.  It's so charming! 

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Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Curb Appeal Progress and Planning

Curb appeal - well, we are seriously lacking that at the moment. The house certainly isn't pretty and it's getting worse by the day!  

As we have found in so many other areas of the house, the exterior was built with bits and pieces of other houses or whatever building materials they had available. 

The ‘clapboards’ that you see on the bottom section of the house are a post Civil War era product called drop siding. Drop Siding was made to nail directly to the studs with a finished face on both the interior and exterior.  It was extremely popular in cottages, where a secondary interior wall wasn't needed.  By the late 1800's it was available in multiple styles.

 It eventually fell out of favor, because the tongue and groove couldn’t be made water tight (especially here on the Maine coast where storms tend to come with horizontal rain off the water). It's problematic for us, because the beveled clapboards don't allow us to install new siding directly over it.  Instead we are going to add a layer of sheathing to give us a continuous, water/air tight exterior. The sheathing will also help provide more structural stability, since so many of the studs are spaced far apart (remember our mantra - "how is this house still standing?").

So what kind of siding will we use for the renovation?  When we purchased the house, it had cedar shingles.  But we like the idea returning the house to its original clapboard style.  And that's the approach we will take, except for the garage, where we can leave the cedar shakes to provide a bit of visual difference from the rest of the house. 

What else are we doing to improve curb appeal?  Well windows are a big, big factor.  The windows were originally installed in an odd pattern and were all different shapes and sizes.  We are changing that!   While we can't make it all look perfectly uniform, this will be a big change.  And with the addition of a lattice panel on the front, it should look pretty nice! 

The other side of the house has also seen changes with new windows on the original house and the dormer.  

It's so much fun to see the plan start to become reality! 

The question I keep getting over and over - "what color will the house be?".  And that's still a point of debate in our household.  Obviously it's been white for many years.  But we have also found old photos that show it was once a dark color.  For now, I'm looking at options and hope to have some plan soon.  I'll share as soon as we have an answer!  

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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Creating an Antique Style Kitchen

I've been planning this kitchen since the first day I walked into the house.  When I realized there was a large attic above both the main kitchen and the adjoining service porch, I started dreaming of a spacious kitchen with vaulted ceilings.  

It was a lot of work to open up these spaces - but it was totally worth it.  And thanks to the skill of our talented carpenters, the new kitchen is already taking shape.

Sure, we don't have walls, plumbing or electrical - but we had to order the kitchen cabinets to have them ready in time for our project.  So there has been lots of design work going on!  I did this mockup of the island and central light fixture. 

We don't want this to look like a modern kitchen.  We'd prefer it have an old world style that's appropriate for a 125 year old house (but of course we want modern conveniences!).  That led to many of our design decisions. 

First up was the cabinetry selection.  Old kitchens have what are known as inset cabinets.  These are typically custom made cabinets where the door is flush with the frame (as opposed to overlay cabinet doors, where the door sits in front of the frame).  

Crownpoint Cabinetry Factory - inset drawers in cabinet

But custom kitchen cabinets are very expensive and given all of our other budget overruns, that wasn't in our plans.  That's when I discovered Crown Select Cabinetry, which is a semi-custom cabinet that builds inset cabinets at a more affordable price.  We had the opportunity to visit their factory in Claremont, New Hampshire and really liked their manufacturing process and quality cabinetry.

We had a great factory tour!

I sent Bob Davis our initial design layout which included our desires for a farmhouse sink, center island, an antique hutch for a pantry and a banquette for dining.  Bob came out and measured and we started working on the detailed plan.  

Here are the 3D images Crownpoint's software generated from the plans.  The refrigerator and dishwasher will be hidden behind cabinet panels, to help disguise them a little.  The microwave is across from the sink, which will at least hide it a bit (because I really hate looking at a microwave!) 

My husband wanted a coffee bar - that includes a wine fridge, so I guess it's a multi purpose bar.  It's not an antique style element, so we hid it in a corner!  

We found this beautiful cabinet at Portland Architectural Salvage and will repurpose it into a pantry.  The combination of old/new is one of my favorite things about the kitchen. 

I want a vintage style tile for behind the stove and bar sink.  I love this handmade tile I found at Distinctive Tile & Design - but I'm still agonizing over the color.  (And notice the little peek of the fabric for window treatments!) 

Speaking of color, the cabinets will be 'Accessible Beige', by Sherwin Williams.  All of the trim on the first floor will be the same color.  I've done this in other houses and love the vintage look! 

So the contracts are signed and the cabinets are ordered.  Now we just need all the important behind the wall stuff - oh and some walls too!  

I loved the cathedral ceilings so much!!!

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