Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our House: The Living Room

I couldn't handle all the beige that was our house when we closed on it.  I had a pretty clear vision of the house that included hardwood floors, white trim, and replacing just about everything I could manage.  We have a pretty open floor plan and I wanted things to flow between the rooms smoothly.  I have to be honest in that a lot of my decisions were last minute because they had to be made right then.  I wish I could say I had a detailed plan and everything chosen well in advance but trying to do a full scale renovation in 8 weeks while working 65+ hours a week (oh and planning a wedding) I was pretty much at my limit.

**Photo Disclaimer, I feel like I should apologize for my photos.  These were all taken for my personal use with no thought that I'd ever be sharing them.

The Living Room and Loft before:

We knew that we wanted hardwood or engineered hardwood though out the entire first floor of the house and it really boiled down to which of them I could get the best deal on through my contractors.  So engineered it was.

Installing the new floors required removing the existing baseboards and I couldn't justify paying someone to reinstall the old baseboards I didn't like.  So a much taller slightly detailed baseboard was decided on, and since we were doing the baseboards we figured we might as well do the casing as well.  The combination of the new trim and painting it all white made the most immediate impact on the appearance of the house.

Our painter sprayed all the trim that was to remain in place.  Paint used was Sherwin Williams ProClassic colored matched to Benjamin Moore's White Dove.

You can see the doors propped up along the wall for painting and part of the new marble surround going up around the fireplace here.

And the photos taken the day before we moved in:

I can't really call these the real 'afters' of these spaces.  I've done more work since these were taken and probably still have more to be done.

The walls were painted Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter (in Sherwin William's ProMar 200 flat).  The floors are Mannington....Hickory in Natural I think.  The ceiling fan was my husband's request.  When he initially brought it up it was with the question "Can you deal with it?" because he knows how much I dislike ceiling fans in general.  I actually really like the fan and can't imagine the room without it.  Pretty sure my husband loves it because it's the first thing that people comment on when they walk in the door!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Our House

After the sale of The Bungalow and the house my husband owned when we started dating, the deal on the new property fall through due to a sticking point of repair after inspection.  It literally left us homeless. We thought it would a very temporary issue, hah, yeah right.  Ten long months of living in an extended stay hotel with the majority of our stuff in storage ensued.  I easily looked at over 150 houses, we wrote 7 offers, and I was beyond frustrated.

I was looking for a house that met our basic criteria in terms of room sizes and layout that was priced far enough under market value that I could justify the work I'd want to do before moving in.  I have to be honest, I don't think 'move in ready' will ever exist for me.  There will always be something I want to change.  Need to change to make it my own.  I mentally start remodeling and redecorating almost every building I walk into.

I looked at our current home while my husband was out of town on business.  He made the offer on the house sight unseen.  It had his big sticking points and I was confident the price was right for the work I'd want to do.  The downside? It was a short sale.

We made the offer in May.  And waited.  I continued to look at other houses.  And waited.  I bugged the bank and listing agent.  And waited.  Finally we had all the approvals we needed.  We closed on the house on August 1st of last year.

Behold the builder beige that was our house when we looked at it:

The dumpster was delivered the day of closing and we hit the ground running.

In eight short weeks we remodeled the kitchen, two of the bathrooms, installed new flooring through the entire house, new base and casing and had everything painted top to bottom (including all the stained pine woodwork that remained).  Clearly this was not a DIY project but a race to the finish to get out of the hotel!

The afters start tomorrow........

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Boredom and a Paint Review

It was 95 degrees here on Sunday and I pretty much had no desire to leave the house and needed something to keep me occupied all day.  Sunday was the last day of the Sherwin Williams paint sale and I'd been itching to paint the inside of our front entrance closet for a couple of weeks.  I hated seeing the blah beige color on the walls every time I opened the closet door (the same color that the entire house was drenched in when we bought it).

So one gallon of Sherwin Williams ProMar 200 (my long time go-to paint) color matched to Benjamin Moore's Bermuda Turquoise #728 and a couple of hours later we went from this:

To this:

I LOOOOOOOOVE this color. Oddly enough I realized last night as I was scrubbing the paint off my feet that the paint color is actually pretty close to the color I have on my toes at the moment.

For the record, love it on my walls, not so much on my toes.  Counting down the days until my next pedicure.

I want to leave the door open so I can see it all the time.  Two coats and some touch up and I'm happy with the true even color with no streaks.  I had a new shelf cut at Home Depot because I was too lazy to paint the old particle board one white, I also bought a new white metal bar but after two different trips to Home Depot to attempt to get it cut to the right size I gave up for the time being.

On to the paint itself.

I knew some of the prices at SW had gone up recently but I didn't realize they were reformulating their paints and going to the Zero VOC until I bought this gallon.  There was no odor which was great since I was on a step stool in a fairly small coat closet.  I didn't notice any difference in coverage.

I was turned on to the ProMar 200 by professional painters I've worked with previously.  They swore by it for its even coverage, often being able to use one coat of paint, and low price.  I almost fell over when I paid   for this gallon, $6 more than the last gallon I bought just a few months ago and that was during the sale. So my cost will be about $9.00 more a gallon now. That's going to add up really quickly and suddenly it's not such a deal anymore so maybe it's time to start trying new products?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Totally Obsessed....

I love almost everything about this bathroom from Houzz.  Yes I know it's a little teenage girlie but whatever, I love it. I'm still waffling on the colors in my nearly completed (yet to be shared) guest bathroom and this picture is another prod in the pink direction (versus aqua and coral).

I adore this tile and wish I'd come across it sooner!  Not to mention I think I'll likely end up DIYing a shower curtain with a similar printed fabric band at the bottom (if for no other reason than to prove to my husband that I'll use the sewing machine that I insisted on buying).

So what say you? Pink? Or Aqua/Coral?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Creative Mountings for a Flat Screen TV

I was at a friend's house recently and noticed this (really wish I'd taken the time to take a proper photo of it)

He bought the easel at a local antique mall and mounted the TV and sound bar to it, hiding all the cords down the back leg of the easel.  (He's looking for a complimentary item for the components now.) It's super tall and really impressive in real life.  It got me thinking about other unconventional ways to mount your TV.

I realize that most interior designers would prefer to not see a TV but that's just not convenient for the way the majority of families live.  We have more TV's than people in our house.

This isn't a mounting exactly but I do love the frame around the TV in the Brooklyn Limestone master bedroom.

Incorporating the TV into a wall of built-ins is genius if you can do it (in my opinion anyway).  I wish I had this option in my living room.

As it is, I think that with the shape of my living room this would be about my best option.

Bottom two images via: DecorPad

Anyone come across any new ideas for TV mounting that they've loved lately?

The Bungalow: Recap

I loved this little house and selling it was definitely bittersweet for me.  Regardless of my lack of employment keeping it had become impractical once I'd moved in with my then boyfriend, now husband.  Can you ever really go from living together to not?  Looking back at it now I appreciate just how precarious my situation was, but I don't think I really got it at the time.  Had things gone badly I could have very likely ended up in foreclosure and bankruptcy, another victim of the high unemployment rate.

Thankfully I got the house done, on the market and had a cash over asking offer in a little over 3 weeks.  I was able to replay the loan I'd taken to finish the work and then some.  I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome.  And for that, I will always be thankful.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Bungalow: Exterior

We all hear so often how important curb appeal is when trying to sell your house.  How's this for curb appeal?  The roof had already been replaced in this photo with grey shingles assuming that when the re-siding took place it would make sense (glad the current owners took my color recommendation on their siding selection).

From a time and cost perspective there was no way I was undertaking the siding.  The current siding was fine, just ugly.  I did try to make the exterior as appealing as possible though by painting the brick columns and metal handrail, patching the cracked concrete and cleaning up the landscaping.

The current owners have had new siding in a pretty sage green color installed along with new doors and windows.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Bungalow: Living, Dining & First Floor Bedrooms

The two bedrooms on the First Floor were pretty basic for the age of home.  Small rooms with small closets by current standards, but cute!

Ignore the people in the photo, this was the only before picture I could find for the living room.  I loved the coved ceiling and stained glass windows.

The majority of the original items in the house that remained were in pretty decent shape overall.

There wasn't much to be done with these rooms, fresh paint, new lighting and having the floors refinished.  I tried to choose budget friendly lighting that worked with the period of the house and was pretty happy  with them overall (again not what I'd have chosen if I was staying there though).  Had I been planning to live there I don't know if I could have refrained from painting all of that wood white but it's considered an offense of epic proportions in that neighborhood.

Would you have painted the woodwork white or left it?  That built in probably would have been my only hesitation, it kills me what those things go for at my favorite architectural salvage shops.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Bungalow: Master Bath

I loved this little bathroom with it's slightly sloped ceiling and cute little window.  I had visions of a built-in for storage under that window.

I really do love the after of this bathroom.  This is where my love affair with Benjamin Moore's Quiet Moments began.  I think the only thing I'd have done differently in this bathroom if it were my own are the vanity and shower door, and adding the custom cabinet under the window of course!

Thru-body porcelain floor tile again, builder grade vanity with a granite top, and the shower tile was leftover from a previous project.  The mirror came from Home Goods and the lighting from a local source (loved this fixture).

This bathroom was a reader DIY featured by the lovely Matters of Style girls last year! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Bungalow: Master Suite

I looked at the Bungalow on the very first day I went house hunting.  I told my realtor that this house was the contender to beat when I gave her the MLS numbers for the homes I wanted to see that day.  I knew that this was the house I wanted just based on the exterior photos and description.

With two bedrooms and a full bath on the first floor and an partially finished attic with a 3/4 bath I was pretty much my idea space.  I planned for the entire 2nd floor to be a Master Suite.  The small bedroom in the back to be the closet, the large open room in the front the bedroom and the bathroom right in between the two.

You can see the stairs leading up to the attic through the open door in this picture.  The bathroom was opposite the top of those stairs and the small back bedroom adjacent.

Drywall and a lot of paint later

I went back and forth on whether or not to carpet the 2nd floor but ultimately had the existing pine flooring refinished.  The pine that was there really wasn't meant for finish flooring but my hardwood refinisher claimed that he had a lot of people in the area doing it with good results.  All the feedback I got on it was positive.  I totally would have painted that floor with some sort of pattern had this ended up being my bedroom!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What was Kohler thinking?

I've been a long time Kohler fan for a variety of reasons.  I love the classic designs, it's a company local to this area, and it has good brand recognition.  I'm also lucky enough to get all of my plumbing fixtures at cost which is a huge savings.

I recently had the Devonshire toilet installed in a bathroom remodel I'm wrapping up (more on that to come) and I'm less than impressed with the recent changes Kohler has made to their designs.

Nothing that you notice just looking at the fixtures, they look exactly the same.  Apparently that in conjunction with going with smaller water tanks they have also gone from a 3 bolt attachment to a 2 bolt attachment between the toilet base and tank. (Because I'm just not willing to spring for 1 piece fixtures).  I cannot believe how much the full water tank wobbles back and forth.  I compared it to the other 2 toilets in the house that have the other 3 bolt attachment layout and it's a world of difference.  I think I'd be nervous if this was going to be a high volume use bathroom or a kids bathroom.  (And yes, I'm sure it's installed correctly, that was the first phone call I made.)

Just something to keep in mind when it comes time to replace a toilet!

The Bungalow: Main Bath

The state of the bathroom when I bought the house left me baffled at how a couple with small children had been living in the house.  It was  It was the very first thing to be torn out.  What this picture doesn't show is the severely water damaged ceiling and wall right over and near the toilet.

Even though the after is a vast improvement, it doesn't excite me in anyway.  Is that terrible to admit?  All of the decisions were so budget driven.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July/August Issue of Lonny

I know everyone is already talking about it and I'm already a day late to the game but I really love this apartment spread in the new Lonny.  Starts on page 182.

The mix of high and low pieces used are exactly how I would approach furnishing a room.  I've looked at that mirrored console, I own that faux bamboo mirror....I love the tray.

via Lonny

I could move right into the place and be perfectly happy.

The Bungalow: Kitchen

When I switched gears from thinking of the bungalow as my future home to strictly as an investment the vast majority of my finish selections changed as well.  In addition to trying to set aside my personal preferences I was also faced with the reality that for the first time in my life I had more time than money and was going to need to do whatever I could to limit my costs.

I didn't take a ton of photos during the in progress phases of a lot of these rooms so you'll have to use your imagination some.

A recap of what the kitchen looked like with it's yucky mouse poop filled cabinets.  Doing all the demo work in this kitchen was my first real DIY experience.  I had guys working in another part of the house and decided just to be done with it.

Recap of what it looked like to start

And after

The kitchen is TINY.  Like 10'x11' or something close to that.  I went really neutral and pretty bare bones on it.  Keeping my bottom line in sight as well as the price point and area didn't really leave me a ton of room.

The flooring was replaced with a thru-body porcelain tile.  I had maple cabinets with a few upgrades (solid wood boxes, glass front doors) installed.  Brand new appliances and granite countertops rounded everything out.  I know that kitchens are trending away from granite but it's still the preferred material in our area and the one that I could get the very best deal on.

I left off the cabinet hardware and backsplash intentionally, not only for cost purposes but also to allow the buyer some ability to personalize the space after the fact.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Bungalow

A few years ago I bought what was pretty much my dream house at the time.  A cute little 1920's bungalow that needed a complete renovation, good mechanicals but the already outdated interior took a beating during the course of foreclosure.

Due to some life changing events at the time I never even ended up spending a night in the house, instead it became a race to get it renovated and sold.

Here are a few highlights of what it looked like when I closed on the house.....

Oddly enough, this bathroom was a HUGE selling point for me with this house.  It was on the 2nd floor which was mainly attic space at the time.

The lovely kitchen

Main bathroom

And a shot of that unfinished attic space

The living & dining rooms

I had pretty grand plans considering the limited amount of cash I had on hand following my divorce.  Updating the kitchen and bathrooms, refinish the main level hardwood, paint the wood floor in what would be the 2nd floor master suite (complete with a dream closet including washer and dryer).

The dumpster was delivered on the day of the close and the demo took off pretty quickly.  So quickly that when my company laid me off a few weeks later the house couldn't be lived in, rented out, or sold in it's current condition.

To give you the short version:
I let the house sit for a few months while I tried find a job before my savings ran out (because unemployment that was 25% of my take home pay was not going to pay the bills).  I eventually decided to take a personal loan from a friend, finish the work, and get the house sold.  Oh, and do this before winter set in so I wasn't stuck making the payments all the way through the winter.