Saturday, October 19, 2013

Renovation Diary--Mid October 2013

 Nerves of steel are required if you are renovating a house.
If you've remodeled, you automatically get five bonus points, a hug, and chocolate.
 The first time we saw the house, I imagined wooden shutters, and Will imagined
a tear-down.

He's a football obsessed physician, the type of guy who wouldn't know a corbel from cheesecake (and has no desire to learn the difference). He shocked me when he demolished the front porch.
"Something's missing," he kept saying. "Something's wrong."

Shutters would help, right?
Will had zero interest in selecting paint colors, thank heavens. So I got to work.
I'd secretly longed for a light, airy farmhouse feel.
I dusted an old shutter and tested BM's Stratton Blue. It looked great in the shade.

A little coastal in bright light.

I had more paint pots in the garage, so I tried SW Intellectual Gray and Anonymous.
I chickened out.

I was smitten with the tone-on-tone look on the right.
 Will thought it was bland.
I posted photos on the blog and Rattlebridge's Facebook page.
Some people liked the darker gray; others preferred the lighter.
Timberlane Shutters had sent a color sample sheet. I tried several itty samples. Then I saw this photo on their website. The shutter color was a mossy green.
Timberlane sent a mossy green sample. I liked it, but I was afraid to commit.
What if the green looked wrong? I didn't want to repaint brand new shutters!

In June, I tested gray-browns: SW Warm Stone and SW Griffin.

Again, I sent a shout out to bloggers. Everyone liked SW Griffin.

 The shutters arrived in mid-October, along with detailed instructions.
The carpenters installed one shutter, then asked me to take a look. As I walked up from the side, I thought: too much brick is showing.

But I was wrong.
A lot goes into the installation of functional shutters. When closed, they
must cover the window. And, these shutters are heavy. 

Next, I had to decide about the shutter dogs.
No! Not another decision!
And if I wanted the shutters to be aligned perfectly straight with the windows or to gently fall back against the brick. I loved the old fashioned "falling back" look. 

The bottom windows now have shutters.

Do you remember Will's porch?
I showed him a photo of designer Mary Carol Garrity's corbels.
I found something similar at the local builder's supply.
While we're waiting for the corbels to be installed,
We painted the ceiling Haint Blue and added dentil trim.

Here's a peek at our new interior doors. 
This was another difficult decision. I went back and forth between 7' and 8' doors.
I saw a few examples in person.
Eight foot doors and a nine foot ceiling.
Eight foot doors and a ten foot ceiling.
Seven foot doors and a nine foot ceiling.
Eight foot doors and an 8-1/2 foot ceiling.
I chose JELD-WEN 8 foot doors and refused to second guess the decision,
which is my second favorite activity, the first being eating peanut butter fudge.
The rooms seem so airy. Even Will loves the new doors and stopped talking about For Sale signs.
The opening to the dining room was enlarged to an 8 foot opening, too.

Though I like black interior doors, I decided they weren't right for my house.

However, that doesn't mean I'll go with creamy white paint. :-) 
The Saga of the Kitchen Clock continues.
Chocolate is required before you proceed.
Lots and lots of chocolate.
You can find a recap HERE.

Meanwhile, the kitchen was primed (that's why it's extremely white).
I tried to color the rest of it with wonky Photoshopping.
What to do.
A clock was featured in the inspiration photo.
My kitchen has a lower ceiling and a smaller range hood. But I just had to try a clock.
 I began with a 22" inch round clock. 
The carpenters built a "prototype." No trim or frills.
They couldn't make the housing smaller, fearing the clock might not be secure.
Even though the prototype wasn't to scale, I sort of liked the idea of a clock.

I liked how the round clock echoed the arched window.

 I found a smaller clock at Ballard Designs.
Now, I had a Goldilocks dilemma.

The scale is much better...almost in the Goldilocks zone.
The design was close. But not close enough. 
My knock-off Photoshopping resembles Cool Whip, but it helped me
see how the clock housing might look when it's painted.
Still, something was wrong.

We have a few problems.

The carpenter was reluctant to add curves to either side of the the wooden housing, fearing each swoop will be too low and reveal things that we'd like to hide, like the hood vent.
Another problem: the existing base of the clock housing isn't fully integrated into the trim and hood. 
When I got home, I studied the photos. The housing above the top curve of the clock can be made higher, from 4 to 10 inches. That would help with the scale and allow for curves.
But the bottom of the housing needs work.
Each little tinker costs $$, so I'm trying one more time.
Then my cabinet maker, Jimmy, will build a clock housing, so that it's better integrated with the hood and trim.
The ceiling beams will be trimmed so they aren't so boxy, and corbels will be added to the base of each beam, if possible.
 The Rear Porch Decision:
I've been going back and forth about the back porch. Should we
screen it, turn it into a room, or leave it alone?
You can read about that dilemma HERE.

Will has been eyeing the garage for a conversion, and Bandy has been eyeing the space above it.

Then I found an inspiration photo, one that resonated and felt right for the house.
It was fate.
We already had Gothic windows in the foyer and kitchen.
My contractor set up an appointment with an architect.

As he walked around the house, he sketched a few ideas.


If you've revamped a room or a house, you've probably got a story.
I'd love to hear about your "ah ha" moments.
Do you have a funny (or hair-raising) story?
Thanks for visiting--have a wonderful weekend!

Shared at Metamorphosis Monday.

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  1. Wow, this is quite a big project. Was your home originally red brick and then you had the bricks painted white?

  2. Michael Lee, it's been 18 years since we remodeled the home we are in. We've done a few more tweaks since that time. I know this is a huge project, which while fun and rewarding it's also very stressful. One more decision! I totally understand. When do anticipate the project to be complete? Have been crazy about your kitchen inspiration photo, and the new one for the back porch is fabulous. Wow!

  3. What a project! We've remodeled a dozen or more houses, but nothing on this scale. We're small timers compared to you. I'm crazy about everything you've done, including painting the brick (which was the best decision we ever made on one particular house). I'm enjoying each moment of your renovation and glad I'm on the sideline for a change.

  4. I would have a nervous breakdown if I renovated a house. We're just in the middle of a very busy phase of life! I love your shutters and s-hooks. Your home is so pretty!
    I did {partially} redo our cottage kitchen. I painted our island pink! :D


  5. I love seeing the progress, Michael Lee, and can't wait to see the kitchen when it's completed. You're so thoughtful on each decision you make and in the end, you'll be so happy with the completion. xo

  6. loving your new inspiration photo and sketches, you must be having a ball, over and over!

  7. All I can say is I'm pea green with envy but I'm kinda glad its not me who has to make all these decisions either. It is looking absolutely beautiful & I'm head over heels in love with that last inspiration photo of Dering Hall. Gorgeous & yes, yes, yes that style belongs with your home. I'm so very excited for you! It is going to be spectacular when completed & I know you can hardly wait. Me too!

    You'll never regret closing in or screening in that back porch. How else are you going to be safe from the mosquitoes & ticks??!!! *wink* Seriously, that is why our gazebo is entirely screened with a very fine mesh...I get huge welts from mosquito bites & would never be able to enjoy at evening out there if it wasn't screened. Also, it lets us have food outside without the bother of bees!

    My first DH & I did some remodeling of our first home but no where to this extent & we did the work ourselves. NEVER AGAIN!! Got rid of that idea real quick & him, too! LOL


  8. You are doing a great job. Hang in there. Love the architect's drawings. How mu ch would it cost to consult him about the stove hood area dilemma? Don't even tell Dr. Will I suggested it. ;-) I just want you to be happy. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. So he will thank me later. xo