Sometimes we need a different viewpoint, a new way of seeing the world--up close and far away. A year ago, a 70s ranchburger wasn't a part of my world. If you'd told me that I would end up on this hilltop, I wouldn't have believed it. At my age, I had no desire to embark upon another renovation, especially one that appeared to be Mission Impossible. Then, without warning, I was pushed up that hill.
I thought the house had great potential, even thought it had issues. Seals were broken on some windows--windows so old, they were no longer manufactured. I couldn't replace all of them. Each one was examined and notes were made. For example, the triple window in the master bath (below, right) was in good shape and didn't need replacing. A grille will be added, and plantation shutters will be an instant update--plus, they'll add privacy. Also, cedar shake siding will go a long way to unite the disparate elements.
The windows in the pool house are quite old but intact, so they're staying. Cedar shake will be installed over the brick, and the 70s French doors will be replaced with Very Special Doors. Can you guess which ones?
Do you remember the double, 8 foot front doors (front elevation)? They're earmarked for the pool house.
My co-designer, Zap, barked twice--a sign that he approves.
Ten months sped by. Plans were made. Plans were deleted. And deleted again. But I never lost faith in the transforming power of cedar shake. In late winter, we replaced the old picture windows (they were actually sheets of glass--not energy efficient) and added stock French doors. The bay window in the breakfast room was created out of these doors, too. I hadn't expected them to make such a huge difference. It was a happy moment when I drove up and the ranchburger didn't seem so burgerish!
One plan had called for the stone pillars to be repurposed, replaced with square white columns. But with the addition of the shake, I thought the stones added texture.
The trim paint is crisp and white. I had originally imagined a Nantucket or Hamptons Style vibe, but the house had other ideas. She is a Tennessee hill house, thousands of miles from the sea. I could almost hear her say, "Let me be myself."
I am listening to her.
However, we did have to face structural issues along the way. As you can see, we were dealing with two different ceiling heights in the center part of the house. The kitchen (you can see the stock windows and doors in the center, below) had an 8 foot ceiling. The living room had a 9 foot ceiling. We'll need steps (matching the stone porch) off the kitchen door.
With each change--a window here, cedar shake there--the house is developing her own personality.
The same style of windows will go in each wing. Then cedar shake will be installed over the brick. Raising the roof wasn't an option, so I opted for faux dormer windows, and they'll go on the long part of the "train,"in the center of the house, adding a little height to the front elevation--unless the house doesn't want them.
Inside the breakfast room, I can see all the way to my Mama's house.
When you're renovating--or making any kind of scary change--one must maintain perspective. When things go wrong--or even when they're going right--step back and look for the wider view.
A new paint color for the stock, interior doors
Marble vs wooden counters vs Solid Surface
Master and Guest Bath updates