Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ranch Renovation Or Design Revelations, Gossip, Fears, and Confessions

 Welcome to my foyer. I have lots and lots to tell you. When I was planning this renovation, I knew that my style had changed drastically--but I also knew that I had to work with existing furnishings. The white walls were my attempt to add visual continuity to a smaller house, along with providing a backdrop to art and toning down my fussy elements, which you'll see in a moment.

Right now, I'm trying to figure out where to place furniture and art. In this space, I have room for a bombe' chest and a painting.

Moving deeper into the house, you can see the only wall in the living room. This prime location has been hijacked by an existing thermostat and air return.  I've been plagued by these little duos all my adult life. Can't live without 'em, though, especially since "winter is coming." 

Here's the other side of the living room. 

I'm dismantling my old living room. It feels so alien and formal to me now.  But I can't, and won't, start over with on-trend decor. Don't get me wrong: I am not dismissing trends at all--I just don't have the energy, time, or funds. So, the challenge is to mesh old and new styles. It may be mission impossible, a mishmash in the making; that's one reason I feel so much trepidation. In the meantime, I'm selling some items and keeping things that evoke happy memories. My old sofa may be dated, but I spent many happy moments there.

I looked though various furniture and decor catalogs, and I had to go put a rag over my eyes. The thing is, my 8-year old sofa is in wonderful shape and has classic lines. If it's not too big for the new space, I can float it. The armoire is large enough to hold a TV and, I'm lobbying for it to go in the man cave (but the armoire will need piano hinges). The art will go somewhere. The coffee table has been sold. As for the gilt pieces, I bought them at a local antique shop, which has since gone out of business. I'm not opposed to painting them. We'll see.
Sadly, I no longer have the zebra rug. I'd rolled it up and wrapped it in plastic for the move. My husband put it in the back of his truck and someone stole it. 

Below, the chairs feel seem so formal, but they're coming with me, too.
I filled the shelves in 2006--and didn't touch them again. That's the kind of pitiful decorator I am. Now, I'm going through the items, separating them into piles: Love It or Leave It. Now that I'm in my 60s, I feel an urgent need to simplify.

The scale is good for the new living room.
The memories? Priceless.

A blurry iPhone picture of the other end of the living room. Yes, I'll be floating the sofa and chairs, anchoring them with a sisal or seagrass rug. I may put a round table in the sun room, just beyond the arches. 

Beyond the arches, I have two walls for furniture. Here's one wall.

Our old chest may be a nice fit. My friend Demi found the egg prints at a store in Louisiana. She and my friend  Allison helped me put this vignette together. 

The cute lamps have a bird and twig motif, just like the Master bath mirrors. (I found plates to hang over them, btw, and I'll update about them.)

And through the arches, another wall. My old secretary may look nice there.

 The dining room is much smaller than my current one, but I like the cozy size.

I may have room at the far end for a small table. It's always nice to have a place to set out desserts or a punch bowl, isn't it?

At the other end of the dining room, we have French doors and cabinets (they were already there--I added glass doors). 

I've been told that it my dining room table is dated. The thing is, I remember all of the holidays when my late father sat at the head of the table (my husband at the other). I remember the Halloween parties I hosted for Bandy (and I Martha'd it all the way, right down to frozen "hands" in the punch). I don't have plans to paint the table or chairs, though paint would give an instant update. I like the contrast of dark wood against the new dining room's White Dove walls. The chairs will have neutral tie-on slips. 

Fond memories: a Mother's Day luncheon that my mom helped me pull together.

 The ranch house came with lovely draperies, and they are being re-installed this week. Below, the room had carpet, and the draperies just hit the floor. We removed the carpet and installed hardwood. I plan to eventually get larger hooks, and the draperies will probably hit just right.

Bandwidth's draperies are quite handsome, with a dark gray-green band.

 The man cave draperies are going up, too. When the room was painted, I left the hardware, but it was still very tricky to rehang the draperies (even though each panel had been numbered). Below, I am eyeing that long wall on the right for a buffet or the large armoire.

I'm not rushing in and buying upholstered pieces for the man cave. Until I get my bearings, I'm using our pale blue sofa and chairs (see below). 

They're comfortable and in good shape. Why not enjoy them? Since the room is totally neutral, I can incorporate some blue accents, maybe a fun "Something's Gotta Give" blue and white striped rug. The painting has been sold.

We also left the hardware brackets on the screened porch, so hanging the draperies would be less of a headache. 

Maybe this table and chairs can be painted Kennebunkport Green and put on the porch?

These sweet, little wicker chairs are versatile and can go just about anywhere.

A view from the outside. Beneath the porch is a 70s carport, and it will be my next project--I'm screening it, and the plan is to make a little potting area.

 Soon, we'll be trying various paintings for the range wall in the kitchen.

I have a fondness for dog art--anything with animals, really. I've collected it for decades. Sheep, birds, a fox, deer, horses, and (you guessed it) more dogs. I like florals and moody landscapes, too. I was very, very lucky to find many paintings by local artists. I kept the art in mind when I chose white (off-white, really) paint colors. 

The wall color in the kitchen is BM Simply White, which has faint green undertones, so it will be interesting and educational to see how these paintings work. I also have some lovely, mostly blue and green French paintings, and they are just the right size, more or less. They've been packed or I would have shown you a photo.

The rule of thumb in renovating a house is to never panic. Always wait at least 72 hours before freaking out. This gives the eye and brain time to absorb the changes.

I love the traditional pulls on the hutch, but the knobs felt overwhelming (but not worthy of a freak out). So I wanted 80 hours.

I think one knob may be crooked, too, but that's a quick fix, Bandy said.

While I was waiting those 80 hours, I pillaged my present home, removing knobs here and there from cabinets, then I tried them on the hutch. Finish-wise, they were in the Goldilocks Zone.

Much better!

Now, I'd better get back to packing. 

My work is cut out for me: taming fussy stuff.

When it comes to keeping an object, I ask a few questions:
1. Do I love it? I mean, really love it.
2. Does it evoke a happy memory?
3. Does it require upkeep?


  1. The house looks terrific and it has turned out so pretty. Know that you are excited to get settled in and everything put in it's place. You have a very beautiful home and I know you will enjoy making new memories.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  2. Oh you're coming down the homestretch and all your progress must feel good! I can practically smell the fresh paint and polished hardwood floors.What a gorgeous chandy in your dining room! I love the way the wood floor is laid too along with your addition of glass panels for the dining room cabinets. I vote yes on painting your table and chairs Kennebunkport Green for the porch! Happy packing to you. :)

  3. Oh my- you have some wonderful furnishings to bring in this home. I truly love the things you've changed and seeing it come together. You've got wonderful taste and it's all going to look fantastic when you're moved in.

  4. Oh wow, iti s going to be wonderful. I know you will have it decorated in no time and beautifully.

  5. Excitement! Excitement! Oh, your new home is looking marvelous! I had almost forgotten how your present home looked - gorgeousness too. But I really like your burger house. I see little Mister! Aww... I really am excited for you and your new burger is so full of charm. That range is to die for. Well, at least 'faint'! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  6. Wow - your move is coming! So exciting. (and exhausting). Your new house is just lovely and so happy that you are incorporating all those memory pieces, too.

  7. Everything is looking great, Michael Lee! Looks like moving day is getting close...imagine you are getting anxious, now. Can't wait to see all your lovely furniture in place.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. Wow, so much to take in! The light in that house is incredible and that dining room! Love the wall and the wall of built ins. I also love that you will keep your furniture dark with the white dove walls. It will be stunning. The new knobs look so much your idea to wait 72...or 80 hours. I often panic when I see something new in my home the first time! You must be so excited. Even though you have SO much going on, you seem to have great plans and I know with your taste, it will all be beautiful!
    Cheers! - Shelley

  9. What a beautiful home! That's quite a project!

  10. Couldn't you have an hvac guy rather easily move the thermostat and register, perhaps just slightly smaller, both to the right, tucked next to (thermostat) and below (register the stairs)? That would free up the bulk of the wall, and it's such a simply move when it's that short of a distance. The biggest job would just be the drywall repair. :)

    I'd put the desk in the foyer at the end of the hall. Not sure how tall it is, or the painting, but I would suggest putting it above it. That way it's not bulking up the rest of the foyer. :)

    Now to read the rest of the post... LOL

  11. You live in my dream home! It's beautiful. Can't wait to see it all done. Have a great day :)

  12. Those living room chairs, I would definitely reupholster into something light. Depending upon your tastes, they could be feminine/modern floral pattern, or neutral, modern large stripes, or bright, cheery tropical prints. In any case, something to bring them into the 21st century, and make them even a focal point by doing so, if you choose. It would be fun to pick.

    Sorry I don't know, but where (state) is this?

  13. How exciting to be at this point in the process!! It will be amazing, and I can't wait to see!

  14. A huge undertaking. You have created a very lovely space. Like everyone else I am enjoying the journey with you.

  15. So bright and light-filled! The white walls, the kitchen, the hardwood floors -- everything is lovely!

  16. It will all come together in the end and that which doesn't, can be tweaked later on. You're so right about not freaking out immediately. That is one good thing to say about getting older—we become more judicious about what it is we freak out over. We have to conserve our energy after all! ;)

  17. Your upholstered pieces are lovely, and I do not think the style is dated at all. I am positive you can put a new spin on things with updated colors and accessories. I would love to have that wonderful sofa and two chairs. I consider them very good taste and timeless in style.

    1. Aw, thank you. I am so sentimental. Getting rid of that sofa would be like losing memories of me and the Yorkies. I'd sit and read, and the pups would curl up beside me.

  18. I can't wait to see you cooking in your kitchen.

    1. Me, too, Brenda. You'd asked about where I'm living now, and I found a few old photos. Right now, we are knee-deep in boxes and disarray. I lost the paper towels yesterday. LOL

  19. It is going to look wonderful! I love the fact that you are not racing around to fill your home with trendy'll be interesting to see what pieces you do use from your current home! It's been an interesting journey to follow! ;)

  20. I am happy for you to get settled...and relax, and begin enjoying your creation! I am excited to see you incorporate your treasures in your new home! Sheila

  21. So glad to learn Michael Lee that Mother Nature finally co-operated and your floors are move-in ready. Also am excited for you that everything has come together so beautifully and you will soon be calling the Ranch Burger your home. -Brenda-

  22. The new place is looking welcoming and you have yet to bring all your beautiful furnishings and gorgeous art!!! I understand the the object debate. Doing the same here ,when I am in the storage area. We will be moving in the near future and have 20 years of "things". Wishing you happy memories to take with you and anticipation of more to come!

  23. I love your new home but I have always loved your old home too. Very different but equally Beautiful. I have come to accept that I will never be on trend with my decorating. I love the memories involved with my current furniture, as do you and am not willing to give that up.
    You did an amazing job integrating the old home pieces into the new. Thanks for taking us along on your ride.

  24. You can never be out dated when are one classy Lady! All the beautiful furniture is something to cherish and enjoy. Your white walls will make decorating so much easier since it goes with everything. I am enjoying your blog! Blessings to you,

  25. You should keep the pieces you love, regardless of what the current decorating trends are! I think mixing and matching is much more visually interesting. Looks like you will be moving in soon!

  26. Micael we are both in the same point in our moves. I too am wondering where certain things will go in our new home. I think I have it figured out, but the house is telling me what it needs and it is not necessarily what I thought it needed, funny how that works. As far as the formal vs casual feel, I think if we have a touch of elegance in our design aesthetics it is hard to totally eliminate. No matter what I do even my readers will attach the words, elegant,classic to my designs so I guess you and I are both destined to have an UNDERSTATED somewhat elegant home. YOUR home is stunning and all the changes you have made to your home are just gorgeous. Love the white walls, I am going to live with white walls for the first time too. Very little wall space,mostly windows. Window coverings is m next big decision and it is a hard one for me, since I like open windows. Thanks for inviting me over to your blog and for visiting mine,
    Happy Weekend,

  27. Michael Lee, I have loved your old house ever since first seeing the pictures on the old HGTV messageboards. Someone even told me what your old paint color was (sands something), and I used it in my house. I don't remember ever seeing that library. Oh my! Absolutely beautiful! I would not have wanted to leave that place. Your new home is beautiful as well, and I think keeping much of your "old" furniture makes sense. Like others have said, it's classic.