Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mid-week Update: Ranch Renovation Diary

 Before we get into the latest adventures, I want to hug everyone who shared ideas and heartwarming stories about how to make a new house a home. You ladies rock! And you are so wise. I can't begin to explain how much you helped. This move is fraught with psychological undertones, and I was bowled over by how you saw straight to the heart of the matter. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell your journeys and for talking me down from the ledge. 
Today, I felt as if all of you were with me today, cheering me along, when I realized that my dining room table may not fit. A previous owner had made this space into an office, and she'd added open bookshelves. The bar area was eliminated to give much-needed space to the laundry room. But it closed in the dining room even more. Give and take, I guess.

These photos were taken with a wide-angle lens, by the way.

My contribution was to add glass doors. A girl can't have too much dish storage, right?

But I hadn't realized that the chandelier was situated in the center of the room--and the left-sided bookcases jutted out. If I place the pedestal table (a long rectangle) dead center under the chandelier, would the chairs bump into the left-sided bookcases? The room is teeny tiny. Today, it looked more like a square than a rectangle, but I could have been wishing for the shape to change. That said, the room isn't exactly square. It's a square-tangle. In any event, I'm going to make a template of my old table, and I'll report back. 

If the table is too wide, I will try the round, breakfast room table. It's 60 inches in diameter. 

I also met with my cabinet maker, Jimmy, to discuss a mantel. He's pretty sure that he'll have it ready by Christmas. I'm thrilled!

He took photos of the old bar. It's oak, with a dark walnut stain, so that's a good starting place for the mantel. A dark oak mantel will add a little visual weight to the fireplace and also give a nod to the heavy pieces on the other end of the room, like this bar. 

After Jimmy left, I tinkered in the mud room. I started with a pillowcase cushion cover. You know me, something felt off.

I found a buffalo plaid tablecloth and turned it into a make-shift cushion cover. Still haven't found the coat hooks, but I haven't really looked that hard. ;-)

I have been struggling with the guest room. First, I tried the Pottery Barn bedding (after it was rejected in the master). I'd planned to mix the patterns with the wildlife duvet and shams (not pictured). 

I flipped the duvet and shams to the lighter side.

Next, I packed up my old guest room bedding. A decade ago, I'd loved it. Now, it felt as if it belonged to a fussy old dame (well, I am old and fussy. My mom is 87-years young and not fussy in the least--she says the bedding is welcome to visit her guest room). 

The draperies have a green ball trim, which isn't visible from afar. Mainly they add texture, which is always welcome.

 Neutral bedding was my first choice for the guest room, but I didn't want to rush buy anything. Then I remembered the summery white/cream bedding that I'd used in the old house. I packed it up.

I went to work in the new guest room.

The previous owner's designer centered the chandelier with the doorway. It's not centered in the room, but I rather like it this way. I have found so many little "designer" details like this. I'm just very slow to recognize them (it only took a year or so).

I have an ink stain on one of the boxed pillows (that's what I get for writing in bed), but it was easily hidden. The decorator who lives inside my iPhone is a real pest, but this time I agree with her. She says she likes the neutral bedding with the wall color and draperies. 

I will play around with furniture arrangement and art--and that should be fun.  I'll try the bed on the left wall. After living in places with high ceilings, I adore the cozy dimensions of the 5th wall. The room itself is a large rectangle, so I hope to create little sitting areas. When my mother visits, I want her and Jazzy, her Shih Tzu, to feel completely at home. A warm rug underfoot, soft bedding, lamps, a table to put a water glass, a place to watch TV, and extra blankets.  

Finally, the carport was screened in. The asymmetry at each end is a bit unnerving, but I adore the stone, which is original to the house. It's a keeper. Also, the porch looks fine from a distance. Come spring, I'll add a little trellis (which had been the plan from the beginning) and plant climbing roses. I still like the idea of window boxes, too.
I'm trying to decide about a paint color for the interior of this space. It's mostly stone, except for one planked wall. White or gray paint would give leeway with accessories, but I am very tempted to try BM Wythe Blue on the planked wall and beamed ceiling. Or green, possibly Kennebunkport, something that would work with the shake but be fun. Normally I'd just slap up White Dove, but I am going to think about this and paint samples.
We can't add an overhead light, so we're putting up string lights. 

Hopefully I'll share photos of the dining room table. Stay tuned. And thanks so much for visiting me today.
Shared at:
Wow Us Wednesdays
French Country Cottage
Amaze Me Monday
Metamorphosis Monday
The Scoop


  1. Love being able to see all the "auditions"!

  2. Always fun to watch to house evolve. I love the buffalo plain in the mudroom!

    1. I wish I could find a puffer vest in that pattern. :-0

  3. One more word of cautionA: remember that there are seven "steps to design.......furniture placement comes way before the final decorative fussy decor elements................so you may just be driving yourself crazy putting the cart before the horse. Just saying it may be making things worse and angst-ridden for you in the long run. hugs. ♥

  4. Don't fret. Build it and the ideas will come. Live in your home and let it take the time to "speak" to you.

    1. Thanks, Brenda. It's kinda like writing. The best ideas always come after the first draft is out of the way.

  5. The space is just wonderful, and those long windows -- sigh:-) Love seeing it all coming together for you!

    1. Aw, thanks, Anita. I was just admiring your dining room over at Savvy Southern Style.

  6. This is fun to see the space coming together for you. I agree with Brenda. Don't rush it. Live with it and let it evolve as you go. I love the buffalo check on the mud room bench. Looks great with the pillows! '-)
    Funny reading about the bedding. I kept our previous bedding, Ralph Lauren madris plaid comforter and shams for years. Finally let it go, but now regret that move. Same as letting go of some pieces of furniture with the move to this house. I know we can't keep it all, but I try. Ha!
    Eager to see more and more as you make progress.

    1. I guess regrets are part of the process. I regret selling some pieces, and I regret buying others. Yet the letting go is so necessary. I can't remember the verse, but the Bible talks about this--building a bigger barn.

  7. I'm looking forward to seeing how you cozy up that guest room!

  8. When we downsized after our last child married I was in love with the new house until we actually moved in. I felt frozen and couldn't make decisions about color, furniture placement etc. A friend told me that the new house was missing the laughter that lived in the walls of the old house and as soon as we started adding it to the new house it would allow us to move forward. My wise friend was right so be patient and add some laughter and memories and it will feel like home and everything will find it's place.

    1. Phyllis, I'm so glad you shared your friend's wise words. You know, laughter is truly needed. Such good advice! Thank you.

  9. The dining room is beautiful- shuffling the tables isn't an easy task. I wonder how one of those drop leaf dining tables would work so it doesn't take up much room until you need it. I know you don't need another table- just a thought. The new arrangement in the mud room is cute- the red/black piece added a nice balance for the pillows. The chandelier in the guest room makes me want to put a small table below it with a sitting chair. Your rooms are so large- it gives you so much flexability. That picture of your old bedroom with the neutrals is fantastic- you definitely have style!!

  10. All the decision making may be stressful, but you seem to be making all the right decisions that will make your house feel like home. BTW, Wythe Blue is appealing. I painted a table Kennebunkport green, and I have to confess there are greens I like better, but that's not saying it wouldn't work perfectly in your setting.

  11. "Playing house" can be so much fun! Square-tangle. Hilarious!

  12. Michael, I love everything!! You are so wonderful to bring us on every step along the way! Your taste is impeccable. Thank you also for "thinking aloud" with us!! Your floors are beautiful. The chandeliers are stunning! It has challenged me and my taste to see how your style has changed. A big heartfelt thank you for bringing us along on this journey!!!

  13. Love the buffalo plaid in the mud room! It's taken 32 years to get our home to the point where I really love it. And just when I think I'm done...I decide to try some thing else. I do know what you are going through...you will be fine....so will the ranch burger. Breathe...and enjoy! ;)

  14. I love the red and black buffalo check! It really sets off the pillows on the bench. The guest room looks dreamy and I agree, the neutral colors are perfect. Oh, and that bedskirt...I'm sighing...so romantic. I think you'll figure out the best table for the dining room, but it's the chandelier that makes me swoon. It's fun to see your choices along the way and to see how your tastes have changed through the years. That's what makes decorating fun!

  15. You have made such headway Michael Lee, so don't be so hard on yourself. That said, relax and enjoy the journey. I am so in total love with your Dining Room floor that I am going to ask my GC if its possible to do similar in my Living Room as prefer to have that area without an area carpet. (Once the wall to wall carpeting is out, I will definitely be chalking a template.) On that note, appreciate your hospitality of having me join your adventure of upgrading your new home as I have learned a multitude of things from you. -Brenda-

  16. I always look forward to seeing all the changes in your new home. Once you get your furniture in place the rest will take form. You will probably be able to shop your old home for all the items you need.

  17. I noticed how beautiful your floors are right away. I also couldn't help thinking this girl has so much energy. Glad you are feeling better.
    So many decisions. Can't wait to see the final reveal.
    I've been out of town and missed your post about making a house a home. I'm headed to the link to do that now.

  18. How fun this must be but know from experience it can also be so dang stressful...
    I think what you are looking at in the mud room is the distance from the shelf down to the bench...it's a long way down...
    as soon as you get the hooks in, and things hanging from them, it will bridge that distance and you will love it....
    my daughter in law has one almost identical in her mud room and it is so awesome. She has a place to hang wet towels an such and she loves it.

  19. Your home is breathtaking! I love your style! Have a great day!

  20. It is such fun following along on your renovation...the bedding is so beautiful! And the plaid buffalo check...perfect!

    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  21. The mud room looks great with the plaid seat cover. I can't wait to see your new mantel. Hope it gets here in time to hang your stockings on!