Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ranch Renovation Diary: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

 As with most home remodeling projects, one must face the good, the bad, and the ugly--also the unexpected. I spent most of the summer doing armchair renovating: my general contractor or his assistant sent photos and email updates, and I either approved or "tweaked" from afar. Sometimes it's difficult to know if a photo tells the real story, so I put a mental check-mark beside a few pictures and pushed them from my thoughts. If anything in this world can wait, it's interior design.

Yesterday, I stopped by the house to water the flowers, and I was happy to see that the faux-copper gutters were being installed. 

I'd like to add operable shutters to windows on the garage elevation (and a few other windows). Haven't started to think about a paint color, though I've ruled out white/off-white. Black, dark green, and dark blue-green seem to be classic choices for shake. But stained shutters may work, too.

When Medana sent photos of the mirrors and sconces, I filed them under "worry about this later."
In order to save money, the existing electrical outlets for the sconces were used everywhere. This had a few repercussions. In the upstairs bath, the sconces needed to be moved up a bit so the mirrors wouldn't graze the backsplash. I'm not sure it's worth the $ or trouble to raise everything. 

I love the style, though.
The sconces and mirrors are from Ballad Designs (Tyler's bath).

We had a different problem in the guest bath. I adore the black Uttermost mirrors.  They could be a tad lower, I guess. The sconces will be replaced...eventually. They're okay for now. We topped them with shades that Bandy found in the garage, and they worked surprisingly well.

I really love these sconces (see mock up below), mainly because they work with the shape of the mirror, and they're just pretty to my eye. I've bought a tester sconce, but I haven't been inside the house in nearly 2 months to see if the sconce will work.
More on that later.

Our cute twig and bird mirrors for the master bath were darling but a tad too small. Or maybe the sconces are too large? At any rate, we have 5 sconces and 2 mirrors, so the sconces may have to stay.

We've definitely got a scale problem. A wider, taller mirror is needed here. My first instinct was to hang transferware plates above the mirrors--but I'm not sure it would help that much. The good news is, I have lighting and mirrors. Tweaking can come later, much later. 

A problem with the flooring cropped up in August: they didn't "cure," or somesuch, due to the humidity. My contractor was most unhappy with this, and he's redoing them. He put humidifiers in several rooms, and blocked rooms with plastic, hoping to dry out the air. So we won't be moving for a while. We're living out of boxes, which is a bit wild. But there's nothing for it.

Bandy took this photo through the window--you can see the screens that Mike set up, trying to prep the floors. 

You may remember our decision not to install split cedar shake all over the house due to the cost. Paint turned out to be a sensible solution...but which color?

Now, the painted bricks look different throughout the day. I'm still thinking that lattice (and vines) will go a long way to add charm. Too, landscaping will make such a difference. 
But this sort of tinkering is something that a homeowner just can't know until she has lived in the house a while. 

My painter, Don-Don, found the paint for the bricks, and he did a great job. 

A future project will be What To Do With the 70s Style Carport?
I'm thinking it may be handsome if it's screened-in. If I win the lottery, though, I will
add windows and turn the space into a potting shed. Until then, we did minimal tinkering.

Below,  you can see my "armchair notes" to Mike.

You may remember that we opened the staircase wall, which made the space much brighter...but now I must choose a style for the rail, etc. It's small. I'm thinking Keep It Simple.

The spooled sconces from Shades of Light were beyond perfect. I need one more for the stairwell, but SOL no longer stocks them. Luckily I found an online source.

Still loving the black-painted doors.

I can't remember if I showed you the farm sink in the laundry room. I found a less expensive model on the Internet, and I really love it. We're just waiting for the floors to be refinished and the arrival of our butcher's block counter.

 Finally, the only room we didn't change--and won't ever change: a lovely powder room. Makes me smile each time I see the grass cloth walls, shuttered windows, and antique vanity. 

 Fingers crossed that the humidity will vanish, and we'll be in our home sweet home by Thanksgiving. As always, thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the world. I've missed y'all like crazy.


  1. That is a BIG project and it is coming together.

  2. Your home is looking spectacular and I know you are excited to move in. All your choices are right on. I really like the black doors and light fixtures.

    Hope you feeling better, take care of yourself. Enjoy Fall coming up on Wednesday. It still is terrible here in SO CA 104 today, needless to say I didn't go out side very much. But, tomorrow we are going to have some rain, I hope.

    Have a wonderful week.


  3. It's so nice to see the updates, Michael Lee. I sure hope you'll be cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in your home, sweet home.

  4. You have been a trooper through all of is beautiful and I am sure you are more than anxious for move in day to finally arrive. I would be overwhelmed with a project this size as I am a very impatient person!
    Have a great week, Michael Lee.

  5. I have enjoyed watching your ranch burger reno from afar. I hope things are going well for you and you feel better soon. And I hope the floors do whatever they are supposed to do and that you can move in soon. Then the tinkering can begin.

  6. Michael Lee, it is so much fun to read an update. I'm with Kitty. I sure do hope you'll be celebrating Thanksgiving in your new home. I know you must be beyond ready to get settled.
    Think of you daily and miss you.

  7. We've missed you too Girlfriend ! A lot !
    Your home is lovely - your choices are all beautiful and you handle it all so well with patience and calmness....

  8. I was so happy to see your update. Missed you - Hope all is well.

  9. Oh I think your carport has so much potential as a wonderful open air living space for relaxing, dining or potting! Especially with the view from the back and those wonderful stone columns with the climbing ivy.I can just picture outdoor drapery panels and candle chandy!

  10. You've come a long way on this home. I hope you can iron out some of the details that must seem so taxing soon. I want to come down there and crack the whip for you! I can't believe you're going to have to wait until November now to move in. I imagine the view is spectacular in the fall! Hugs, Liz

    1. We've hit the wall this time. Or dare I say _floor_? If the humidity "isn't right," the floors will just bubble up again, apparently.

  11. I will keep my fingers crossed that all works out for you to be in by Thanksgiving. You've been so patient, and I can only imagine it hasn't been easy. The great thing is that everything is looking fantastic.♥

  12. I'd turn the carport into a sunroom or at the very least put a wood burning pizza oven out there!

  13. I'd use the carport as a sun room or at the very least put a wood burning pizza oven out there!

  14. All will be fine....and I agree that one must live in a house for a bit to see what needs to be done. Daughter and son in law are buying their first house, and I told daughter to "listen" to the house. It will tell you things...sunrise, sunset, affect colors, etc.
    I know your house will be lovely and a cozy nest for your family! Sheila

  15. oh what a set back having to redo the floors! I feel like the humidity has been extreme this year, I'm tired of showering every 5 minutes :) Hang in there, everything is going to be stunning. You are smart not to sweat the details right now, sometimes you have to live there for a while to figure it out. You've inspired me to paint some of my doors black, just haven't found the time yet, but can't wait, I love the look~

  16. My hope for you is more good....lots more good than ugly...and that powder room is beautiful!...

  17. Howdy from the Kansas Prairie. Dear Lady, you have a wonderful decorating touch. It's eye candy to see what you are changing in your Ranch. Blessings and may our Autumn be mild.

  18. It's so exciting to watch your renovation; it's going to be amazing!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  19. Wow, a lot has taken place since I've seen your house. I have my fingers crossed about the humidity problem, but all in all you've made big strides to get this far. Everything is fitting into place and I'm so thrilled for you. Being able to actually live in the house will quickly clarify what works and what you want to change. I hope you have a lovely week ahead.

  20. Hang in there. I admire your attitude and optimism. Was glad to read an update and hope you will be in your new home ahead of schedule.