*Lyrics from St. Vincent‘s Champagne Year from the Strange Mercy album. I still really adore this album, and this song really just felt appropriate for this post. I don’t think I’ve used it before, but I apologize if I have. Plus, we at the new job were all discussing that we felt that this coming year was going to be good. Perhaps not a champagne year, but, well, we could all use a bit of a respite from doom, couldn’t we?
So, I’ve been pretty absent from the blog lately, and, well, that’s because I’ve been pretty busy in real life. We got the pied-à-deux livable, and then had to immediately return to life in the Big House, in part because I was asked to help some clients design a whole house remodel. You heard that right: they found a fixer in an incredible neighborhood (on a coveted street) and wanted to just go for it. And they requested me. (Picture a small tear of gratitude welling in my eye.)
Having seen Dave’s craftsmanship and my design work in this kitchen and bath, as well as my entire house, they asked to have us come through the house and toss out a few ideas. You can’t imagine how overwhelming it is to meet new people, have brokers, builders, and other subs there, and to try to get to know someone’s taste/aesthetic/vibe right away. As we walked through the house, I got a feeling right away for what it should look like. For how it should be changed to meet the needs of a modern family. I felt like I could do a good job. And I was scared shitless.
Enter Project W (#projectw on instagram). Naturally I’m working with the old Innovative crew again, and happily so. Dave et al are so caring and skilled it’s hard to imagine I’ll ever work with anyone else. And of course we’ve got Brad and Eric from Osgood Electric, there, too. I even discovered that the roofing company that the clients hired – Florence Roofing – is owned by an old high school classmate. So it’s been like old times, with a little newfound stress thrown in. I mean, naturally, when you’ve been entrusted with gobs of someone else’s money, and 3,500 sq ft of living space, and the happiness of a loving family of four (plus a ‘bottomless well of need’ dog – sweet, sweet, sweet), well, you stress a little more than you do about your own project. No mistakes (impossible) and no regrets. That’s the goal.
We started in earnest at the house last week, but have been working with the clients for several weeks getting kitchen plans together, materials sourced and mood boards ready, paint colors and lighting chosen, tile, flooring, appliances, etc. ordered. It’s been so fun, and so challenging, but in the best way possible. This is the biggest project I’ve done to date (even my house is smaller than this one), and it’s probably my favorite to date, too. I mean, of course I love my own home (duh), but there is something special in helping someone else realize their vision. A vision they didn’t even know they had, until you unearthed it within them. Like birthing a home, I guess. Maybe I’m a design midwife! Anyway, it’s been an experience, and I’m so excited to be able to begin sharing the process with you.
First, some before pictures. The house was built in 1920, and had a huge addition put on in 1982. Our goal: to retain the character of the old parts of the home while updating it for a family today, or in the future. We’re tackling just about every surface, and nearly every room (though the kids’ bathroom will be done in another phase), so we’re talking kitchen, master bath, powder room, creating a new laundry room, and all the rooms that flow between those spaces. I always think about being a good steward to a home, and think about the changes we make having an impact not only on the people who live there now, but who might live there in the future. When you have a house that’s nearly 100 years old, you need to think about generations of families spending time there, and you need to make choices that are smart, and make the whole house feel unified and complete. Sounds pretty easy, right? Easy, gulp, peasy.