*Lyrics from Careful What You Say by Class Actress from their EP Journal of Ardency. This song resonated with me for this post because during the process of building/designing this home (and perhaps especially these last spaces), my relationship with my friend (the builder) was, to say it politely, strained. It’s inevitable to quarrel with those closest to you, and likely to happen again with someone else during my career/life. I’m sure it’s happened to you – with your spouse/partner, your client, your family – and I’m sure you hated it as much as I did. I loved this job, and was so completely grateful to have been able to be a part of it, but it took an emotional toll. And I guess I’m feeling a little nostalgic for the good times. (This winter feels really, really long this year.) Cheers to the happy times, to the promise of a new season, and of the hope for smoothing the scuffs and scratches that will just add patina to what I hope is a lifelong friendship.
And the AFTER tour continues… When we last met, I shared with you most of the main floor living spaces for Project W. Today I’m going to share the dining room, foyer, and powder room. When I first walked through the house with Mrs W, we both had the same vision for the foyer: gray, almost concrete-looking rectangular tile that would feel modern, not too dark, yet be easy to care for with two kids and a sweet, but sloppy dog. It took some doing, and some negotiating, and some pretty strong-willed moments (high five, Mrs W!), but we found our tile, and were able to achieve the exact look we imagined. Sometimes less is more, but sometimes you have to invest in a bit more to get more. At any rate, we ended up with a wonderful update to this formerly vinyl-floored space.
Just off the side entry – the mudroom area – is a powder room. Now, this space used to house the original kitchen; in fact, the old house stopped along the wall separating the new kitchen and dining room from the game room and entry hall. So the bathroom that was put in was decidedly from its time (1982).
I wanted to reclaim the character as we did with the master bathroom design, but knew that we couldn’t really spend too much to do so. We had to work with the space as it was for the budget’s sake, and we had to use materials that could withstand lots of traffic. We ended up finding a really reasonably priced ceramic mosaic tile that picked up on the black and white theme we used in the master (I love it when spaces in antique homes, like kitchens and baths, seem like they could have been installed during the house’s original build), which really helped to reinforce that 1920s feel we were after.
Having connected the powder room to the house’s architecture, I wanted to let the dining room really connect to the homeowners’ love of mid-century design. I knew they had some cherry and rosewood pieces that would look really nice atop their newly finished oak hardwoods, but that they needed a wall color that could support all of that rich, warm wood. Probably the most contentious battle with regard to the color palette happened regarding the dining room walls – SW Hazel – which virtually every woman loved and every man loathed. In the end, though, my clients agreed that the initial scheme was what they loved, and they stuck with my suggestion. I love the color. This room floods with light in the afternoon, and can really stand a rich hue on the wall. They are also avid art collectors, and I knew that an art wall would eventually really sing atop this rich but modern hue.
The entire first floor connects visually from room to room, zone to zone, and I think we really created a soft, watery, and flowing palette that is peaceful and soothing. I know that the clients’ soft furnishings, curtains, pillows, rugs, etc., will shift as time goes on, but the harder, more permanent things – tile, flooring, lighting – will enhance whatever additions they make.
I still have one last space to share with you. Stay tuned!
*Lyrics from Mean Streets by Tennis from their new EP Small Sounds. It’s no secret that I love this band, but this mini album is excellent. I dare you not to get this song in your head for several happy days.
I know you’re all still geeking out over the amazing, awesome, inspiring transformations from the One Room Challenge, but do you remember me teasing that I’d soon have pictures to share from my clients’ Project W house? Well, first room, here you go. This is a major BEFORE & AFTER post. Get ready.
It seems like so long ago that I first met with my clients on Project W, and first glimpsed at their terrible, wonderful, overwhelmingly dated raw material of a house that was to become their dream home. It seems like another life ago, not only because so much time has passed (and so much has happened), but because their home has completely transformed. You know those makeover shows where people don’t recognize a loved one, or think they’re in someone else’s home? Yeah, their house is kind of like that.
*Lyrics from You’re The Best (Around!) from THE Karate Kid (1984). I probably should have used ‘INSPIRING GUITAR SOLO‘ as my lyrics, but these words were slightly more accurate. I urge you to watch the video, at work, and loudly, preferably, and then do the crane kick at everyone you see for a whole day. Do it. I dare you.
So, yesterday I saw a dude who walks like Ralph Macchio. Jeff claims to not know what that means, but I ask you this: if you’ve seen The Karate Kid as many times as we (of my generation, you young’ns) have, don’t you instinctively know what I mean? I dare say he could pick Daniel-sun out of a walking line-up. Maybe it was a girl thing to notice. But, I digress. Ralph Macchio was likely on my mind because of the one-day Miyagi-style boot camp I held for myself yesterday.
*Lyrics from Good Intent by Kimbra from her album Vows. I was doing as I was told, by spotify, and checking out the latest pop albums. Must do what told. Spotify rules me. Ok, and it’s a catchy album, good voice, interesting melodies and instrumentation. So, there.
House Tour: Master Suite
How many houses from the 1920s can boast a master suite? Ok, probably quite a few at this point, but we think it’s pretty special to have our own private bathroom off our bedroom. It’s almost like its own apartment.
When we first bought the house, the bathroom adjacent was really the former maid’s bath. The sink was about 28″ off the floor (in other words, back-breakingly low), and the toilet was awkwardly placed next to the smallest shower on earth (I think it was 24″ square). Of course, I never took any before pictures of it (back then it didn’t occur to me to photograph ugly things!). Needless to say, we’ve renovated all of it: the bathroom is 100% new, including heated marble floors, recessed lighting, Starphire glass shower enclosure, and a custom trim package that matches the original 1920s woodwork.
*Lyrics from Love Is Greed by Passion Pit from their newly released album Gossamer. I first heard Passion Pit in Boston, during my summer of art, and therefore I will always associate them with my darling roommate, the light and happy mood of summer vacations, and creativity and joy. Good on them for releasing another album in the summer, especially when I’m feeling particularly vacation-y and creative. It’s as if they planned it that way.
House Tour: Family Bath
To continue with the grand tour of the home, let’s take a rest in the restroom. At least, the main one on the second floor. This room has been the trickiest one to photograph since all of the corners are occupied with things like, oh, bathtubs, toilets and cabinetry. But it’s efficient, and feels luxurious even if it isn’t ginormous like modern bathrooms tend to be (I mean, how much room does one really need to get ‘er done?). It’s one of my favorite rooms in the entire house, partly because I put in so much sweat equity into it, and partly because we worked with what we had, and took it from blech to beautiful. read on…
*Lyrics from The Shins‘ Fall of ’82 from their album Port of Morrow. I’ve been hearing these guys in my Pandora mixes of late, and this song reminded me of a long lost friend who I recently tried to reconnect with. So, I guess I’m feeling a little introspective and sentimental, which is good, especially when you try to do art. Helps to let it all out.
A few days ago I hinted on facebook that with the addition of a few DIY art pieces that one room in the house was mostly, very nearly, certainly almost, done. Well, I hope it’s not disappointing that the room I was referring to was the master bathroom. I mean, it’s the second smallest room in the house, and it has all of it’s infrastructure installed already. All I had to do was hang up some fresh towels, clean the sink, and hang a few pieces of art. Well, I’m calling them art… they might be considered craft projects to someone artier. But to me, to us, they’re arty enough.
We have the best neighbors. Seriously: generous, kind, fun, smart, and just a pleasure to live near. So when we were chit-chatting with them the other day about heading out to help my mom do some grocery shopping and to get some curtain rods they sprang into action offering the exact right color, size and number of rods we were after. Sweet! (The rods were earmarked for giveaway, so we knew we weren’t taking the shirts from their backs, so to speak.) And, since you all know our time together as marrieds is precious, being able to tackle a chore like hanging curtains right away when we got to mom’s place was a huge time saver. (Of course we still ended up spending hours going here and there, fully and completely exhausting my poor mama. But still.) And what a huge difference did the curtains (and rods) make! Makes me want to sew up some curtains tut suite for my own abode.
Remember way back when, in late August, when we closed on a condo for my mom to live in? I mean, really, if you read this blog at all how could you forget. But, what you may have forgotten is what it looked like before we got our grubby mitts on it. Oh, and I have some semi-after pictures for you, too. So there.
Now that the dust has settled a bit, and mom’s things have arrived, her old place has been relinquished back into the hands of her landlady, I can start to appreciate the entire journey that was renovating the condo. It was rough, for sure, but it was my lifelong dream to be able to give my mother a home. Of course, when I first imagined that I was probably 12, and thought she might like a cottage in Canada. She might still, but she’ll have to settle for a condo minutes from her only grandchild. (Something tells me she’s pretty ok with the current situation, and has no desire to move to Canada, Joni Mitchell or not.) I could not have done any of this without my dear husband, Jeff, for whom I am eternally grateful for being in my life. (He barely reads my blog, but when he does I hope he feel sufficiently embarrassed for being singled out.) I love you forever. Thank you for giving my mom a home.
*Lyrics from, well, if you don’t know, I don’t even know if I can talk to you anymore… who ARE you anyway?! Ok, it’s from Peaches & Herb’s hit from 1980, Reunited. I could have gone with this lyric as my title, too: “And you’re exactly what I’m dreaming of all through the day…” Pretty much, save for the love making references, all the lyrics are applicable to this post.
Wow, so let me just first say that I’m tired. I mean, completely tired. Knackered, pooped, walloped, crashed, buried, done, cooked. Like, worrying about falling asleep while driving home tired. Not remembering conversations, not knowing what day it is, let alone what time it is, forgetting to eat, going through the motions of life tired. Getting this condo up and running for my mom has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Like, ever. But so worth it, in the end (she did give birth to me and raise me, after all). And it wouldn’t have been possible without a little help from my friends. And by friends I mean trusty contractors Dave and Jonas of Innovative Construction Solutions (whom I consider actual friends, too, in case you are wondering).
*Lyrics from Phantogram’s You Are The Ocean off their album Eyelid Movies. I considered using the lyric “This song is about you, ’cause I can’t live without you” regarding Brad, since his work was so essential, but thought that the above sentiment was more accurate now. Not that I don’t think that I can live without Brad. I’m sure I can’t.
I can barely remember where I last left you. I mean, I think it was somewhere around painting the walls and floor delivery. Or something. Honestly, I had to look it up. Since then, so much has been done. Let’s see: the walls were patched and painted (last coats, minus touch ups if needed); the baseboards were completed (painted, patched, sanded, etc.); the dishwasher was installed; the sink faucet was swapped out; the (cheap-O, IKEA, it’ll do until we can really afford to tackle the kitchen) undercabinet lighting was installed; we installed the underlayment to prep for the flooring; and, some lights were swapped out (from 150watt flood lights to LED replacement kits). Also, Brad and Eric of Osgood Electric came by to add some closet lights, wire and install a fan/light in the bathroom, swap out some switches here and there, add some boxes for lighting in the stairway and the laundry area, and installed recessed lighting in the living room. Phew, again.