Category Archives: Before and After

Can I Be in Love?

I walked down into the barren living room and am in love with the color, Revere Pewter. The cornice and baseboard molding are nicely bold in the space.  Of course I would like to beef up the front door trim and paint the door.

I'm itching to move the furniture into this spacious and serene room.

I’m itching to move the furniture into this spacious and serene room.

It used to look like this (same viewpoint).

The living room door has exchanged places with the window on the right in the picture above.

The living room door has exchanged places with the window on the right in the picture above.

Was it genius to move the door or what?

I’m glad to have you weigh in on the door color.  Or wait until the furniture is in place.

What are you loving lately?

 

Window to Wall

In the renovation lots of small but essential changes happened in the living room.

This living room window which looked out over the backyard has been removed.

This living room window which looked out over the backyard has been removed.

In addition to the front door and a window changing places we also removed a window.

From the conservatory side the window ended up in the closet.

From the conservatory side the window ended up in the closet.

After the conservatory was built on the other side of the living room, the window backed up to the conservatory closet.

Studs were added to the window opening so a piece of drywall could be added.

Studs were added to the window opening so a piece of drywall could be added.

Our contractor filled it in with drywall. He had to add a small strip of wood on the studs to make the almost 70 year old drywall at the same level as the new patch.

The window filled with drywall.

The window filled with drywall.

The drywall crew came back especially to mud the seams so it could disappear.

The large area of drywall mud is where a window was removed.

The large area of drywall mud is where a window was removed.

Yesterday I painted that wall Revere Pewter. The ceiling is Edgecomb Gray.

The room is considerably darker with that window removed.

The room is considerably darker with that window removed.

Since we now have a very bright and sunny conservatory the living room is more moody and cozy.

This very large painting won't seem so high off the ground when the furniture is moved back into the room.

This very large painting won’t seem so high off the ground when the furniture is moved back into the room.

I also am happy to finally have a wall big enough on the first floor to hang a favorite painting which has been hanging in the back bedroom.

Do you find change exciting or exhausting?

Diminishing Returns

Even before our formal renovation began Charlie started to demolish our stone terrace, concrete porch, and brick walkway.

The demoed terrace which ultimately became our new kitchen

The demoed terrace which ultimately became our new kitchen

The result of all that jackhammering was a 40-ton pile of rubble.

Tons of rubble at the back of our driveway divided the cottage from the house.

Tons of rubble at the back of our driveway divided the cottage from the house.

Both our excavator and contractor thought I was crazy when I said I would get rid of it by listing it on Craigslist.

Our ad on Craigslist has elicited some interest.

Our ad on Craigslist has elicited some interest.

Over time the pile has reduced

Using the grey stones as a size gauge the pile was once enormous.

Using the grey stones as a size gauge the pile was once enormous.

and reduced

The volume of rubble is definitely diminishing and we haven't paid anyone to take it yet.

The volume of rubble is definitely diminishing and we haven’t paid anyone to take it yet.

and now I would estimate half a ton left — almost nothing.

Now the rubble pile is much smaller than the gravel we're saving to spread on the driveway.

Now the rubble pile is much smaller than the gravel we’re saving to spread on the driveway.

I think I’ll list it one more time before we call it gone.

What have you given away for free?

 

 

 

 

A Little Touch Up

These 2 rise-and-fall-pendants hang over the island.

These 2 rise-and-fall-pendants hang over the island.

When the electrician put in the lights over the kitchen island he had to adjust the position of the fixtures and therefore we have had two white patches on the ceiling.

Rise and fall fixtures hang over the kitchen island.

Rise and fall fixtures hang over the kitchen island.

While I was painting the living room ceiling I pulled out the almost-empty can of kitchen ceiling paint in the same color, Edgecomb Gray.

The white spots have been covered (the bright spot in the photo is a reflection).

The white spots have been covered (the bright spot in the photo is a reflection).

I also had the bright idea of painting the bright white ceiling air registers, too.

The air register in front of the kitchen window pendant was annoyingly white and shiny.

The air register in front of the kitchen window pendant was annoyingly white and shiny.

I painted them 2 light coats with a brush.

Before

Before

 

After

After

Next paint project: living room walls. I bought paint yesterday with a 20% discount coupon. Yippee!

Have you done any touching up lately?  Annoying? Satisfying?

Dogwood and Door Mats

Charlie mentioned to me that “we” should trim the dogwood tree near the Cottage away from the wall light.

Charlie would like to trim the dogwood from around the outdoor light hanging over the window in the middle of the wall.

Charlie would like to trim the dogwood from around the outdoor light hanging over the window in the middle of the wall.

Since he is a heavy-handed an enthusiastic pruner I did the deed myself.

One branch down and the job is finished.

One branch down and the job is finished.

It wasn’t a tough job.  Just like cleaning the muddy door mats wasn’t tough.

I scrubbed and squirted with the hose these indoor small rugs.

I scrubbed and squirted with the hose these indoor small rugs.

Although squirting them off was not really enough.

It took some scrub brush action to remove the sticky mud from the rubber door mats.

It took some scrub brush action to remove the sticky mud from the rubber door mats.

Charlie had to take a scrub brush to them before we could put them back on our impeccably clean porches.

A clean door mat keeps a lot of dirt outside that might be tracked in.

A clean door mat keeps a lot of dirt outside that might be tracked in.

And in front of the Cottage.

What was your weekend project?

 

So Jealous

Every time I read a blog post about decorating a porch I am was envious.

The building process of the side porch.

The building process of the side porch.

Even after our porches were built we had to wait for the bluestone decks to be professionally acid washed before we could truly call them finished.

I love the blue stone porch decks.

I love the blue stone porch decks and the electrical outlets near every exterior door.

Using outdoor furniture we already own I have given porch decorating a try.

From this .  .  .

From this . . .

To this.

To this.

The fun thing is that the items on the porch aren’t necessarily dedicated to the space.

French garden chairs and metal folding table. Since this photo I've switched out the galvanized vase for some potted mint as a mosquito deterrent.

French garden chairs and metal folding table. Since this photo I’ve switched out the galvanized vase for some potted mint as a mosquito deterrent.

If I want to change something, no problem, just move it or replace it.

A shady haven on a sunny day.

A shady haven on a sunny day.

For now I’m smitten with the yellow flowered pillows (which I had been storing in the attic) on the blue bench.

Didn't buy a thing for this space.

Didn’t buy a thing for this space.

Additional planned upgrades to the porches:

  • Paint the house (and therefore the porches) medium grey (probably).
  • Paint the trim white (not the Azek only the wood trim).
  • Paint the doors dark blue.

    The old back door was blue so I think I'll continue with blue for the doors.

    The old back door was blue so I think I’ll continue with blue for the doors.

  • Paint the beadboard porch ceilings light blue (maybe).

    The side porch ceiling primed in white.

    The side porch ceiling primed in white.

  • Add more plants and planters to the whole scene.
  • Landscape the yard (oh, yeah!).

    A little curb appeal would go a long way.

    A little curb appeal would go a long way.

  • Change the door hardware.
  • Put house numbers on the wall.

    I've won 2 of these signs: one for the front and one for the side doors.

    I’ve won 2 of these signs: one for the front and one for the side doors.

Wow, it really hurts to see the list in writing.  Only thing left to do is to get started.

What’s your next project?

 

Her Project; His Project

This past weekend I worked on freshening up two outdoor benches and moving them to new locations. The park bench is now newly stained and sitting on the side porch.

The newly stained bench with pillows is on the side porch.

The newly stained bench with pillows is on the side porch.

The other bench has been getting well-weathered in the garden, actually a little too weathered.

We found this bench in the trash in a nearby neighborhood.

We found this bench in the trash in a nearby neighborhood.

So I repainted “The Glade” with some outdoor paint.

The lettering was easy to repaint with the right size brush.  Paint pen would have worked, too.

The lettering was easy to repaint with the right size brush. Paint pen would have worked, too.

Then warm brown stain was wiped over the entire surface with a rag.

The lettering was outlined with black Sharpie and the entire top stained.

The lettering was outlined with black Sharpie and the entire top stained.

For now we’re using this bench on the front porch. Since the front porch is now symmetrically in the middle of the house (it used to be on the far side) we might actually want benches or planters on both sides but for now a place to park on the front porch.

Yes, the front door needs to be painted since we switched sides with the doorknob.

Yes, the front door needs to be painted since we switched sides with the doorknob.

Meanwhile Charlie was up on the roof cleaning out the gutters which were filled with oak tree flowers.  We have lots of large oak trees on the property which produce buckets full of gutter and downspout clogging oak tree flowers.

Oak tree catkins are an invasion pollen producer and gutter clogger.

Oak tree catkins are an invasive pollen producer and gutter clogger.

While he was on the ladder he removed his temporary downspout solution from the east side of the house.

The downspout that Charlie attached diagonally to the east wall of the house while renovation took place.

The downspout that Charlie attached diagonally to the east wall of the house while renovation took place.

The diagonal downspout has been removed.

The diagonal downspout has been removed and a new room added.

There are still lots of small but time-consuming household chores to get done before we can paint the house.

What’s your least favorite seasonal chore?

The Blue Bench

A few years ago I completely made over the ruins of a park bench.

Bench in 2011

Bench in 2011

Since then it’s been sitting out in the weather, in all seasons.

 The blue bench was hardly used in its spot in front of the Children's Garden near the shed.

The blue bench was hardly used in its spot in front of the Children’s Garden near the shed.

Now I want to use it on the side porch and while the spray painted iron supports are in good shape the wood slats need to be restained.

The iron is in good shape, the wood not so much.

The iron is in good shape, the wood not so much.

So I used the same old stain and carefully stained the boards blue again after washing the entire bench off with a hose.

"Deep Ocean" stain soaks into the dry wood.

“Deep Ocean” stain soaks into the dry wood.

Instead of returning the bench to the yard I’m going to use it on our covered side porch.

A few cheery pillows on the blue park bench by the side entrance.

A few cheery pillows on the blue park bench by the side entrance.

A welcome seat.

Do you try to reuse old stuff?

Away for a Week

Actually we went away for five days and the entire place bloomed.

The back yard

The back yard

Before we left the front of the potager had loads of purple iris buds.

The entrance to the potager a week ago.

The entrance to the potager a week ago.

Now the iris are in full bloom and almost finished due to over-abundant rain and wind.

The iris are blooming as well as the thyme (just left of the stone path).  Weeds have overtaken the boxwood in planter boxes.

The iris are blooming as well as the thyme (just left of the stone path). Weeds have overtaken the boxwood in planter boxes.

Charlie hastily planted these plants just before we left.

The garden was just starting to grow before we left.

The garden was just starting to grow before we left.

Charlie’s vegetable garden has really started growing, too.

Even from a second-floor window you can see the progress in the garden.

Even from a second-floor window you can see the progress in the garden.

One of the benefits/deficits of going away is that I can see The Glade with renewed eyes.

I've relisted our rubble pile on Craigslist for FREE. This is good rubble for shorng up a seawall.

I’ve relisted our rubble pile on Craigslist for FREE. This is good rubble for shoring up a seawall.

We’ve been working so hard during the renovation just to keep our head above water that the piles of debris and jury-rigged items have been hanging on for a long time.

The area in front of the Cottage needs to be rescued with a major clean-up.

The area in front of the Cottage needs to be rescued with a major clean-up.

This weekend we will try to start to get back to normal.

The downspout that was attached diagonally to the east wall of the house is disconnected now but still on the house. It's got to gooooo.

The downspout that was attached diagonally to the east wall of the house is disconnected now but still on the house. It’s got to gooooo.

These projects (which probably won’t feel too satisfying) are on the list.

We've disconnected all but one of the landline phones.  This would be a good time to reconnect.

We’ve disconnected all but one of the landline phones. This would be a good time to reconnect.

I don’t know whether we’ll get more done if the weather is nice or just the opposite.

Do you get accustomed to the chaos and just stop seeing it?

Comparing the Old and New Kitchens

Comparing our former and present kitchens is not really a fair comparison because we built a new wing on the house for the main purpose of becoming the kitchen.

The old kitchen

The old kitchen

The cooking side of the new kitchen

The cooking side of the new kitchen

Our old kitchen has become the side entrance mud room, closet and pantry.

The mudroom entry and pantry used to be the kitchen.

The mudroom entry and pantry used to be the kitchen.

Side by side things have really changed.

Our old kitchen sink on the left.

Our old kitchen sink on the left.

Charlie's washing up sink

Charlie’s washing up sink

We replaced one sink with 2 larger sinks on opposite sides of the kitchen.

Our old yellow apartment-sized stove and oven with four burners.

Our old yellow apartment-sized stove and oven with four burners.

The new stove has 5 burners and a large oven.

The new stove has 5 burners and a large oven.

The stove is a lovely improvement although I was able to cook many things in and on the old yellow one over the years.

The old pantry was a floor to ceiling cabinet in the corner of the old kitchen.

The old pantry was a floor to ceiling cabinet in the corner of the old kitchen.

The new pantry is in approximately the same place as the old one but opens at right angles to it and is at least twice as large.

The new pantry is in approximately the same place as the old one but opens at right angles to it and is at least twice as large.

We’ve been looking forward to an organized pantry. We still have a way to go.

The old cabinets were stained ocean blue on the bottom and limed on the top.

The old cabinets were stained ocean blue on the bottom and limed on the top.

The new cabinets are grey on the bottom and white on top.

The new cabinets are grey on the bottom and white on top.

The new cabinets are not just nice looking they’re really functional.

The old kitchen floor.

The old kitchen floor.

The gorgeous new floor.

The gorgeous new floor.

When we took up the vinyl flooring in the old kitchen the old wood floor wasn’t even good enough to refinish. Charlie ripped it out and the flooring installer added new.

The old countertop was white Formica that was very difficult to keep clean.

The old countertop was white Formica that was very difficult to keep clean.

We have 3 different materials for our new kitchen countertops.

We have 3 different materials for our new kitchen countertops.

I went a little crazy choosing countertops especially the long one under the window made of LightCast.  The stainless steel was also a bit of a chore.

The backsplash in the old kitchen was wallpaper behind the sink and some blue tile on the side of the stove.

The backsplash in the old kitchen was wallpaper behind the sink and some blue tile on the side of the stove.

Now the backsplash is tiled in honed limestone.

Now the backsplash is tiled in honed limestone.

The tiled backsplash is permanently sealed and lends a natural element to the kitchen.

This was a huge project and while we still have a few tweaks we are delighted to be using a fully functional upgraded kitchen.

Does thinking about remodeling your kitchen overwhelm you? Would you do it little by little? Or all at once?