25 January 2011

change of scenery

Every time we lay down in bed we have to stare up at this hideous light:

These gaudy things are all over our house. Which I guess I wouldn't hate so much if A] I hadn't gone to design school and B] my parents hadn't installed them in our suburban split-level ranch in the 90's... (can't wait for my dad to call me a snob in the comments...)

Today, I just ordered a beautiful Artemis ceiling fan. This will be our new view:

Shipping in 2-3 days! I'm so excited.

04 January 2011

The plan

Before I post any more photos, I thought I'd post some floor plans to let you get to know the bungalow. Our house has 3 floors in total. The ground, or first floor, is raised up half a story above grade. There's a full basement, as well as an attic. The latter two floors were somewhat finished by the previous owners. I say somewhat, because it was done so poorly and we'll end up ripping most of it out due to poor construction/bad choices. 


Anyway, some things to note in the existing, or 'before' plan:
  • The ridiculously small foyer, and closet with a window inside of it... We eliminated the closet to make a much more gracious (and typical) entry.
  • Bedroom 2 - Now has no closet, so you're probably thinking, "well that wasn't so smart..." You  might also notice that you access the 2' wide stair to the attic through this bedroom. (There are so many code violations in that last sentence.) The future plan (think phase 2) is to build a real and code compliant stair to all levels, and turn bedroom 2 into more of an office or den.
  • Giant AC unit sticking through dining room wall - This unit was ancient, hideous, a huge energy waster and filthy. The brick above the opening was also compromised as a previous owner didn't provide any kind of lintel above the opening... That sucker was gone in a hurry!
  • Previous kitchen layout - Not only did those cheap cheap cheap oak cabinets and ugly laminate counters make me itchy, the layout was just stupid. I hate corner sinks with a passion. You'll also notice the dishwasher that you could not possibly load while standing at the sink, the giant side of the refrigerator that would greet you as you walked in to the kitchen, and the general waste of space on the north side of the room...
  • The porch room - A totally unnecessary vestibule to enter a little back room...

Here's the plan showing our first round of modifications to make the space livable for us (aka, Phase 1):

  • Expanded foyer - Don will be building a lovely little bench where we will sit to take off all our winter gear. A row of coat hooks will hang above the bench, and we'll have a few cubbies for mail and what-nots. I'm really excited to have a formal 'landing strip' so all our gear isn't strewn about.
  • New radiators - We had to replace all the radiators in the house as the old ones were all cracked. More on that later, but I am glad that the new ones are much more narrow than the old ones. 
  • Bath - We're living with what's there for now (except that hideous fake oak medicine cabinet. sick.), but did add a cabinet on the wall opposite the sink for extra storage. If you're wondering what that rectangular bit of space to the west of the tub is - it's a bench... A completely useless and sloped totally the wrong direction bench...  Or perhaps you noticed that the door and toilet have an, err, awkward relationship... (Not to mention the fact that when you're in the dining room you can see the toilet - gross!) This room will eventually be gutted. I want to eliminate the brick chimney that runs the height of the house (the boiler vents through it), but I don't yet have Don convinced it's worth the money...
  • Kitchen!!! - I am so excited to finally have a brand new kitchen designed to my specification. We used that little porch room vestibule to make a fridge niche (and larger closet and shelving niche) to get the fridge out of the middle of the kitchen. This allowed us to make a much more generous L-shaped cabinetry layout. We bought all the cabinets from Ikea and I am loving them! The eastern most portion of cabinets is a 12" deep, 84" tall pantry cabinet. Because of the big existing window (which I did not want to alter), a 24" deep cabinet wouldn't work, so the tall and narrow pantry was a good solution. In the next month or two, we'll be adding an island. I want an open stainless steel restaurant style table, Don wants base cabinets... More on the kitchen later.
  • Bedroom 1 closet - We're using this as our bedroom for now, and while the little walk-in closet was nice, it could certainly stand to be bigger for the both of us to share. Thanks to my little fridge niche idea, this was easy to do. I'm currently mudding and taping the drywall in here and we should have a functioning closet by the weekend. 
  • Craft Pantry!!! - My very own sewing and crafty space! The sewing machine will have a permanent home, and I won't have to share my storage with tools or the blow up mattress or suitcases or the printer or anything but my lovely domestic objects! The north wall will have a desktop with some drawers below and shelving above. That little shelving niche on the west side will have floor to ceiling shelves for my vases, paper goods, perhaps some baking items, etc. This room is my own little girly heaven! Notice the proximity to my oven. If you want to imagine my ideal Sunday, it involves baking pastry and sewing while wearing my pajamas and not going outside all day. If you call me this spring and I don't answer, it's probably because I am doing just that.
The next phases will involve building a real garage to house Don's woodshop, cleaning up the laundry area in the basement (yum, lead paint), building that real stair case, and finishing out the attic to house a master suite and another bedroom. In the meantime, we're finishing up the drywall work, getting organized and making plans. I'll also be stripping and restoring trim and doors... Stay tuned!

P.S. Whew - that was a long post! But now you have an idea of what I've been up to and why I haven't had time to blog!

03 January 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope your holidays were lovely. Ours went a little something like this:

Thanksgiving - hosted in our house! This was the big goal pushing us to work so hard throughout October and November, and we pulled it off! Don built a table from two sheets of drywall secured to sawhorses with metal studs. My mother was in town, and 8 of our close friends brought food and chairs to celebrate with us. The kitchen was assembled in time to actually use my new oven, and Don worked his butt off finishing up some things before everyone came over, and while my mom and I finished packing on Friday. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, thanks to my mom and our dear friend Nic, we moved everything in!

[The kitchen on the night before Thanksgiving]
[Our empty apartment after we moved everything and cleaned. Miss it and our landlords!]

Complicated Christmas - a little celebration we have with our friend Nic before we head to Kansas every year (3rd annual in 2010!). It involves dishes with really long names, too much wine, and hilarity. One of my favorite holiday traditions. 

[Our new, large Christmas tree - purchased on Ebay in August when we realized we'd need a much larger tree for our much larger space!]

Christmas - the usual marathon between parents' and grandparents' houses. We got lots of great loot for the house, and enjoyed our limited time with family. But I will say, if I never spend 24 hours in car in a 5 day period again, it will be too soon!

[In the dining room, looking towards the living room. Never mind the half-finished masonry and plaster infill behind the Christmas tree...]

New Year's Eve - we had a casual celebration with a couple of friends, and spent the weekend working on finishing up a few house projects. We took advantage of the Container Store's Elfa shelving sale and purchased the parts we need for our bedroom closet and craft pantry storage. I started mudding and taping the closet and shelving niche.

We don't have internet at home yet, but I'll try to post some more hearty updates full of photos and nuggets of remodeling info soon. We've accomplished so much in a relatively short time - all that work, paired with me switching back to my old job (!) has left little spare time for the blog.