Monday, May 4, 2009

Renovation Part 1 ... or "Why I Was AWOL"

It's hard to imagine the house as it was at the beginning of the year, but I found the camera's battery charger, spare battery and the USB cord to download photos. I just went through a heap of work-in-progress photos and it brought back the memories.

We lived in this place for 13 years before deciding to put our own personal stamp on the thing. I guess it took that long to determine our sense of "style." I knew it was going to be a lot of work; I've watched friends renovate their homes. Whatever we did, I wanted to do it when we knew it would stick with us for a long, long time.

I had "discovered" the Arts and Crafts style quite a number of years ago and it slowly took root in my mind as what I'd like to have in my home. Even having the style in mind, picking and choosing the color palette and textures and everything else that goes into home decor design was an arduous process. Most of the standard palettes for the Arts and Crafts interiors were very warm in tone. Both hubby and I prefer the cool tones. But with the help of a good friend who has a very keen eye for interior design (she really oughta hang a shingle, she could make a fortune!) the color palette was finally decided.

I'll post pictures of the walls, etc later on. I need to tidy the house a bit before taking some "after" shots. :o)

So here is the first part of what will be a series. The renovation is by no means over. There are still plenty of details to finish up, but all the major, back-breaking, arm-aching work is done ... for now. There is still bedrooms, bathrooms, family room and the dreaded kitchen. Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Anyone having too much money is more than welcome to send some this way!

This first photo is the dining room. I believe the color is up on the walls. I chose Olympic Paint's "Camel" for the dining/living room walls. It's not a huge statement of color, but it's much prettier than the basic off-white we lived with for all those years. By the way, Olympic is a nice brand of paint. It's relatively inexpensive, and therefore doesn't have the coverage the more expensive brands may have, but there is absolutely NO ODOR! I believe the VOC registers a big, fat 0 (zero) when tested. If you hate the smell of fresh paint, consider this brand. We bought all our paint at Lowes.

This is still quite early in our process. Eventually, all the furniture you see was moved out into the garage where it was stored for about a month. Our cars were NOT happy.

What I want you to notice is the dining room light. I believe it is original to the house. This house was built in 1979 by a firm that used to be known as Fox and Jacobs (now called Centennial Homes). When we bought the home, I liked the lighting. I still, to this day, could live with it if I had to, but it's definitely not Arts and Crafts.

The dining room light was probably the toughest choice out of all the possible choices we had to make. I looked long and hard for a light that I liked. For whatever reason, I avoided Home Depot's lighting department. Since most of our purchases were made at Lowes, I hardly went into Home Depot. But I made a trip to find something not available at Lowes. While there, I thought: "Why not check out the lighting." That's when I saw this:

It was love at first sight! Of everything that changed in our world, this is my absolute favorite. Four-square in traditional stained glass style of the Arts and Crafts movement. My artisan heart still skips beats when I look at this light ... the details are amazing. And burnished bronze ... I'm seriously into burnished bronze now. I got all new switch and outlet plates in "Venetian Bronze" to coordinate. There is even a choice of the lamps pointing up or down. I choose up so when I sit at the dining table and gaze up to the lighting, I see the beautiful stained glass rather than the screwy looking "green" bulbs.

Click on the photo to get the larger version and see more of the detail. This is really a gorgeous lamp. I didn't expect this sort of find at any of the big box stores that we all see in throughout the United States. I searched endlessly on the internet, but never found anything I truly wanted. Even when looking at things I knew I could never begin to afford, I never saw anything as beautiful as this.

This shot is the entry way and stairs. Again, it's the lighting on which I'd like you to focus. It used to coordinate with the old dining room light, but one of the glass hoods broke and I couldn't find a replacement since the thing was already close to 20 years old at the time. So I took all the hoods off and went with bare naked bulbs, although I used the "frosted" version to give it a fraction of an ounce of style. The biggest problem with that light was the chain. The thing hung low enough that anyone over 6 feet tall had to duck or bob their head out of the way. Our contractor friend told us to be sure to change out that light!

The stairway is draped because the walls above the first landing was getting its coat of paint. "Timeless Taupe" is also by Olypmic Paints. The rustic wood of the stairs, and throughout the rest of the house was changed from a very dark brown to Lowe's Valspar brand of paint in a gorgeous color called "Oyster."

I found this when I found my dining room light. While not an exact match, it's very close (and an exact match isn't necessary anyway!). It's a semi-flush mount and the angle you think you see is really what it is. Our ceilings in this part of the house are at on slope of about 15 degrees. I was concerned that having any sort of flush mount would look weird, but it works. And all our tall friends are happy. And the hubby is happy. Even most of the NBA could enter our house now and not have to duck.

You may get a fair glimpse of the ceiling texture if you click on the photo to get the larger version. I did not save these photos as hi-res, but you may see the suede-effect on your monitor. The beam is the "Oyster" color I mentioned above. A lot of the wood trim in our house is that rough finished pine which drinks paint and tears up brushes. Rollers were out of the question since they don't make rollers for that rough of a texture. I bought every type of roller available. I ended up using cheap brushes, a ton of sheeting and just slapped the paint on thick.

And finally, the newest light. We bought new furniture to go with the new decor (when you see the rest of the "before" pictures in the next installments, you'll agree new furniture was needed) which included a huge "papa bear" chair for the hard-working hubby. But with it's logical and natural placement in the living room, there was no direct lighting for which he could read. I've had my eye on this lovely thing at JC Penney for over a year. When it went on sale at half off, I couldn't resist. I had to break out the credit card to get it ... something I was trying so hard to never use again. Backslides are no fun, but at least this light is pretty enough to cover the guilt with pleasure!

Stay tuned ...


Jenn said...

Ha! I only refurbish when I'm getting ready to sell. At least you decided to do it when you were fully committed to living and enjoying it. It's looking fabulous, Hilar!

Annette Piper said...

So good to have you back in the blogging world Hilary - and I LOVE your lights!!!! Can't wait to see the next instalment :)

Lynette J said...

It really does look fabulous Hilary! I know I was super impressed with all the work that you guys put into it. And the new furniture is soooo comfy!