Monday, September 28, 2015

Kitchen Nightmares

No I am not talking about the TV show with the angry, British chef.  I am talking about my kitchen.  It's BAD and it's on my radar for our next major project in the house.  Before I can get some serious quotes for cabinets and countertops, I need to nail down the layout. This is easier said than done because I am working with a space that is just shy of 12' x 12' with two doorways, a 3 ft radiator and a 5 ft wide window.  The typical solution when you've got a kitchen like this is to knock out a wall an expand.  Not an option here - I've got a stairwell on one side, a bedroom on another, the porch, and then one exterior wall (which, even if cost was a factor, we couldn't push back because the neighbor's house is too close).  I've made peace with the fact that I am not going to have an 8' island in the kitchen or a 36" professional range; I can live without those things no problem.  The question still remains - how the heck can you fit a functional, upscale kitchen in less than 144 sq ft!?  Oh yeah, and keep the budget around $10k?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Workin' on the Entryway

We have a small entryway off of the front porch entrance.  Its nothing grand, but it's a nice space to welcome guests with a rather generous coat closet.  For some reason, I failed to take a true before photo, so blogger fail on that...  Anyway, it had the same floral motif ceiling tile that we have/had throughout the main floor, along with the original crown and mouldings.  Man, what I thought would be a 2 weekend project is turning out to be much more of a pain in the rear!  It's just been nothing but little, time consuming complications.

First step, plaster repair.  While the side walls were in good shape with very little repair required, the arches were another story - they were a cracked and crumbling mess!  When we renovated the living room (check out more of that here) we discovered that the arches that flank the entry were not original.  They had plaster over metal lath, so my guess is that the arches were install sometime in the 30's when the upstairs was completed or in 60's when the rest of the "improvements" - a la ceiling tile, paneling and the kitchen remodel - were completed.  But really, who knows.  In any event, who ever installed the arches did not do a very good job tying the new plaster into the original walls and plaster, so it was crack city.  I chipped it all away and was left with this loveliness...  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Contrasting Ceiling Color

I am having a serious crush on ceilings that are painted a bold or contrasting color. I think it's a great and inexpensive way to add some drama and color.

I think that this design choice works better in a smaller room, such as a bathroom or a laundry room. I am working on our entryway ceiling right now, and I am toying with the idea of painting it a color instead of white.  Hmmm....


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Farmhouse And Other Misc. Stuff...

During our mini-vacation in Michigan, we had a chance to look at the farmhouse I blogged about last week.  After mulling it over all weekend, it is with mix feelings that we decided we had to pass.  The house was built in the late 1800's with an addition that was put in in the back somewhere between the 40s-60's I would guess (exterior looks more 40's but interior looks more 60's). Because the house was so old, it was built before indoor plumbing.  The main house had a large living room, dining room and kitchen, with 4 equally sized bedrooms upstairs.  The addition was off of the back of the house, and it had a vestibule area just as you came in from the side door with a powder room, and then it connect back to the main house through the kitchen. There was a bedroom/den/office situation, and then a full bath and large closet type room which were accessible from the main house only.  The original house was actually in really good shape.  It was straight and square with tons of original details intact. The ceilings were 10' tall on the main floor and at least 8'6" if not 9' on the second floors.  I will share a few close up pictures of the details, but since I don't own the house, I don't feel comfortable sharing more.

Lovely ornate grill cover.
Fantastic pocket doors - they were 8' tall!
The door hardware on the pocket doors.
The door hinges throughout... Can you imagine these with the paint removed?
The base boards on the main floor were nearly a foot tall!  And I am pretty sure all the wood was walnut...
The entry vestibule area.  The woodwork was in such great shape!
The beautiful exterior. 
The addition, however, was in horrible shape!  It stunk, was literally falling apart and for sure had to be taken down to the studs, if not portions of it completely rebuilt.  The plumbing was mostly copper, except the line to the kitchen, so that was a positive.  But the electricity wasn't functioning at the time we toured the house which was concerning.  The panel looked a little crazy with a mix of cloth covered and newer wiring.  I saw some porcelain knobs in the basement, so I am pretty sure most of the electrical in the walls was knob and tube.  This makes me nervous because that means there is nothing protecting the wiring (no conduit or metal sheathing) and I view that as a potential fire hazard.  The roof was also not in very good shape and there was evidence of a roof leak in the addition.  The clap board was actually in crazy good shape, but there was still some rot that would need to be addressed.  

Despite how wonderful this house could be, it needs more work right now than we can really handle. Had it just been updating the electrical, or just replacing the roof, or just dealing with the addition, it probably would have been a contender.  Or if I had oodles of money to throw at it and contract everything out...  Now I just pray that the house goes to someone who appreciates it and doesn't rip out everything that makes it so special!   

On a brighter note, I picked up this fantastic vintage oval pedestal sink with faucet for $200 from a salvage sale in Lakeview. Pretty sure it's worth $800-$1000 based on what I'm seeing online.  I would say that is one heck of a deal!  It was reglazed a light gray color at some point, but I plan on reglazing it white before using it in our main bath room (whenever we get around to that project...)

As you can see, my pedestal sink collection is  Oh and the dining room is ALMOST done.  Just have to swap a few outlets and install the wall plates.  Hope to post about that this week!