We bought our little fixer upper one year ago in October. And , it has been quite the labor of love but one that was so fulfilling in many ways. The process was not perfect by any means and it was my first time taking on such a big project as well as acting as the GC (kind of a mistake). Not that I really regret it but it is so much more fun being a designer in comparison to babysitting sub contractors. Let's just say I do plenty of "babysitting" with my own kiddos...ha ha:) Anyway, after the 4 month renovation process we have been in the house for 9 months.
I thought it would be fun to look back on some of my favorite before and after photos and some new rooms as well as my favorite things and my regrets. This process was so fun and gratifying...I would consider selling this house and doing it again in a heartbeat. My hubbie thinks I am crazy!! The only thing that was difficult was the logistics of it. We had to sell our house, move all of our stuff into storage, then rent a short term rental property. It felt like a vacation but I also felt somewhat displaced for several months. Also, the showings were pretty difficult because I was the realtor, housekeeper, mom, dog owner/dog walker, etc. I was wearing many hats during that time so to say it was a bit hectic is an understatement.
So, a look back at some of our best and worst decisions.
Here we go...
I am super happy with the color combo of "creamy" by Sherwin Williams white and slate gray trim that we had color matched to our doors by Kolbe.. The only regret I may have here is that we could have trimmed the windows in gray. But, overall, I am happy with our cute little Cape Cod exterior. And, with the gray shutters, I believe it has the pop of contrast that it needs.
And a before of the little fixer that needed some lovin'...
The best decision we made having to do with the exterior was replacing this window with a pocket door system by Kolbe. While this was a super hefty price tag (the door system alone was $14,000-ouch) it was so worth it. This is one of the first things you see when you walk through the front door. And when we open that beauty up it completely transforms the space...it is pretty amazing!! This was a window before and our sub created a pocket t o install this gorgeous system.We stained the door and framed it in barn wood.
We also replaced 3 sliders. This definitely modernizes the property as well as makes it functional.
In terms of the exterior, in my opinion, the top items to transform a space.
3. Garage doors
4. Doors and windows
The look would have been the same with paint but we really wanted to take it to the next level by replacing some of the doors as they were not in good condition.
Let's move on to the Interior
The living room
The "best" thing we did was filling in the step down sunken living room. This "lovely "feature screamed 1969. This only cost approx $1800. This was definitely the best bang for our buck on the entire project. Because the step down was less than 7" we were able to bring in a concrete truck and simply fill it in. So simple..and just like that we bring the living room to 2014.
Here it is now
And before and during the process
The other "best" thing we did to the interior space was with flooring-barn wood flooring throughout the major areas. I cannot say enough good things about it. It is beautiful and because of the matte finish it...yucky things do not show up. Like paw prints and hair balls. I used to feel like I needed to mop our hardwood floors all the time. It was an obsession because they dirty so quickly especially with animals. This barn wood is genious and so low maintenance. Expensive,but in my opinion, so worth it.
My regret- I should have painted the interior white. Now the griege does not bug me on a daily basis...I really like it and it is a nice neutral but as we all know white photographs so well.
I am very happy with how the kitchen turned out. I had a few concerns..we went with concrete countertops. There are a lot of mixed reviews on concrete countertops. One designer friend said if you are going to use them make sure you use a lighter color.Well, obviously I am not a very good listener. I always had a creamy white cabinet vision with black countertops. And I am not a granite girl. We could have gone with soapstone but I was not as familiar with the strength of that stone.We did end up using that in the bar and I love it but it does not seem super durable. However, we did not seal it and that is probably the key.
So, do we love the black concrete countertops? Yes, love them and yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Did they take some getting used to? Yes. When they were installed...they were beautiful...I was in love but then they started to scratch a bit and I was not even really cooking at this point and they were not perfect. I was a nervous wreck. And I thought I had made a terrible decision. So, I called our concrete guys and they came back out and were able to remove lots of the scratches and resealed it and I have LOVED them ever since. Is it perfect like granite? ...of course not..but I really love it as countertop material.
They can definitely withstand 2 wild monkeys climbing all over them
Another risk was the barn wood backsplash. There was a part of me that thought this may be "too different" but in my gut knew this was what I wanted. Also, I was worried about the cleanliness factor as well as the heat. So, to combat the heat we had a concrete backsplash made behind the stove (and obviously the messiest location so it is easy to wipe down) and I love the look of the wood.
Our favorite room is by far the guest room. The windows, the floors, the white, the high pitches ceiling!! If it was up to me I would live in this room. And, honestly, if we did it again, I would probably use these floors in the house and have my entire house look like this room. The floors work with so many styles...antique, mid century, modern, whatever. And they do not show nearly as much stuff as a darker floor. And , they were half the price of the barn floor. That is huge!!
And, a before of the guest room
So, there you have it...I can't believe it after all of that I have only one real regret...the interior paint. Well, maybe 2...while acting as a GC was an amazing learning experience, I will definitely hire a GC for our next big remodel. A post devoted to that experience will be coming soon...and should, hopefully, be humorous:)
And, I am still working on the bedrooms and need to get them just right. But, here is a corner of my son's bedroom. Instead of snips and snails and puppy dog tales... he has crocodile heads, frogs and paintings of pirates. Boys will be boys!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Hope your day is filled with as much fun and relaxation as these guys have been having:)
And, hopefully, your Holiday is very cozy, too!! xo, Paige