Thursday, April 25, 2013

And even MORE color...

On a visit to High Point yesterday we very unexpectedly stumbled upon a piece that hit us both as the possible art for our living room.  It had the scale, the impact, and although we (well, I) were thinking something more 'neutral', the colors just seemed perfect.

From a previous post, here is the room without art...

And here is the new piece...

I was concerned about adding so much more color given the rug is the most colorful thing we own; but I realized (well, I hoped!) the neutral furnishings, particularly the white sofa, was the perfect buffer between the two.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Kitchen and Family Room

The kitchen and family room were part of the makeover as well; although, to a lesser degree than other areas.  The wood floors were removed/replaced in our foyer, dining room, living room and a little over half of our kitchen.  This meant removal of all lower cabinetry in the kitchen and complete stripping of the wood floors that remained throughout the rest of the downstairs.  So, no kitchen and three gutted bathrooms meant not living in all of this for five months.

Aside from the floors, changes included replacement of the granite countertops and backsplash, installation of a gas cooktop, and we removed the desk area replacing it with a counter height cabinetry and a wine refrigerator (on our wish list for a looooong time).

Previously, the granite color was venetian gold on the wall mounted cabinetry and the desk area, and black on the island with a black ceramic cooktop.  The backsplash was a glass tile called dusty rose (trust me, it was nothing like a dusty rose - when we selected that tile it was more of a taupe, but when it was installed it had more of a green tint to it).  My first choice for countertops was marble and we saw some stunning slabs, but ultimately we decided on the whitest granite we could find.  However, we went with a marble tile backsplash which goes wonderfully with the granite; so, I got marble in there after all.

The island has a new gas cooktop which I've been wanting for a long time now, so this was a perfect opportunity to have a gas line added so that we could install one.  It's has a downdraft since I did not want to take up space with overhead ventilation.  
(Note:  it was almost impossible to take these photos without one of our cats photobombing them - see one in the window...)

We have always been very happy with our cabinetry - not too light, not dark, and it has some really wonderful details - so we chose not to replace it (a big cost savings!).  As a matter of fact, we like them even more with the new white granite, marble backsplash and ebony floors.  A much more cohesive look now.  

In the back corner to the left of the refrigerator was a desk area where we stationed one of our Macs.  So it was used all the time as a desk.  Despite how much we used it we knew that taking it out would not only look better, but we'd be able to add the wine refrigerator we've been longing for.  It's a perfect location for one, particularly with the glass door cabinets holding our wine glasses just above it.  

I was on the fence as to have drawers or a built-in rack for more wine bottles, but I went with the more practical choice - very rare for me! - and chose the drawers for storage purposes.  We were worried about matching our existing cabinetry, and had some difficulty finding a vendor of our original cabinets, but I think they did a great job matching. 

We are fortunate to have a fairly large eat-in area of our kitchen that holds a huge table (seats 8 comfortably and can hold 10), so this made the decision to forgo a formal dining room very easy.  Plus it flows directly into the family room, so it's a very open, casual and comfortable space to eat.

Again, the new ebony floors have a made a world of difference as the furniture shows so much better than on the previous color.

A view through the kitchen and into the former dining room,

This rug created quite an international incident for a few days in January when I originally posted about it - details I cannot really go into so will leave you with an intrigued mind - which makes it an even more interesting piece now that there is a pretty awesome story behind it.  

The rug viewed from the top of the back staircase.

The family room is not a large room, but with the vaulted ceiling up to our second floor and the great natural light it receives, it feels very spacious.

The fireplace marble surround was previously a very dark marble with some green in it, but we wanted something light that blended with the mantle and walls.  We decided to switch it out and use the same marble we used in the master bathroom, and are very happy with the decision.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Downstairs Bath and Office

The downstairs bathroom was completely redone; only the bathtub remained.  This is the only bathroom downstairs so it serves as the guest 'powder room'.  It gets a lot of traffic and is right off the foyer, so we wanted a design that was durable but packed some 'wow' factor as well. 

We selected elongated white ceramic tiles for the walls and tub surround, and marble in a basket weave pattern for the floor; all fixtures and hardware are in a polished chrome finish.

The glass washstand is the Gramercy from Restoration Hardware.  Previously, we had a vanity that was just too large, so this piece really helps the room feel more spacious than it really is.  

I used black and white art in black and silver frames.  They are photos taken from some of our travels.   

The ceiling was finished in silver leaf several years ago by our friend and artist Kelly Walker, and we installed crown molding during the remodel which really showcases her work.  So the entire space has finally caught up to the glamour of the ceiling.

During the remodel, the office was given a new paint color and crown molding.  The art is also by Kelly Walker.  

Monday, April 08, 2013

Entry and Living Room(s)

We moved back in 5 weeks ago(!), and I've been very busy getting the house back in order, arranged, and decorated.  So, that's my excuse for no posts for such a long time (the OCD in me said to wait until things were very close to how I wanted them).

I thought I'd start with a post on the front entry and living room.  If you remember, we decided to no longer use the dining room as such, so we removed the half walls, columns and bulkhead between the living and dining rooms, and turned it into a lounge area.  So I had my work cut out to make it work as two distinct sitting areas in one large, long room without any structural separation.

One of the first things you notice when you enter the house is the new fiddle leaf fig tree.  I was really surprised we found one this large so easily and in the perfect shape, too, for the space.  I had tried tables there as well as chairs, but each item always seemed lost or out of place.  I felt we needed something very tall, but narrow, to fill such a large void and I think this is finally it.
The stairs have completely changed as we removed the runner, refinished the treads, and installed a new iron banister.

The foyer as it leads into the kitchen, and a peek into the remodeled powder room (will do a separate post on that soon).

Entry vignette.

 A major change was removing the single, solid front door (which was surrounded by side lights and a transom) with a new double door.  This had been on my wish list for a long while, and the additional light we receive is wonderful.  
There was a major disagreement between me and, well, everyone, on whether the door should be stained a more natural brown/wood tone or stained in an ebony to look as if it is painted black.  I wanted the ebony, and I'm so happy I got my way because I love it.  (And I should note that Paul has been a gem in letting me get my way!)

 To the right of the front door and the stairs is the living room.  The large, blank wall over the sofa will remain as such until we can find the perfect, large piece of art... we are on the hunt.  
The rug and lighting fixture are new and work perfectly in the space.  Paul found the lighting fixtures while in San Francisco.

 The bar area of the living room.

Looking into what was formerly the dining room, we now have two distinct sitting spaces and I'm very very happy with how it turned out.  The shelving unit to the right provides a nice, subtle separation between the two spaces while keeping an open flow; and, the two rugs and the lighting fixtures provide continuity between the two spaces.  The rugs are of a completely different pattern but the colors in each rug are very complementary.

 The former dining room.  Now a great 'lounge' area.  The red chairs were previously the chairs used around the dining table so they've been very versatile for us.  Their size works really well and we were able to use four around the cocktail table.  

 A good view of the rug in this space.  Such primary colors, and so different from our usual taste, but the rugs are so incredible they work wonderfully with the rest of the decor.  

I plan to post more spaces very soon, and hopefully along with some other postings, so check back every few days or so.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

The floors have been stained!

The ebony stain and two coats of poly are on the floors, and I absolutely love the finish.  I had to take photos quickly because once the second coat of poly was dried, the floors were covered to ensure they were protected for the remaining work through the house.  Which, by the way, has whittled down to just kitchen backsplash install, touch up painting, master bath medicine cabinets, guest bedroom carpeting, shoe molding, and duct cleaning.  After all this, the final coat of poly will go down.  Also, the new cabinetry surround for the wine refrigerator is due early Feb along with, hopefully, the replacement plantation shutters.

 I'm guessing these floors will show EVERYTHING, so I've been researching vacuums.  I suspect I better get used to vacuuming several times a week.  

 (On the railings, the 'feet' of the balusters are just pushed up to allow for staining.)  

So with stained floors, this means no more dust being created in my house.  Maybe just a few spots of touch up sanding on the drywall, but I can manage those.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Two weeks later...

It's been a busy two weeks, and we are in the homestretch... hopefully only about 3 weeks of work left.

So what's been going on
  • Redoing some of the treads on the stairs
  • The new stair railings and balusters have been going up
  • More painting
  • Sinks/vanities installed in the bathrooms
  • Plumbing and bathroom fixtures installed (most of them), and toilets (one did not fit so there was a mad scramble to find a new one of the needed size)
  • New granite kitchen countertops installed
  • Gas line run for new gas cooktop and cooktop installed (love!)
  • Glass shower enclosures were scheduled today but are now happening tomorrow I think
  • Lots of electrical work (new fixtures installed, new outlets, some re-wiring, etc.)
  • Removing backsplash to make way for a new one (an unexpected, last minute change due to the new granite fit being totally different from our last granite!), so another mad scramble to select a new backsplash tile and get it ordered
  • Some additional tile work in the bathrooms
  • Ordered replacement and new plantation shutters

And things left to do are
  • Waiting on kitchen cabinetry for the wine refrigerator surround
  • Sand and stain all wood flooring throughout the house
  • Shower enclosures for all three bathrooms
  • Medicine cabinet installation in master bath
  • New carpeting for master closet and two guest bedrooms 
  • Planation shutter installation for guest room, master bath and a replacement for master bedroom
  • Reinstall kitchen appliances
  • Final paint touchup at the end
  • And about 100 hours of me cleaning the house MY WAY

Here are a few photos of the work that's been done the past couple of weeks:

A peek at the master bath shower during installation of the fixtures

The master bath pedestals

The upstairs guest bath gets a chrome vanity

The downstairs bath/powder room shower fixtures

 Front staircase railings going in

 Granite for kitchen countertops - we selected the whitest granite we could find

Sample board of the new marble backsplash

Granite installed!