Posts Tagged ‘renovations’

Our boys love everything beach.  Every so often throughout the cold winter months, I will hear the voice of my 5 year old sweetly ask, “can we go to the beach, pwwwwweeeease?”

To bring a piece of the shore back home with us, we decided to create a nautical boys room for our preschooler. Although it doesn’t stop the littles from asking to go down the shore, it does bring a little bit of “by the sea” life into our suburban home and gives us a comfy little boys room to tuck the little ones into each night.


The boys removing all the staples after carpet was pulled up.

The boys removing all the staples after carpet was pulled up (My 3 -year-old is wearing my paddock boats;-).



I created a sail with our preschoolers age on it ( I hope he doesn't want a 6 next year!)

I created a sail with our preschoolers age on it ( I hope he won’t want a 6 next year). I  used rope and boat cleats to attached it to the wall.

We found this great bed with a trundle on Craigslist.  The flooring is made to look like weathered wood.

We found this great bed with a trundle on Craigslist. The flooring is made to look like weathered wood.

I created a mural of the island where we vacation.  I drew all of our favorite places on the island.  I plan to add more favorites through the years.

I created a blueprint mural of the island where we vacation. I drew all of our favorite places on the wall and plan to add more favorites through the years.

Our boys' rooms would not be complete without a biblical verse.

Our boys’ rooms would not be complete without a biblical verse.

Our IKEA dresser is made new again with boat cleats for pulls.

Our IKEA dresser is made new again with boat cleats for pulls.



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After five years and baby number two on the way we were quickly outgrowing our tiny kitchen.  Narrow, warped cabinets, leaky faucets, crumbling flooring and sagging ceiling would send even the most content mom running for the hills.

Below are some before pics:

stove with only two working burners. 

The microwave fit only sideways under the outlet next to the stove.  Our previous microwave’s door melted from the cook top heat.

Back door opening into stove.

Kitchen sink with deep window behind counter.

Narrow cabinetry opposite of kitchen sink. Full bath in kitchen

dining room into kitchen

Before dining room

Notice the new refrigerator in our dining room.  We saved money by buying it at a scratch and dent outlet, but it would not fit into the previous refrigerator’s spot.

Thick stone wall between kitchen and family room (22″ thick)

With an old house, you cannot expect to update a kitchen without finding ten other things that NEED to be updated.  After living with our new refrigerator in the dining room for two years, we saved up enough to start looking behind those thick walls.  We wanted the kitchen of our dreams but knew we had to be prepared to fix any surprises along the way.

Entrance to dining room from living room. Gregg put up drywall around the jagged edges to protect our toddler.

We decided to remove both inside kitchen walls, relocate the bathroom and open up the entry.

We finalized our contractor’s agreement as we packed up our house.  I told a few of my friends I was looking for a place to stay for six weeks.  Our friend, Bill, and his new wife graciously let us stay at her house. They had just recently married and a few weeks before had moved her and her children into his home. We were blessed to stay at her beautiful 100+ year old farm right around the corner from our house.  God is great- His timing is perfect (as always!).

Our temporary home

Boomer exploring the pond as C wishes he could climb in, too.

Meeting the neighbors

Right before renovations began, we were told we had to rewire the entire house to replace all the knob and tube electric.  Our insurance agent told us knob and tube wiring had a 49% chance of fire.

While 7 months prego, a 13 month old in tow, and trying to keep all the contractor’s on track,  I was ready to throw in the towel and book a trip to Hawaii!  Instead, I vicariously lived  through these inspirational rooms.

One of my inspirations for incorporating barn beams and rustic stone for the interior.

brandywine prime room

My husband and I went to dinner one evening to a restaurant that recently remodeled their historic building. Beautiful mix of rustic with modern elements to create a chic dining experience. The exposed stone walls provided the perfect motivation we needed to finish our walls.

brandywine prime room1

So much eye candy. Thick slab of white marble on island, chrome accents, creamy white cabinetry and dark wood elements. I can envision my next cocktail party right here!

All that marble makes me smile. Interesting lighting and a dark wood island with white perimeter cabinets.

Something’s Gotta Give kitchen. This is where I first saw soapstone with white cabinets and fell in love. Simple backsplash. Inset cabinets with nice details

Back to reality:

We widened the entrance to the new kitchen (from living room) for a more open layout. Our contractor found a old barn beam in our barn that he re-purposed for the threshold.

new widened entrance

G worked nights and weekends running new wiring for the electric and patching plaster.  On Friday evenings, we would meet with the contractor to discuss items needing to be completed by us over the weekend to make the contractor’s workload easier for the upcoming week.

As my belly grew, the rest of the stone walls came down and cleanup began.

Load bearing wall removed between galley kitchen and old dining room.

I would have loved to expose as much stone as possible, but we desperately needed outlets, and studding new walls was the easiest way to add more outlets.

stone wall studded for electric and drywall

We were disappointed the original main floor boards were laid right over the basements beams.  We had no sub flooring and no vapor barrier to protect the house from the damp basement.  We hired a flooring guy who sured up the flooring and used it as a sub floor. He laid a vapor barrier, and installed 5″ wide white oak flooring then added a dark stain.

Newly stained flooring

Tired hubby in the open entry

New half bath and entrance to basement.

The open room for our new kitchen!

Once the flooring was finished, the house felt fresh and young again.  It is a new beginning for everyone!

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The year before, we had an architect draw us plans for turning our 5 bedroom/ 1 bath into a 4 bedroom/2 bath with laundry area on the second floor.  As we were gutting the upstairs bedroom for the nursery, we tackled the hallway, laundry area and new bathroom as well.

hallway window wall down to studs

Gregg creating wall between laundry area and nursery.

The wall between both rooms came down and we asked our friendly neighbor, Jerry, to install our plumbing.  Jerry gently told Gregg and I that we had to remove the ceiling below to add the plumbing.  It began to sink in that this job is bigger than originally planned. We pulled up our sleeves and began pulling down the ceiling as one hundred plus years of plaster, dust, walnut shells and squirrels’ nests fell onto our living room floor.

What the heck is up there?

“Superman” Jerry plumbing the new bath.

The stress of being 5 months prego while having both floors torn apart forced me to seek solace in idea websites 😉  Some of my inspiration baths are added below.

#1 Bath inspiration. Wall of rustic stone, dark cabinetry, warm neutrals, wall mounted fixtures for vanity.

Love the counter top storage and wood with neutral limestone.

Showstopper counter top with vessel sink

simple and neutral

I wanted an Italian/Mediterranean spa feeling- on a budget. As our roughed in dimensions were put together, I tracked down Gregg’s friends at Bell Stone in Chester for natural stone ideas on the cheap.   After a thorough search of their warehouse, we stumbled upon a small lot of beautiful Jerusalem Gold tumbled marble tiles.  Because it was the last of a larger lot, we got them for less than if they were a new shipment (stone colors vary with each shipment).

I found rustic marble sheets in their showroom and purchased just enough to incorporate a natural edge stone for the backsplash.

Gregg’s first tile job. Radiant heating under tiles.

With the marble shopping done, I had enough room to spend a little extra for custom cabinetry.  Our friend and neighbor, Tim at Flegel Woodcraft, is passionate about woodworking and brings his appreciation for fine craftsmanship to every aspect of his furniture.  We are both self-proclaimed ‘design geeks’ and I had so much fun working with him.  We settled on a classic mahogany style that offered a double vanity and plenty of storage.  After he sent me dimensions, I started my search in local stone yards to top the vanity.

We removed the radiator and decided on radiant floor heating. You can order it online -just plug in the dimensions and the company will send it to you with installation instructions.

Dad replacing cedar siding after installing the counter height window.

We had to remove the large window and replace it with a more efficient window to fit over the new vanity.

I found the vessel sinks and wall mounted fixtures on a discounted online store. The hardware was found at RH outlet store at closeout.  It took a few trips to get all the hardware for the vanity because they only stock return items, but they have excellent prices.

Uncle Mike trimming out our new window

Tiling the tub surround

We placed rustic tile into the inset shelf

It was so cold outside, the wet saw would freeze between cuts, so Greg and Gregg cut tiles in our other bathroom.

Here is our new hall bath:

Our budget bath addition includes a tub/shower combo.  This room later served as our kitchen and only bath!  I will tell you more about that later! ~D

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