Renovation Story: Exterior Adjustments

I thought it would be fun to start this post with a hidden picture of the house on N Keats Ave. in Summer. It was late July, when we acquired the property, and then September when we returned to begin the ground breaking unceremoniously. As Summer faded into Fall, there was just so much overgrown in the front of the home. The hedge had overtaken the house completely, along with a Crepe Myrtle tree that just wouldn’t stop growing.

After trimming the hedges and mowing the lawns ourselves, one of us ended up with a bad case poison ivy! In due time, we gave a call to a family member who owns a tree service and had the hedges and the trees eliminated completely.

Admittedly, the house looked as barren as the Autumn trees after the removing the greenery. Yet, it seemed that like it might be fun to work with a blank canvas when replanting everything in the Spring!

Today, I plan to reveal the exterior progress that is happening on the property. You can see the initial inspiration photos for the exterior in my first Renovation Story. You may notice the vinyl on the side of the house was warping and not in as good of condition as that on the front of the property. The roof also needed complete therapy a.k.a replacement. Along the side of the home we planned to restore the original street facing side-door (just behind where the ladder is resting).

After the side patio and cinder blocks were removed, we decided to increase the front porch appeal by simply re-pouring the concrete steps leading to the front door.

Incidentally, we had opted to do a larger side patio and back patio in lieu of a more substantial front porch.

Next, the front windows are replaced and trimmed out with a thicker wood trim. Wood trims are something to carefully consider when updating a home. For this property, we made sure to keep with historic guidelines by preserving the original size of the windows and updating to an appropriate trim.

Then, we decided to replace the front of the home with a sturdier more appealing Hardieplank wood siding instead of vinyl. In the spirit of true conservation and green living, we reused the better condition vinyl from the front of the home as a replacement on the sides and back of the house, where the vinyl had aged more noticeably.

Here you can see the facade being prepared with plywood for the Hardie board.

Afterward,we reincorporated the original transom windows above the doors architecturally. It was super rewarding, when I received this photo because the home began to look like the original drawing that I had submitted to the Landmarks and Preservation team in summertime.

Above the flat-lap Hardieboard siding is primed, the sweet side patio is poured and the home was just about ready for painting, that is, until the Winter snow settled in!

The waiting time for snow to melt and temperatures to rise begins. It took months for the roof to thaw and ice to melt.

Lucky for us, with early February came the new Estate Gray roof replacing the former brownish one. The painters came out and painted the windows and door trims in Swiss Coffee. For the front of the home, I chose a shade of grayish beige called Cobblestone that I thought worked well with the slightly warmer vinyl siding.

Final touches included the oil rubbed bronze porch lighting, satin nickel lock-sets, blackish mailbox and modern address numbers.

As a side note, I have never officially seen the home in person since our trip to Kentucky in September, nor do I have any more pictures of the exterior facade.

At the moment, we have spread the seed and straw in hopes that new blades of grass will begin sprouting this May. I look forward to working with a landscape design company to layer in the shrubs and ground coverings. I am hoping the greenery of the landscape may soften the vivid red of front doors and incorporate the surrounding street.

Next week, we will step back inside the home to see the kitchen changing shape from beginning to end!

*Update* since painting these doors, I heard that both neighbors have painted their doors in shades of red. Now, I find myself searching for a different possibility…so please share with me your favorite paint shade for a front door!

 

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Renovation: Window Trims and Flooring

After the drywall went up, I began to work with the finish carpenter on all the beautiful details around the house. Since, the home was built at the turn of the 20th century both Victorian and Craftsman styles influenced the architecture of the period. I knew I wanted to draw on Craftsman construction, while staying true to a more modern vision. The home lacked ornamentation such as intricate carvings or stained glass windows which made transformation to a modern look and feel quite natural.

First, I went hunting for inspiration:

I found this picture of a simple window trim with a bullnose trim in the sill. The following style is what I like best for this house: minimal, modern, slightly craftsman with a little decorative bullnose lip near the sill. Additionally, the door molding was another source of inspiration for the large open doorway between the kitchen and dining rooms.

(photo via Houzz)

Below, these two window encasements also caught my eye for the slight crown molding on the top. I also loved the super tall baseboards in the picture at right. Since, we had 9′-10′ ceilings and above in many rooms of the home, I knew we could add character to the rooms by choosing a taller baseboard.

(photo via Houzz)

After talking to my carpenter and we decided to add a simple decorative crown molding on the larger windows in the main living room. For the rest of the home, we decided to keep the rest of the windows and doors well crafted and refined as in the first photo.

Here are some photos of his amazing work!

The photo at left shows the large and tall doorway from the kitchen the dining room. After finding that the original home had transom windows, we have decided to add a transom to the top of the doorway later in construction to even out the proportions of the frame. Below at right, you can see the large striking living room windows. Here we added a very subtle strip of crown to the top.

One of the challenges of designing and managing a project remotely is that I rely on so many people to take photos for me. Please understand that work is being documented while the home is a total mess and construction zone! To complicate things, I am also not local to help clean up:)

The kitchen window below was reframed about 5′ to the left from the original plan. The window was located inside the guest bath shower and had rotted out completely. We had to the apply for special permission from the Landmarks to move it a few feet into the kitchen. It was totally worth it because now both sides of the kitchen receive ample natural lighting!

Here is a kitchen window over the sink that I truly love.

These are 2 of the 4 large windows that run down the South side of the property.

You will see more dramatically, how the trim work transforms the interior design once we begin painting the walls and trims.

Next week, I plan to catch up on the exterior progress that is happening on the property. To see what the home looked like in the beginning read Renovation Story: Part 1.

Soon to come you will see the gorgeous Scandinavian inspired hand-scraped hardwood flooring in action with the tall 7″ baseboards!

Here is a sneak peak of the coloring. This one is a value for money.

Well, I hope you are all getting ready to see the next phase of renovations complete.

Please follow me here for the latest posts on Restoration and Design.

Have a fantastic week!

 

 

 

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Renovation Story: Drywall

I can’t even describe how exciting it was to see the drywall going up, once the demolition, framing, and repair were complete.

I promise to make this post extra special by including more before and after photos so that you can see the transformation of the space. If you are new to my blog, you can catch up on the rest of the Renovation Story here.

This is a view of the first room of the home, the living room, as it opens up to the kitchen. For the large entryways on either side, I was inspired by a local area homes and the intention to insert a see thru-direct vent gas fireplace in the future.

At the moment, plans to install the gas fireplace are undecided because we were not sure if a future buyer may prefer to use the wall space for a television or artwork.

For us, the transformation from demo through drywall was a real turning point in the design process.

Remember the crowded kitchen corner? Here it is after reframing and drywall. You can see how we actually expanded the space to include the former bathroom and shifted a window over a few feet to provide some natural lighting on the north side of the kitchen.

Later, you will notice the farmhouse sink will be centered on this window.

A large doorway leads from the right hand side of the kitchen to the sitting room.

This additional side room ended up being the largest in the home based on the square footage. I feel that this room could be used in many ways: a home office, dining room, sitting room, den or even additional bedroom.

As you can see we made the decision to line up all the doors on the right hand side of the home. This is consistent with the layout that would be found in a shot gun home of any era.

Drywall installation meant that the real fun as a designer: Floors, Trims, and Material finishes were soon to come.

Also, you may have noticed the beginnings of a lighting plan emerging in the drywall ceiling photos.  Next, I will begin to share the recessed lighting schedule along with the material and trim selections for the home.

If it seems like everything was happening at once, it really was! Just wait until you see the exterior changes that were happening at this time.

 

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Renovation Story: Demolition Part 4

You may be wondering…how all the construction work began and what was left of the house after the demolition?

First of all, we needed to strip everything down to the studs in order to preserve the original historic footprint of the home. We preserved framing and structural supports when the wood was in good condition. We removed everything from drywall to ceilings to sub-flooring.

You may remember that this hallway would be one of the largest changes within the floor plan.

We prepared to move the original bathroom into the hallway to enlarge the kitchen and serve as a guest bath.

Then, we would include a Master Bathroom within the remaining hallway space. Below you can see the new framing for the Master Bathroom and the Guest Bathroom  is framed out directly behind it.

Below is a segment of the original spacious hallway that I shared pictures of last week. The original floor tiles pictured which were in not able to be reused.

Next, a small transitional space leads from the Master Bathroom to the Master Bedroom.

All other areas of the home needed equal reconstruction through demolition. Some were in a state of disrepair!  As I am writing this, I am really appreciating the amount of work my contractor took on! In the front of the house the living room had been used as a bedroom and needed considerable demolition.

The crumbling chimney and fireplace in the living room was a major concern to our HVAC installer. We decided to remove it completely and leave open the option of installing a see-thru direct vent gas fireplace down the road.

Below you can see how the living room walls, chimney and closet have been completely removed and the new framing is in place. I chose to create 6′ wide doorways through to the kitchen on either side of the fireplace wall for an open concept look and feel.

The 2 upstairs bedrooms and the stairway leading to them were stripped down in a similar way.

Next Monday, I will show you where all this demolition leads! With the drywall in place, we can begin to visualize the overall look and design plan.

Have a great week!

Hilary

 

 

 

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Renovation Story Part III: Interior Floorplans

At the time of purchase, I did plenty of internet research about the history of shotgun houses. I want to share what I learned with you. Part of what makes this neighborhood historic was the period these houses were built along with the traditional layouts and floor plans.

A classic shotgun style home would have only 3 rooms: Front Bedroom, Kitchen, and Living Room. Occasionally, the living room would be located at the front of the home.

Historically additions were added as fourth rooms to the side of the home. In this case, our home had both an addition and an upper floor, which offered 2 additional bedrooms.

You may remember from the previous post…this upper addition of a second floor over the back portion of the home is referred to as a “camel back”. So our home has 2 additional bedrooms.

The interior doorways would traditionally all line-up so that a single mythical “shot” could be fired into the front door and exit out the back door…our house was a little more chopped up than this…here is the original floor plan below.

You may notice the tiny bathroom on the North side of the property. This was likely an addition to the home. Although bathrooms did not exist within these homes at the turn of the 20th century, they were added to large hallways as indoor latrines became more commonplace. Not only did we decide to expand the kitchen into the original bathroom, but I designed a Master Bath to occupy the unused space in a large and grandiose hallway.

The hallway was really unique because of it’s high ceilings. There was evidence of really interesting hardwood floor tiles, but they had deteriorated so badly that I felt adding a Master Suite with a bathroom would add the most value to the house for a modern lifestyle. The high ceilings in the Master and Guest Baths also lend some charm to the rooms themselves.

The updated Floor plan below shows how we decided to open up the Living Space and Kitchen. We expanded the kitchen into the small bathroom to provide an open L-shaped work triangle. Next, the guest bath was shifted into a small section of the hallway and we constructed a linen closet at the base of the stairs. From the front of the house to the back we lined up the interior doors, which allowed us to move the exterior side door back into the original placement within the property.

Doing a floor plan remotely is more challenging than you may think. There are additional windows on the South side of the property that I only discovered upon traveling to see the residence early Autumn of 2013.

Here you can see how the crowded kitchen looked before the renovation.

and large hallways…as you can see, the hallway was large enough to be used as a dining room at one point.

Once the demolition began, we had lots of dated wood paneling, ceilings and floors to be removed!

If you missed my first 2 Renovation Story posts…you can begin reading here.

Come back next week, for an updated look at the interior demolition.

 

 

 

 

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Renovation Story: Back Yard

Let’s pick up where we left off of the Renovation Story…the backyard.

The backyard is where we began the Renovation because back in the warmth of September. My husband and I were visiting our family and we wanted to put a little work into the property.

I knew that eventually the back door of the property would lead to the Master Bedroom. With this in mind, I knew that I wanted to create a a more secluded feeling for the back of the house. I also wanted the Master to open to a paver patio, where the owners could enjoy the shaded evening and the outdoors.

This really sweet back entrance fueled my inspiration.

Our house, while not nearly as glamorous had the potential and has a similar color of siding too.

The original back of the property below revealed the asymmetry of the design. The door was off centered and the upper windows needed a lot of work as they had experienced dry rot.

The lower windows were able to be saved and we made the decision to move them to replace the 2nd floor windows.

Before construction began, we laid the stone patio by hand using Tranquil Country Pavers from Lowe’s. I liked them for the European feel.

I did some research on how to lay a stone patio and consulted with my contractor before I began work. Below, you can see the patio which runs the width of the back of the house, approximately 18′ wide and 8′ deep.

This next photo shows the exterior changes to the property after we centered the door and removed the lower windows completely. Typically, I love natural light and would hesitate to remove any windows. I ultimately decided to take them away so that the Master would be more private and have lots of options on the interior for furniture layout.

2 nautical sconces flank the back door. I think they are really fun and mimic the grill pattern found in the door.

Although, the patio is still in tact, it needs to have sand pushed between the pavers again this Spring. We also have a retaining wall in the works and landscaping which I will share with you once complete. We have yet to decide to build a pergola over the door. I am still entertaining the idea and would love to hear your thoughts!

I will post an updated photo of the lighting installed on either side of the back door soon.

*Here it is with porch lights, new roof, and soil grading complete in the back yard.

Now, I just can’t wait to landscape, once the grass begins sprouting through the seed and straw.

 

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A Renovation Story: Part 1

As you may have noticed, I have not written a blog post since August of last year. The timing of my absence has much to do with the home renovation that has ruled over my waking and sleeping hours over the past 6 months. Although, originally a project that was estimated to take 2-3 months maximum…the timeline has doubled in it’s trajectory. This is the listing photo of house the we made an offer on last February without ever having physically seen the house in person.

Fast forward 5 months later to July, when we closed on the offer after a patient wait for the Estate to reach a resolution. I flew to Kentucky to sign all the necessary paper work and begin planning the future of the property.

This historic shotgun home is located in Clifton, a neighborhood on both the State and National register of Historic places. I devoted some time over Summer to reading and learning about what it meant to be a part of this historic community.

When researching the property, I came across this picture of the home from the year 1950. As you can see from the photo, the lot to the right had not been developed and was still an empty lot.

And now, that I’m finally sitting down to reflect and share the design process. I want to tell the story of the renovation from inception. So, I will do my best to include all the small details that made the project special and fun for me.

Starting with the inspirational photos of shotgun homes in the area. I gathered ideas for updating the entryway, adding a porch or an improved front “stoop”. 

Ultimately, it was a meeting with the Landmarks commission that ruled out many of these improvements to the original “footprint” of the home. Although, my case worker was extremely helpful, it would have been a challenge to have any dramatic changes made to the front of the property without finding evidence of a porch or a proof that my property was set back from other properties in the same line. From this first meeting, I resolved to focus on the exterior finishes and adding a patio of pavers to the back of the property instead vs a porch on the front.

The back porch is completely shaded in evening, so this seemed like a logical choice.

I learned that Louisville, Kentucky and New Orleans currently have the largest number of these homes in the nation. Our particular house is referred to as a camelback house, which means there is an upper floor that attaches to the back of the house. Here is what the original “camel” back of the house looked like.

We made a few simple changes to rethink the back of the home and add a patio.

I will share the results of the renovation each week! So come back to see how a few adjustments to the door alignment and windows have realigned the property.

 

 

 

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