It still seems a little shocking to me that when we walked into our Historic Remodel project for the first time, we didn’t turn around and RUN out. The house had suffered decades of neglect, and the previous owners had begun a restoration before running out of resources. The house was not livable, and with an active family of five, how could we take on a major project to turn this old house into a home? What were we thinking??! But we couldn’t turn away, there was something about this house that reached out to us – even the kids agreed that they’d put up with the dislocation and chaos and hard work that renovation would require….after all, it would be kind of like camping, right?
It began with the kitchen with no appliances, no cabinets, no counters, nasty pink paint on the wall, disintegrating checkered tile…and a LOT of imagination. I educated myself on the wonderful world of crockpots and hotplates and envisioned our future stove top and oven. We began to dream up and engineer a place that would become the heart of our home. My husband brought his engineering background and ability to learn new skills to the project. I brought my design experience and willingness to live in an RV for (3) months in our own driveway. We lovingly referred to that experience as living in 300 square feet of Hell…did I mention we have a large dog and 3 kids?
Here is a photographic timeline that gives you an idea of our first (months). This is the “kitchen” as we found it. No counters, no cabinets, little wall space to work with. We had to come up with a layout that would work for a functional and modern kitchen.
The kitchen flooring was one of our biggest issues. The linoleum had been laid down decades ago and was very solidly glued to the underlying wood. It proved impossible to get up without destroying the wood….and without a major effort to remove every ancient tile!!
We chose to go with a glazed cabinets from J&K Cabinetry. http://www.jandkcabinetry.com. The cabinets are all wood and super affordable- giving you that custom cabinet look for a prefab price.
Once the kitchen cabinets and marble countertops were installed it really opened the area up from the kitchen to the formal dining room. I love the view it creates all the way to the back of the house! We debated on marble vs. granite vs quartz, and ended up with Carrera marble, a decision we were very happy with. It was wonderful to use and the look was definitely of the period, a traditional nod to our modern update.
One of the toughest problems confronting us was how to finish the floor once we removed those nasty vinyl tiles. The wood beneath was irreparable, so after reviewing many materials we settled on a brick product that would meet all our requirements – durable because it would get LOTS of traffic, compatible with the look and feel of the house, and something that we could put down ourselves. We decided to lay it in a Herringbone pattern diagonally, which adds interest and breaks up the linear flow of the space. That’s John’s dad bringing his years of engineering experience to put that puzzle together! For more info on flooring product check out http://www.portstone.com/portstone_website_1_001.htm
Looking at it now brings such sweet memories for John and me, times with our three beautiful children and a big furry sheepadoodle, friends and family celebrations, homework sessions, cooking projects.
It started with eyes to see what could be.
Here is the color I used on the walls - Pale Oak OC-20 Benjamin Moore
I fell in love with this wrought iron and crystal chandelier from Overstock (they sell a sneakily similar version on Pottery Barn for 3 times the price!) and have used it in many of my design projects since:
Our glazed cabinets and marble counters were purchased and installed by Expert Hardwood Floors