Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the cottage :: plans

Since I officially introduced you to the inside of our humble little abode a couple of posts back, I figured it was time to fill you in on our renovation plans.
We had a rough plan of attack from the get-go, mostly making sure that we knocked out our biggest project (the kitchen) while we still had time in our temp apartment and could do the work without having to live in the middle of it. This was also a blessing since we had to redo all of the floors, which in my opinion, would be the absolute worst thing to have to do while living in a home.

Here is an initial list of our plans (give or take a bit of course) -

Stage One:

- Gut kitchen/total remodel
- Remove existing areas of carpeting and sand/refinish original hardwoods throughout house
- Paint all interior walls and trim
- Redo flower beds in front yard and do some initial small stage landscaping

Of stage one we have finished the kitchen remodel and only need to do minor little touch-up and tweaks here and there. Yes, it has officially been 2 years and I still have areas to touch-up paint and caulk. Ha! (I was burnt out for quite awhile, people. Forgive me).
We have also finished most all of the painting. Still some trim and doors to do.
Front yard beds are done, and we continue to plant and experiment every spring with what we like and what will live.

Stage Two:

- Gut and redo main full bath
- Makeover 1/2 bath
- Finish any remaning interior painting
- Fix and repaint original front door
- Stain sun porch concrete
- Finish front yard landscaping
- Begin landscaping of backyard
- Small makeover/improvement of basement spare room (gym?)
- Misc. other small piddly projects

Of stage two we are planning to begin the bathroom renovations in the next few weeks. I am currently making plans, sourcing and trying to stay in budget. Always such a downer.

Stage Three:

- The backyard dream (I wish). But hopefully some kind of patio/deck/pergola combo.

This is most likely in the far, far away future after we dump our money in bathrooms. No pun intended.

And now that you have been filled in on our multitude of plans, past and present, I can start the process of catching you up on all the work we have done in the last two years. It seemed like it was so productive and fast paced in the beginning and then things slowed down this past year. Even then, we still managed to knock out quite a few items on our list. First things first, though. I am going to start all the renovation catch-up posts with our biggest project to date; the kitchen.

 Prior to any demo. This was the way it looked when we bought the house. Remodel c. 1993.
Some might ask why we chose to gut and remodel this space. Everyone has different opinions and styles and to quite a few, this might look like a very lovely, cozy, little kitchen. However, to us, it was just not what we had envisioned for our new home, and for many reasons.

Let me preface the rest of this by saying that I am absolute huge proponent of maintaining the character and authenticity of an old home. Anyone who knows me also knows my extreme love of antique homes. It is something that has always been in me. I don't like shiny and new when it comes to houses. The older the better. I also don't like ill-planned, ill-conceptualized, and ill-designed remodels in antique homes that do not look like they belong. But, I do embrace the times we live in and modern conveniences. So, to me, that is the greatest challenge of all. Doing work to a house that still feels period appropriate and that will be a classic, timeless update.

With that, we wanted to update the kitchen and give it classic details that would match the existing character of the home, but also bring it in to modern times. It was in the kitchen that we decided to do the one major structural change to the house, by opening up a small doorway (seen above) from the dining room to the kitchen to bring in additional light and make the space feel more open to the rest of the house.
An open-concept layout is just not how these old houses were designed or used back in 1930, but we just couldn't imagine having a kitchen completely closed off from the other main entertaining areas of the house. We like people to hang out in the kitchen with us when we are having get togethers, so we hoped we could help make the space feel more welcoming while also increasing the natural light by making these changes.
Not only was the current space dark, closed off and unwelcoming, it was also very poorly laid out. The remodel done in the 90s took what was most likely a small breakfast nook and filled it will narrow cabinets and a bar that faced directly into a wall. The 'triangle' was sorta there, with the refrigerator sitting outside the kitchen in a small opening by the back door (see bottom photo). This was most likely the spot where the original 'ice box' would have sat, since at the time the house was built it wouldn't have been designed to accommodate a modern fridge.
The cabinets, although most likely custom at the time, were worn after almost 20 years of daily use and at some point the previous owners had attracted a rodent problem that we only discovered after going in and doing our first cleaning (fact - we never had a problem from the start of our move in, gut and renovation).
We also knew that all these things (and price) were the reason the house (in a well desired neighborhood) had sat on the market for so long, while other houses in the area were flying. If we did the renovations we had in mind well, it would add so much value to the home. So we went for it.

Check back for a post of the kitchen design scheme and what things looked like when we started to tear down walls and get dirty!