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Posts Tagged ‘renovation’

I’m a dreamer. I see things and my mind just takes off, often spinning out of control, imagining what it could be. True confession: I mentally decorate nearly every interior space I enter. I mean wall treatments, furniture arrangements, lighting. The whole nine yards. I even do this in public spaces. Why should it be okay that they are dull and uninspiring?

So I draw inspiration from almost everything.

And then there’s reality. Which I’m facing right now.

We have a small tenant house on our property which we’re in the process of renovating for the first time. I see it as a cottage:

When in fact, it looks like this:

But even so. I see clematis growing over lattice on the porch, underplanted with hydrangeas. I already have the vintage porch furniture for it. And the real wood shutters to replace the horrible plastic ones. I even see shutters on either side of the front door. Isn’t it adorable!?!

And then we go inside. I’ll start with the kitchen, which i would see like this:

However, the reality when we first got in there was:

And, actually it’s almost worse than that. The ‘wood paneling’ on the walls (which I think can be adorable painted white, isn’t wood paneling at all. It’s contact paper. And the ‘parquet’ floor? That vinyl floor tiles.

So after working on it for a while, here’s what we now have:

But do you see the hardwood floors?! Turned out that under the vinyl were three more layers of plastic flooring, ending with old linoleum that brought all of the rest with it in one big sheet. Super lucky.

Condition of the walls? Not so lucky. I see walls of the palest grey (Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Grey), white trim and tissue-thin white cotton voile curtains to waft in the breeze. Marble counters, beaded board back splash, and sleek stainless appliances. And, of course, a fabulous 1920s French chandelier dripping with crystals for over the central island. Don’t you just see it?

The dining room to go with this fresh and charming kitchen? This is the one I imagine:

Pretty sweet, huh? The airiness of my kitchen flows right on through, doesn’t it?
But this is what I have:

Remember the vinyl tiles from the kitchen? They covered these hardwood floors, too. Pulling just half of them up took me over 6 hours. And cost me my favorite, chartreuse green flip flops. The stuff they put those tiles down with is like human fly paper! Chip had to come to my rescue and got the rest of this room, plus the living room finished in just a couple hours! No, I cannot explain it.

And this room has great potential. The wainscoting is lovely. I see carrying the grey from the kitchen walls into the dining room, and painting the wainscoting the soft white of the trim. The ceiling, naturally, must boast another equally stunning chandelier, hanging from a ceiling cabana striped in the grey and white. I’m thinking a sisal rug for texture, a large, round, limed-wood, pedestal table with french chairs. And a pretty daybed, upholstered in Belgian linen, under the window. Straight panels, hung from the top of the walls would frame both windows. Better, don’t you think?

And the powder room?
Imagination:

But what we found was this:

And with a little work, we accomplished this:

In spite the leaking pipes, twenty layers of contact paper and wall paper, seriously damaged wood floor and failing fixtures, I see potential here, too.
With the floors dried, cloroxed, sanded and waxed, they’ll be lovely. And here’s my one indulgence of wall paper. I just love it in small spaces. I’m thinking toile, but I’m open to what ever trips my trigger in the wall paper store. It’s such a tiny space that I feel it can be completely indulgent. Of course a white, pedestal sink and new white toilet. Inset plantation shutters for the window, so it can remain open in decent weather, while maintaining privacy. And in here, the smallest of delicate chandeliers, like a pretty jewel in it’s box. That’s what I see.

I’ll be shooting pictures as we go.   It’s a long slow process, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

Thanks for reading,
Virginia

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I’ve been a bit paint crazy lately. The barn, the girls’ apartment, my bedroom, my laundry room. Chip, my husband, just doesn’t get why I’m so into it (or see the value of $85/gallon paint vs. $30/gallon paint).  But, frankly, I’ve become obsessed.

It should also be noted that we live in a 1898 farmhouse with some pretty spectacular wood trim that I’ve been itching to paint for 10 years. Chip is completely opposed. So I offer the following evidence of the positive power of paint. (from CuriousDetails.com blog)

BEFORE: an efficient, if uninteresting office.

AFTER: Add a little paint, and you've got WOW! I particularly love the contrast of the deep, rich blue doors against the clean white office space beyond. An inspired choice.

BEFORE: the broader view of the office space

AFTER: The amazing power of simple white paint. Wouldn't you love entering this office space each day?
Also note that by using the built-ins within arms' reach of the desk, a smaller desk became practical - allowing for the comfort of the pair of chairs in the room.

I hope this gives you some inspiration (it gave me loads!), and perhaps some ammunition as you carry on the to-paint-or-not-to-paint debate with your other half.

Thanks for reading!

Virginia

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Inspired design

If you love the French aesthetic, take a look at this month’s Veranda magazine.

Designer Charles Spada’s renovation of a spectacular house in Northern France is a must see.  And a must read.  His story is one of not settling, but holding out for the perfect fit.

Inside and out, his French home is delightful.

The online article has some practical renovation tips, too.  (But unfortunately does not contain images of my favorite rooms in his house.  You have to get the magazine to see it all.)

Charles Spada’s Top 10 Renovation Tips – Veranda.com.

Thanks for reading,

Virginia

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