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Renovating Bungalow 404

Dear TEOT: Stone at Bungalow 404

Melissa writes,

Hi! We are in the process of renovating our 1927 home…it looks AMAZINGLY SIMILAR to your “bungalow 404” we were so surprised to find you. Had one question…how did you do the stone work over the brick work on the front of the exterior or what would you call that stone work? It looks great! We’d like to do something similar to cover up some cracks in the concrete porch colums. Thanks!

Hi Melissa,

Great question and I’m glad to help.

For a quick review, Bungalow 404 was the last house I lived in. It was a complete remodel of a 1920s bungalow.

The stone that was applied to the original brick columns at Bungalow 404 is a faux stone with a river rock appearance. We have a few different stone suppliers in our area but I usually go to John Deere Landscapes, you can use this locator to see if there is a branch in your area.

They had a few different manufacturers to choose from which were basically at three different price levels and they had sample boards for all three levels. I checked out a sample board and went back to Bungalow 404 to make a decision. I decided on Eldorado Stone, River Rock in Saginaw. Roughly I think just the stone for four columns cost me $1700.

El Dorado river rock saginaw stone

Because its faux, you really don’t need a stone mason or someone experienced with hardscaping but my carpenter happens to have experience setting stone. BUT, you should only do what makes you feel comfortable so if you’re not an experienced remodeler or do not have a long standing relationship with a carpenter or a remodeler you might feel better about hiring an experienced stone worker.

Here’s the installation process in summary,

The columns were first pressure washed and then allowed to dry  completely. Then a layer of wire mesh was installed on the brick. A layer of mortar was applied with a trowel on top of the wire mesh. The stone was applied and then more mortar was piped in between the stones with a plastic bag much like decorative cake icing.

El Dorado’s website offers some helpful tools like a step by step installation guide and a stone calculator so that you can figure out how much you need to purchase.


bungalow 404 before



Closer view of one of the columns

El Dorado river rock saginaw stone

Melissa, I hope this helps. Best of luck in remodeling your bungalow!


Bungalow 404: Farewell

I had often thought that the two bungalows sitting to my left, 404 and 402, had a lot of potential.

And in the fall of 2008 we got to realize that potential.

Bungalow 404 in late August 2008

bungalow 404 before

For those of you who were not around when this was all happening-you might like to know that I had four different exterior paint color choices,

Bungalow 404 paint samples

1. Sherwin Williams, Moody Blue  2. Sherwin Williams, Studio Blue Green  3. Benjamin Moore, Mount Saint Anne

4. Benjamin Moore, Water’s Edge


Choice #2 was the final pick, Sherwin Williams Studio Blue Green

bungalow front exterior

The capstone of this remodel was opening the kitchen up to an addition that was built on to the rear of the house years ago.  Opening the dining room to the kitchen, expanding the master bathroom and finishing the basement round out the other significant changes.

Reunion mix 027

bungalow 404 kitchen progress

When I began remodeling Bungalow 404 I had no idea that I would ultimately live there. So a lot of the decisions were not based on my personal preference. As we approached completion I realized how much I really wanted to live there and then began making choices that better suited me i.e. light fixtures, counter top material, tile etc.

I don’t have a lot of before pictures for you, at the time we began this remodel I had a fussy newborn. But I think you’ll get the idea,

Living Room

bungalow 404 living room before

bungalow 404 Living Room after

bungalow 404 chair


The paint color in the living room is from Martha Stewart’s discontinued paint line at Lowe’s.The color was called Newsprint. It is a white with a hint of gray. I recently sampled Benjamin Moore’s Paperwhite on the wall and it is similar to Newsprint.

DC’s Nursery


Kid's room2

the paint color on the ceiling is Benjamin Moore’s In Your Eyes

Master bedroom

bungalow 404 master before

bungalow 404 master after

bungalow 404 master bedside

The wall color in the master is Benjamin Moore’s Canvas.

Sitting room

Sitting Room


the bookcase that my husband and Dad built, it was designed to be a beefier, taller version of IKEA’s Expedit. It is topped with crown molding that mimics the molding in the house.  The wall color in the sitting room is the same as the living room, Martha Stewart’s Newsprint (discontinued).

bungalow 404 sitting room vignette


I have no before images but trust me they were all hideous especially the master and the basement bath. The master bath looked like a bathroom in a 1990s mobile home until we demo’d the whole thing and raised the ceiling a foot.

Master Bath


black penny rounds in master bath, wall color is Sherwin Williams’ Alabaster

Hall Bath

Hall Bath


Hall bath detail

wall color is Ben Moore’s Silver Crest

Kitchen & Dining progression

bungalow 404 kitchen plan

bungalow 404 framed windows

new windows in dining area

bungalow 404 kitchen progress

bungalow 404 kitchen after

bungalow 404 kitchen after2

We had a chalkboard wall one one side of small and very casual dining area. You can see the now finished casement windows that look out on to the backyard.

dining room

chalk sitting ready to be used on a snowy day,

bungalow 404 chalk closeup


The hall was painted a rich, chocolate brown called Benjamin Moore Mink. It was a bold departure from the watery blues, grays and many neutral whites in the rest of the house. We hung our gallery wall here,

bungalow 404 gallery wall

bungalow 404 gallery wall2


A lot of sweat equity and money went in to the backyard which basically was a wasteland for weeds. The fire pit, formation of the planting beds, irrigation system and land clearing were all done by professionals. The design plan, planting and upkeep was all our handiwork.

bungalow 404 backyard before

flagstone fire pit in fall

This is the second big landscape undertaking that my husband and I have planned and created. One of the most disappointing things about moving so often like this is having to leave all the beautiful plants behind just as they become established and really start to take off. But the challenge we are about to embark on at the new house is by far the biggest. The bonus is that it already has an irrigation system installed and it is on a well!

bungalow back exterior

If you’d like to look back at all of the posts about this house just type “bungalow 404” in the search box.


Bungalow 404 Domino Magazine Photo

Sitting around at Bungalow 404 with Sarah, Dan, DC, the dogs and the brothers is one of my favorite things to do on a summer weekend. We mostly spend our time on the porch talking on a wide range of topics between guitar pickin’ sing-a-longs. This particular weekend, we also ate a pound of pound cake cupcakes!

Sarah’s progress with Bungalow 404 is stunning, and here’s a little peak. (I totally score points with the fuzzy human photo, right?).

The Estate of Things chooses Sarah's Bungalow 404

Click here to see where she started.


Sketching My Garden

I’m gonna take the nod from Monrovia and attempt to design and sketch my own garden.

the estate of things chooses garden sketch

They have some step by step instructions on how to do it. I’m sure there’s some fancy, free program download for garden layouts but I’d rather just attempt it with old fashioned colored pencils and graph paper.

We have a blank slate in the backyard at Bungalow 404, I’m embarrassed but here it is,

the estate of things chooses Sarah's backyard

It’s dissapointing to look out the dining room windows and have that view.

So first we’ll make the plan then the budget and finally…the magic.  I plan on sketching on Sunday, that is my goal and I want to emphasize the word goal.

Those bushes are growing out of an old cement foundation that will need to be removed and the whole yard will have to be leveled before the real fun can begin.  You cannot tell from the image but the yard has a lot of dips and a significant slope near the back toward the woods.

We will have the yard leveled and cleaned up before we have the design plan.  We gave our heavy equipment guy a call and he plans to meet with us on Monday to assess the job and give us an estimate.  And then once he begins the view will be even more depressing.

I’m thinking about something like this…

The circular patio and wood burning fire pit are a definite.

the estate of things chooses lee kleinhelter home


I recently went to a wedding at this property, I like the line of small trees that separate the different zones of the garden. This property is for sale, here. 


I’d like to frame a path with lavendar, kind of like this

the estate of things chooses sunset magazine

I love how the red rises from the lower growing grass.  It’s a great contrast, possibly planted around the circular patio?

the estate of things chooses sunset magazine garden

I like the concrete stones that were used in this path.

the estate of things chooses sunset magazine concrete stones

I like this Craig Socia design, thinking a layer of evergreens possible some good old Leyland Cypress along the fence line and then a layer of shrubbery and then a third layer with perennials

the estate of things chooses craig socia landscape design


Renovating Bungalow 404: Before & After Exterior

Sarah is being way to modest I guess. I got down to her house for Memorial Day weekend and almost flipped when I saw the difference in Bungalow 404. Almost everything is in its place there and the house felt great. Last time I was down it barely had sheet rock on the walls.

We celebrated Dylan’s birthday, had a porch party with the dogs and made some music with Rob (Please check out the original RnB song that we created here). I also snapped a picture of the front of the house so you could have a quick view of the before and after exterior.

Meanwhile, be looking forward to more tales from Sarah’s renovation efforts. I’ll tell them myself if I have to, though I just don’t think I can do them the justice they deserve!!




Custom Pantry Doors

The laundry room (more like a pantry/closet) is off the kitchen. The doorway leading in to this room is an odd width.  I thought, until about a week ago, that I was going to have to settle for bi-fold doors from Lowe’s Home Improvement store. They would have to be cut to accomodate the odd size.  In the midst of my dissapointment over having to look at more standard bi-folds, I found this!

Image via Sunset


They looked fairly easy to build so I asked the carpenter and he said–no problem, I can do it. So the carpenter built the simple frames, sans little silver plugs and I’ll have the local glass company fit it with some glass panels.  I’ll have my version of the doors painted white to match the trim and other doors in the house. Voila!