The homeowners at the Durham project really steamrolled through this quick update with the help of their contractor who actually listened when they said, we have to finish this in a month before our baby is born.
What happened in about 3 weeks time? Interior paint, new flooring throughout most of the downstairs, kitchen cabinets painted, quartz counters on!
The Cosmos Carrara Classic counters are in, as well as their new faucet and single bowl undermount stainless steel sink. Subway tile backsplash awaits a light gray grout.
Newly opened up space, combining the kitchen with the family room, the hub of the house. New flooring and paint color unites the space.
Unfortunately, the client couldn’t put hidden hinges on the existing cabinets, so they went on a quick hunt for polished nickel hinges to match our chosen kitchen cabinet hardware.
Family room looking extremely fresh with new recessed lighting, Benjamin Moore Moonshine on the walls. The fireplace is primed in this photo. The homeowner liked the washed brick look and in a clutch decision decided not to paint the fireplace brick white.
Horizontal backsplash border, some folks opt for a vertical bullnose border on the ends of the backsplash.
Primed fireplace brick up close.
The TV is now mounted on the fireplace and the built-ins were repaired and got fitted with new shaker style cabinet doors.
Picking the right light gray grout for backsplash.
Allow me to introduce you to my newest gig, the Durham project. The Durham project is a neo-colonial, two-story house constructed in the 1980s. It’s the first home for this growing family and they’ve saved and budgeted for some remodeling and updating and that’s where I come in.
We’re on a tight timeline with this remodel because the aforementioned growing family is expecting a baby girl at the beginning of November and the construction is just getting underway. Some might say they are nuts to have a newborn AND a renovation. But I’ve assured them that they can handle it, it will not always be easy and it will be unpleasant at times but it’s certainly do-able.
The Main Components of the Durham project remodel:
Remodel Master Bathroom
The master bath is a narrow space where currently you’ll find that you can sit on the toilet and lean over to the shower to wash your hair at the same time. How do you say…ah not cool. We’ll expand the room just inches because the room is sandwiched between an exterior wall and the stairs but we’ll eliminate that whole simultaneous shower/toilet situation. Dated cabinetry goes bye bye, things get shifted and we add more glass to provide the illusion that the room is larger.
Focus on Family (Room)
This couple isn’t shy about telling you they like their TV and I like mine too and I recognize and value the importance of a comfy, stylish, well constructed space to watch the new season of Game of Thrones in. They’ve inherited built-ins in the family room but they are a little off. They need paint, hardware and a little tweaking. We need to create a fireplace/TV/built-in dynamic that makes this a functional gathering space for the whole fam.
A lot of the budget will be spent in the kitchen and it needs an update. Stainless appliances, rehabbing and painting cabinets, bringing the hardwood flooring in, new electrical, countertops and a backsplash will move us in the right direction.
A wall stands now separating the dining nook and the family room. If removed all of the important main spaces will benefit. You will be able to see all the goings on in the family room from the kitchen, the space will feel modernized, receive more natural light, feel more open and spacious.
Banquette on Wish List
A banquette in the dining nook in the kitchen is on the wish list. Everybody loves them and it’s a great little character add-on. Once we open up that wall between the family room and the kitchen, it’s a great opportunity to add on a banquette or window seat on to the bay window.
At some point in the house hunt, the dude and I started referring to the blue paned house, aka Silver Springs as Shaniqua. It is a reference to the street it’s on, but really it’s more about personifying the home that we couldn’t get out of mind. The name has since grown on us, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. Even Heffe’s kids have taken to it.
We got to take them over on Saturday and get a few measurements. Part of our negotiations allowed the previous homeowners a leaseback for 30 days after closing. We had to make formal arrangements to see the home, but we were thrilled to find it mostly empty.
It feels more real than ever now, and we’ll be glad to finally have full access at the end of the month.
Step into her little foyer, where you are immediately greeted with a set of stairs! I’d really like to change that, but we’ll have to wait and see what’s possible.
Come on up!
We previously discussed the wall of traditional shelving. After seeing the home empty, I’m leaning more towards removing the entire thing. It’s just so heavy and that crown moulding and cabinet facing is not speaking my language.
I’m curious to hear from Sarah, and you if you have any opinion on the matter.
It might be interesting to see what the dude and I could do with some more personal choices for that wall. I’ve seen his carpentry work firsthand, he’s gifted. We might prefer to design something ourselves, but what would that look like?
Where do you see a football & futball lover’s gigantic TV fitting in?
To help me think, I’ve taken to the drawing board. While we there on Saturday, we grabbed all the measurements so I could put together a floor plan. It was a rather painstaking process, but I’ve finally got it pulled together, and relatively to scale.
I used Homestyler by AutoDesk. It was fun and I really lost myself working on it for hours. You can even go fantasy furniture shopping and outfit your entire house with new products from select retailers that they have partnered with. Pretty futuristic robot awesome if you ask me.
Now that I have saved the base floorplan on my free account, I can really play around with thoughts of moving doors, busting out built-ins and contemplating kitchen reconfigurations. I’ll be fantasizing here until we actually get moved in!
Years ago when the real estate market didn’t have a monster face (remember those days?) and I had already cut my remodeling teeth on my own home, an old boarding house went up for sale.
An old postcard depiction of the Pineshire Sanitarium
The Mount Vernon house is an imposing structure, built in the Queen Anne style at the turn of the century. It was originally a boarding house which actually served as a sanitarium called Pineshire Sanitorium. I’ve been told that the residents staying at the Pineshire would go up into the cupola where they had a clear view of the railroad station and could see when their friends and family arrived into town on the train. Its unclear how long Mount Vernon was a boarding house but I understand that it was separated in to apartments sometime in the 1930s.
The Mount Vernon house changed ownership a few times in 105 years and sometime in 2004 the property was gifted to a local church who later made it available for purchase. The purchase of the property included the house with six occupied apartments, a dilapidated carriage house and a separate one bedroom cottage.
Interestingly enough, each tenant that occupied the Mount Vernon house at the time of our purchase all held varying occupations.
This is significant because the apartment numbers were confusing and the layout was such a maze that we couldn’t remember them when we would discuss the project, so we labeled the apartments by the tenant’s profession. These labels remained even after the tenants all moved out and we still use them today. The Mt. Vernon House remains the flagship of Beaver Path Properties, since it was our first complete gut and restoration project and our most ambitious one. Have a look at the before/after photos below.
Speaking of a comeback, have you watched or are already a dedicated viewer of The Comeback on HBO? We recently watched 2 or 3 episodes and it was almost entirely too painful and awkward to watch. But Val is a train wreck and you have to return to see if she ever gets a break.
We are keeping our gaze firmly locked on a budget for both projects but more so for the Bennett kitchen. Because we’re keeping a budget-minded approach here, a more economical choice would be to re-use the existing gas range because it isn’t that old and is still in good working order. The existing range is white, as are the other existing appliances.
We will need:
a new fridge
add a dishwasher
We will be re-using existing:
For the most part everyone is using stainless appliances these days. The choices are actually a lot greater now in stainless than they are in white. So as a compromise, I briefly considered the possibility of mixing white and stainless.
We don’t know what color the fridge is here from this image but I’d wager a bet that it is a stainless steel Sub-Zero or Jenn Air to go with the white dishwasher and black range,
We’ve got a black microwave, vintage white range and a stainless steel dishwasher going on here,
This is my favorite example and one of my new favorite cottage kitchens right now. It’s a cute southern cottage kitchen designed by Milk and Honey Home. The stainless gas range looks fairly comfortable sitting next to the white dishwasher.
You probably already noticed like I did that a lot of the mixing takes place with a vintage or very expensive range in place. And we don’t have either of those in the Bennett kitchen.
So…we move forward in matching our existing white appliances. Let’s look at a few inspirational images with white appliances,
White fridge happening,
So besides the normal white appliances we’re all used to, what else is out there? Let’s start with a reasonable price point.
The GE Artistry line is reasonably priced and has this cool retro styling with a white exterior and stainless accents.
The fridge is a little deep though so I’m considering using only the dishwasher from the Artistry line and pairing that up with a white fridge.
Whirlpool also offers sleek, white appliances in their White Ice collection. I can’t say that I like them as well as the GE Artistry line.
I’m leaning more toward a slimmer, economical white fridge like this one,
But what if you had a much larger budget? Well…then the white appliances get a lot prettier,
Not too long ago you were introduced to the Spring Hill kitchen, well I’m also working on another kitchen remodel project called the Bennett kitchen.
The Bennett kitchen needs a lot of help! It’s a small kitchen with wooden cabinets from the 1950s or possibly earlier, a linoleum floor with a parquet pattern that has long passed it’s prime and a refrigerator that just hangs out by itself on the middle of that long wall and thats just the start–this kitchen has got issues.
The Bennett kitchen definitely has a college dude look happening.
The counter/bar will be eliminated to open it up and provide more space for the banquette.
See the fridge just chillin’ on that wall by itself, hanging off the wall a big clunking 33″. Also that superficial board on the wall that covers a wall joint is unnecessary. There are trim details around this kitchen that will be changed to have consistency in the space.
We’re going to build in a banquette where the table is and bid adieu to the Bud sign as you probably could’ve guessed. We’ll keep that West Elm pendant (they no longer carry it).
This kitchen is gonna get the works including open shelving, ceiling height custom cabinets, a new fridge, paint, countertops, flooring, lighting, accessories and a banquette.
If possible the best approach is to have different levels of lighting in a room to gain a good balance. Different levels of lighting can include recessed ceiling or can lights, sconces, decorative ceiling lights and table and floor lamps. Using varied levels of lighting can reduce the hard and direct light that recessed lighting can sometimes create when they are used on their own.
Also consider it a standing recommendation here at TEOT to always install dimmers on everything in every room.
So we’ve already talked about lamps in the kitchen which we decided was undoubtedly a good thing. Now let’s talk about something that I want to make happen sooner rather than later which is installing sconces in a kitchen.
Sconces lined up in a row mounted on window molding or above a bank of windows is very appealing to me,
So are sconces mounted on either side of the range hood,
Sometimes they are library style or swing arm sconces,
Sometimes it’s a lone sconce over the kitchen sink,
I’m starting a new project; the Spring Hill Kitchen project. I’ll be helping the client with remodeling and adding some character to a little house that’s only about ten years old.
Important things to know about the client –
likes to stay organized and tidy
not afraid of DIY projects, taking on parts of the project to cut costs
enjoys cooking & baking (a good kitchen is kind of important)
likes the farmhouse/industrial style
The lady of the house is ready to kiss her honey oak cabinets, black appliances and popcorn ceiling goodbye. Also-there’s no love lost over the laminate countertops and electric range. Builder grade kitchen be gone.
It’s time to press the classic white kitchen in to service (when is it not time?) with max storage, a banquette and some cottage style spernkled on top.
Let’s see what we’re working with,
This is just the start of things that we’d like to change,
After having a conversation with the client about the key changes and shaping the wish list for the space, we narrowed it down to these;
removal of linoleum & carpet in select areas of the house, replace with hardwood
level out raised bar @ sink
mount/wire TV in wall in living area
switch to gas range
In addition to the changes above, I’d suggest the following;
adding a banquette
adding additional lighting in kitchen for multiple levels of light
replacing solid panel door with more glass to allow more natural light in
purchase new stainless steel appliances
add free-standing or built-in bookcase in living area
plank ceiling limited only to kitchen/living area
Here are the inspirational images that we’ll be working from that we agree on,
Planked ceiling, stacked cabinets, metal stools, banquette w/rectangular table–these are all things we’re focusing on in this image,
Yes to soapstone or a good substitute, glass cabinets on either side of range,
If we don’t want to just dot our ceiling with 4″ recessed can lights we can always get a little more creative and put a sconce on either side of the range over some open shelving. I also like the narrow cabinets with two small drawers on the bottom, close at hand storing the spices you need. I also like how they made a tight turn with open shelving.
There are a lot of budget-friendly things happening here, IKEA faucet (with no sprayer), Home Depot subway tile that I’ve used many times, RH hardware, relatively inexpensive stainless steel appliances–all of this yields a really nice looking kitchen. I also like how the reclaimed wood shelving breaks up the white party for a minute, so far the client doesn’t like the reclaimed shelves.
I think everyone involved likes the industrial metal pendants and the square, shaker-style range hood. I also always think cabinet brackets are a beautiful detail but the client could skip those.
We’re looking at a chalkboard element here which will incorporate somewhere in the space. We’re also liking the traditional cabinets on either side of the stainless range hood.
The road map is beginning to come together for the project. The next step is to begin designing and creating a cabinet layout for the kitchen.
I stayed relatively neutral with all of my choices because it’s not my living space– it was made to be attractive to all sorts of prospective tenants. I got to try out some new grays, Classic Gray and Moonshine. I especially loved Moonshine. Simply White is my new go to trim color and Woodlawn Blue was great for the bath in Apartment B. If you’re looking for a “greige” I’d test Classic Gray. If you’re curious about which colors went where, they will all be labeled on the posts about the individual rooms.
This is the bathroom in Apartment B before the demo and expansion. It leaves umm…much to be desired.
This was in use and although a sight for sore eyes it was operational. The biggest changes to this bathroom were 1) the addition of a window and the gain of natural light and 2) the creation and installation of a custom storage cabinet with glass doors to fill an awkward nook.
The wall color in this bath is Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue, I’m 99% certain that this color would perform well any where.
The best place to install our towel bar was here,
One of the best parts about this bathroom renovation was the addition of a custom cabinet to fill this nook next to the shower. We put a vintage styled latch on the glass doors not long after this photo was taken.
The bedrooms were a relatively easy fix. Once we knew where we were going to put the bathroom and we knew that the apartment would remain a two bedroom, we got to work carving out proper closets for each of the bedrooms. Some sheetrock, trim and new maple hardwood flooring and someone could rest easy in these equally sized bedrooms.
And that folks concludes our tour of the Grout Cottage. The house has two apartments and a complete exterior renovation so in case you missed everything prior to this post, go back to the beginning here. The whole project reveal can be found in the “Renovation Projects section at the top of our page.
If you want to read about the decisions and the design process when it was happening simply type in the word “Grout” in to our search block.
Tomorrow we’ll have the color palette up for the house.
This was the only entrance to the upstairs dwelling, Apartment B.
Scary exterior stairwell on the side of the house,
There was already an existing porch up there but the stairwell was literally sitting next to the porch, it wobbled when you stepped on to the landing and then if you made it up the stairs of death you were met with a small porch that could’ve fallen through on any given day. The entire porch and the stairs were completely torn off and rebuilt.
When looking at any of the before images of Apartment B, keep in mind someone was living here not long before the demolition began.
It was fun to re-configure the living area, kitchen and bath in this space. We had the bath in a couple of different spots initially but ultimately kept it in the same place but enlarged it.
After the Indiana project was posted, some readers commented that they wanted to see the same before and after angles and of course you do. Whether it looks like it or not this is the same angle.
There are parts of the renovation process that some times have to be pretty fluid. When we framed up the cathedral ceiling in the living area, the plan was to install exposed, decorative collar ties–which are basically horizontal beams connecting the cathedral ceiling. They stayed up during the entire framing process and then before sheetrock installation we opted to remove them and enjoy the unobstructed view of our new cathedral ceiling.
A shot during floor installation,
And after the walls were painted Benjamin Moore Moonshine,
Apartment B is smaller than Apartment A but for this space the kitchen lives pretty large. I was skeptical about the actual space in the kitchen we planned for but it actually turned out great and a bit generous. The over-sized bar that separates the kitchen from the living area is a trade-off for the lack of space for a dining table.
I tried hard here to maximize storage space in this kitchen and I think I accomplished that goal. Apartment B’s kitchen would give my kitchen a run for it’s money in the storage department (I have a small kitchen!)
We even squeezed in a washer and dryer in this apartment!
Come check out the custom bath cabinet tomorrow when we take a look at the bedrooms and the bathroom.
If you missed the beginning of the Grout Cottage reveal, go back to Day 1.
We started with a shell of a bathroom. When I say shell I mean just framed walls with plywood because the previous owner had at some point demolished the entire bathroom and was in the beginning stages of putting it back in. The shell of a bathroom that we had to work with was not quite big enough so we widened it and gained a few more feet. I also added a window in the bathroom because I just don’t like bathrooms without windows–that really goes for any room, natural light is always a good thing.
I had a little fun and tried out a vanity in a color other than white in this bath. I waffled for a while about doing a gray vanity or a camo green vanity but finally settled on blue. The vanity is Benjamin Moore’s Stratton Blue mixed in Pittsburgh Paint’s Breakthrough paint line.
I also had been itching to try a patterned tile and a Victorian age home like this was the perfect opportunity. I loved the black and white floral patterns but didn’t want to make it too feminine so I used this starburst SomerTile from Overstock. Along with the blue vanity, the tile gives this small bathroom a little interest and character.
And to finish it off, we used a standard fiberglass shower/tub surround because its a rental property but if this was a private residence we would certainly go with tiled shower surround.
When we began this project, the hallway in this apartment was a dark corridor with some wood paneled closets and some dirty and old beadboard wainscoting. The hallway is worth mentioning and taking a gander at because it’s no longer a hallway straight out of a horror movie.
Peeling back some of the layers in the old hallway,
Again we salvaged the little stained glass window that was existing to add some character in our revamped hall. But we enlarged the window and had it made to match with the dimensions of the stained glass window to make it appear as though it was all one window but in fact it’s two separate pieces trimmed together to look like one. We also salvaged all of the old doors but in order to make a custom door for our linen closet, the carpenter cut down one of the old paneled doors to create a slim door for the closet. We added some great schoolhouse flushmounts and bronze hardware and refinished those heart pine floors and things are looking up.
The trim is painted a non-traditional satin finish, most would use semi-gloss. The satin still has a pretty sheen. All the trim throughout the apartment is Benjamin Moore Simply White.
We leave the hall and move in to Bedroom Two in the apartment. Bedroom Two is the smaller of the two bedrooms but to compensate for less space we went bigger with the closet. We left the single window in it’s original spot and doubled the size of the tiny closet to make it a walk-in. Refinished the floors, new everything and you have Bedroom Two.
Before, always scary-
More door salvage happening in here, we matched up two equally sized doors existing in the house and made a set of double doors for our new expanded closet.
Tomorrow we are headed in to the bath complete with blue vanity and retro snowflake tile.
Apartment A is the downstairs apartment of the historic Grout Cottage. It is a two bedroom apartment with an eat-in kitchen, one bathroom and a laundry/mudroom combination. In addition to the interior transformation, we also added a deck on the back of the house for the residents of Apartment A to hang out on and enjoy.
In the beginning, Apartment A had a pretty odd layout. The apartment had two entrances from the front porch, one that entered the bedroom and the other that entered into a living room. Originally, if you wanted to go to the kitchen and you were hanging out in the living room you had to walk through a bedroom to get there. Obviously one of the first orders of business was to re-work the layout of the apartment.
This is the future living room originally functioning as a bedroom with a small existing closet, a free-standing closet that was added, an odd little storage space behind those two little doors up high and a lovely drop ceiling. Most of the house was filled with dirty, worn wainscoting.
Turning to the right we see this,
Continuing to turn around the room 180 degrees we see the front door,
Here we are after all of the demolition is done. The closets are gone and we’re down to the studs now but haven’t taken the original beadboard ceilings down yet.
That old vent pipe needs to go,
We eliminated those closets, walled over doors and tore everything apart except for the floor and then after several months our finished living room emerges,
Our new front door is a custom door made of solid alder with obscured glass and I love the additional light it allowed in to the room,
We kept things relatively simple with window treatments, hardware and light fixtures because this is a rental property. Although they can be pretty much void of any style, it’s good to have a ceiling fan in the humid and hot summer in NC. If this were a renovation to sell or my own house I would definitely choose different fixtures and finishes.
The original 119-year old heart pine floors were salvaged. We made the necessary repairs with some reclaimed heart pine and then had them refinished and topped with a clear polyurethane.I decided to use the usual wider trim and baseboard with the crown molding on top but this time opted not to install the blocks at the bottom of each door frame. I see the simpler approach to trim in new or renovated farmhouses.
And that’s our living room in Apartment A.
Let’s move on in to Bedroom One in Apartment A. Bedroom One is the largest of the two bedrooms with a ton of windows letting in a bunch of great light.
When we began Bedroom One was functioning as the living room. It had a drop ceiling like the rest of the house, ugly light fixtures (always come with the deal), no closet and three doors.
Tons of great windows which we intended to keep,
We removed three chimneys from this house and one of those chimneys was in this bedroom. The carpentry crew removed the chimneys all while someone was still renting the apartment above. Although it is absolutely possible to renovate half of a duplex and remove three chimneys while someone lives in the other half, if I were doing it all again I would’ve asked the upstairs tenant to vacate at the start.
We got that chimney out, closed in the extra front entrance and started over with everything else and this is how Bedroom One turned out,
We borrowed our closet space for this room in part from the closet cavity in what used to be the living room and from the the 2nd bedroom.
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