Last spring, my husband and I decided it was time to start the first phase of a rather large remodeling project on our home. I had been dreaming of ways I could add some character to our 11 year old home, and make my ordinary house not so ordinary. When you move from an 80 year old house with oodles of charm, into a brand new house, you give up a lot of architectural features, character and charm. New houses are nice with their new plumbing and wiring, and their basements that aren’t haunted, but after a few years of living in our new home, I found myself sneaking back into the old neighborhood looking for real estate signs and going to open houses so I could get my crown molding and architectural detail fix, and walk on real oak floors.
So we finally took the plunge, and with the help of our neighbors we ripped out all of the builder grade maple floors and gawd awful cheap carpet on the main level. We emptied the furniture into a pod that took up half of the driveway and moved out of the house for three months. The carpenter was great, he knew exactly what we wanted and went right to work adding crown molding to several rooms and doorways, he filled in the gaping hole over the fireplace where the T.V. used to be (ladies don’t ever let your husband tell you that is the only place the T.V. can go) and added a wider mantle so that I could actually decorate it; he also built two large columns to separate the living and dining rooms.
Picking out the flooring was easy; I knew I wanted a mix of quarter sawn and rift sawn oak with a warm honey brown stain. The crew of three young men who were young enough to be my grandsons actually knew what they were doing and had the floor down in a week. Next was the painting; I wanted the walls to be more of a neutral so that I could play with color in my pillows, rugs and decor. Picking a paint color can be very tricky. Depending on the time of day, the sun plays an important role in what a paint color will look like, so always look at your paint samples throughout the day to see if the color changes before you paint the whole room. Every time I thought I had the perfect color of soft chamois yellow that I had visualized for the formal living room, it looked like dreaded peach sherbet in the hallway and family room. After a lot of mixing and re-mixing, we finally arrived at the right shade of a soft yellow that seemed to look the same in every room.
It has been a year since we started that project, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. We still have a lot more character building to do to our not so ordinary, ordinary house, but for now I have stopped lurking around in the old neighborhood. Here are a few before and after photos (so far)….