We've Moved!

Happy New Year! 2015 saw lots of change for us - we sold our first house *tear* and bought a new little gem in our dream neighborhood *hoo-ray!* 

I hope to show you some of the final projects from our first home that we completed before selling but for now - New Year, New House! And here she is.

After a relatively short house hunt (five months) we came upon this cutie the week before the Fourth of July. Maybe it was the holiday week but we were shocked when we learned we were one of only two offers submitted - the other being a developer. We wrote our sweet letter, crossed our fingers, and were over the moon when our realtor stopped by to tell us in person we got the house. 

Look at how happy those kids are!

A decent inspection and a smooth closing later and we were holding the keys to our new little home. Want a tour?

Here's our large open living room when you open the front door and note those are coved ceilings!

Cute little fireplace and entry closet as you look back at the front door. (Pardon the quality of some of these shots - some are screen grabs from the listing.)

A corner of southwest facing windows - so. much. light.

Hook a left into the dining room.

Which continues into the kitchen.

This is most certainly not the kitchen we've grown accustomed to but we've got plans...

To the right of the sink is the door to the backyard and the stairs to the basement.

Small bedroom at the end of the hall which will be my office. 

Larger master bedroom with a great closet.

I lurve these little art deco details in the hardware and am looking forward to cleaning them up.

The back yard was a mess - to say the least. We suspected there was a decent yard back there but wouldn't know until we tore all this out.

This is the "view" from the backdoor onto a tired old paver patio. Straight through the hedge we would discover a small fence - our driveway lies on the other side. 

Take a right as you leave the back door and there's a path to the sidewalk. 

From the backyard looking back towards the kitchen window.

These laurel hedges were out of control! 

Why yes we do have a garage back there. At least half of one.

And my favorite - a twenty-year-old neighborhood cat box. 

There is a lot of work to be done on this place but the potential is there and you know how we love projects. Next up - watch us tear the yard out!

What significant things happened to you in 2015? Any projects you were able to wrap up? How about New Year's resolutions to tackle something you've been looking forward to?

Making it Legal - The Final Installment

It's finally done! Well, fortunately this project was wrapped a couple weeks ago but with the Holiday Season upon us I've been less than punctual with our posts.

After ripping out the existing walls Adam went to work sanding down the newly exposed floors as they stood a little higher than the rest of the floor since they'd never been refinished. (This photo was taken after we started the framing but he did the sanding beforehand.)

We also quickly threw some insulation into the ceiling and walls in the closet since there was none before.

We started the framing with the wall that would house the bedroom door before branching off of that to create the new closet wall.

Below is the framing for the pocket door for the closet. (The rectangle in the back wall was where the heat vent used to be, but seeing as it was going to end up inside the new closet we insulated it, sheet rocked over it, and moved the vent into the bedroom.)

We were fortunate enough to be able to use the original closet door as our pocket door - Adam just had to take a few inches off the bottom and fill in the existing hardware holes before I gave it a fresh coat of paint.

The front of the HVAC tube will be drywalled over and then we'll build a top for it that can be removed in case in needs to be accessed. 

Another decision we made while framing was to get rid of the knee-wall access door on the west side of the bedroom (there's still one further south on that wall in my office) because it would have bumped right up to the new closet wall and I wanted a clean corner for a dresser or a reading chair.

The edges of the doorway were then trimmed in 2x4s so there was something to nail the sheetrock too and then insulated, under strict supervision... (You can also see where we moved the vent to.)

Last step before drywalling was to modify the electric slightly. Originally all the ceiling lights were operated on one switch at the top of the stairs, so Adam split that so the three lights in the bedroom are now operated by a new switch installed next to the door.

We also installed two closet lights with a switch just on the outside of the closet door.

Framing and insulation complete we contracted out the sheet rocking. With the many slanted cuts and needing to match the texture to the existing walls we figured it would be worth our time and money to have it done professionally. Three days later and we were ready to prime and paint.

We were able to salvage most of the existing trim from the baseboards and from around the exterior of the closet door, I just needed to give each piece a quick sand and new paint.

Fast forward through installing the trim and hanging the new door and voila! Here's the cute reading corner at the top of the stairs that was created by legalizing the bedroom. Pay no attention to the very comfy but very ugly chair I have yet to recover.

The view from inside the bedroom back through the door.

 It all looks so clean and like it was always there. I think my favorite part is the pocket door with the charming little brass details Adam found for it.

 Remember that beautiful wood we salvaged from inside the closet when we demoed? Handy husband turned it into the top for the HVAC at the back of the closet, thus creating a great little bench.

We had trouble finding simple light fixtures for the closet that had a low enough profile that they didn't eat up the minimal headspace in there - but I found these gems at Lowes. I think they're meant to be used as exterior lights but they work well and look nice and simple.

Here's the corner where the old knee-wall access door used to live. In hindsight we probably could have just moved the access into the closet so that someday we could get rid of the door in my office (which is practically the first thing you see when you get to the top of the stairs) but again, being as this isn't our forever home we're not too worried about it.

Speaking of brass details, can we take a moment to soak in these door knob backplates that Adam found at a local shop in town? Such great detail. And the knobs are reused from another old door in our house that we decommissioned. I love it.

It's not a HUGE change, but it's significant - it increases the functionality of the space and the sellability of our house when the time comes.

 What are you trying to take care of before the holidays? Finishing remodeling that guest room? Building your new dining room table? Maybe just buying and setting up the tree is enough for you? Whatever the case may be I hope it goes swimmingly!

Making it Legal

As it stands now our upstairs bedroom isn't legal - there's a closet and a window but no door between the "room" and the staircase. Adam and I have been brainstorming plans for this space for a while now - how to include a door while taking the attic ceiling angles into account and how to maintain a decent sized walk-in closet should the next owners want this space as a master. If this were our forever home we'd also be planning on how to incorporate a bath as well, potentially adding a dormer to the roof for added space, but since this isn't we're sticking to the basics.

The closet that is up there now is a decent size, albeit full of dated wall paper and a version of sheetrock from the early 20th century... The biggest problem with this closet though is that the wall comes out halfway into the whole room - taking up sizable space of the only portion of the ceiling that is parallel to the floor.

(Doggie photo bomb.)

Our plan is to take out the front wall of the closet in order to knock it back to the bend in the ceiling, which will allow for a full-sized door to then be placed perpendicular from there with a wall that continues across to the other side of the attic. Here's the floor plan for the existing layout.

 Doing this will take away square footage of the closet so we've decided to also remove the back side wall of the closet and stretch it further into the bedroom - the closet will be narrower now but it will be longer also.

Here's the catch - the small square in the corner of the existing closet is the HVAC duct that goes from the basement to the roof, and attached to that is the duct that runs along the floor into the eaves. These are things that have to stay in place, so in order to work around that we have to get a little creative.

The HVAC chase is currently drywalled on two sides so we're going to continue that around a third side before turning from that to create the actual closet wall.

It will create a small little alcove before you enter the bedroom door but we've done the measurements and it doesn't appear that it will impede anything like moving large pieces of furniture in and out. A pocket door will also be incorporated as there won't be any room for a closet door to then swing out into the room from where it is. We chose to keep the closet door on this wall for two reasons:
 - I wanted to leave the wall space opposite of the bedroom window as open as possible for a dresser or art work or both.
 - We wanted to leave the option of installing a shelving system on that short wall to the right of the pocket door.

With a plan in hand we started the demo - first step was removing the closet door and the trim as well as the rod and shelf that were in there.

Next we started taking down the interior walls of the closet - only to discover some really beautiful, super wide rough sawn lumber lurking behind. In order to remove the boards carefully in case we wanted to use them for something else down the road, Adam cut into the drywall on the other side and we popped them free that way.

After removing everything from the interior we worked to disassemble the rest of the drywall and the existing framing so we had a blank canvas. This photo was taken right before we took off the front wall of the closet but it still gives you an idea of the space we have to work with now.

Up next will be sanding down the pine floor where the walls used to be in order to prep them for matching to the existing finish when we're done. We'll also be framing the new closet out and doing the electrical so hopefully we have an update for you early next week.

What are your plans for the weekend? Going to try and get out and soak up some the last of the sunshine or are you eager to dive into a new project? Have you started gathering your decorative gourds yet? I still need to get myself some white pumpkins...