Thursday, March 5, 2015

House Progress - Renovation Round 1

Today the hubby and I met our architect/designer at the house to review the latest plans for the master bathroom. It was the first time we've been in the house since our wonderful contractor, Mario from B and A Custom Painting, finished his work.  Even though I've been going to the house every other day or so, it was hard to see the progress through all of the tarps, tape and dust.

Mario and his crew spent six weeks tackling the following projects
  • Removing all of the wall paper
  • Repairing walls damaged by wall paper removal
  • Painting (all but a couple of rooms) 
  • Painting all trim
  • Removing a retiling foyer floor
  • Hanging two chandeliers
  • Refinishing floors in the office and den off the master bedroom
  • Gutting one of the two master bathrooms and prepping it for its new life as a walk in closet with a washer and dryer 

The dated tile has been replaced with marble laid in a herringbone pattern. The banister has been painted black and the spindles and trim have been painted white. The risers still need to be painted and a runner will be installed before we move in. We have selected a wool chevron runner to compliment the tile (sorry the picture isn't the best) 

The hubby and I removed the railing between the hallway and the living room. It makes the room feel so much brighter, lighter, and more modern. 

The den off the kitchen is now one of the brightest rooms in the house. We had the pine paneled walls painted a Benjamin Moore color called Wickham Gray. It really compliments the stone on the fireplace. I plan to remove the fire place screen before we move in. 

The dining room is also looking bigger and brighter. We really wanted to remove the door things around the windows, but it would require replacing the single pane windows behind them with really expensive custom windows. I am happy with our decision to paint them white, but I'm not thrilled about the decorative glass at the top of the doors. I have a plan for those.

I can't wait to move into the master bedroom, but we are going to wait until the master bath remodel is done. That bit of blue through the door is our new master closet. It was a mirror covered pink "hers" bathroom. More on this transformation in a future post. 

The basement is also nearing completion. I'm still working on the brick wall behind the bar. It will be painted the same color as the fireplace. The carpet won't be installed for a couple of weeks and I can't wait! The existing carpet is glue directly to the foundation (no padding) and looks like it belongs in a government office building. 

The kids rooms are also coming together. Thankfully there was no wall paper to be removed in their rooms. My goal is to have the kids rooms totally finished before moving in. 

The kids bathroom had a floral mural painted on most of the walls. The mural has been replaced by pink, white, and grey stripes. More on this project in a future post. 

Of all of the work that has been done to date, the wall paper removal was the biggest project. The entire foyer and living room (including the ceilings) were covered with grass cloth wallpaper that had been painted over. It was really difficult to remove and the walls were in rough shape after it all came down. Nearly every wall in the foyer and living room had to be re-skimmed. Mario's team did a BEAUTIFUL job and the walls look brand-new. 

Before we move in later this month, I plan to finish painting the brick in the basement and the risers on the foyer stairs. I also hope to get most of the curtains hung. The new runner for the foyer stairs and the carpet in the basement will be installed a couple of days before we move in. The hubby has been busy replacing all of the electrical outlets and switches and has a few more rooms to complete.

There's also a long list of projects that won't start until after we move in including:

  • Installation of TVs on several walls
  • Master bath remodel - we've settled on a design and we hope to start meeting with contractors and getting bids for this work in the next couple of weeks
  • Painting the office. I know many people would cringe at painting the dark wood, but I am set on painting it a glossy navy blue. 
  • Updating the bar (possibly replacing the counter top) 
  • Updating the kitchenette in the basement
And then there's the list of projects that we won't start for at least six months including: 
  • Replacing two retaining walls
  • Refreshing all of the bathrooms
  • Replacing the hot tub with a newer model
  • Gutting and completely remodeling the kitchen
Phew… I can't believe how much has already been accomplished! We still have a lot of work to do, but the house is really feeling starting to feel like our home. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

New House - Family Room Design

Although I am using a lot of the decor we had in our last home, there are a number of rooms that we either didn't have before, or that I have decided to decorate differently. One of the new rooms in this home is the large second family room in the basement. We anticipate that this is where we will spend most of our time hanging out as a family and entertaining friends.  Here's what I have planned for the space so far. 

1. We got a great deal on the Harding sectional sofa from Room & Board at their end of the year sale. Our sofa is a warm grey color called Kismet Putty. 

2, 3, and 4. I'm still in the process of picking fabrics for the sofa pillows. These are the current top contenders. #2 via, #3 via Etsy, #4 via World Market

5. We have an ugly "nipple" light on one side of the room that I plan to center a table (#14) under. I love the look of this light - especially the fretwork that mimics the shape of the table top. 

6. and 7. Are the paint colors in the room. The walls (#7) are Benjamin Moore Seabring White and the brick wall will be Benjamin Moore Gray Mirage. 

8. We have a large bar in the basement that we are excited to use for entertaining. We got a great deal on these bar stools from West Elm (still on sale for $249 - reduced from $499!). The warm grey fits the room perfectly and I love the wood legs. 

9. I'm in the process of making 5 floor to ceiling panels for the windows. I think they'll really soften and brighten the room. I love this fabric from!

10. I have two rattan chairs that I had reupholstered last year in this fabric. I'm not sure if I'm going to use them by the sofa or if I should set them off in a separate area to create another conversation zone in the room. 

11. Unfortunately I don't have a link for the carpet. We are replacing the current very worn berber with a plush carpet that is taupe with flecks of grey. 

12. I'm not sure if I'll need to bring many lamps into the room or where I'd put them - but I love this lamp from Target. Its a steal at $39.99 and comes in several colors and sizes that would work well in the room. The color pictured is called Nighttime Blue. 

13. and 14. Last but not least, is my most recent craigslist find. I plan to paint the table Benjamin Moore's Deep Space in a high gloss. The table has two leaves and was a steal at $80! I haven't decided on chairs yet, but I have a few ideas. 

The room is coming together but I still have a lot of decisions to make - I need to find a coffee table, decide art to hang in the room, and figure out how I'm going to spruce up the bar. The walls have been painted and the carpet should be installed in a couple of weeks. I can't wait to share the before and after pictures of the space!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Picking Paint Colors

Progress is being made at the new house! Most of the wallpaper is down (I'm tackling the wallpaper in the laundry room myself) and all of the walls and trim have been primed. It already looks soooo much better and brighter.

Master Bedroom
Den off Kitchen 
Paint has started going up in the basement and it looks great. Having to pick all of the paint colors at once has been a bit overwhelming. I am using a number of fabrics from our last house, so I had a starting place for most of the rooms. My husband is not a fan of gray - although I keep telling him there are many shades of grey (it can read warm or cool) and that its a great neutral. He Does. Not. Care. I agreed to move a bit beyond gray in some rooms and he agreed to let me keep others. Overall, I'm happy with where we ended up.

Here's what I we have selected (all Benjamin Moore colors):

Foyer and Family Room in basement: Sebring white 
Dining Rom: Leigh Green
Husband's Office: Van Deusen Blue 
Den: Wickham Gray
Living Room: Celery Salt
Master Bedroom: Gray Lake
Daughter's Room: Pink Peony 
Son's Room: Abalone 
Guest Room and Studio Bathroom: Pale Vista
Guest Bath: Newburyport Blue 
Playroom: Calm
Exposed Brick in Basement: Gray Mirage 

The hardest color to choose was the Lehigh Green. I changed my mind at least 3 times before finally settling on this shade of green. I'm a little concerned that it will be too dark, but it won't be anything a little paint can't fix. I still have to make decide on colors for the laundry room, my studio, and the master bath. I'm painting the first two and since we haven't started the bath reno I have a little time to pick that color. I'm also not doing anything to the kitchen since it will be gutted in the next 18 months. Thankfully the wallpaper in there isn't hideous. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Little Valentine Magic

Progress continues at the new house. I am working on a few posts that will be up soon! If you follow me on Instagram (@mandyfarn), you've seen snippets of some of the projects I've been working on. It's kept me so busy, that I haven't worked on much else. I did manage to squeeze in a little time to help the kids whip up Valentines to give to their friends next week. This year they are giving basically the same valentines.

A few weeks ago, I found these in the dollar bin at Target

I bought a few packs and set them aside, waiting for inspiration to strike. After my daughter described them as "magic pills" I came up with this.  

I used PicMonkey and Word to create the 3X5" folded card.

glue dot holds the capsule in place.

These were super easy compared to some of the Valentines I've made in the past:  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The House

After a year of searching we finally found a house. We actually found it this summer, but it took a while for the sellers to come down in price. The house is in a great location, has a beautiful lot, and is really well constructed - but it needs lots of updating. We had a contractor help us ball park all the work that the house would require and used to help make the case for what the sellers probably thought was an insulting offer. We came in much, much lower than the asking price.

After some great negotiating by our realtor and a little drama over a previously undisclosed abandoned oil tank - we got the house. We closed the day after my husband turned 40. Happy birthday to him! work started the next day. I'll share everything we plan to do to the house in my next post. I thought I'd start with a little tour of the house (as it looked before work started).

Before we jump into pictures it might help to see floor plans.

Main Level, Third Floor, and Garage 
Basement (most of which is above grade), and Second Floor
Any pictures with furniture were taken during the inspection or were from the listing photos. Sorry the quality on many of these isn't great - a lot of them were taken with my phone. Be warned, there are quite a few pictures...


close up of the the foyer floors

Dining room 

Den (to become my husband's office) 

Living room 

hallway from living room to master

Family room

view of den from kitchen
Breakfast Area 


Laundry Room


Master Study 

Master Bath 

Bedrooms on Second Floor (these rooms are almost identical) 

landing between rooms 
Third Floor (to become my studio space) 

Rec Room

the bar

Bedroom (to become playroom)

Bedroom with Kitchenette

Guest Bath


So thats the house. I am a lucky girl. I can't wait to share the progress as our vision for this house becomes a reality. 


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