Things I Wish I Had Done Differently: Home Renovation Edition

I may design homes for a living, but that does not mean I’m immunized against making mistakes.  Actually, I make the most mistakes when working on my own homes- mostly because I’m overwhelmed by options and ideas and make decisions on the fly instead of with careful consideration, as I do when working for someone else. “Ehhh, that’ll fit- we don’t need to measure” is a phrase that now gives me chills.

This weekend I began cataloguing some of the things I wish I had done differently in my renovations.  Most of them are from our first phase of the renovation right after buying our house, I think I had learned a lot by the second phase (still obsessed with my master suite).  But in life some of the best lessons come from examining your failures as to not repeat them again! So here we go:

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1) My Kitchen Faucet

From the beginning Andrew wanted a pull down spray faucet with a single lever instead of the separate hot and cold handles.  I, of course, love the look of widespread handles and went that direction- beauty over function, a common designer downfall. Now with a baby (and after a couple years of use), I fear I maybe should have listened to Andrew. The issue still stands that finding an attractive single lever, pull down spray faucet is very hard- but there are some good options here, here and here.  This is tough to remedy now that we have four holes drilled in our countertops so I think I’m stuck for now. At least it’s pretty (and MAN do I still love my Blanco sink– the BEST!)

LINDSEY’S FRONT DOOR MAKEOVER

Hi readers! While we put the finishing touches on our kitchen (so close, I promise!) I am excited to share with you a mini-makeover of our front door. When Eric and I bought our house last summer the exterior doors were in rough shape. Even though we were in the middle of what felt like 100 other projects I made it a priority to swap them out and I’m so glad that we did. Kwikset had contacted us about partially sponsoring the project so we started planning using their Arlington line as inspiration. Here’s what we came up with: exterior door makeover v2

LINDSEY’S KITCHEN RENOVATION – PART 2

You asked and here it is- an update on Lindsey’s reno! Enjoy! -EG

Hi guys! I’m excited to finally update you on our kitchen progress (if you missed the first post you can check it out here). Back in October we designed and ordered our Deerfield assembled cabinets through Cabinets.com. The expected production time was 4-5 weeks, plus another 2 weeks in transit, and everything arrived right on time. I was a little nervous that all of the cabinets wouldn’t make it here from Florida in one piece (unfortunately damages and delays are all too common in our industry) but thankfully everything went great. Here’s a peek at our dining room after we were left with 30+ boxes worth of cabinets and trim.

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Renovation Update: Big Progress!

There was MASSIVE kitchen progress last week- we have about a week to go before it’s pretty much done! I CANNOT wait- constructions dust, eating crappy, living in my bedroom- it’s all gotten very very old, even though my crew from Wellbuilt is moving REALLY fast!  But it is quickly becoming so worth it as I see everything come together! I think halfway through the process it’s easy to think “Ugh, why did I even start this?” but now that I see the finish line I am thrilled.

But of course, I had a mini-meltdown on Friday about the decisions I’d made- the cabinet color was bugging me and then my counters went in and they looked darker than when I saw the slabs in the warehouse AND they came will huge water stains in them.  Seeing as I paid a FORTUNE for these special Brazilian quartzite slabs that I was told would NOT stain like marble because they were “harder than granite”, I was furious.  I still kind of am, but we have someone coming to look at them tomorrow.  And when I woke up yesterday morning and came downstairs to see my backsplash in it brought everything together and I fell in love.  I didn’t do so bad.

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The grout has not been applied yet but it is the same grey color as the cabinets.  I love how crisp and clean it looks. And the brass hardware, which I was doubting as well, now pops.  They are the 306 pull from Colonial Bronze in matte sating brass (they have SO MANY brass finishes!!!)

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I SUPER LOVE my Blanco sink from Waterspot. Huge, sleek and a fab mix of traditional and modern- in fact it’s double sided- one side has a more rounded country look the other (which I installed facing out) is a bit more squared off. GENIUS!!!

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While there is drama with the counters they are pretty awesome looking with their linear veins (it’s Luna de Luce/ Bianco Macaubas quartzite).

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I’m glad we did a glass door into the mudroom (paper not removed from panes yet) to let more light in. And the lower cabinet color now works for me (it’s Benjamin Moore’s Cape May Cobblestone).

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And my cabinets. OH my cabinets. They are the most well made, amazing things I have come across in the biz.  The soft close drawers actually CLOSE (I’ve had many before that just stick open) and all the woodwork is exceptional.  Never mind all the special interior dividers and such that will make organizing a breeze.  I highly recommend Vermont Custom Cabinetry who made them and helped design the layout.  I got the name from my Dad who has used them many times before and I’m very glad for that.  Cabinets are the most important part of the kitchen design process( and the most expensive) and I feel like I got every penny worth of value.

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And these babies will go up Tuesday… I ordered the other ones too (which are from England BTW) just in case.  Whichever pair I decide not to use I’ll be selling, I’m sure! :)

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It’s still a mess, but you can see how much it opened up the dining room ( I guess it’s more like dining AREA) too.  That opening will be cased this week and crown molding will go up!

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We’re SO CLOSE!!! :)

Renovation Update: Blood, Sweat and Tears

This was our first full week in the house and it was a particularly trying one. Moving into a construction site is hard- you can’t unpack and settle, everything is filthy no matter how much you clean and if you are like me, you just start making lists of how many more additional things you want/need to fix.  While I know in my heart I am so lucky to have the ability and opportunity to renovate this house, I admit that I spent a good solid several hours last week absolutely losing my shit. I do miss the city. I know  I just moved and all change takes time to get used to. And I know that renovating takes time. A long time- like two years. Oh, and a boatload of patience is so crucial (which I don’t have in spades).  But these are all things that will hopefully test me and in time make me a better person. So Sunday I bucked up and worked on the house with fervor and enjoyed peeking around the neighborhood and spending time working on the yard with my parents and Andrew.

Andrew was also busy painting, like, everything in the house, so I focused on the stairs which were really bugging me because the previous owner had painted around the runner and they looked beyond ghetto and were the first thing I saw when walking in the door and set my mood on “foul”. I have one recommendation for those painting stairs with spindle balusters…. HIRE A PAINTER. Holy sweet mother of all things sacred, taping off and painting these things was one hell of a job. I nearly went cross eyed and lost most motor function in my right hand after FOUR hours of working on them.

Before I painted, but after I became intimately acquainted with blue painters tape… and a gallon of Benjamin Moore White Dove semi-gloss.

GAH.

After, so so much better and cleaner. Also note Andrew has been making progress painting our hall Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist. And we hope that this year we will save enough to have the floors, stairs and banister re-stained a very dark walnut. Oh, and I’m gonna have a wool sisal runner made with banding for the stairs. Lots to do. Lots to pay for. :)

Looking down at the powder room you can see we still have to paint the trim but the new wood floors were laid in there and in the new hallway to the right where a closet used to be (awaiting poly)

See our new hallway- this small decision made a HUGE impact on light and flow. And because I love the original dentil molding so much we had to figure out how to finish this off. So we re-purposed molding from the walls in the dining room we plan to knock down when we do the kitchen next! Now we just have to paint the trim and walls and this space will be great!

But back to the powder room- pondering wallpaper for this teeny tiny space… really feeling the Hicks Hexagon on the right… the grey/blue colorway. I was thinking I’d do something crazy and huge scale and bright, but the more I see the house change the more I feel like it should be modern but subtle in color.

Also loving the new colorways from Cole & Son of the large scale diamonds, the large scale Hicks and the grey/tan smaller Hicks shown above…. decisions, decisions.

I have loved this paper my whole career so I feel like it would be a smart choice.

I also love this Phillip Jeffries Grasscloth in Chain Link pattern…. I have a client who has her powder room in it in orange and its adorable.

So gross before. UGH. That floor. Can’t wait for the new toilet and teeny, tiny pedestal sink to go in from Waterspot and the sconces from Lamps Plus!

Speaking of Lamps Plus, my Robert Abbey Bling Flushmount came for the master and I was so super psyched! Putting the individual glass drops on was quite a job though…. I poured a glass of white and rolled up my sleeves….

Two layers of individually wrapped crystals. On boy.

My fingers started to go numb at this point but I was loving the look.  Finding stylish flushmounts isn’t easy and this is such a great one!

TA DA! (Bedroom still not set up, styled or organized- that mirror has since moved)

My mom edged all my pachysandra with rocks my dad dug up from another part of the yard. Crafty folks.

The yard is looking SO SO much better!

Our view across to the neighbors from our chairs in the back (our wine time spot).

While out walking and exploring the neighborhood the other day I saw this adorable little sign outside a gorgeous house and it made me smile.

LOVE this house on our street. Columns make me weak in the knees.

Another house that made me drool. That PORCH!

Quite the entryway, eh?

Sweet Oliver LOVES our mulch. So much that he rolls in it and then runs up to my bed and rolls around in it making it look like I’m planning to plant a garden in there. But look at that face, how can I be mad?

And then there is my “first born”, who takes after his mom and is quite anxious about the move. We go splitsies on these.

And when I got in bed last night I found this book under my pillow with a bookmark it it to this page. I knew immediately it was from my dad who had been at the house working today. So sweet, I need to remember this.

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