Skipping Ahead

We’re skipping ahead, team. A lot of progress has been made in the span since kitchen rafters went up and present day, and hopefully I will go back in and fill in the details, but for now, I want to show you the first room that feels remotely “finished.”

With company coming for a week in October, we were suddenly faced with gentle pressure to create a livable space that we’d feel proud to host someone in. Nothing creates results like a deadline.

In the week leading up to her arrival, we bought a mattress, refinished a small bureau, and painted both the bedroom and en suite bath. We clearly need to have company more often and force them to stay in the other rooms so that we have that same sense of urgency to finalize other spaces.

Naturally, we hadn’t landed on a paint color for the room at that point but knew that we wanted a room that felt cozy, but not overly saturated in color – pretty much our theme for the whole house thus far. Some of our initial choices veered too far into beige and yellow territories (you can see below the transom window), but we ultimately landed on Mascarpone by Benjamin Moore, a lovely ever-so-off white that has a hint of yellow to create a warm vibe.

Thanks, Dad for painting!

We left the ceiling white, and still need to coat the rafters to give them a nice sheen, but a few passes of sandpaper got rid of the splintery look they had originally. The little metal brackets on the ends of the beams gave us a bit of trouble as we thought through how to hide them – cover them up with wood? purchase some soft metal sleeve? The silver wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t an accent color that we had around the house much, so we went for the quick option of painting them black. Now they’re in keeping with the style of the house and tend to disappear unless you’re truly looking for them.

Once the paint dried, in came the mattress.

There was much debate over whether to get a full or queen sized mattress. We ended up going full to keep the scale of the room as livable as possible. Although a queen would have made the room a little more luxurious, we didn’t want the whole room to feel dominated by mattress. Hopefully our guests will take the full size as an opportunity to get cozy with their bedmate.

We kept all original doors throughout the house, and even though this one has a large glass panel, it’s one of our favorites. For most of the year, it’s just us here, so we wanted to make sure that the door could carry light into the little hallway since it can feel dark otherwise. When guests are staying, no one except them use that hallway anyway, so there’s no risk of accidental peeping from outside the room. Of course, that said, we are thinking through options for covering up the window in an impermanent way so that light can still pass through if desired – maybe a roll-down shade or simple fabric curtain.

After almost a year of working on the house, it feels so nice to have a room where we can actually welcome guests comfortably. Now we get to start sharing the space!

The cat especially likes how the light comes through the east-facing windows. It’s her sanctuary, too.

The walls keep coming!

You didn’t think we’d let that one new wall hang out all be itself, did you? Throughout the rest of that week, two more walls came to join the party.

Continue reading “The walls keep coming!”

New Walls

Before getting new walls laid our and built on the first floor, we had to iron out the floor plan. Throughout this process, we learned that when dealing with such an old house, architectural plans can only take you so far, and decisions often have to get made in real time when new discoveries are made in the walls. Case in point, the configuration of the first floor bedroom, staircase, and bathrooms. We moved the staircase to the opposite wall (I’m sure our architect was really impressed when we broke that news to him. Sorry Patrick!), moved the laundry upstairs, and reworked the bathroom layouts. All of this is to say that if you ever have the pleasure of taking on a significant renovation, particularly of an older structure, go into the project with very flexible ideas and expectations. Sometimes you’ll find yourself designing a bathroom around a toilet that can only be in one particular spot, and that’s OK! These decisions that feel absurd and frustrating in the moment will hopefully just become the cute quirks of your house that you can roll your eyes at later.

Continue reading “New Walls”