Before and After. . . Renovations so far

Dining room, before we began
Dining room, complete with lemon trees

Here are a few images to give you an idea of how far we’ve come in 2 and a half years.  We still have a ways to go, but our house has become “ours”.  I’ll move through the images based on the order in which we completed the work.

We moved in during July of 2009, but since we were only renting (waiting on our loan to go through), we didn’t want to start any major work.  We spent the summer cleaning out the house, pruning back vines and readying for our paint crew.

When the outdoor work was underway, we began by cleaning up the kitchen and sealing the pantry.  We pulled carpet out of the laundry room, which I still haven’t show you.

And then we started the big work.  Since the dining room looked as though it would be one of the easier rooms, we started there.

Library with window still boarded
Library finished

Next we worked on the library, though we still have yet to put in shelves.

Bathroom before demolition
Completed bath

Then we started upstairs with the full bath and alongside we painted the kitchen.  It took us a LOOONG time to do the bath because we had to remove crappy wallpaper, which was adhered with caulk and a soldering gun.  Just kidding, but it was put on eerily strong.

Kitchen, fall 2009
Kitchen, freshly painted

We stayed upstairs to work on the master bedroom and redid the ceiling in the dining room, not even a year later.  Then we began the nursery and finished up with the living room, where we are still putting final details in place.

Pantry in progress
Pantry, painted

We’ve yet to redo anymore floors except for the master bedroom, though we did consider having someone else come in and do them for us.  We are still debating what to do there.  Such a big job for us.

We still have yet to put up the chandelier in the living room and attach the mantle, though Bill has completed it.

Master Bedroom, with windows covered
Master Bedroom completed, except for ceiling fan and stencil
Nursery first used as our bedroom
Nursery with mural begun

Once those pieces are in place, he will begin our bookshelves!  I cannot wait to get all my books in place.  I feel as though we still haven’t moved in because my books are waiting patiently in boxes all over the house.  I’m not a hoarder by any stretch, nor a collector of anything in particular, but I do love books.  And, thankfully, Bill loves building and working with wood, so this will be a great project for us both.

While Bill is working on the shelves, I have yet to finish painting and stenciling several areas in the house.  I am also going to draft up plans for our garden.  I’d like to get some flowerbeds in place this spring, for once.

Living room, first week moved in
Living Room complete!

the Pantry

Have you ever just done some serious decorating while your husband was at work, as in . . . painted a whole room orange?  Well, that is what I was up to a few weeks ago.  Okay, it wasn’t really a whole room, rather a whole space, like a closet size, and it wasn’t a bright orange. . but rather a deep rust.

Since it is going to be a while before we actually get to redo the kitchen and pantry with new cabinets and touch up the plaster (we painted it last summer), I decided to finish the painting job and complete the pantry.  I just did a quickie with one coat of paint and touch-ups, not even bothering with the ceiling.  However, it looks a ton better and matches the kitchen.

The early days of pantry life

To complete the project, I sanded and scraped the counter between the kitchen and dining room under the window and repainted it to match the woodwork.  To be precise, this is a butler’s pantry, and the “counter” is under the sliding door that divides the two. See the picture at right.  Originally it had a hideous linoleum cover on it which we pulled off last year.  I was living with a grungy top for the longest time, but could deal just because it was where I had my plants.  However, sanding and repainting it completes the room.

The pantry was the first thing we worked on when we moved in.  When we decided to buy the house, we actually rented it for a few months while we were waiting for the mortgage to go through, and we didn’t touch major repairs.

Ready for serving guests

Instead, we pruned the overgrown garden and painted the inside of the pantry to prepare for our goods.  We felt that painting the inside of cabinets would be a renters preference anyway, so we moved ahead.  The woodwork was initially that 70s avocado green and the plaster was raw.  I bought a neutral white and painted all of it, leaving the shelves bare wood so that Bill could coat them with a polyurethane.  And now with the painted walls, which are a deep saffron color rather than “orange” really, it looks rather homey and Tuscan.

The Kitchen

This weekend we worked mainly on the kitchen, and getting ready for the winter.  Bill spent some time refinishing our solid cherry storm doors.  (Another treat discovered as he sanded away.)

In process of removing the borders and plaster work

We aren’t planning on getting new counters or appliances for a while, but I was tired of the sad decor and dusty cabinetry in our kitchen.  I wanted it to be a place that I really wanted to work in, and we accomplished just that.

The counters are a mish mash of cobbled together plywood and tiled tops in some spots, laminate in others.  The appliances are black and in fairly decent shape, although it did take me the better part of an early move-in weekend to clean them.

The paint job was an awful pale yellow with a sad apple border placed on top of an older border.  Poorly matching to say the least.  So, I began by taking down the old borders and Bill touched up the plaster work in both the kitchen and pantry.

Before . . .

The pantry, by the way, is a full floor to ceiling butler’s pantry, with window and a swinging door into the dining room.  One of the first things we did last fall was paint the interiors of those cabinets to clean them up.  It’s a luxury to have such a huge pantry, and its beautiful to boot.

Unfortunately, I still need to finish painting it, but I just had to share this post on the completed kitchen.

After a few days of wallpaper removal and plaster work, we primed and then I painted a few coats. I have chosen a palette for the whole house, so every room goes with the next one, and in looking into one room from another, there is a synchronicity.  Since the dining room is a soft green, I thought the pantry and kitchen would look good in a deep rusty orange, really the color of a football.  I’m quite pleased with the outcome, as the kitchen is very warm and Tuscan feeling.  My plum dishes fit nicely in both rooms.

and after

After the painting, I spent hours cleaning the woodwork so that I wouldn’t have to repaint at this time.  Every once in a while there is still a lingering “pet odor” from the multitudes of dogs that lived here long before us.  But, every cleaning makes it better.

Then, Bill put in a new ceiling fan light to replace the potpourri light that was there.  Can’t describe it well, so I thought I would attach a photo. We polished the light above the sink, thinking it might actually be 80 years old. As a last touch, Bill sanded and resurfaced the large cutting board block that is our penisula counter.

With new carpet, too. 🙂

It is warm and homey, ready for bread baking and winter stews and long conversations with good friends.