We were called in for this project to choose a few new furnishings on the first floor. But when I met with the clients, and toured their home, I suggested that their money would be better spent on making a few upgrades to the finishes and materials. The new furniture could wait.
The ceilings had plaster swirls, the kitchen a dark mottled imitation brick floor, and the main living area walls were covered with grass cloth that was chipping and cracking due to the several coats of paint applied to it over the years.
I suggested removing the painted grass cloth from the LR, DR and Hallway walls and skim coating the walls and the ceiling, replacing the kitchen floor tile with hardwood, and covering the old red and white brick fireplace façade with wood panels. In addition, I pointed out that the kitchen could be hugely improved even while retaining the existing laminated white cabinetry, by painting the walls and ceiling a deep grey that matched the granite counters. The last suggestion was initially a bit difficult for the clients to accept, but eventually, they were game for the whole plan.
Of course we needed to update the ceiling fixtures and window treatments too.
When construction began, we discovered, as is so often the case with an older home with no significant upgrades, that the electrical work was a puzzling mess. The electrician reworked the old wiring and added new wiring for the decorative fixtures featured in the new design. We removed the dated cornices and curtains and replaced them with wood shutters and floor-to-ceiling curtains.
The new kitchen hardwood flooring created a smooth transition from the Front Hallway to the kitchen. We expanded the existing broom closet and made a much needed coat closet near the front doorway.
Large white oak panels covered the old brick for the new fireplace façade which we expanded to cover the entire wall. We added a leathered black granite surround and hearth, and the clients found a gas fireplace insert replacement that aligned with the new modern aesthetic.
As happens, new rooms demand new furnishings. We replaced all the Living Room and Dining Room furnishings and included two custom designed pieces. The Dining Room now features an oak sideboard with shades of grey and white painted drawer fronts and a walnut console table for the Living Room with sliding doors and metal cabriole legs.
About two years later, just last Fall, we were called back for the second phase of the home rehab project – the 2nd floor. It was in the beginning phase of the 2019-20 Covid pandemic when the entire family was staying in place. The college age kids remained at home for remote learning, and the husband had been asked to work at home rather than in office.
The second floor had similar challenges to the first floor: painted grass cloth hallway walls, old electrical wiring, and popcorn ceilings. In addition, the clients wanted to change the wall-to-wall carpet featured in two of the four bedrooms to hardwood floors.
In addition, the husband needed an updated office space in the small room that extended from the Main Bedroom, the bathroom needed a gut remodel, and the teenagers’ rooms new ceiling fixtures, window treatments, and paint, as well as the hardwood floors.
The former variety of door styles that lined the hallway - doors leading to the bedrooms, bath, and linen closets, were replaced with one panel style doors and updated hardware. We enlarged the opening from the Main bedroom to the office area and added a pair of double six-lite glass doors.
The Main Bedroom had only one small closet, so we incorporated one of the two closets in the kid’s bedroom with a common closet wall into the Main Bedroom.
The shared bath for the family of four is quite small, but we removed the former ceiling soffits extending the ceiling height, and we made it a truly special bath, by including a textured vinyl pattered wallpaper, a two toned vanity cabinet with a drawer for each occupant and most notably, small double layered crystal pendants that hang to one side of the vanity. When lit, the inner orbs glow and appear to float.
A custom walnut dresser and desk are featured in the Main Bedroom/Home office space. The added pale green wool curtains and a forest green velvet ottoman in the bedroom add a bit of color to the otherwise neutral palette of the room. The office features two recliner chairs for relaxed reading in the evening.
We were thrilled when the clients decided to also redo the house exterior. Currently the exterior is in the midst of getting a facelift with handsome new siding and an updated stoop. More photos to come…