read it…old home love

In March, I purchased a new book from Amazon.com, Old Home Love by Andy and Candis Meredith. You may have seen their HGTV show or blog of the same name. They are an incredible couple who renovates historic homes, keeping as many historical details as possible while adding some contemporary features for function and some modern flair.

This book is BEAUTIFUL! The spine is matte metallic gold, and the cover features a matte metallic gold art deco pattern and font. All the pages are lovely, thick matte finish paper.  It is very, very high quality.  Be still my heart!

Here is a sampling of some of my favorite pages from the book.  Many historic homes of all different eras and styles are featured; all are beautifully photographed and styled.  Exteriors, interiors, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, entryways, dining rooms, living spaces, architectural details, and renovation ideas are all shared.

Lately, I have been drawn to exteriors at either end of the spectrum, dark and moody or bright and white.

 

I love the simplicity in the styling of this vintage dresser. Notice the painted baseboard. Beautiful!

 

Shaker cabinets in a putty color allow your eye to focus on the bold vintage rug. Look at the creative use of the backsplash for storage with the wire wall basket.

 

These incredible stairs are also the cover shot for the book. Andy & Candis took an old masters painting to a local sign shop, where it was printed on vinyl. The vinyl was cut and applied to each step for eye-catching detail in the home’s entryway.

 

It is evident that Andy & Candis are talented at preserving historic character while adding modern convenience and detail.

 

The Skyline house is appropriately named for its roofline, which mimics the mountainscape just behind it. Careful thought and consideration are demonstrated throughout each home and the entire book.

 

The warmth and intricate detail of this Eastlake mirror contrast beautifully with the bathroom’s color palette and simplicity.

 

Old Home Love sings this song, “Let your home be happy. Old homes are not meant to be museums. They are places for children and adults alike to let their imaginations grow.”

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did it…closet before & after

Have I told you one of the best things about our new house? It has a walk-in closet!!!!  I really should put that in all caps to try to convey my level of excitement about this feature that is new to my life.

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Listing photo

A walk-in closet was not on my wishlist at all during our house hunt, but it is AMAZING now that I am used to it. Our closet isn’t big compared to many, but it is just right for us. It is connected to the master bath by a drywall opening. It also came with some basic white built-ins. They required a lot of scrubbing when we moved in, but they have proved super useful to us. The hanging rods allow a good amount of hanging space for Kipp’s clothes right at wheelchair level, which is ideal. We pretty much put his clothes and shoes on one side and my clothes and shoes on the other. Then, we kind of share the back wall…Kipp has the drawers and I get everything else.

Speaking of drawers, I loved the basic white finish but the basic white drawer pulls were really depressing, boring, and dated.  After living with them for a few months, I thought new pulls were in order!  I measured the distance between the existing mounting holes and looked for a replacement.  I had trouble finding pulls that would fit the existing holes without blowing my budget.  So, I decided I wanted to DIY some leather pulls.  After a lot of research, I couldn’t beat the ease and low cost provided by Etsy shop LeatherEU.  She provided leather strips and Chicago screws.  They can fit any width of pre-existing mounting holes.  I am so happy with the outcome!

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After

My brother-in-law’s wonderful family helped us when we moved, and his mom Lynn and sister Sara ended up moving all of our things into the closet. Lynn figured out that my hanging shoe storage from the last house fit perfectly into one corner of the closet. Thank you, Lynn!

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Finished closet

After getting settled and organized, it was apparent that we actually don’t have enough hanging clothes to use all the rods in the whole space. No, we are not minimalist, but I guess we just don’t have tons to hang. I realized that the non-shoe corner of the closet could be the perfect spot to put a hamper. We had a big sorting hamper in our last master bedroom, but I never filled it up all the way; I also didn’t use the sorting feature.  If you know me, you know that I am very particular about homekeeping, but my dirty little secret is that I never sort laundry (unless something tends to bleed).  So, the sorting hamper was sold to a nice family via Craigslist.  And, I picked out a new hamper…suited to our closet corner and on wheels for easy movement to our laundry room.  I picked a really cool hamper from Steele via Crate & Barrel.  It is very industrial, made of a metal frame and canvas with four casters.  The wheeled base makes it easy for me and for Kipp to push it or pull it to our laundry room on the other side of the house.  We love it!

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Steele laundry hamper

The finishing touch for our closet (for now) was a new light fixture.  The light fixture in there was very basic, and I wanted something with a little more character.  I found this vintage fixture through one of my favorite local vintage stores, Maven Collective.  It is perfect for the space.

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Vintage light via Maven Collective

Eventually, when we re-do our master bathroom, we plan to include the closet.  We will re-paint the walls and tile the floor to match the bathroom.  For more on my bathroom dreams, see my last post, wish it…master bath inspo.

 

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wish it…master bathroom inspo

So, in my last post, I promised some inspiration for what I am liking for my someday master bathroom. This is just wishing at this point. No actual timeline or plans for this exist yet. Each picture has a different design element that I love!

Marble hex floor tile throughout bathroom and shower
Marble hex floor tile throughout bathroom and shower

 

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Floating accessible concrete vanity with integrated sink

 

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Kohler Purist shower fixtures
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Kohler Purist faucet (also comes in a wall mount version)
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Extra large medicine cabinet because floating vanities have limited storage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Barn-style sliding shower door with curbless/zero-entry shower (I am possibly interested in a frosted glass version)

 

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Integrated shower bench seat and wall nook storage

 

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Extra-large matte white subway tile shower surround

 

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did it…walk-in tub transformed

When we first bought the house on Oakwood, we went in knowing that I would want to update many parts of the interior and exterior to better fit our style and add some personality. I tried to go in with the expectation that this would be a gradual process, but there were a few changes that we planned to make immediately as soon as we got the keys.
The first changes that we wanted to implement were to the master bathroom. The master bathroom had a walk-in bathtub. This might seem like a dream for a wheelchair user like Kipp, but in reality, it isn’t as amazing as you might think. Here’s why…you have to open the door and get into an empty tub, then you fill the tub and enjoy your lovely hot bath, then you have to let all the water drain out while you freeze to death until you can open the door to get out. I can’t imagine lingering in a regular bathtub until every last bit of water drains out! Given that Kipp has Raynaud’s and horrible circulation issues in his feet, we didn’t feel like this chilly bath experience was something he should attempt.

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As we looked closer at the bathtub, it appeared to be installed on top of a tiled shower floor and paneled surround. Then, we noticed that there were some glass shower doors in the garage. We became hopeful that we could turn this step-in tub into a shower without a ton of expense!
Because we were in the process of moving and doing a million things, we decided to call our contractor to have his team work on removing the tub. At first, we thought we might be able to give the tub to a friend, but it turns out the handle was broken and the door wouldn’t open. So, the guys had to dismantle/demo it before pulling it out. It was a big job! Then, they had to seal off the places where the tub had been secured to the walls, attached to the plumbing, and the electrical connections.

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Are you dying to know what was actually underneath the tub? I know I was!!! It was a white tiled shower floor and paneled surround, just like we thought. And the back of the shower already had a grab bar! There were also very cute ceramic faucet knobs.

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It turns out that the glass doors couldn’t be re-installed because some of the frame pieces were missing. Honestly, I wasn’t too heartbroken about that because they weren’t great looking.

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Once the tub was out and we knew we had a shower we could use, we ordered a few things to make it complete:

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Kohler Purist Shower Head
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InterDesign curved shower rod
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Extra long waffle weave shower curtain
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Extra-long shower curtain liner
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Shower bench

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This shower has been great for Kipp to use, but not perfect. He can roll right up to the edge of the shower and transfer onto the bench, using the two grab bars. It would be great if the shower was curbless or zero-entry, so he could roll all the way into the shower before transferring. Someday, to update things and help Kipp have better access, we plan to remodel the master bathroom to add a floating accessible vanity and curbless shower with built-in bench and hand shower. In the next blog post, I’ll share some of my inspiration pictures for what we are dreaming of for the master bathroom.

follow it… landscaping inspo

Moving to a new house also means a new yard. I am not really into yard work or gardening, and I don’t really feel like designing or planning landscaping comes naturally to me. I really love working on the interior and exterior of the house itself, but the yard seems like a big challenge. Lately, I have been looking for inspiration for what to do with some of the more challenging parts of our yard that include several steep banks. As I was reading Sunset magazine in a waiting room recently, I saw a beautiful photo of a landscaped bank that I wanted to transplant from the page and into my yard. As I read the article with the photo, I discovered that this was part of a landscape in Eugene, Oregon, just a few hours south. That piqued my interest even more because I thought if I could figure out the plants in the picture, maybe I could really produce something similar on my hillside. I really wanted to tear the page out of that Sunset magazine, but since it wasn’t mine, I decided not to do that. But, I did look up the landscaping firm online. What I found was breathtaking.

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Mosaic Gardens is a landscape company based out of both Eugene and Coos Bay. Their website says it best here, “Each garden is tailored to its environment and inhabitants, creating an outdoor living space that reflects the taste and lifestyle of the client and the character of the site.” Because I am not a landscaping or gardening expert, it is difficult for me to articulate what exactly I like about the images on their website and their instagram.

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To me, they look like beautiful Pacific Northwest versions of English gardens, but not manicured English gardens, more like wild overgrown English gardens, but not too overgrown. Like I said, I’m not sure what exactly it is that I like, but I know I like their designs. Take a look at their website and their instagram, and let me know if you like this style of landscaping too. And if you are more knowledgeable about gardening than me, can you tell what it is about their landscapes that is drawing my eye?

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All photos taken from http://www.mosaic-gardens.com/

love it… Rumpl blanket

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Oh, man. The title of this post could not be more accurate. I LOVE this.

Last fall, I ordered the Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket, after seeing it on kickstarter and all over the place online. It is probably my favorite cozy blanket ever! I have been cuddling up under it all winter long, and in Portland, this has been a winter for the record books. What makes the Rumpl blanket special? Well, let’s see, it is made of all the same technical fabrics and fillings as puffy jackets and sleeping bags. It resists water, dirt, odor, pet hair, and other debris, with a DWR finish on the outside. The one I have has synthetic insulation, but they make down ones too, if that is your jam. I feel like the synthetic one is the perfect warmth and weight for use inside my house. If I was using this thing for winter camping outside, I might choose the down-filled version. I have had the opportunity to see how this blanket performs in everyday conditions, illness conditions, pet hair conditions, and camping conditions somewhat near a fire. As I said at the beginning, I could not LOVE it more. It stays true to its claim of resisting water, dirt, odor, pet hair, and other debris, including vomit and stains. This is the perfect pet-friendly, kid-friendly cozy cuddle blanket. Oh, and it comes with a cute little stuff sack for packing it up for traveling. If this is your first time hearing about it, you’re welcome!

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Images taken from www.gorumpl.com

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did it… exterior changes

After a lengthy hiatus, one of my biggest fans demanded that I resume blogging, so here I go.

Curb appeal is very important to me, and I am not really sure why exactly. As I explained in a previous post, I have always fallen for historic cottagey or farmhouse looking homes with cute exteriors! So, it stands to reason that one of the first things I wanted to update on our new house was the exterior. Considering that it is a recent build, I think our house started out with a pretty cute exterior. It has a nice street presence with an easy-to-find front door. I think that is an absolute must after living in a house for four years with a nearly invisible front door.

As part of the repairs we negotiated with the seller, the house was re-painted. The white paint was pretty dingy after the excavations for the new streets around the front and side of the house. We ended up picking a white color again. I thought about going with a dark grey color, but I have always loved white homes. I knew I already liked the white exterior. Plus, we had to seek HOA approval and seller approval for the paint color so it seemed pretty easy to go with a shade of white again. We picked my go-to shade of white, Benjamin Moore Simply White. Since the contractors were already working on the exterior, we asked for sVersion 2ome additional work to be done at our expense. This could have seemed like a risky decision, since we hadn’t actually closed escrow, but we were very confident that wouldn’t be an issue.

 

The additional changes we requested included: removing security speakers, removing security doors, removing a large security light above the garage door, and removing address numbers permanently. It seems like Josephine, the former owner of our home, must have been concerned with security. To be fair, at the time when she lived here, the home was at the end of a dead-end street on a large parcel of land by itself. If I was an elderly woman out on my own, I probably would have taken some security measures too. Now, our house is part of a well-lit neighborhood with sidewalks and street lamps. I didn’t think the metal security doors, light, and alarm speakers were necessary, and they were really creating an eyesore. The light was removed and the siding was patched and painted, and all the door trim was repaired and painted where the security doors were removed.

Version 3Version 2Before and after the security light was removed.

fullsizerenderAs soon as we moved in, we made more changes to add some of the character I was hoping to find in a home. We replaced the front exterior light fixtures with farmhouse style gooseneck lamps from Barnlight Electric.

 

Version 2My generous sister and brother-in-law gave us a housewarming gift of new address numbers from Design Within Reach. The Neutra house numbers add just the right amount of modern into the mix! My dad helped me replace the doorbell with something a little more simple and modern.

 

The lamppost at the front of the house was completely broken and unusable. The post itself was broken and unstable, and the light fixture was broken as well. I searched online for days before I finally found something that seemed the right scale and style for replacement. I honestly can’t even remember where I finally found it online. If someone really wants to know the source, I can dig deeper in my email to see if I can figure it out. Just comment below, and let me know. My father-in-law helped us install the post in concrete so that it is even sturdier than the original post.

Version 2fullsizerenderBefore and after the lamppost replacement.

We did leave some of the original security floodlight fixtures on the sides and rear of our home. They are all motion-sensing and in good condition. My father-in-law brought his extension ladder and helped us replace all the bulbs with new LED bulbs. We also replaced the back patio light fixture. On the weekend we moved in, back-lightmy dad was with me on one of about ten trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s. I picked out the light I wanted for the back patio, in Home Depot. It was actually the cheapest exterior sconce they had in the store at $4.97. It is a jelly jar sconce. My dad thought I was crazy for liking it, but I love the simple vintage style!

In the end, I couldn’t be happier with all the changes we made to the exterior. There is still one more change we have planned in the immediate future…a new front door. Hopefully, that will be a change coming later this year. Our current front door is a wood Victorian door with oval beveled glass inset that must have had some sentimental value to the previous owner. It is a cool vintage door, but it doesn’t offer as much security and privacy as we would like. Although it is a vintage feature, the oval glass makes it look a little 1980’s from the street. I added frosted window film to give a little more privacy until we can replace it with the solid door we have picked.  I am leaning toward this Simpson door below, painted in Railings by Farrow and Ball with one of these Schlage handlesets.  Which color handleset would you choose?  I am on the fence.  Normally, I would automatically pick the aged bronze color, but I am worried the dark handleset might be too camoflauged in a dark door color, so then, I think the pop of the matte brass might be nice.

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wiley-hill-cape-norwich-vt-smith-vansant-3Another change I dream about making far into the future is replacing the roof with a dark grey or black metal roof, as in this inspiration photo. Since our current roof is thankfully in great shape, we hope we won’t need to make that change for quite awhile.

follow it… inspirational kitchens

About a year ago, I noticed a common theme with some of my Pinterest pins on my kitchen board. Many of them were labeled deVOL. At the time, I had never heard of deVOL, so I decided to do some research.

deVOL is a U.K.-based company that has been around since 1989. They design and build bespoke kitchens and bathrooms, and their specialty is English Shaker style cabinetry.

They make the most beautiful kitchens. I love the simple spare style of their cabinetry that gives a historical nod to English country kitchens while still maintaining a clean modern aesthetic. When I look at their kitchens, here are some of the things I notice that could be applied to any kitchen design:

-Cabinets are always Shaker-style.

-Cabinet doors and drawers are inset in cabinet frames. This type of cabinetry is usually custom built rather than pre-fab. It can be a challenge in areas with big humidity changes throughout the year because cabinet doors and drawers can stick if they swell with moisture.

-Cabinetry is painted in a palette of simple historic or nature-inspired colors.

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-Full height pantry cabinetry is featured in one corner of the kitchen.

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-Cabinetry is designed to feature windows and natural light to foster an open feeling.  Upper cabinets have glass doors.  They may be replaced with floating shelving or totally absent altogether.

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-Beadboard, also called tongue and groove paneling is often used.

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-Knobs, pulls, and latches are simple and yet functional. Hardware is often matte, rather than shiny.

-Metallic finishes may be mixed for a more collected look.  Brass faucet with aged bronze knobs, for example.

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-Backsplash is visually simple or absent.

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-Range hoods are simple and custom, rather than shiny and elaborate.

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-Farmhouse sinks are often used.

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-Peg rails are seen in many deVOL kitchens.

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-Architectural features are highlighted such as vaulted ceilings, beamed ceilings, and skylights.

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The overall feeling you are left with when you look at a deVOL kitchen is calm and tranquility. The simple bespoke designs and details allow craftsmanship to really shine. If I was designing a new kitchen, I would certainly use deVOL as design inspiration. Check out their website, Instagram feed and Pinterest page for more images.

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did it… we bought a NEW house WITH A BACKSTORY

Yesterday, I shared that we bought a new house in May. I was originally very opposed to purchasing a home that was a newer build because I wanted historical charm. Our home doesn’t quite have historical charm in the way I imagined, but it does have a backstory.

We purchased our home from the four grownup children of the DeMartini Family. Here is what we have gathered about the history of our home, so far. The DeMartinis are an Italian farm family that started a large rhubarb farm in Milwaukie, Oregon, many, many years ago. Their first house on the farm had a dirt floor, and it was located closer to the creek bottom of Kellogg Creek, which is now a green space just across the street from us. After the farm prospered, the dirt floor house was eventually torn down. They built a larger farmhouse closer to the main road. By the end of the 1990’s, the four DeMartini kids had moved away (one has a farm in Canby, OR), and the Milwauki farm was no longer producing. They decided to sell off some of the farmland, part of which was turned into a large retirement and assisted living home; but they retained a large parcel of land and built a house for their mother, Josephine. The house and property were known as Josephine’s Estate. There was even a sign in the front yard that said “Josephine’s Garden.” The house was custom built for Josephine, and we assume, she must have used a walker or an electric scooter of some kind because the house came with a built-in wheelchair ramp in the garage as well as wider-than-normal doorways and hall, with no shortage of scratches in the door jams. There was also a walk-in tub with door in the master bathroom!

After Josephine passed away in 2012, her kids kept the estate intact for a couple years before selling the land parcel to a developer.  Over the past year, the land has been subdivided and more than 30 homes have been built by Renaissance Homes, a local home builder. Then, the DeMartini kids put Josephine’s Estate on the market, and we have the pleasure of being the new owners of this house with a backstory.

Our house sits at the end of the development, on a bit of a hill, compared to the other homes, and we have green space with a creek right across the street. We are the largest lot and the only existing home in the neighborhood. And you know what, we kind of like being the odd house on the block!

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When we moved in, work was still being done on the house right behind ours. You can see that our house sits a little higher up than our neighbor’s house.

Since we moved in, we have slowly been putting our stamp on the house, but three of the four DeMartini kids have come by at different times to visit. They have told us that Josephine would be happy to see how we have kept up the house and yard.

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hear it… my favorite podcast lately

I have a fairly short commute to work, and I seem to lose track when I try to listen to an audiobook in such short pieces.  Podcasts that are shorter tend to be just the right length for my car time. Recently, I have a new favorite: Million Dollar Decorating with James Swan.  In every episode, James interviews a different decorator, designer, artist, or design-lover.  Some of the questions are based on the background of his guest, and some are the same each episode. I really enjoy learning about decorating and design from different perspectives. And, I find the length of the podcast just right at about 20-25 minutes per episode. You should definitely subscribe to the podcast and the website: http://www.milliondollardecorating.com