Fixer Upper Time

I have had fixer upper fever for a while now. I was just itching to get my hands on a pitiful run-down something that I could save. Then my Daddy called.

“Hey Baby. When ya comin’ to see me?”

“As a matter of fact, I need to come next weekend if that’s okay. I have a client moving in just north of you and I need a place to crash for a few days.”

“That’s awesome. I have just bought a little house close to campus and I need your help turning it into a rental.”

“Okay! What shape is it in?”

“Weeeellll……..it has a lot of potential.” (nervous laugh)

“Yippeeeeee!!!!! A fixer upper!!!!”

(laughter) “I’m glad you are excited!”

Be prepared…. this is not a “pretty picture” post…..not pretty at all…..YET.

Here she is in all of her glory.

fixer upper

 

I made a video as I did a walk through but it was too long to fit on the blog. If interested you can jump over to my facebook page and check it out to get the full effect… especially of the back side. Gulp.

Here are the bedrooms: yes, the door off the carport opened directly into this bedroom. Say what?

 

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This is the second bedroom on the carport side. It is  substantially smaller than the other two bedrooms which might cause conflicts with three female renters.

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The floors are in great shape. That’s a plus!

This is the front door leading into the large living room. Dining is beyond the “holey” wall. Why?

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Here is the opposite end of the living room  with a door leading into bedroom number 2. All windows in the house are rotten and have to go. That’s sad.

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Dining Room

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This is the kitchen. The door leads out onto a little concrete porch that is about 8′ x 12′. Steps lead into back yard from there.

While inspecting the condition of the cabinets Daddy fell through this floor. THAT was not a good day. Angels, please protect him.

fixer upper

This is the hallway that leads from bedroom 1. Door on left goes to living room. Door on right goes to bathroom. Door at end leads to bedroom 3 and then into kitchen.

fixer upper

This used to be the bathroom.

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Apparently an entire nation of squirrels had taken up residence under the tub years ago. Anybody want to buy a few million acorns? I can fix up you.

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Appliance wall in kitchen.

fixer upper

Bedroom 3

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And now, gulp, for the back view.

fixer upper

fixer upper

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Jeff and I measured every inch of the space and I drew a plan to help us visualize where we were starting and where we needed to go.

Next up, I will share those plans and the evolution of the finished plan that we are now working from. It involved a middle of the night epiphany. I love those!

Come along on the journey of this fixer upper . It will be fun!

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Renovation Magic

Even though they are  messy and always filled with surprises (often unpleasant ones) renovations are exciting to me. It’s like taking a person who thinks that they are washed up…that life has passed them by…and helping them find purpose again. I like to think of the transformation as renovation magic.

It is hard to see your own home the way that others see it. Because we walk through rooms every day, the familiarity blinds us to what is really there, I think. I know it is true for me. As an artist, I am a messy; so, when papers and paints and inspiration photos are covering every flat surface I just think, “wow, exciting stuff is about to happen here.” Everyone else thinks, “is she ever going to clean this place up!” LOL It’s what makes the world go ’round.

Sometimes, a room can be filled with good pieces that don’t need to be replaced but because of their age or the colors used, the room feels more like a museum than an inviting place to sit and visit. It is my job to see through the visual clutter and breathe fresh life.

Such was the case with this living room.

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renovation BEFORE

 

It has great bones and lovely family pieces that hold sentimental value but it was so dark and “stiff” that no one really ever used the room. My challenge is to lighten and brighten without significantly changing the layout or the furniture pieces used.

I started by stripping away the dated sheers and heavy window coverings, allowing the space to be flooded with natural light. The window and door flanking the fireplace open into a beautiful sunroom that we re-decorated a couple of years ago so there is no reason to have heavy drapery covering them. That change alone makes a huge difference AND saved the client the expense of new custom drapery and hardware for two windows, a considerable savings when you have 12′ ceilings.

Without really realizing what I was doing I actually just flipped the wall color and the ceiling colors.

The blue walls became white and the white ceiling became blue. Blue ceilings always feel like you are inviting the sky to come inside and bring its sunny effect with it. I am getting very happy!

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The only “before” picture of the foyer I could put my fingers on was one snapped in the process of decorating for Christmas last year but you can see the important stuff. The bones are fantastic but the dark brown and burgundy of the wallpaper and the niche felt a bit like Grandmama lived there. (Did I just say that out loud?) The marble floors were a bit dingy from 90+ years of feet walking on them. Hey I would be a little tired too wouldn’t you?

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renovation BEFORE

We carried the same color scheme through to this area to create a lovely visual flow that automatically makes everything feel larger. A soft cream and blue paper replaced the original everywhere except for the front half of the foyer where the walls were left white to open it up and allow it to breath.

The marble floors were cleaned up and no longer have a yellow tint. The wall niche was marbleized by Marilyn Heard to match the paper and now feels much more authentic to the space.

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The transformation of the library speaks for itself. Sorry about the grainy before.

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renovation BEFORE

jinks lib

Stay tuned as this Southern Belle gets dressed up for the ball!

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Ugly Switch Plate Covers And Renovation

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We have been working on the renovation of this grand belle of the ball and ran into the age old problem of what to replace the ugly switch plate covers with. You know, the cracked ones yellowed with age that scream, “look at me”!

As you can see from the below picture, some of the original walls have hand painted paper that is staying and for those I brought in an artist to paint the plates to match the design. But what if the job is too far away to fly an artist in to paint a bunch of switch plates? Surely there is another solution!

 

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I think I may have found it!

There is a company called   Forbes & Lomax that makes replicas of the old high end switches that you can still find in period hotels and some homes.

Established in London 20 years ago, Forbes & Lomax have created an elegant alternative to the ordinary light switch. They realized that the elegant glass, nickel and brass switches of the 1930’s were no longer available and what was being made to use for high-end projects were unsuitable.  So Forbes & Lomax launched an aesthetic light switch, in which they pioneered the screwless, flush to the wall plate, creating a sleek look. The toggles and buttons come in many finishes, including unlacquered brass, nickel silver, brushed stainless steel and antique bronze switches.”

I love the antique bronze toggle. And the buttons remind me of the push button ones I used to see a lot.

black togle light switch

This brass one allows you to fully automate your home, opening blinds, controlling night lights etcetera from one master control.

 

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brass switch plates

I might stand around playing with the light switches if I had these unlacquered brass toggles.

brass toggle switches

But the ones that really captivated me for my project were the clear acrylic ones.

acrylic switch cover

Even if you cover the old plates in wallpaper matching the pattern across the wall (now that wallpaper is back in a big way) it is still messy sometimes and you have those two screws to contend with. These are screwless!

 A 3mm thick clear acrylic face plate with a 1mm thick primed aluminum under plate make up the assembly. You affix your wallpaper to the backplate (or paint it if wallpaper is not being used) and the o ring that goes around the switch screws onto a mechanism on the switch box to hold it securely. The plate is then almost invisible. Love it!

It also comes as convenience outlet covers but these do use screws.

invisible outlet plugs

This is how it would look installed over wallpaper.

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Sooo much better, right? And the best part? They now have a showroom in New York.

To see more visit http://www.forbesandlomax.com/invisible-lightswitch-usa.html

or contact them at ussales@forbesandlomax.com

Happy Day!

Cindy

 

 

 

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Beautiful Doors Are The First Step Toward Hospitality

Beautiful doors are so important to me. They are almost the first design element that I consider when planning a new space. Doors invite our family and friends into our offered hospitality. They set the tone of the home. Doors weigh on me until I get them right.

We have been in the planning stages for a design/build for a family we have known since college days. Basically, I was asked to take the plans for their existing home which sits on a large lot in a neighborhood and re-work it so that it would fit on a pie-shaped lot that has amazing water views on three sides.

I can’t wait to take you along on the construction journey. We just came out of the ground last week!

Houzz

Houzz

Of course, I immediately started talking about the doors. I knew that I would be using them to add character and a sense of age to the new house but I needed to explore several style options to see what resonated with everyone. The first one considered was the door shown above with lovely old stained glass and a rather modern styled wood panel at the bottom. It reminded me of doors at Huntingdon College, a local university here in Montgomery, Alabama. I have wonderful sources for fabulous architectural salvage so I am always confident that I will be able to find what we need.

Then I found this one:

french door

a completely different look… basically just a badly painted French Door. haha  That one didn’t last very long on my mental board.

This one I love.

decor de provence blog

decor de provence blog

The proportion and scale, the way the arched transom hugs the door, the wavy glass and the finish all stopped me in my tracks. The fact that it is in on a French house didn’t hurt either.

I am always a sucker for Tudor especially if it looks like it came out of an old church like this one does. I probably would have roughed it up a bit though so that it is not so spit polished… know what I mean?

Doors by Decora

Doors by Decora

My friends at McAlpine Home never disappoint. This is from one of their projects.

McAlpine Tankersley

McAlpine Tankersley

Just that one simple curve added to the bottom made all the difference.

In the end, my choice was the one with the arched top and transom and happily the clients agreed so the mill-works folks will be starting on it tomorrow. Can’t wait!

Next up: stair talk. See you soon.

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