Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The family room

When we bought this house, the downstairs family room looked like this:
The most offensive parts of the this room were:
The stupid corner shelves on either side of the fireplace that were meant to hold decorative plates, but were useless for anything else.
The huge gas fireplace itself and the brassy fireplace front.
The awful brown brick accent walls...but at least its real brick fronts and not faux panels. 
The boob light above the fireplace.
The cheap laminate flooring that we knew we wouldn't be able to change anytime soon.
So, with that said, we promptly crapped up the room and then left it like that for awhile.
Then we found out we were leaving, and I had to do something to make this look better.  I started with getting the furniture arranged, and hanging curtains.  Then I spent some time picking a color to paint the brick.  I knew I couldn't do white because it was on the bottom of the wall, so I got a few samples and settled on Benjamin Moore Midsummer Night.
It looked great with the mortar in the fireplace, the dark wood in the windows, and the light fixture and fireplace screen. 
It was still scary to paint it all such a dark color!  Luckily, it turned out great and was just what the brick needed to bring it into this century. 
Due to the lower ceiling, I had to mount the curtain rod on the ceiling rather than the paneling.  I love that ceiling rod holders are available for situations like this.  I replaced the boob light with the same inexpensive chandelier that hung in the entry of our house on Russet street. 
I removed the silly corner shelves and got simple pine 1x8s that I painted with the same flat paint as the brick.  I also got these Rubbermaid brackets from Home Depot because they were cheap and the bronze finish matched the paint almost exactly.  I was planning to do a top coat of poly on the shelves, but the open house happened and I just got lazy, so the new owners will have to do that.   
I love the new painted fireplace! 
It's just high heat black spray, and it looks so much better.  I love how the brick, shelves, curtain rods, chandelier and windows all tie in the dark color together - and how it complements the orangey wood of the paneling.  And the brick wall by the piano even looks awesome!
Much more modern.  If we were staying here, I'd have come up with a cool gallery wall for this nook.
I also replaced all the almond outlets and switches for white.  All together I think I spent around $250 with paint, curtain rods, chandelier, shelf parts, and outlets.  So, that is the very inexpensive family room update.  Not bad, eh?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Our new house in Palatine, Illinois

You guys, remember when I said that I wasn't going to settle on our new house this time?  Well, maybe I didn't say that on this blog, but I definitely did in real life.  Turns out we are buying exactly what I didn't want....a raised ranch with the annoying double stairway going up and down right after walking in the front door. 
Not to mention the downward sloping driveway with garage under the home.  And the hideous front door, paneling, and oaky railings. 
BUT, the house is very large and we just couldn't pass up the living space here.  The main (upper) level is over 1500 sq ft, has four good sized bedrooms, a master bath and a main bath, and a large living room. 
The kitchen is TINY and while it's 'updated' I pretty much hate it.  The maple cabinets, the enormous soffit with can lighting above the sink, the speckled granite, the stone backsplash....I would love to rip it all out and start over, but we can't do that. 
There is only three drawers in the entire kitchen, so we are going to use the L-shaped eat in area for more cabinetry instead.  I struggle with this because with kids, I love a place to eat in the kitchen...but the dining room is right there, so I don't think we'd miss it. 
The kitchen door walks out to a decent sized deck. 
Our grill and patio table will fit nicely here.  I don't typically like raised decks because there is no privacy, but there are ways to help that and I plan to get creative!  The backyard is also nice and big.
 We plan to fence in this side of the yard.
And I'm not sure what we will do to cover the awful chain link and white vinyl on this side.  We might ask the neighbors in back of us if we can remove the vinyl and replace with wood, since the only fence on their property is this little piece. 
The great thing is that this house was built in 1967 and has original hardwood floors under the carpet throughout the main level. 
The main bathroom is also original, with blue tub, retro floor and wall tile, and swirly shell counter tops. 
I am really happy that this bathroom is original, because it means I can do what I want in here when we have the funds.  For now, I plan to just paint the vanity, remove the silly brass shower doors, and work with the tile. 
I just can't escape the seashell sinks.  Since this bathroom has no window, I'm hoping to add a skylight or solar tube at some point. 
The secondary bedrooms are all 10x13, which feels so much bigger than the 9x11 rooms we have in our current house. 
I actually love the wood wall in this room! 

However, this fake paneling is gone. 
The master has two windows which I love, but only two average closets, so I'm a little worried about losing my walk in.  I'm thinking of ways to incorporate more storage into the other rooms for all my stuff.
The master bath is totally not my style and impossibly tiny, but it's much better than not having one. 
Luckily, the shower is bigger than our current one, and the window is amazing compared to our current dark master bath. 
The lower level family room is huge, and I love that it has three large windows and doesn't feel like a basement. 
We plan to rip out all the paneling and ceiling in this room so we can add recessed lighting and new drywall.  Since the carpet is in good shape, we will have to be careful to cover that up while we work.  There is also really nice original wood parquet down here and a cool little dry bar that I forgot to photograph. 
Also down here, a large laundry room with window, laundry tub and storage.  And a half bath with a window!
And another bedroom with two windows. 
Check out that sweet carpet and gun cabinet!  For now, this room is going to be a storage area because we are losing our large crawl space and bigger garage with rafters.  Lucky for us, the attic in this house is large and actually usable once we take care of some ventilation and accessibility issues.  Before we move in, we are having all the hardwoods refinished, all the trim replaced, and possibly a new railing installed.
And we will try to remove as much of the paneling as possible, everything is so much easier when you don't have your furniture in the way.  I don't have any great photos of the railing, but I really hate it.  I don't want to try to update it with the traditional white spindles/stained handrail because I don't feel it fits in this retro style house. 
No thanks.   
I'm hoping to install a simple metal railing with wood top like one of these:
I also like the wrought iron without any wood.  It just has to be simple and fit the era of the house.
 One reason I want to replace the railing right away is because I'm not sure how our floor guy will refinish the floors around the existing one.  I am just not sure we can afford a new one at this point.  We also have to replace the rusty ugly outdoor railing at some point. 
So, that is the house.  We do have some major issues to take care of right away.  The main chimney pipe is corroded and needs to be replaced.  The electrical is 50 amp service with a ton of questionable DIY work that is not to code.  The bathroom sinks and tub all are missing the pop up drain mechanism so we can't even stop the water.  The master bath toilet is not attached properly to the floor.  Several outlets are wired incorrectly and the list goes on.  Luckily, the sellers have agreed to a 3k credit to cover some of these issues.  We close on September 3, so I will keep you posted as soon as we get in there and get to work!