Real Estate Renovations

Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page


In Design Options, Materials, real estate on April 27, 2012 at 10:27 AM

So at this part of the process, I am in a hurry up and wait mode. I can’t really do too much or buy too much just yet and I know its the calm before the storm. All my hectic pre-planning is also in a holding pattern.

The storage facility is ready to go. I have identified all the items I want to sell to the antique shop. I have given away everything that going to Purple Heart. I don’t want to begin any DIY projects because as soon as they start tearing down walls, there won’t be any place to either work or store work I have started. Boooooooo!

Sooooooo… I ramble through my beloved blogs making a billion bookmarks and Pinning like a madwoman. I came across this today and thought, “Now this is genius!”

Rugs are something I know I will need with all the refinished hardwoods in the house both because I never wear shoes inside and I’d like to see the pop of color in the rooms. I have never really seen a rug that I both love and can honestly afford! I like things that are substantial in size and scale and quality hence are normally ungodly expensive.

This wonderful article in Domino is all about stitching together smaller rugs to create one large unique rug.

Now I am not normally the Bohemian type, but the right casual pieces stitched together might be just the thing I need to take the edge off of the formality I usually find in the looks I adore. This excites me, I can also imagine being able to acquire something I really like for a few hundred rather than a few thousand dollars and not go stir crazy. Yay!

Little Green Notebook: The Ties That Bind.


Still Waiting To Exhale

In Dept of HUD, Financing, real estate on April 24, 2012 at 9:55 AM

We received the report from our HUD consultant last night and at first glance are breathing a sigh of relief. Other than some minor exterior painting we were not ordered to make any additional repairs or updates. We also had our plans approved so design wise we are good as well.
We do have to send the report over to the builder so that he can review how funds have been allocated as they will determine how disbursements are made.
One small step and I’m grateful.

Mesh and Meld

In Design Options, Materials on April 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Filling out the list of items that have to be “rehabbed” during this renovation are a few pieces of furniture.  Most of our furniture is on its way out.  I have been phenomenal, if I do say so myself, at getting rid of just about everything that isn’t nailed down.  I am left with just a few sentimental pieces.

The frame from an earlier post and the following items of furniture.

This piece I have had for years always with the intention of having it upholstered but never getting around to it.  Not sure if it is classified as an ottoman, footstool or hassock though after reading this post I believe hassock is the appropriate term. It needs a little life breather back into it and hopefully will look like this once completed.

Not sure how light I am going to go or whether I will paint the wood but will definitely add a substantial amount of “fluff”  to the cushion.

There’s also this set of armchairs that actually make me swoon…still. I love these chairs and can’t wait until I can locate the perfect fabric to recover them.

These pieces will ultimately work in concert with one another. I think the hassock will serve in place of a side table in between this set of chairs to save some space. I believe I will recover them in like fabrics so they will really go together similar to this:

The idea of white wood and a solid fabric thought, makes me want to cry…So we’ll have to come up with a better color combination than that…

And lastly, there is the chair that will grace the vanity in our closet.  I don’t think I am going to touch this one as the color is neutral and its in great condition.

Lots to do, I guess the hunt for fabric is next on my list of  “items to obsess about”…

A Really Big Image

In Design Options, Materials on April 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Projects galore lay ahead of me and I am trying my best to plan them out in my head before launching out into DIY land, especially since my space to complete these lovelies will be greatly comprised during the renovation.

SO I am actively planning them out and hunting down everything I can outsource.  One such project involves one of my favorite pieces.

I have had this framed print for many years and truth be told it’s really the scale and the frame that I adore.  The frame measures about 4′ x just shy of 4′ so it’s really big.

I hate the current print and the colors are all wrong.  So I am now determined to either create or locate a really wonderful print to have remounted in this wonderful frame.

I would love for this to be relatively simple and perhaps I can locate a really cool vector file and have it blown up and take it all to be reframed.

I envision this being the stand alone piece in our Master so it needs to be something that the hubs can wake up to every morning and not glare at me for its choosing. But i really want to love it.

I briefly pondered going out back and slapping paint around off the end of several brushes, but that is really not my style. I thought about a trendy reproduction of something neat like Audrey Hepburn in a scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s but that won’t work either. And I really think it’s too big to be a picture of ourselves.  Perhaps I could take a picture of the two of us and have it painted…( isn’t there an app that converts images like that ? LOL!) A “portrait” could be an option.

This was an option that I kind of liked it’s a 1930’s piece by Andre Edouard Marty.

I don’t want to have a mirror mounted in it, though I like the idea of having something three-dimensional mounted within the confines of the frame.  Maybe that’s the way to go.

So I am on the hunt for something wonderful and perfect for this piece. Any suggestions?

Leveraging our Costs

In Materials, Spaces on April 22, 2012 at 5:11 PM

We expected to have the report  from our friendly HUD consultant last Friday, but instead were informed that he need a bit longer to complete so it would be close of business Monday before he could deliver it to us.  Not a huge deal, though it does hold off the appraiser being scheduled for a few days.

So since we were not scouring over a report this weekend, we decided on a whim to head on over to one of those shopping clubs and head their spiel. We had been to a home show about a month ago and signed up for a visit.

Now we are soooooooo not the time-share-free-cruise-trip-to-Orlando type of people but often go to these types of things to see what’s out there. I play “bad cop”  and ask questions to make life difficult and the hubs plays “good cop” sharing lovely anecdotes.

I guess the looks on the faces of myself and the “bad cop” from the other couple touring with us encouraged our consultant to really spare us the “rah-rah” version of the tour and he got right down to the nuts and bolts of what club is and isn’t and bottom line what it would cost us.  We took a tour of the facility and got to see first hand the manner in which it operates ( the Debbie Downer in me noted that I thought they were actors…) (I’m a great “bad cop”).

It was informative to see and understand the process.  We have already negotiated with our builder to provide many of the materials, finishes and appliances for our renovation just based on a cursory comparison of what they were going to charge us and our finding the exact models of items we wanted much cheaper.

Ultimately, we bit the bullet!  ( I know, I wasn’t expecting to do so at all) but once we saw the custom services that were available in addition to just retail type items it began to make sense for us very quickly. We did a very quick tally of the number of items we saw ourselves buying literally within the next 90 days and were pretty surprised. We went a little further and gave some serious thought to furnishing this new abode. It was pretty much a foregone thought that we would put off a lot of the decor changes until some time after the renovation was completed, perhaps Hollywood Regency is a much closer reality than a dream.

I will definitely keep you updated with our experience, but honestly we are pretty excited to get going with them.


A Step Above

In Design Options, Dining Rooms, Materials, real estate, Spaces on April 22, 2012 at 4:20 PM

I am really the type of person that should not have too much idle time on my hands waiting for responses. I am pretty resolute at making decisions, though I like to banter about a bit and toss around viable ( or not so viable) options.  Luckily, the designer on our project is receptive to this approach and when I come up with a gee whiz idea and shoot it over I usually get a pretty quick response which will then allow my to give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to the idea and move on.  When I don’t hear back, it just gives me more time to root around for additional options and ideas.  After all, until I get a response there’s nothing that I am doing that will stall the process…

And hence we arrive here today.  We are currently awaiting costing on some items the HUD consultant has mandated be included into the scope of work.  The amount of this additional work will determine if other things need to come off the current scope of work we have. So we’re waiting…meanwhile I got to thinking that perhaps the foyer concept we are currently implementing may not be the best way go.

This currently our idea.  I don’t like that in our Colonial the front door drops you into the living room so abruptly. We like the idea of something a little more defined.  The more I think about it though we are blowing out all the walls on the first floor and I am a little concerned that it will look like a big open space with a foyer and a kitchen island. So during breakfast this morning, I had an epiphany.  “What if instead of putting in the entry space we raised the dining area, while keeping it open?”

Much to my astonishment, the hubs almost immediately latched onto the idea and really liked (dare I say Loved?) it.  Now it will be open on two side and walled( by the exterior walls) on two side, rather than landlocked like in the pictures above and below.

In essence, I see it being a large platform that the dining room set will be on overlooking the large bay window that is currently in that space. As much as I am all for the open concept, something in me cringes just a little at the loss of a formal dining room ( perhaps it’s the realtor in me).  This option gives me a defined space while keeping the open concept. Yay!

This image (above) gives a better idea of what I am thinking. Simple and clean with just a hint of schmaltz 🙂 A cursory search of course showed some of the bells and whistles I shall add to my request. Love the lights recessed into the platform.

The drawers in this option are interesting, but I don’t know if we’d make adequate use of them. What would I store there? Suggestions?

2. Living room | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Stool Pigeons…

In Design Options, Kitchens, Materials, real estate, Spaces on April 20, 2012 at 2:47 PM

I have a picture in my mind of the bar stools that I want to use for the island. That of course means that I can’t find that exact bar stool in any retail outlet on the face of the Earth!

The stool that I want is similar to this one:

I love the curve of the seat and I love the metal studs. I don’t really love the legs, though I could be persuaded to live with them.  Perhaps its the perspective of the picture but this looks really short.  Now if there were an option for metal legs, I think we’d have a winner. I need some more contrast in the piece.

After a somewhat exhaustive search, I slowly warmed to possibly considering this stool:

I do like that they are light and sleek and not overpowering to the space. I still need to think about the footrest.  For some reason, in my head, I see them dislodging and having to be repaired repeatedly after a few of our  “social gatherings”

It is available in a number of colors and I could see this white option working with my ideal color palette magnificently.  I just have to wrap my mind around white stools.  I’ve never given that any consideration.

I should really just go ahead and commit because that would give me the leeway to think more seriously about pendent lighting.  The lights above are WONDERFUL (she sang…)

Adjustable Kitchen Barstools Bring Curvy Lines to Modern Spaces.

A San Francisco Victorian Renovation

In Fantastic Listings, real estate, Spaces on April 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Looking at completed renovations is really encouraging to me. No, I don’t have several million dollars to toss into our humble abode, but I don’t think it’s really about how much money you invest in the project, but more so about using the money you do spend wisely. I was adamant that we had a voice in our renovation and that it was not just another project by the designer providing fodder for some contest entry or magazine submission. I think they did a great job on this project.  I love the views and love the city, but alas I am an east girl at heart and love on this side of the world…. take a look.

LookAddress: 111 Liberty St., San Francisco
Full Listing available here

Vital Statistics: A 4,700-square-foot home with five bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms and two fire pits. It is a short walk from Google and Facebook corporate bus stops.

Asking Price: $4.995 million.

Previous Sale Price: The current owners paid $1.335 million for the house in September 2010. They spent 18 months remodeling the house, adding a third floor and three-car garage with an electric-car plug-in station.

An Updated Victorian for $4.995 Million –

The Frame Game

In Design Options, Materials, real estate, Spaces on April 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

My hubs is as handy as the next guy, in some ways even more so for he has great electrical expertise. He often surprises me with the stuff he knows but has neglected to share with me over the years; for fear of having to perform said task more than once.  But I do believe I am the better painter of the two of us and when it comes to hanging pictures….Well let’s just say that I believe there is more skill required than a hammer and nail.

I found this post really helpful as it addressed many of my personal pet peeves. I don’t like little puny pictures sitting idly on the wall. I need pictures to be level and I need for them to positioned at the correct height on the wall in relation to the other furniture in the room.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration the attributes of getting the daggone thing into the frame properly.  I spent a portion of last year combing through some really special items of memorabilia and made a concerted effort to have the pieces mounted and framed for use in the future. ( Yay Me!) So I am really looking forward to getting those things up on the wall ( as we are now knocking down every conceivable wall in the house….. SMH)

Let’s hope I get it right with these tips!

Artwork languishing unhung because frame styles seem too confusing? These guidelines can help.

Space to Take My Breath Away

In Design Options, Kitchens, Living Room, Materials, real estate, Spaces on April 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Pleasant Valley contemporary bedroom
So, it has been long decided that grey, in many of its forms will be a staple in the new spaces. In my mind I really kept seeing accent colors that really popped like turquoise, purple or fuchsia.
Pleasant Valley contemporary family room

I had dangled the idea of a neutral sofa to the hubs, to lukewarm response… But now I’m seeing these images and I feel reborn!  I know I gravitate toward high style glitz and glamour, but I do honestly want something that is stylish yet comfortable and easily manageable.  I don’t want to cringe when someone flops in one of our chairs ( though that is a bit rude, don’t ya think?)

Pleasant Valley contemporary family room
Use of dove-gray and grayish blues with pale sand colors is really resonating with me.  We have purposely chosen kitchen colors that are NOT in the toasty caramel brown family (can you say DONE TO DEATH!) The cabinets are espresso very dark and the floors are called mudslide, which is also very dark and chocolatey.  The granite also leans a bit to the gray side.  It’s all very encouraging folks!!
Pacific Hillside Retreat traditional family room

My one caveat on going in this direction would really be to avoid at all cost event the slightest hint or reference to the beach.  No seashells, no bead board or white wainscoting. Though not far from the water and in an area known for waterish types of things, we’re just not those people.
Everything about this makes me smile.  It’s cool and light and airy, it feels spacious and comfortable. It’s stylish and intentional but not pretentious.  And it’s not girly so the hubs will offer a thumbs up! WHOO HOO!!!
Its gonna be a good day!