Sunday, 30 November 2008

Fireplace Facelift

When I first moved in, the den was a sort of key lime green color that I didn't dig and the fireplace left a little something to be desired...

The fireplace had no mantel, which I wanted and just lacked any style in general.
That was all about to change...

I found some guy on Craiglist to come put rock around the fireplace.
I think he did a FABULOUS job!
And the mantel I had custom made by Pat Steele - this amazing artisan who I met at the monthly flea market in Nashville.

And this is the finished product!!
I LOVE my new fireplace!
The only thing left to do is install my new fireplace logs,
curl up with a good book and a glass of wine,
and ENJOY!!!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Kitchen Upgrades on a Budget!

If I had loads of money, I'd completely remodel the kitchen but since I don't...

I just decided to do some painting and refinishing and put up some much needed shelf space.

This was the kitchen when I bought the house...

The countertops were in terrible condition - they had burned spots on them and I didn't care for the color on them.

The cabinets were also white and had ugly hardware on them that prevented 2 of the drawers from opening properly...

They all actually sag toward the left which makes me crazy but is not correctable until they are totally replaced so I just have to deal with it.

Also, as you can see, there are no upper cabinets anywhere in the kitchen which makes for some serious storage challenges...

First, I painted the cabinets and put on new hardware...

Then, I sanded and refinished the countertop...

This was done by priming, using 3 different paint colors with a sponge roller and then polyurethaning the heck out of it!

My New Half Bath!

The original half bath in the house was down 2 awkward stairs on the way to the basement. It was inconvenient, ventless, dark and smelly and to say I loathed it was putting it mildly. I truly hated that bathroom. I pretty much refused to use it. So, as part of the hot tub trade, I had a new half bath plumbed in where the W/D used to be. I also traded more passes for the tile work, drywall, pocket door and electrical. The result? It's one of my favorite things in the house!

When I bought the house, this was the utility room.
It had this beautiful stained glass window which I wanted to showcase
so I moved the W/D to the basement and turned this space
into the new Half Bath!
Check it out...

The linoleum on the floor was in bad shape so
we had it ripped up and laid down some tile.

Here's the tile being put down...

This is the pocket door and the exposed brick
where the sink will go...

The bath was painted a beautiful golden yellow.
We were installing the toilet and sink this day
which was much more difficult than it should have been...

Here you can see part of the stained glass window and the
super cute chandelier I had installed!

The sink was mounted into the bricks but the pedestal
didn't work with the pipes
so I got creative and made this little grass
and bamboo thingamajigger...

This is the finished product...

More Bedroom Improvements

We exposed brick from the original fireplace chimney throughout the house. We also made this interesting nook for handy storage and display and still have a functional closet!

Here's Nat peeling off the drywall to expose the brick...

Halfway through the project...

And here's the finished nook! Love it!!

My Deck Improvements

Another sweet trade I made was exchanging buddy passes for lots of work around the house. The biggie was having my deck pressure washed and re-stained. This was my deck before...

And this was my deck afterwards...

Nat, 2 Mexicans and a Wheelbarrow dug out under the deck and poured a 4" slab of concrete for some sweet storage!
They also made a double door for easy entry below the deck

A fresh coat of opaque stain makes the deck look brand new!

I had these stairs built just a couple of weeks ago.
It completely opened up access to the back yard and I LOVE THEM!!!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Upstairs Floors

The floors downstairs had been refinished but the floors upstairs needed quite a bit of help, as you can see from the picture below....

I decided to do them in a dark walnut stain. Here's the work in progress...

These have actually turned out beautifully! It took awhile to get them done and I slept on a blow-up mattress in my dining room for a couple of weeks but it was all worth it in the end! They're GORGEOUS!!

Bathroom Transformation

When I first moved in, the bathroom looked like a giant box of Giorgio Perfume...

Somebody actually took the time to paint all these stripes!

It' s now a much more relaxing place...

Sherwin Williams is my New BFF!

So, this is what my house looked like on the day that I first saw it...

Pretty cute but simply landscaped and a fairly bland color

This is the living room looking into the den/kitchen area
Beautiful hardwood floors!

The Dining Room

And this is what it looks like now...

The Front View

The Living Room with D/R on left

The Dining Room

2 Mexicans and a Hammer

I always like to say that 2 Mexicans and a Hammer can change the world and I don't think I'm far off the mark with that comment. The fact of the matter is these guys are HANDY! They're quick, hard working, industrious and tend to know what they're doing. For my money, give me 2 Mexicans and Hammer anyday and I'll be happy with what gets done. Of course, it doesn't hurt when you have a completely selfless, fairly handy boyfriend around the house as well. So between the 3 of them, things got done relatively quickly, if not painlessly...

This is where we knocked out the wall between 2 bedrooms.

Framing in the walk-in closet at one end of the master bedroom.

Insulating and drywalling the closet.
What an incredibly dusty, horrific experience to try and live in...

Thank God for Craiglist!

So I put an ad on Craigslist. It read "I need a plumber - You want a hot tub. Let's make a trade!"

I was inundated with phone calls. Who knew hot tubs were so popular? When I bought my house, I had a hot tub on my deck. See below...

Knowing myself, I would never actually use this thing and it would simply sit out there taking up a lot of space and eventually breaking down. So I swapped out lots of plumbing work in exchange for my hot tub.

I had my leaky kitchen sink repaired, water run to my refrigerator, my W/D relocated to the basement and a new half bath plumbed in. I also had a new vanity put in the upstairs master bath and my pedestal sink relocated to the front porch as a planter...

This is my new vanity in the Master Bath

This pedestal sink used to be in the upstairs bathroom. It's cute but I'm a girl with a LOT of stuff and I needed some extra storage space! So this became a cute planter by the front door. Everyone loves it!

All this wheeling and dealing with no money changing hands!
What a bargain! I love Craiglist!

Renovation Begins!

So Nat and I moved in and promptly began renovating. It went something like this... Wanna knock down a wall? Uh, sure. Which one? How 'bout... that one? Alright. Here goes...

My house started out as a 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bath with incredibly small 10x9 bedrooms upstairs. The bedrooms were so small and the closet space was nonexistent so we decided to knock out a wall and make a large master bedroom with a walk-in closet at one end and then have another guest bedroom. Some people would argue that turning a 3 bedroom into a 2 bedroom is a bad move and, well, maybe they're right but it was the right move for me. My house is not that big to start with (slightly over 1500 sq ft) and it's not the sort of house that's conducive to a big family anyway so I think a 2 bedroom 1 1/2 bath house of that size is pretty perfect. At least it's worked out so far...

Here we are knocking down the wall...

Old Hickory Village

Old Hickory Village, where I bought my house, has a very cool history. Check it out...

The historic neighborhood of Old Hickory has been called Nashville's "best kept secret," but it was anything but secret when it was built 90 years ago. In January 1918, as the "Great War" raged in Europe, the U.S. government contracted with the E.I. DuPont de Nemours Co. to build the world's largest smokeless gunpowder plant on 5,600 acres in the hairpin turn of the Cumberland River known as Hadley's Bend. By the time the war ended on Nov. 11 - barely 10 months later - more than 3,800 buildings had been constructed, with housing for 35,000 people.

The end of the war meant there was no longer any reason for Old Hickory to exist. By 1920, Old Hickory was a virtual ghost town, despite having many modern conveniences not available in other neighborhoods, like a water and sewer treatment plant and its own fire and police force. A group of investors called Nashville Industrial Corp. bought Old Hickory from the government
and, after selling off much of the plant's equipment, sold the town and plant to the DuPont Co. in

DuPont built many more homes over the next decade, using the same basic floor plans it had used as the government's contractor on the original construction.

There were 11 original floor plans for single-family frame houses in Old Hickory, and they were built in a distinct "caste system." The largest, most architecturally interesting homes for top-level managers were built on Riverside Road on the eastern edge of the village, overlooking the stretch of the Cumberland River that was later dammed to become Old Hickory Lake. These floor plans are named Davis, Baytree and Ketchum and a single Welford.
The plant manager lived in a “Special Davis” overlooking the river.

Middle Managers lived in smaller homes called Arlington, Cumberland, Georgia and Haskell, and laborers were able to rent one-story homes called the Florence, the Denver, and a 6-Room Bungalow known as the “Old Hickory” model.

DuPont maintained Old Hickory as a company town, repairing and renovating the homes on a regular basis, for the next quarter-century.

In the late 1940s, as company towns fell out of corporate favor, DuPont sold hundreds of the Old Hickory houses to the employees who had been renting them. Hundreds of
other "temporary" houses, most of them then 30 years old, were razed.

My house is the Georgia floorplan. There was an addition built onto the back of the house roughly 30 years ago. It added a nice kitchen and den area with a fireplace but it was poorly built and is the source of all the real problems with this old house.