A Year ago

About a year ago, we spent a weekend filming two short videos with Trulia. It was a wet, rainy, raw weekend, and we were really in the thick of renovations. Our kitchen had walls, and that's about it. Our living room was stacked to the ceiling with stuff. Our second story had floor joists, but no subfloor (and a piece of plywood covering a neglected broken window). All in all, it was a mess!

I recently rewatched the first video and thought it would be fun to take some screenshots and show how far we've come in a year of working only on the weekends & doing everything on our own (with generous help from family & friends, especially my dad).

KITCHEN

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Our new, raw pine floors were down, and I was putting primer on the fresh drywall in preparation for our kitchen cabinets to be installed the next weekend.

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After removing the original (damaged) plaster ceiling to help reinforce the second story floor joists, we realized we would be able to expose the original beams. During shooting, we started the process of installing shiplap between the beams.

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We still need to add trim & baseboards as well as one or two open shelves for glasses and dishes. Our custom cabinets by Block Brothers Cabinets are such a gem in this house, and I could not love them more. They were designed to honor the cabinets we, unfortunately, were not able to save.

FRONT DOOR ENTRY

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Every surface of the original wood floor was covered in at least three layers of paint. This top red layer was the hardest to remove. A rented industrial sander eventually did the trick.

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While we were able to get down to the raw wood in the entry, it was really worn. We decided to put on a coat of white -- we used Benjamin Moore "Snowfall White" -- to match the rest of the trim & living room cabinets. Super easy & cheap rug from Amazon, and a plant resting on a plant stand I found in the house years ago (can you tell how crooked the floors are in this photo!?)

MUD ROOM

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Dishes, chairs, mailboxes, & lighting fixtures -- oh, my! We repainted this mailbox and threw it back out front. The rest? In storage, being used, or given away.

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We painted the floor to match the kitchen using Benjamin Moore's Sabre Grey. I did a color match to the original trim color. We'll be re-opening this old door to have this function as a real "mudroom" and main messy entryway to the house. This door will open to the backyard, close to the driveway, and is located in the the right corner of the house if you're looking from the yard. The open door you see in the above photo goes to the second floor of the house (it's closed in this photo).

LIVING ROOM

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Generations of things were left behind in our house. We piled everything into the living room, because it needed the least amount of work, and allowed us more space in the rooms we were bringing down to the studs.

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We repainted the ceiling & cabinets Benjamin Moore Snowfall white, and the walls BM Nantucket Grey. We stripped 5 layers of linoleum and 5 layers of paint off the original hardward floors and stained them with Minwax Early American. We slept in the living room for three months when we moved in, but recently moved our bed to our semi-finished upstairs, and finally bought a couch. This room has amazing natural light and we love spending our time here now that it feels like a real home and not a temporary bedroom!

I am looking forward to doing full room tours for each of these spaces once we are a little more settled but wanted to give you a nice sneak peek at what we've been up to over the past year and since we moved in!

For more throwback footage, watch our original Trulia interview below:

Living Room Mood Board

When we started renovating our house over two years ago we focused on the parts of the house that needed immediate demo -- the kitchen, dining room, and downstairs bedroom/office. To make room for that, we piled all the house's furniture into the living room. There it has sat -- until last weekend! We cleared it all out and and now I'm getting excited to decorate. Here are some basics I'm starting with.

 

1.West Elm Diamond Stripe Wool Dhurrie 2.Benjamin Moore's Gentlemen's Gray 3.Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy 4.Farrow & Ball's Inchyra Blue 5.Florence Linen, Light Gray 6.Example of Original Cabinet Hardware 7.Schoolhouse Electric Brass Planter

To balance the room's abundance of natural light and large white built ins, we are thinking of painting the walls a deep moody color and keeping gray and white neutrals throughout the furnishing. We have so many thriving plants in our current apartment and can't wait to move them into this room & buy even more. It's the perfect setting. We saved the old wood base couch that was in this room, and after stripping the musty old upholstery we'll be making our own new cushions. I love the softness of a light linen tweed.

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I am obsessed with this wall of built ins, and luckily my dad saved the original hardware. The cabinet latches have a beautiful intricate pattern on them that is so unique and beautiful. Once we sand it all down and give it a fresh coat of paint they're going to look like new. The room's trim is currently a buttery white, so we'll update it with something much more stark and bright.

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We pulled up four or five layers of floor coverings to see the original floors and are hoping to refinish them ourselves in the next month or so. Underneath the linoleum coverings were even more layers of newspaper and wallpaper -- the wallpaper has stained the floor a light blue color. Depending on the condition we'll stain them a rich auburn color, or paint them white if they're in bad shape.

Heating is going in soon as well as sky lights & insulation upstairs. I'm working on a floor plan for our second floor and I can't wait to show you!

A Chat with Trulia

We had a lot of fun talking with Trulia a couple months ago about our house! Take a look below

 

There is also more tidbits from our conversation over on their blog. Here is a taste:

“We’re extremely sentimental people. We’re really proud of the fact that this house has never been sold. It’s always stayed in the family. Everyone in the family recognizes how rare that is. This house basically represents our entire family history of the Days in this town.”

Read the whole thing over at Trulia. Let me know what you think!

It's Really Bad Before It's Good

Mid summer I stood in the kitchen of our house and said, "I hate being in here." There was no ceiling in the kitchen and dining room, you could see outside around the entire perimeter up to two feet tall due to rot repair, and the gaping hole for the patio door was framed out but it was not yet installed so every time we came in and out we had to screw and unscrew a huge piece of plywood. It looked like a complete mess that would never ever be finished. I felt way over my head, totally unprepared, exhausted, and like we were moving at a snail's pace. Well, if you're in the middle of your own renovation -- guys, it gets exciting and promising I swear!

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Fast forward to the end of October and this shell of a home now has walls, floors, and the most exciting thing -- kitchen cabinets!

Once we finished the electrical we were able to put up dry wall which then lead us to figure out the flooring. We originally thought we'd be able to recycle the original flooring from upstairs, but when we pulled it out from under my Dad's garage it had not held up well over the years. Knowing we wanted planks as wide as possible we headed to Lumber Liquidators in Bangor. They had a bundle of 10" boards for a super steal at $80, but it would only cover half our square footage. The salesman and my Dad convinced a skeptical me that mixing it with 8" would not only look great, but would actually be more authentic to the time period of the house (it was rare to have equal width boards in a pre-1900s home). So we headed back to Brooklin with enough pine for our kitchen and dining room for less than $400. Five hours of hard work later, we had flooring.

I can't explain what a difference this made to the space. When we started working on the house both these spaces were covered with a gross linoleum. Once the floor was all laid I just said, "It looks like this was always meant to be here!" Once it gets warm out again we will paint the floor a greenish gray color we discovered was originally a trim color (see image below, we found this behind the mantle in the kitchen). People seem to hate this idea and have tried to persuade us to change out minds but too bad, guys, it's happening. The original wood floors in the bedroom, living room, and upstairs were all painted -- it's highly unlikely any of the floors were ever just stained. And, we think it's going to look great painted. So deal with it!

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Next we began to re-install the ceiling. A bright side to having reinforce the second story was the ability to expose the original beams that were previously covered. We poached lots and lots of shiplap from my Dad's house -- this was bought by my grandfather over 50 years ago and can be found in so many rooms on the floors and walls of his house. We began running this between the beams which is going to look great, but is a huge pain in the ass because this house is as wonky as you'd expect a 160 year old house to be. We'll eventually paint the shiplap white, and keep the original beams their dirty, patina-ed self. Below you can see the shiplap stored under my Dad's garage, and it partially installed in the house as I prime the walls at 6:00pm (even thought it looks like midnight!)

Now, oh my god, the cabinets. We have been working with Block Brother Cabinets in Searsport since last January. We wanted the new cabinets to look as close to the originals as possible, while accommodating for a slightly new set up -- and they hit it out of the park. Simple, clean, traditional, functional. We picked Restoration Hardware latches to match what was in the house originally, and pulls we thought were authentic without being trendy (in the oil rubbed bronze finish).

Seriously, look at this craftsmanship.

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We also finally touched up the front door. The door color and window trim have been a bright forest green as long as I can remember which I believe was probably a boat paint. While I love this color and tradition, we decided to switch it up a little bit and go black. This is another controversial paint color so we keep joking that we'll rename it "Goth House" to really rile up the family and neighborhood.

We don't have much time to go before it gets to chilly too work on the house but I can't wait to put in some countertop and install our sink. It's going to really start to feel like home!