Five Year Home Tour: Part Two

Following up on part one, this part of the tour will cover the bedrooms, bathrooms, and basement progress.  Before, the main bathroom was the most recently updated room, but didn’t function well for our family as it lacked a shower.

New-House-Main-Bathroom April 13 2012

Adding a full wall between near the toilet allowed us to create a tub/shower, but also gives privacy to the commode.  An open vanity allows breathing room, with storage for towels, toilet paper, and bath toys.



Across the hall is the smallest bedroom, with a wall of bookshelves.

New-House-Guest-Bedroom April 13 2012

By notching out the bookshelves, we gained an extra foot of floor space, as well as a headboard nook.  White shelves brighten the formerly dark room, and a padded linen headboard is a cozy reading spot.


The boys’ room was a black space, with beige walls and a popcorn ceiling.


Removing the popcorn, adding new trim, and painting the walls a vibrant color cheer up the once drab space.


There were some questionable wall colors in this house, but the electric blue was the most retina searing.



Keeping a neutral color palette is calming, with reclaimed wood plank accent wall.  Nearly black walls are bold, but not obnoxiously so.


Completing the master suite is a bathroom, previously seen with red walls and yellow tile.

After a full gut remodel, the bathroom is sleek and updated, making it one of my favorite rooms in the house.  White tongue and groove lower walls balance the dark upper, and the walnut vanity adds much-needed warmth.


Going to the basement, the garage entrance was dark and plain, with an awkwardly swinging door to under stair storage.


For better function and flow, we carved out a bit of space to create a mud nook.  It’s the ideal drop spot for backpacks, jackets, and shoes, while keeping it out of the walkway.



Beyond the angled door was a large open room.


For our purposes, we decided to split the space in two, giving us a bedroom and theater space.  I haven’t found the perfect night stands or art.  It’s functional, but not finished.


Our laundry room is one storage packed power house, but wasn’t always that way.


Now it feels as clean as the clothes coming out of those machines.



Just down the hall was an equally dated/ugly/dirty feeling bathroom.


Tearing it down to the studs gave us a clean slate, allowing us to widen the shower.




At the very end of the hall, that painted door hid a small closet.


Tearing out the closet became the theater room entrance.  Painting the walls a deep green makes it so cozy to lounge and watch movies.  When reconfiguring the floor plan, we set this area up to double as a bedroom, if necessary down the road.


Part three, the exterior is coming up next.

Five Year Home Tour: Part One

Did you know that five years ago April 13th fell on a Friday?  I remember very well because that was the day we closed on this house.  If we were superstitious, not just a little stitious, as Michael Scott would say, we probably would have thought it to be a bad day to close on a house.  However, we were thrilled to start on our new, big, exciting project.  Even now, as we slog through some of the less fun, back-breaking work in the pool house, we’re just as excited today as we were five years ago.  So many things have changed between now and then, and I love taking a yearly look back at the beginnings and where we are today.  There wasn’t much about the original entry that we liked, other than the tall ceiling.

New-House-Entry April 13 2012

Over the years, we replaced the front door and window, added a planked accent wall, new lighting, railing, and floor tile.  Five-Year-Home-Tour-Entry-from-Top-of-Stairs

Five-Year-Home-Tour-Entry-DetailAt the front of the house, directly off of the entry is the living room with the dining room.  I can get on board with traditional elements and styling, but it wasn’t the right fit for this house and felt very forced.New-House-Living-and-Dining-April-13-2012


We took out the ornately detailed lights, windows, and trim work, replacing with straight, clean lines.



Even five years into this project, I mean house, some things still aren’t finished.  That entertainment center being one.  And that’s okay.  As our kids have grown, our needs have evolved, too.  I’m itching to do something different here once the big projects have wrapped up.





I know it can be really hard to get flow of a house based on pictures, but the living/dining rooms are to the left of the entry and stairs.  On the other side of the wall, directly ahead of the stairs is the family room that flows back into the kitchen.





Looking toward the stairs from the dining room, things sure have changed.

New-House-Dining-into-Living-Room April 13 2012


For starters, we pulled out the dividing arch over the railing, straightened out the arched door, installed all new trim, painted every surface other than the floor.



Originally, the dining room had a bay window along the front with a tall door leading out the to the deck.



For better flow inside and out, we decided to swap the door placement and love the little walkway of the deck extension.



One of the most bang for our buck projects was removing the wall dividing the dining room from the kitchen.  Before, a four-foot wide arch was the only connection of the two spaces.



As part of the kitchen renovation, we widened that opening an additional 8 feet for that connected feeling we love.



The kitchen before certainly wasn’t the most horrible room ever, but always felt dark and cornered off.



Going with a lot of white brightened everything up, but that glorious southern exposure from opening up that wall made a night and day difference.



I know tearing out a large bank of pantry cabinets isn’t something most people do, but the traffic flow was so forced it often felt cramped if someone sat at the island.



It might not be for everyone, but we’ve never regretted removing that wall or the cabinets.



Another unfinished area is my little office nook.  Just off the kitchen was a corner office, which is nicely located for interacting.



Soon, hopefully within the week, we’ll have that door replaced, trimmed out, painted and those useless electrical boxes out of there.



In the last living space on this level, the family room featured a large moss rock fireplace, and big windows.



Some homes can rock the moss fireplace, but this one always looked dirty and out-of-place.  Refacing it with a sleek slate modernized it without demanding all the attention.



Another arch dividing the family room from the kitchen, more overly traditional stuffy lighting.


To keep a bit of separation between the rooms, we kept the dividing doorway, but squared it off.  New trim, lighting, and paint went a long way in modernizing the room.



As we’ve gotten more established in this house, my style has evolved, becoming more neutral and textural.




To see the evolution, check out last year’s look back and the tour from two years ago.  Bedrooms, bathrooms, basement, and outdoors are next, so stay tuned!

What’s Next in the Pool House

Back in December, we constructed a temporary scaffolding structure to access the pool house ceiling.  It wasn’t pretty, but it did allow us to reach the 15 foot peak to install the tongue and groove ceiling.


For months, the bottom of the scaffolding was the main thing we saw, with snippets of the ceiling progress through the joists.  After priming and painting the ceiling, we were able to tear that all down over the weekend and get the full view.


It.Was.Glorious!  It’s funny because we had gotten so used to the vaulted ceiling height that the eight foot scaffolding height felt so low, even though our house ceilings are 8 feet.  Living with that lower height for months, it became our new normal.  So much so, that when the scaffold was down, the ceilings now feel 30 feet high.


If you can ignore the unfinished walls, the difference between the finished ceiling and the original fiberglass sheet clad one makes all the dust, crawling on hands and knees, and hard work well worth it.

New-House-Pool-Room April 13 2012

With a few working hours left on the day, we tidied up the rest of the pool deck to prep for tile removal.


Time to take out the old outdoor grade blue and gray carpet.


Beneath the carpet is the original early 80’s tile, covered my a lovely layer of industrial glue.


Yeesh, it looks so disgusting.


In some areas, the tile had cracked badly, so before installing the carpet, the bad areas had been filled.


Bright and early on Sunday, Ben got started using a roto hammer with a chisel bit to pry up the old tiles while I filled bucket after bucket to haul away.


We’re just about half way done and so far, 44 five gallon buckets have been filled and dumped.  My arms are stronger and the sides of my legs covered with bruises, but it feels great to make this progress.


Not knowing what is beneath the tile is always an interesting gamble.  The concrete pad was poured with wooden strips used as spacers.  Over time, the wood pieces have rotted away, leaving large gaps below the tile, which is a very strong possibility for the severe cracking.


Before new tile can be installed, we first have to remove all the remaining mastic for a smooth surface and fill the wide gaps.


With much of the back and far walls buried under ground, there wasn’t much in the form of insulation.  Ben is a nut about energy efficiency and insulating, and we want to heat this space as effectively as possible.  To do so, we’re going to build another interior wall to add extra insulation, just as we did in our basement remodel as well as the exterior of the house.


The plan is to put a huge dent in that insulation filled pool, keep the heating bill to a minimum, and maintain a comfortable swimming temperature.  All in good time, of course, but all progress is exciting right now, even with only ugly photos to show for it at this stage.

A Spring Spruce

Though we’ve technically hit spring, in Montana, we’re still in the warm up phase.  In late fall, we moved the back deck furniture onto the covered front deck for safe storage.


As such, things are a bit lack luster out there, but I’m gearing up for a change.


Nothing major, as we recently rebuilt the deck and finished siding, so the bones are great.  Early last summer, I bought two outdoor sofas and quickly put together an outdoor lounge area.


Those sofas are still a favorite and will certainly stay, as will the coffee table, and green garden stool.  Once we move the black dining set out to the back deck, the chairs will go with it.


Even in an outdoor space, I like having a rug to define the space and help keep the furniture in place.  We received this jute rug from neighbors who were throwing it away because it shed so badly.


With it outside, the shedding isn’t such an issue, but I don’t like how flat and monotone the colors are.  The sofa base, beam coffee table, and rug are so similar in tone, I’m itching for contrast.


Perhaps something more like this:


Rug     .     Sofa     .     Club Chairs     .     Floral Pillow     .     Stripe Pillow     .     Green Pillows     .     Kilim Pillow     .     Concrete Planter     .     Green Garden Stool

Just a bit more color, contrast, pattern, and life, mostly in the form of textiles.  I love having classic, long-lasting big pieces, but shaking things up with accessories.


Near the dining door, I placed a trio of planters in the ‘dead end area’ at the end of the walkway.  It’s an easy way to brighten up the area, seeing it from the deck, but also inside the house.  As soon as garden centers put out plants, I’m going to stock up.  Strangely, the dying/dead evergreens just don’t do it for me.

Painted Ceiling

Last Thursday and Friday, to prep for priming and painting the pool house ceiling, I carefully masked off the two beams and the six skylights my short T-Rex arms could reach.  I took my time on the beams, first getting masking tape tightly along the edge, then following up with a plastic wrapping.


The thought/possibility of getting paint on the beams had me biting my nails with concern, because it would mean sanding and trying to feather in the stain.  Or even completely resanding and staining.  As a side note, we realized not all plastic masking films are created equal.  Unlike cheaper film, paint doesn’t flake off of this one, even after a few coats, making clean up a breeze.


With the beams and skylights covered, we threw drop cloths over tools and stapled more plastic sheeting over the windows to protect from overspray.  Saturday after lunch, we started spray priming the ceiling.  Watching is like instant gratification because the process goes so quickly.  Like an hour to prime everything quickly.


This isn’t our first time painting fresh wood, so we’ve learned a good primer is a crucial element.  Though it is far stinkier, we used a good oil based primer from Sherwin Williams.  Having used it in the past, we know it blocks stains and the tannins in the wood, preventing the annoying bleed through.


We got lucky with a gorgeous 70 degree day, so we opened windows and doors to speed up the drying process and help air out.


After cleaning up the sprayer, Ben looked at the 15 gallons of paint.  That’s when he noticed a slight problem.  He had ordered satin, but was given gloss.  Generally speaking, I’m just not a fan of gloss paints, especially in this instance.  A call to the store, followed by a trip in with the big buckets, and the helpful folks exchanged the paint for the correct sheen.  Which allowed us to get painting Sunday.


Ben sprayed while I followed behind, touching up and drips or thick spots.  Unfortunately, it rained off and on, so the drying process took a lot longer.  After finishing touch ups, Ben carefully peeled off the plastic wrapping the beams.


Whew, not a single drop, splash, or drip on them.


And the ceiling looks amazing.  It’s exactly as I pictured in my head and really lightens up the entire room.


Going from an unfinished Photoshopped image:


To reality:


Ben still has some lights to install, but then we should be able to remove the scaffolding.  Eek, it will be so great/strange to see the entire ceiling from below.



If you split the space into four parts, the ceiling, floor, walls, and pool, we’re a quarter of the way finished.  Next up, removing the tile, which should be great fun.