The Beginning of the End…

A little over two years ago, my husband and I bought our first house. We love it, but it’s your standard 1960’s ranch, with not much character and small bedrooms. The bathrooms and kitchen had been somewhat updated over the years, and we didn’t have any of the dreaded wallpaper to deal with, so we felt that we could move in and live with everything for a while before we made changes. Sure, we painted and decorated the main rooms of the home, but nothing major had happened until this winter. January 24th to be exact….

In early January, we took a vacation to California ( wine and food, oh my!). While on vacation, we discussed our plan to get started on creating the new Master Bedroom. J was going to do all the work himself, along with the help of my brother- both of whom are very handy, and with the added guidance of my father, a retired General Contractor.  On January 24th, I got up and went to work as usual, and then had a work dinner, so I did not get home until about 9:30. When I walked in the door, J was sitting on the sofa, and he asked me if I could grab something from the Den before I sat down. I obliged, but when I opened the door to the  Den…….I was BLOWN AWAY! He had knocked the wall down and got the project started…I had no idea he was going to start that day!

Let me back up a bit…… In order for you to understand our project, you need a tour of our home. Here is a quick sketch of the basic layout:

As you can see, its a boring rectangle! Believe it or not, this was the Best house we could find for the money- even with the down economy! 70 miles from NYC= Expensive Real Estate.  Don’t get me wrong, we Love our little abode, but we bought it knowing we had to visualize the potential. Luckily for us, I am a Decorator and my husband is a Landscaper!

Here are some of the things we have complaints about, and plan on DIY’ing over the next eternity years :

  • The front door is NEVER used. You have to walk along side the garage, past the Breezeway/Kitchen door, around the corner of the house and up the front steps to get to it! Then it opens up right into our Dining Room Table!?!?
  • When you walk in through the Breezeway door, you are looking right at our giant white refrigerator! And the breezeway doors are sliders, not convenient when you are carrying groceries.
  • Though we have 3 full Bathrooms, 2 of them are smaller than small, and one has a shower that a 5 year old would feel cramped in.
  • We both LOVE to cook, but we have very limited counter space and the kitchen is closed off from the living areas.
  • See that weird box sticking out into our Dining Room? That’s a coat closet. It doesn’t need to be there. See the other one? That’s the basement stairs.
  • We have a beautiful backyard, and French doors that look out onto it….except one of them doesn’t open, and we can’t find a screen door that will fit for those warm summer nights.
  • We have a Full, unfinished basement….it’s great, but it’s unfinished.
  • The Master Bedroom is a decent size- but that front corner of the house is very dark, and the bathroom is so small that if you want to close the door, you practically have to stand on top of the toilet.

So, Now that you know all the little issues, Let’s get to the Resolution!

We decided to switch things around and make our Master Bedroom on the back side of the house, We will still have 3 bedrooms, because the “den” was not considered a bedroom. And we will eventually finish the basement to be a big family room.  By knocking the wall down between the Den and the guest room, we created a large open space across the back side of the house. We also broke thru the the small closet into our Hall bath. So now, we have a Fireplace and a large bathroom!

Since I was not aware that the wall would be coming down when it did, I did not have a chance to take “Before” Pics of each room. So here is what it looked like right after the wall came down.

The room is HUGE!!! I can’t wait to wake up to the sun gleaming in through the windows, and to curl up in bed in front of the crackling fire.  Its been about 2 month now, and since J is doing most of the work himself, it is coming along slowly, but we are in the final stretches! We might even get to start painting this weekend!

Over the next few weeks, I will continue to update on the personal touches we added, the materials we used, and how much the whole thing cost ( hint: it’s a whole lot less than you think!).

Home.

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

~William Morris ( 1834 – 1896, was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and utopian socialist. )

It’s with this in mind that I begin my blog. I have found that if you fill your home with only items that fall into these 2 buckets, then you will create a space that you love. Keep in mind that these terms “useful” and “beautiful” can be interpreted in many different ways, and work for any style, taste or budget. Extra Points for having “stuff” in your home that is both useful AND Beautiful! For example……a handmade wooden cutting board is Useful for cutting bread, serving cheese hors d’eurves at your cocktail party, or as a beautiful decoration to dress up your Kitchen counter.

Ash Wood Cutting Board from Terrain.