Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Own "Big-Dig"

I knew the house in Maine would look different with the trees down, but imagine my surprise when I arrived to find this!

We forget that things have to be done differently in the cold country! For a 30" high stone wall, 3' of dirt was dug out for footers to support the wall. And even for our small house, it took two full loads of concrete to fill these holes. Additionally, re bar was embedded into the concrete for additional support. The goal, of course, is to prevent the stone wall from heaving in the frost.

The great news of this stage of the work is that new sewer and water pipes were installed since the existing ones were original to the house (or at least original to the date that these services were provided by the city.) Insulating styrofoam was wrapped around the water supply pipe to add additional protection from frost.

Remember how I said that I would only be surprised if there were in fact NO surprises on the project? Well, the first surprise was a good one! We had expected that during the excavation for the courtyard, we would find at least some rock ledge below the soil, which would have involved jack hammers and manual removal. Well, luckily, there was no ledge!
Unfortunately, not all the surprises turned out to be good. More on that to follow!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Have To Sqeeze A Few Lemons...

I love trees. I mean I really, really love trees! I hate seeing trees cut down arbitrarily, but there are times when it makes sense.

When we recently purchased the property in Maine, there were a couple of trees at the front edge, bordering the street. They had been sliced-and-diced by the Maine power companies to the point that they were basically shapeless. What branches they did have left were creating just enough shade to allow moss to grow on the roof...not good!

I designed an entry, step-down courtyard area, which is being installed right now. It did involve removal of the trees...and stumps, and metal pole, and...well, there's about 80 years worth of "stuff" out there in this postage stamp sized entry area.

This is a picture that our contractor sent us last week when the trees were removed.

This is kind of an involved project to be turning someone loose on, unattended...even with detailed drawings that we provided. So, I've made my way back up for a few days to make sure it's going as planned. (Oh, poor, poor me!) Plus, as with any project of this nature, I will only be surprised if there are no hidden surprises! So, best to be here, at least in the beginning. Much better than coming up a month later and saying, "Hmmmmm....that's not exactly what I had in mind!"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming Together

The main construction elements are now in...tile, new sheetrock, beadboard and trims. Now, the fixtures are making their way back, and we're nearing the home stretch.

Once the vanities and tub are in place, and the plumbing hooked up, the mirrors and sconces can be installed. Then, a couple more can lights, the remaining trim, and it's ready to use! We've even ordered the new custom Roman shades for the windows.

Here are some reminder "before" photos:

And here we are, a few short weeks later:

This is one bathroom that is going to look beautiful with just the tiniest bit of fluff. Clean, simple, and appropriate! Can't wait to see it all together!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Reveal

Remember my Maine house "cliffhanger" from a couple of weeks ago? Just to bring you back up to speed, here are some of the "before" shots again.

Since this will be a seasonal rental, as well as a place we will enjoy ourselves, it needed to be furnished in a "rental-appropriate" way. We shopped scratch and dent sales, floor model sales, overstock.com, Target, IKEA...even our own storage room and attic!...any place that seemed like a bargain was to be had. I also splurged (at least for me!) on a couple of pieces that I felt would give big impact, and hopefully make some of the lesser pieces take on a classier feel.

We painted the rooms (previously all white) with three shades that I call "mushroom", and used very simple stained bamboo Roman Shades on the windows. The carpets were well-served by a steam cleaner rental, and the appliances--though not new, and just exactly why were appliances ever created in that color?!--also cleaned up quite well.

We created custom art for most of the rooms, appropriate to the area. We even created a series of framed images for the staircase (not in these photographs, sadly), from our own local photos.

I am very happy with the results. See what you think!

Since space is limited in the house, we didn't want to dedicate a full-time dining area...how often do you use the dining table, after all? So our table actually doubles as an entry table, separating the two seating areas in the main living space, and a dining table when the paprika chairs (also serving double-duty) are pulled up to it.

You can see more pictures, and get more information about the beautiful village of Ogunquit, at our web site, http://www.240shoreroad.com/. This really is not shameless self-promotion (well, maybe a little), but I promise the town is even more beautiful than we were able to portray! I hope you enjoy the on-line tour of some of our favorite spots there!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Getting Into Character

As you can see, the tile really develops the character in this bathroom renovation.


Since it is a bungalow home, we chose a vintage basket-weave, black and white tile for the floors, and a faceted 3"x6" subway tile in a white crackle-finish for the shower stall.

The tile installer was as tidy and efficient as the carpenter...another welcome relief to the homeowner.


Now, the beadboard, trims and mouldings can be installed, then it's time to bring the new fixtures in. You can almost feel the hot water in the new shower already!