Partial Kitchen Reveal

Here's the backsplash reveal!

Until it's 100% finished I will not reveal the whole kitchen - that's how I am! I do not want to present it, until it's to my high standards. I am waiting on a ventilation installer to install the hood and a piece of chalk art to complete the space.

I was able to lay out all of the tiles first to omit undesirable or chipped ones, which took me about 3 hours. I placed my favorites above the stove and under the sink window.

It took the installer about 5 hours to place the tiles yesterday and today he came back to grout. The tile is showing a little darker here because it's still wet from smoothing and cleaning up the grout.

I am in love with it! It was worth the wait to find the right batch. Carrara can be very gray or have yellow in it. I was able to order a box to approve the lot and was successful the first time.

Polished Cristalizado Quartzite 3cm Countertops with Polished White Carrara Backsplash

Polished Cristalizado Quartzite 3cm Countertops with Polished White Carrara Backsplash

I chose a different tile for the bar area because I wanted something unique here, as it's opposite and on the other side of the fireplace. I chose polished Snow White Quartz 3cm because it's much more durable and stain resistant than the quartzite I used for my main countertops. So when acidic drinks spillover I won't have to pray for no etching or damage.

BAR - Snow White Quartz 3cm countertop with bliss Glass Mosaic Backsplash

BAR - Snow White Quartz 3cm countertop with bliss Glass Mosaic Backsplash

From Vision to Reality

It's an exciting time when my design vision (slowly but surely) becomes reality. The most recent transformation is the completion of hardwood floors all throughout the house.

As I mentioned in my previous post, solid red oak is our wood-of-choice, and it's the perfect type of wood to get creative with as the options are endless with the stain level and finish color. Also, you can always re-stain the wood at a later date to create a new look at a low-cost (talk about a win/win!)

I also adore solid red oak as it is timeless and classic and compliments our existing dark espresso stained wood and when it comes to additional statement pieces (glass & metal), it all comes together in a subtle yet sharp contrast look (ohh la la).

PROCESS

  • I did research on minwax wood finishes, google imaged and searched on Pinterest for examples of dark brown stains (no red hints) to find examples. I came across Dark Walnut and Jacobean
     
  • I purchased quarts of each stain to see what they were like. You can purchase them at most paint stores, Home Depot or Lowe's. The quarts are around $6 each.
     
  • I tested the stains on red oak samples. When testing the stains I noticed that 1 coat wasn't doing it for me and I wanted something deeper and richer. So then I applied 2 coats and the color became more saturated, which is what I was looking for. The Dark Walnut wasn't as deep as it appeared in photos and the Jacobean ended up being darker, which is what I wanted.
     
  • The decision was made - Minwax Jacobean 2750

Below you'll see the two samples showing 1 coat versus 2 coats. As you can see, in the 2nd coat the grain has filled in more.

The thing is, the pre-fabricated stair treads took on the stain much darker which made the wood at the top of the stairs appear lighter. In order to match the color of the stairs to the color of the rest of the wood we had to do 3 coats! Luckily our flooring guy didn't mind and we achieved our goal.

Check out the photos below!

Minwax Stain Chart

Minwax Stain Chart

Stain Choice - Minwax Jacobean 2750

Stain Choice - Minwax Jacobean 2750

Wood Sample - Red Oak - 1 coat of Minwax Jacobean 2750

Wood Sample - Red Oak - 1 coat of Minwax Jacobean 2750

Wood Sample - Red Oak - 2 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750

Wood Sample - Red Oak - 2 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750

Red Oak - 1 coat of Minwax Jacobean 2750

Red Oak - 1 coat of Minwax Jacobean 2750

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED BEDROOM - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED BEDROOM - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

OFFICE - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

OFFICE - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

BEDROOM - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

BEDROOM - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

BEDROOM - Red Oak - 1 coat with 2nd application of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

BEDROOM - Red Oak - 1 coat with 2nd application of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

BEDROOM - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

BEDROOM - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

PANORAMIC from top of stairs - 1 coat with 2nd being applied - Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

PANORAMIC from top of stairs - 1 coat with 2nd being applied - Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

STAIR RAILING - 1 coat of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

STAIR RAILING - 1 coat of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

FINISHED - Red Oak - 2 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly STAIRS - 2 coats, does not match flooring 2 coats, so 3rd was applied to the floors

FINISHED - Red Oak - 2 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly
STAIRS - 2 coats, does not match flooring 2 coats, so 3rd was applied to the floors

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - No Poly

FINISHED - Red Oak - 2 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - With Satin Poly

FINISHED - Red Oak - 2 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 - With Satin Poly

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

FINISHED - Red Oak - 3 coats of Minwax Jacobean 2750 with Satin Poly & New Baseboard

Out with the old (carpet + laminate), in with the new (hardwood floors)!

Our upstairs flooring is finally installed!

When picking out what type of wood you want for flooring, it’s important to do your research and make a list of what qualities you want as many people might not realize how many options there are.

Knowing that durability, natural graining and a moderate price point were my three key factors, solid Red Oak was the right choice. We decided on 3.25" for a more modern look.

Another key component about Red Oak, is that this type of wood soaks up stain really well, which allows for more options as to what shade you can create (pictures included below are not of stained wood…stay on the edge of your seat as those are coming soon!).

PROCESS:

  • It took about 3-4 days for the installers to demo, tighten the floor boards and lay the wood down (the new wood baseboard will be installed after the staining and poly are applied)
  • The floors are sanded for a nice smooth finish
  • They sanded the stair's railing to prep for the new stain, which took a few hours in itself
  • In order to install the wood stair treads they had to remove the balusters
  • The treads are also red oak and come prefabricated with a bull-nose attached
  • The new risers are applied consecutively as the treads are being installed
  • The new balusters, similar to the previous style, will be installed after the staining and poly are applied
BEFORE - Entry Stairs with carpeting and light oak railing

BEFORE - Entry Stairs with carpeting and light oak railing

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs with carpeting, pad and balusters removed

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs with carpeting, pad and balusters removed

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs  They started the wood here

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs  They started the wood here

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs railing sanded for refinishing

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs railing sanded for refinishing

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs with sanded railing and new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs with sanded railing and new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs new red oak treads and risers installed (unstained)

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs new red oak treads and risers installed (unstained)

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs closeup of red oak boards (unstained)

PROGRESS - Entry Stairs closeup of red oak boards (unstained)

PROGRESS - TV room with carpeting removed + screwing the subfloor to the floor joists to eliminate squeaking

PROGRESS - TV room with carpeting removed + screwing the subfloor to the floor joists to eliminate squeaking

PROGRESS - TV room with new red oak flooring being installed (unstained)

PROGRESS - TV room with new red oak flooring being installed (unstained)

PROGRESS - TV room with new red oak flooring being cut down to fill in the gaps 

PROGRESS - TV room with new red oak flooring being cut down to fill in the gaps 

AFTER - TV room with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - TV room with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - TV room with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - TV room with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - hall with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - hall with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - Office with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - Office with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - Bedroom and closet with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - Bedroom and closet with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - Bedroom with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

AFTER - Bedroom with new red oak flooring installed (unstained)

A Fresh Coat of Paint!

In my 10 years of being an Interior Designer, the main commonality that occurs is the need and/or desire to have a “quick fix” to a room or house, which can easily be fulfilled by a simple change of paint color. Changing the color on walls can determine what type of tone/mood you want to set for the room and for most people a fresh coat of paint can cause instant gratification. The best part is that a new fresh color can pack a big punch visually, but not financially!

I started to visualize what colors I wanted throughout the house and took my time to do research (it is my passion and profession after all!) and it is important you have fun with this and not let it stress you out too much about picking the “perfect” color as it can easily be changed.

PICTURES BELOW!

I decided to remodel the top floor first, so it would be ready for out-of-town visitors, so below are the before and after pictures as well as paint colors listed out. When it comes to the best quality, I find Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams to be quite comparable so I color matched them the best I could for your convenience.

Let me know what you think and stay tuned for new wood flooring pics...!

Doors + Windows + Trim is Benjamin Moore Interior Latex Semi-Gloss White 276-01

 

TV ROOM - BEFORE PAINT

TV ROOM - BEFORE PAINT

TV ROOM - PROGRESS  PAINT & REMOVAL OF BASEBOARDS + CARPETING

TV ROOM - PROGRESS  PAINT & REMOVAL OF BASEBOARDS + CARPETING

TV ROOM - AFTER PAINTED WALLS + PAINTED CEILINGS + CARPETING REMOVED - I chose a soft gray for the TV room because I wanted a very light gray that would coordinate with my existing charcoal sectional and black and white rug but contrast with the dark wood floor stain. Pictures to come with the room furnished

TV ROOM - AFTER PAINTED WALLS + PAINTED CEILINGS + CARPETING REMOVED
- I chose a soft gray for the TV room because I wanted a very light gray that would coordinate with my existing charcoal sectional and black and white rug but contrast with the dark wood floor stain. Pictures to come with the room furnished

BEDROOM 2 - BEFORE PAINT

BEDROOM 2 - BEFORE PAINT

BEDROOM 2 - AFTER PAINT + NEW HARD WOOD FLOORING IN (UNSTAINED) *FORGIVE THE BAD LIGHTING* - I repeated the same color here as the TV room because I wanted a consistent flow from room to room on the top floor

BEDROOM 2 - AFTER PAINT + NEW HARD WOOD FLOORING IN (UNSTAINED)
*FORGIVE THE BAD LIGHTING*
- I repeated the same color here as the TV room because I wanted a consistent flow from room to room on the top floor

BEDROOM 1 - BEFORE PAINT + WITH LAMINATE FLOORING

BEDROOM 1 - BEFORE PAINT + WITH LAMINATE FLOORING

BEDROOM 1 - AFTER PAINT + WITH NEW FLOORING + STAIN + BASEBOARD (SPOILER!)

BEDROOM 1 - AFTER PAINT + WITH NEW FLOORING + STAIN + BASEBOARD (SPOILER!)

BEDROOM 1 - BEFORE PAINT + WITH LAMINATE FLOORING  

BEDROOM 1 - BEFORE PAINT + WITH LAMINATE FLOORING
 

BEDROOM 1 - AFTER PAINT + WITH NEW FLOORING + STAIN + BASEBOARD (SPOILER!)

BEDROOM 1 - AFTER PAINT + WITH NEW FLOORING + STAIN + BASEBOARD (SPOILER!)

OFFICE - BEFORE PAINT

OFFICE - BEFORE PAINT

OFFICE - AFTER PAINT + NEW HARD WOOD FLOORING IN (UNSTAINED) - For my office I matched an off-white paint with the off-white in my existing office area rug, so it will blend nicely - Originally I was thinking to go a little bold with the paint, but because you can see this from the bottom of the stairs and entry I decided to go very neutral and then go more bold with the future window treatment

OFFICE - AFTER PAINT + NEW HARD WOOD FLOORING IN (UNSTAINED)
- For my office I matched an off-white paint with the off-white in my existing office area rug, so it will blend nicely
- Originally I was thinking to go a little bold with the paint, but because you can see this from the bottom of the stairs and entry I decided to go very neutral and then go more bold with the future window treatment

OFFICE DOOR TRIM - PROGRESS PAINT

OFFICE DOOR TRIM - PROGRESS PAINT

STAIRWELL - PROGRESS PAINT

STAIRWELL - PROGRESS PAINT

STAIRWELL - PROGRESS PAINT

STAIRWELL - PROGRESS PAINT

STAIRWELL - PROGRESS PAINT

STAIRWELL - PROGRESS PAINT

STAIRWELL - AFTER PAINT - I wanted something a little more dramatic for the foyer so I went with a darker warm gray, so that it felt richer but still welcoming. I am able to envision the 'end result' in my head so these colors will work perfectly!

STAIRWELL - AFTER PAINT
- I wanted something a little more dramatic for the foyer so I went with a darker warm gray, so that it felt richer but still welcoming. I am able to envision the 'end result' in my head so these colors will work perfectly!

Soot be gone!

I have started narrowing down DIY projects around the house as there are many projects going on where professionals are needed, so I figured I would start tackling jobs around the house which I can handle myself. The first DIY job on the (what seems to be a never ending) “to do” list, was to remove build-up soot on the stone fireplace. I noticed in the real estate photos and during inspection this needed to be done, so I researched cleaning products early on that were non-toxic and effective which lead me to Quick 'n Brite

The fireplace is a two-sided/see-through fieldstone, which is hands-down one of my favorite things about the house. One modification that was made was removing a pellet stove insert on the side facing the living room as I felt it took away from the beauty of the fireplace altogether. The duct insert/liner in our chimney remained untouched for the time being (which you can see coming down the center); however, this will be removed before temperatures call for a real wood burning fires (bring it on Winter!)

With the following product list (and some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease) I was able to successfully remove the soot for a “good as new” look:

  • Quick 'n Brite Paste
  • Plastic Measuring Cup (Dollar Store)
  • Spray Bottle (Dollar Store)
  • Rubber Gloves (Dollar Store)
  • Large Scrub Brush (Dollar Store)
  • Old Toothbrush
  • White Rag/Cloth
  • Paper Towels (Dollar Store)

My Process:
1  Use a large plastic measuring cup to mix the Quick 'n Brite paste with the hot water as directed, to melt the paste
2  Pour the mixture into the spray bottle
3  Wear rubber gloves to protect hands from soot
4  Spray the mixture onto the surfaces and let sit for 1 minute
5  Use a hand scrub brush for an 'all over' clean and a toothbrush to get in between the stones
6  Add fresh hot water to the measuring cup to clean off the brushes as you go
7  Use paper towels to get most of the water + soot off and use the white rag to blot dry

*This is a repetitive process and takes several trips to the sink for clean water refills

BEFORE - Fireplace in Kitchen - Photo Taken During Home Inspection

BEFORE - Fireplace in Kitchen - Photo Taken During Home Inspection

AFTER - Fireplace in Kitchen - Pellet Stove Insert Removed - Soot Removed

AFTER - Fireplace in Kitchen - Pellet Stove Insert Removed - Soot Removed

YUCK! Soot and Water Mix

YUCK! Soot and Water Mix

BEFORE - Kitchen Hearth - bottom right side

BEFORE - Kitchen Hearth - bottom right side

AFTER - Kitchen Hearth - bottom right side

AFTER - Kitchen Hearth - bottom right side

BEFORE - Fireplace in Living Room with Pellet Insert

BEFORE - Fireplace in Living Room with Pellet Insert

AFTER - Fireplace in Living Room - Pellet Stove Insert Removed - Soot Removed - Trim Painted

AFTER - Fireplace in Living Room - Pellet Stove Insert Removed - Soot Removed - Trim Painted

Coming Soon...  More pictures as we remove the duct insert and stain the kitchen mantle to match the new flooring!

First thing’s first…A New Front Door.

When looking at homes, many people don’t generally envision what their “dream front door” looks like, I often did, and was beyond anxious and eager to research and find the perfect front door for our new home. 

The previous front door had to be replaced mostly due to the sill (aka the piece of wood or stone that forms the bottom of a doorway and offers support when passing through a doorway) being completely rotted, and in addition, did not fit the overall style of our home. Generally, a front door is not something new home-owners tend to replace immediately; however it was uncovered during inspection so my word of advice would be to check this when looking at homes. There was bounce to the sill and to the floor when we first entered the house, like it was soggy.

Below you’ll see a before picture of the door (and house), as well as pictures showing the replacement of a few joists and plywood boards before the new door was installed (due to the discovery of carpenter ants living rent-free - oh the joys of owning a home!). Last but not least, you’ll see a picture showcasing our new door, sidelights & hardware…what do you think?

LINKS

Door - Jeld-wen Smooth-Pro Fiberglass All Panel Exterior Door - 2 Panel Square Top

Sidelight - Jeld-wen Smooth-Pro Fiberglass - Sidelight Full View - Clear (no decorative glass)

I custom-ordered the door and sidelight combo from Friend Lumber in Hudson, NH.

Exterior Handleset - Schlage F58CEN622 Century Single Cylinder Exterior Entrance Handleset from the F-Series in Matte Black

You will need to configure this with an interior handle

Interior Handle - Schlage F59-LAT Latitude Single Cylinder Interior Pack in Matte Black

 

BEFORE - existing door to be replaced

BEFORE - existing door to be replaced

Joist Rot and Carpenter Ant damage

Joist Rot and Carpenter Ant damage

Joist Rot and Carpenter Ant damage

Joist Rot and Carpenter Ant damage

Joist Rot and Carpenter Ant damage

Joist Rot and Carpenter Ant damage

New plywood flooring and flashing tape to protect area by door opening

New plywood flooring and flashing tape to protect area by door opening

New plywood boards - exterior view under the siding

New plywood boards - exterior view under the siding

The new door is being installed!

The new door is being installed!

AFTER - new door and sidelights installed!

AFTER - new door and sidelights installed!

EXTERIOR - New door hardware

EXTERIOR - New door hardware

INTERIOR - New door hardware

INTERIOR - New door hardware

My Home Renovation

You are invited to join me on my exciting journey as I completely renovate my new home in charming Pelham, NH. I decided to start this blog to share my experiences (the good, the bad, and yes - even the ugly!) so homeowners who might also be embarking on this non-stop adventure themselves can learn tips & tricks, be inspired, and see first-hand experience into my personal world and vision of interior design.

My husband and I bought our first home in February, moving from city loft-living to a suburban cape-style home in the matter of only two weeks as our condo sold in only four days (due to my professional staging), and with the closing in six short weeks, we were off to the races in finding our new humble abode.

The vision my husband and I had was a classic home with character that we could utilize our expertise in design and renovation and combine our own finishes and style preferences. Due to the housing market not allowing for multiple options that met our needs, we quickly moved on a house with “good bones” in a quaint neighborhood that we would be able to make our home.

It’s an exciting time for me as I have always dreamt about designing a home based on the personal style of my husband and I, as I am fortunate to do everyday for clients, I am now able to fully explore my personal design style and allow creativity to get the best of me.

I will be posting pictures with detailed updates as the transition from “old” to “new” takes place across the interior, exterior, and yes…even landscaping changes! Please post any questions and/or comments you have along the way as I am eager to hear what you think!

THIS WAS TAKEN THE DAY WE MOVED IN! 4.29.16

THIS WAS TAKEN THE DAY WE MOVED IN! 4.29.16