Flickr Widget

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The not-so-exciting part of renovating

Sure, choosing new rugs, decorative pillows, lamps, cabinet pulls, light fixtures, door knobs, ceiling fans, appliances, and plumbing fixtures is fun. That's the showy part of giving an old house a facelift. I've spent hours upon hours lately doing just that, and they're all ordered.

Now comes the other part of renovating. The electrical, the plumbing, the painting. Equally, if not more, important and certainly more expensive...but not particularly exciting. I've spent several days getting bids, and now it's time for the electricians and plumbers and painters to do their respective things.

The previous owner put in a large, new electrical breaker box outside, but there's still one of these fuse boxes in the hall closet, which will be replaced with its modern counterpart soon. I haven't seen glass fuses since I was a kid!

Fuse box in hall closet

We need a plumber to check the water pressure and to install a garbage disposal and dishwasher and to revamp the icemaker hookup, which was done in an unusual janky way, to say the least. Nothing exciting to see here, folks. Painters will come out to put a fresh coat of Sherwin Williams Dover White on the walls. All the trim and built-ins are painted a creamy white, but the previous owners slapped a coat of bright white on the walls, I'm guessing just to clean it up for showing, so we're toning that down a bit.

Exciting or not, all these things are part of the process when you buy an old home. After all, the combined effect is what's important. As tedious as it is to schedule bids and work, in a couple of weeks we'll be happy with the results.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

And the transformation begins...

Anyone who has bought a home built in the 1950s or 1960s knows that time can take a toll in many ways, one of which is a complete destruction of continuity. Often a hodgepodge of add-ons faces a new owner, and such is the case in our new house.

We have brass doorknobs in several styles. We have chrome doorknobs in several styles. In some places we have brass on one side of a door and chrome on the mismatched styles. We have deadbolts in the most peculiar places. (I had never before seen one on the door between the living room and the hall that leads to the bedrooms, but there's one in this house. And on the master bedroom door. Creepy.) We have light fixtures and ceiling fans of every conceivable era, style, and color.

Yesterday we bought five 52" ceiling fans like this. They will go in the bedrooms, the living room, and the upstairs apartment, now called the boys' playroom. We had planned to Airbnb it, but the boys made a convincing argument for turning into their space...something about keeping their toys out of sight and their bedroom neat, but you know how that will go. Nevertheless, they won us over.

52" Verano fan by Casa Vieja

We've ordered this 60" fan for the family room/dining room.

60" Casa Aleso fan by Casa Vieja

Our kitchen is relatively small and currently has a massive and ornate ceiling fan instead of a light fixture, which will be replaced by this fixture.

Lattice flush mount fixture

After buying several samples cabinet knobs and pulls, we finally decided on these unusual ones with a 1950s feel, which influenced our decision in the choice of a kitchen light fixture.

A279BN CKP Brand modern pull

Our soon-to-be very plain double front doors will have round retro knobs, the Orbit model by Schlage, and narrow star escutcheons from Rejuvenation. The rest of the doors, interior as well as exterior, will have the same round knobs.

Narrow star escutcheon

Schlage Orbit door set

Instead of a Sputnik fixture over the dining table, we've decided to go with this cone light look.

Ronald cone pendant

My power drill and I are going to be very busy in a few days, but once we're done, the house will look like a new place. New, that is, with a nod to the way it might have looked in 1950 when it was built.