Swoon! Interiors

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Fireplace Demo + Plans

It's pretty easy to figure out that the new house project has a lot of things working against it! One bonus it does boast is a real wood burning fireplace. Winters can be long and frigid here in Iowa so a hot crackling fire to get us through the cold season is a big plus in my books! In our current house, we tried hard to find a spot for one but it just wouldn't work so this feature was part of what sold me on the latest project.







What was originally in the house wasn't too bad. It had nice stacked limestone and a wooden mantel but one of the reasons we pulled it down was it was way too heavy! The floor was starting to sag under it and it was actually pulling away from the wall.  I also found it looked a little heavy visually and the hearth ate up a lot of floor space.  That said, we're glad we decided to pull the limestone down because when it came down (actually my MIL did most of the work I believe), it was packed with animal /rodent nests and lots of droppings! I'm sure that would have left a not so pleasant odor down the road!

It's come in handy for burning the kitchen/trim/paneling we pulled out :)



The actual firebox will stay as well as the chimney but we get to design the actual surround from scratch and make it more fitting with the rest of the house's style that we're aiming for.



Incorporating a combination of materials is always nice and so we're possibly going to do the hearth and surround in brick (maybe white washed or with a German smear technique - still researching that) and then add ship lap above it.  For a mantel I'd love to just do a simple white one or even use some reclaimed wood for warmth. Lots of white will keep it from looking heavy with brick and wood adding the right amount of texture. We're still drawing up the design on Sketch-up but you can see what we're aiming for with these pictures I'm using for inspiration.



On either side of the fireplace we plan to add built ins.  The fireplace isn't perfectly centered in the room so doing this might make it look more intentional. On the left side looking at the fireplace we'll do a built in that goes from the wall to the fireplace and add sconces above it and then on the right side of the fireplace there'll be another smaller section of built ins with a fixture as well.  The door off to the side will eventually be a garage entrance we think so this design allows everything to stay even when we add on. I'm excited to have the storage space for toys (we might make the bottom concealed storage) and all the accessories that I horde collect....I might even put some books on the shelves ;)

Have any of you white washed brick or tried the German smear technique? Any tips? Have you ever uncovered "surprises" while renovating?
Thursday, March 09, 2017

Acreage Exterior Plans


So I've wanted to share some of the progress that's been happening at the acreage property (Mostly thanks to my in-law's hard work!) for some time, along with my ideas and inspiration but here's the honest truth: There are days where I am excited about how it will turn out and lots of moments where I really wonder if we can make it look nice at all. 

The exterior is a real challenge for me as it's an eyesore in many ways.  It probably doesn't help that we've been living in an 1890's house enjoying all the quirks and charms that come with that and are now working with a completely opposite style....a 70's ranch.  And a very boxy, brown, plain ranch house at that.  Anyways, a challenge can be a good thing so I'm gathering lots of inspiration and ideas and aiming high :)

Here's what I've put together for inspiration and a few things that have already been ordered to install.
My main goal with the exterior is to lighten it up and try to infuse some style.  Keep in mind we may do an addition and add another level down the road so for now it's just getting a face lift.



Here's the shot we took when we started out on this "adventure" for reference.  Not much to look at, right?  And very brown.  Everything inside and out with this place was brown!





Here's the plan so far: The front door is going to be replaced with a door similar in style to this with sidelights on each side:






The current door is extra wide and we want to keep the siding for now, so we needed something that would fill the space and not have to patch in the siding which is why we added sidelights. We went for a door style that we would like long term since they're expensive it's not something we'd want to replace once we add on. We'll paint it a pretty color (TBD) and then add this hardware that I ordered from build.com (I mentioned it on instagram, but I'm super happy with this company.  You can't beat their pricing and their shipping was super fast!)


The shape/lines of the back plate is pretty and I can get hardware for the interior doors that match this style. I'm going with polished chrome this round to add cool tones and want to keep everything light and bright in this house.

For lighting, there's wiring for a light on each side of the doors so I'd love to add some fun lantern/copper style fixtures.  My favorite is the fixture in my inspiration picture but these are contenders too.


The roof on this house was replaced not very long ago and is in perfect shape, so unfortunately it stays. I say unfortunately because it's a perfectly good roof but the last color I would choose. It would be awesome to do a metal roof down the road as I've always loved that look but for now I'll work with what we have. I'm hoping that if I paint the siding a really light color and do something fun with the doors it won't all look so bland. Crossing my fingers it does the trick!






Obviously the landscaping is lacking and those bushes in front of the house are way over grown so they will need to go.  The yard all slopes towards the house so we need to grade it and there's still a ton of garbage that has to be cleaned up The front stoop needs to be upgraded and so on and so forth but it's nice to have some ideas to work towards making the exterior a little more welcoming!


Any other ideas to give this house more curb appeal? It needs all the help it can get! Do you have a favorite light fixture you think I should use? Do these posts help you "envision" what's happening? I'm all ears!


Monday, January 09, 2017

Acreage update! Demo and kitchen planning

Here we are into a New Year already! We enjoyed our holidays and made progress both on our current house and the new property.  The master bathroom (I wrote about plans HERE) finally got started and it's really coming along! The goal is to try and finish up the few things on this house so we can just enjoy it before we move to the acreage. It'll be a year or more before that happens, but we all know time flies and it would be nice to just be done working on this house.

Anyways, over the holidays Cam had a week and some off work so a few of the days we took the kids out to the acreage and let them burn off energy and "help" us with demolition! They already love it there so it's fun to get out there and make things happen!




While nothing looks pretty just yet, it does in some ways look better! To be honest most of the work has been cleaning up the garbage left on the property...When a house sits empty for years out in the country, you can likely imagine the kinds of things that go on. We've burned lots of "interesting" paraphernalia! So whenever we have time we run out there and load up the burn barrels with whatever will burn and try to clean up. The cupboards, paneling, trim etc that we've pulled out conveniently keeps the house warm :) But on to more exciting things. Like kitchens....

I feel like kitchens are a good place to start planning a house as they effect the layout and can really set the style of a home.  When we first looked at this house before offering on it, we came home and drew up a budget and a floor plan for the kitchen to make sure we could make it work for us. It had some quirks to see past but there was still potential. Here it was "before" if you need a reminder.




And here it is with everything knocked out. Sorry to those who wanted us to keep the oval shaped stone covered cook top. It didn't stay...




Still rough looking but better!

Here's a quick idea of what we would like to do and how we've laid out the kitchen.  I'll go through some of the ideas too.

We are basically going to do an  "L" shaped kitchen along with an island.  This makes it feel way more open then it did with the peninsulas boxing it in before. The doorway you see goes to the laundry room behind the kitchen which has basement and backyard access.  We'll close off that door way (as you can easily get to the laundry from the hallway around the corner) so that we can run the cabinets all the way along the two walls.

The fridge will be near the start of the windows with a sink centered under them and a dishwasher next to it.  There won't be any upper cabinets next to the windows so I'd like to tile all the way up to the ceiling to add some height to the room. On the wall where the oven is I'm going to do floating shelves in the corner and then narrow cupboards on either side of the vent hood.  We'll have a built in pantry next to that housing the microwave.

In the center will be an island with room to seat 3.  There's not a ton of counter space around the perimeter of the kitchen so the island will provide a good place to prep food and feed the kids breakfast/snacks. Some of the kids like to "help" cook already and I think an island is a perfect space for that!

The only thing really going for the space is the ceiling. It has true tongue and groove wood boards on the ceiling that run the length of the house.  We're going to paint them all white to brighten up the space. I love how they add some dimension and texture to the space. The beams are coming down as they are faux, look heavy and I didn't like how they were spaced.

We've already bought our kitchen shortly after closing on the house. We used IKEA as they're affordable and pretty well made.  Here's a bit of an "inspiration" board that shows the style I'm after if that helps you imagine the mess above ever looking like something you could cook a meal in :)


Lots of white, some grey, a bit of brass and classic materials like subway tile, butcher block and simple pulls.  We did get a large farmhouse sink and I'm SUPER excited about that! I'd love to add some fun art and get cute seating for the island.  If I can find something that fits the budget, i'd love to get a marble remnant to top the island as a contrast with the butcher block on the counters.  We need to put new flooring throughout and I'm thinking something lighter in color to hold up to all the dirt I know will be tracked through a house in the country :)

So there you have it. Can you envision it now? I can't wait until we can get to the point of installing everything and see the difference! So much fun to find potential in any space!




Friday, November 04, 2016

A New Adventure!

I should say a new project, but it's all new and exciting right now, so I'm being positive and calling it an adventure.  Give me a few months and  I may say something different :) Either way, bits and pieces of this project have been shared on social media so it's likely a good time to go into detail about we're up to.

Try not to think we're completely crazy but we have found ourselves a little acreage and a house that's in need of a LOT of love! After 9+ years of renovating non-stop we're doing it again...



I'll show you just how much love it's going to need.  Brace yourself for lots of paneling, carpeted bathrooms (why???),wallpaper(not the good kind) and a few "unique" design features(that stove!!).


 Kitchen: Featuring a one-of-a-kind stove! oval, electric and veneered in stone along with a custom range hood! Bet you've never seen that before!



Living Room: Has a fireplace(bonus!) but it's pulling away from the wall and sinking...so something will need to be done...better picture of it at the end of this post.



Dining Room: Not sure what kind of theme they were going for here...cowboy ranch...tiki bar...?



Laundry Room: This will have to function as a mudroom/laundry room



Bathroom: Complete with a blue tub, toilet and sink. And carpet. The strategically placed bathmat covers a large hole in the floor :) 



Master Bedroom: Ivy, lace and a border.  My favorite things....



Powder Room in the Master Bedroom: Notice the mask.  It really smells that bad.



Can you even handle all the prettiness? I'm sure it was very lovely in it's time and I know someone enjoyed this house for years but now it needs serious updating.  It feels so heavy and dark with all the paneling and the layout of the kitchen and dining room makes the house feel smaller then it really is. And then there's the smell.  The house has been sitting empty for years and small animals have left "evidence" of their existence there so pretty much everything will be ripped out.

I was there yesterday for a few hours and pulled up lots of carpet. It feels good to get to do some demolition work again! We'll tear out the kitchen and dining room to open things up, then pull off all the paneling and gut the bathrooms, bedrooms and laundry.


My father in law ("the Papa") has spent lots of time here already pulling all the moldy paneling in the basement and is getting it ready to power wash and paint with a stain blocking primer.  It got pretty wet down there from just sitting for years with no sump-pump running.


Speaking of the Papa....he's a BIG part of this project.  We wouldn't be able to do this house on our own as we're not completely finished our and are way too busy with little kids and life in general to try to tackle it ourselves.

We had been looking around at land for quite a while when this property showed up.  It was priced pretty high for the amount of work it needed, but the location was perfect for us.  Paved roads, minutes from our family, church and town...everything we wanted.  I think the amount of work scared a lot of people away from it. The price dropped and we were able to negotiate a good deal for it. We also worked out a deal with the Papa (and likely Nana will get involved as her schedule allows) to help us renovate it. While we love our house, being in the country seems ideal for our family and the things we enjoy.




The goal is to have it finished in a year or so and then move in. That gives us time to finish up here, enjoy it for a little while and then move into a finished house.  I'm all for renovations but I hate living in the mess.  That was the most stressful part of renovating our current house and I don't think my nerves could handle that again, especially with little kids!

More details of the actual design plans to come.  We'll be trying to do this on a tight budget so we can move in quicker and because down the road we may add on and change the layout a little so we have to keep that in mind.  It'll be fun to share everything starting from scratch and the progress that happens in the months ahead!