Swoon! Interiors

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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!
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Master Bath Planning:Our Next Project

It's crazy to think we're actually getting near the end of renovating this house! The bathrooms are the last rooms that need to be done and then that's it for renovating here...that doesn't mean all the rooms are by any means decorated or furnished, but they're done as far as drywall, trim, doors, windows, paint etc! The messy stuff.

We've just finished painting all the interior doors and working on the last of the window frames. We hit them all with black paint and I must say they look sharp.  I almost chickened out on this but Cameron talked me back into it.  Said contrast was good so I went for it. I've shared a few pictures on Instagram (@swoon_interiors) if you want to see because I'm super lazy with the camera! What kind of blogger am I?

Once we're done painting, the master bathroom is up next so I am pulling samples and ideas together while Cameron's adding up the dollars ;) and trying to keep me on budget.  Hard to do when there's things like marble tiles in every shape you can imagine out there!!

So here's a preliminary plan...actually it's more like a wish list because we all know how fast things add up!


I'm going for a classic, clean, fresh style with lots of white/light grays and a little bit of black and antiqued brass. It's coherent with the rest of the house and is what I love best...

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We have room to do a walk in shower as I nixed installing a tub. We have a tub upstairs and as much a hot bath is nice, there's never time for that so a spacious shower seemed like a better option. We may do half walls or full glass walls, depending on what it costs and what is easier to install.

image via rue.com
To keep the costs down, inexpensive subway tile will go on the walls and we'll use marble hex in small areas like the shower floor and a few niches in the wall. I've found a 1" hex for the niches and a larger 3" for the floor just to mix things up. This keeps the cost and maintenance down that comes with marble but still gives a custom look.

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For the vanity we've found a few ready to install options online. There's lots of good options that come with a counter (often marble) and faucets for less then what it'd cost to buy separably or custom. Amazon and Overstock are great sources if you're looking.  We arranged our plumbing for his and her sinks and I can't wait to have the storage and space!

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If there's money left, I'd love to get some fun lighting and finish it with pretty accessories. I've found a ton of vintage small rugs on etsy.com and chairish.com and think they make the perfect bathmat to add color, warmth and pattern in a bathroom.  The bubble light fixture I've had my eye on for a long time and it's totally appropriate for this room, right?


We haven't found a tile for the main part of the floor but i'm aiming for a 6"x 12" longer tile to lay in a herringbone pattern. A ceramic hex like we used in our entrance would be awesome but considering it took us MONTHS to lay that I'm sure someone would say NO to that idea!

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That's about as far as I've come with planning...So once we nail everything down, get some quotes, cough up some cash and find some time we'll have ourselves a fun little winter project :)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Getting a customized look with Ikea Pax wardrobes + bedroom updates

Summer is in full swing around here and so are the projects. I feel like we have about 50 different things we're working on when we're not tied up, you know, raising 3 kids that are 4 and under :) But, we did finally check a good size project off our to do list.  Thanks to Ikea's handy Pax system and a little hack we did, we now have a real, grown up useable wardrobe .

Please ignore the temporary green tape hardware and enjoy the concealed storage. Just picture oversized (likely brass) sleek pulls instead...

We made the hike to Ikea in Chicago Memorial day weekend, leaving the oldest two kids with family to make the trip a little more doable. I loaded Vera up with snacks and she was happy as can be the whole day. We might have reminisced a little about how easy life used to be with just one kid :)

Since we had used Ikea's planner online, it made the shopping pretty easy. It gives you a handy list to print so you know exactly what you need when you get there. After looking around at some of the closet systems in person, we made a few minor tweaks and then loaded up our carts and unloaded our wallets! Much cheaper then having something built, but even at Ikea it all adds up. After a visit with some awesome friends who let us stay the night we headed home and started to put it together.

To make it look built in, Cam built a platform so that we could set the units (we used 4 of their largest and tallest ones) on top of it and wrap our baseboards around that.  He assembled one unit first to get exact measurements.  We also rigged the unit a little in that instead of the toe kick piece being set back like it normally would be, we screwed it in flush with the front so that there wouldn't be a space between the baseboards and the unit when you opened the doors.

Once everything was level and secured to the wall we assembled the rest of the units (was pretty easy) and installed all the interior pieces. You can bet I was going behind Cam filling them in with clothes.  Not at all excited or anything ;) I do love how you can customize each unit for what you need. We seriously have more closet space then we do clothes!

We tried to maximize the high ceilings by using the taller units. Since we knew that you can't easily reach the upper part of the wardrobe we added storage for out of season items, kids gear that doesn't get used often, extra blankets etc. Old houses aren't known for closets, so this definitely helps.

Pre-wardrobe, these ties were always a tangled mess (well so was everything) and now they each have their own little spot! OCD much? Might be my favorite part of the whole thing....that or the glass front drawers or the little LCD light strips that turn on/off when you open or close the door. So fancy.

After it was all installed and the clothes put away, I painted the baseboard and the crown molding Benjamin Moore's Decorators White like the rest of the millwork in the house. We had Sherwin William color match it in their Pro Classic oil based semi gloss paint as it's my favorite for trim. It levels nice and stands up really well.

You might have noticed the crown is stepped back.  We didn't realize the fire alarm was going to be in the way and this was the only solution since you can't really just moved them once installed...not ideal but oh well.

The rest of the room is still a work in progress. I finally got all the trim painted a few months ago and painted the walls Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore.  It's a pretty warm white and at first I wasn't sure about it, but I think it's grown on me.  The transom frames just got a couple coats of black and we're going to spray the window frames and doors black soon too.

I also picked up these Ikea linen like curtain panels (around $30/pair!), they're extra long so I'm going to hang them close to the ceiling (Little trick BTW to make your ceilings look higher.) and thinking of adding some greek key trim to the leading edge.  As for the rest of the room, we need to pick out a ceiling fixture, order a duvet cover, find a comfortable reading chair, add hardware to the wardrobe, etc, etc....

So, there's still a few things to do before I can call this room finished but I love the progress we have made.  No more piles of clothes and clutter. Shades on the windows (hello privacy!). Nightstands for all my knickknacks. It's all good :)

And now I take a deep breath and embarrass myself by showing you the mess we lived with before adding the wardrobes. #keepingitreal #slobs #pleasedontpinthis

That's what happens when you're always busy working on other parts of your house, this room was a dumping ground for clutter. Whenever company came over and I needed to clean up quick, it all got thrown in here!

But the point is, it all takes time and money and DOESN'T happen overnight. Especially if you do the work yourself or you don't want to take on debt and are paying for it as you can.  Hopefully that encourages you if you're trying to fix up/decorate/furnish your place, just keep plugging away at it!