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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!