Aug 24, 2015

The Window Awnings Come Down

Some changes are so simple yet so significant, that you wonder why you didn't do them sooner. Taking down the window awnings at our new house is one of those changes. After my post last week about priming the family room and needing to see how the sunlight played in the house to choose colors, I asked Jim to take them down this weekend.

Taking them down had always been the plan. We just got distracted by other things that needed (and still need to be done) around the house. But since we taken down the awning at the house we're moving out of, we knew taking them down at the new house would open up the view and let in the sunshine. We just had to take take the time to actually do it.

The house wakes up.
Before and After the awnings were removed.
When I showed this before and after picture to my BFF, she said it looked like the house was sleepy and now it's awake. I love that! It's a perfect description.

Back in the 1950s when our new house was built, the awnings were practical and very much in style. I'm sure our large maple trees were much smaller then, and the awnings helped keep the house cooler by keeping the sun from beating in the windows. Plus, very few homes back then had air conditioning, which made them more of a necessity in the heat of the summer. Then once they were installed, it probably never occurred to the previous owners to remove them once they no longer serviced a real purpose.
The view was blocked and ugly
The view from the living room before removing the awnings.
With that in mind, I understand why they were originally installed. They totally made sense at that time, but today, they don't really serve their original purpose. Our mature maple trees provide the shade that the awnings originally provided. So now all the awnings do is block too much light and the view. They make the living room feel closed in and dark.  To see out our window, we had to bend over, and even then, it felt like more than half our view was blocked by the ugly underside of a metal awning.

Simply put, we had a large picture window, but the view with the awning certainly wasn't worth framing. The awning had to go.
Look at the beautiful view now!
Look at the view now!
So this weekend, the awnings on the front of the house came down, and the house woke up. The front of the house and whole room felt opened up. No more bending over to see out the window, and the view from our picture window was suddenly worth framing, because we could see our beautiful tree-filled front yard.

After it was done, Jim and I loved it so much, we both agreed we should have taken them down a lot sooner. But it's done now, and that's all that matters. I'm sure we'll feel the same way when we get the wall between the living room and dining room removed. Sometimes it's just hard to envision how much of a change something is going to make until you actually take the plunge and do it.
Opening up the view.
Before and after of the view.
Now I'll be able to start determining what colors are going to work in the room. It's only a matter of time before the wall between the living and dining rooms comes down, and the sunlight from these windows will fill the dining room.

What do you think for the front of the house?  Shutters or window boxes with flowers?

Aug 21, 2015

Remodeling a 1950s Ranch

Remodeling our new home is in full swing, and we've been working like crazy. (Well, except for this week, because my car has been in the shop and Jim has been out of town, so I couldn't get over to the new house, but that's a whole nother story.)  We still don't have approval to remove the load bearing wall between the dining and living rooms, but we're moving ahead with the other changes we want to make, and the list is long.

So far we've removed wallpaper and some paneling, primed and painted two bedrooms, installed two ceiling fans (I know, I know, not great interior design, but sometimes comfort has to trump design), removed three doors, repaired some wall damage, designed the kitchen and sent the plans to a cabinet guy, pulled out four bushes, and few other things. Why is it the more you do, the longer your list seems to get?

I think the most satisfying change so far has been priming all the 1970s style paneling. We thought about removing it, but didn't want to deal with any "uh-oh" surprises that could delay being able to move in. So, we decided to paint the paneling in both master bedroom and the family room. I actually like the look of painted paneling. It gives the rooms a cottage feeling, so I'm not disappointed with our choice at all.

Before and after priming the paneling
Priming the Family Room Before and After
I was amazed by the difference the primer made. Although the family room felt huge before, the primer makes it feel even larger. And I can tell the lighter color is really going to make the fireplace stand out. I can't wait to take the plastic off so I can really see the full effect. I know it's going to be A-MAZ-ING! But I still have to pick a color for the room, so the plastic will remain for a while.
Colors for the interior
Colors I'm considering
I started planning the color scheme as soon as we made an offer on the house, but now that I've spent some time in it, I'm kind of rethinking my original plan. The colors I selected before we got possession of the house work well with our current furnishings, which is why I chose them. But, the more time I spend in the house, the better feel I get for how the colors will work, and it looks like there might be some minor changes made to the color palette.
Close up of the fireplace stone
Close up of the fireplace stone
I still have a vision for how the house is ultimately going to look, but the colors need some tweaking. One of the reasons is because of the fireplace. It's gorgeous and we love it just the way it is (except for the brass on the fireplace doors, which will change. Again, another story.)  But because the fireplace is such a important feature of the house, it has to be a big part of inspiration for colors. Everything has to go with the fireplace and with our current furnishings, and that just couldn't be planned ahead of time.

Even though I am getting a clearer idea about colors, I honestly won't know for sure what colors will work until the wall is removed and the front awnings are off the house. Those things are making the rooms look much darker than they're going to be.  So until then, it's hard to know how the sunlight will play in the house, and that will be a factor in the color decisions.

For now, we're going to finish priming all of the rooms and the trim, since that will be painted also. But in the mean time, I'm excited about the changes we've already made. Every change makes it feel more and more like our house. We still have a lot more to do, but it's coming along.
Priming and painting finished.
Finished painting and removed the plastic.
What colors would you choose to go with our fireplace?