**Edited to add: Yes, someone bought the home before it was even on the market and our new neighbors rock. They are around our age with no kids which means they are as quiet as mice (which is great when you share a wall). They share the bounty of their veggie garden in the summer and bring us soup in the winter. We love them!**
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I have told the story of my house before, but it is a story I have been asked to repeat. So gather round peeps and pull up your carpet square because it’s circle time at The Stories of A to Z!
Two of my friends from college had recently started a home flipping business. Once we learned we were moving to this area, we were excited to get in on the action. We put a contract on our home when it was completely and totally gutted. It had no walls, no real stairs, no windows, no nothing. I was sooooo sad to realize that none of the historic interior elements could be saved. But we only had a three month window to work with and this house was structurally ready to go. It was either buy this one and customize, or buy one which had already been complete. I wanted a blank slate to work with. My friends allowed me to make every design decision along the way. I designed the floor plan. I picked out every fixture, every piece of hardware, every knob. It was soooo much fun! Would I do it different today? Oh my goodness, yes! But live and learn. With only a three month completion time (and doing most of the work long-distance and over the internet), I was very pleased with the outcome.
In the picture below, my house is the one on the left all shiny and new and our neighboring then-abandoned twin is on the right.
Flash forward a year, and my flipping-house-friends return and ask if I would like to help design our neighbors’ home. Would I??? Yes! This thing hadn’t been “legally” lived in for 40 yrs. Flood waters from a hurricane back in the 70’s made most of these places condemnable and the city did nothing to help. Investors FINALLY took on our neighborhood and in the past five years it looks like a completely different place! They’ve turned nastiness into high-end gorgeousness in remarkable time, and I’ve been privileged enough to go along for the ride.
Here is what my neighbor’s kitchen looked like before. The back porch door (which butts right next to ours) wasn’t at all locked, and so for a year I worried about scary people doing don’t-wanna-know right next door! The kitchen had old wainscot and strangely placed windows. This is a 360* picture that I took while standing at the back porch door (with my scarf over my nose).
We tried to think of a way to save the wainscot, but in the end it just wasn’t worth it. We also decided to knock down the kitchen wall and cover up that huge window to make more space and open up the floor plan.
Here below is what I designed for the kitchen. Next to the fridge is a large panty, pretty corner sink located near the stove, and small island with overhang for bar in the middle. I chose Sherwin Williams Restrained Gold for the entire main level. (I chose it because I had wished at the time that I had chosen it for myself. I also chose the cabinets and granite that I wished I’d chosen. 🙂
Placing the sink in the corner opened up a ton more counter space in the kitchen, but I was later told that my little design idea cost my friend way more in granite installation. Oops.
Next, I’ll take you to the dining room. Here is a 360* shot looking in from the pocket doorway towards the kitchen. You can see the gorgeous millwork is still in pretty good shape but we wanted a larger kitchen so that wall needed to come down.
This bizarre insulation fix from the previous homeowners preserved the beauty of the original window trim in spite of a lot of water damage.
Here it is all cleaned up and restained after!
We saved this millwork and I took a risk with my paint colors here. I alternated to add interest but honestly, I’m not liking it now and would do something different. The chandelier was a steal from Lowes and complimented the clearance pendants I found for over the bar.
I took this pic standing by the kitchen sink and looking out. You can see how open we made the floor plan. I was nearly in tears over not being able to save the pocket doors. They were too warped from all the flooding and couldn’t be salvaged for the home. They were sooooo beautiful though. I should have snagged them. The hardwood floors were too damaged to save on this level so these are completely new.
Below is a picture taken from the front door. You can sort of see those beautiful/unsalvageable pocket doors peeking out. And just look at that staircase. THIS is what I was hoping we would be able to get when we moved here. I am a sucker for early 1900’s homes.
Here is the after. We had the work guys take the plaster off the walls to expose the brick, restain the wood to a deep espresso to match the kitchen cabinets, and redo the stairs and that cute stair bench. The closet under the stairs was so small, but we thought we could cram a half bath under there. We were right!
Here is a better look at the cute stair bench.
And here is the half bath! I bought the towel ring and mirror at TJ Max, the sink from Lowes, and the bathroom faucet at overstock.com. The color I chose for the bathroom is Benjamin Moore’s Audobon Russet. It’s a great rich autumn color which looks fab when combined with orange, cream and brown.
Let’s head up to the second level to see what we did up there. This was just nasty. There was literally a pile of crap in this room. Yes…literally. We tore down some walls and made two small bedrooms into a great room.
My friend had the idea of doing some built-ins with an arched ceiling, surrounding a flatscreen TV. I had the idea of a fireplace, and ceiling high built-ins surrounding the arch. Here is the product of our combined brainchild. Neither of us were happy with the hardware the cabinet maker chose, but otherwise we were pleased. I chose a green by Ralph Lauren which is now discontinued. It is close to my Benjamin Moore Rosemary Sprig but has a bit more gray in it.
Here is the second level bath. Nastiness. We decided to keep the bathroom layout the same, but I wanted wainscot added to the walls and a small linen closet.
Here is the after. Magical isn’t it? I used Benjamin Moore’s Texas Leather on the walls. I found the mirror at TJ Max and the vanity at homedecoratorsoutlet.com The bathroom hardware came from Target. All of the beautiful old-fashioned ORB knobs are from Lowes.
Sorry for the fuzzy pics. I didn’t really blog about this kind of stuff back then!
Next to the bathroom is the guest bedroom. Lovely. This room also had about 36 motorcycle trophies in it which just added to it’s weirdness.
And after. Aaaaaa. Much better. I used Sherwin Williams Blonde in here. That little door goes out to a small balcony.
This room was what we affectionately called the “Squatters” room. It was quite pleasant and had obviously been used as a hang out over the years by I-don’t-even-wanna-know.
Here it is after. The original floors were able to be saved on this level and cleaned up beautifully!
Now it’s time to take you up to the third level which is the master suite. I decided to just copy the layout of my home up here to make things easy! Check out these stairs! I’m so jealous that these weren’t able to be saved in my own home ;(.
Okay, at the top of the stairs you are greeted by the master bath. Mmmm. The shovel and pink insulation are so welcoming.
How about a tiled shower there instead?
And maybe some PB inspired vanities? We found these beauties at Lowes. The faucets were from overstock, and the bathroom hardware was from Marshall’s. How do I know? Because I hand shopped for all these babies!
I put the exact chandeliers that I have in my current master bath in theirs. I love them. If you look closely around the base of the chandelier you can see the beaded design.
I was thrilled to find the same beaded design on a random current rod at Marshall’s. Yes, these are the things that get my adrenaline going!
We put in the same jacuzzi tub that I have with the same tile. I chose a Benjamin Moore blue for the walls in here. I can’t remember its name off the top of my head. Ocean Breeze maybe? Caribbean Mist?
And lastly, let’s look at the master bedroom. Here it is with nicely trimmed windows before.
And here they are just cleaned up in white after! Look at those original hardwoods all refinished and pretty. Once again, jealous. Our hardwoods couldn’t be salvaged. Boo hoo.
So proud siblings now stand side by side looking like happy once again. I chose to make the twins identical rather than fraternal. The exterior is done in Benjamin Moore Westminster Green with the red accent in Benjamin Moore Redstone and BM Lancaster White. It has been so fun to be a small part of some of the homes’ transformations in my neighborhood. Truly a magical experience! I hope you enjoyed the story :). Now time for snack!