Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The New House // First Floor Before (in all its 1978 glory)


We closed on our new house on Friday so I'm finally (!!) able to share "before" pictures and our plans for #TheLittleFoursquareThatCould.

The work has already started and fingers crossed, we (and by "we" I mean licensed professionals) will be getting a substantial amount done in the next few weeks: all new electrical (there was lots of knob & tube wiring ... yippee!!!), the removal of the world's strangest fireplace (it was shoved into a corner of the living room which made it totally useless and was just eating up space), installation of new french doors from the dining room out to a new patio, sanding and staining of the floors and potentially installing central air. There's SO MUCH to be done in the next few days; it's a little terrifying.

But back to the fun stuff; for a variety of reasons -- not the least of which is our adoration of our current neighborhood -- we needed to find a place in a very specific (and very small area) of a town adjacent to our current home. When this home popped up, on a quiet street filled with a slew of early 20th century homes near shops, parks, transit and friends, we were thrilled.


The previous owner was very attached to her home (our letter introducing ourselves and telling her how much we appreciated the 90 year old house was what helped her accept our offer over several others) and pride of ownership is very apparent in the way she cared for the space. But she was also an older lady and hadn't made many changes since she'd moved in with a young family almost 40 years ago. So the home's interior is definitely dated. And covered in early 80s wallpaper. sigh. But enough with the explanations, let's get to the pictures.

There's a very sweet foyer when you first enter the home. A foyer which I've just realized that I've never actually photographed. So trust me when I say that it's nice (and I'll try to get some photos today -- oops!).

The living room is to the left of the foyer and to enter it, you walk through a pair of original french doors. Here's the living room as it appeared during our first walk-through. As you can see there is wood trim EVERYWHERE.


Yes, it's pristine. And yes, I'm going to paint it as soon as humanly possible. Natural woodwork is lovely ... in someone else's home. I like my personal space to feel as bright as possible and white trim really helps to ping light around a room. Might take us awhile to get to the trim though ... we've opted to save some money by doing all the paper removal and painting ourselves. Currently kicking myself for that one. By the way, the walls are all covered in this lovely circa 1980 peach-colored faux-silk wallpaper. Don't you just love it? Yah; me too.

And here's the aforementioned stupidly-located fireplace. It's being demo'd as I write this (thank god)...


I mean, who designs a house and thinks, "I know! I'll put a fireplace in the corner right by the entryway!! That won't make the fireplace incredibly awkward and affect traffic flow throughout the room AT ALL,"?

No, really: who?!?! Because I'd like to have a word with them.


We love the idea of a fireplace and deciding to get rid of one (even one that didn't work) was tough ... but the the home's long-term potential increased exponentially with the removal of the chimney stack and I'm a slave to good flow so it had to go. Our hope is to someday get rid of the window on the far wall of the living room (very little light enters the room from that direction) and put in a gas fireplace with built-ins flanking it...but that's all a matter of budget (the most evil six-letter word out there). 

Moving on: another pair of french doors lead from the living room to the dining room...


Oh look, MORE wallpaper! *Two* kinds of wallpaper...


... it even had matching drapes (which have thankfully already been removed)! To be fair, I think everyone knows someone who had this exact set-up in their home (and the super-shiny faux-colonial brass chandelier). As for the trim: don't let the creamy look in this picture fool you, it's the most dead-looking white I've ever seen. It's like the soul of the paint was sucked out of it by some deranged pigment-eating vampire. I hate it. Alot.

Moving on to the kitchen. This gem of a space is like an early 80s time capsule...


Plastic laminate cabinet fronts with the oak pulls? Check.  Yellow-white laminate countertops? Check. The world's tiniest refrigerator (didn't take a picture of that; too difficult to handle...but trust me, it's awful)? Check.  I can practically see the owner's daughters dancing around the room to "Video Killed the Radio Star" sporting bangs 3 feet high and rocking multiple pairs of many-colored slouchy socks and white Reeboks.

We're going to live with it for a year so we can really figure out what we want to do with it but right now, the plan is to take down the wall between the kitchen and dining room so that the back of the house feels more open.


Trust me when I say that the kitchen's days are numbered.

And finally, here's the world's worst picture of the powder-room. None of it really shows in the picture but it's tricked out with lovely speckled grey tile and two different kinds of early 80s wallpaper.


The door to this room is directly adjacent to the refrigerator. Ew. It's gonna get changed too (hoping to pop a tiny mud room/new entrance to bathroom onto one end of the kitchen) though probably not soon enough for my sanity.

So there you have it; the first floor of the "new" house which we've affectionately dubbed The Little Foursquare That Could. She's been well-loved but she's in desperate need of a makeover and I'm determined to give her one that will help her shine again.

I'll be back tomorrow to show you the 2nd floor. Prepare yourselves...

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