Monday, November 25, 2019

The Carriage House Project: The Kitchen

We were able to salvage some of the kitchen from our house for the carriage house.  Since the kitchen in our house is an addition with a separate roof it wasn't as affected by the water damage as the rest of the house.  Not all the cabinets were salvageable but we were able to piecemail some together. We were also able to reuse our pendant light, faucet and island counter top.  We didn't even need to adjust the size of the countertop to fit the smaller space!   It's like those jeans in that movie "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"! We felt really good about being able to reuse some of our original kitchen.  It seems environmentally responsible and there's also some nostalgia there.

The shelves were actually cut out of the wood from the beams.  I never thought we'd have open shelving since we aren't the tidiest people.  Having very few things lends itself to less mess though.

And this is our small "mudroom".  It's a much needed place for shoes and outerwear.

So that's it for the common space for all four of us.  It really doesn't feel that small to us, just very cozy. I'm kind of loving it. Good thing since we'll be here for a while.  The bedrooms are quaint as well.  Quaint is code for teeny tiny.  I'll get to them in another post. They still aren't quite done pretty-wise but they're functional .  Good enough for now!

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Carriage House Project: The Living Room

This is the moodboard for the living room/kitchen:
Bookcase via Ballard Designs, Almazan Buffet via Wayfair, Rivy West Chandelier from Home Depot,
Lederer Rug via All Modern, Deliah Coffee Table via Grandin Road, Donington Stool via Wayfair, Tobacco Road Acacia Floors from Lumber Liquidators

And this is how it turned out.

We got the couch second hand.  Someone was moving and had only had it for a very short period of time.  It was the exact one that we were looking at at a local store but for much less...score! The flush door is a storage area.  It's kind of a mini office for a printer, papers and anything else we need to hide out of sight. And a glimpse of a keyboard. Both of my kids play the piano.  We had a baby grand (not sure if that made it out alive) but we were very fortunate that their piano teacher had a keyboard to lend to us.

I love the beams and the ceiling.  It's probably my favorite part, honestly.  The exposed lighting wasn't what I wanted originally but I actually really like the feel of it in the room. We actually get quite a lot of light in the room but the weather outside was a bit meh when I took these so I needed the extra light.

Next post I'll show the kitchen.  It really wasn't ready for its closeup if you're picking up what I'm putting down. Until next time, cheers!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Carriage House Project: The Bathroom

This is what I envisioned for the bathroom.  
Vallie Outdoor Barn Light from Wayfair
Ikea Godmorgon/Rattviken Sink Cabinet/Medicine Cabinet from Ikea
Branwell Porcelain Field Tile in Lempicka from Wayfair
Thunderhead Gray Penny Round Tile from Home Depot
White subway tile from Daltile


The bathroom is small.  Period.  But that doesn't mean it can't have some personality!  It started with the floor tile. I knew I wanted to do a cement look tile which is popular at the moment.  I found this in my online search and I absolutely love it.  It wasn't going to break the bank either, especially since we didn't need a lot of it, #silverlinings!  Originally I wanted to do shiplap on the walls too but the room is small and already would have a lot of pattern with the floors and shower walls so we abandoned the idea.  It was also a money/time saver to not do it which was a bonus.  

Here's the progression:

The Schluter shower system.  Don't ask me what that is, I have no idea.  I know if I tried to look it up I'd spend a nanosecond before my mind would wander.  I have zero attention span for this stuff.  My husband, on the other hand, could probably teach a master class on it.  Oh opposites.  

And here's the shower wall/floor tile and bathroom floor tile in.  Just like that.  Bam! I wish it happened this quickly. It really looks amazing though. I'm so in love with the floor tile.  I seriously admire it every day.  

The sink, cabinets and medicine cabinets are from Ikea.  I really did NOT want to use something from Ikea because I wasn't sure about it's longevity.  Eventually I caved though because, 1) it was cheap and available and 2) it offered a ton of cabinet space, especially since the sink is so shallow.  The medicine cabinet is enormous as well.  I can store a cubic buttload in this thing which is much needed.

So this is the entire bathroom.  As you can imagine, it's very hard to get a good picture in such a small room (with no natural light to boot).  Right outside of the bathroom we do have another sink set up so it's not a total disaster, but the struggle is real when there's more than one person who has to use the toilet.  I know people that come from very large families that grew up sharing one bathroom.  I don't understand how that works but more power to them.  This is the one thing that I won't miss at all in this process.  As a mom, I already have zero privacy under normal circumstances.  We've dialed that up to an eleven now.


This is the extra sink outside of the bathroom.  When the architect first drew this into the plans I hated this idea.  Now that we're living here I get it. We needed an extra sink to brush teeth or wash hands in if someone was in the actual bathroom.  

So that's it for the bathroom.  I'll get to the other rooms in another post.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Carriage House Project Phase 3: Insulation, Drywall and Floor

I never thought I'd be so excited about insulation but living in an old home that leaks like a sieve and costs a small fortune to heat and air condition was not something I wanted to repeat.  And look at looks so neat and tidy, which appeals to my OCD.  I have to say, it's made all the difference, especially with sound dampening.  So important when 4 people are sharing such a small space.

Next came drywall and suddenly it was transformed.  It finally looked like something livable. 

My new bedroom.

The new kitchen island false wall

New front door and entry way stairs.

Here are pictures of the new floor in the kid's room. We went with an engineered wood from Lumber Liquidators.  We debated using an all wood floor but since we were on a timeline we didn't want to have to spend more time on the whole staining and sealing process. Plus, other than the time that we will live here, the floor isn't going to see that much foot traffic.

Also in these pictures is the start of the loft bed that spans the back wall.  So, two kids will share this room.  An 8x12 space.  What could possibly go wrong?  I'll keep you posted on that one.  Hopefully, in the span of two years, we all make it out alive....

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Carriage House Project: Small Space Storage Furniture

While all the construction was going on I was busy planning for how we were going to function in small quarters.  Where were we going to put all of our stuff?  I mean not that we have a ton at this point but I know how we roll and I know things are going to accumulate over time. I tried to find pieces that had storage options.  I'm not about to look at crap hanging out everywhere in this tiny home.  I also started to think about what style I wanted. The main house really needs to be more traditional but I wanted the carriage house to be something different, something I wouldn't normally do.  I thought it would be fun to do a modern farmhouse look, especially since the garage kind of looks like a barn and it was a real carriage house back in the day. That kind of steered a few decisions like exposed wood beams in the new living/kitchen area and shiplap on the ceilings in the bedrooms.  I'll show pictures of that in the upcoming posts, but I digress.  God I have a hard time staying on topic! Anyway, furniture. I started looking for a buffet as a tv cabinet and after spending at least a gazillion hours pouring over what felt like thousands of options I finally settled on this.

Almazan Buffet Via Wayfair

I'm not sure if it's still on the website but I can't say enough good things about this.  It has a ton of storage and it's very sturdy.

Next I was on a mission to find a coffee table.  I looked at some midcentury options but in the end I went with this from Grandin Road.

Via Grandin Road

It's actually an outdoor metal coffee table.  Storage, check.  Indestructible, check. The storage is huge.  I can fit blankets and pillows in this thing.  It's amazeballs.  I looked online and it looks like it's no longer for sale.  Maybe because it's seasonal?  I highly recommend it if it comes back in stock.

Lastly I bought a bookcase.  I figured I could put some baskets on a couple of shelves to hide some of our inevitable crap.  And there would be room for a couple of knick-knacks and picture frames.  I settled on this from Ballard Designs.

Via Ballard Designs
And yet again, something else that is no longer on their site.  That's totally not helpful but it is what it is. Anyway this was the start of the great storage search. Finding the rest of the decor was a lot less stressful.  Farmhouse decor seems to be everywhere you look.  TTFN!

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Carriage House Project Phase 2: New Framing/Electrical/HVAC etc.

After getting out the squirrel leaves and rot and assessing what was left, it was basically the exterior brick and some of the original wood beams.  Almost everything had to be reconstructed into something that was safe for habitation.  I always thought the floor seemed unstable and awfully springy...turns out it really was!

View of the addition

Another view. This is the new living room/kitchen.

Foundation for the new stairs on the side of the garage.


A view of our "master suite".  Did I mention that we have central air now?  That's a huge upgrade from the window unit that was a million years old. Our neighbor just confided in us that he was ready to give us some money to upgrade it...he was tired of listening to its death rattle.

You can see the ceiling height here.  It's about 11 ft high.  We figured we may has well have a tall shoe box to live in.

This last one shows the new wood beams in the living/kitchen area. These are obviously a little further along in the project.  And we got new windows put in.  You can actually open them!  It's the little things...

One thing I don't have great pictures of is the framing of the new bathroom and second bedroom. Everything is so small that it's hard to get good photos. It's also hard to conceptualize a loft bed that didn't exist at this point. On that note, I'll stop here.  I promise this is going to get more interesting when I show it more put together. Or at least it will for me...

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Carriage House Project Phase 1, The Plan And Demolition

I mentioned in my last post about living in a hotel for a period of time after the fire.  Right away we had to decide what the long term plan was since the restoration is projected to take 2 years.  Hearing that number was a total gut buster, especially since it started at 1 year and then crept up every time a new professional would come to look at the house.  My oldest was not keen on the idea of being a teen before we'd be moving back in. Funny/not funny story, when we first found out about the fire she was so sweet trying to comfort me, telling me that things would be ok.  That was fine until she found out that the fire did not spare her personal things.  Then she lost it. 

This is the before of the front and side of our carriage house.  On the side view you can see the original placement of the stairs.

This is the drawing of the new and improved carriage house.  Unfortunately city zoning wouldn't allow exterior stairs so the plan had to be tweaked to make them interior stairs. I don't have the updated drawing so you'll have to use your imagination.  That change meant it would eat into our already tiny backyard but it was for the best in the end. 

I don't have great before pictures of the carriage house interior, unfortunately, but here's a couple of pictures during the demo.

This is the front window facing our driveway. The left wall had already had some demo started.

This is the opposite wall.  The left door is to a tiny corner closet and the right went to the bathroom.  The far right opening is a small hall leading to the stairs.  So this is it.  Teeny tiny. Not amazing but fine for what it was.  Truth be told It was a huge dump before we bought the house and we did a super quick DIY reno to make it livable the first time around.  That space was not going to cut it for the second go.  We had an architect and our contractor come up with a design for the new and improved carriage house which meant extending the space onto the other half of the garage and changing the stairs around to make it more functional and free up some space. I'll spare you the details of that process but the new interior layout would look like this.

The right half with the bedrooms is part of the existing structure.  It's bigger than the original since the stairs have been moved on the plan to the left and not in the back.  The left half that includes the kitchen/living area is what would be built onto the flat roof of the garage.

We had a very tight timeline to get in (long story), roughly 3 months.  The demolition process was interesting to say the least. Turned out a giant bird's nest stuffed with babies was above the ceiling and there was about 8 trash bags worth of leaves that some squirrel had carried up under the eaves.  More interesting was the two wine bottles from 1909 that we found in the walls.  The most interesting thing though was that the whole structure was being held up by a mystery and a prayer.  Seriously, it looked like it was days away from just crumbling to the ground. Nothing was attached to anything and what was there was rotted and had serious old termite damage.  It wasn't in the plan to fix it up but it's actually a good thing we did...#silverlinings.

We planned on trying to capture some of that height to make the rooms look a little larger.

Here's the bathroom minus the wall.

In the meantime, we rented a house in our neighborhood for 3 months.  We were very lucky that this opportunity presented itself and that the owners were willing to rent it to us for such a short period of time.  That's where my thanks ends.  OMG! The day we moved in we were told that the air conditioning didn't work so the owner proceeded to sit in the tv room all day with her dog (that had pooped on the carpet) while the air conditioning people did their thing.  Oh and she showed the property to another couple who were interested in renting after we left....the day we were trying to move in! After being in a hotel room for a couple of months all I wanted to do was settle in and sit my fat butt on a couch and relax.  Nope.  She didn't leave until 7pm that night. Unbelievable.  The next day I went to microwave something and I found a steak in a plastic bag in the Montgomery Ward microwave.  I can't make this stuff up.  And how old is that microwave?  I could go on about how dirty the place was and how they didn't completely move out so I had to look at pictures of them everywhere I turned.  I guess I'm not really over it.  At least some good stories came out of it!

More demo pictures.  This was a great day seeing how much bigger the space would eventually be.

So this was the start of a roughly 3 month project.  I'll be showing pictures of the reconstruction/remodel phase in the next post. Until then...