Category Archives: The Porch

RENOVATING: TOP DO’S AND DONT’S

Happy Wednesday!!

I hope everyone enjoyed our first post in our new renovation series.  Here comes round two!

Some people call the renovation process “flipping houses”… I LOATHE the term.   To me, that label implies two things. First, it suggests that a quick return on your investment is the goal. Second, it insinuates a  “quick” process, which it is not.

The process of renovating a home has to make sense financially and emotionally for me… Notice I called it a HOME. We go into every project planning to live there, or at least believing we could if necessary…my heart is completely in it.

A lot of good thing comes from these renovations. Almost every home has been vacant and some even condemned. There is a sense of fulfillment in providing life to a structure that hasn’t seen it in ages. Uncovering history and trying to restore it while improving the neighborhood are some of the major positives in this process.

So, if you think you’re up for the challenge of renovating a house, here are a few quick do’s and don’ts I try to keep in mind.

 

DO’S:

**Restore those old windows, don’t replace them.

** Keep the old school built-in china cabinets, closets, and medicine cabinets (relocate them if necessary).
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At 1215 Felder, Rett’s nursery has the original built in’s and they work perfectly for his closet!!

**Reuse the original doors and hardware where possible.

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Our door to our bar in 1215 Felder and it’s pair is the door to the pantry.  These are old doors we found.

**Keep the old bath tubs and sinks…just get them restored. Locally, I adore Bath Innovations for restoring these old beauties.

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       This old bathtub was salvaged and placed into our master bathroom in 797 Felder..

I love the look of an old claw foot tub!!

**Keep finishes historic…(next post has some great examples of our favorites).

**Never ever enclose porches just to make more heated and cooled square footage, enjoy the porch for what it really is!!

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Our fourth house, 754 Thorn Place, had the most amazing porch where we spent countless nights enjoying!

Who doesn’t love a good porch?!

**Be creative with closet space. Old homes don’t have much to offer here so use a wonderful armoire for additional storage. Plus you get to take it with you to the next house!! :)

**Replace broken glass in old windows with the old school wavy glass. Your local glass company can provide it…you just have to ask.

**Research historic paint colors before you get color happy. (again suggestions to come!!)

 

Don’ts:

**Don’t use a lot of color in hard finishes.

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In 704 Felder, we used white marble and refinished the hardwoods to keep a timeless look with minimal color in this kitchen!

**Steer clear of very trendy finishes…think timeless and historic

**No vinyl siding or hardy board. Sorry. They just weren’t used 100 years ago…

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This is the finished product of 1935 Graham Street!

Once we started renovation, we uncovered the original wood and look how beautiful is!! It just needed a few coats of paint!

**One of my biggest peeves… Do not cut a decrepit chimney off at the roof. Get a mason and fix it. It isn’t that expensive.

**Don’t put tile down over original hard wood. Wood is totally fine in a bathroom, kitchen or even a laundry room. It’s original for goodness sake.

**Don’t replace old cast iron tubs with fiberglass tub/shower units. Signature Hardware  makes wonderful curved shower rods to help these old school tubs adapt as showers.

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**Block glass is just wrong…in any instance

**Don’t use carpet to cover damaged original hardwoods, repair them! You can patch and refinish to match the originals!

IMG_1425The hardwoods in our kitchen on 797 Felder.

I hope you enjoyed my top “do’s and dont’s” for the nitty gritty renovation process!!

Up next are finish selections, so stay tuned…Also, feel free to send any questions our way.
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Front Door Harvest Decor

Of course this former city girl is in the dark when it comes to decorating the front porch for Fall. I didn’t have such luxuries in NYC, sadly.  This fall I was reintroduced to the beauty of heirloom pumpkins, also known as Cinderella pumpkins down here in Dixie. I must admit that these are some of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. Ashley sent me to the downtown curb market a couple of weeks ago in search of some of these precious darlings for Parish.  If I had an unlimited budget, I’d have bought the farmer’s entire stand. There were so many various shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from. Here are some of them basking in the early fall sun a few weeks ago at our Fall Free for All Sale.  Huge thank you again to everyone who came out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I couldn't resist) via Pinterest

Once you know these exist, it’s hard to envision decorating your stoop with the standard orange grocery store pumpkin. (Not that there is anything wrong with those! What else do you use for carving on Halloween?) I did some searching via Pinterest (the greatest creativity source like, ever) and wanted to highlight some of the more interesting displays I found to give you an idea or two for decorating your front porch that will take you through Thanksgiving.

The Lucky Lass

Pinterest

BHG

Parish's take :)

Martha Stewart

Pinterest

Of course, you can’t sleep on the fall wreath.

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Burlap wreath via Etsy

Cotton wreath via Pinterest

Cotton Hull Wreath via Etsy

And of course, the pumpkin wreath:

Pinterest

The High Heeled Hostess

The pine cone wreath:

Pinterest

…and the acorn and walnut wreaths:

Martha Stewart

BHG

Doesn’t this make you so much more excited for December and Christmas? Ha, one thing at a time… :)  Fall is here and it is wonderful! Feel free to share some of your ideas with us here…we’re always happy to have a few new ideas!

Friday Favorite – Ashley’s Home Renovations

What’s up Friday Favorite readers!

Today we’re kicking off a new little series we’d like to call “Ashley’s Home Renovations” that will lead you through the long and meticulous process Ashley and Barrett went through to get their home to its current pristine and gorgeous state.

As most things that have been a little loved on in life go, this little angel needed some serious attention and TLC when they found it in 2007.

(in the middle-it's there we promise)

This charming Arts & Crafts style home located in the heart of Montgomery’s famed Old Cloverdale neighborhood was built in 1910.  The owners before Ashley and Barrett owned the home for 44 years.  With only one slight renovation to the kitchen, the house remained untouched and in its original condition.

Old Cloverdale homes sit on prairie soil. For those of you not familiar with the area and the soil conditions, over time the soil expands and shifts which causes the home and foundation itself to shift.  As you can see in the picture below, this home shifted all right — to the tune of 8 inches in the back and 6 in the front.

notice that little dip in the back

it kind of looks like this shape here -^-

In order to fix the foundation, every pier underneath the house had to be completely rebuilt. The home has a half basement that also had to be completely stabilized.   In order for the home sit evenly, that pretty exposed brick chimney and the fireplace had to be disassembled so that the front and back of the second story could be moved.

Now that we’ve given you a taste of some of the work involved in fixing the foundation, we’d like to move  on to the back “porch” area.  Before Ashley and Barrett got their hands on the property, there was no central heating and air system.  The previous owners had a white shingled roof and had a massive attic fan to keep the temperature cooler and air circulating in the summer months.  How these people had a home in Montgomery, Alabama sans central air conditioning in 2007 is clearly beyond my comprehension, but I digress.  An exterior smokestack on the rear of the home and solar panels on the front kept the home warm in the winter months.  Note that the top and bottom rooms to the right in the pictures below were sleeping porches connected by a small interior staircase.

In order to build an actual back porch of their own, the smokestack had to come down.

Some progression shots  are below.  The porches were enclosed and the downstairs space became  a dining area in the new enlarged kitchen.

The lot itself sits on one acre. In order to showcase the large backyard area, some landscaping work was done.  When the fireplace was rebuilt, all of the original bricks were used.

Below are the after shots of the backyard and the front of the home.

Here’s a sneak peek for you: the previous owners loved green, avocado green in particular.  If you look closely at some of the bricks on the chimney (in future, closer-up photos) you’ll see that they are green. Throughout the coming weeks, we’ll be giving you the interior befores and afters and showing you ways you can incorporate these ideas into your own home.

Have a great weekend!