head diy Design Fanatic: September 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Inside Look At Planning A Whole House Reno

A makeover project for a single room is fairly easy to plan out on paper. 
Remodeling a house, however, can be a daunting task.

Even though we're going to start on only one or two rooms, I wanted to layout the whole house and do a tentative plan for all the rooms. 

The main goal is to not spend money redoing a room, if at a later date we are just going to use it as a different space. 
Planning out the house on graph paper, old school, would have taken too long and it's difficult to make changes. I really didn't want to spend any money on software and don't currently own any design software, so I looked online. I found Floorplanner.com which was a free download and very easy to use. It is limited a bit, but you can upgrade(for a fee) if you really want to . 

Mr. Fanatic and I measured the whole house last weekend and I spent all day Monday drawing the rooms out on floorplanner.com. 
Here's the layout of the house, as is

Now, if money were no object, we could knock out walls, move the stairs, move the front entrance, enclose the porch, move the bedroom and move the laundry room. Mr. Fanatic and I went back and forth saying "what if we did this" to just about every room. We continued discussing ways to change the house because we wanted to look at every possible option. We bounced ideas off each other and built on each others ideas until we came up with something that sounded great. 
As my momma always said "two heads are better than one"

Just for fun, I designed a "Money Is No Object" option.  

This plan would be awesome because it makes the small living room bigger and more open.
But, we're on a budget and we had two goals for renovating the house:
A. It had to function for us and B. It had to be good for resale should we ever sell in the future. 
Here's the more reasonable first floor plan:
What we did here is make it so you were entering into a more formal entry instead of the laundry room. I also added a very small closet. 

 Here is the before and after side by side.
 This plan makes more sense to me and has better flow. It seems odd that currently you enter the house through a laundry room that is really 4 times the size that it should be for the such a small house. 

On to the upstairs...

We want to add a second bathroom in the upstairs bedroom . To make sure this will all work, we will use blue masking tape and tape off where everything will go. We will also check with the county to make sure we can do this and we will get a permit.
To make things more challenging, the walls are angled in this bedroom.
The old closet space is used to create a space for the bathroom, along with a couple of feet taken from bedroom space. Hope that makes sense. A new, but smaller closet will be built on the right side of the entry door. Still need more closet space as that side walls are short knee walls. I'm thinking of taking up some dead space at the top of the stairs and/or building in a closet or shelving, etc. into the attic space on the far side(left side) of the room.

Here's a 3D view of the upstairs. I couldn't make the right and left walls short with this design software, so you'll just have to imagine them.
If you need to plan out a single room or a whole house, Floorplanner works great and is easy to use. 

And it's free :)

Let me know if you have any other suggestions, but remember, we are on a budget!

Hope you are having a great week!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mountain Cottage (Before) House Tour

 Thanks for all the kind and encouraging comments yesterday and thanks for coming back today to see the before cottage house tour.
We are pretty excited about starting a new project a whole houseful of projects.
Mr. Design Fanatic and I have spent the last few days discussing how we can update the house.
We looked for many months in 3 different areas to find a quaint little mountain home.
We could have found a bigger and nicer place had it not been for our requirement to have the house sit on at least 2 acres. (ours is on over 3 and surrounded by 20 acre plots or more)

The realtor we worked with was outstanding and I can't recommend him enough. If you are ever in the need for a realtor in the Boone/Blowing Rock, NC area, please call Benjamin Ray. He knows the his market, has lots of resources and answers emails and phone calls quickly. He is by far the best realtor we have ever dealt with. 
We didn't go to the closing in person and instead handled everything by fax and wire; a first for me. 

On the day we closed, Benjamin texted this to me:

"Congrats on your closing today!! Let the blogging begin..."
  (Hee hee, he read my blog)

Well, you've waited long enough..
I hope you have a cup of coffee or tea so you can stay awhile. 
I have to warn you the interior needs a lot of work.

I'm not kidding. 

Here we go:
You enter the cottage from a large covered porch. (please forgive the realtors photo...I didn't take one from this angle)

Once inside, you enter through a large laundry room.

View looking back... the entry door is just out of view to the left. That little closet is one of the first things that will be taken out. The washer/dryer and sink will be moved down and enclosed in a closet.

 It's always nice to have a window in the laundry room. (this is looking back toward the entry door, out of view to the right)

 This is what you see upon stepping inside a few feet. We want to take down the wall to the right of the washer/dryer and the wall with the door and make this more of a formal (country) entry. We're thinking high wainscot for the walls to give it some interest.

The next room you encounter is the only bathroom. Yup. Just one. At least for now. More on adding another bath later.

Strange to have a shower with a window  right next to it. Would love to reverse this bathroom, but not sure it will be a bathroom in the future, so this has to be a cheap reno.

Brace yourself...
 This is the view of the living room coming in from the hall from the laundry room. Mr. Fanatic took down some ruffly curtains which were on all the larger windows in the house. I believe those beams are coming down, as well. Several of them are cracked and one is coming off the ceiling.

Here's the view looking down onto the living room from the stairs. We are going to take out the old gas insert and turn it back into a wood burning fireplace. I am hoping the tall hearth was an add on and the firebox is lower to the floor.
 Crossing my fingers. 
There will be a new mantel and fireplace surround.

In this photo you are coming into the living room from the laundry room hall. 

Oh, did you notice the floors? They are vinyl. (at least they are easy to clean) We will eventually  replace all the floors except the bathrooms with  Heart (of) Pine in a natural finish.

The door on the right leads to another covered porch with a wonderful view. We spent a lot of time out there  in between  figuring out where we are going to start.  The kitchen is beyond the door... I'm saving that room for the very end.

I 'm thinking we need to build in the little area beyond the top of the stairs because we are going to need all the storage we can squeeze in upstairs.

Up the stairs to the left is a large attic bedroom. 
With lots of wallpaper. 
And more vinyl flooring.

We're thinking of building in some shelves or cabinets into the low knee wall on the far side.  They will be inset into the attic space and won't take up any floor space.

 There is a sizable closet, which we are hoping to make into a small bathroom. The bathroom will be deeper than the closet and take up more floor space, but there will still be enough room for a queen size bed. We're hoping to get a shower, pedestal sink and small toilet in there. We think there is just enough room for a pocket door. (we love pocket doors)
Wish us luck

We'll have to build in a low closet for hanging close to the door, which will create a small hallway entrance to the bedroom.

 There is another bedroom downstairs just off the kitchen. Here are the ruffly beige curtains that were on nearly every window. Notice more wallpaper.
 Anyone want to come help us remove it all?

      And finally... 

 the kitchen.


 I can't believe I took pictures of every room in the house last weekend, but the kitchen, so I'm using the realtors photo.  If this room doesn't send you shrieking, I don't know what will. Needless to say this room will be gutted. The cabinets are not salvageable...the 4 right drawer fronts are all different sizes and there are two different countertops on the far wall.   
I designed a great little kitchen the day after we made our offer.
I will finally get a white painted kitchen after all. Think little white wrap around banquette in the corner by the window with a rectangular table and little french  cross backed chairs. Refrigerator and a 15" wide tall pantry on the far right wall. Range to the left with two white bracketed shelves on either side instead of wall cabinets. 



So, what do you think?
Would this little house have scared you off?
Any suggestions? 
Would love to hear what your reactions to the interior photos are. Don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Cottage Exterior And The First Before And After

Happy Fall everyone!
If you stopped by on Friday, you heard that we closed on our Mountain Cottage last week.
We weren't there for the closing, but we were able to finally went to pick up the keys on Saturday.

I am exhausted!

I think I more exhausted from thinking of all the projects we could do with the house and which ones to do first. I just could not turn my mind off Saturday night and got very little sleep. 
It rained most of the day on Saturday, but Sunday was absolutely gorgeous and started out as a crisp Fall morning with low humidity. We spent every minute we could (between measuring and scheming) right here on the porch in our new Ikea wicker chairs.

Here's the view of the porch(sans chairs) from down below.

The house may be small, but it has 3 sheds. One is  just a little woodshed and this one shown below is the garden shed and has shelves all around the exterior and space for a lawn tractor. You can enter through the big barn door or the entry door. It is just too cute.

The second "shed" is what we're excited about. It's pretty large at 15 ft x 11. I love that it has lots of windows and a high ceiling.  Mr. Fanatic would love to use it as his shop, for now, but we would love to turn it into a bunk house.

Here's the inside: Above those beams is a large loft that spans the entire width of the building. It also has a poured cement foundation.

If you go to the back of the shed you can finally see the loft. It is really bright inside with the sunlight streaming through the windows.

You can get to the loft in a cutout at the top of the ladder.

Another exciting thing about the shed is that it's wired for electricity. Definitely enough power a big baseboard heater and an ac unit.

Now to the small project we did. One thing we noticed when we first looked at the house is that a lot of the great view is block by a few trees and this large holly shrub. 

Here's how it looked sitting on the porch.

It took Mr. Fanatic no time at all to take the overgrown holly down with his chain saw.

Ah, much better. A few trees still need be felled, but we're going to wait until the leaves drop to do those.

So much better!

My favorite part of the day so far is in the afternoon when the colors are really vibrant and some shadows can be seen on the mountains off in the distant.
I don't think I'll ever get tired of this view. 

Hope you stop by tomorrow... I'll be showing you the pics of the interior...The inside of the house is definitely not as  pretty as the outside and needs a total reno. I do
believe the cottage should hold the title as the kitchen in most need of a total makeover. 
I am sure I've never seen a kitchen like this.
It is downright scary.
You probably think I'm kidding.
Stop by tomorrow to see if you agree.


Friday, September 20, 2013

When Will Fall Arrive? (And An Announcement)

In 2 days it will be Fall...

but it doesn't feel like it at all.

It's still pretty warm here and the humidity is still high.

The weather this year has been pretty strange...
Summer finally arrived at the end of August after raining practically all summer. 

My garden is all out of wack...I've planted my Fall veggie garden nearly 3 times. The  third planting of lettuce, broccoli and carrots can are finally taking hold. I cannot wait to have some organic, home grown Romaine lettuce. 
Ya know it spoils you when you have fresh picked that day veggies for lunch or dinner. It ruins eating veggies from the grocery store and even from good restaurants.

Ah, but I digress...
Since the weather is still very warm, I've only decorated one Fall vignette...
yep, the one I showed you last week. 
I've also been a little pre-occupied...Will tell you why at the end of the post...

Thought I'd try to get in the mood for Fall by posting some photos from years past...

 I had fun decorating our porch for Fall last year. I can tell you that I braved the heat, humidity and mosquitoes to clean off the porch and trim the shrubs on one side. Yup, only. one. side.

Still need to get to the store to buy some mums. I do love mums and they definitely say Fall. 

Ya think I could put out my Fall wreath, but alas it is still in the Fall bin in the basement.
Yup, I've just been shamed and I promise I will be heading down to the basement as soon as I finish this post.

One of my favorite Fall views is out the dining room window looking out into the front yard.
Currently, we still have a few more leaves than shown in this photo.

 When the leaves around the ajuga plant look like this, I know the weather will have cooled off.
I am looking forward to cooler weather and the leaves changing this year...
I'm also looking forward to Fall because of
 the reason why I've been pre-occupied for the last month ...
which is.....

We bought a mountain cottage. 

I shared a few pics on Instagram after we made the offer last month, but didn't really want to announce it formally until after we closed. We closed on Wednesday, but haven't been there yet. We are planning to go soon, though. 
Can't wait. The inside needs a total update and there will be tons of blog posts. I designed the kitchen the day after we put in the initial offer.
You're going to laugh when you hear what our realtor texted to me after the house closed on Wednesday but I'll save that for next time.

In the meantime, I'll show you a couple of pics of the outside, which thankfully doesn't need any  work, except for a couple of trees that need to be removed. 

Can't wait to sit on this porch and take in the gorgeous view. (We've already bought 2 wicker chairs for the porch)
I'm calling this a mountain cottage. What do you think? 
Does it look like a mountain cottage or a mountain cabin to you?
Hope you have a great weekend!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ready For Fall

 I wish Fall weather would hurry up and get here because it's still HOT where I live.

It's still summertime HOT

Tomorrow it's going to be 90 degrees with a lot of humidity thrown in.
Can't say that Fall is my favorite season, but for the first month or so the weather is perfect. 

Usually around the first week of September, the nights start to get cooler and in mornings  you might need a light sweater and the humidity mid day is non-existent.

Nope, hasn't happened yet.  I've planted my cool weather veggies twice now and they've either wilted and died or been eaten by bugs that go away when the nights get cooler. 

Here are the two reasons why I haven't cared for Fall in the past:
1. All the falling leaves everywhere look messy.
  Mr. Fanatic can spend 2 hours blowing leaves and 20 minutes later, leaves are everywhere.

2. Winter follows Fall and I don't like cold weather.
Notice, I said in the past...something might have changed my mind...
I'll give a hint towards the end of the post

Today, in hope of ushering in cooler weather, I changed up the vignette on the dresser in the Foyer.
I was cutting back some overgrown Lantana and just couldn't throw them away. They are so colorful and cheerful.

I can't remember where these vintage books came from, but I love the darker green cover for Fall. The vintage camera and case belonged to Mr. Fanatic's dad.

I still need a good quote for the chalkboard. 
Any suggestions?
Fall, Fall vignette

So, I can't tell you the reason why I'm looking forward to Fall this year


I'm hoping I can let you in on it after the 18th...ya know you just don't want to jinx these things;
anything can happen.
and that would be disappointing.

But, a hint is that it will help me look forward to Fall and maybe even Winter....
and you will be seeing a lot more of me because of it.

That's all I can share right now, but I would love to know if you LOVE Fall or have another favorite season that you enjoy.
Would also like to know WHY you love your favorite season...