Renovations Large and Small
It seems like it’s been years that we’ve been working on the exterior of our house, but it is finally finished!
My husband’s family built this house in the 1970s, doing most of the work themselves. They built it on pilings, like a beach house. It started out with a kitchen, living area, 2 bedrooms, and a large porch. Over the years it got closed in and more rooms were added.
By the time we moved in in 2009, it was not in the best shape. Over the years we have painted the exterior once, and put in all new windows, new floors, new ceilings, new stairways indoors and out. We replaced the small upstairs kitchen with a good-sized one downstairs. We renovated barns and sheds, added solar panels (which in our case did not live up to the hype), and replaced the deck with recycled wood composite (which has lived up to its promise). I have written about some of those projects here and here. I even wrote some lyrics about all these projects.
So this year it was time to put on new siding, and we went with fiber cement siding rather than wood. Previously the boards in the siding ran vertically; I worried that the new horizontal siding would make the house look short and squatty, but it was fine. We didn’t really have an idea of what color we would go with, but fortunately our neighbors built a new house, and we both loved the color they chose, so we just went with that.
This year, we also added small window in the kitchen. The outdoor stairway we had put up in 2009 was already crumbling, and it would have blocked the view out that window, so my husband added a few feet onto our little balcony, and moved the stairway over as he rebuilt it.
So it looks great and I am very happy!
On a much more manageable scale, I also revamped an old trunk.
Antique shops are a great resource for decorating ideas — one idea I saw was setting up an old trunk vertically, and partially opened, to display collectibles. I had an old trunk full of yarns, but the lining was really shredded.
I measured the sides and cut cardboard panels from shipping boxes, padded them with old batting scraps, and wrapped some coordinating samples of furnishing fabrics around them. Then I just wedged them back into place. Doubled cardboard worked best.
Some braid around the edges would look really nice, but I haven’t gotten to that yet. I am just glad to get these furnishing fabrics out where I can enjoy them every day. I think they make a nice backdrop for the handwoven teddy bear and African basket.
The house looks really nice, I love the blue! I like the way the trunk turned out too. Marvelous Teddy Bear!
I picked up that teddy bear at a craft sale years ago — it looks to me like someone took a piece of antique handwoven fabric and turned it into the bear. They did a great job of sewing and stuffing and I knew I could never do better, so I was glad to take him home! 🙂
The house looks just beautiful, and so does the trunk. Pretty baskets!
Thank you, I am very happy with both. I hope all my next projects are small ones, though. 🙂
I love that blue with the crisp white trim. I get very bored with neutral, ‘safe’ colours for houses. It’s just paint, and although changing it is a big job, the joy a vivid house gives far outweighs the task of repainting. You could have gone for a mid-grey. I’m so glad you didn’t!
Thank you! The house has been a mid-gray once already, which didn’t make it into these pictures — my father-in-law was in the Navy and liked everything shipshape. The funny thing is, the name of this color is “Shipwreck!” I love it, but I don’t think we would have had the courage if our neighbors had not chosen a very similar color first, allowing us to visualize better.
incredible to a UK reader that you can adapt and effectively play with the external layout of your house so much. It looks wonderfully light with all those windows.
We live in the unincorporated part of the county, so there aren’t many rules about what can be done. I think they are just glad whenever someone builds a real house and doesn’t just bring in some storage containers and tarps to live in. 🙂
I do love the light in this house; most of the rooms get light from at least two directions, which is what I grew up with, but not what I experienced in the typical suburban ranch houses we lived in later.
What a transformation and wonderful that you have photos. Love the colour.
Thank you! One of my favorite things about living here is getting to look back at the 60 years of photos we have. I am always staging groups of people to re-enact the old photos. 🙂
Fascinating to see how your house changed! All that loving investment – and in the articles to fill nooks and crannies with your treasures! I think there is nothing like the accruing of love in your home like this. Far better than heading out to IKEA for new and shiny 🙂
We have plenty of old treasures filling the nooks and crannies — but I do have at least 10 IKEA shelving units storing a lot of those treasures too! 🙂 They do blend in well. My goal is to get them cleared out a little so they look curated like the ones in the catalog.
My husband really loves this house because he worked on it with his dad, so that does make it a real treasure.
It’s so cool to see the changes across the years–helps you to really appreciate how long and involved this transformation was. Now that the outside is finished, what will you do with all your free time? (HA) You’ll be decorating very nook and cranny with pretty textiles, right?
We did the work all summer long, then we had a little party for the neighbors — House Reveal with Light Refreshments and Riparian Entertainments (Hyacinth Bucket would be proud). And I said to my husband, “So now can we do NOTHING? At least until it cools off?”
And he was very confused. He said, “What do you mean by that? We have stuff that needs to be done.”
Wow! What a good job you’ve done. I want to come for a holiday 🙂
Hurray! I am glad it looks holiday-worthy.
Maybe you better wait until I catch up on the housework I neglected while the big project was going on though, I would hate to lose you in the stacks of laundry.
🙂 You’ve made such a good job of it I’m sure you can be forgiven being behind on the laundry.
Some future archeologists will have fun deconstructing all the layers of your house. You’ve done it the old fashioned way, rather than the subdivision way. Are you done now, or are further changes/renovations a twinkle in your eye? Patio? Fancy landscaping? Wait, they don’t use fabric, and you need to break out your collection. Fabric wall covering?
Do not even put those ideas out there into the universe for my husband to pick up on. My sewing room still has an unfinished plywood floor and those old acoustic ceiling tiles, but I think I would rather leave it that way than move everything out of here for renovations to be done.
I have to admit we could definitely use some patio areas — this house was built on a slope and rain can cause some big puddles by the front door. But I will be happy to let nature arrange the landscaping. We cannot keep up with the weeds in the few flower beds we have.
Oh, my! That house has seen some changes! You are a brave woman to remodel again!
I wouldn’t say “remodel again,” I would say “remodeling still.” We have never lived in a new house (although not any really old ones either), and it feels to me like that is all we ever do. And we never do any one of the remodeling steps enough to get good at it, we always have to learn it all over when we do that step again a few years later. 🙂
Love the colours and appreciate all the effort that has gone into this home over the years… It’s great to be piutting your own stamp on it, while honouring the memories…enjoy.
Your house looks fabulous. Good job! Great color choice, whether inspired by neighbors or not.
Using the same color as the neighbors really helped us visualize how it would turn out. I like to think I have great color sense but I don’t think I would have ever thought of this as a possibility until seeing theirs. 🙂
Your house looks wonderful. It’s interesting to see all it’s transformations over the years. I also love your trunk. It has fantastic character 🙂
Thanks! I do love all the battered old things we have rescued over the years. It seems like half of our things are old stuff nobody wanted, and the other half is IKEA shelving units, of which I always need more, to house more old things!
The renovation/update looks wonderful. How nice to be able to look back upon the photos as an archive of all of the changes. Even the landscape (what I can see) looks changed. Moving the decking over some opened up that area of house and made a real difference and the paint choice is lovely. Congrats on a job well done and complete!
Thank you, I am very happy with it! I hope that now that it is done, I will have more time for quilting, etc., but I think my husband has a list of further projects. 🙂
What a wonderful house legacy. I like that blue color quite a lot, and it looks wonderful on the house, not at all short or squatty! The trunk looks terrific, too. I agree that it is a good place to show off the bear and the basket. You are a talented couple!
Thank you! I am always so happy when knock something off our “to do” list!