Making My Ugly Fireplace Pretty….

This morning, before I left for my studio, the sun was shining on my newly renovated fireplace and I took a few quick pics and thought I would update y’all on my latest home improvement DIY.

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When we moved into the house almost five years ago now, the kitchen and the fireplace were the two things I hated the most. The kitchen was torn out in the first 4 months but the fireplace was kind of put on the back burner…yes, it was ugly but we had to remodel the kitchen and master bath and paint and the list went on and on…..I mean there was a whole lotta Hunter Green tile…Ick!!!

So, I worked around it and lived with it (and its green tile)….then this summer we had a stone mason at our house for the exterior job. He inspected this fireplace and really recommended we tear it down. Yikes!!!! We are land locked on that side of the house with our neighbor plus the roof was built around the chimney. HUGE undertaking!!! So we went around and around in our discussion….and finally we were all in agreement we could repair this old guy. I mean it is pretty cool….this old field-stone fireplace does add to the cottage look….so instead of getting a new one and throwing tens of thousands more into this house, we will repair and rework it.

Demmo time!!!!

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Can you imagine how happy I was when we tore off that old oak mantle? I was literally jumping for joy and…..surprise! We found photos of the old homeowners from the ’90’s who put it in! How fun is that? I always wanted to find keys to the past in our house….but I was just not thinking it would be in such the recent past. Either way, it was fun! And one of the pics had the father and daughter standing in our great room with all of the walls torn down to the studs….so that’s when the drywall was replaced?!?!?

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Demmo was complete and my stone masons got to work to raise the hearth for me with a bit of limestone. They took off the doors and raised those too so it made a bit more sense. Yes, we lost a few stones and we broke a few in the process, which was sad but luckily, my yard was full of field-stone when we moved in and we still have some left even after the landscapers built retaining walls with most of it. They took a couple from the yard and worked them back into the face of the fireplace.

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After a week, the dust settled and they guys left us with this. The mortar is still wet in this photo and the doors were still off, but it was still an improvement!

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Now, it was our turn to build the mantle. I, of course, came up with the design and my talented husband built me what I wanted. He has become such an amazing carpenter….and I think he loves it as a hobby! I hit the jackpot ladies!!!

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We added Car Siding to a focal wall in our family room and we thought we would repeat it over the fireplace. When my new sectional, chairs and entertainment cabinet get here I will post about that project we completed over Christmas….stay tuned.

I really just wanted to keep the mantle simple. Our dining table sits in front of the fireplace so I wanted the mantle to draw your eye up the wall above the table and also break up the long expanse of wall on that side of the room.

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Here is the finished product as the sun came up over the lake this morning and streamed in the windows. Once my new table arrives you will get the full view. I think we did the right thing by keeping the old stone and altering/repairing the old girl. This fireplace was part of the original structure and hopefully she will be sound enough to last for may years to come.

 

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Finally The Wall Lake Cottage is done!!

The Wall Lake Cottage is done and open for summer fun for my clients! I have learned so much on this project. The main thing I learned is respect for anyone who is a General Contractor….not that I did not have respect before but, now I know what they go through. When we began this project in the fall, we were naive enough to think we didn’t need one. As the months wore on, we learned a few lessons and the project grew a bit in scope. Its funny because I spent months on construction and just a few short weeks filling it to make it pretty. From now on….I want to stick to the pretty!!

So back in the fall when we began, this is what this place looked like….

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The previous owners looooooved Navy Blue! The trim and cabinets were all navy….yikes!! I like Navy too but this was not done correctly as you can see.

The first thing we did was decide on a color scheme. My client and I chose a soft blue green called Stratton Blue by Benjamin Moore for the cabinets and the rest fell into place. Below are the initial concept boards I came up with.

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We decided to accent with Coral because it compliments the blue perfectly and add in warm grays as our neutral because that is the color of driftwood.

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We chose a laminate floor to lay throughout the entire 1200 sq. foot house (except the bathroom) to make the space seem larger….plus it is easy care for a lake cottage.

We painted the entire cottage, besides the cabinets and bathroom, white. It is crisp and clean….and really opens the space!

So, are you ready to see the end result?

Lets start with the Kitchen because this room is in the center of the house and contains the color we began with.

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We kept the 1950’s solid wood cabinets. We also kept the stove but got a new range hood and refrigerator. I did have to shop a bit for the fridge to make sure it fit under the cabinets and when I found this Maytag, I knew we had to have it with the stainless handle. It has an updated vintage vibe.

I bought the wood butcher block from Menards and had my carpenter cut it on site and install it. The sink is from Ikea and the faucet is by Moen. That cutie coral striped rug is by Dash and Albert, which is a must have for any lake cottage.

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The light fixtures are round flush mounts that mimic nautical lighting but not in the cheesy sense….I just bought these from Home Depot. We have low ceilings and wanted to keep them tight to the ceiling to make the space seem more open…..especially since this is the center of the home.

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The knobs are all mixed, as all kitchen should have! There is nothing I hate more that a kitchen with 52 of the same knobs!! The drawers are nickel cup hooks, the doors in the kitchen are glass knobs for the vintage appeal and the doors on both built in units have stainless ship cleats purchased from a marine supply company. Mixing up your hardware just add to the character of the space.

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So whats next? Lets reveal that living room…..

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It made a pretty cute transformation! We had a white blank canvas to work with. I ordered this slip-covered sleeper sofa from Pottery Barn in Textured Linen for a comfortable relaxed look. The rug is a chenille and jute from one of my rug lines that is super soft on the toes.

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The tables and pillows also came from a few scattered lines I carry at AHID. The reclaimed map of the Great Lake was done by a local artist in Kalamazoo. My client was the one who found him….and this is my favorite thing in the room!! I just ordered one for myself too! What a talent!

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The sconces were replaced with new nickel outdoor lighting from Home Depot. I love these sconces and why not use exterior wall lights inside a lake house?

The fireplace and mantle made the biggest creative transformations.

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The old fireplace was two different kinds of brick that by no means matched. We had to paint it or cover it. I chose to paint it and keep the budget down. I tried to explain to the painter what I wanted and she wasnt getting it, so to keep this project on track, I just dove in and painted it myself! I got on Pinterest, found the look I wanted and followed a bloggers tutorial. I wish I remembered who because I would totally give her credit! It turned out great! It was just white-washing with the right amount of wall paint (which we already had) mixed with water and a rag technique.

The mantle was just a solid piece of wood….kind of non-descriptive. My decorative painter was at the cottage one day dropping off a table and suggested I put barn wood up there.

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Months later, we bought a few 100 year old barn boards and my carpenter showed us how talented he is.

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He skinned the old mantle and it turned out beautiful….like it was here all along!

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Right off the Living Room is this cute little porch addition. The windows face the lake and this small space leads you right to the water. I guarantee that this is going to be my clients favorite spot in the house.

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We decided to put another sleeper sofa in here for overflow guests as well. This little 1200 sq. feet can sleep 10 if you can believe it!! This sleeper sofa is also from Pottery Barn and slip-covered in Texture Twill Metal Gray.

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The ottoman actually belongs with a PB chair we are still waiting for. Both are covered in Pottery Barns new Performance Awning Stripe, which is actually an indoor outdoor fabric. Dont you want to curl up on this sofa with a beer and relax?

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I also added a sideboard with board game storage on the opposite wall. The sideboard and all weather wicker arm chair are from World Market. A couple more pops of coral in the lamps and accessories to tie all the rooms together.

Off the living room is a tiny hallway that leads to the master bedroom and only bathroom.

Look at this hot mess….

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I just found the before photo of the bedroom and need to share it!

Yikes!!!!

It is a tiny bedroom, but we kept it simple.

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I kept the same color scheme in here as the living room, kitchen and sun porch. Just pops of coral but I went a bit further with the dresser and artwork to add some fun. The Client needed to have a queen bed in here for comfort sake, so we were very limited on space. The bed is from Ikea and so is the floor lamp. The bedding is Pottery Barn.  wall lake 9

My decorative painter found me this cute antique dresser and painted it coral….she thought I was nuts when called her and told her the color, but loved it all when she came to deliver it. I am so glad I took a chance and went with my gut. wall lake 36

I think this room made quite a transformation, don’t you?

Across the hall is the only bathroom in the cottage. This room was in terrible shape and had to be gutted. Lets look at the before again…..it actually looks better in pictures then it did in person!

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We put up new drywall and replaced the 3 foot shower stall with a 6 foot tub. I kept the decor very simple and just painted the walls Rockport Gray from Benjamin Moore. The shower curtain is a basic white. We had extra space left over in the corner after the shower was installed. My carpenter built me floor to ceiling shelves and skinned them with white laminate for easy cleaning.

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The vanity is from Home Depot. It is all white with a white marble top to add a bit of luxury at the lake. The light fixture is Murray Feiss and the faucets are all American Standard. The anchor towels and rug are all from West Elm.

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I kept the flooring very simple with standard white hexagonal tile sheets from Home Depot. I used a darker grout to match the warm gray in the driftwood flooring throughout the house. I did this for two reasons…I hate white grout (who wants to keep that clean?) and I wanted the tile pattern to stand out and add interest to this tiny bathroom.

On the other side of the house, just beyond the kitchen, are a few other rooms.

Lets start with the small dining area. Its so hard to imagine that a few months ago, this is what it looked like….seriously only in my nightmares!

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We started with a white blank canvas again.

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Then, I found this cute table and chairs from my super talented decorative painter, Becky at Urban Revival. The chandelier is from Pottery Barn. The table accessories are World Market. The rug is still on order and is just a simple braided jute.

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Off the dining room is the clients boys Bunk Room. Above is what it looked like before. Man, did these people love an oak ceiling fan too!

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The room has two sets of bunks decorated in more primary red and blues. The sheets and bedding are Tommy Hilfiger. This room got closet doors, which were in the attic? and we carried the driftwood flooring in here as well.

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Becky painted these cute side chairs as well….this room is so close to the dining area, that I made sure there were extra scattered for visitors. If we can sleep 10, then we need to seat 10 to eat, inside and out!

The last room has made the biggest transformation. This is the laundry room, and also how you enter the house from the garage. Check out that before….

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Yes….that is a stack-able washer and dryer in the middle of the floor. Yes, they are draining into that hideous sink. What are people thinking????

We ditched the sink and my awesome carpenter from CE Squared Construction came up with a solution. What do you think of this????

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While he was solving my laundry problems, he also made this useless coat closet into a mudroom directly across the room!!! So talented!! I love how this turned out.

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Check out the Before compared to the After….

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The seat opens up for storage and the coat hooks are boat cleats straight from the local marina.

I think these clients are officially ready for summer in Michigan!!

Thanks for visiting my latest project. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

So proud of this little DIY!

I met with my “Terrier Trail” Clients today. We have been working on a Whole House Color Palette for paint plus some rugs, furniture and accessories coming down the road. We have only been working together for only a few weeks and are in the early stages of design. One of the priorities for the couple is to complete The Man Cave/ Whiskey Bar in the basement. When they first moved in they had some cabinets installed to form the bar area but that is as far as they had gotten.

After my initial consult, I went home and looked for ideas to complete the bar shelving.

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I pinned this idea and it was exactly what they were looking for!

Thanks so much 7th House on the Left !!!

I was in the basement, finalizing the paint scheme when I noticed that they were up and just what I had pictured….I love that this couple tackled the project before I could even blink!

It all only cost $125!!

Good thing he saved on the shelving because he has plans to fill them up….and he is obviously using them because Jack is down on the counter with a glass….even better!

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge DIY’er….and I love it when others take on projects. Large or small, there is so much gratification in building something from scratch.

We still need to paint this basement Man Cave/ Whiskey Bar and for the other side of the sink we are thinking a few Wine Barrel Racks like these to also display their wine collection.

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I just wanted to share a little Pinterest DIY Success!!

For all of you out there that Pin and never do it (I am guilty too), tackle a little project this weekend!!

It will be worth it!

Wall Lake Cottage Project

Here is the scoop on a project that has been taking up a great deal of my schedule lately. I am playing General contractor these days for this cute little cottage up on Wall Lake in Delton. My clients purchased this guy in the fall and we have spent the last few months getting it ready for summer. I know I posted some Idea Boards for furnishings recently but I think I should start back at the beginning.

Let look at the kitchen the day my clients took possession on this 1200 square foot beauty.

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Very Nautical with the navy cabinets….yikes!!! We had Navy trim throughout the house as well….and they must have had extra navy because all of the exterior trim is navy too! Navy is very popular now but when not used properly it can be really bad.

I knew this had to go and we needed to brighten up this small space. I felt like I was in a cave….

Almost all of the flooring was vinyl or carpet in the home….neither of which we wanted to keep.

The first thing we did was come up with a color scheme. The walls all needed to go white. We chose your basic Sherwin Williams Extra White for the walls, ceiling and trim.

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The cabinets in this centrally located kitchen would be the only color in Benjamin Moore Stratton Blue HC-142.

Next we chose the flooring, which would be the same throughout. We went with a higher end 12mm laminate for easy cleaning and durability.

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The flooring is Quick Step Reclaime in the color Mocha.  I love the way it looks like old barn wood….that perfect weathered lake house look. Like all remodels, we hit a glitch with the flooring which delayed our project for two months. The manufacturer discontinued the flooring after our order but we finally got it installed throughout the entire house right after the Christmas holidays.

While we were waiting we forged ahead with the kitchen.

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The cabinets were painted, new hinges and knobs were put on.

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Then we topped them with easy to care for butcher block.

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I added an awesome farmhouse sink from IKEA, with a pull out Moen faucet.

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The last thing we did in the kitchen was add a simple subway tile back-splash for a clean look.

During this time the cottages only bathroom was gutted down to the studs. This is what it looked like before.

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The bathroom was super small with a 3 foot stand up shower. The shower had a bulk head over it that dropped a foot to house an exhaust fan. it was a little claustrophobic not to mention gross….the double sinks could go as well since this was just a tiny family cottage.To maximize the space we needed to add a 6 foot tub/shower and a new vanity.

Here it is in progress today.

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The tub, new vanity and all new plumbing have been installed. The tile is just basic white hexagonal tile with Oyster Gray grout. Below is an example of the Idea Board I gave to the client to keep us on track.

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Now we just need the finishing touches.

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The walls will be painted Rockport Gray this week.

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This is the new light fixture and I am waiting on a rustic barn wood mirror to arrive.

The shelving we added for baskets and rolled towels will also be trimmed out and finished this week. My favorite contractor, CE Squared, who has been doing all the work for us on this house, came up with a fantastic idea. The shelves are all done in a white laminate so they are easy to keep clean rather than a painted shelf! What a great tip and it did not cost much more at all!!

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Here are the before pics of the family room.

I wish I had some better updates because this room looks 100% better but I will post them soon. We painted this room white and it got new Reclaime Mocha flooring. Before the flooring went in I tackled the fireplace myself. The painter was not grasping what I wanted the fireplace to look like so, I just rocked it out myself. We had two types of brick on the fireplace and it was so dark and dated….not the light look we were going for. So, I white washed it to bring it all together!

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And this is what it looked like the day I was done….it will also have a new gray barn wood mantle soon. Stay Tuned!

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Since then, the flooring was installed, the new ceiling fan went up and the sconces went in next to the fireplace. This room is just waiting on the upholstered furniture to arrive!!

Below is the Idea Board that the client and I started with.

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This cottage is transforming into such a cute family vacation spot.

I cant wait to show you the end result!!

Texas Township Client Update

As I am going through my files, I realized I haven’t posted an update about my clients in Texas Township. This couple, like so many I meet with, moved to the Kalamazoo area from a much more urban area where they had less square footage in their last home. They arrived in the new home and were over whelmed with how to fill the space and make it feel like home. Here are some pictures from last spring when they had just moved in.

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The entire home was painted in very dark chocolate tones, so our first task was to get some painters in there to lighten it up!

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We chose Benjamin Moore 991 Grege Avenue for the Kitchen, Family Room, Foyer and Living room.

Next on to the fun part…furniture!!! We shopped at some local stores and came up with a color scheme for each space.

The Living Room was the first room we purchased furniture for. We used the stone from the fireplace to dictate the jewel tones we would pull as accents into the room.

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We went with a simple gray sofa and fell in love with these chairs!!

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One of the rugs I carry in my exclusive line, tables, lamps and hand picked accessories to bring those built-ins to life! We added pops of navy to coordinate with the eggplant. My client loves jewel tones and I think this was the best way to give her that while keeping it light and casual for this growing family.

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This was the final look this fall….we still have a few outstanding issues like the artwork over the fireplace. My client loves this photographer from New York, so we need to have this specific photo re-framed with a larger frame and mat or enlarged. She hasn’t decided yet.

So next up was the nook table. The light above the table was very small, they needed a new table and a rug to add a pop of color.

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We chose the light fixture no problem but they really went out of their comfort zone on the rug.

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I suggested this rug because it ties the living room and the family colors together….not to mention it hides a multitude of sins in a home with two small kiddos.

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This is what we ended up with and I think it is a huge improvement over what was there initially. I wish I had a photo of the old country oak table and indoor/outdoor rug that was here!

The next space we moved to is the family room. This space needed new furniture as well so we ordered brown leather sectional from my favorite local furniture store, Talsma and some side tables.

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We decided on a Navy and Orange color scheme to bring the navy from the living room.

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When I took these pictures we still had furniture on order. These two light linen chairs will flank the window opposite the sectional and this hammered copper top end table will divide them.

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I also ordered this end table for the end of the sectional, to bring in that rustic wood element that is also in the large round tray on the ottoman.

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I accessorized the book shelves in here too and because this room is more casual, we went with a large round ottomon in a linen to break up the leather.

So what is next? Well, we painted the study, master bedroom and all of the kids rooms but they are all still a work in progress.

The Master is the next main focus. Here is the before….

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We are keeping all of the furniture but have ordered new bedding from Pottery Barn.

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I chose Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue HC-143 and it has hit the walls but I have yet to see the bedding with it.

I cant wait to get some pattern in there!!

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We still need lamps, which I have selected from one of my lines….I am just waiting for the client to tell me her fav.

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 Which is yours??

So, hopefully in a few weeks we will have some more progress on this projects and I can get more pictures on here! Stay tuned……

Fireplace Reveal

I have a client who lives in a beautiful custom home that is about 15 years old in a very popular subdivision outside Kalamazoo. I actually have a few clients in the neighborhood and they all seem to struggle with some of the same problems. Basically, they move in, inherit the previous owners stamp on the property and need to make it their own. This clients main issue in all the years they have lived in the home is that they HATE their fireplace…..I have to say I cant blame them!

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They are a young family and spend a ton of time in this room. It is adjacent to the kitchen and it appears that the previous owner did have some sort of a plan and had the custom built-in made. The built in matches the kitchen cabinets and provides some sort of balance to both ends of the space . But that fireplace??? Its dwarfed by the built in and the brick is just plain ugly….not to mention a hazard for their two year old!! Those are her toys by the way….she was pretty much using it as her toy shelf!

My job is to update the fireplace wall, keep the furniture and maybe add a very few accessories, like pillows to warm it up! Totally On It!!

So, I collaborated with my contractor. I knew I wanted an updated stone look from floor to ceiling and a mantle that stretched across the wall to give some balance. He came up with a fantastic idea to have the front of the raised hearth paneled to carry the built in over!!! I love it when two great ideas come together. He contracted a woodworker to customize the panels and mantle. I was off to pick the tile!

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The rug is full of burgundy, purples, and small accents of turquoise. The client loves it, so that is we used as inspiration. The slate stacked stone I picked from the tile showroom could not have been more perfect.

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My contractor then removed the brick and old mantle, then built a box to construct the hearth.

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Then the tile began to go up and I couldn’t have been more happy with how it all was coming together!!!

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The finished product was gorgeous!!!!

And the rest of the room??

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We added Throw pillows to the existing sofas….this is my signature accent! Pillows can change the look of the room and add comfort….I mix and match them and ALWAYS use down filled. The bonus to a down pillow is that the cover almost always comes off and you can interchange them with the seasons. Plus a pillow cover is easy to clean if there is a spill etc. You will also notice that floor lamp in the back ground. I just bought a drum shade and took off the out dated bell shade to give it a quick and inexpensive update.

We did purchase a blue table lamp to bring in more of the accent color, but most of the accessories we used were here  in the home. Notice we also bought some gold round vases in the photo below and placed them in the open space of the entertainment center. This carries the gold over from the fireplace and surprisingly makes it look less dated. Gold is back, people!! Lets just apply it the correct way!

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We also changed the furniture configuration and it really opened up the space. My favorite little golden-doodle puppy client, Sophie, had to be in the photo. She wanted to show her approval. I hope to get a photographer to take more professional portfolio pictures in the coming months but I figure, if I am taking them with an iPhone then I can slide a cute puppy in there….

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This room is lookin’ good….now on to the next project!

Finally my Master Bath is done!

Well, summer is in full swing here on the Lake so between clients, kids, and lake side activity I haven’t had much time to update my site.

My master bathroom was finished a few months ago and I realized I never shared the photos so, better late than never.

Upon Entry to the bathroom, it is clean and restful. We did not have the option to change the footprint of the room, but just by hanging the white ship lap siding and painting it out in a crisp white with a Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray accent, it makes a bold neutral statement.

It makes me happy every morning when I step inside and that is all that matters…I am, after all, my own worst client!

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 Both vanities are identical but I added artwork to subtly denote the female side from the male side. In the design of this house, I have tried to take most of my art work from nature in keeping with the lake house theme.  I have a pretty french print on fabric stretched over canvas on my side and a pair of Giclee fish with a burlap accent for my husbands side.

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I couldn’t be more happy with the storage options I gave myself.

What a huge improvement over the tiny vanity I used to open and everything would spill out onto the floor!!

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This medicine cabinet holds everything!!

There is a mirror inside and one out….how in the world did I live without this?

I think I get ready faster now that I have everything so organized.

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Plus I love the retro hardware on the cabinet….I have always wanted that hardware in a house of mine and I made it happen!

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My makeup drawer has never looked so good! The large drawers on the vanities were a great storage idea. My Husband, who doesn’t have as many toiletries, can keep all of his in the medicine cabinet and then his drawers are for extra sheets and towels since we don’t have a linen closet on this side of the house.

I am not a huge fan of  “matchy” towel bars so I just purchased some simple hooks for each vanity area. This works great for towels, robes and to hang out your outfit for the next day.

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I kept the water closet area very simple.

We were going to hang shelves over the commode but after moving into the vanities we felt we had solved our storage problem. A simple basket to hold extra toilet paper is all we need.

Keeping it simple once again and it worked out much better!

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The shower was a huge project but probably the most worth it in the entire room!

I have never been so thankful to have a beautiful shower door instead of a curtain…what a clean simple look!

The grout shows no water stains and it is now easy to keep clean. All of those hours of staining and re-grouting were worth the end result.

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I love the penny tile….maybe I am crazy but it just makes me happy and it feels great on your feet.

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So that is it! A simple master bath renovation.

Of course, my husband and I did most of the work.

How much do you think it all cost? I just looked at the final numbers and was shocked myself….it really does pay to be a DIY’er!!

We spent about $3000 which is pretty amazing since the average master bath remodel costs around $10,000-$15,000.

We did hire a plumber to move some plumbing to fit the vanities which cost us about $200.

So, what is next?

Well, the master bedroom, of course!!

But first, I did a little rearranging in my family room and had my back yard landscaped this summer so, stay tuned…

I promise I will update you all on those finished projects.

There is always something changing here at my fixer lake cottage!!

From Panic Room to Media Room…..

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When we downsized to this little lake cottage, we knew we were giving up a 1200 square foot finished basement.

Our old basement was half the size of this cottage!!

But, we are a family of three and we did not need a 3600 square foot home with 5 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths.

We made the decision that we would rather have lake front property than the big suburban home…..plus, who wants to clean all that?

Not Me!!

The lake cottage does have a tiny basement…. pretty much a 105 square foot room with a small entry foyer to the home, a garage and a tiny workshop.

So, the question was what do we do with this small 105 square foot room that was dark, dirty and smelled pretty musty?

The room does have a door but is right off the entry foyer to our home.

The old owners used it as a storage room and probably had never vacuumed the musty old Berber carpet that was inside.

For the first year we lived here we did nothing. We had a kitchen to tear out and we had plenty of other projects to make the main spaces livable.

The room inevitably became storage…..and became known as “The Panic Room”.

Why, you ask?

Well, my 6’2″ neighbor decided that is what it should be called because every time he entered, he panicked a bit…..what I haven’t told you yet, is that this room only has 7′ ceilings!!

Yikes!!

What are we ever going to do with this space? It would be a shame not to use it!

So, last spring, after a gathering at a friends home, I was lamenting the fact that we did not have a separate place for my daughter and her friends to play video games or watch movies, like in our old basement.

Perfect!

That is what I would do with The Panic Room!

We need to convert it to a Media Room!

First, I needed a bit of design inspiration.

We would go with a bit of Coastal Chic like the rest of the house, but what would my colors be?

My husband happens to be the worlds largest Chicago Cubs fan and that spring he was mad because he had no place of his own to watch the game….I think my daughter and I had taken over with HGTV again!

Even my husband complaining gives me inspiration sometimes!

We have plenty of Cubs memorabilia left from our old basement and what is more fun for a lake house than Red, White and Blue with the Stars and Stripes?

Lets get Started!!! And we should probably begin with the smell, LOL!

I needed to get rid of that musty carpet….but do I replace it with carpet?

It does stay pretty chilly down there in the winter?

No! We don’t want this old basement to smell like a basement anymore!

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So, off to Lumber Liquidators I went.

I absolutely fell in love with this gray laminate floor!

Why Laminate?

Because it is does very well laid over a concrete basement floor when installed properly over a vapor barrier.

The carpet and pad only soaked up the moisture that come up through the concrete.

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We gutted the ceiling of the room first….hoping maybe it was dropped a bit.

No luck, but we solved the many electrical issues that awaited us.

I swear this house is Pandora’s Box!

Did I mention that in a 7′ room they installed fluorescent flush mount lights with oak trim?

Who had these bright ideas?!?!? (No pun intended)

There is my electrician looking perplexed as usual….

We installed puck lights with MR16 bulbs.

I love the light they cast….yes, I can be a huge lighting nerd but I promise you, it makes a difference.

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Instead of dry-walling the ceiling again, we installed white bead board just like the rest of the house. This, unfortunately, is my only before/in progress photo. I wish I could have bottled the smell so people would understand how gross this room really was!

It looks fantastic now….and even though we were not able to raise the ceiling, the room has the illusion of more height.

The room also had bead board installed a bit higher than chair rail height in about 3/4 of the room but never finished?

We finished it and trimmed it all up, painted it all white, and the Panic Room was finally causing less Panic!

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The drywall in the room needed a bit of color. I took a cue from the driftwood floor and choose a neutral gray called Bedford Gray by Martha Stewart.

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We hung an older spare TV we had on the wall….yes, I know we need a larger one!

How can this be a Media Room with such a small TV?!?!

The 55″ Flat screen will soon move down there when we acquire a new TV for our family room. Our Family room is in the process of a face-lift as we speak!

We had the credenza from our old basement plus the old game board on the wall.

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My mom sent me these antique decoys that she had collected 30 years ago.

They have to be over 100 years old and perfect for my Lake Cottage!

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This one is my favorite!

Thanks Mom!

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The seating in the room is a bright red sofa from Ikea with some patriotic pillows courtesy of Pottery Barn.

I used the basket cubes from my daughters room as a coffee table….they now contain all the Lego’s for she and Daddy to create with!

This room has turned out perfect for Father-Daughter bonding.

What is better than video games, Cubs baseball and Lego’s?

The rug is a soft jute from Rugs USA and completed the look….plus warms up the floor a bit.

The entire room was done with almost all things we had here in the house already!

There is nothing better than shopping in your own house for decor.

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It is now a clean, family space to throw your feet up and watch the game!

The latest project at my fixer Lake Cottage…..

Well, today we finally start on the Master Bathroom project!

I can not wait to transform this space!!

This is the bathroom we use the most so, it needs to be, first and foremost, functional but also pretty.

Since my cottage is not that big, I want to carry some design elements in from the rest of the house. We did Cararra Marble in the kitchen and I think I want to carry that into the master. The house is on a wooded lake lot so that inspires me to keep lots of my design finishes natural products  for example, woods, marbles and stone.

The bathroom is very small and we have to keep it light and open too.

Let the design plan begin!

Here are some of my inspiration pictures from my Master Bathroom Pinterest Board

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First I need to determine what I have to keep and what my budget will allow me to get rid of.

It would be super easy to just gut it and start over, but I need to keep the budget realistic. That is not an option for me, so gotta get creative!

Lets look at what we have to work with….

Fist of all, I think we should keep the shower.

It is white subway tile in pretty decent shape.

The light above it will have to be replaced because it does not work. The last owners electrician was very talented at doing everything backwards.

The shower curtain needs to go and we need a glass shower door for sure!

The shower head and controls will also have to be replaced because they don’t match.

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Since we have well water and it is hard to keep the grout in the shower pure white, I am thinking we should actually re-grout the shower in a gray, and maybe redo the tile on the shower floor, like the photos below….

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The entire bathroom floor must be replaced!

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Someone, in their infinite wisdom, decided 4×4 wall tile with white grout was the way to go in here….Yikes!!!

This just screams, “I am too cheap to do it the right way”!!

I hate when I see this in bathrooms…and this is the second home we have owned where the previous owners did it! Although the last was done in the ’90’s….this one in 2005!!

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A few weeks ago, I got a great deal on Cararra Marble at a local home improvement store.

It was on closeout so, I bought all they had and it is waiting in my garage until we are ready to install.

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The existing vanities are a real issue.

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We have His and Hers vanities which are great but they are only 22″ wide….good for Him but not Her!

The storage space in them is terrible and I am way too organized to live with all of my beauty products teetering on the edge everyday….guess how many times a week bottles fall out like Dominos?  Try almost every day!! It is a nightmare!!!

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We decided on these new vanities that are 36″ wide with drawers from Home Depot.

These vanities are stock and come with a plain white counter top and integral sink.

They are $299 each, which is a steal considering my dream vanities from Restoration Hardware were $2000 each.

Always Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget!

I am thinking of painting them gray like the photo below….or maybe we just leave them as is and change the hardware?

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That’s still up for debate!

But, I will add a nice sea grass basket in the bottom to hold extra towels and wash clothes and we are all set!

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And the mirror is not staying….as much as my husband thinks these are for old people, two recessed medicine cabinets are in our future.

We NEED the storage!

He may be adding some trim around them to make them look a bit more retro.

Hmmmmm??? I am sure he will love that!

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The sink lavatory faucets we can keep. They are in great shape and I like them.

They are from Kohler’s Devonshire Collection in a classic widespread style.

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The shower, unfortunately, was another area where the last contractor dropped the ball.

The shower head and controls are also from Kohler’s Devonshire Collection but a different finish….why don’t people pay attention to detail??

So, I will be ordering a new shower head and control trim to the tune of $400!

On to lighting next!

I am not in love with these very basic sconces we have now….we need character!

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And since this is a lake house, I am thinking these??

They are from Home depot at $35 a pop and I need 4, they are a steal!

They are exterior lights but sometimes you have to think outside the box when it comes to adding character your home.

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The last area I am concerned with is the small water closet.

Like I said before, we need storage.

I don’t have a linen closet on this side of the house to keep our towels and sheets in.

This may be just the place for some rolled towels and lidded baskets for another set of sheets.

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I am thinking we need to build out shelves like these photo ideas from my Pinterest board.

The last big question is what to do with the walls??

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This chair rail we have rockin’ is too low and I feel like it is making the room look smaller.

And, the window will be frosted glass….no more window treatments!

I need a clean look!

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Do I tile the entire Sink wall a a focal wall….and mix in the white subway tile from the shower to make it flow? 

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Do I do another chair rail with a deco tile and tile below it with the white subway tile?

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Maybe I tile higher than average chair rail height plus paint a bit darker to break up the white and add a bit of drama to the room??

Well, I have lots of work to do this weekend and in the coming weeks.

I have the basics picked.

Lets see how it evolves!

Every Lake House needs a Butler’s Pantry, right?

Today, I thought I would would share one of my favorite rooms in our vintage lake cottage. This room originally was the Master Bath until 2005 when the previous owners added a new Master Suite in an addition they put on the south side of the house. This poor old Lake House has gone through so many remodels….one tour of our basement and it reminds you of a jigsaw puzzle!!

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Excuse the mess in the pictures…this is how this room looked the week we moved in. The space is located right off our kitchen and they really had the right idea to make it a pantry. There is also a closet right next to the door of this room that we also decided to make a pantry with shelves. It is small and they used it as a coat closet, which really did not flow with how our family was going to live in the space. Plus, I dont like clutter, so its a great pantry closet to hide all the ugly necessities that you have to keep in the pantry.

So, did we need another pantry?

What do we do with this weird, rather large room with a sink??

We did need a place to put our upright freezer….gotta have a place to store our Organic Beef we get from a farmer in Indiana!

So, my wheels started turning….

And I have always wanted a Butlers Pantry!

A place to store glassware, dishes, serving pieces and wine! Perfect! Plus, we have the bonus plumbing, so this calls for a Wet Bar!

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This is the view from the doorway to the kitchen now, after a lot of lumber, beadboard and white paint!!

What do you think of the antique auger my mom bought me at a local antique store….she is so funny! She picked it up, and said “This is a really big corkscrew! You need it for your bar!”. My mom is a great person to go antiquing with, and she taught me so much as a little girl….dragging me up and down the Blue Star Highway in and out of every antique store. Who knew I would grow up to love it and live so close to all the places visited as a kid?!?!

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My husband built custom shelving on one side of the room out of pine and we lined the other 3 wall with bead-board.

We have bead-board in the entry, basement, and guest room/bath, so we wanted to add more to make it all flow together nicely.

Gotta keep that Cottage Vibe!

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He even made me a custom wine rack for our everyday wine that we don’t store with the “good stuff” in our temperature controlled basement.

I love the way wine bottles look in racks! They are a great accessory!

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I now have a place for our freezer, my cookbooks and canisters of flour, sugar etc. The baskets hold potatoes and onions, and paper plates and napkins we use for entertaining.

We have a little alcove for a trash can, which really holds all of our returnable cans and bottles…..here in Michigan we have to bring them all back to the store to get our refund!

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He even made me a special cubby for my vintage Coleman Cooler.

I got it for next to nothing at my favorite Ann Arbor Thrift Store. I love this thing! It just screams Lake House and stores extra cans of soda and beer perfectly!

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The light fixture was in an odd spot, but we left the electrical in the same place so we would not have to patch the ceiling.

I like the pendant we chose from Ikea and the fact it is placed off center.

It adds more character to this old cottage for sure!

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On the opposite wall, where the old sink was, needed storage first so we purchased stock oak cabinets from Home Depot.

We installed them ourselves and added a small beverage fridge for beer, wine and soda.

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We painted the cabinets Behr Fashion Gray, added a little trim to make them look a bit more custom and threw in some under cabinet lighting.

They turned out great!

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Next I purchased a stock maple butcher block counter top from Ikea along with the stainless drainboard sink.

I stained the counter top and sealed it with a product called Waterlox, that I bought at a wood working supply store. I knew that with a wood counter top, I wanted to limit the chances for water or spills to sit on the finish, and the drainboard integrated with the sink would do that.

This is the perfect place to wash all of those wine glasses and let them dry before they get put away!

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Next came the hardware, which is like jewlery for your cabinets! Gotta have it!

Right now, I am obsessed with Mercury Glass. I saw these knobs at Anthropolgie for $10 each….too much for the Butlers Pantry! I ended up finding the same knobs at Hobby Lobby for $3 each and was sold! I cant tell you enough how much I love Hobby Lobby!!

By now you probably realize that I don’t like things to be matchy-matchy, so I chose drawer pulls from Martha Stewart’s line at Home Depot for the drawer and sink tilt-outs to hide my sponges etc.

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My favorite item in the room is this antique map from 1910 that my mom bought me as a gift the first time she came to visit me.

We found it in a local antique store and had to have it!

I had it framed at Hobby Lobby in a reclaimed barn wood frame.

A perfect conversation piece when you are pouring a guest a drink!

I hope y’all enjoyed my Butlers Pantry!

I promise there is more to show you in my 1960’s Lake House, so stay tuned!!