More Demolition, a New Floorplan, and a Butler's Pantry

The total destruction of the back patio is underway, and the master bathroom is still dragging on...
I'm currently stuck in "nail filling and sanding trim" hell. It's coming up on ONE YEAR since we started this emergency bathroom reno, and I just want to stop thinking about it. I still have so much to do in there! Here's the backyard today:
looking out the kitchen door to the screened porch

screened porch to upper back patio
 It's going to be months before this is usable space again, so all the back doors are locked. Thank God I don't have little kids anymore. My oldest starts high school next week!! Cannot believe it!
Ok so... the Butler's Pantry.
I'm trying to get organized and start drawing up floorplans for the entire house right now, because we are 18 months into hardcore renovations without them! This is because we are just putting out fires left and right -- the master bathroom was a mess because we had the plumbing disaster and we had to rip it out immediately (without a plan in place!) That is the absolute worst way to go about any renovation plan.

Here is the current floorplan of one half of the kitchen (with kids doodles) :
Here's the way that kitchen hallway looks right now:
 I know you're jealous right? hahahaaa!

The granite flooring has to come out and the whole bathroom is being torn down to the studs.
Ok so here is the current bathroom:
weird closet with air return

massive 36" doors everywhere

that bathtub has a hole in it that is currently covered with DUCT TAPE

Here is the new floorplan that is finally done! Just in case the bathtub finally disintegrates, I have a PLAN! I am terrified of what mold issues we will find when we tear out the bathroom since one of our boys (of course) was showering in there indefinitely before anyone noticed the hole in the bottom of the tub. :( I'm ranting "open your eyes" a LOT around here. Preteens are inherently only intelligent when it comes to their own interests, and have a peculiar blindness to everything around them. sigh. 

I crammed the bathroom into a smaller footprint because I need a butler's pantry! right!? (not sure where these first two pictures came from other than Pinterest, I couldn't find sources):

Marjorie Johnston
I think I need to carry the black and white chess floors throughout the bathrooms, laundries, and maybe this pantry. The rest of the house will be the oak flooring. I'm not restaining 5,000 sq ft of oak just because the trendy floors are dark now -- because you know everything comes back in style (as long as it's not horribly ugly).

The chess floors are my main nod to the French style of the house. French is not really my "thang" but I try to always honor the setting and the architecture of whatever house I'm working on. I am extremely influenced by turn of the century design, however, so any fixture or architecture from 1900-1940 is always going to find a way into my renovations. Thank goodness for that catchall phrase -- "eclectic" !

The next major renovation is going to be the library and the foyer. I will post those pictures and plans next. Trying to be all organized and stuff. :/

I ordered some of this wallpaper for the master bathroom and I'm trying it out... we'll see if it matches what I pictured in my head:
Kate Butler on Spoonflower
 Wallpaper can either be a hit or a miss, but not much inbetween.

Who's ready for the Solar eclipse!??? We're gonna be on the dock taking video because we are RIGHT in the path, this town is going to be a total madhouse with all the people coming here to see it!
If you're on instagram, connect with me here and I'll be posting pictures. Happy end of summer! xx

An update, and a Landscaping question: Knockout Roses

I don't know if I should even update this blog anymore, now that I've switched to Instagram!
The renovating continues, and the disasters never stop. Literally.
THIS WEEK, my AC unit in the attic leaked through the ceiling into my newly finished bedroom, and then the water main to the house ruptured! It's like this house is cursed by water demons.

But here we are, 9 months into a bathroom renovation:

It hasn't been fun, and I've decided we can't physically renovate like this anymore. We are officially too old for this. (He doesn't agree. But my knees may never recover) So this will be the last bathroom that we actually do ourselves. !
 What's that, you ask?

WELL. We hoisted the 300 lb marble vanity 12 feet in the air, on a rented steel lift thingy... I tore the railing off the staircase in order to get it up there... then we couldn't get it from the landing through the bedroom door so we had to "IMPROVISE".
We made a little platform that we could use to swing one end of the vanity  OUT. OVER. THE. FOYER.

Okay so enough of this. I am boring myself. We went to visit the Biltmore estate and while we were in Asheville I found a new artist I really like:
Bill Cole
I don't know why but this painting speaks to me. Maybe it reminds me of the Tybee house?

 We also had a malfunction on the boat, which caused it to ram the lift and break it. New shift cable + repairing the lift = yaaayyyy  :/  Honestly boats are not worth the expense and headache. Get a kayak or better yet, a floatie.

Okay but the most important thing --- what are we going to do with this wreck of a landscape? We tore out so many overgrown trees and I have a lovely new foundation plan, however I have to choose - between YELLOW knockout roses or the new CORAL knockout roses:
I have to pick one or the other. They will be in mass plantings so what would you choose? they will line the whole foundation...
 So long until the next disaster report...
 I hope you're all having a lovely summer 2017!

How to Spot Bad House Flipping, Part 3: Bad Bones and Staging Gone Wild

[ I wrote this a couple years ago when I was digging through my local real estate market looking for fixer uppers -- I discovered that my entire community had been ravaged by terrible house flippers and I was posting pics here as evidence and exposure of what not to do. Sick and tired of people screwing up properties! All of the original houses in this area have been "flipped" and now the cheap builders are throwing up vinyl-clad "trailers" on all the leftover acreage - I insist that there is a way to build nice looking homes and neighborhoods and still be profitable! Counties should be able to demand basic good design from these cheap builders! These houses are no longer investments - they are too much like buying a car now.]

{See part 1: Cheap Renos, -where we use Google earth to investigate the true before and after pics! and part 2: Color Blindness - where we see the local house flippers painting everything badly}
and I also posted an example of local luxury real estate craziness, here.

Here is another "flip" currently for sale. I know some potential buyers who went to look at it. They did not make an offer, and I wouldn't either.

Bad bones. The architecture of this one was just a mess. Nothing classic about this at all. Hard to tell where the front door is, not to mention there isn't a garage or anything. And this house is priced exactly the same as a comparable home from a local new home builder.

I'm going to show you the staging so we can have a giggle:

I think those are elephant heads.

So what have we learned here? Personally I'm not upset that they flipped this house because the architecture wasn't anything to get excited about. It's the flippers who screw up the good houses that really burns me up. If you're thinking about flipping, I hope this series was useful to you.

Final thoughts: your buyers are smarter than you hope, so design accordingly. Hardwood floors in medium brown tones will sell your house faster than all other hard finishes combined (as long as they are continued throughout the main floor).  And for the love of Pete, if you don't know how to stage and you haven't got any money left -- don't bother. Get some Yankee Candles (cinnamon roll!) instead.

The New Shower Design: Reality vs. Pinterest- Round #4,509,459

Well now that I am tits-deep in an emergency bathroom renovation, I've been burning up google and Youtube to research my shower options. It's been a long time since I installed a new shower - the Tybee house had one shower, like so:
So ... this bathroom calls for something quite a bit larger and more expensive. :(

August, the hideous steam shower before the demolition.

November - wall has been moved forward, new door openings framed, and that room behind the shower is now big enough for a laundry. It was originally intended to be either closet space or a sauna!

currently - working on tile now!
Here is what I have discovered about all the new shower trends.
Martha O'Hara Interiors via Home Bunch

This crap is really hard and expensive to bust up when a pipe bursts and you need to fix flood damage. End of story. I'm going to end up installing something similar to the above image but with a couple of insurance upgrades.

After all of my feverish research, the Schluter-Kerdi shower system appears to be the best for waterproofing a shower these days, and the easiest for me to install myself. I bought one of the kits and we're through the worst of it and into the tiling.

The shower pan in the Schluter kit is a lightweight styrofoam. That means that if your pipes burst and your whole bathroom is destroyed, you won't have to break your back trying to bust up a concrete pan with a pick ax!!

So. I have the Schluter-Kerdi kit. I have my new plumbing fixtures. I have (almost) decided on the tile.
But whats up with this new "frameless glass enclosure" tidal wave on Pinterest and design mags? I am not sold on it. I don't like being on display when in the shower, like a goldfish in a bowl. So that's why I have pony walls around the shower. Kinda like this:
Brooke Gianetti

Another consideration is that we have hard water. Which means all the glass is going to look like crap in a year. I want to minimize the amount of glass, the amount of nakedness on display, and the amount of back-breaking work to fix it in the event of a plumbing event.

More and more I realize: I design everything based on the worst-case scenario. Which might be an engineering thing, but it might also just be paranoia. When the shit hits the fan, how expensive will it be to fix? Because I am a glass-half-empty sort of person. Or, as Prince Charming likes to say: "waiting for the other foot to fall off" (shoe to drop, thank you.)

Bathroom renovations are crappy but at least it's not the kitchen yet!! (knock on wood!)

The Master Bedroom {Before and After}

I am just going to slap this up here and call it DONE so I can move on to the bathroom disaster in peace. ha.

If you follow me on Instagram you've seen some of this, I cannot figure out how to photograph interiors so that they dont look weird and dark!? But this is my best shot:

Okay so this is the before shot of this bedroom - it was an open loft to the great room. Totally awful.

The noise, the echoing, the HEAT, the lack of privacy - it was hideous. I asked every woman who saw it if she would ever buy this house (and keep in mind the view:)

and they all said "no. this is weird".

Which is bad news if you want to flip a house. Men don't care about the house - all they care about is the location and the view. Every man would stand at these windows and go "wow". If you pointed out any of the giant holes in the walls and floors they would go "uh huh. look at that view."

Clearly, my only market was men without wives. Which is way too small.

Things are looking up around here. PC moved the attic stairs from over in that corner, to the other corner of the bedroom ceiling. It was a nightmare, I screamed a lot and would run away from the ladder when I was supposed to be holding stuff up because I was scared I was going to be crushed and killed. PC says he's never moving attic stairs again as long as he lives. But he still likes me! #winning

But then he moved the pot lights and the vent forward so I could build my snazzy closet. I drew the palm tree design on paper and then my laser cutting dude transferred it to 1/8" plywood. Then I painted them and stuck them up there with hot glue. Seriously. Because someday I may want to clean those mirrors. Maybe.

This is from instagram and for some reason it flips the image like its a mirror. Everything is backwards

We were sleeping on a mattress on the floor for the first year of our marriage so getting a bed was a nice change:
Switch plate hole in the wall on the left - we still have to relocate some things because the bathroom is on the other side of this wall and we are currently demolishing it!
I got this old oil painting at a secondhand shop for $50 but the frame was really ugly so I painted it the wall color. The bed was $500 from JCPenneys online! This is a big improvement over the before:
I literally walked into this bedroom the first time and snatched that scarf off the wall!  I still have the weird strip of black granite flooring around the windows though -- one step at a time!!

The furniture layout is giving me problems because the room is an oblong shape. I need to put chairs in front of the bed but when I tried it, PC whined "it's in the middle of the room" -- sigh. I know it's not perfect yet but I was trying to explain furniture layout to him... and I had a FLASHBACK of when I was 15 years old... and I kept pulling the sofas in the living room away from the walls and putting them together in the middle of the room with the coffee table in front... and then my dad would walk through, shove all the furniture back up against the perimeter walls. Like a game of Twister was going to bust out any second and we needed the room clear?? WHY DO MEN NOT UNDERSTAND THAT FURNITURE DOESN'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE PRESSED UP AGAINST THE WALLS. I will come back to this problem in the future when I have less pressing concerns, and maybe when he is on a business trip. (lolz)

BACK TO THE SHOWER! He's mudding the drywall for me because I suck at that really bad. Then I am painting and finishing the ceiling first before I build the new shower:

YAY. Plumbing is done, walls are moved, subfloor replaced, and now it's almost time for the KERDI! I will post about my new waterproofing love affair after I install. This will be my first try at a Schluter-Kerdi system, so wish me luck. I'm sure something disasterous will happen, so I'll film it so Caressa can watch it on Youtube with popcorn. ;)

And YES, I really did fracture my thumb busting up the tile and my thumb is all deformed and still hurts. :( I was hoping the bump on the bone might go away but maybe that's not realistic. I can't wring out rags with that hand anymore. Bet you didn't think my pretty bedroom post was gonna end this way huh? ;) SNEAKY! Happy Halloween!