Last week was a fun one! Since Michael was in Mexico (and is safely back now, thanks for the prayers!) I was the one who got to check on the house every afternoon. I was like a kid on Christmas morning going in to see what had changed from the day before.
I will confess. I may have lost my vision and my excitement there for a few weeks once the house was officially ours. Last February when we took our first look at the house I could really see it becoming something special, but then we paid for it and the reality set in that there's a lot to be done on a fixed budget and it was hard for me to get past all that.
This week helped me get my groove back! With all the old (read: nasty) flooring gone, the cabinets and fixtures removed from the bathrooms and the WALLS REMOVED I was able to see it, really see it, again. This place is going to be cool.
The first few days of last week progress seemed slow, but they were able to get all the popcorn off the ceilings, most of the wallpaper off and the bottom cabinets pulled out from the kitchen. On Tuesday our builder brought us two old Polaroids of the house when it was first built. I'm a super visual person and being able to see the house clean and well-kept was really an inspiration to dig in and fight for this home. No wonder the neighbors give us hugs when they see us! It would be so sad to watch a beautiful home like this on your street fall into such disrepair.
We'd been working on getting some antique doors for the front of the house, the "service entry" (that's what Mr. E called it and it stuck) and the door we are adding off the kitchen to the back yard. We visited Southern Accents in Cullman, AL several weeks ago to see what they had. If you live in Alabama and have never been to this place I highly recommend you go. It is just the coolest. We will be headed back for other pieces for the house for sure! We found the two single doors we needed easily - one from Chicago way back when. The other we didn't get the history on. But the opening for the front door is like 54 inches wide (which is weird - for those of us who know nothing about standard door measurements) so we ran into a little trouble there. We ended up falling for a set of antique double doors from Philadelphia that were actually already spoken for. But this week they became available again so I snagged them up!
On Wednesday, I picked out garage doors. The problem with having to pick out garage doors means we also have to pick out exterior colors already which I am going back and forth on because...
I want to paint the brick. Michael does not. We typically agree on everything, but this happens to be one topic we're both pretty set in our own opinions. My side of the story is: the brick is sort of a strange, orangey color that I'm not super in love with. I also just happen to be obsessed with painted brick - actually whitewashed or smeared brick, either one. Michael's side is: he thinks the brick adds to the old English flair of the house which is part of what made us fall in love with it in the first place. The brick is a very special, antique, wood-molded brick that's hard to find and pretty pricey. He's afraid we'll regret painting over something with all that history. And you can't take it back.
What we've decided to do (for now) is leave the brick for two reasons. 1.) I may love it once the trim is repaired and painted, new doors and windows installed, landscaping done and the bow tied on the house. 2.) We actually don't have space in the budget to paint the brick right now anyway. ;)
So, I'm struggling with paint colors for the trim, siding and shutters/doors. I know I don't want the trim to be white or anything with a yellow tint at all, so I'm leaning toward Sherwin Williams Felted Wool and Amazing Gray - it's a toss up for which would be siding vs. trim right now. For the shutters and single doors, I'm thinking SW Charcoal Blue. (?!?) The front double door I expect will be stained with a pretty antique-looking glass in the windows. We're going to do a test of some of the paint against the house soon so I can get a visual and go from there. I'm up for suggestions on anything you've seen look good against similar brick!!
Anyway, back to the garage doors. Our builder suggests picking out a garage door that is already a color (aka: you don't have to paint) because they last longer and require less upkeep. I want to make sure they match the trim colors as best possible...again, paint dilemma. I went with garage doors without windows to save a little money. Plus, the garage has plenty of windows already. We are going to add some interesting hardware which will match the style of the house and blend really well.
The best day was Friday when I walked in to a completely open new family room!!! Y'all I wish I hadn't been alone because I was so excited! It is a NEW HOUSE with all that natural light coming in and the open feel of that big room. It makes the whole house feel so much more welcoming. I can't get over it! The wall between the kitchen and dining room is still braced for support so it wasn't quite the same, but I could still get a feel for what it will be like.
The house was clear from most of the demo debris, and the master bath space really opened up once that was the case. I was even able to stand at the door of each room and think of the type of furniture we are going to need to make this house a home!
About the author:
Andrea is an Alabama girl with a love for travel, tea and books. She is mommy to daughters, Alice and Eleanor, and wife to Michael. Together they are tackling a fixer-upper to make it their home for years to come.