How the Past Influences the Future

Monday, May 17, 2010

Today's post is a little more personal for me. I want to share how my past has lead me to where I am now.  

I have always loved decorating and design.  I remember when I was a little girl that some neighborhood kids and I constructed a "fort" out of found materials, (plywood, branches, whatever we could find).  I distinctly recall wanting to be sure it had lots of windows and then foraging for whatever materials I could find for my makeshift "curtains" .

When my husband and I got our first apartment (it was a tiny 1-bedroom loft) my passion for creating beautiful interiors really took off.  I was always painting something or coming home with another fabric sample or flea market treasure.  Luckily, my supercute and sweet husband let me indulge my creative side and put up with whatever "look" was appropriate for decade we were living in.  

Then came the point of no return and an added bonus:  My above-mentioned supercute and sweet and uber-talented husband started a construction company that specialized in residential construction!!  See the beauty/danger here? Yep, he was always re-doing a kitchen, reconfiguring a bathroom, adding some crown molding/picture molding/ judges paneling, wainscoting, or tiling something for me.  

Add to this a shared love of architecture and historic homes and next thing you know we started a business of buying run-down historic properties and completely renovating them from foundation to rooftop! I thought I died and went to heaven!!!  Can you imagine anything more glorious than being responsible for giving new life to a turn of the century home with all of the architectural details of that era - high ceilings, heart pine floors, built-in china cabinets, foot-high baseboards, transoms and ornate door and window hardware.

The start of every new project rendered my "giddy"  The restoration process itself was grueling, frustrating, and seemingly never-ending.  But when the final finishes started to go up (paint was always the biggest transformer), the end result was worth all of the frustration ten-fold!  

So, I thought I would share some of our projects with you, complete with before and after photos!  

First project ever -before/during

After - sorry these photos are so grainy, they are pretty old!

Here is supercute and sweet hubby working on old window restoration.  

This is the first restoration we did as our own home - looks kinda Munster-ish, right?

Here it is nearly finished - it is magnificent - my favorite house ever! (and we have lived in a bunch). We lived here a few years and then sold it and moved on to this one -

Not quite sure what's up with that peach and rose color scheme, but another spectacular historic home that needed a little(a lot) of lovin

Here she is about a year later, taken from another angle.  Notice they built a new house next door?


This is a before.  Hard to tell from the photo, but this one had a fire that burned out the second level and all roof rafters.

This photo shows all new rafters and ceiling joists.

Here it is after restoration.  New owners already moved in!


Pretty hideous - this is before/during

Truly, this is the same house nearing completion.  

Also wanted to share some photos of great details found inside of these houses - in no particular order

Heart pine floors, original mantel with tile, built-in window seats with storage, and how about those windows with original trim?  Pretty spectacular, right?

I bought those amazing windows over the original tub to bring more light into the bath.  The glass in those windows has a very cool raised pattern - photo does not do it justice!

The original window here was missing.  This is a salvaged window that I found.  I added the red glass squares and the center beveled medallion.  This window was part of a double-hung set but the size was right and all we had to do was turn it on its end and so some extra molding to make it work...

This is the top of a staircase on one of our first projects.  That entire curved portion was not in the house when we bought it - we later found that section in the basement (complete) and we re-installed it.  This open at the top of the steps was being used as a bathroom for the upstairs apartment.

Another great staircase (my current house)

so fun to find an old clawfoot! Lots of sanding and a visit from "The Bathtub Guy" for reglazing and it looks like a million bucks! 

Fresh paint, antique light fixture and sanded floors.  Such an exciting time in restoration!

So my past history of historic home restoration is just another layer that makes up my passion for creating beautiful living spaces. For me, all design projects include a piece of the past - whether it comes from an antique lighting fixture, architectural salvage or and old chair updated with a little paint and fabric. The past is a big part of where we are today!

Hope your week is inspring ...


Tonia Lee Smith said...

Thanks, I love old home,the character, the wood floors, the windows. Things you can't get in a new build. My home was built in 1955...and its still a work in progress.

Erika Ward said...

what a talented pair you are! your home is fab and no long resembles the "Monster-ish" mansion ;-) you gain soo much from restoring these historic gems. glad to have met you and can't wait to read your archives!

Diana Mieczan said...

You guys are great! WOW!!!!
I love those photos and thank you so much for becoming my newest friend :) I am so happy :)
This is such a great blog and I can’t wait to explore more of it :)
Kisses and see you soon, friend :)

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Fabulous homes. I am trilled that the beauty that was hidden is loved right back into these wonderful homes. And they are better than they were originally!
What a great blog you have. I also am your newest follower!

Kathysue said...

These are amazing transformations. I know how much work is involved and you and cute-hubby did amazing work. I love when someone takes an old un-loved home and loves it enough to fix it up. Thanks for sharing , you do great work, happy Monday,Kathysue

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Love those old homes and am tickled you have given so many them a chance at a new life.

Privet and Holly said...

YOU have inspired ME! It is always wonderful to see someone living their passion and a double bonus when that passion brings painted ladies like these back to their former glory! Like you I am a fan of historic homes as well as architecture. I have lived in three different old homes over the years {as well as several newer ones}, including a Queen Anne Victorian, which I can still see all of in my mind, despite the fact that we moved away from her in 1993! They really leave a mark on your heart. Loved this post!
xx P&H

Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

What a lovely blog post - great to see all the fantastic houses you have lived in! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Will x

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

So great to know there are fans of old houses out there! You simply cannot re-create the character found in them - they definitely have a story to tell and its so fun to imagine what may have gone on in each room!

Mary Ann said...

i am a fan of old houses, cottages if there is. that's a big project to tackle, so beautiful! you did a great job. i will be browsing through your old posts and i am already enjoying my visit. thank you for dropping by and your sweet comments. count me as one of your new followers. have a great week! verbena cottage

Kendall said...

Kim, this post is such a great insite into what you do! I adore everything about the renovation process. My current location limits my personal renovation possibilities, but you better believe that when I move back down south (one of these days) our first purchase is going to be a falling-down mess of a house to fix up!!

walrus studio said...

Wow, what amazing work you do, it must be so rewarding!! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. See u again soon!

Julie said...

You are living the dream! My husband let's me know when we need to replace a lightbulb. He asked me if our house had an attic 6 months after we moved in--in other words, not handy and not interested in house details:)

Those are really great houses. I Love that antique chandelier in the green room at the bottom.

Kelly @ Much To Do With Nothing said...

Hi Kim!
Thanks for stopping by. Good luck to you in your shop! I looked around your blog for some pics, but couldn't find any. But what I did find is page after page of beautiful design. I looked at all of your links in your side bar. You do amazing work! You have exactly my style. That's why I named my shop Casual Chic Cottage.
I love the sparkle of silver, aged brass and glass/crystal, but I also love to have slipcovered vintage furniture mixied in. Also you add the perfect amount of beautiful classic wood pieces too.
Can you tell I'm in love with all of your style?!
I also left a comment on your post of your home. The one with the bedroom and breakfast area and all of that. Such talent there!
Oh and Thank You! so much for mentioning me as one of your new blog finds! You're one of mine too!

A Perfect Gray said...

wow! what work and talent. we loved seeing those and the can be so proud of your accomplishments...

Erica @ Decorica said...

I love the look and feel of old homes. Some of those interior shots are amazing! Beautiful work.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing these amazing projects here with us. You and your husband clearly make a great team!

Unknown said...

a girl after my own heart! I love renovation jobs--the uglier the better! Great work, beautiful details-looking forward to following your posts best, Barbara

Unknown said...

I know I just posted but wanted you to know that I'm hosting a give away and would love for you to visit and enter! Have a lovely day-barbara

Mary Ann said...

hi kim, thanks for stopping and your sweet comments, you have a great week ahead! verbena cottage

A Room For Everyone said...

Your house is absolutely beautiful, what a labour of love! I think I mentioned to another blogger recently that we just don't have anything like the architecture of your house here in Australia. Wish we did..Rachaelxx

Unknown said...

You guys are amazing! Are you in business together? I am terribly impressed, like something out of a magazine!

Sharon Brown said...

Hi - Thank you for visiting my blog. I am visiting yours for the first time and I am so envious of all the wonderful projects you've had the opportunity to work on. So glad I found you!!


Brooke @ Blueprint Bliss said...

Love before and afters. These are great!!

Design Esquire said...

Wow. You and your husband are so talented!! It's amazing the way you transformed these homes. Your current house is just gorgeous! I love that stair case!!