Friday, March 29, 2013

A Girl Can Dream

Our new row house.
Washington.  This section of my blog truly is for me to get a handle on my new home.  If you happen to be downsizing or remodeling/redecorating a small space, this may be for you too. At this point, we will be moving from a 5000 + square foot home to a 1500 square foot home.  I am so looking forward to downsizing, and yet I will be terribly sad to leave this home in which I raised my two children, and in which I have so many memories of birthdays, graduations, celebrations, holidays with all of my family which includes my sister and brother-in-law, three step-children (+ two spouses) and five step-grandchildren and in the earlier years included my sister's family, my parents and my in-laws.  Our family has had so many wonderful times in this beautiful home.  It will be difficult leaving, but I have so many memories to take with me.  What I am loving about the move, is no longer being responsible for such a large home and garden.  When I am really tired of cleaning this house, I say I no longer want to be a slave to my home.  I am already starting to sprout wings!

My husband (J) is the visionary, and I am not.  I can see photos and decide quickly if I like it or not, but it is a slow and laborious process for me to design a space.  I am so excited; however, because I feel with this home I truly will have a presence.  J has set me up with an interior designer from his firm, and together she and I will help design and decorate the interior spaces.  I know it is part of J's evil plan to maintain overall control.  The following photos are the interior spaces and the backyard.  These were taken when the previous owner resided there.

Front entry and living room.

Their small table is the location of our future closet.  The staircase is being proposed to be straightened out.

Cute, and small!  The staircase without the banister bothers me a lot.  In fact, I told J I would move in as is except for painting the whole interior of the home, and putting in a banister on both sides of the staircase, and new stairs to the basement.  J, being of the architectural persuasion, wants to do more.  He wants to straighten the staircase out so the the upstairs has more room so that we can put in a much needed master bath.  We intend to put built-in bookcases on either side of the fireplace.   Our paint palette at this point is to paint the whole interior home white.  It is a very small home.  I believe J told me 14 feet wide (what a hoot!)  We feel that the white interiors will give a feeling of spaciousness.  Otherwise, for this space it is mostly interior decorating.  

Chandelier anyone?  This will be replaced.
The dining room is the largest room in the house.  Wasted space, right?  Notice the two windows in the dining room.  This is very unusual for D.C. row houses because they are built right next to each other. We have an open path on the side of our home which is fabulous!  My current home has some of the best natural light I have ever seen in a home, so it will be much appreciated in our new house.  The plan here is to open the entry way from the living room to the dining room and continue that with opening the entry way into the kitchen from the dining room.  As you walk into the home, your line of sight will be through each of these rooms.  At this point, that's all we have planned for the dining room besides the painting of the interior.  Again, mostly redecorating.  My desire would be to put bookcases in the dining room, also, and to make a built-in cabinet along the windowless wall to capitalize on that space for dining/kitchen storage.  Hmmm, maybe J isn't the only one who wants to make changes.

This oven/stove will have to move since this will be the new opening to the kitchen.

By far, I am most excited about this remodeling plan.  We plan on opening the entry to the kitchen so that it is in the middle of the kitchen versus off to the right as it is currently, so again the openings from room to room have more of a flow.  We will make the kitchen a better functioning kitchen as a galley kitchen and french doors that will open out to the backyard (I'll get to this in a minute, but yard is an interesting word here and I am totally okay with that.)  Look at that sun streaming into the kitchen.  I am so excited about all of the natural light that will be coming into this kitchen and it's immediate access to the outdoors.

The kitchen remodel is probably one of the more expensive remodels so we may not do this prior to moving.  Come on current home, sell!

How do you mow slate?

There will be french doors here in the future.

So for all of you who will be mowing your lawns, plowing your snow, I will be sipping an ice cold tea in my "backyard".  I have no idea what the australian shepherd and daschund will think of it, but I guess I will be walking them more.  Personally, I think the daschsie would give up a snow filled backyard for hot sun-filled slate any old day.  We will replace the old fence with a new one.  J wants to make the backyard level with the future french doors, but we have to price that one out.  We both want a large table in the middle so that we open the french doors and here is where we will dine the majority of the year.  SO EXCITED!  

Very scary basement stairs.  If we can afford only one remodel this will be it!

The entry to the basement is from the dining room.  The stairs are really bad.  Narrow, and not level.  We will be ripping out the carpet and putting in a floor of yet undetermined material.  No carpet!  The stairs will be rebuilt and a proper hand rail will be put in place.  We are going to move the washer/dryer out of its current dungeon location, and put a regular sized washer/dryer along the wall with organized shelving.  This is the place where we will be storing a lot of our things, and frankly, I think J has too much planned for this space.  He intends to move our current flat screen TV from our current basement to this level, and have seating here in addition to the new laundry area, and storage for loads of stuff (the hunting gear, guns and bows alone would fill this space much less the Christmas ornaments, photo albums, winter storage of clothing.)

Our bed will be on the other side of the room.  Where their bed sits, we will be putting in full length closets on either side of the "fireplace wall" and a low built-in dresser in front of that wall.  

Behind the door is a teeny tiny closet.  The home of the future master bath.
The master bedroom is a tight squeeze and this couple had no storage.  His shoes were lined up underneath the bed.  Her shoes and boots were laying on the floor next to the dresser.  It will still be a tight space for us, too, but we will be putting in a built-in closet system where the head of their bed is currently, and our bed will be placed on the wall where their dresser is located.  Behind the door will be the new master bath which will be feasible with straightening out the staircase and providing more functional room upstairs.

Ironic, that we have told M that he gets the larger bedroom in this house since he has had the smaller bedroom his whole life in our current home.  I think his current room is as big or slightly bigger than the new one!  Don't tell M.  Stop reading this now M!  Anyway, J has plans to expand the smallest bedroom out and that is definitely in Plan B of the remodeling.  Or Plan C, or whatever, is the final remodel.  If and when that happens, then that would be M's bedroom, but for these purposes, we will assume the currently pink room is M's.  For both bedrooms we intend to do built-in beds with drawers underneath, and armoires for hanging clothes.  J used the analogy for the home that it is like a ship.  Lots of built-in storage.  I think that works!

The teeniest, tiniest bathroom!  I knew I was going to have to attend anger management classes when all four of us were in the house at the same time due to this tiny bathroom, but I thought when it was just J and me, it would be fine.  All along J has had a master bath addition in mind, and in fact, saw that as a must in the first remodel.  After our trip to London, and even though we had two bathrooms, let's just say with J and I trying to get ready at the same time in the tight confines of that flat, I think his making a master bath addition in the new house is brilliant!  

So, how can this legally be a three bedroom home?  That's a toddler bed.  If we do the remodel to expand this room, it entails expanding out a brick exterior wall.  Definitely, not Plan A.  What it lacks in size, it gains in cheery sunshine!  

I will become more intimate with downsizing as we get closer to really moving.  My initial take was to go through everyone's clothing, and get rid of everything that hasn't been worn in over two years, and to get rid of all clothes that no longer fit.  I've always been pretty good at this, and I seem to do it annually, but this time I had to take a harder look.  It was easy with everyone else's clothes, but it became harder with some of mine.  I ended up having over 20 garbage bags filled for donation.

I will have to do another pass through on clothing.  I wanted to look at this move as being able to live with less.  I think the concept is easier than the reality.  Yet, I wear probably 1/3 of my clothing so I guess it's time to get really honest with myself.  

All aspects of our material life will have to be looked at with a critical eye.  

Several years ago, I purchased the book Simply Scandinavian.  I love the simplicity of the Scandinavian household.  These homes are both elegant and comfortable.  That is what I wish for our new home.  That's why we are choosing the paint palette to be white to provide a level of serenity throughout the home while giving a feeling of spaciousness.  There won't be as much furniture as my current house, but as a result the comfort and functionality will become more important for each piece we do have.  I created a Pinterest account, and have had fun dreaming of what we can do in our new house.  I see this new home as how I wish to live my life.  I feel like so much of my life has been involved in mundane, routine tasks.  Naturally, those still need to be done, but at such a smaller percentage of my time.  

We will find out next week what the estimate is for all the interior changes, excluding millwork.  Budget constraints will occur, and we will need to be creative or do without.  It sure would help if our current home were to sell, but right now there aren't even any lookers, much less potential buyers.  In the meantime, a girl can dream of the ideal home that allows for a simply, elegantly lived life.  

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