Monday, February 24, 2020

Home Renovations

Kitchen, AFTER

Greetings from the long-lost blogger who is hanging onto sanity by a thread.  As you may possibly remember, I dropped off the face of blogger earth some months ago because Mr. C. and I decided to purchase a house in and move (eventually) to Wausau, central Wisconsin, 2.5 hours from our farm near Dallas, and begin renovations on the 'lower level.'   That, as we continued to live at the farm and make renovations there, in order to put our house on the market sometime in the spring (which is breathing down our necks!)

Living between the two places has been a nightmare, a delight, a lot of time on the road, too much time at Menard's and Home Depot, a ton of hard work, exhausting, and very rewarding.

You're looking at the boiler room and back door (right) and the future kitchen space.
 As I try to share with you some Before/During and After photos of the Wausau house project, I must admit that I neglected to take photos of the 'actual' before state of the lower level. I can tell you that it was a space bounded by icky carpet, an ugly dropped ceiling and moldy sheetrock, a few wall switches that were labeled 'Unknown,' and generally not a pretty sight. BUT it had potential. With a total gutting, some holes knocked in the concrete walls for future windows, and an 18 x 18 inch square ceramic tile laid throughout the entire floor before putting in any interior walls, we were on our way. Keep in mind that this space is about 800 sq. ft, so we wanted to keep the background as light as possible (except for the refrigerator, which you'll notice is black stainless. I think it was called 'chalk' and will go well with our 1915 Home Comfort range when it gets moved in, and the chalkboard. Because.

 The utility stuff, including the boiler, is behind the louvered doors.
The drop-leaf dining table is a family heirloom from Great Great Aunt and Uncle from Viroqua, WI and the chairs are from Great Great Uncle John Menard. (That's a joke. Menard's home improvement is like Home Depot up here). You'll notice that I transferred the family photo album to our new refrigerator. I actually walked through the appliance department of the store with a magnet to make sure that the refrigerator we bought had enough steel in it to let a magnet adhere. Don't laugh. Some of the imports do not. So there!

I love the new full-glass door and the pendant light above the dining table.
Mr. C. said is looks like it belongs in a chicken coop.
What does he know???
(except for how to do EVERYTHING pertaining to demolition and construction!!)

One of our upstairs neighbors assisting Grandpa in laying floor tile.

 Icky stuck-on foam rubber that took a serious scraping to get off. It was hiding under the icky carpet I mentioned earlier. BUT, the treads were good, which was a happy discovery. So we ripped off the risers and left the treads to be painted later.

 BEFORE - the hallway with a miserable set of stubborn bifold doors and rickety/wobbly shelving behind them. It all had to go, including the little closet under the steps.

 After - Mr. C. [inadvertently] demonstrating the openness of the steps.
My desk under the steps. Straight ahead are the new doors to the huge crawl space under the living room upstairs. Once we get it waterproofed, we'll put shelving in there for large items. I think the crawl space is about 12 x 24 x 5 feet.

Now the hallway is useful. I have a work space and tons of storage. There are 3 sets of cabinets that came out of the old hospital in Rice Lake that Mr. C. (as asbestos removal contractor) worked on some time ago. The main demo contractor gave him the cabinets. Behind the doors (which we painted and gave new hardware), are roll-out shelves that are labeled things like "Respiratory Care" and "Catheter Supplies", etc. One of the shelves is labeled, 'Personel Hygiene.'  Any way you look at it, it's a typo. Gave me a good laugh. I've left the labels. They remind me of their source and the huge gift these cabinets are. We made the space left over into a coat closet.

Standing in the future living room and looking toward the future kitchen

 Standing in the new living room (lower level) and looking toward the kitchen.

This has got to be one of the best things about this apartment - the fact that we were able to use some antique leaded glass windows we'd had in storage for YEARS. Two of them, end to end, fit the space between the main support beam and the east wall of the bedroom. I mean, perfectly. You have no idea how thrilled I was to find that out. Well, they did have to be shaved down a bit on the ends, but still. The wall (above) was designed to have two alcoves. One on the living room side to make room for the book shelf my dad made and one on the bedroom side to make room for my mom's bureau.

 You may remember when I told you about taking the photo of these icons at St. Paul's Cathedral in December of 2018. Permission was grudgingly given, but I did get it. The middle is a photo I took of Canterbury Cathedral. It's also enlarged and now at the end of my new kitchen.

Some of my favorite Kim Losse and Donna Millard sgraffito pottery.
They're local artisans from Dallas, WI. who do beautiful work!
You can find them on Instagram:
@donnacmillard and @kimlossepottery

Mirrored closet doors also help visually enlarge the space.

Our bedroom is behind the map wall. Rather than putting a door on the bedroom, we left a gap of 6.5 feet. That gives it a more open feeling and avoids the need for an egress window.
Our privacy is ensured by the neighbors yelling, 'Knock knock!' before coming down the stairs. LOL And when we go upstairs, we also call, 'Knock knock,' even though when we open the door we're already in their living space. But we love each other and it works well.

At the end of the hallway is a linen closet. Please turn right for the bathroom.

Future bathroom area, as it was a work in progress.

What a job! Cutting through the concrete floor, finding the main septic line, etc. etc. And dealing with the power panel. After we'd built the wall in front of the power panel, but leaving access to it, the building inspector came and wagged his finger at us, informing us that there had to be THREE FEET in front of the power panel,and it had to have its own room. What now?! The shower is already installed. The sink is already installed. What now, is move the sink and don't plan on gaining weight. (And actually, even with the power panel room, the bathroom is bigger than some we've cheerfully used in England, so, big deal.)

I love this little bathroom!

I sent to the Ukraine for the fantastic London phone box wrap-around vinyl sticker. Perfect! And if you want to use the phone box, you can take your mobile in there with you. OR, you can open the door and find the power panel.

 The shelf holds storage baskets.

We included one of the best things the British invented (or at least that we first encountered on trips to England) - the heated towel rack! It's wonderful! I hang my robe on it at night and have a warm robe to step into in the morning!  By the way, the difference between our towel rack and theirs (UK) is that ours is operated by electricity, so we just leave it on all the time. Very low heat, low cost, but makes so much difference!

 North window at night.
(where previously was more concrete block)

One of our frequent visitors who *loves* having her picture taken.
The other neighbor, cropped out of the photo, does not. Emphatically!

I love having Canterbury Cathedral in my kitchen.

That's it for now, folks. I will take some wider shots of the apartment living room when we have Mr. C's desk and the cookstove moved in. That might be a while. We're still working on the farmhouse back at Dallas. Here's one photo from that project:

I will be so glad when ALL of this is done and the farmhouse is on the market. This has been a long year.

If you've read this far, thank you. I appreciate it!

Join me on Instagram @cranberrymorning.



Elizabethd said...

What an undertaking! I can't imagine how much work you must have undertaken on this project.'s worked! Your future home is looking very elegant.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

All the work! It is coming together beautifully. Love that kitchen, the stairway is so cool, love the storage space, the bedroom looks lovely and I want that bathroom!!! Your decorations are everything that I love.

Sandi said...

LOVE that door wrap! What a great idea.

Terri D said...

It is SO good to see you posting here and thanks for catching us up!! Your new apartment looks wonderful and cozy and so you! That vinyl door wrap is so sweet! I am sure you are all exhausted and thrilled and excited. Do keep us posted as you can!! Hugs!!

Dicky Bird said...

Love it. Well, now we have to meet - you will be living so close!

Sue said...

WoW so much work, dh and I have been there, done that! I feel for you Judy, but when everything is completed you will say, "it was worth it". it truly is beautiful and will be even more beautiful when finished and you both are finally settled in.
So nice you good use the led glass, a beautiful touch!
I have had my eye on the light fixture your Mr C says belonged in a chicken coop, that was so funny.
Glad to see you blogging,

Linda said...

It all looks amazing!! SO much work and I know you must be beyond exhausted but I know you must be loving it!

ellen b. said...

Oh have been working hard. Your repairs and upgrades really look nice. Hope the sale of the farm goes well.

Theresa said...

WOW, lots of work and I love what you all have accomplished! I also have pictures all over the fridge:) It is a photo album at my house too! SO many things I like about your space, my fave might just be the telephone door! Enjoy your day dear friend, take a moment to rest, if you can:) HUGS!

Vee said...

You folks have been very very busy! What a boatload of work. Your new space is charming and filled with those things that make it uniquely your own. May you enjoy your new home...🗺

SImple and Serene Living said...

WOW!! You have done an amazing amount of work and it all looks beautiful. xo Laura

Sandra said...

I missed you lots, and loved every single word and photo of this post. incredible amount of work and your new home is stunning. I love everything you did, there is not one thing I would change. oops there is one thing. my fridge has nothing on it. other than that perfection and I can't wait to see when the stove is moved in and you are done. good job

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

What a beautiful transformation! I know how much work that all is, but the end result is simply stunning! I am very happy for you!!

Marcia said...

What a downsizing project this has been. And by the looks of it you've been successful except for maybe the number of books. We downsized our considerably and thankfully there's a library on the 1st floor that has many more books to read.

Wendy said...

It all looks wonderful and you are so lucky to be able to do so much of the work yourselves. We are just starting on this journey - our house is on the market and we are looking for somewhere to go. Unfortunately my hubby is not a DIY person so anywhere we look at that needs work will have to be at a price we can afford to get someone in to do it! Love the British touches of course.

21 Wits said...

Hello, good to see you here again. These projects are such a huge endeavor but in the end you are so happy and busy enjoying it all that you nearly forget the points leading to it. I do always enjoy your bits and pieces from England too, very nice.

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Welcome back, Judy. I missed you!! Wow! You must be exhausted. But it is so worth it and it looks so warm and cozy. I hope you enjoy every minute of it.

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

Have missed seeing you blog Judy, but you certainly have been incredibly busy! Your DIY project looks amazing, how wonderful that your husband has plenty of experience to tackle it all! Looks like you have lots of neighborly visits too, what fun! Hoping that the selling of your farmhouse goes smoothly. I know you will breathe a sigh of relief when it is all said and done! I love all your British decor touches and that red phone door is darling!!!! Much love to you!

Lynne said...

Love, Love seeing your progress!
It looks cozy, unique, artistic, livable, lovable, warm, perfect.
Oh my, the WORK!
Love the cathedral photo placement . . .
So happy to see you again Judy!

Carla from The River said...

Hi Judy,
This was fun. It is looking fantastic. We hope to come for a moon walk this 2020 season and have a grand tour.
Love, Carla

Cheryl said...

Judy, you and Mr. C have done an amazing amount of work . . . and all while living in two places with SO much to do! (When you finally sell the farmhouse, you'll settle into the Wausau home and sleep for weeks!) Your new home is charming and carefully designed. What an ingenious solution for your bathroom/power panel!

Chatty Crone said...

My daughter and I watch a Love It or List It tv show every night when we exercise - and I say LOVE IT! I don't know another man who could do all that work - that is incredible. They have a ton of staff working on the houses. I love it. Was it hard to downsize?

Jean | said...

Judy, I was relieved to get the email this morning about the new post. I was getting worried about you--thought you might have gotten walled in at one of the building sites! :D Mr C won't know what to do with himself when he's done with both places, so he can come to my house and tackle our to-do list. Your new place looks beautiful, and I can see how you'll feel quite at home there even though it's so different from what you've been used to all these years.

Lorrie said...

What a huge undertaking! It's coming along so well, and how handy to have your own private carpenter! (I have one, too, and it's wonderful!) I love the little light fixture, and those stained glass windows.

podso said...

Thanks for posting all this. So fun to see your new abode all shiny and new and so creatively configured. The windows are stunning and just a wink from God that they fit so well! I didn't realize the distance between the farm and your new place--wow that makes it more complicated. And I'm impressed with your husband on his knees doing the tile! And he was doing his other job all the time he did this? Amazing! Well done to you both. I hope you can finish the farmhouse in good fashion and that it sells quickly. We visited friends out west last year who have the same set up. Their grands come downstairs often! Generations living together, how it should be! As hubby would say, "More grease to your elbows!"

Elizabeth "Libby" Day said...

I am overwhelmed but it sounds like you are you Mister are in your element with these renovations. It takes such a vision to look at the "Before" and see the "After." You have definitely created a very cozy home for the two of you where your little upstairs visitors obviously love to be as well. I especially enjoy seeing all the special, personal touches that make it "HOME!"

Creations By Cindy said...

Girl, that's a lot of hard work but oh the outcome is SO PRETTY and WONDERFUL! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Andrea Charles said...

Happy to see you back. It is an amazing effort you have taken for your future home. Loved all the photos and write up. Red roses on the kitchen counter looked elegant. May be a bit of white flowers will complete the look. Candle stands were a great addition on the book shelf.

Judy S. said...

It's been awhile! I even forgot that you need to open in another tab to post! You two are amazingly ambitious and hardworking. What you've done is amazing. And I think you have even more photos on your fridge than we do. So good to see your post!

NanaDiana said...

Oh! I so get it! We are in the middle of a condo reno,too. Thank goodness my son stepped up to the plate and took generaling everything--plus he did a ton of the work himself. We should move in mid-month so I am thrilled about that-to finally have our own place again. The condo is very private-can't see any neighbors anywhere as all are offset and we have a nice private patio-front and back.
Good luck to both of us, Judy! We all need it. Hugs- Diana


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