Come on in to my lovely (but ramshackle) old house…
It’s humble, it’s homey, and not a designer house by any standard. But I love it just the same.
I’m going to use some photos that the realtor took when it was listed back in 2010 because she uses a very good quality camera. (And I use a small, sucky-cheap camera that doesn’t do the house justice).
Let’s start with the front hallway which features a curved, spiraling staircase:
We have since put carpet on the stairs because they were a safety issue for my two young kids. There is much more traction now and my kids have only tumbled down the stairs one time each.
The living room before we bought it:
Note the purple lace curtains. They were cute with all that white wicker but way too Stevie Nicks, even for me. So I replaced them with some white lace curtains that were surprisingly hard to find. I guess lace isn’t in-the-fashion right now. My bad. (I’m always about 20 years behind – notice that I don’t even have a flat screen tv!).
The living room has nice warm hardwood floors, but they are not original to the house:
The sign over the television reads: The Queen is not accepting an audience today! I thought about hanging it on the front gate, but decided against it because that might scare off the pizza delvery guy.
There are three large windows in the living room, so it gets wonderful sunlight.
These pictures are not exactly up to date… I’m always tweaking the living room. I plan to paint it a nice soft green color this winter. The purple-y-mauve-y-lavender-grey shade on the walls is rather drab. I’ll share pics when I get around to it.
The dining room has that same purple-grey paint on the walls, but it also features these nifty black-and-white checkered floors:
When my six-year-old son first saw this room he ran in and said: “I can play checkers on the floor!”
(Pardon the bright blue booster chair)
Here’s a more current photo of the dining room:
We haven’t done much in this room except put quarter-round on the baseboards, paint all the trim, patch the plaster walls and build some shelving into the fireplace. That’s right – we built shelves for my books right IN the hearth! Why? Because the chimney had been capped in the attic several decades ago, thus rendering the fire-place non-functioning in its current state. Also, my two-year-old kept climbing into the fireplace and was subsequently covered in black ash. Problem solved with bookshelves.
The picture above the mantel was another one of the things passed down with the house. I don’t know how long it has been there but it fits the space well and I’m actually afraid of what might happen if I take it down and replace it! It’s not really my style – and it’s kinda creepy in a way – but it belongs to *her* so I leave it there out of respect.
I change-up the mantel decor based on the season.
Moving on to the kitchen…
The kitchen is bright and sunny – and large – but not exactly “updated”.
In fact, as you might be able to tell, there is no dishwasher. Yes, we do things the old-fashioned way here – by hand! (Don’t be fooled, living like a pioneer is not always fun.) But there is a really neat vintage porcelain sink & surround which probably dates from the 1950’s.
My mom sewed the sunflower curtain on the back side of the kitchen island. She’s crafty that way.
The cupboards were also hand-made looooong ago – as evidenced by their many, many imperfections and layers of paint. They were bright blue at one point in time.
Off the kitchen is a large bathroom that was probably a summer kitchen or storage room back before plumbing was invented. (This house did not originally have plumbing or electricity so everything has been haphazardly installed over the last century or so.)
The downstairs bathroom actually has new drywall – which is nice because most of the home’s walls are still composed of the original plaster which has badly disintegrated and is only being held in place by numerous layers of old wallpaper. Old wallpaper that has been painted over many times. Yuck.
Anyway, the downstairs bathroom was nicely done a few years back – complete with custom-built cabinetry and lovely beadboard wainscoting.
The imported European washer & dryer are also located in the downstairs bathroom. They are smaller than they appear in this wide-angle shot. I guess the North-American-sized washer & dryers wouldn’t fit in that little alcove, so previous owners went the European route.
The downstairs bedroom is painted a nice rich tan color, which I happen to really like, so I patched the walls and repainted them the same color. The carpet is berber-esque but old and nasty and needs to be replaced. I’ve had it professionally cleaned (twice) since I’ve lived here but it still grosses me out.
We now use this room as an office/guest bedroom. I also hung some lace curtains in here for a little extra privacy:
Upstairs, we have two bedrooms and another large bathroom:
Here’s a photo taken (since we moved in) of the “pot” area of the bathroom:
And below is a photo of the lace curtain valance I found at a thrift store for $5 – is that not a perfect fit for that window??
This bathroom has also been updated and it is lovely. Probably one of my most favorite places in the house.
It also has a sweet, dainty chandelier:
I just cleaned that sucker, and it was not fun.
The master bedroom was in dire need of some work when we bought the place.
It went from this:
We installed beadboard, crown moulding, picture rail, updated the electrical, lined the closet with aromatic cedar, and painted the walls, trim and ceiling.
The result is a very pleasing and calming little nest for me.
A more recent (and less fuzzy) pic:
My mom made the quilt – how lovely is that?
This is the only room in the house that still has the original wide-planked wood floors exposed (although they are painted)…
In some spots old-fashioned square nail heads are still visible. The floor in the master bedroom is painted a soft lavender/grey color. (Someone must have really liked that color because it was ALL over the house when we first moved in.) Perhaps in the future we will have the bedroom floors sanded & re-finished. Or perhaps not. I don’t know if those ancient floors can handle another sanding!
Moving on to the other upstairs bedroom, “the kid’s room”, you can see how it looked before:
Sweet right? How about those vintage linoleum floors!!! I estimate they date from the 1930’s or 1940’s, based on the pattern and condition.
This the after shot from another angle…
(That’s my baby girl in the crib.)
We painted the walls a light neutral yellow – the shade was called “Banana Cream Pie”. We built shelves for the kid’s toys, replaced the window treatments, installed a new light fixture/ceiling fan, and re-did the closet as well. We had laminate wood flooring installed right over the old linoleum. We did this because the flooring contractor would not remove the old linoleum due to it containing asbestos.
Anyone who has ever dealt with asbestos knows that you run into problems once you disturb it and it becomes “friable” (carcinogenic particulate matter floating in the air). If you leave it alone, it’s not supposed to pose a health risk – in theory. So on the advice of a flooring specialist, we left the old linoleum in place and just covered over it with new flooring.
I also figured that if a house “purist” came along in 20 years, they might want to rip out the laminate to reveal the older floors underneath. Under that old linoleum was a Victorian era oil-cloth rug! Now it’s all neatly tucked away underneath, waiting for a future owner to find it.
This bedroom was lovely in a vintage way when we bought it, but we had to lighten it up and make it a little more kid-friendly.
Recently, we added crown moulding and painted the ceiling and window frame:
The pretty hanging quilt was hand-made by none other than: my mom.
And that brings us to the end of my virtual house tour.
There are many projects I want to tackle in the interior but I am limited by my pocket-book and… motherhood. We’ve gotten the house to the point where it is comfortable enough and truthfully, most of the money we have blown on the place has been on invisible safety issues (such as updating the electrical wiring).
It’s not a show-piece, but it is a darling little house. And I am just crazy about it.