Home and Garden —
One of our goals is to go as green as possible, within the limits of a normal, middle-class income and neighborhood. We are lucky not to have any ridiculous covenants that would prevent us from putting up solar panels, but the neighbors would probably be a lot less friendly if our changes made the house look too odd.
We've pretty much decided that the hallway (and probably the rest of the house, eventually) will get M-Boss ceilings in the same pattern as the front rooms, but in white instead of copper.
We're going to remove the ceiling fixture. We were thinking of replacing it, but the sconces seem to give plenty of light.
Neither of us like the cheap standard doors to the bedrooms and closets. They'll have to be replaced by nicer looking doors at some point. Those doorknobs are pretty boring, too. I'd love old-fashioned glass doorknobs, myself, like these, from doorknobdiscountcenter.com:
- Family room:
The family room will also get bamboo flooring, or recycled hardwood if we can find it.
We've replaced the ceiling fan with a new fan that's somewhat less obtrusive. Ceiling fans, although I'm not really crazy about the way they look, do help us keep our air conditioning bills down.
The family room from the hallway. Opening up the wall into the kitchen will mean losing bookshelf space, but we'll figure something out. We might move the built-ins to the other end of the room.
The family room from the kitchen. (The birds love Sesame Street; that's the corner of Prospero's cage you can see on the left, and the corner of Rio's cage in the extreme bottom right.)
We were going to take the cherry paneling off down to wainscot level, but we're beginning to think we like it the way it is.
- Living room:
Under the Sure-Fit slipcover, the living room sofa is really a nice old piece. We haven't found the right upholstery fabric yet, though. We have a pair of Victorian armchairs being refinished in the shop, but they'll need upholstery, too, before they can be moved into the living room. (I'm wondering about something like this as a fabric for all three pieces and maybe a curtain swag. Or would that be too much of one fabric?)
I know at some point we'll need (oriental) carpets for the traffic areas in the living room and dining room, but right now, we're just enjoying the hardwood.
- Dining room:
We love the dining room pretty much the way it is now, especially with the vintage sideboard we replaced the one in this picture with. We might want to paper or paint part of it in some accent color, as soon as we decide on the fabrics for the living room, and someday we'd like to replace the chairs (which are nice, but a different style from the table) with some nice Eastlake chairs. Some chairs like this would do nicely:
But it 's cozy just the way it is, and ten people can fit around the table nicely, when all the leaves are in.
- Kennon's bedroom is mostly finished. We've painted the walls, replaced the bedding, and put down recycled hardwood floors. I need to make curtains for it, and he needs to pick out the art he would like to have hung in there. And eventually we'll put M-Boss ceilings up in there to cover the popcorn ceilings.
- Meghan's room is pretty much done, except that we'd love to talk her into replacing her furniture with some nice antiques.
- I wish I'd taken before pictures of the guest bathroom. We've repainted it, and I made a shower curtain and a matching curtain for the linen cupboard. Julian, bless him, scraped the popcorn off the ceiling (a nasty task). We just need to put in cornice molding and a wallpaper border now, and it's done.
- I've picked out paint and borders for our bedroom and for our bathroom. We need new window treatments in there, too, but we haven't found what we want yet. This border goes nicely with the 1930's furniture in the master bedroom. Green is Julian's favorite color; cobalt blue is mine, so the room will be green with cobalt blue accents.
Border and paint for master bedroom
This room will also get bamboo flooring.
- The kitchen:
Eventually, we're going to knock out part of the wall between the kitchen and the family room, so that whoever is cooking in there isn't isolated from what's going on in the family room. And the '70's harvest gold counter will go then, too. We'll install new cabinets —something kind of Eurostyle (fewer nooks and crannies for dirt to accumulate in). For example, is this not gorgeous? And it's bamboo!
This is pretty much how the kitchen looked when we moved in:
In the meantime, we're painting the cabinets, and we've put an old cabinet bottom in the kitchen where we think we'll want an island to go, just so we can see how we like it. We've picked up a gas cooktop, double wall oven (regular and convection), a dishwasher, and a refrigerator from the ReStore in Charlotte, so that's all the appliances replaced.
Bamboo floors will go in the kitchen, too (the woven kind is harder than most hardwoods). We have stacked the washer/dryer and gotten rid of the divider between them and the kitchen. Eventually, we will be building cabinets around them to match the rest of the kitchen cabinets. Why shouldn't they be in the kitchen where they're handy?
- We have had an architect design an addition for us that will include an office and a birdroom. No telling when we'll get to that, but eventually.
- The yard:
The lot is large, and has some nice trees, but otherwise is sort of a blank slate. Plans include:
Screening the backyard with shrubs and trees.
Once the yard is screened, put in a clothesline.
A meadow area with native plants, screened with shrubs so the neighbors won't complain.
Just enough grass to play a game of croquet on.
Some sort of water feature.
Lots of areas that need little water, fertilizer, or insecticides. Ornamental grasses, low-maintenance plants.
A well for irrigation.
- House exterior:
The roof will need to be replaced before too long. I want those asphalt shingles that look like cedar, and we're going to put a solar array on the back, or (if it isn't a nightmare to install, as Julian thinks it must be) one of those roofs that has the solar cells built into the shingles.
Return to top.