Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Starting Over ...

Have you ever dreamed of starting over? A new space, new furniture, new house? I confess, I do it all the time, and when I'm lucky enough to find a client with a blank space and large budget I get to live out that fantasy with minimal restraint. However, around here, those clients are few and far between!

Scott and I have talked about new house, but never found anything that made sense ... that was, until today!

Built in 1925, it's not as old as CDLV, but it's 1100 square feet larger, and has some really major pluses that this house just doesn't:

  • A private drive - P.S., NEVER buy a house with a shared driveway, NEVER EVER!
  • A large kitchen, with room for a pantry
  • A vestibule
  • A master bedroom ensuite bath
  • A finished third floor 
  • A fully fenced and LARGE yard
  • A big, open front porch
  • A small guest house (perfect for my CBG workshop!)
  • A super large dining room perfect for entertaining (which we love!)
The house went on the market today, but we've had our eye on the house since last summer when the prior owner left it to foreclosure. Walking by the house, which sits on a beautiful street in a Historic Preservation District, just like our street, we peered through the windows and ooed and ahed at the potential the space had. 

Can't you just see this porch made beautiful with ferns and potted trees and plants, maybe curtains, and welcoming wicker patio furniture and accessories? Something like this: 

via Southern Accents

Or this ... 

found: DecorPad

Or maybe this?

found: Country Living
In fact, I've gone as far as playing with my own ideas right on top of the photo:

I mean, come on, right? Look at how much more beautiful this porch would be with the right furniture, plants, and accessories! 

Entering the house you see the really great staircase:

I really appreciate the space of this foyer, and the open railing with views to the second floor. Our staircase is much less grand, and I've always wanted something like this ... I mean, can't you see it all garlanded up for Christmas?

I see this space and I think wallpaper ... grasscloth or chinoiserie. Something like this:

Then a round table, skirted in a beautiful silk, perhaps a plaid. Garden stools or upholstered ottomans, maybe even french cameo back chairs with all of my design books stacked on top. 

Looking toward the living room. I hate the natural woodwork in our house, but this house has SO much natural light flooding the rooms, and the color is more rich, less number 2 pencil. Someone removed the doors to the built in on either side of the fireplace, so I'd replace those, remove that fixture and paint over the 1992 stencil job over 1988 sponge paint. It's hard to tell from this picture, but all of the upper windows are original lead glass windows from 1922. So gorgeous.

Here I see seagrass, two loveseats facing each other with a great narrow coffee table, and two small chairs facing the fireplace, like this: 

Images via: House Beautiful

This room is not much bigger than the living room at CDLV, but because it's free of all the doors we have, and about 3' deeper, there are far more furniture layout options. And I love the room above. 

More ugly fixtures, but check out those beams!! This room is closed off to the living room by pocket doors that you can't see in these pictures. This room is HUGE! So perfect for all the entertaining we like to do. I am in love with the light from those large windows, and that window seat is absolute perfection! Can't you see some beautiful pillows and cushions courtesy of my friend Gina at Slipcover Chic!? Psssst! If you're looking for someone to sew up some pillows using your choice of fabrics check with Gina first! She's incredible! 

Because working that window seat into the eating area would be incredibly difficult without custom building a dining table, I'd treat it as a separate space ... like this: 

via Veranda

Designer Credit: Sarah Richardson

Ugly, right? Yes, I totally agree! But the space is huge (the picture doesn't do it justice) and the layout is very changeable. Here's one draw back - the copper plumbing has been removed from this house. Replacing with less expensive, more durable, and not at all theif worthy pex plumbing will only cost about $4500.00. But since it has to be replaced, running new plumbing is pretty easy. 

The other side of the kitchen with it's small breakfast space. Scott and I decided that we would never eat in the kitchen, so this space would far be better reimagined and layed out so that it fits our storage needs. Starting with that space to the right of the window. I'm thinking something like this: 

via Hooked on Houses

Something custom, with closed cabinets under butcherblock, and glass front cabinets to the ceiling for plate and silver storage. I could be persuaded to include a wine fridge here, too! 

Heading upstairs, you see this view of the two upstairs guest rooms that volley the original linen closet that is NO JOKE 5' deep! Now, what are you going to put in there? Mattresses!? Wasted space but pretty. See those brass pieces above the doors? This house used to function as a Bed and Breakfast. In fact, the street is filled with Bed and Breakfast properties, as the roaring Niagara Falls is literally steps away. We're pretty close, but this house is a half mile closer, so well appointed, and taken care of large homes in this area make for great summer housing to tourists. 

The master bedroom! Very large, and two cedar closets. Here's the problem: I'm allergic to cedar, so we'd have to rip that out first thing.

On the third floor, there are two large bedrooms, but we talked about making this one into a television room because of it's natural coziness with the sloped ceiling. I'm thinking of a small chaise attached sectional in that corner under the eaves, a pair of leather club chairs in the dormer beneath the windows, and a large television on the opposite wall with clear views from either seating group. 

The fun part of the third floor? Because the third floor is already carpeted atop subfloor, carpet is a natural choice. But if I'm going to go wall-to-wall, I'm gonna go big:

Designer Credit: Jan Showers

The antelope patterned carpet from Stark. In Love! I've always wanted to use this carpet, and this is the absolute PERFECT space!

And just across the hall, still on the third floor, what could become Scott's office. With a view of the street and the canopy of trees beyond, it's a peaceful space - something a realtor needs! 

So, plumbing, paint, wallpaper, and a new kitchen and 2 new bathrooms - it's something we'd not move into right away. But it's a possibility ... so what do you think? Is it time to make ourselves a new CDLV?


  1. Great potential and I love your ideas. I would retain the light fitting in the lounge room though. It is so art deco and in keeping with the home. Good luck in your quest.

  2. Looks like some great bones. I have to say I like the painted woodwork upstairs better than the stained woodwork downstairs. The kitchen isn't really too bad. With a few tweaks, a paint job, some new countertops and tile and a cool island, you'll be magazine ready.

    The outside and porch are just spectacular. With some new landscaping, the place would be stunning.

  3. I love it!!! The outside reminds me of Linderhof but the kitchen is so much bigger . . . and it has a hall and a spectacular staircase! And that porch . . . I say, go for it!

  4. Hope it works out for you guys! XXOO SJR

  5. I would be excited as well, as this house offers lots of potential and would be a decorator's dream. Amazed at the space in the kitchen and all of the possibilities. Dreams are worth pursuing - good luck!

  6. oh my goodness... YES! Go for it!!! Would you entertain the thought of painting the brick?

  7. omg...this is fantastic! I am all you get? are you moving? ideas playing out? can't wait to see!

  8. Go for know you love it and it's got the options that you love.. make the move! I cannot wait to see the beautiful interiors you plan for the space.. ps.I didn't think that lamp was that ugly - I know, i didn't see it first hand! xo marlis

  9. OMG - I LOVE it!! Go for it!! Great ideas!


  10. Artie you really do have the perfect design vision for this home!!

    I say go for it!! Plus I know you are going to have a great weekend at the show!


    Art by Karena

  11. have certainly given this a lot of thought, so I say, GO FOR IT!! Just the front porch would have me jumping for joy - I know you could make all of these ideas happen - keep us updated!

  12. has your name written all over it...

  13. I say jump in with both feet. It's gorgeous. We recently took the plunge and are starting a new life in Texas. Life is a journey...

  14. What Laney said.....BUY THIS HOUSE NOW! You will LOVE IT and make it a wonderful home for the two of you! Please keep us posted! Fingers crossed for you!

  15. Awesome house. Wondering why you didn't offer something as soon as it foreclosed? You'll have fun with this one. Jo @ Let's Face the Music

  16. The front porch and all the spacious rooms are fabulous. This house is filled with potential and you are the one who can realize it. If it works for your budget, I say follow your bliss.
    All the best...Victoria

  17. Get it! Get it! Get it! You've practically already moved in anyway :)

  18. Oh- Artie- I so hope you put a bid on it and can call it your own. It is just gorgeous. I can see you in there working all your marvelous changes! xo Diana

  19. Don't forget a porch swing at one end. Could you remove the railing so you could swing out on one side...very fun and relaxing.
    I think it's great! Go for it!
    Leigh B.

  20. Fabulous potential and I can tell by your Post that you are drawn to it and excited about the possibilities! But... allergic to Cedar!!! You poor thing... my Heart goes out to you, Cedar is such an aromatic Natural pleasure I couldn't imagine being allergic to it!! Ah well, I know you will do amazing things with this place and I'm so very happy for you... be sure to share the Transformation, I can hardly wait to see what you will Create with the Blank Canvas!?!

    Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  21. I love it !!! and can see it all fixed up , love the downstairs and that kitchen will be wonderful

    hope you go for it

  22. What a great, solid house. I love your "after" photos! Go for it.

  23. Artie, who makes that wallpaper, love it!

  24. I can't wait to see what you do with this grand house. I love it! Great ideas so you're on your way.

  25. It is refreshing to see your ideas in planning how to make this blank space your own. I can't watch House Hunters any more, but I loved reading your blog and seeing your photos!

  26. Thank you Artie for mentioning my work!!

  27. You can certainly do a lot with this much potential. And I really love the big, wide windows. They let in a lot of natural light, so the lights don’t have to be on for the most part during daytime, and it gives you an easy view of your property and the street. Some good curtains will do nicely for privacy, as well as to enhance the appeal of the room.