Monday, August 9, 2010

Mondays with Marly - Transforming Spaces


I admit it. Both Angie and I are addicted to home renovation shows. We love to see how unappealing rooms turn into beautiful, stunning spaces. We have had our share of renovation experiences here on Spring Street, and although they are stressful to go through, the end result always makes it so worthwhile. I bought this little house on Spring Street twenty years ago. I was delighted that it came with a downstairs apartment as it provided extra income to help with the mortgage.  Being close in proximity to two large universities has always made it easy to find tenants, but after a flood caused some damage in the spring of 2008, it was the time to renovate and upgrade the apartment. We also wanted to reduce the size of the apartment so Angie and I could have more studio space downstairs and access to our storage space.

I always love looking at before and after shots, so I thought I would let you see the renovation process we went through that summer.  I’ll focus on the galley kitchen section of the downstairs apartment. It’s always a bit nerve wracking when the workers come in and totally gut what was previously there. No turning back now. Thankfully, we had a contractor that we knew and could trust!

As in the most dramatic renovation T.V. shows, the contractor informed us that the wiring and pipes behind the walls were a nightmare. The small kitchen ceiling was hiding twelve junction boxes. I could see by the look on the contractor’s face that this was not a good thing.

Obviously, a previous owner had been a bit of a “do-it- your-selfer” with very little knowledge or expertise! Also, the plumbing was old and pipes needed replacing. Ah yes, a bit of drama and added dollars to keep things exciting!

Now that the wiring and plumbing were fixed, we could focus on the fun stuff!

Angie and I decided to save some money by designing the new space, purchasing bathroom and kitchen cabinets and accessories, and by doing all the painting ourselves. After the summer was over, I really didn’t want to see another paint brush for a very long time.

How exciting to slowly see the transformation taking place. Here is the final result. I even had fun making a collage (seen on the far wall) from Japanese papers and the left over paint from the kitchen walls. Talk about art that matches the surroundings!

We were so pleased and excited about our new, sweet, little downstairs apartment. And we were able to reclaim some room downstairs for ourselves. All the work has really paid off! We still can hardly believe its the same downstairs each time we go down to our studios. Just wish we didn’t have to rent out the apartment! We could take turns living down there. But it is that time of year to rent it out to another grad student....we are now screening through tenant applications! We’ve had great tenants, so far! Wish us luck on finding a new one!

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