The Odd and Fabulous

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kitchen and Bath - Before and After

I realized that I never posted side-by-side, before-and-after comparisons of the Living Room and Master Bathrooms in the Woodbridge House!  

I AGONIZED over these two rooms when it came time to put the house up for sale.  

The bathroom was a 70's throwback with avocado green counter tops and tub, with shiny brass accents.  I sort of dug it in a retro way, but I knew most buyers would not.  However, we didn't have the budget to upgrade it, so the staging was going to be important.  What to do... What to do...  What's the first rule in design?  If you don't like it, PAINT IT!  We wound up painting the cabinets with Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint and adding some pictures and white towels.  We switched out the brass hardware and faucets with oiled bronze ones.  That's it.

The Living Room was wide and narrow and difficult to lay out with furniture.  It had opposing focal points; a fireplace on one end and the TV with built-ins on the other.  We had actually ripped out the carpet and laid down wood laminate flooring years before, so we simply rearranged the furniture about eleventy million times, posted frantic pleas for help on HOUZZ, and bought long BEIGE window panels from IKEA for the windows,

And here is the big reveal!  (You must scream with delight and exclaim "OH MY GOD!")

It went from BLAH to MEH.  OK, I actually loved it. :-)  I was afraid that painting the cabinets in the bathroom would make the avocado color actually stand out, but it did the opposite.  Happy accident.

Overall I was happy with our staging efforts.  Would you believe that we kept it looking like this with twin 3-year olds, 2 border collies and 2 cats?  True story.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New House Must-Haves

The Hubs and I are still trying to decide on where exactly to live and if we'll buy or build.  We're pretty sure we're going to stay in the Rockwall ISD area.  Now, the location within it is the problem.

I'd really like to build us a house, but the area I LOVE (Park Place Rockwall) is off the table.  Dang those HOA fees!!!  Other lots we've seen for sale are really just out of our budget.

UPDATE:  I should mention that the HOA fees for the coveted Park Place covers total yard care (front and back), fertilizing and weed control on a schedule, community pool, furnished amenity center with full kitchen and private meeting room, walking trail, and park area.  Who wouldn't want that??  Apparently my stubborn husband.  
PS.  If we had access to this community pool I might be able to let my requirement of a back yard pool go.  Maybe.
PSS.  Hubby's a runner.  He needs a convenient walking trail, right?
PSSS.  We have 4 year old twins, who has time for yardwork???

So, if we MUST buy, I have come up with my list of MUST-HAVES.  It's long-ish but I don't want to have buyers remorse again.  I know how we live our lives and what kind of house must accommodate it.  Is it unrealistic?  Probably.  Do I care?  Not so much.

1.   Large utility room entry from garage.
This one is SO important that I wrote a whole blog about it.  You can read it HERE. It must have a desk, counter or shelving space for Hubs and I to dump our stuff on when we come home from work.

2.   Do not want open concept.
I am so over open concept.  I have little boys.  The kitchen is never clean.  The living room has so many toys on the floor all the time that I call it our TOY CARPET.  Only the legos hurt.  I want the ability to shut doors.  What that probably means is a galley kitchen and I'm OK with that.

3.   Wood floors.
I just like them.  And they are easier to clean up spills and accidents.  Our dogs and cats are indoor/outdoor, so mud does make it's way in.  I tend to favor the Oak colors these days.  Reclaimed would be a boost.

4.   Fireplace.
I don't care if it's wood burning or just gas.  I LIKE FIREPLACES.  I would prefer a 2-sided one!  One that connects the dining/kitchen or living/dining perhaps.  I love kitchen fireplaces too.  You can see examples of them HERE.
5.   Pool with area for lawn and playground for the kids.
We must have a pool, a place for the dogs to pee, and a play area for the kids. MUST!!!  I will pitch one of my famous fits if I do not get it!

6.   Prefer Cottage, Tudor, Colonial, or Farmhouse style with a deep porch at the front entry.
Steep roofs and at least 1-1/2 story is preferred too.  I don't mind brick, but I like the look of siding.

7.    Architectural interest in the ceilings. Either vaults or beams.
I'm sooo tired of popcorn flat ceilings.  Flat ceilings everywhere in the house is starting to offend me.

8.    Kitchen island if room.
This one might be hard if I am relegated to a galley kitchen.

9.   Substantial front lawn.
I don't want to step out of the front door onto the street.  So claustrophobic!

10. Side entry garage.
Either a swing garage or on a corner lot.  I LOATHE the garage doors on the front of the house since that usually means you see nothing else except a front door.  If the house is long enough, perhaps it's ok, but they usually are not.  I also don't like rear entry garages since that usually means less backyard.

What is Hubby's wishlist you ask?

1. Cheap

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Corum Deo - A Richardsonian Romanesque "Masterpiece"

I worked on this house many moons ago (2005) when I was with a small design firm. It was one of the more interesting residential projects I'd ever worked on because the owners were:
  • A) Rich
  • B) Water Park Developers
  • C) Lilliputians

They had bought an old house in Highland Park to tear down.  They wanted something grand and architecturally significant.  After looking at different design styles they zeroed in on the Richardsonian Romanesque.  I really love this style.  It's stately, playful, and fluid. 

I here you. "But Patra, what exactly IS Richardsonian Romanesque?"  You COULD take Art History at your local University, but I'll give you the Cliff notes:

Named after the famous Architect, H.H. Richardson, it was popular from around 1860 - 1900.  The style mainly comprises load-bearing masonry walls, cast iron, rusticated stone and boulders.  It features an asymmetrical design with round-arched or rectangular windows and large arches at the entry.

Here are some examples:

I found out that the original owners sold the house in January 2014 and pulled these photographs off the MLS listing.  It's a beautiful home and quite LARGE (nearly 10,000 SF) for such tiny people. *grin*  

The listing said:  
Situated on a corner lot on one of the largest lots in Highland Park and completed in 2005, this masterfully created modern Richardsonian Romanesque masterpiece called Coram Deo is a local landmark ($9,995,000). The exterior is comprised most entirely of granite and showcases state-of-the-art and green amenities, including incredible craftsmanship, spectacular entertaining rooms, Black Walnut and Mesquite wood, custom molding and lighting treatments, 7 bedrooms. This stunning home has a 1,200 square foot master suite, 9.3 baths, 13 living and 3 dining areas, 7 fireplaces, 2 stunning pools and spas with waterfalls, 1,500 square feet of verandas.
The front facade is clad in granite and stone.  Large arches at the entrance are indicative of the Richardsonian Romanesque

The original plan for this pool/spa was to have a couple of water park tube slides.  I'm not sure why it didn't get built.  The City of Highland Park may have axed it because of height restrictions.

 The Porch.
You can see how much granite is used.  This porch wraps around a good portion of the front corner of the house.

Beautiful Grand Staircase.
Circles set within squares is a repeated theme throughout the house.

The Great Room has a barrel vault that runs the length of the room.

 The Dining Room looks onto the Grand Staircase.  A two-sided fireplace, one of many, connects the Dining Room and the Great Room

The Kitchen.
I love the square windows with circular mullions above the cabinets.  You can see them inlaid in the cabinets as well.

 The Bar.

The Library is my favorite room in the house.  It also has a barrel vault running the length of the room and a blue granite fireplace.  These pictures do not do it justice.

Master Bedroom and Bath.  
That circular thing in the bathroom picture above is a Roman Soaking Tub.  Did you notice the square windows with the circular mullions again?

 This is the view when you walk out of the house into the back... oasis.  There are 2 levels to the pools with a waterfall connecting them,

Fun facts about this house:
It has 7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and 7 fireplaces.  Each of the bedrooms has a private bathroom. Neither the husband nor the wife stood higher than about 5'-2", but they insisted that all the door opening in the house be 36" or wider.  I am a hair shy of 5'-2" myself and every time I visited the house during construction I felt like Jack sneaking through the Giant's lair.  The granite on the house was changed at least 3 times before the designer and owner agreed on it.  I did mention they were rich...

And they named the house - Corum Deo.  Is that something rich people do?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

House Stalking - 17

Welcome to the 17th edition of House Stalking.  I hope you enjoy what I found on the MLS pages this month.  Although, the first picture didn't come from it, and I can't find the source, I had to include it.  It would be a crime not to.