I’m amazed it’s been over a month since I’ve given an update on my house, and I’m excited to announce that the house is essentially done! My contractors did a beautiful job, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. This is the final post to document the changes, so let me warn you, there are a lot of photos. Some are things I’ve shown in an earlier stage, but I want the final pictures as a record of how the house has been transformed. A few Utah people have asked who was doing the work, so for that information, scroll to the end after all the photos.
My old steps were cement and there were no rain gutters for the last few years, so in the winter they were pretty treacherous. Now when I’m an old lady I can hold on to the railing when I go up the stairs. Hopefully the sage will grow quickly and cover the gas meter again. (These railings are made by Trex. They’re durable, and I love how they look.)
I have a new screen door which is a big improvement over my old one that was aluminum, painted to match the house at one time but the paint had been peeling off for quite a few years. Eventually there will be an accent color (or colors?) painted around the door and on the window trim, but I’m going to wait a month or two to decide on the colors. (Suggestions are welcome.)
Bright morning sun is washing out the colors, but this is my lovely front porch, where I can sit and talk to neighbors. In the old days I had my grill on the porch, and I love having a more private place for that now.
I’m happy to have motion lights, so if someone walks up on my porch after night the light goes on. My neighborhood is very safe, but this still makes me feel secure when I come home late.
Along this east side of my house there used to be a tiny sidewalk and a big strip of dirt. I love this new sidewalk leading to the back yard. This photo also shows the rain gutters (not 100% finished on this side where they’ll drain under the porch and back deck, but close.)
There was a fence here before, and although I extended my house back 30+ feet, I still needed this strip of fence to connect to my neighbor’s gate. I wanted a tall fence for privacy where my deck was, but not where the windows were (since that’s the photo area inside my office.) We solved that problem with this fence on the left which is low under the windows and then high where the deck area is.
Here’s the view of the new back deck, with a door coming out of my new office. Some wrought iron furniture for this deck is coming tomorrow. I’ll keep the white plastic chairs for now, but this white plastic table (stained and wobbly) is going!
This is the covered part of the new deck (on the west side of my house.) Tomorrow I’ll be getting a natural gas grill to replace the one that’s down in the corner by the door. I’m happy I’ve found a good home for my current grill, because I’ve loved it. (Don’t love the dark green chairs, but for now I need them for parties. Notice the ceiling lights so we can party late at night – if we can manage to stay awake!)
The path leading off the back deck was definitely an afterthought, but I love how it finishes off the yard. The boxes in front of that deck will be for tomatoes next year. (I was seriously considering moving the tomatoes, but I came to my senses!)
I love this view from the covered deck to my garden. This was taken on a different day, so no dark green chairs on the deck in this photo!
One of the worst parts of my house before the renovations was the eaves, which had peeling paint and even some sagging spots. Here’s the new view with white James Hardie material that breathes to keep the attic cooler. (Edit – my brother-in-law Kelly, who did the interior renovations on my house in 1996, tells me that this breathable material on the eaves is aluminum.)
This photo shows the deck railing on the west side of the house, more rain gutters on this side, and new sod where the construction had worn out the grass. In the very front of the photo is a hose reel big enough to hold a long hose that can reach my front and back yard.
Now imagine we’ve come in the front door of the house, walked through the dining room and kitchen, and we’re going into the new part of the house. As you enter the hall, you’d see a double pantry on the left side. (There are two pantries like this, and each section has three shelves. The lower empty shelf in this photo is where I’m out of Diet Coke!)
On the right side of that hall is a set of floor-to-ceiling shelves with glass jars for beans, macaroni, dried mushrooms, and other dry goods. (These photos were taken with a flash, which washes out the color or makes it look too bright, but you can get the idea. Truly, the color on the walls is not bright orange!)
Just past the shelves with pasta and beans is an opening into this “mud room” and door to the covered deck. There’s a rug on the floor here covering a trap door over steps to my dirt basement (with the furnace, hot water heater, and lots of storage.) That may not seem too exciting, but the steps to the basement were outside before, and several times each winter I had to go out there and go downstairs for something, so I’m happy to have this inside the house. Aprons hanging on the wall are mostly for guests who man the grill, since I rarely wear one.
On the other side of the hall is a laundry alcove, with the washer and dryer and shelves to the ceiling on one side. The other side has more shelves and a built-in place to hang clothes when they come out of the dryer. (Some of my friends who aren’t bloggers love this little laundry room more than the office!)
Past the opening to the mud room are these glorious floor-to-ceiling shelves for “blog dishes.” I have quite a collection of them, and love having a place where they can be stored in the open, making it easy to choose a plate for photos. (I need a stool to reach the top, so it’s stored in the closet in the office.)
Keep walking into the office and you’ll see the shelves full of cookbooks, the new sofa-bed couch, and the door that leads out to the uncovered deck. There’s another step-stool hidden behind the couch to help me reach books on the top shelf. (I wasn’t sure I wanted a coffee table here, so I got these little end-tables from Ikea, which are actually working quite well. The piece of wall on the far right in this photo is the end of a closet.)
In the other corner of the room is this photo area, which I love. There are east windows and south windows, all with blinds that can lower from the top or raise from the bottom to make it easy to control the light. I can take pictures on the platform under the windows, or use the small white table that’s light and easy to pull out (again from Ikea.) Shelves under the platform hold placemats, silverware, napkins, pieces of vellum for filtering light, and white posterboard and styrofoam for bouncing light. We designed this to build in a spot for the refrigerator I had at school. On the end is a photo box (which I’ve rigged up with Lowel EGO lights but rarely use) and above that you can see the bottom of a TV.
And finally, the desk where I spend so much time editing photos, writing blog posts, writing for BlogHer.com, answering e-mail, reading blogs, Twittering, and chatting on Facebook. I haven’t quite settled into a work-at-home schedule now that I’m retired from teaching, but I’m mentally working on a schedule that includes time away from here doing other things, with the computer actually turned off (gasp!)
(Edit: When a commenter asked to see my kitchen, I realized I had already shown the kitchen and the old office on the blog. The kitchen is still essentially the same, but with the new paint color, same as the office. Of course my cookbooks and “blog dishes” are now moved to the new space.)
Thanks to Everyone Who Helped Transform the House!
Everyone listed here did a beautiful job on my house. They were a pleasure to work with, and I recommend them very highly. (Also thanks to the Buehners, the parents from school who recommended Spencer for the job.)
Spencer Young, STL Services
(Contact through STL Services)
(Ryan and Terry)
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