Archive | Decor RSS feed for this section

Sophia’s Tween Room Update

16 Mar

I know I’ve been missing in action for more than a few months but rather than discuss all the very boring reasons I haven’t been around (like less projects happening and less time to report on the few I have been doing), let’s just get to it, okay?

Sophia recently turned 10 (how did THAT happen??) and her big gift for her birthday was a bedroom update. She got a new headboard, bedding, a recycled rug (we got a new one for the living room and moved the old living room rug into her room), plus a full closet makeover. I also made a no-cost bulletin board for her with some old stuff we had around the house. Let’s see how it came out:

sophs room 034 sophs room 038sophs room 043

Her new white velvet headboard is from Amazon, the chevron shams and white studded pillow are PB Teen, the pillow cases (and matching sheets) and the turquoise pillow are from Target, and the pink cashmere one is an old one we had from Ann Taylor. The furry blanket on the end of the bed was a cheap Marshalls find.

sophs room 071

Sophia also recently made some washi tape updates: some stripes on her nightstand, a “framed” jewelry display and some decorations on her lightswitch.

sophs room 058 sophs room 059

sophs room 061 sophs room 062

Her curtains and her corner shelf are the same.

sophs room 086sophs room 083I can’t remember if she had the turquoise marquee heart when I last shard her room. It’s from Target but I don’t think they carry it anymore. Sorry! You can find a similar one here.

sophs room 093

She wanted a bulletin board so I took an old one I had in the attic and spray painted the frame gold. Then I covered the cork with some old wallpaper that I’ve had in the attic for years. (See? Hording craft supplies does pay off!)

sophs room 112

sophs room 133

I love that she put up a mix of photos, some pages from the Crewcuts catalog, and pictures of her favorite stars (like Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor) that she cut out of M magazine. (I love that my little big girl loves magazines as much as I do!)

sophs room 122

Her desk/vanity looks pretty much the same. I think it’s her favorite thing in her room!

sophs room 104sophs room 145sophs room 109

But her closet is totally new! I’m hoping to write a post with all the details of the makeover soon.

sophs room 154

sophs room 155 sophs room 160 sophs room 167

I love how the rug pulls the room together.

sophs room 148 sophs room 149

It’s been a gradual evolution over the last four years but hopefully it’ll stay like this for awhile.  (Knowing Sophia, it won’t. I wonder where she gets that need to make changes all the time?)

Here are all the other posts I’ve written about her room if you want to see the changes.

A New Old Desk by “Sophia at Home” (the one where Sophia remodels a deks for her room)

Sophia’s Room Update (the one where she gets a new mattress and we rearange the layout)

House Tour: Sophia’s Room Part Two (the one with all the resources)

House Tour: Sophia’s Room Part One (the one with the inspiration pictures and ideas)

I’ll be back soon with all the details about her closet remodel. (You will not believe the before and afters!)

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @sue_erneta for the day-to-day updates!

XO

Sue at Home

A New Old Desk by “Sophia at Home”

15 Sep

Hi! I’m Sophia, Sue’s nine year old daughter. Today, I’m going to show you how super easy it is to redo a desk for your room in just one weekend.  Welcome to Sophia at Home!

sophs desk after 066

Step 1: Ask mom for a desk for your room for the millionth time.

Step 2: Rearrange the furniture in your room for a few minutes with your mom to see if a desk will even fit. Mom gets that look in her eyes that she gets when she’s got a good idea. You can practically see the lightbulb above her head!

Step 3: Say thanks as Mom and Dad present you with a dirty old wood desk that’s been hiding in the attic for years.

sophs desk 036

It’s pretty gross looking but you love it anyway. (You decide not to mention that the little cube is never going to work as a chair. One thing at a time. One thing at a time.)

sophs desk 041

Step 4: Have your assistants bring it outside to the deck and gather all the supplies you’ll need: sanding block, paper towels, painters tape, primer, paint, paint brush, foam roller, paint pan, screwdriver (to open paint cans), and a hammer (to close them). Make sure you’re using Benjamin Moore paints. Duh.

Step 5: Start by sanding the top and sides of the top. (You’re only painting the top panel and leaving the legs au natural ’cause you’re cool like that.) Towel all the dust off after. Note that you should be wearing “work” clothes but that’s no reason to not have on chic protective eyewear.)

sophs desk 054

Step 6: Tape around the edge with painters’ tape. (Multi-colored manicure optional.)

sophs desk 061

Step 7: Paint the top with primer. Make sure you paint with the grain of the wood!

sophs desk 068

Step 8: Get bored and take a break while your assistant finishes up.

sophs desk 071

Step 9: Let your primer dry and call it a day.

Step 10: Get back to work in the morning. Roll on Benjamin Moore’s Mountainview (aka mint). Luckily your mom had some leftover from painting the inside of the kitchen cabinet. This is what your mom likes to call a “no cost DIY”. Note: jammies make for great “work clothes” in a pinch.

sophs desk 103

Step 11: Let it dry and then have your assistants carry it back to your room. Thank mom profusely and then tell her about the chair problem. (Make sure you break it to her nice and easy.)

Step 12: Watch the lightbulb go off over mom’s head again as she remembers an old chair she originally planned on painting for the den for this project. It’s currently collecting dust in the garage. (Mom gets so excited about having a solution that she forgets to take a before shot of the chair but luckily she has this one from when she bought it. It’s the little black one on the left which she picked up for $2.99!)

thrft-store-challenge-chairs-2

 Step 13: Marvel as mom takes the chair apart and proceeds to paint the legs with gold spray paint and the seat and back in paint that match your ‘new old’ desk.

Step 14: Bask in the glory of your awesome new cost-nothing desk!

sophs desk after 063

sophs desk 109

The old-school keyboard tray is now a drawer for my school supplies, jewelry, and other important kid stuff,

sophs desk 115

sophs desk 117

Because this is a combo desk/vanity, earrings have the same prominent placement as pencils.

sophs desk 142 sophs desk 121 sophs desk 124

Isn’t the chair unrecognizable? I love it!

sophs desk 128

sophs desk 141

sophs desk after 046 sophs desk after 071

Thanks for letting me crash the blog, mom!

Bye!
XO

Sue SOPHIA at Home

Half Bath Design Plans and Resource List

27 May

When we last left off, I had introduced you to our tiny half master bathroom complete with bad wallpaper and all the periwinkle blue tile you could ever dream of.

half bath 137

I was inspired by this Laduree box and I became obsessed with the black, green and gold pallette before I decided to add a lot more white to the mix. In fact the mix is more like TONS of white with black, green and antique brass as accents.

half bath laduree photo (1)

Here are each of the elements we are planning on and how we chose them.

1. WALL TILE – White beveled subway tile halfway up the wall, with gray grout. Similar to this image from Sticky Bee but possibily with a thicker grout space.

How we picked it: We were planning on subway tile and then I spotted the beveled version in a hotel bathroom in NYC and I was smitten. The dark grout is a cool industrial look and I think it will be easier to keep clean.

white beveled tile

2. FLOOR TILE: Circulos Black encaustic tile from Cement Tile Shop

How we picked it: I was planning something basic, like a white hex with black in it somewhere–something like one of these–when Pablo (yes, Pablo!) asked about the bathroom below (that I had pinned from Marcus Design) and we both fell in love.

Circulos_400x400

marcus design bathroom

3. THE VANITY – We’re going to paint our current vanity black and we’ll get new hardware and a new faucet.

How we picked it: Well, we already have it. And there aren’t a lot of vanities that are less than 18″ deep (that’s the space we’re working with) and I’d rather work with what we have then go custom to the tune of cha-ching cha-ching.

4. THE FAUCET – I’m still on the hunt for the right inexpensive antique brass one. This shinier one from Kohler is a placeholder for now.

kohler faucet

5. THE KNOBS – New pulls  from Anthropologie for the vanity. (They’ll be turned vertically.)

How we picked them: Duh. They’re brass and they’re green!

anthro pull

6. THE MEDICINE CABINET –  Rivet Medicine Cabinet in Antiqued Brass from Restoration Hardware

How we picked it: I had almost given up on finding a medicine cabinet that I liked when I found this baby. I felt like I had looked at Restoration Hardware a million times but seeing this amazing one in the home of Erika Bearman in ELLE Decor made me take another look. I liked Erika’s but the Rivet had me at hello.

rivet medicine cabinet

7. THE LIGHTING – Vintage Barn Sconce from Restoration Hardware

How we picked it: I really thought I wanted some long skinny brass sconces to go on either side of the mirror (something like this) but since the space is so narrow, I just didn’t want to worry about having them fit so I decided to install a light above the mirror. Problem is, all of the double or triple bathroom lights I found were just so “bathroom light-ish”. Do you know what I mean? I guess I just wanted something more original and since the subway tile and dark grout was so industrial looking, I figured I’d stick with that look and add this cool gooseneck with just a touch of antiquey brass. I picked the color because I didn’t want the medicine cabinet and the light to be too matchy matchy. Coordinating? Yes. Matchy matchy?  No thank you. (Look how cool a gooseneck looks in this bathroom.)

vintage barn sconce

8. THE ARTA pair of 20 x 30 banana leaf prints from The Aestate on Etsy.

How we picked it: I really, really thought about using wallpaper above the tile on the top half of the wall–and I still might. But for now I think we’ll just paint that white and add some art. I love how these mimic the feel of an amazing banana leaf print wallpaper at a fraction of the cost.


the aestate

It’ll look similar to this but we’ll probably use some black frames.

banana leaf

9. THE HOOKS – The Anthropologie hooks I already mentioned in this post.

How we picked them: Green. Brass. Done.

anthropologie hook

10. THE PRETTY ACCENT – And just for fun, I’m planning on adding one of those malachite bowls from Hillary Thomas that I’ve always wanted.

How we picked it: It’s malachite, the love of my life.

malachite bowl

I’m still on the fence about the towel /towel bar and the toilet paper holder. I think I like the Pearson style in brass from Pottery Barn and they’re priced pretty well so I might just get those. I was thinking of getting a towel ring instead but then I remembered I don’t like towel rings because I feel like the towels get all bunched up and they never dry. Anyone else feel the same? Or…do you like how Reichel from Copy Cat Chic used West Elm’s turkish hand towel with Urban Outfitters brass hex towel ring? Cause I do! I’m just not sure it’s for me.

copt cat chic

Anywhoooo, let’s get back to my design.

Are you ready to see how it looks all together?

Through the magic of Polyvore, I give you…..my bathroom.

TA DA!

photo (99)

I’m so glad I made this on Polyvore because it really gives me a good idea of what it will look like when it’s all together. It’s definitely very bright and white–which I like–but it’s good to know that going in. I’ve started buying the elements needed and I’m building my crew slowly so hopefully we can get started in a few weeks. Wish me luck!

XO

Sue at Home

Half Bath “Before” Shots and Design Plans

23 May

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I’ve finally broken ground on my half bath renovation by yanking a couple loose tiles off the wall.

By the way, I also ripped down the wallpaper. Yup. I’m crazy like that.

half bath instagream photo

Unfortunately, that’s where the reno stopped. You see that thick cement that was behind the tiles? That’s known as a mud job and it’s going to be a serious mess to take out. I’m getting a team on board to make this change happen but in the meantime, let’s look at the befores of this blue tile half bath and a peek at my design plans.

You’ll remember that this is the small bathroom off of our small master bedroom. (See more about that here.) It’s only a half bath because…well, who would want a shower in their master bath? (This girl. That’s who. And no, I’m still not getting one. )

Let’s go inside.

Oh yeah. That’s a lotta blue tile and tan checked wallpaper.

half bath 114

There’s a window that lets in some nice light but that’s about the extent of the good stuff.

half bath 118

We’ve got two “fancy” hooks from Target that we use to hang our towels on. (There’s not much room in the other bathroom to leave them there.) This was an upgrade from the wooden ones that were there when we moved in. Gross.

half bath 121

Did you want to see my toilet? No? Well, then marvel at the grimy tile floor. (P.S. The toilet’s staying. The blue porcelain toilet paper holder? Not so much.)

half bath 125

The vanity is…well, it’s pretty cheap and ugly. And we’re keeping it. No, that wasn’t a joke.  You see, the space between the wall and the doorway is tiny. And it can only accomodate a vanity that’s 18 inches deep or less. Have you ever looked for a vanity that shallow? The pickins are slim. And yes, I know we could have something custom but I just don’t want to get into that. (And the cha-ching that would go with it.) The plan is to paint it–either white or black–and change the faucet and hardware. Sidenote: Dontcha love the tinfoil and duct tape used to cover the vent? It’s right above the furnace and it’s the strongest vent in the house so this room–the smallest one in the house–has the most heat blasting into it during the winter. Make sense? I didn’t think so either.

half bath 132

A medicine cabinet is a necessity (as is the vanity storage, which is another reason we’re keeping it) so as much as I would like to just slap a huge mirror up there, we need to replace this with something with storage. (Spoiler alert: I already found one and it. is. awesome!) The light, obviously, is going too.

half bath 128

Overall, it’s not a horrible bathroom. It’s just not us. Because we’re not 1955.half bath 137

 Now, onto the good stuff. The inspiration for the new design!

Someone sent this box of Laduree macarons to me over a year ago and I put a picture of it on Instagram with the text “I’m getting SO inspired by this Laduree box! Bathroom makeover palette perhaps?” It’s proof that inspiration can strike from anywhere!

half bath laduree photo (1)

Since then I’ve been on the hunt for bathrooms in black, green and gold. Stuff like this:

pinterest green tile

And this:

malachite wallpaper

And this by Nate Berkus from Architectural Digest:

nate berkus AD

And this from Apartment Therapy:

apt therapy palm wallpaper

I thought about malachite (which I love) and wallpaper and malachite print wallpaper. And I thought about the banana leaf wallpaper shown above and the other banana leaf wallpaper. (Did you know there were two different ones? I didn’t until I found this awesome blog post on The Glam Pad. Apparently, the famous one from The Beverly Hills Hotel is called Martinique but the one at the Greenbriar is actually Brazilliance. Who knew?)

But ultimately, I felt it was all a little too dark and busy and dramatic for this tiny half bath.

Then I thought about adding in white. LOTS of white. And using the black, gold and green as accents. And then this happened. This being  that I stumbled upon this AMAZING powder room renovation that Jessica Waks posted on Style At Home.

malachite mirror

People. It’s a malachite-trimmed mirror. My head nearly exploded! Even Pablo was excited about it when I showed it to him. But then I saw the price. Unfortunately, this mama is not getting a malachite mirror for “price upon request”. (I can’t seem to find the exact price right now but I recall it was something like $3500 or maybe more. Obviously it’s from Made Goods because everything they make takes my breath away. Ya know, like a turquoise shagreen table or a gold nugget lamp or A MALACHITE MIRROR!)

But the look of the whole room did show me that more white was the way to go. So I’m going for a much cleaner, more modern, white bathroom with hints of black, green, and plenty of antiquey brass.

Soon I’ll be back with the full design plan but for now just marvel at the gorgeous new hooks and knobs I picked up at Anthropologie to get the process started.

half bath photo (97)

Do they make you as excited as they make me?

XO

Sue at Home

House Update: New Batik Pillows and West Elm Lamp

20 May

Ah, how I love a batik pillow! Remember back when I told you about those Amber Interiors ones that I was dying over? And remember how they were crazy expensive?

sally pillow

Well, my Etsy substitutes from OrientalTribe11 arrived and They. Are. Perfect!

pillows 131

134 pillow

They took a little while to get here–I mean, they were coming from Thailand after all–but they are as beautiful as I imagined. I was a little afraid how the navy and white batik would work with my teal walls but I think it’s divine. And obviously, I love the neon pink and orange accents. (Apologies for the couch that looks like a saggy elephant’s ass. I promise that what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in comfort.)

pillows 133

They’re made really well. I’ve had them for awhile now and I’m so happy with how they look. Check out the detail:

pillows 137

The room looks so much better with some more streamlined pillows. Remember the hot mess of pillows I had before?

pillows collage textSidebar: And see the change in that doorway to the right? I painted the hideous wood paneling in the playroom (including that stairwell that leads to it) so I’ll be telling you all about that change soon. (And yes, that means that I totally broke my resolution!)

And looky here, another change!

pillows 138

Did you spot it in the foyer behind the couch?

pillows 154

We got a new lamp from West Elm and I am loving it!

pillows 144

It’s the Geodesic Table Lamp and I love the openess of the brassy base. Plus that tan lampshade is so warm and sophisticated. I feel like it’s the look I was hoping for when I got the Nate Berkus for Target one, but this one…well, you get what you pay for. (No knock to Nate of course, his is still damn good for a $50 lamp!)

pillows 140

It’s coming together one little bit at a time.

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. I feel like whenever I show the living room, the paint color never reads right on camera. So, here’s a swatch of the real color: Benjamin Moore Teal.

benjaminmooreteal

Hallway Gallery and Runner

12 May

When you last met my hallway…what? You’ve never met my hallway? Oh the shame. Let’s get better aquainted.

Back in 2010 when we moved in, our hallway had brown wall-to-wall carpet (yikes) and poorly textured creamy walls.

HALLWAY DSC_1232

hALLWAY DSC_1239

It only took about a month before we ripped out the carpet and had the wood floors underneath refinished. We went with a dark stain downstairs but we kept the hall pale to go with the floors in the bedrooms. Check out 2 year old Lily showing off the pretty hardwood back before I fixed the stair risers. (Doesn’t she kind of look like a ghost? Boo!)

5396523371_b55b76b896_z

A few months after that, Pablo attempted to skim coat the walls (I’ll give him an A for effort) and we painted the walls in Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray with Cloud White trim.

5667967610_9b23f3135d_z

That was three years ago and everyday since then I’ve had the intention of hanging some extended family pics up there. And now it’s done! Well, not done. More like a decent start. (You’ll also notice I’ve sort of learned how to use my camera too.)

hallway 023

I shopped for the runner for a loooooong time. That problem with my expensive taste and limited budget got in the way but eventually I fell for a pretty kelly green wool flat weave rug in a Jaipur catalog my mom had borrowed from a local decorator. I was contemplating getting one (and even paying the expensive-for-me $200+ price) when this beauty popped up on One Kings Lane for only $149. I had to go for it. Lucky for you OKL has it right now, too (for a few bucks more).

OKL rug

The next step was the frames and since you know me, you can imagine I tried to go inexpensive with some of the offerings at Target, Kohls and Ikea. But they all just looked too cheap to me so I ended up getting most of them at Pottery Barn. (I can’t say enough nice things about their gallery frames. Just go buy them and thank me later.)

hallway 006

As for the pictures themselves, the focus is on extended family: the girls’ cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. (I felt I had thoroughly covered the 4 of the us in our dining room photo wall so it was time to spread the love.) You’ll notice most of them are super casual.

hallway 047

hallway 050One of the favorites is this picture from Thanksgiving a few years ago. It’s the last time we had my family and Pablo’s family together so it’s got a lot of VIPs in it.

hallway 044

The walls look a little sparse for now but the goal is to fill it up top to bottom. Something more like this.

hallway 041

It’s coming together but don’t look up! If you do you’ll see cracked and peeling paint and one of the noisiest flourescent lights in history.

hallway 032

Take a closer look at that texture.

hallway 033

We’re bringing some pros in soon to fix it up and I’ve got plans to replace the light, too. I’ll keep you posted.

And the view from the bedrooms needs a little love too. See that space above the stairs? hallway 056

 I’d love to put something inspirational there so we see if right before we head out for the day. Ya know, something like this:

seize the day

OR

don't forget to be awesome

Maybe we could even jump and smack it like the Notre Dame football team does with their motivational sign…?

play like a champion today

So it’s still a work in progress but I’m happy with the changes we’ve made. It sure is nice to see Mimi, Papa, Uncle Steve, Auntie, Jonathan, Bobe, Grandpa Steve, Uncle Francis, Aunt Nicole, Baylee, Arianna, Carter, Aunt Paola, Aunt Alex, Eliseo, and Weli everday.

hallway 023

XO

Sue at Home

Sue At Home in Ladies’ Home Journal

1 Apr

As you may know by now, I am the Fashion Editor for Ladies’ Home Journal magazine. So when some of my fellow editors wanted to photograph a story for the April issue about bringing spring color into your home, they thought of my colorful abode and more specifically, my hot pink chair.

chair 068

My pink chair (you can read all about it here) has gotten a lot of love in the past. It’s one of my most read posts, most repinned pins, and it was featured on Emily A Clark’s blog, Centsational Girl’s Best of DIY site, and Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color. (Hey look! There it is again over in the sidebar! Click there for more living room pics.)

chair 050

But this time, it’s in a magazine. A huge national magazine. (OK. I know that I’m one of the editors so it’s kinda like nepotism but still, I’m happy to be included!)

SAH in LHJ thats my house

SAH in LHJ text

So on a chilly day in January, I was pleased to invite two of my fellow LHJ staffers and a small photo team into my home for the shoot (the zero-minute commute was kinda awesome too).

Right away photographer Jennifer Causey and her assistant got to work setting up lights and reflectors and getting my pink chair ready for its close-up. I usually prefer a neutral pillow on the chair but for the purposes of the story, editor Lauren Piro brought lots of bright spring-y options. The yellow one from Target was the clear winner.

pink chair in LHJ

Note: The chair has faded A LOT and is due for another dye job but I just couldn’t get it done before the shoot, So yes, she has had a Photoshop touch up for the LHJ final image you see below. When it gets a little warmer, I’ll be ok with dying on the deck again!

102195199

But the chair wasn’t the only image shot in my house. We also put some artwork from Society6 on my bedroom dresser and styled it with some of my jewelry.

LHJ in bedroom

Do you know what it’s like to have a photo crew, including some of your coworkers, in your bedroom on a Thursday afternoon? It’s weird, people. It’s weird. Luckily, one of those fellow coworkers is my dear friend, our very talented photo director Clare Lissaman, who always knows how to put people at ease on a shoot.

The story also featured my painted kitchen cabinet. It’s one of my favorite DIY projects in my house (you can see it up top in my header collage) but I’ve had such a hard time getting a good shot of it for the blog so that’s why I’ve never written about it.

102195197

The cabinet looks so pretty that I almost don’t notice the fugly countertops!

So how was she able to get that brighter shot in my windowless kitchen? What photo skills does Jennifer have that I don’t have? This big ass light, that’s what! (And I’m sure she has lots of other great photo skills too! But the light helps.)

loght in kitchen

That beauty totally brightened up the space.

camera in kitchen

I was totally thrilled to be included in the issue and I want to thank my co-workers for including my home and supporting Sue at Home. If you’d like to order a subscription to Ladies’ Home Journal, just click the affiliate link in my sidebar.

With the happy spring weather, I’ve decided to come out of my hibernation and I can’t wait to get some spring projects happening soon. Stayed tuned for our newly painted playroom, a new headboard, a hallway makeover and…drum roll…a complete bathroom renovation!

XO

Sue at Home

A Mid-Century Condo in Palm Beach

16 Mar

This weekend I’m writing to you from a 20th floor balcony in sunny Palm Beach. (Brag much?) The brother of one of my good friends was kind enough to loan us his condo for a girls’ weekend. After I finished swooning over all their amazing vintage furniture finds (I’m not kidding. I gasped and then hugged a credenza when we walked in), I quickly snapped a few pics to share with you. Take a look.

(Sorry for the crappy iPhone pictures. It’s all I had. I’m writing this from the WordPress app on my phone and I can’t figure out how to edit them. I think they’re all a little crooked…which I might just blame on the mojitos!)

20140315-203959.jpg

20140315-205426.jpg

20140315-205619.jpg

20140315-205738.jpg

20140315-210007.jpg

20140315-210109.jpg

20140315-210138.jpg

20140315-210444.jpg

20140315-210647.jpg

The wall color is Barely Teal by Benjamin Moore (which btw is the same color as my kitchen ceiling which I’ve sadly never shown you. Sorry!). Every person on the trip was trying to figure out a place to put it their homes. It’s just so pretty and soothing.

Thanks again to our hosts for loaning us their beautiful place!!

XO

Sue at Home

A Remarkable Renovation: 43 Church Street in Westborough

3 Mar

Last summer when we were visiting my parents in Westborough, Massachusetts–the town I grew up in (remember I told you about it here and here?)–I drove past this stunning house on Church Street and it stopped me in my tracks. I just couldn’t believe that I had never noticed it before. Well, that’s because it didn’t look like this when I lived there. 43church 225

Back when I lived in Westborough,  it looked more like this.

43 church as it was

Lucky for me, the stunning house had a sign out front that said 43churchst.com. So, I checked it out and found the story of how Michael Fitzpatrick (a very talented wood furniture maker) and his wife, Dr. Jean Keamy, had purchased the house with the intention of renovating it and bringing it back to its former glory. I mean, look how gorgeous it was back in 1880.

original house

Their website is great and it shows lots of process shots but I was dying to see it inside, so I emailed Michael and asked if he would let me–and the Sue at Home readers–take a peek. He could not have been more gracious and welcoming so the next time I was in Westborough, Pablo and I went to take a look. (Yes, it’s taken me over 6 months to write this post. What can I say, it’s got a LOT of pictures.)

They brought the exterior of the house back to its original style except for the addition of this porte cochere on the side. No need to Google it. “Porte Cochere” translates to Carriage Porch.  (It’s like a fancy carport.)

43church 222

Here’s the back of the house.

43church 172

As they were building the porte cochere, some birds decided to make it their home so they continued building around the birds and now they’ve got permanent houseguests. See that little square in the picture below? That’s how their little feathered friends get in and out.

43church 180

 Michael restored and built reproductions of all the exterior millwork himself. (See more about that in this video.)

43church 173

I especially loved the pale blue painted porch ceiling. Let’s go inside, shall we?

43church 160

While they respected the aesthetic of the original structure on the exterior, they opted for a more modern interior with an open floor plan and a focus on function. I loved all of the clean simple furnishings.

43church 195

The floating stairs–that connect all four levels–let in tons of light.

43church 186

43church 192

This little sitting area connects the living room and kitchen.

43church 196

I love how the color of the mid-century chairs is picked up in the kitchen backsplash.

43church 197

The center column in the house, which has a small bathroom and an elevator on this floor, also includes this built-in bookshelf. (Note the wood carved grate. Yup – that was made by Michael, too. It’s the details like this that make this house like no other I’ve ever seen.)

43church 199

Here’s Michael showing us the diary of Mary White Forbes that they found in the house.  The entries are dated 1850-1857.

43church 198

The kitchen is a story itself. Every single shelf and drawer is completely thought out and made for full function.

43church 187

The wood veneer is Black Palm from Ecuador, a renewable resource. (Now’s a good time to mention that 80% of the materials that were taken out of the house at the time of demo were recycled to other homes around New England.)

43church 188

Adjacent to the kitchen is the dining room. That low table on the right is one of Michael’s designs made for a show at the Fuller Craft museum.

43church 183

Check out these small “floorlights” that connect to the basement below. (Remember those. You’ll see them again.)

43church 185

These amazing doors (from Thailand, circa 1780) were bought at auction. They lead to…

43church 181

…a small music room in the back of the house.

43church 182

Now, let’s go downstairs.  This spooky little pod is the entrance to the future darkroom.

43church 201

Of course, we had to go inside.  Here’s Pablo on the other side.

43church 200

They’re also working on a screening room that hasn’t been furnished yet. And the little space below is the future wine cellar. See those little skylights? Those are the floor panels we saw in the dining room above.

43church 205

I can’t get enough of these beautiful steps. Let’s go upstairs again.

43church 204

Here’s another one of those Michael Fitzpatrick grates.

43church 208

The entrance to the master bedroom.

43church 211

Here’s the TV in the bedroom. On the right is a jewelry box that Michael made for his wife as a wedding gift. This house is a fully wired “smart” house. I think the coolest feature is the keypad near the bed where they can put the house to sleep with the touch of a button: the garage locks, all the lights turn off and the thermostat sets to a predetermined temperature. Need the use the bathroom in the middle of the night? No problem. Motion detectors track their way back to bed and turn off the lights as they’re no longer needed.

43church 209

Of course the tub is surrounded by wood.

43church 210

Now, let’s go all the way to the top floor.  There’s a large TV room that has a balcony.

43church 213

The teak woodwork in the upstairs bathroom was my favorite.

43church 214

Out on the balcony, we get a better look at those shingles and the stunning millwork.

43church 217

And before we leave, we need to take a look at Michael’s wood shop in the back garage. There are lots of plans to renovate this space next.

43church 169

One of Michael’s beautiful veneer topped tables.

43church 164

Some more tables with mid-century hairpin legs.

43church 168

I’d like to thank Michael for the tour of his beautiful home.

43church 225

There are so many other rooms that I didn’t show here because they’re yet to be finished so stay tuned to 43churchst.com for Michael’s updates.

XO

Sue at Home

Resolutions

20 Jan

Well, we’re 20 days into 2014. Do you think we should maybe think about some resolutions? I do.

Here they are:

Lose weight. Take better care of my skin. Spend more time with my kids. Have more dates with Pablo.
Yup. They’re all on the list but I’m not going to bore you with that.

Instead, let’s take a look at my house and how I resolve to make it better this year. It’s been three years since we moved in and though the house is virtually unrecognizable from it’s former life, there are a number of things I can do to make it better this year.

1) Paint ceilings. I seem to have a block against painting ceilings because even though I’ve painted the walls of 6 rooms in our house (7 if you count the hallway), I’ve only painted one ceiling. This is the year I get off my ass and tackle this very unexciting task. Notice the creamy gross ceiling in the dining room below. Won’t it look so much better when it’s all crisp and clean?

finished dining room

2) Get a grownup bed or headboard for our master bedroom. I’m 41 years old. I think maybe it’s time to stop using the headboard that my old roommate found in our apartment building’s garbage room in 1993. I had thought about DIYing one but I’m afraid that fabric+me will end in heartache so I might just have to pony up and buy one like a big girl. (Big news: We’ve already found a steal and are hoping to have this task taken care of by the end of Feb!)

master-bedroom-401

3) Give up on the playroom. Yup, you read that one right. I keep trying to put lipstick on a pig (like with this and this and this) but I need to face the facts: the room is essentially a storage space for large pink plastic toys and unless I rip out the brown wall-to-wall carpeting, paint the wood paneling, tear down the drop ceiling,  make the fluorescent lighting die a slow painful death, and GET RID OF MOST OF THE TOYS, it’ll never look like a Land of Nod catalog. One day when the toys are less plentiful I’ll put some time, effort, and money into this space but for now – stick a fork in me, I’m done. (I mean, they’ve got a couch, a TV, a place for their toys and…A DISCO BALL. What more could they need?)

playroom- 049

4) Deal with the den. This poor room had been greatly ignored until 2013 when it got some “new” chairs, a custom Suzani-covered ottoman, a mid-century credenza, and some freshly painted window frames it still needs a lot of love. We’re talking art, a decent mantel display, and maybe we’ll finally get the TV up on the wall. But the biggest problem is the lack of insulation. Right now, I’ve got blankets hanging up as curtains to keep the cold out there in these bitter freezing days. It’s working but it would be nice to be able to use this space year round without having to start a fire everytime we go out there.

den-033

5) Paint the exterior trim. I was dilligent enough to get a few estimates last summer but I never got around to choosing someone until it got too late and now I need to wait for the spring. Check out the peeling paint around the door in this picture. Sad. (Maybe while I’m at it, I’ll finally get that door painted, too.)

wreath-138

6. Reinstate the Purge List. As gross as that sounds, it’s just my method for keeping storage spaces organized. I don’t have a lot of storage areas so I tend to keep those spaces pretty decently organized anyway but I could use a whole house purge. This is how I do it: I type a list of all of the minute storage spaces in the house – every drawer, every medicine cabinet, every closet. Then I tackle them one by one and cross them off the list.  Of course, big projects like the attic or the garage are reserved for full days but if I just go through the individual drawers when I have some spare time, then they’re not very daunting. (And the crossing-off part is highly fulfilling!)

For now, that’s all I’m stressing myself about. Of course, we might buy a new couch for the living room and we may gut the half bath this year but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, okay?

What changes are you planning this year?

XO

Sue at Home

%d bloggers like this: