Monday, March 15, 2010

After Pics!

Well, we're overdue on posting again. haha. Sorry about the delay. Anyway, we moved in back in January. There was still a few weeks of work left to do so we were living out of boxes stacked in the middle of all the rooms for a while, didn't have a kitchen or hot water the first few days.
But we are settled in now, so it's finally time for.....drum roll of how it all turned out in the end!

Here's our lovely new kitchen. We are really happy with how it turned out. If you'll recall I did a photo realistic concept image several months ago of what we wanted it to look like. It came out just how we planned and followed the concept image really well:
Some various kitchen features...
white fireclay apron front farm sink
wall mounted gooseneck faucet
cherry butcher block countertops
glass faced upper cabinets
base cabinet lazy susan
white subway tile backsplash
vintage style partial inset cabinet doors
antique built-in shallow cabinet
walk-in pantry (that was there already)

we kept the stove and refrigerator, but the dishwasher is new.
In the middle of the pic below you can see the built-in we scored at an antique shop. It fits really great in that space. Kate stripped the old peeling paint off of it and we we had the carpenters do a small alteration to it to fit best in the space. We love it!

Here's a view looking down the new hallway toward the back of the house. In my opinion the antique transom window we had installed above the back door really "makes" this hallway.

Here's a picture of the transom before installation:

and a view from the other end of the hallway looking towards the middle of the house:

On to the pics of the finished addition! I designed the master bedroom so a king bed would fit nicely between these two windows. It worked out well:

On the back wall we have the built-in bookshelves and window seat. As a reminder, the double window there is the one we reused from the old back of the house.
Kate made roman shades for all the windows in here that you can raise from the bottom (shown on double window) or lower from the top (window on the right). That's great because we can let light in from the top pane, but still have the privacy shade on the bottom. :)

another shot of the built-ins. You can see a little sliver of the french doors on the left there. The room gets tons of great natural light!

French doors with a privacy sheers that Kate also made. The light fixture hanging from the ceiling is a 1920's antique I found on ebay and rewired:

The two dark doors are the master bath (left) and the master closet (right):

Again, it's hard to get a decent shot of the walk-in closet, but here ya go anyway. Not too huge, not too small....the layout works pretty good.

Our custom built double sink vanity and medicine cabinets in the new master bathroom!

We wanted to incorporate a historic aesthetic into into the new bathroom to keep with the era of the house. One of the ways we did that was by putting down a classic white hex tile floor. We went with 1.5" matte finish hex tiles and love em!

It's a bit unconventional for a bathroom, but we decided to put apron front sinks in there and I think ended up really working. I can tend to get a bit crazy about little details sometimes and searched long and hard for this small gooseneck faucet with porcelain cross handles, but ended up tracking a pair down and think they're awesome. They make me happy in their own little way. :)

Just a shot so you can get a feel for where the bathtub is in comparison to the vanity. btw, the counters in here are marble and the wainscoting is beadboard.

Although we didn't go so far as to put a clawfoot tub in here, we still wanted to tie in that classic 1920's feel to the bathing area. So, we used white subway tiles for the shower walls, installed matching porcelain cross faucet/diverter handles, and went with a nice cast iron alcove tub.

The relation of where the tub is to the door (just so you can get the full 360 degree view) :).

Looking from the master bathroom into the bedroom.

Dual flush toilet! Energy efficiency for the win!
A shot just to show that the bathroom has a window. The natural light is wonderful in the morning!

Here's the living room. For a quick recap on what we did the existing house, the plaster ceilings were all in bad shape, so we drywalled over all of them in the house (including the living room here). All the walls also had bad peeling paint and cracking issues, so they were all smoothed out and skim coated with new mud....Then of course it was all painted. We went with a fairly subtle light color in the living room to keep the front rooms fairly modest in terms of color and to contrast some of the bolder colors in the rest of the house. The floors were refinished (which you can't really see in this photo because of the rug). Other than that, we didn't want to visually change much in these front of areas of the house....just clean-up what was mentioned, rewire all the electrical etc.

The renovated bathroom. Besides the electrical, plumbing, wall, ceiling, and floor work, we also removed a funny little vanity that was put in at some point in the past and replaced it with a pedestal sink (it works so much better in the space), we added the beadboard wainscoting, and the ceiling light fixture. Repainting in here made a world of difference too, it used to be all multicolor pastel colors (I referred to it as an easter egg paint job).

Below is the middle hub/hallway area. Check out the redesign of the linen closet/cabinet built-in. When we bought the house there was something there that had been added at some point, but it didn't really utilize the space, or aesthetically match the house for that matter. Plus we wanted to move the big air return from the floor to the bottom of the built-in. (btw, I designed the pattern for the return grille and had it laser cut, rather than having the standard metal slotted grille....I'm a bit detail oriented. haha ;D )

Under the rug there is where the giant return floor grate used to be. We had it patched in with wood floor.

Below is the dining room. Just the standard electric, walls, floors, ceiling, paint work was done in here.

The breakfast nook area. Again just the same surface repair & electrical as the rest of the house.

A shot of the finished back of the house, with the new addition on the left there and the existing house on the right. Check out our lovely new deck which had lattice added and was stained since the last pictures.

The french doors into in the master bedroom and the back door with transom window.

That's it! We may update the blog with a few more in-depth process pics we hadn't posted before for those who are interested, but for now I hope ya'll enjoyed looking at our start to finish chronicle of our renovation. Thanks for stopping by!!

- Ben & Kate

Monday, January 4, 2010

Restoring the Original Light Fixtures: Part 2

I thought it would be a nice thing to post pictures of my process in case someone searching how to rewire lights stumbles across our blog. In particular this would apply to rewiring a table lamp, because I'm using the rayon cord and I don't show the ground wire. It is a very simple process and something anyone who is minimally handy can do. For those of you not interested, this is probably really boring. ;)

DISCLAIMER: I am not an electrician. I am rewiring our lights as a hobby. Please take on electrical projects at your own risk! Do your research. One thing to consider is that old fixtures are often not originally equipped with a ground wire. For safety purposes, a ground wire was added to our lights when they were installed (not pictured). If there is ever an electrical short in a metal fixture, it could become electrified and shock/harm a person who touches it (the person being the shortest path to the ground). Many everyday objects like table lamps, alarm clocks, toasters, etc don't have a ground (think two-prong vs 3-pronged plug). Hardwired fixtures should always be grounded.

So.... you may remember that a while ago I posted about the cleaning and paint removal from the original antique light fixtures in our house. First I removed all the old 1920s cloth wiring and stripped the paint off the brass. Antique looking parts are not hardware store material, so I had to order everything online. I bought almost all the replacement lamp parts from Grand Brass . I also got some brass darkening solution from Architecturals to patina the new brass fitter. A side note about buying lamp stuff online: I was thrilled to find a mogul socket reducer *geek* which makes it possible to use a standard light bulb in an antique lamp with a oversized mogul socket. I own two mogul floor lamps and the oversized bulbs are hard to find and are usually a bright 100 watts.

Originally I was thinking I might be able to reuse the original ceramic interior sockets (called fatboys because they are bigger than modern sockets). Some of them were quite corroded, so I decided to replace the interiors with modern parts and reuse the original exteriors for looks. I was able to find interior sockets with antique looking turn-key knobs, so they look pretty original! (I'm not throwing away the old ceramic sockets because I hate to discard anything original. They will just serve as art).

Side note: Modern hardwired fixtures often don't have a knob on the socket because they are controlled by a wall switch. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have knobs on my pendants but it's how it was done in the 1920s. Knobs on the pan chandeliers are actually useful because you can turn a few bulbs off for a makeshift dimmer.

Here is the basic order:
Old fixture, new wire, old fitter (aka shade holder), old exterior socket top, new cardboard insulator disc, new interior socket, new cardboard insulator, old exterior socket.

Here is a close up of the rayon wire. Inside the black and white rayon is a modern plastic coated wire. Most people would not go through the trouble of using cloth covered wire since these hang from the ceiling (rayon wire is usually used for table lamps), but we wanted to keep the look authentic.

Plain plastic lamp wire is easier to work with than this rayon covered plastic wire. I wasn't sure how the pros keep keep the rayon from unraveling, so I improvised by covering the ends of each wire with electrical tape. This will get brittle over time, but it's not serving an electrical function, it's just keeping the rayon from moving around.

At this point, the wire has been threaded through the end of the fixture chain, the fitter, the top of the exterior socket and the paper disc and I'm ready to attach it to the interior socket. This picture shows an "underwriter's knot". This knot prevents the wires from slipping off the screws if someone accidently yanks on the cord (standard wiring process).

Screw the wires onto the socket. Standard process is that black is hot so it goes on the gold screw. White is neutral and goes on the silver.

Once the socket is wired, you slide the cardboard insulator over it, ensuring to cover the screws so they don't short out on the exterior socket.

Then you slide the exterior socket over that, and it's ready to pop together with the top of the exterior socket.

Now it's time to screw the socket to the fixture chain end. I have not laced the other end of the wire up through the chain yet. This is because you want the wire to be free to twist with the socket at this time. The fitter gets turned too because the knob is sticking out the side.

Lace the wire up the chain after it's all screwed together and it's finished! I tested each lamp by jerry-rigging a plug by splicing the wires to a plug from a strand of Christmas lights. Yay, it works!

One finished pendant.

The finished bathroom sconce.

Next up... the Pan Chandeliers

The pan chandelier is basically four pendant lamps that are wired together. I wired each socket, then laced the wires up into the pan.

There is an additional length of wire that is laced down one of the chains from the ceiling. You attach all four lamp wires to this one wire.

Separate all the black wires from the white wires. (Note: It is recommended to use a heavier gauge wire if doing this sort of thing to a chandelier with lots of lights)

Twist the black wires all together and join them with a wire connector. This connection ensures that each bulb is connected to the main power, so all bulbs will work even if one burns out.

Lay the wires down in the pan so they are not visible when the chandelier is hanging.


Along with a few other replacement parts the whole thing cost less than $100 to clean and rewire all the lamps. They are safe, they function, and they look a helluva lot better. We'll post pictures of them installed once the house is cleaned up and we put the pretty glass shades on!